Well, its not taken long for the counter-strike. After Judith Collins’ main brain, Simon Lusk (better known as the cogent Whaleoil) went public last weekend threatening backbenchers that their careers would be short if they didn’t back Collins’ leadership bid when Key goes. Now, documents by Lusk talking about a ‘party within a party’ have been leaked.
Here’s The Nation’s teaser:
Is this man — Hawkes Bay businessman Simon Lusk trying to form a party within a party? Does he want to move the party to the right? Which MPs are involved? What does John Key think?
And here’s a clearly panicky Whaleoil (Slater or Lusk?):
Tomorrow both The Nation and The Weekend Herald are going to run stories about me. David Fisher rang me today and his basic premise behind his attempt to interview me was that I am a liar and paid…
…But a blogger finding a way to obtain payment for the work that he does is somehow evil and untoward…
…But for me to work with or want to work with corporates is somehow anathema and the subject of a story?..
…I fail to see why I shouldn’t be paid for my audience when they are paid for theirs…
…One thing is clear there is someone out there, intent on leaking documents and attempting to smear me and my friends
(to respond to Slater/Lusk’s substantive point – it’s not the fact of being paid, it’s concealing who is paying you)
That post was quickly followed (and I do mean quickly, the guy’s done 27 posts today) by another that was ‘for journalists’ and was all about how to shoot straight.
The documents may be interesting but what’s equally interesting is what the fact this is happening says about the state of National’s internal politics and what that tells us about how senior National figures see Key’s re-election chances.
Looks like things are about to get a lot tougher for Camp Collins. The Nation will be a must watch tomorrow.