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Speaker: The Hollow Men: Initial Impressions

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  • Terence Wood,


    I agree: we appear to have an irreconcilable difference of definitions. I take far right to mean far to the right of the economic centre. You take it to mean beyond the pale.

    Fair enough.

    Since Nov 2006 • 148 posts Report

  • Paul Campbell,

    One thing that's interesting here is that it probably means big things for ACT, I just can't figure out what .... either it means that their sugar daddies have left them for the Nats and they're dieing on the vine (well they have and are at this point), or it's all just hit the fan and their supporters will all come back now that they are persona-non-grata inside a National charging full tilt for the middle ....

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2623 posts Report

  • Span .,

    Ah Neil, I knew it was just a matter of time before someone decided to throw union donations into the mix here (just as Dr Brash did on Nat Rad recently).

    Here's http://spanblather.blogspot.com/2006/11/those-pesky-unionists.html/a rebuttal of that fallacy, which I prepared earlier.

    Auckland, NZ • Since Nov 2006 • 112 posts Report

  • Span .,

    oh dear, that link didn't work very well did it?

    this should work, even if it isn't pretty (it's still prettier than the above, urgh!)


    Auckland, NZ • Since Nov 2006 • 112 posts Report

  • Deborah,

    Nick Kearney said:

    I actually think National could have succeeded if Brash hadn't backed down so much.


    I thought the evidence (or at very least the urban myth - can somone shed some light on this?) was that just a few too many people (urban mums, mostly) got scared off Brash in the last week or two before the election, because they were worried about the cuts to health and education that might have followed on from significant tax cuts.

    He didn't back down nearly enough, and I'm not sure he could have. The damage had been done by then.

    New Lynn • Since Nov 2006 • 1447 posts Report

  • Richard Bol,

    Has Brian Connell got a haircut yet?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 32 posts Report

  • Malcolm 141,

    The racing pamphlet claim has been rebutted. Apparently it was detected, corrected and included in the election return. So I have a few questions.

    (1) If he is such a fair journalist, why couldn't Nicky Hager have determined this from a check of National's election return?

    (2) There must have been internal correspondence correcting this error. Why didn't Nicky Hager publish that as well?

    (3) Are there any physical documents or quotes from the alleged leakers? That is, is there any of the normal documentation associated with major leaks?

    (4) Why is this book currently only available to the media and critics of the National Party? In other words, why am I being fed one-sided spin instead of having the opportunity to read it myself?

    Don Brash stinks. So does this book.

    Since Nov 2006 • 15 posts Report

  • Kent Parker,


    National policy was Act policy and 40% supported it. Therefore 40% agree with it.

    There's a laugh.
    1. most National voters just wanted to get rid of Helen
    2. as Terence said, National was deceptive about their monetary policies
    3. many people were confused as to just exactly what the National policies were, see 2. above.

    Governments are usually voted out and not voted in. Voting for an opposition party does not necessarily indicate support for it. it could just as easily indicate lack of support for the incumbents.

    This blog is great but could do with an edit facility of some sort.

    Hawkes Bay • Since Nov 2006 • 36 posts Report

  • Alex Coleman,

    Your first question can only really be answered by Hager but assuming for a moment that the Nats are telling the truth and that the racing industry claim is in fact false:

    (2) Hager only had the emails/documents he was given, perhaps he did not get these, or perhaps they don't exist.

    (3) I'm not sure what you mean here. The leakers gave Hager emails and other documents, these are what the book is based on.
    Are you suggesting that there was no leak and that Hager fabricated these documents? Alternately are you suggesting that Hager obtained these documents illegally? If he did so then I assume you would agree with me that he is very very naughty. The questions raised by the documents however remain a story in their own right.

    (4)You cannot get a copy untill tomorrow because Hager and the leftist media establishment slipped Don Brash some very potent drugs that they obtained from members of the former KGB. These drugs turned the Don into a zombie and whilst he was in this state, he instructed lawyers to take out an injunction against anyone that had his allegedly stolen emails. The drugs apparently wore off at around lunchtime on Friday, and the injunction was lifted. The books began to be distributed from their warehouse in Nelson, and you will be able to buy one tomorrow and foil Hager's darstardly plan to prevent you from reading his book.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 247 posts Report

  • Malcolm 141,


    Ah, the KGB! Excellent. Thanks for clearing that up. That eliminates my other two leading theories, which were the Freemasons, or Aliens.

    Of course, it is still possible that Alien Freemasons have infiltrated the KGB.

    Hmm. Maybe I'll just concentrate on the first three points.

    Since Nov 2006 • 15 posts Report

  • Graeme Edgeler,

    Brash aide Bryan Sinclair writes of the postcard to National racing spokesperson Lindsay Tisch:

    We [Parliamentary office] could produce our own flyer outlining our racing policy, seeing as HQ won't fund the postcard. As long was we don't put 'vote, donate or support' on it, and we don't use Party Vote logos, it's a valid constituency communication.

    A "valid constituency communication"? God, the 'pay it back' campaign was even more audaciously hypocritical than I thought...

    Not quite the same as Labour - who thought it was acceptable with the party logo too.

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3215 posts Report

  • simon g,


    So far the defence has been general to the point of vacuous ("a tissue of lies", "a work of fiction" etc), with a notable absence of specific denials of specific accusations (with the exception of the racing pamphlet mentioned above).

    Perhaps your questions will be answered when the various people implicated have had the chance to read the book in full, and then rally to Don Brash's defence, rebutting the specific claims and discrediting Hager's fabricated evidence. Then Brash will be rightfully restored to a prominent role in the National party, with a front bench portfolio and his honour intact - enhanced, even.

    I'm sure they wouldn't want to let an innocent man's reputation be destroyed by "a work of fiction".

    Let's see what happens, starting tomorrow ...

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1333 posts Report

  • Robert Harvey,

    To any readers who would like to read an alternate review (I won't dare characterise it as to political right-ness or left-ness!) I suggest:

    Westmere • Since Nov 2006 • 66 posts Report

  • Nick Kearney,

    Kent, I can't let this go without a 'right back at ya':

    There's a laugh.
    1. most National voters just wanted to get rid of Helen
    2. as Terence said, National was deceptive about their monetary policies
    3. many people were confused as to just exactly what the National policies were, see 2. above.

    Governments are usually voted out and not voted in. Voting for an opposition party does not necessarily indicate support for it. it could just as easily indicate lack of support for the incumbents.

    This blog is great but could do with an edit facility of some sort.

    Your'e effectively saying National's 40% was fake - that the people were wrong. If so, Labour's support is not their either and their votes were 'wrong' too. Time for an election if that's the case.

    All that Brash did was return the support to where it approximately was pre 2002. National has always has had 35% ish core support.
    I can't believe you think that voting for a party does not necessarily indicate support for it. That's exactly what it means! Sure, there would be some protest votes in there, in the same way that Richard Worth probably received Labour electorate votes in Epsom in an attempt to defeat Rodney Hide. But that would be a very, very small percentage.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 73 posts Report

  • Kent Parker,


    even if it is a small percentage, given the small percentage difference between Nat and Lab in the last election, it is significant.

    Another point about your sweeping 40% of the population support Nat monetary policy is that an election is a very blunt instrument. By ticking 'yes' in the party vote, we may be supporting National (or opposing Labour) but we are not necessarily supporting the monetary policy. We may want tax cuts but not as much, or we may not care about tax but want to get rid of the Maori seats.

    Under MMP, answerability does not stop with the election. The elected majority has to keep on shifting and changing. National has a tendency to think that we are still under FPP and to get advice from the US which is still FPP was probably not helpful for Brash. No future electorate is likely to ever give a single party more than 50% of the vote so long as the memory of Muldoon remains.

    Hawkes Bay • Since Nov 2006 • 36 posts Report

  • webweaver,

    Nick -

    40% of the people voted for National because they agreed with the policies which National campaigned under. Or because they were fed up with Labour. Or because they picked National and its policies as closest to their own beliefs, even if not exactly in line with them.

    However, the true policies of National were in fact quite different from what they said publicly. They knew these policies were too extreme to be acceptable to a majority of Kiwis, and that if they were open about the true direction in which they planned to lead the country, they wouldn't get enough votes to win.

    So they lied.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 332 posts Report

  • Gary Rawnsley,

    Not quite the same as Labour - who thought it was acceptable with the party logo too.

    Graeme - the key word in the Sinclair quote is party vote logo. I don't think even Labour thought a party vote logo was okay.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 28 posts Report

  • Zach Bagnall,

    This morning, Brash claimed on Morning Report never to have received the early 2005 emails. Presumably he means the "smoking gun" email forwarded to Richard Long. How does that work?

    Colorado • Since Nov 2006 • 121 posts Report

  • Malcolm 141,

    So in Stuff, Don Brash is saying that a speech Hager quotes was written, but never actually delivered.

    My conclusion: Hager could access files, but did not get that particular leak from anybody who was at caucus. Of course, it is also a further unravellling of these claims, once they are exposed to sunlight.

    I'm not suggesting that Brash is clean or desirable. But I'm really worried about the possible theft of emails to do a political hatchet job. Am I the only one who thinks this is a big problem?

    Since Nov 2006 • 15 posts Report

  • Terence Wood,

    One of the intriguing things, in my mind, is the way National's grab for power appears to have consciously mirrored that which worked for so long for the Republicans in the US.

    1. Find a wedge issue - in this case race. In the US - abortion, gay marriage.

    2. Run with the support of a powerful, wealthy elite who often don't actually agree on the wedge issue, but who are placated by the thought of lower taxes [visual: Homer Simpson "mmmmmm Tax Cutttsss"].

    What would have been interesting - although thank God we haven't had a chance to test this - is the extent to which policy promises relating to the wedge issue would have actually been followed up after the election. They got their tax cuts in the US; I'm sure they would have got them here too. In the US abortion still remains legal, however. It seems plausible that many of National's promises on race might not have been followed up to the extent that supporters hoped for, for the reason outlined in Jim Bolger's quote in Danyl's article above.

    Then again - in Australia - Howard has delivered his promises on the wedge issue (immigration) and some...

    The whole idea of campaigning to social conservatives while delivering to fiscal conservatives seems to follow Crosby/Textor round like a bad smell.

    One final point – while this whole fiasco makes me worry for the sake of politics in New Zealand, it actually makes me feel just a little more positive about the voting public. Here was a coalition of every ugly aspect of the right – religious cultists, tax loathing super-rich ideologues, and rednecks – throwing everything they could at the election. And being dishonest about it too. And they still lost.

    Since Nov 2006 • 148 posts Report

  • Robert Harvey,

    Theft of emails, etc. Caveat: IANAL.
    There is a widely held misconception (deriving from an inappropriate choice of metaphor) that emails are an electronic form of posted letters. This is dangerously misleading. The nearest physical equivalent is more like a postcard, whose contents can be read by anyone who happens to handle it en route.
    There is no provision built in to the email communications protocol to conceal the message contents at any time during its passage between sender and recipient. Email contents can be encrypted, but this (though freely available) is rarely used, except by IT security geeks.
    An email will pass through several computer systems en route, some of which may well be outside NZ (even for emails whose source and destination both lie within NZ). Each of these computers will have a copy of the email, readable by anyone able to access it. This includes the system administrators and owners of the computers.
    Since this is the way the email service works, any user (especially one with official advisors) can be presumed to accept that their email messages are not private, in the same way that postcards are not private.
    Under such circumstances quotation from the contents of an email appears to be no more illegal than quotation from a postcard. Unethical, maybe.
    At least, that's my analysis.
    Perhaps a lawyer might comment on the postcard exposure aspects, especially now that posties are no longer government servants but employees of a private company.

    Westmere • Since Nov 2006 • 66 posts Report

  • Paul Rowe,

    I heard National radio back Brash into the "legal action" corner this morning on Morning Report. While he is considering suing anybody, perhaps he should put a call into Jonathan Aitken & Jeffrey Archer for their advice?

    "If it falls to me to start a fight to cut out the cancer of bent and twisted journalism in our country with the simple sword of truth and the trusty shield of British fair play, so be it. I am ready for the fight."

    I only say backed into a corner because a more experience politician wouldn't let the likes of Plunkett (whom I despise) to put words into his mouth.

    Lake Roxburgh, Central Ot… • Since Nov 2006 • 574 posts Report

  • Rich of Observationz,

    Robert: In theory.

    In practice email is highly unlikely to be read unless someone *really* wants to. It's a bit less secure than a telephone call, but not much.

    Your email typically goes to an outgoing mail server at your ISP, then via ISP/backbone routers to a mail server at the recipients ISP, then to the recipents machine. If one or other party is at work, it will also go through a company mail server. Most ISP's are quite security conscious (the one's with a telco heritage more so) and it's pretty hard to get unauthorised access to network equipment. Most companies do not read their employees email on a systematic basis, though I guess a few might.

    It's illegal to intercept communications (without a warrant) in NZ (and I'd think that internet email is covered by this.

    I suspect that Brash's emails were either leaked by his corresponents (someone who got cc'd a lot being an obvious candidate) or (since I assume like most aging business people he can't actually operate a computer) photocopied from the printouts he got given each day.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report

  • Rich of Observationz,

    Ouch my possessives and plurals got so stuffed up back there!

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report

  • Robert Harvey,

    Rich: point(s) taken.
    I guess my interest is in the specific legalities as distinct from the practicalities, which are as you describe. Although note that the peering issues in Wellington have (I understand) routed some Parliamentary email via Australia.
    But does a postie 'intercept' communications if he or she reads it before delivering it? And what if they make a copy of the contents? Because every mail host server will (a) have a copy on disk made as part of the transmission process, and (b) likely make a backup copy (which in some jurisdictions (e.g. US/UK) they are required to keep for several years) which means that the postie's "copy" action (right or wrong) has happened as part of normal email practise. Granted that none of this is an issue for most people/most emails, but when court cases are threatened these points become quite sticky.
    What I mean is, any threat of legal recourse to exposed emails is by no means a clear case of illegality, in my mind, and could be extremely difficult to establish.

    Westmere • Since Nov 2006 • 66 posts Report

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