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Confused? A guide to the letters & leaks in the Nats’ Civil War

Written By: - Date published: 4:03 pm, March 31st, 2012 - 77 comments
Categories: ACC, john key, Judith Collins, kremlinology, national - Tags: , , , , , , , ,

The ever-growing list of letters, emails, and leaks in the National Party Civil War, that started off as an apparently apolitical privacy breach by ACC, is getting hard to follow. Here’s a summary of the various documents and their ramifications – so far. I’ll go by order in which they’ve come into the public domain and I’ll update this post when needed.

The ACC privacy breach
: the details of 6,700 ACC claimants ended up in the hands of an, at the time, unknown ACC claimant who leaked the list to the Dompost on March 13.

Ramifications: an investigation by the Privacy Commissioner into how ACC let this information out. It turns out that, of all people, the largest leak in ACC history went to a person who had also received the then Minister for ACC’s personal support in her ACC claim, which led to his resignation. How can that be a coincidence?

The report on the ACC privacy breach: ACC inquired into the leaking of the details of the 6,700 claimants and reported to ACC Minister Judith Collins just three days later on March 16. This report did not name the claimant but contained some important allegations – that the claimant and her support person had tried to extort two years’ worth of ACC payments in return for returning the leaked information, they said the minister and ACC could be embarrassed, and that two senior managers had attended (it would later be revealed that this was on the instigation of National-linked ACC board member John McCliskie).

Ramifications: ACC referred the alleged blackmail to Police.

The Boag-Collins email: On March 18, the Herald on Sunday published the details of an email sent by National apparatchik Michelle Boag to Collins and some related information that identified Boag as the support person of National insider Bronwyn Pullar, who was the ACC claimant who had leaked the original privacy breach. The article describes Boag as being “furious her letter had been leaked” and she later said “I sent it to the minister only … and I asked whether it was a secure email address before I sent it.”… “When you can’t send a communication to a Government minister without fearing that the privacy of that communication is going to be breached, that’s very, very dangerous.” [in fact, any such letter is subject to the OIA, allowing for privacy exemptions etc]. Collins suggested that Boag might have leaked the email, which is laughable.

Ramifications: The leaking of this email remains the primary issue in the ACC affair. It looked like the standard breach of privacy by this government to intimidate or discredit a critic or someone who had embarrassed it (cf. Paula Bennett) but with the added element of Lusk/Slater latching on and attacking Boag, primarily via their shared pseudonym – Whaleoil. The only sources of the leak could be Collins, her staff, or the top brass she sent it to – all have denied being involved. The Privacy Commissioner is now investigating how this email was leaked.

The Smith-ACC letter
: On March 20, the Government released a letter that then ACC Minister Nick Smith had sent to ACC in support of her ACC claim. This was a proactive move apparently intended to pre-empt the letter coming out under OIA and nip the issue in the bud (although, given the letter presumably was held by Collins’ office, questions need to be asked about that now). We later learned this email was accessed a number of times by Pullar’s former case manager in the days before its release.

Ramifications: John Key initially expressed confidence in Smith but calls for his resignation, first from opposition parties and then the media reached fever pitch by the next morning. Speculation over the, um, closeness of Smith and Pullar’s relationship made the situation all the worse. A second letter by Smith concerning Pullar, although far more innocent and involving only a technical conflict of interest rather than active promotion of the claims of an ‘acquaintance’, was given as a reason for him to resign without an embarrassing Prime Ministerial u-turn.

All this would have remained safely in the closet and the well-liked Smith would have kept his portfolios if not for the leak of the Boag-Collins email. This fact sparked bitterness from the Brat Pack camp towards Collins – the only logical source of the leak that anyone has suggested in my opinion and the opinion of most others – and was seen by the Joyce Camp as an opportunity to attack their rival for the post-Key leadership. Collins’ faction blamed it all on Boag. While the opposition was seeing this as a case of National Party cronyism regarding Pullar’s special treatment by Smith and ACC, inside National the battle lines were being drawn.

Pullar’s private insurance claim: On March 25, the Herald on Sunday’s David Fisher (who had revealed Pullar’s identity the week before) published details of her million dollar private insurance claim for the same injuries (there’s nothing wrong with claiming ACC on top of private insurance) based on an email from Boag – it’s unclear if this was the same email as the previous week’s story was based on but there were additional details not in that email. Again, Whaleoil was all over this story and using it to attack Boag. The logical conclusion is that Fisher’s story came from the same source as the previous week’s story. And, based on the evidence, I think that was probably the Collins Camp who were out to discredit Boag and her faction.

Ramifications: this signaled the start of the open civil war phase of this affair. What had originally been about problems with ACC that seemingly just happened to involve National Party figures was now a battle between National Party factions.

The Nat leaks: We started receiving information on the internal machinations behind all this in the following days as, apparently, did Labour. It was clear to us that the reason for Collins’ faction attacking Boag and the anti-Collins leaks we have been getting are that this is about who will lead National once Key is gone – probably before the next election. Collins was the front-runner before this last week but Boag’s faction would have been a challenge for her.

On March 28, National operator Simon Lusk was identified by Labour in the House as the conduit for the Boag-Collins email from Collins to Fisher. Collins denies giving the information to Lusk.

Ramifications: The response from the Collins faction was telling. Lusk/Slater’s Whaleoil pseudonym went silent for a few hours (this is from a blog that as of 4pm has had 17 posts in the past 9 hours – on a Saturday!) and then came out with an onslaught of every bit of dirt they’ve every thrown at Mallard plus more dirt directed at Boag and some at The Standard.

Collins herself threatened to sue Mallard and Little unless they retracted their comments. They ignored her and no suits have been filed as of yet. If it happens, it will be the first known case of a minister using taxpayer money to sue someone for defamation. This was seen by all and sundry as a purely political move with no chance of success in the Courts. She only made this move after Lusk was named.

The Privacy Commissioner’s investigation widened to include the Boag-Collins email following these events and Collins has hid behind public interest as a reason not to answer questions in the House subsequently.

There are growing calls for Collins to resign as her failure to adequately explain the leaking of the Boag-Collins email leaves people suspecting her involvement. Key has expressed confidence in her.

The National Party Civil War shows no signs of abating with the Collins faction keeping up their dirt throwing at Pullar and Boag today and Boag yesterday saying only someone who was “unhinged” would be making the leaks that are widely thought to have come from the Collins faction via Lusk/Slater (the “unhinged” reference appears to refer to Slater’s well-known mental health issues). The inside tips are still flowing too to us, media, and political parties.

If Key is trying to broker peace, the factions don’t seem to be listening, further underlining his lameduck status.

The Sovereign Insurance – Boag letter: On March 29, Close Up revealed a letter from Sovereign Insurance to Boag referencing earlier communications with Pullar and Boag over Pullar’s $14 million(!) insurance claim, and mentioning Pullar’s 28-strong ‘support team’ of prominent National Party figures including Jenny Shipley and Key (who had that day finally returned to the country after spending a week trying to accidentally bump into Obama in Korea). Key denied ever being part of such a support team and Pullar said the 28 names were “a list of known people who were aware of my dispute with the insurer, and who the insurer may encounter in the course of their business”. Boag says that the list was supplied just so Sovereign would be aware of who knew about Pullar’s claim but Sovereign didn’t see it that way, there was clearly an inference that powerful people were on Pullar’s side in her claim and there would be consequences for Sovereign.

Ramifications: Pullar, Key, and Boag have all moved to protect Brand Key but the stink of cronyism and corruption over this whole affair got stronger. The source of this leak is unknown. Would it be in the Collins faction’s interests to drag Key in? I wouldn’t have thought so. Is that list a show of strength by Boag?

Unanswered questions -

  • How did Bronwyn Pullar, of all people, end up with the largest ACC privacy breach of all time?
  • What other links to Pullar did Nick Smith have that needed to be brushed over with his quick resignation?
  • Who leaked the Boag-Collins email?
  • Can Collins remain in office if, as seems most likely, see she linked to the leak?
  • Which members of other factions are supplying info to try to hurt Collins?
  • Who leaked the Sovereign-Boag letter?
  • If Key is now a lameduck waiting to be rolled before the next election, which looks more unwinnable by the day, how long will he bother hanging around?

77 comments on “Confused? A guide to the letters & leaks in the Nats’ Civil War”

  1. Pascal's bookie 1

    When Cabinet meets this week they should be getting the advice from the government’s legal beagles about the strength of Collin’s defamation suit. On recieving that advice they’ll decide whether or not, or to what extent, the crown will pay the legal bills.

    It’s interesting that the press release announcing that she is taking action, (rather than considering action), was a ‘NZ Government’ press release.

    http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PA1203/S00383/acc-minister-initiates-defamation-proceedings.htm

    That doesn’t necessarily mean that the Govt would be paying for the action, but it does imply it. It would be odd for the government to announce that a Minister was taking action, as a Minister, but have then have the person who happens to be the minister foot the bill.

    Whether or not they jumped the gun by announcing that action ‘will’ be taken rather than that it is being considered, I’m not sure that they have followed the spirit of the Cabinet Manual.

    It’ll be interesting to see what they decide.

    They could back down and not press a suit, which would be awkward, or they could pay for the suit, which would look like they pre-empted the process outlined in the CM, or they could make Collins pay for the suit herself, which would possibly be the most elegant, if somewhat odd, solution.

    It would be good to see what the advice is from the legal beagles in any case, natch.

  2. toad 2

    There is a parallel story to this Eddie, which no-one apart from Kevin Hague appears to be telling.

    That is the story of how ACC claimants are being treated (or mistreated) by ACC. I am not convinced Pullar’s motivations are necessarily honourable and may well have much to do with personal gain, rather than a genuine attempt to address how the system fails ACC claimants.

    But as someone who has for many years assisted ACC claimants, including taking cases to review and appeal, I can verify that many of the concerns Pullar expresses in her list (published in the post from Kevin Hague I have linked to above) are genuine concerns about ACC practices and culture that require investigation. A good number of them were raised in a report from an inquiry completed by Judge Peter Trapski as far back as 1994. But nothing has ever been done to address them, and the issues, as far as ACC claimants are concerned, fester on.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for hounding out the Nat corruption and cronyism going on here, and for what appear to be appalling information privacy practices by ACC. But just as important is ensuring other serious issues about the way claimants are treated by ACC are addressed.

    [agreed. but that post took like two hours to write and is 1600 words long. Couldn't cover everything. Good that the Greens are on this stuff though. Eddie]

    • Pascal's bookie 2.1

      +1 internet points.

    • toad 2.2

      Hey, cheers, Eddie.

      Wasn’t being critical of you. Just there is so much involved in this that I had to add in my 2 cents worth about what is largely being ignored, which is the way ACC shits on those who have legitimate entitlements in the interests of cutting costs.

      BTW, I am not a fan of gambling, but still curious re whether iPredict will run a contract on how many Ministers and/or senior public servants will lose their jobs over this. One down, and I am sure there are more to come.

  3. Phew,make a great movie.
    The latest from key at the golf classic says that he hasn’t seen pullar and boag at the
    course, (they are both there) at all and yet pullar released a statement yesterday stating
    that key had only discussed her claims because she mentioned it to him.
    Key, according to the dom post has ‘swept’ his office to see if he had any commuications
    with pullar and there was none found, what would happen to the communications if found
    anyway? and why would he ‘sweep his office’ anyway?his statement to media was
    ‘i can sleep at night’, under the circumstances of the last week,perhaps not.
    It was good to read the guide and be able to read the events in one article because
    there are so many different branches of this,it makes your head spin.

  4. felix 4

    Andrew Little made a good point the other day when he said (something like): 6,700 people’s details – what do you have to ask for to get that by mistake?

    • Anita 4.1

      I thought I saw, back in the dim mists of time, something saying that the problem with what she was sent was that it wasn’t redacted or data masked. That kinda made sense to me, I can think of lots of questions which would get a response of a data set of that size (or greater), but it should be redacted or masked to maintain privacy.

      I imagine if I was in dispute with ACC I’d be asking for data to look for patterns or inconsistencies.

      • Lanthanide 4.1.1

        The lack of redaction is the very basic thing to get wrong. ACC should never have been sending client data using excel spreadsheets attached to emails in the first place – there are multiple problems there and multiple steps they could have taken to improve that system, even if that was the method they chose (which it shouldn’t have been).

        To add insult to injury, once having chosen that very poor system, they didn’t have any requirement to redact out unimportant information. These excel sheets were being shared for statistical purposes, and yet they retained people’s real names. This is simply inexcusable and shows that ACC really haven’t taken this as seriously as they should have.

        It’s like the straw that broke the camel’s back, really: leaked anonymised data would be bad enough, but leaked data that includes names is terrible.

        • Anita 4.1.1.1

          I am suddenly curious about whether any government agencies routinely data mask when they extract from their core systems. If masking was done as part of the standard process for extracting data there wouldn’t be real names floating around in spreadsheets to begin with.

          • Lanthanide 4.1.1.1.1

            The best-practice database systems do not allow you to extract data unless it is anonymous.

            • Lanthanide 4.1.1.1.1.1

              I should clarify a little further here: the best-practice database systems used for statistical purposes often do not even store things such as names (since they aren’t important for statistical purposes) and also have very clever controls in place to prevent you from being able to retrieve specific information that would allow you to deduce details about any individual.

              Eg if you ask for the details of someone who is aged between 45 and 46 and only 1 such person exists in the database, it will refuse to give you the information, or alternatively can be configured so as to ‘fudge’ the data so that it’s not necessarily correct. On aggregate the ‘fudging’ averages out and doesn’t affect the statistical use of the database, but means any individual data item cannot be trusted.

            • Lanthanide 4.1.1.1.1.2

              I should clarify a little further here: the best-practice database systems used for statistical purposes often do not even store things such as names (since they aren’t important for statistical purposes) and also have very clever controls in place to prevent you from being able to retrieve specific information that would allow you to deduce details about any individual.

              Eg if you ask for the details of someone who is aged between 45 and 46 and only 1 such person exists in the database, it will refuse to give you the information, or alternatively can be configured so as to ‘fudge’ the data so that it’s not necessarily correct. On aggregate the ‘fudging’ averages out and doesn’t affect the statistical use of the database, but means any individual data item cannot be trusted.

              • eljaydee

                From reading the information I have on this fiasco, I think it is quite clear that the data was extracted by someone with access to the database but outside of normal reporting protocols. They ran a query on the raw data and sent this direct to Pullar in an Excel spreadsheet. I do not believe this can be as a response to an enquiry through proper channels. To me, it looks more like information, solicited or otherwise, sent to Pullar so that she would have something with which to threaten the ACC.

                • McFlock

                  I tend to disagree, having myself been on the receiving end of somewhat more information than requested. If it’s a random request from someone who doesn’t raise any flags and the analyst is in a rush, crunching the data extract and pressing “save as .xls” is pretty easy. If the request was to do with filters 50 variables to the right of the client_name variable, it might never have been in the window. And then there are always the “sent to wrong recipient” or “reply all rather than reply” possibilities.
                  All enabled because of crap systems design.
                     
                  My dim view of humanity as it is, I tend to put incompetence before duplicity when guessing at motives :)
                     
                   

                • Lanthanide

                  The same email was apparently sent to at least 40 other mid-level managers at the same time, so your theory is pretty much ruled out already.

                  I think it was just a typo and auto-complete put in Pullar’s name instead of whoever else it should have been.

    • Pete 4.2

      Depending on the document management system the ACC uses it could be an entirely innocent mistake – a misclick on a particular document in one of a number search results generated by the DMS… a moment’s inattention and off it goes.

      I forget the DMS my department used when I was in the public service, but each document carried a history of when a file was opened, edited and emailed. So investigations can quite easily track down the responsible person.

      • Anita 4.2.1

        I think Lanthanide and my point is that perhaps an unredacted/masked list of ACC clients shouldn’t be in their DMS to begin with. There are many reasons to redact at the point of extraction from the core system.

        While it may be a simple mistake to send the wrong document, it’s questionable whether the document should have existed to begin with.

      • mickysavage 4.2.2

        I believe the fuck up theory applies to the initial release of the ACC data.

        All the rest is definitely part of the conspiracy or to be more accurate fuck over theory. 

    • There seems to be a common misunderstanding about ‘details’.
      The only details that related to privacy were the names of the claimants.
      No details about type of claim, or any of the personal information involved in that claim.
      An ordinary ACC claimant wouldn’t know if they were ‘sensitive’ or not.
      So it was far from the ‘largest’ privacy breach of all time, living memory, blah blah. Paula Benefits disclosures of beneficiaries private information out of sheer pique was much worse and she should have been sacked. 
      It seems a very weak breach to use for the purpose of blackemail which is probably why ACC called Pullar’s bluff. If I was her case manager I would tell her that any further consideration of her claim would have to wait until she returned the information and destroyed all copies.
      Pullar seems to think that her power play with her NACT cronies would work like her private claim and screw another million out for her.
      ACC’s performance should be judged in terms of its historic underfunding, political manipulation and what could be called pre-existing degeneration.

  5. Lanthanide 5

    These items should be numbered, for quick reference. There’s also a number of typoes and spelling mistakes:

    “it will be the first known case of a minister using taxpayer money to use someone for defamation.”

    Answer to this question:
    “How can that be a coincidence?”

    The same way any other coincidence happens – through chance.

  6. Eddie 6

    Another Lusk piece on Whaleoil going off at the Boag faction. Hilarious and informative.

    I mean, if you’re going to pretend to be Whaleoil, don’t refer to him in the third person, Simon.

    Might have to look up the names Peter Keily and Alastair Bell….

    • toad 6.1

      Peter Keily is the Nats’ chief in-house legal beagle. If he is involved, I guess it means they are getting desperate and looking to throw more legal action around to try to close the story down.

      • mickysavage 6.1.1

        I would offer this one piece of advice for poor old Cameron and I hope he ignores it.

        The last person you defame is a lawyer, especially the senior partner of a downtown law firm that has done National’s work for decades and who has a reputation for not tolerating fools.

        Please ignore this advice Cameron.

        BTW how is Simon? 

        • felix 6.1.1.1

          Indeed, it’d be awful if Cameron was hauled into court to answer for something he couldn’t even admit he didn’t write.

        • toad 6.1.1.2

          And from what I know of Keily (admittedly from some years back), he will back Boag all the way politically.

          Watch out Whale!

    • ghostwhowalksnz 6.2

      Alastair Bell is from the landed gentry in Mid Canterbury- Ashburton. Been based in Auckland for a long time and been involved with behind the scenes National party regional politics. Previously Auckland Regional Chairman. Did work in the PMs office when Ashburton MP Shipley was running the place. Unusually, has access to private helicopter from the family trust and uses for political favours. Has BCom and worked at senior positions in financial management and human resources in private industry and now has own consulting practice. Possible contender as National Party President, which will be a display of strength for his Centre faction.

  7. jimmymac2x 7

    Is teflon John,going to get a hole in one after his weekend of relaxation.Cronies for lunch,and this is the menu,we are solid to not to forget your friends.

    • ghostwhowalksnz 7.1

      The shot I saw was well and truly in the rough.

      Its a bit of an identifier which faction of National you are in.

      Golf course – Boag, traditional conservative fixers

      Mai Mai or ranges- The Slater ‘shotgun’ faction

  8. RichWhite&Fey 8

    Harrumph !

    Where does an honest conservative grass-root new venture creator go to these days ?

    • Robert M 8.1

      Anywhere but here. The decline in the money and sophistication in Auckland over the last decade has been amazing. Auckland is now no more than a small time extremely conserative Pacific nearly third world provincial city in which any excitement or non left wing dissent is rapidly erased by over zealous police, hard left attack dog old cow feminists-|Bradford, Coney , Malcolm and possibly Coddington.
      The Smith Affair shows ACC is outdated and uanffordable

      • Kotahi Tane Huna 8.1.1

        Nah, the Smith affair shows that right-wing opinions and born-to-rule arrogance lead to abject failure and humiliation.

        • Robert M 8.1.1.1

          Nick Smith and English are essentially alpha students from deep in the provinces and are conservative in patronising and paternalistic way. Worse they are cynics and too frightened to attempt any substantial change or reform to anything. Their politics are essentially managing NZ’s decline so we all get poorer with generally poorer slower services , pretty much together.
          Beyond their sickening determination to enforce moral and sexual conservatism the claim of Nick Smith to be an enviromentalist is a laugh. The reckless sacking of CRC was nothing more than an attempt to quicky get irrigation, overuse of river water and land resources and the granting of consents for dairy conversions to dubious applicants to buy cheap votes and jobs.
          Smith had the gall to state that farmers were better judge of what was sustainable in water and land use than conservators, the CRC and environmentalists. I have to admit that for once I agreed with Deborah Coddington.
          Given the Government is going nowhere a political coup to return Nick and Smith to exile in Tapawere and Dipton would be an excellent idea.

  9. Anne 9

    Wow! thanks for that Eddie.

    I have made a hard copy so that next time my head hurts trying to figure out which damm email/letter is in the news/being dissected, I can refer to “The List”.

    I swear on the bible there is only one hard copy, and I will ensure it remains in my hands and mine alone. (joke… for PG’s benefit)

  10. randal 10

    so what is the key link in the pullar chain?
    boageys at 12 o’clock.
    so is it pullargate or is it pull my leg.

  11. Anne 11

    Seriously, this post is fascinating and accurate. Perhaps someone could go through it and correct the typos (more than understandable given the length and depth of analysis) so that we can run off good copies to spread far and wide.

    Best be done quickly before…

  12. tsmithfield 12

    Deleted

  13. Ad 13

    People, surely we have done enough on this (other than as entertainment).

    The Police report on this could take 6 months, as could the Privacy Commission report, and Audit as well. Key will never agree to any other report. He will manage it like he did the Teapot Tape story release. When those reports are released he will probably get both himself AND Collins out of the country for that one.

    Over Easter this ACC story will die down – I’m betting. When the reports finally come out, Collins will stay, and the ACC Board will be cleaned out instead.

    I think we need to start preparing for the Budget stories, and the new Crafar Farm decision story. The spokesperson for Penxin is Cedric Allen -who is in partnership with Michelle Boag.

    Also, as Mickey Savage suggests in another post, preparing for the power-game driving the Ports, which is the Governance contest. As a result of this there needs to be a comprehensive clean out of all the Act/National appointees. Mickey they need you on that Board, for a start.

    This site could do worse than start debating names of good people who can do a better job than the current lot of Board members, for every one of those CCOs. And then forwarding those names to the Mayor.

    Every day the Mayor doesn’t clean those Boards out, is another day he plays with the deck stacked by the Government, against him.

    And then we actually need to start on budget stories. The Greens were great today calling out uselessness of some of the Roads of National Significance. More please, Greens.

    • Hami Shearlie 13.1

      Isn’t it strange that Rob Campbell is on the ACC board and was also on the POAL board? Both places with deep trouble at the moment. I even heard someone on radio say that Campbell is on 36 different boards! Wonder if it’s true? How on earth could anyone keep up-to-date with the ins and outs of 36 different entities. No wonder the finance companies went down, not enough attention paid to the day-to-day internal business! Wonder how many boards Doug Graham was on? I know Jenny Shipley’s on quite a few! It’s a nice little earner, until you stop doing your job properly, get lazy and just turn up for the huge fees. Like the fee Shipley would get for the rebuild of Christchurch. How on earth could she know anything useful about that?

      • ghostwhowalksnz 13.1.1

        Its easy , when you are a ‘professional’ director. ie Its your only job. Each board is only 1 day per month with jan off.

        • Anita 13.1.1.1

          Which is how one ends up with 300 hours community service and a $100k fine :)

          • Colonial Viper 13.1.1.1.1

            Some perspective is needed here. A $100K fine is the fee from serving on two mid sized boards.

            • Anita 13.1.1.1.1.1

              I was commenting on the effect of seeing being a board director as a cushy content-free job which can be done without paying attention or putting them time in.

    • calltoaccount 13.2

      Good points Ad, but there is JC’s libel threat to go though. Will she backdown? What else does Mallard know? Stay tuned! :-)

    • KATY 13.3

      Ad

      People, surely we have done enough on this (other than as entertainment).

      Good one, I thought you where serious, until I remembered its April fools day.

  14. RichWhite&Fey 14

    Damn it, I’m still confused ..

    • locus 15.1

      only 10% chance of jc litigation against the Standard? c’mon time to up the game. i ‘predict’ 90% likely that jc ‘left’ a paper copy for ‘someone’ to pick up….

  15. newsense 16

    so when does the media start complaining that the National Party is hostage to factions and special interests?

  16. “If Key is now a lameduck waiting to be rolled before the next election, which looks more unwinnable by the day, how long will he bother hanging around?”

    Perhaps longer than Labour wants despite their best efforts – again – to nobble Key’s leadership.

    Talking up internal war and leadership manouvering seems little more than trying to talk up some wishful thinking. There’s been no credible indication that leadership is an issue.

    Key on Q&A this morning reiterated that it’s his expectation that he will contest the next election. This is consisent with past indications, in contrast to fanciful opposition stirring which has come up with absolutely nothing to back up their claims apart from savagemicky saying “just wait and see”.

    • Colonial Viper 17.1

      Perhaps longer than Labour wants despite their best efforts – again – to nobble Key’s leadership.

      Haven’t you been following Pete? National Ministers are all busy jockeying for early positions in a post Key political world. Starting from Simon Power, to all the nonsense going on now.

      • Pete George 17.1.1

        I try to avoid following bulls full of nothing but hot air.

        Odd that so much effort is being put into trying to talk down an opposing leader. The absence of talking up their own leader is what stands out.

        • felix 17.1.1.1

          Keep up Pete, most of the hobbling talk is coming from within the Nats’ own ranks.

          Others are just reporting on it, as you’re doing now.

        • Colonial Viper 17.1.1.2

          I try to avoid following bulls full of nothing but hot air.

          You follow Peter Dunne, though.

        • Pete George 17.1.1.3

          Four personal nitty pickers, and no argument with:

          The absence of talking up their own leader is what stands out.

          • felix 17.1.1.3.1

            Who’s my leader, Pete, and why do they need talking up?

          • Pascal's bookie 17.1.1.3.2

            Hey pete.
            Tell ya what.

            You go back through Archives here as long as you like, until you find a comment from you being all positive and talking up your ‘leader’.

            Then I’ll go forward from that comment and see how many snide, repititive, pointless little snipey passive agressive comments you’ve made about Labour, the Greens, and the Standard. I’ll stop when I get to 20, and see how long it took you.

            And the crucial point is, yourpostive comment talking up United future or Dunne has to be unsolicited, ie not in response to someone asking you to say something about United Future or Dunne.

            Or, you could explain how your post today about positivity and the like, isn’t actually yet another tedious example of your insessant negativity and partisan sniping.

            You will lose all internet points fs you respond to this comment with some variation on the theme thatyou are not partisan because, gosh, you say things ot KB or WO sometimes.

            Partially because that’s boring and irellevant, but mostly because you spendso much time on those blogs complaining about what goes on here.

            • Pete George 17.1.1.3.2.1

              Hey PB, tell ya what.

              a) I’m not an MP., I’m a private citizen. Since the election I comment here on a personal basis, promoting my own interests.

              b) Peter Dunne doesn’t need any talking up, he seems to do doing his job fine with little to criticise him about.

              c) Talking Dunne up here is a bit pointless, no one seems interesting in discusing anything UF, it usually just initiates ignorant personal abuse.

    • McFlock 17.2

      Do Q&A make a habit of asking pms whether they think they’ll be able to last another 2 years in the job?
             
      I would suggest that the fact he felt the need to reiterate it significantly lowers the probability of that occurring.
         
      I think he still has better than 50:50 odds at this stage, but then we don’t know how many ministers he’s going to throw under the bus in the meantime, and whether the survivors will get a bit twitchy.

      • ianmac 17.2.1

        The fact that Mr Key has to defend his position as PM suggests that the vultures are circling. Once there is doubt in the mind then anything is possible, whereas 12 months ago it would have been unthinkable.

  17. Fortran 18

    Am still waiting to hear who in ACC mailed the list to Puller – and WHY ?

  18. Hillary 19

    There was a link somewhere about a week ago where she said ACC had replied to an email inquiry from her by forwarding a response instead of replying. She said something like she believed her email was forwarded to someone else for advice about how to respond to Pullar, and when the response came back it had an attachment which got forwarded by mistake to Pullar. So it sounds like she was supposed to get the email just not the attachment.

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  • A dictionary of education terms and definitions, brought to you by the let...
    Free to all TDB readers, please enjoy your very own cut-out-and-keep handy primer of terms that I predict you will need to know over the next three years… Achievement Gap (noun) Synonym for wealth gap. ACT (abstract noun) Intangible. Reported to exist in...
    The Daily Blog | 26-09
  • A Mines Rescue brigadesman’s perspective on the Pike River Mine
    My husband and I lived in Greymouth in 2010, we were a coal mining family.  The day Pike River Mine blew up and the days following changed us profoundly, as it did for so many.  This is a Mines Rescue...
    The Daily Blog | 26-09
  • The Left Triumphant! A Counterfactual History of the Last Twelve Months.
    DID IT REALLY HAVE TO END LIKE THIS? Reading through the commentary threads of the left-wing blogs it is impossible to not feel the anger; the sense of betrayal; the impression of having had something vital ripped from their grasp;...
    The Daily Blog | 26-09
  • GUEST BLOG – Myles Thomas: The media won it!
    Make no mistake, John Key is a clever communicator – reasonable, authoritative and relaxed – but without the media he wouldn’t be PM. Depending on your viewpoint, New Zealand’s news media are either a bunch of Grey Lynn lefties or...
    The Daily Blog | 25-09
  • Not Learning Lessons Past: the West’s Response to IS
    In an earlier posting Ukraine, United Kingdom, Ireland, Scotland, I noted that the first lesson of conflict learned by Robert McNamara was “understand your adversary”. If we have honourable objectives, our first and most important weapon is empathy. In the Vietnam War,...
    The Daily Blog | 25-09
  • GUEST BLOG: Dr Jarrod Gilbert – Proof of David Farrar’s deception: my ...
    In the lead up to the election the Minister of Corrections Anne Tolley launched a gang policy. In order to justify the government’s approach she used gang figures that overstated the gang problem. Not by a little bit, but a...
    The Daily Blog | 25-09
  • SPECIAL FEATURE: Stuart Nash – Red To The Rescue?
    SPECIAL FEATURE by Selwyn Manning. IF THE ELECTION RESULT which was dished out to Labour was not enough to incite an immediate leadership primary, then the caucus’ refusal to recognise David Cunliffe as the leader should cement it. Now is...
    The Daily Blog | 25-09
  • Has the one party state crackdown begun already? Left wing NZ activist grou...
    Well known left wing activist social media group, ‘John Key Has Left Down NZ’ has been shut down on Facebook. At 11.40pm last night, Facebook, without any warning shut the group down siting a breach of terms of service as...
    The Daily Blog | 24-09
  • Why Cunliffe should probably just let Nash & Robertson win
    We have to face some very unpalatable home truths. If you are a left wing political person, best you put your vote now to the Green Party, although you’ll have to do that all the while the Greens frantically tell you...
    The Daily Blog | 24-09
  • The graceless win of Kelvin Davis
    The graceless win of Cameron Slater’s mate in the North, Kelvin Davis is difficult to swallow. Here Cameron Slater’s mate in the North is shitting on Hone Harawira by calling Hone all steam, no hangi as Kelvin rubs his ganged up win into...
    The Daily Blog | 24-09
  • So Labour shifted too far to the left?
    So Labour shifted too far to the left?   Here’s the ill-judged view of Josie Pagani in the Pundit “Labour must change”: “At the last election I made myself a heretic when I wrote a column mentioning how unpopular the...
    The Daily Blog | 24-09
  • Uncomplicated Loyalties: Why Cunliffe and the Labour Left Cannot Win
    THE STORY of David Cunliffe’s leadership of the Labour Party has been one of missed opportunities and unforced errors. That he was the only choice available to those who wanted to rid the Labour Party of its neoliberal cuckoos is...
    The Daily Blog | 24-09
  • So we can expect this now?
    So we can expect this now?...
    The Daily Blog | 23-09
  • Can Labour be saved? Why Whaleoil & National won and why we need a new ...
    As the shock of my optimism that NZers would recoil from the real John Key as exposed by Dirty Politics and mass surveillance duplicities wears off, I am surprised to find that the right in NZ are not content with...
    The Daily Blog | 23-09
  • Three more years (up shit creek and paddling hard)
    “If the future is not green, there is no future. If the future is not you, there is no future”. Emma Thompson’s stirring words to the climate marchers in London last Sunday are worth considering in the aftermath of the...
    The Daily Blog | 23-09
  • One Party State
    In years to come this election will be seen as a historic turning point towards one party rule. I don`t mean this literally, absolute single party dictatorship is not in prospect. In the New Zealand context though, one party has...
    The Daily Blog | 23-09
  • No More. The Left Falls.
    . We cannot be beaten down Because we are down already. We can only rise up and if you should beat us down, We will rise again. And again. And again… And when you tire of beating us down, We...
    The Daily Blog | 23-09
  • Hang tight everyone – Marama Davidson campaign reflection
    To the many people who had expressed their overwhelming support for me to enter Parliament this election – thank you. That the Greens held steady in a big loss for progressive politics is an achievement. We are hopeful that after...
    The Daily Blog | 22-09
  • How You Can Help the Homeless
    At any one time, there are an estimated 357 homeless people in Central Auckland alone, many enduring hardships beyond the rain, wind and cold of sleeping rough. October 10 is World Homeless Day when the public are invited to learn...
    Scoop politics | 02-10
  • Over 20% of Gold Production Now Pledged to Kiwifruit Claim
    Kiwifruit growers representing over 20% of New Zealand gold kiwifruit production have already pledged to join The Kiwifruit Claim, the chairman of the claim’s grower committee, John Cameron, said today....
    Scoop politics | 02-10
  • ‘Creepy’ Decision on Up-Skirt Filming Slammed
    Family First NZ says that a discharge without conviction given to a man who filmed up a woman's dress in a Wellington department store is a ‘creepy’ decision that should concern all people who value their privacy. “This decision by...
    Scoop politics | 02-10
  • Speaker leads delegation to CPA Conference
    Strengthening New Zealand’s ties with parliaments from across the world will be the focus of the upcoming delegation to the 60th Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) Conference in Yaoundé, Cameroon from 4-10 October and the 131st Inter-Parliamentary...
    Scoop politics | 02-10
  • Response to Russell Brown and Tertiary Education Union
    The allegation that I have worked with others to discredit public health efforts is wrong. My public comments in relation to public health researchers have been where academics have mislead the public about official support or endorsement, and where...
    Scoop politics | 02-10
  • 17 jobs lost as Bridon/Cookes reaches the end of its rope
    Seventeen workers at the iconic Bridon/Cookes wire rope company in Auckland are to be made redundant as the company ceases production in New Zealand. The company has blamed the high New Zealand dollar for making it uncompetitive to keep the...
    Scoop politics | 02-10
  • Slip in University Rankings – Funding Not the Problem
    Responding to the slippage of New Zealand universities' rankings , Jordan Williams, Executive Director of the Taxpayers’ Union says:...
    Scoop politics | 02-10
  • Time to rethink police chases, says safety campaigner
    Police chases are dangerous and generally unnecessary, says the American Federal Bureau of Investigation....
    Scoop politics | 02-10
  • Robertson now expected to be Labour leader by Xmas
    Grant Robertson is now overwhelmingly picked to become the next leader of the Labour Party by the end of the year, according to the combined wisdom of the 8000+ registered traders on New Zealand’s predictions market, iPredict. Another potential Labour...
    Scoop politics | 01-10
  • Documenting historic Māori land law cases for the first time
    A new book from Victoria University of Wellington’s Faculty of Law will continue to put the spotlight on Māori Land Law judgments which have never before been published....
    Scoop politics | 01-10
  • ‘Oily’ people greet Petroleum Summit diners
    Greenpeace activists smeared in fake oil have greeted guests arriving at the part-Statoil sponsored Petroleum Summit dinner this evening....
    Scoop politics | 01-10
  • Key Decisions Made About Labour’s Leadership Election
    Labour’s New Zealand Council has made the key decisions about the timetable and process around the election of Labour’s Party Leader. The result will be announced on Tuesday 18th November, following a comprehensive and extensive process unique...
    Scoop politics | 01-10
  • Suspected $6 Million Dollar Wananga Fraud Alarming
    The Taxpayers’ Union is calling on on the Te Whare Wananga o Awanuiarangi to front up over claims the Wananga has pocketed government overpayments amounting to $6 million of taxpayers' money. Jordan Williams, Executive Director of the Taxpayers’ Union...
    Scoop politics | 01-10
  • Submissions sought on herbicide for weed control in maize
    The Environmental Protection Authority is calling for submissions on a herbicide to improve broadleaf weed control in maize. The substance CADET contains 100g fluthiacet-methyl in the form of an emulsifiable concentrate and would contain a new active ingredient...
    Scoop politics | 01-10
  • Jesse Mulligan Lives Below Poverty Line
    Jesse Mulligan Lives Below Poverty Line TV personality Jesse Mulligan will live on the equivalent of the extreme poverty line this October in order to raise awareness of sex trafficking. Mulligan will survive on $2.25 for his food from October...
    Scoop politics | 01-10
  • Narratives from the 2014 Election: What do we learn?
    Narratives from the 2014 Election: What do we learn? - Sue Bradford, Russell Brown & Kirk Serpes discuss....
    Scoop politics | 01-10
  • Voices from Oceania to speak out on climate change
    Voices from Oceania to speak out on climate change at launch of Pacific environment report...
    Scoop politics | 01-10
  • Changes to Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre messages
    The Ministry of Civil Defence & Emergency Management advises that while changes to Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre messages come into effect from today (Wednesday 1 October), the Ministry has been, and remains, the authoritative voice for tsunami...
    Scoop politics | 01-10
  • Police remove banner at Statoil Offices in Wellington
    Oil Free Wellington hung a banner at 9:30 this morning at the Statoil office headquarters in Wellington as the Petroleum Summit opened in Auckland. The banner, which read 'Statoil out of Northland: Stop Deep Sea Oil', has now been removed...
    Scoop politics | 01-10
  • Mixed massages raise concerns
    Mixed massages raise concerns for Te Taumata Kaumatua Ngapuhi nui tonu, and Te Wakaminenga O nga Hapu Ngapuhi....
    Scoop politics | 01-10
  • Union Slams Port Boss’s Pay Rise
    The Rail and Maritime Transport Union (RMTU) says Lyttelton Port CEO Peter Davie’s 18% wage rise, taking his pay packet to $1.24m, is unjustified and inflammatory. ‘Lyttelton port has an appalling health and safety record, with three deaths on...
    Scoop politics | 30-09
  • Prisons expert Ron Nikkel to speak in Auckland October 15
    Prison Fellowship NZ and JustSpeak have the privilege of hosting the former president of Prison Fellowship International, Ron Nikkel....
    Scoop politics | 30-09
  • Hundreds of educators protest IES in Rotorua
    Four hundred educators from around the country took their opposition to the Government's controversial Investing in Educational Success policy to the public today....
    Scoop politics | 30-09
  • Crime drops by 3.2 % in the 2013 / 2014 financial year
    Criminal offences dropped by 3.2 % in the last financial year according to figures released today through Statistics New Zealand....
    Scoop politics | 30-09
  • Narratives from the 2014 Election: what do we learn?
    I would like to invite you to a Fabians Reflection on "Dirty Politics, Dotcom and Labour’s worst result" with Colin James, Keith Ng, Stephanie Rodgers and Richard Harman. They will provide a debrief of analysis and lessons from the 2014...
    Scoop politics | 30-09
  • Oil Free Wellington drops banner from Statoil headquarters
    Today members of Oil Free Wellington have targeted the offices of Statoil, by attaching a banner reading 'Statoil out of Northland: Stop Deep Sea Oil' to the entrance of Vodafone on the Quay Midland Park, where Statoil's New Zealand office...
    Scoop politics | 30-09
  • Media Statement from Karen Price
    “After a period of intense media attention and scrutiny of our family, I set up and used an anonymous Twitter account over the weekend and made a number of comments that I deeply regret....
    Scoop politics | 30-09
  • Greenpeace disrupts Simon Bridges’ speech to oil industry
    Greenpeace activists have disrupted the opening speech by Energy and Resources Minister Simon Bridges at the Petroleum Summit in Auckland this morning....
    Scoop politics | 30-09
  • New Zealand Red Cross Responds to Drought in Tonga
    New Zealand Red Cross has sent an aid worker and two desalination units, to turn seawater into safe drinking water in the drought-hit Ha’apai islands of Tonga....
    Scoop politics | 30-09
  • Can you ever tell if an email is real or forged?
    Computer industry veteran Brian Eardley-Wilmot warns that we should never take claims about stolen emails at face value....
    Scoop politics | 30-09
  • NZ MPs to attend the ASPG Annual Conference in Sydney
    New Zealand MPs to attend the Australasian Study of Parliament Group Annual Conference in Sydney...
    Scoop politics | 30-09
  • Independent Maori seats still needed in Parliament
    “He’s got to be joking!” is the reaction of the president of the Maori Party, Rangimarie Naida Glavish to a call by a former Labour Minister of Maori Affairs, Dover Samuels, for debate by Maori on whether the Maori electorates...
    Scoop politics | 30-09
  • Support for Democratic Rights in Hong Kong
    Rallies supporting the rights for universal suffrage will take place all over New Zealand today and tomorrow...
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • Trout Mass-Poisoned in New Zealand
    Trout Mass-Poisoned in New Zealand The Graf Boys New Zealand has some of the best trout fishing in the world! Every year thousands of international visitors wade pristine rivers in search of the freshwater game fish....
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • New Zealand’s 2014 Hottest Vegetarians Crowned
    With winter gone things are heating up, and things just got even hotter with the crowning of New Zealand’s hottest vegetarians, says animal advocacy group SAFE. Marking World Vegetarian Day, 1st October, director James Napier Robertson and actor...
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • A day to remember our duty to look after our senior citizens
    Human Rights Commissioner Dr Jackie Blue says International Day of the Older Person (1 October) is a United Nations day to celebrate our senior citizens, but also acknowledge the need to protect our kaumatua, or older people from abuse and...
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • Clear data needed on impact of benefit sanctions on children
    A lack of data on benefit sanctions means there is no way of knowing whether welfare reform is helping or harming children, says Child Poverty Action Group....
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • The socialist alternative to austerity and war
    Public meeting: After the New Zealand election—the socialist alternative to austerity and war By Tom Peters 29 September 2014...
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • New recruits to boost border protection
    Twenty six new recruits began an intensive nine-week training course in Auckland today that will see them graduate as Customs officers in time for the busy summer season....
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • Dwindling Mallard population shows up ‘pest’ myth
    The pro hunting organisation Fish & Game is researching the causes of the decline of the mallard duck population, upset at the prospect of fewer ducks to kill....
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • Support for Democratic Rights in Hong Kong
    New Zealanders in Auckland will gather on Wednesday to support the rights for universal suffrage in Hong Kong....
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • Campbell Live Exclusive Interview with David Cunliffe
    David Cunliffe resigned as leader of the Labour party on Saturday; but he still wants the top job....
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • Action needed on cycling safety
    “Clearly we aren't doing enough to protect the 1.5 million New Zealanders who ride bikes,” said Mr Morgan....
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • World Rivers Day Passes Without A Whimper
    Sunday 28 September was World Rivers Day to celebrate clean, flowing rivers and caring about them. But a recreation-conservation advocacy the Council of Outdoor Recreation Associations of NZ (CORANZ) says the day seems to have slipped by without...
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • The Kiwifruit Claim: Q&A
    1. Who is running The Kiwifruit Claim? The Kiwifruit Claim was founded by kiwifruit growers representing well in excess of 10% of the industry. 2. Why are you running this claim? The introduction of Psa into New Zealand had devastating...
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • Fed Farmers Need to Be Weaned
    The Taxpayers’ Union is calling on Federated Farmers to make a firm commitment to reject any future Government funding, after it was revealed that the lobby group had received over $200,000 of payments in recent years....
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • Children paying the price for charter school stitch up
    New Zealand children will be paying a high price for a one-seat deal between ACT and National, with an expansion of the beleaguered charter school system says education union NZEI Te Riu Roa....
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • Hikoi From North Reaches Oil Conference Tomorrow
    Today: The Hikoi opposing Statoil plans for seismic testing and deep sea oil drilling has marched through Dargaville and later be welcomed to Piringatahi Marae, West Harbour,Tamaki Makaurau/Auckland....
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • Communities Still Count
    The efforts of many organisations to influence the electorate and the political parties they voted for in the lead up to the 2014 Election is over. The voting public has spoken and provided a strong endorsement to the centre-right National...
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • Eleven social enterprises get ready to take off
    Eleven teams from across the country will take part in the Launchpad, Ākina’s programme to get social enterprise ideas off the ground....
    Scoop politics | 29-09
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lprent: At the request of Tim Barnett, Labour's returning officer, the Karen Price/Clayton Cosgrove post has been withdrawn during the primary.