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Return of the Hollow Men

Written By: - Date published: 10:16 am, September 26th, 2013 - 48 comments
Categories: accountability, brand key, david cunliffe, don brash, election 2014, Ethics, john key, Judith Collins, news, same old national, slippery, spin - Tags:

John Key and his handlers have tried so hard to distance himself from the underhand dirty tricks employed by National Party people to undermine opposition parties.  They were used relentlessly to undermine Helen Clark, but, once in power and having achieved dominance in the popularity polls, the government has focused more on it’s positive public image.  Now that Cunliffe’s Labour is in the ascendance, and a Labour-Green government is a real possibility next year, once more we are seeing the NAct and/supporters pull out their bag of dirty tricks.

john-key-snake-oil

The kinds of strategies used, with significant input from expensive political advisers like those at Crosby Textor, are exposed exposed in Nicky Hagar’s book The Hollow Men (2006).

In his review of the book, Wayne Hope, associate professor in communication studies at Auckland University of Technology, said this:

Hager’s general thesis can be outlined as follows: With the replacement of Bill English by Don Brash, National became an anti-democratic political party which set out to deceive the voting public. Wealthy corporate elites associated with the Business Round Table, the far right ACT party, the Centre for Independent Studies and various public relations firms supported Brash’s seizure of power and anonymously donated substantial sums to National’s campaign war chest. They wanted a new government with the power to institute market driven policies in the areas of labour relations, state owned enterprises, education, transport, accident compensation and local body government tax cut package.

Throughout 2004 and 2005, Brash’s strategists (Murray McCully, Gerry Brownlee, Steven Joyce, Richard Long, Matthew Hooton, Peter Keenan and Bryan Sinclair) employed market research companies, advertising specialists, public relations firms, media managers and television trainers to sell the National brand.

My bold: Scarily, while John Key was not centrally implicated in the underhand tactics of the Hollow Men, the pro-corporate, anti-democratic, market-driven policies favoured by the Hollow Men’s backers have steadily been brought in by Key’s government.

John_key_pokies

Now we have a new smear campaign launched against Cunliffe, lead pretty clumsily by Hollowman Matthew Hooton, with Judith Collins joining forces with a dodgy right wing blogger to cheer-lead Hooton’s efforts. Collins has previously been implicated with Brash’s Hollow Men, as indicated in Danyl Mclauchlan’s post about the book, and in a Fran O’Sullivan article of 2009, about Brash’s attempts to get the police to pursue enquiries into how Hagar got access to his emails:

Collins was Brash’s close political chum during the dying days of his leadership when it seemed as if he might just survive.

For an outsider like myself, it’s hard to know who is involved in the latest dirty tactics in which Hooton has been involved.  But there are some intriguing connections on the public record.

In the Hollow Men, Hagar pointed to Crosby Textor as being the main overseas consultants used by Brash, and later it became known that John Key was also using this company for strategic advice. Wayne Hope again:

… Hager details compellingly how the Australian based market researchers Lynton Crosby and Mark Textor translated the insecurities of uncommitted voters into loaded messages; politically correct Labour—mainstream National.

In a 2008 blog post, Hagar identifies Mark Textor as being John Key’s main CT adviser.  Curiously, this post is also pretty damning about Hollow Man Matthew Hooton:

Anyone who wonders what to make of Matthew Hooton’s public contributions to New Zealand politics really should read what he writes in private. His advice is sometimes clever, but it is also cynical. It is very revealing.

[...]

For this sort of PR person, the answer when faced with a crisis is to attack the messenger, deny everything and claim that they themselves are the victims in the affair. Like an octopus squirting ink into the water, the hope is that these diversions will allow them to escape unscathed. In this world of spin, words, arguments and personal attacks are all just means to an end, tools to advance their and their clients’ objectives.

A Stuff, Fairfax news article of 2008, also outlines some of the strategies of Crosby Textor (and there are probably more that we have yet to see in the lead up to NZ’s 2014 elections). It claims Key has continued to use the same adviser as Brash, Mark Textor., but that it has been kept secret from the public.  The reason for secrecy is that, if their tactics and manipulations become widely known, they will be less effective.

It also shows how the NAct parties aim to benefit from having access to wealthier backers than is the case for more left leaning parties.

Specialised Crosby/Textor researchers visit New Zealand to conduct the research (costing about $10,000 per visit) and Textor flies to New Zealand, as required, to provide “high-level strategic advice” to Key and his staff on what Key should be saying and doing in public (also about $10,000 per visit). He also advises by phone and email. Key’s parliamentary staff saw Textor visiting his office around April 27, 2007, for instance, and it has all continued up to the present, including a visit in recent weeks.

The article points to ways that Crosby-Textors’ dirty, “and ruthless attack politics” tactics, “using subtle appeals to fear and prejudice” have been controversial in Australia.  This includes push polling, and the kind of tactics used when working for the UK Conservative Party and for the London mayoral campaigns of Boris Johnson.

Awareness of the kinds of strategies used by Crosby-Textor will be helpful in countering Nact’s dirty tricks in the run up to next year’s NZ election.  The 2008, Stuff article point to 3 main ones used in Boris Johnson’s campaigns.

First, Crosby and Textor realised there was a high risk of Johnson tripping up and making mistakes compared with his experienced opponent. Their answer was to tightly control and script all Johnson’s public appearances

[..]

The second strand of the London mayoralty strategy was relentlessly attacking Livingstone’s reputation. He had introduced some innovative and popular policies, so they concentrated on personal attacks.

[…]

The third strand was “issue management”. They found Livingstone had support on environment, social services and other issues. So instead they ran a narrowly focussed campaign on the rising cost of living and public safety even where these were the result of forces beyond Livingstone’s control.

The indications are that John Key will be getting advice from Mark Textor in the run up to the 2014 elections.  Intriguing that Key was cosily photo oped with Textor’s high profile client in his recent visit to England.

Brighter future for key and pals

Knowledge is power.

 

48 comments on “Return of the Hollow Men”

  1. Tracey 1

    Crosby’s connected to… Cameron, Abbott, Key.

    I do wonder why political strategeists were at a function for Key to meet British MPs.

    The Nats have more money (together with ACT) to polish up their poo. It’s hard to see through the shine.

    • Tiger Mountain 1.1

      And the Exclusive Brethren connection too, lest we forget, an organisation that eschews voting for adherents but ponied up significant funds during Brashes time and were outed, and the 2007 Australian elections too attempting to secretly fund John Howards re-election campaign.

  2. Bill 2

    Nice piece (again) Karol. On a positive note, if the idea is to carbon copy the strategy employed in Boris Johnson’s campaign, then there is deep shit rising up around the neck of the right.

    True, they can tightly script and manage. But then, that should be expected to some degree or other for any politician depending on the caliber of the person behind the political facade.

    On the second point, since Cunliffe hasn’t been in any position to have policies sniped at, then that only leaves them ‘reputation’. And vitriol at spelling mistake level inconsistencies in a CV just ain’t gonna go very far.

    And the third point of small issue focus – that they have used previously – just doesn’t appear to be an option since it it they who are in power and when they have created are so many big issues they can be buried under.

    There’s also the potential for scrutiny and successful counter argument being quick off the blocks as illustrated by commenters and authors on ‘the standard’ delivering Hooten his bloody nose ;-)

    • just saying 2.1

      There’s also the potential for scrutiny and successful counter argument being quick off the blocks as illustrated by commenters and authors on ‘the standard’ delivering Hooten his bloody nose ;-)

      Ah people power. Warms the cockles of my heart.

      Great work everyone:-)

  3. blue leopard (Get Lost GCSB Bill) 3

    Excellent article Karol.

    The photo – op with Boris Johnson can be viewed as product placement.

    This is a technique that works on an subconscious level, giving viewers little option of free choice.

    This article lists some of the effects of product placement: [click link for full list]

    Key findings from this research show that Product Placement:

    ~Can dramatically shift TV viewers perception of a brand
    ~Implicitly forges brand association with TV content on a subconscious level, unlike more explicit forms of advertising
    ~Normalises brands through association with trusted TV content
    ~Produces a halo effect with brands associated with popular TV shows
    ~Can significantly increase consumer purchase intent and behaviour in terms of brand knowledge, likeability, talkability and advocacy in viewers exposed to the placement

    And this article concludes

    “Embedded marketing today is no longer an innovation – it has already proven to be arguably the most powerful marketing tool existing today that is not only practically 100% efficient, but also often works as a hidden, espionage tool of which the consumers become victims. When properly launched, such product placement campaigns are even hard to prove to be real, since any association and word-game usually tend to be considered critically subjective. No law and no act can prohibit embedded marketing since it is so difficult to identify and even harder to prove. This, and the fact that embedded marketing mainly affects the consumers’ brains on the subconscious level, makes it both an unethical and extremely dangerous marketing tool.”

    • Rodel 3.1

      I’m waiting to see photo ops of the PM with the Emirates Team New Zealand crew.
      Somehow I don’t think it will happen.

  4. marsman 4

    Great work once again Karol! As you say ‘knowledge is power’. I’ll share your Post on Facebook.

  5. Athena 5

    The exclusive brethren are about to get 9 million to integrate their schools, is someone trying to sweeten them up again?

    • Delia 5.1

      Exclusive about other New Zealanders, except when it comes to tax payer dollars which are not exclusive. They should fund themselves, anti social outfit, that claims only they are the special ones.

      • mike e 5.1.1

        exclusive bretheren have high alcoholism and pedophelia rate more than double the general population rates.
        They are also connected to extreme far right birther gun lobby and neo nazi’s etc etc !

    • Jenny Kirk 5.2

      Where is this information, please, Athena – that Exclusive Breth are to get $9m for their schools ?

  6. Rogue Trooper 6

    “The Great Way is quite even,
    yet people prefer byways.
    When courts are extremely fastidious
    the fields are seriously neglected
    and the granaries are very empty.
    They wear colourful clothing
    and carry sharp swords,
    eat and drink to their fill
    and possess more than enough.
    This is called the vanity of thieves.”

  7. gobsmacked 7

    On his recent trip to the UK (when he was supposed to be working for us, the NZ public, not the National party) John Key attended a caucus retreat for British Conservative MPs, in rural Oxfordshire.

    The guest speaker was one Lynton Crosby.

    The NZ media have largely ignored this, although it was reported in Britain.

  8. wyndham 8

    Nobody has yet mentioned the evil machinations of one Simon Lusk ! My understanding is that he still moves about in the shadowy world of NAct propaganda.

    Great article karol. TS is indeed fortunate to have your expertise in ferreting out some great exposes of NAct.

    • karol 8.1

      Yes, I came across mention of Lusk in my research for this post. It’ll keep. The post is long enough.

  9. red blooded 9

    If Exclusive Bretheren folk want to exclude their kids from a balanced, open education; exclude aspects of the NZ curriculum they don’t like (bye bye Darwin);exclude girls from freedom of choice and equality within their church and their relationships and exclude people whose sexuality they don’t approve of then they can damn well exclude themselves from the receipt of public funding. My tax dollars should be going to State schools (and while the EB might be an extreme example, I don’t actually believe that state funds should go to any religious school – teaching religious belief as revealed fact does kids a disservice).

    • Chooky 9.1

      The New Zealand education system was set up as on the principles of a high quality, egalitarian, secular state run education, with equality of opportunity for all children
      ( see: Colin McGeorge, “Schools and socialisation in New Zealand 1890-1914′

      ….it has been eroded in recent years and State Schools have been run down, class sizes increased, and school fees expected

      …. private and charter schools should NOT be receiving any New Zealanders’ tax dollars.

      …..if special interest groups want to indoctrinate their kids into religious beliefs (and often sexist, homophobic, racist , anti – science and anti equality of opportunity for girls…values ) as in religious, special character or charter schools …..they should pay for them themselves ….and preferably after normal school hours.

      ….any special privileges/finance/buildings /small class sizes/special tuition must go to the Public State Schools first….

      I also strongly object to propping up the Exclusive Brethren…especially as they are already fat from lack of taxation for their businesses and they denied a friend of mine a university education because she was an Exclusive Brethren girl….She would have loved to have studied science.

      • Rogue Trooper 9.1.1

        nooooooooooo, not science. ;)

        • Chooky 9.1.1.1

          @RT…she was very good at biology and chemistry in the large state secondary school I attended ….but she was not allowed to eat ( with us sinners) …let alone go to university. I guess she was destined for Exclusive Brethren motherhood….

          • Rogue Trooper 9.1.1.1.1

            I understand sects Very well Chooky; studied with at least four in the last eight years. Christ wept.

  10. Skinny 10

    What Labour doesn’t need is the loss of support through a private members Bill intended to lower the drink limit in half. It will have a backlash effect on Labour. It will be a huge resentful turn off to hundreds of thousands of responsible drinkers who enjoy a few drinks at pubs & clubs around the Country. I’ve had a number of mates that say if Labour get this Bill approved they will not get their vote. Campaigning for Labour will be tougher having to defend this Bill should it pass.

    • McFlock 10.1

      Nah.
      If you’re going to drive, don’t drink.

    • karol 10.2

      Amazing to see what some people’s priorities are. Being a danger on the roads? Wanting life easier no matter the risks to others? Voting out a government that is damaging lives and the country’s future?

      • Skinny 10.2.1

        The point is if Labour want to win in 2014 trying to push this bill will only succeed in allowing Key to trot out a line something like “responsible Kiwis in general behave sensibly drinking and we are not going to punish them with ‘nanny state’ laws, this is what your voting for if you vote Labour.”
        Hmm a fair few of those 800,000 previous non voters are hardly going to be infused with a Bill like this, a vote attracting policy I think not.

    • Rogue Trooper 10.3

      Mate, I was a mechanic for a Southland rural trucking company (towards the end of a 23-year career working with machinery and it’s operators). The amount of intoxicated driving and subsequent domestic unrest that arises from your anecdotal reality is beyond a couple of pale ales. Time for a change! F#ck The Piss! The level of booze consumption in NZ is one of a number of structural realities holding the nation back.

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  • What has ACC Minister been doing?
    The ACC Minister needs to front up and explain what, if any, changes she has made to the broken culture of ACC rather than denying that she has any part to play in the dysfunction of her Ministry, the Green...
    Greens | 15-04
  • Promise of jam tomorrow takes the cake
    A claim by Minister of Finance Bill English that average wages will climb by $7,500 over the next four years is a cynical promise of jam tomorrow by a government whose record on wage growth is atrocious, Labour spokesperson on...
    Labour | 15-04
  • Judith Collins has to fess up on ACC blunder
    ACC Minster Judith Collins must front up and tell New Zealand how many people who refused to hand over their private details to ACC have been denied cover, says Labour’s ACC Spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway. “The legality of ACC’s privacy waver,...
    Labour | 15-04
  • Board of Inquiry conditions will save rivers in New Zealand
    The Ruataniwha dam decision released today has protected the Tukituki River and dashed the Government’s hope of the “one nutrient model” (TRIM) being adopted nationwide, says Labour’s Conservation spokesperson Ruth Dyson. “It is a massive victory for those in the...
    Labour | 15-04
  • Labour turns wheels for cycling safety
    With more than a million New Zealanders now using cycling as an attractive alternative means of transport it is past time their safety was taken seriously, Labour’s Transport spokesperson Darien Fenton says. Due to speak to a cycling rally at...
    Labour | 15-04
  • SPEECH: Institute of Directors
    LEADING AND MANAGING OUR ECONOMIC FUTURE David Cunliffe MP, Labour Leader Speech to the Institute of Directors 15 April 2014, Auckland It's a privilege to be speaking here. The Institute of Directors has a proud history of developing New Zealand's...
    Labour | 15-04
  • More Oravida endorsements from John Key
    The use of a picture of John Key in an advertisement for Oravida’s scampi products in a Chinese airline magazine is further evidence of an unhealthily cosy relationship between the National Party and this company, Labour Leader David Cunliffe says....
    Labour | 15-04
  • Workers at Canterbury Yarns need redundancy support
    Workers faced with redundancy at Canterbury Yarns need a redundancy support co-ordinator, Green Party industrial relations spokesperson Denise Roche said today.Last week, Canterbury Yarns was placed in receivership. Canterbury Yarns joins a long list of New Zealand manufacturers who have...
    Greens | 14-04
  • Making the holidays easier for Kiwi drivers
    The next Labour Government will make the holidays easier and journeys quicker for Kiwi families driving on the roads, says Labour Leader David Cunliffe. “There’s nothing Kiwis like more than getting on the road and going on holiday. But on...
    Labour | 14-04
  • Ae Marika! 15 April 2014
    Our MANA AGM down in Rotorua on the weekend was a sold-out affair – even the media were struggling to get in! Political conferences can be very dull, but not this one. We had a great line-up of speakers including...
    Mana | 14-04
  • Green light from Labour for cancer screening programme
    Labour Leader David Cunliffe has today committed to a national bowel screening programme, starting with extending the current service to the Southern and Waikato districts. “Around 3000 New Zealanders develop bowel cancer each year and about 1200, or 100 a month,...
    Labour | 14-04
  • Adequate resourcing needed for victims’ advocate
    The establishment of a victims’ commissioner role will only be meaningful if it is properly resourced to do the job of advocating for victims’ interests, Labour Justice spokesperson Andrew Little says. Justice Minister Judith Collins has just recently indicated her...
    Labour | 13-04
  • IPCC report shows Government ignoring climate experts
    The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's (IPCC) report into climate mitigation, just released in Berlin, shows the National Government is ignoring the pleas of the world's best climate scientists.The report says deep and fast emission cuts are vital from all...
    Greens | 13-04
  • Japan’s quick turnaround on whaling disappointing
    News that Japan plans to recommence some form of “scientific” whaling programme so quickly after the International Court of Justice’s ruling against it is very disappointing, says David Shearer, Labour’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson. “New Zealanders expected the ICJ ruling -...
    Labour | 13-04
  • Reviewable tenancies will increase risks for vulnerable children
    Instead of kicking families out of their homes if they can pay their rent, parents with young children should have the opportunity to purchase equity in a state-built home over time, the Green Party said todayFrom July, Housing New Zealand...
    Greens | 13-04
  • 48,000 New Zealanders drinking faecally contaminated water
    Some 48,000 people were provided with water that had issues with faecal contamination, 18,000 of whom were from Canterbury, the Green Party said today. The Ministry of Health's Annual Report on Drinking-Water in New Zealand for 2012/13 shows that 48,000...
    Greens | 12-04
  • Labour will move to save the Kauri
    Labour will spend $20 million over the next 10 years to stop the spread of Kauri dieback disease, says Labour Leader David Cunliffe. “We are facing an ecological disaster with over 11 per cent of the Kauri trees in the...
    Labour | 12-04
  • SPEECH: Saving our Kauri
    Seech notes Good morning. Thank you for joining us here today. As a West Auckland MP I am very aware the kauri is an important part of this place. The Waitakere Ranges with their thousands of kauri, are a taonga....
    Labour | 12-04
  • MANA to continue negotiations with the Internet Party
    The MANA AGM has decided unanimously tonight to continue negotiaitions with the Internet Party. Within a month further negotiations, further consultation with MANA branches and a final decision on whether to proceed with a relationship is expected....
    Mana | 12-04
  • National’s tax dodge
      National’s insistence that it is cracking down on tax dodgers is little more than a bit of election year chest beating, Labour Leader David Cunliffe says. “Revenue Minister Todd McClay surely doesn’t believe collecting $100 million of an estimated...
    Labour | 12-04
  • Housing prices go up – Gens X & Y give up
    Today’s REINZ report shows house prices continue skyward while first home buyers are dropping out of the market, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “According to the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand the national median house price has risen...
    Labour | 11-04
  • Do Key and Adams support Chorus appeal?
    John Key and Amy Adams must tell New Zealanders whether they support Chorus’ appeal of the High Court’s ruling in favour of the Commerce Commission, says Labour Leader David Cunliffe. “Chorus’ appeal is a waste of time. The company is...
    Labour | 11-04
  • Is Judith Collins unapologising
    Judith Collins appears to have retracted her apology for failing to disclose her meeting with her husband’s fellow company directors and a senior Chinese border control official just weeks after being ticked off by John Key for not doing so, Labour...
    Labour | 11-04
  • Media Advisory
    There have been a few minor changes to the MANA AGM agenda. Moana Jackson is unable to attend due to family commitments. Speaking in his place on Saturday morning MANA is pleased to welcome Georgina Beyer and Willie Jackson. MANA...
    Mana | 10-04
  • Green Party requests inquiry into Peter Dunne and Trust
    Green Party MP Denise Roche today wrote to the Parliamentary Registrar of Pecuniary Interests requesting an inquiry into whether Peter Dunne should have included his involvement as chair of the Northern Wellington Festival Trust on the Register of Pecuniary Interests...
    Greens | 10-04
  • Veterans short-changed
    The Veterans’ Support Bill reported back to Parliament today rejects a key recommendation of the Law Commission Review on which it is based and ignores the submissions of veterans and the RNZRSA, says Labour’s Veterans’ Affairs Spokesperson, Phil Goff. “A...
    Labour | 10-04
  • Tribute for Maungaharuru- Tangitu settlement
    Labour Member of Parliament for Ikaroa-Rāwhiti, Meka Whaitiri paid tribute to Maungaharuru-Tangitu today as their Treaty of Waitangi settlement became law. “The Bill acknowledges Treaty breaches that left Maungaharuru-Tangitu virtually landless. Today we were reminded of the history, mamae, loss...
    Labour | 10-04
  • Neglected rural and regional roads will cost more lives
    The government must take urgent action to prevent more accidents to truck drivers and other road users of increased logging trucks on neglected roads, says Darien Fenton, Labour’s Transport spokesperson. “The dangers to drivers and other road users in the...
    Labour | 10-04
  • Judith Collins’ refusal to answer a disgrace
    If John Key is holding his Ministers to any standards at all, he must make Judith Collins answer questions about the senior Chinese official she met during her taxpayer-funded visit to China last October, Labour MP Grant Robertson says. “Judith...
    Labour | 10-04
  • Ryall needs to heed hospital workforce issues
    The public health workforce, the same one Tony Ryall argues is making a lot of progress is facing increased pressure and staff burnout through his continued shuffling of the deckchairs, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. “Mr Ryall uses all...
    Labour | 10-04
  • Key ducks but can’t avoid High Court slap
    The High Court’s slap in the face to John Key and his Government over Chorus has left it with no option but to accept the Commerce Commission’s lawful process in deciding the price of copper, says Labour’s associate ICT spokesperson...
    Labour | 09-04
  • First home buyers shut out as LVRs bite
    The bad news continues for young Kiwis as the latest Core Logic report shows the proportion of first home buyers has declined since LVR lending restrictions came into force, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. Twenty two centres across the...
    Labour | 09-04
  • MANA – and, or, or not – DOTCOM
    Both MANA and the Internet Party share goals in common with other parties, like getting rid of National and reining in the GCSB. There are also differences, as there are with other parties as well. MANA accepted a request to...
    Mana | 09-04
  • Wise heads want wise response
    Labour accepts the challenge laid down by the Wise Response group to protect and future-proof New Zealand’s environment and economy. A petition calling for urgent action was presented to Labour’s Environment and Climate Change spokesperson Moana Mackey at Parliament this...
    Labour | 09-04
  • Greens support high profile Kiwis’ call for climate action
    The Green Party fully supports a group of high profile Kiwi business people, lawyers, academics and commentators delivering a petition to parliament today calling for the Government to take the threat of climate change more seriously.Wiseresponse, a group of over...
    Greens | 09-04
  • Mayor’s jobs initiative shows up inactive Govt
    Auckland Mayor Len Brown and the Auckland Council are to be congratulated for providing opportunities for young people to get into work, but it stands in stark contrast to the National Government overseeing spiralling youth unemployment, Labour’s Employment, Skills and...
    Labour | 08-04
  • National discovers public servants needed after all
    New figures released today show National has done an embarrassing U-turn after discovering it actually does need the public service, Labour’s State Services spokesperson Maryan Street says. “Wellington now has the most public servants it has had since 2000. Figures...
    Labour | 08-04
  • School closures about saving Hekia, not kids
    The National Government's decision to merge Phillipstown and Woolston schools is another disaster for Christchurch and proves this Government is more interested in saving face than in what is best for children, the Green Party said today."Hekia Parata's stubborn refusal...
    Greens | 08-04
  • Cosgrove writes to invite Countdown to Committee
    Labour’s Commerce spokesperson Clayton Cosgrove has today written to the Chief Executive of Progressive Enterprises Dave Chambers, asking him if he would accept an invitation to appear before the Commerce Select Committee. “Yesterday National MPs blocked my motion to invite...
    Labour | 08-04
  • Phillipstown will get reprieve under Labour
    A Labour government will allow Phillipstown School to stay open, with a review after two years, Labour’s Associate Education spokesperson Megan Woods says. “Hekia Parata has failed the Phillipstown community with today’s decision to close the school. “It is disgraceful...
    Labour | 08-04
  • State Housing waiting lists go through the roof
    The waiting list for State Houses has risen by over a thousand in the past three months, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “Low income people are feeling the sharp end of National’s housing crisis. A shortage of affordable houses...
    Labour | 08-04
  • Hekia Parata fails to answer basic questions
    Education Minister Hekia Parata’s inability to answer even the most basic questions about her proposed new Executive Principal roles will have alarm bells ringing in school communities all around the country, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “Schools are already concerned...
    Labour | 08-04
  • Guy gets it wrong by any measure
    The Ministry for Primary Industries being forced to reprint rulers designed to help recreational fishers measure their snapper catch is right up there on the incompetence scale, Labour’s Fisheries spokesperson Damien O’Connor says. “MPI is having to spend another $8000...
    Labour | 08-04
  • So the US has assassinated a NZ citizen – what did Key know?
    A non judicial assassination by the US on a NZ citizen raises questions. Key made the idea that NZers were training with terrorists part of his farcical defence for the GCSB mass surveillance legislation. I say farcical because even if...
    The Daily Blog | 16-04
  • Something Better Than Something Worse: Why John Key could become our longes...
    IN HIS MEMORABLE holiday-home encounter with the host of Campbell Live, the Prime Minister, John Key, did not rule out running for a fourth term. Were he to be successful, the long-standing record of Sir Keith Holyoake (11 years and 2...
    The Daily Blog | 16-04
  • GUEST BLOG: RIO TINTO WINS 2013 ROGER AWARD
      Sky City Casino Second, Chorus Third  The seven finalists for the 2013 Roger Award for the Worst Transnational Corporation Operating in Aotearoa/New Zealand were: ANZ, Chorus, IAG Insurance Group, Imperial Tobacco, Rio Tinto, Sky City Casino and Talent 2. The criteria for judging are...
    The Daily Blog | 16-04
  • National drowning in an ocean of poisoned milk
    It is becoming difficult to keep up with which National Party MP is bleeding the most at the moment. Simon Bridges is being crucified by Whaleoil almost as much as Greenpeace are attacking him, suggesting Cam is seizing the moment...
    The Daily Blog | 16-04
  • Want to get rid of synthetic cannabis? Legalize real cannabis
    Have we managed to appreciate the madness that synthetic cannabis is legal yet more harmful than organic cannabis which is illegal? I find the current moral panic over synthetic cannabis difficult to become concerned with when alcohol is FAR more...
    The Daily Blog | 16-04
  • Save our homes – stop the evictions!
    “We will keep on fighting because it frightens me to think my grandchildren could become homeless,” Tere Campbell told me. Tere is a member of Tamaki Housing Group. In September 2011, tenants in 156 state homes in Glen Innes received...
    The Daily Blog | 15-04
  • The daily humiliation of women and the constant policing and shaming of our...
    The last few months have been particularly bad for the shaming and policing of women’s bodies in the media, both in New Zealand and globally. First we had NZ Newstalk ZB presenter Rachel Smalley referring to women weighing over 70kgs...
    The Daily Blog | 15-04
  • A case study of racism by Police at Auckland Airport
    A couple of days ago I returned from Samoa after attending a family matter and some contract work. Spending a few days in the warmth of our homeland was welcome relief from the cold weather starting to make its presence...
    The Daily Blog | 15-04
  • An acute shortage of emergency youth housing
    The housing crisis is effecting everyone in Christchurch but some are more vulnerable than others. Recently I attended a workshop on emergency youth housing hosted by the 298 Youth Health Centre, who I worked for from 2001-2003. Over fifty people...
    The Daily Blog | 15-04
  • The Oceans Issue
    The ‘Earth’ is 71% water but our oceans are the last frontier. The oceans are huge, relatively unexplored, full of weird and wonderful diversity. In New Zealand we’re never far from the sea, and our identity, our landscapes, our communities,...
    The Daily Blog | 15-04
  • Fear of South Auckland
    Fear of South Auckland...
    The Daily Blog | 15-04
  • TV News Geography
    TV News Geography...
    The Daily Blog | 15-04
  • The best bit about gay sex
    The best bit about gay sex...
    The Daily Blog | 15-04
  • On not voting 1
    On not voting 1...
    The Daily Blog | 15-04
  • On not voting 2
    On not voting 2...
    The Daily Blog | 15-04
  • Labour on trucks
    Labour on trucks...
    The Daily Blog | 15-04
  • Claire Trevett shows how biased msm works
    Read this nonsense by Claire Trevett… David Cunliffe denies claims he is ‘running scared’ Labour leader David Cunliffe has dismissed claims he is running scared from Prime Minister John Key and playing hard to get over a Campbell Live series...
    The Daily Blog | 15-04
  • Why won’t Judith Collins identify who the Chinese ‘bureaucrat’ is?
    Rumour as to the real reason Judith Collins won’t reveal who the mysterious Chinese ‘bureaucrat’ is who dined with her at a private dinner is because the Chinese ‘bureaucrat’ wasn’t some lowly border official and they are actually a junior ranking member...
    The Daily Blog | 15-04
  • Fighting PNG corruption and social media gags with … outspoken blogs
    Graphic: shutterstock.com Dr David Robie also blogs at Café Pacific THE BLOGGING war is hotting up in Papua New Guinea – just when things are getting riskier with draconian proposals over cybercrime law on the horizon. The state target for...
    The Daily Blog | 15-04
  • UNbelieved – the true racism of NZ
    Racist Cartoon by Al Nisbet sums up the casual racism NZers enjoy The New Zealand government must consider United Nations rebukes on their indigenous rights record as ordinary and unremarkable by their casual reaction to the latest indictment - delivered through the clear and clinical...
    The Daily Blog | 15-04
  • What has ACC Minister been doing?
    Source: Green Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: What has ACC Minister been doing? Tuesday, 15 Apr 2014 | Press Release Judith Collins has made such little progress on ACC’s unacceptable privacy practices and needs to be held to account for...
    The Daily Blog | 15-04
  • Hekia Parata kept exam book errors from schools
    Source: Labour Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Hekia Parata kept exam book errors from schools Schools will be appalled to learn Education Minister Hekia Parata knew since January that hundreds of exam booklets had been returned to the wrong students...
    The Daily Blog | 15-04
  • Promise of jam tomorrow takes the cake
    Source: Labour Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Promise of jam tomorrow takes the cake A claim by Minister of Finance Bill English that average wages will climb by $7,500 over the next four years is a cynical promise of jam...
    The Daily Blog | 15-04
  • Judith Collins has to fess up on ACC blunder
    Source: Labour Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Judith Collins has to fess up on ACC blunder ACC Minster Judith Collins must front up and tell New Zealand how many people who refused to hand over their private details to ACC...
    The Daily Blog | 15-04
  • Board of Inquiry conditions will save rivers in New Zealand
    Source: Labour Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Board of Inquiry conditions will save rivers in New Zealand The Ruataniwha dam decision released today has protected the Tukituki River and dashed the Government’s hope of the “one nutrient model” (TRIM) being...
    The Daily Blog | 15-04
  • Labour turns wheels for cycling safety
    Source: Labour Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Labour turns wheels for cycling safety With more than a million New Zealanders now using cycling as an attractive alternative means of transport it is past time their safety was taken seriously, Labour’s...
    The Daily Blog | 15-04
  • SPEECH: Institute of Directors
    Source: Labour Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: SPEECH: Institute of Directors LEADING AND MANAGING OUR ECONOMIC FUTURE David Cunliffe MP, Labour LeaderSpeech to the Institute of Directors15 April 2014, Auckland It’s a privilege to be speaking here. The Institute of...
    The Daily Blog | 15-04
  • More Oravida endorsements from John Key
    Source: Labour Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: More Oravida endorsements from John Key The use of a picture of John Key in an advertisement for Oravida’s scampi products in a Chinese airline magazine is further evidence of an unhealthily cosy...
    The Daily Blog | 15-04
  • 85 more jobs killed by the NZ dollar – Christchurch textile firm in recei...
    Source: First Union – Press Release/Statement: Headline: 85 more jobs killed by the NZ dollar – Christchurch textile firm in receivership News that the high New Zealand dollar has claimed another textile firm has come as a huge shock to...
    The Daily Blog | 15-04
  • Workers at Canterbury Yarns need redundancy support
    Source: Green Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Workers at Canterbury Yarns need redundancy support Tuesday, 15 Apr 2014 | Press Release Canterbury Yarns joins a long list of New Zealand manufacturers who have been driven to the wall by a...
    The Daily Blog | 14-04
  • Making the holidays easier for Kiwi drivers
    Source: Labour Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Making the holidays easier for Kiwi drivers The next Labour Government will make the holidays easier and journeys quicker for Kiwi families driving on the roads, says Labour Leader David Cunliffe. “There’s nothing...
    The Daily Blog | 14-04
  • Boots Riley to perform live in Auckland
    Press Release: Mana Tamaki Branch are excited to announce that we have a very special guest, Boots Riley, coming to our very own neighbourhood! On Tuesday April 15 at 7.00pm Boots will be hosting a political discussion and Q&A followed...
    The Daily Blog | 14-04
  • Green light from Labour for cancer screening programme
    Source: Labour Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Green light from Labour for cancer screening programme Labour Leader David Cunliffe has today committed to a national bowel screening programme, starting with extending the current service to the Southern and Waikato districts. “Around...
    The Daily Blog | 14-04
  • Adequate resourcing needed for victims’ advocate
    Source: Labour Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Adequate resourcing needed for victims’ advocate The establishment of a victims’ commissioner role will only be meaningful if it is properly resourced to do the job of advocating for victims’ interests, Labour Justice...
    The Daily Blog | 14-04
  • Comparing Maori Party $5000 per ticket John Key Fundraiser at sexist Northe...
    So MANA can’t contemplate an alliance with Kim Dotcom because he is wealthy and MANA is not and that’s a terrible hypocrisy. Shock. Horror. So what is one to make of the Maori Party holding a $5000 per ticket closed...
    The Daily Blog | 14-04
  • David vs Goliath – Key’s housing affordability TV debate challenge
    John Key allowed his frustration to get the better of him at yesterdays press conference when he responded to a question on housing affordability by shooting back that he would debate David Cunliffe on the issue. Cunliffe has accepted. The...
    The Daily Blog | 14-04
  • Deborah Manning joins Team Cunliffe
    Deborah Manning is a very good friend of mine and seeing her join Team Cunliffe in Wellington is just another example on top of Matt Mcarten and Clint Smith’s appointments that Cunliffe is serious about putting together the best strategic...
    The Daily Blog | 14-04
  • If a tree falls in a forest, does Simon Bridges hear it?
    If a tree falls in a forest, does Simon Bridges hear it?...
    The Daily Blog | 14-04
  • A picture says a thousand words, this one says about 20 000
    A picture says a thousand words, this one says about 20 000...
    The Daily Blog | 14-04
  • Comparing Key to Snowden
    Comparing Key to Snowden...
    The Daily Blog | 14-04
  • Latest Banksy
    Latest Banksy...
    The Daily Blog | 14-04
  • Valuing Teachers
    Valuing Teachers...
    The Daily Blog | 14-04
  • Plans-to-tax-the-rich-will-result-in-capital-flight-and-the-talented myth
    Plans-to-tax-the-rich-will-result-in-capital-flight-and-the-talented myth...
    The Daily Blog | 14-04
  • TPPA is corporate thuggery
    TPPA is corporate thuggery...
    The Daily Blog | 14-04
  • Why we need feminism
    Why we need feminism...
    The Daily Blog | 14-04
  • Method In His Madness: Why did Russel Norman make Labour an offer it couldn...
    THE LINE FROM LABOUR is that the Greens made them an offer they couldn’t accept. Delivered in the condescending, world-weary tone one usually associates with a headmaster reprimanding one of the dimmer boys from the Lower-Fifth, the suggestion, clearly, is...
    The Daily Blog | 14-04
  • iPredict has possible MANA-Internet Party alliance at 3 seats
    Latest iPredict scores has MANA at 1.1% and the Internet Party at 1.5% – combined that’s 2.6%, the party list percentages would roughly be… 2 seats (i.e. electorate and one list): (1.2%) 3 seats: (2%) 4 seats: (2.8%) 5 seats:...
    The Daily Blog | 14-04
  • Adam Bennett and his wonky Tai Tokerau logic
    Adam Bennett, the NZ Herald’s political reporter, has published a column with some wonky Tai Tokerau logic… Unless the Mana Internet alliance pulls off the unlikely feat of reaching the 5 per cent mark on election night, all of this...
    The Daily Blog | 14-04
  • Boots Riley performing for MANA fundraiser
    Mana Tamaki Branch are excited to announce that we have a very special guest, Boots Riley, coming to our very own neighbourhood! On Tuesday April 15 at 7.00pm Boots will be hosting a political discussion and Q&A followed by an...
    The Daily Blog | 14-04
  • Businessman who is taking Blogger to court for defamation attacked
    The NBR are reporting (paywalled) that Matt Blomfield, the businessman taking Cameron Slater to court for defamation, has had been attacked last night with shots fired at his home. How vicious and nasty. Thoughts are with Matt and his family....
    The Daily Blog | 14-04