web analytics

Aaron Bhatnagar – I barely know the guy

Written By: - Date published: 8:46 am, August 19th, 2014 - 26 comments
Categories: Judith Collins - Tags: , , , , ,

Judith Collins’ utter contempt for Parliament and willingness to use its resources to her own and her family’s advantage cannot reasonably be denied. The most brazen example comes from her actions on behalf of Oravida and the extended duck’n’weave aftermath played out in Parliament. The irony in that situation is that Judith Collins, the New Zealand Minister of Justice, was ostensibly visiting China to lecture the locals about corruption. Oh, how she and her BFF Cameron Slater must have giggled about that. Overt, major one-off capers like the Oravida Affair are rare. More common are the mundane, day-to-day actions that Judith Collins carries out in her role. The Minister of Justice is responsible for appointing all sorts of people to all sorts of roles and, on April 26, 2013, Judith Collins appointed Aaron Bhatnagar to the the Real Estate Agents Authority (REAA).

Last night, TV3, breathlessly claiming an “exclusive”, covered the appointment, detailed the connection between Cameron Slater and Aaron Bhatnagar, and managed to snag an interview with Collins as she passed through an airport terminal. Collins wasn’t pleased – talk about the face of a bulldog chewing a wasp – and when Bhatnager’s name was mentioned, her response was “I barely know the guy”.

Last night’s TV3 story was hardly an exclusive. News of the appointment of Bhatnagar, although typically released on a Friday, was relatively well covered at the time, including this rather “raised eyebrows” report from Radio New Zealand’s Felix Marwick. Also noticing the appointment was Labour’s Trevor Mallard. He fired off ten “Questions For Written Answer” to Judith Collins. The questions concerned matters such as: whether or not the position on the REAA had been advertised, whether a short list had been drawn up, what specific qualities such as professional integrity, independence, actual knowledge and experience, technology and innovation skills, political awareness, analytical ability, communication and decision-making skills. Collins’ contempt for the process was apparent in that of the ten questions she answered eight of them with the single line statement:

I believe Mr Bhatnagar is ideally suited to this role on all levels.

Her answers to the other two questions stated that she had not discussed the appointment of Bhatnager with any of her colleagues and that Bhatnager had not completed an “expression of interest” for a role with the Authority.

So, having said yesterday that she “barely knows the guy”, Collins, last year was able to categorically state in answer to Parliamentary Questions that Aaron Bhatnagar has the necessary skills, integrity, political awareness and all the rest of the qualifications needed.

Hmmm . . .

Aaron Bhatnagar is one of the crew of Auckland city’s National Party wannabe back-room players. In “Dirty Politics”, Nicky Hager revealed that Bhatnagar was the one sniffing sockets at the Labour Party website and discovered the insecure data later downloaded by Slater, Eade and the, so far, unnamed National Party IT whizz. Bhatnagar was no stanger to the workings of Slater’s Whaleoil Blog. He was a long-term member of the commentariat and posted as the site’s “Business Correspondent Winslow Taggart”.

One post he wrote lauded Ryman’s Healthcare, of which he was a shareholder. Bhatnager served one term on the Auckland City Council under Mayor Dick Hubbard and he was known for attending meetings but spending the whole time tapping away on his laptop playing in the internet. He unsuccessfully stood for selection for National in the Epsom electorate and again for Botany. His failure in Botany, among other less important reasons, is that he came up against Jamie Lee Ross who had employed Simon Lusk to game the process. Even though he was as thick as thieves with the Slater crowd, he appears not to have been a part of the inner circle. In conversations celebrating the success of Lusk’s puppet Jamie Lee Ross, Cactus kate said of Bhatnager . . .

. . . Bharry needs to grow the fuck up and realise that fat indians with a BA in Russian are no good in politics . . .

. . . while Cameron Slater wrote of his apparently trusted confidante . . .

. . . what a loser, he couldn’t even win WITH daddy’s money […] rich people don’t lose elections unless they are fucking hopeless or stupid. He lost to a maori which is even funnier . . .

. . . no need for even the slightest sympathy, though. Aaron Bhatnagar is himself very familiar with nasty politics. He was involved with Brian Nicolle’s attack on Dick Hubbard and was publicly caught out defacing Dick Hubbard’s Wikipedia page. Bhatnager also contacted Slater requesting assistance in finding a “paparizzi” in order to “spook a lawyer”.

This, then, is the man Judith Collins, the Minister of Justice, believes to be “ideally suited . . . on all levels” for the $20,000 per annum REAA sinecure.

It is possible that Judith Collins didn’t make the appointment at Cameron Slater’s request. Aaron Bhatnagar has done some hard yards for National. Both Jackie Blue and Simon Collins acknowledged Aaron Bhatnagar in Parliament for his work as part of their electorate teams. Also,

the nomination for the REAA appointment came from convicted criminal John Banks. Banks, of course, would have been grateful to all of the National Party Epsom electorate team for ensuring the survival of ACT for one last term.

Then again, there is an odd endnote here. Once the proverbial had hit the fan after Cameron Slater began drip feeding material looted from the Labour Party website, Aaron Bhatnagar was looking for acknowledgement. In one, almost sad, comment to Slater , Bhatnagar said of his discovery ” . . . wouldn’t mind a wee wink and nod one day in appreciation . . . “. Slater replied “will do”.

(I am grateful to Nicky Hager for his book “Dirty Politics” from which I have taken much of the material concerning Aaron Bhatnagar for this post.)


26 comments on “Aaron Bhatnagar – I barely know the guy ”

  1. Hayden 1

    He lost to a maori which is even funnier

    I wonder what Jami-Lee Ross thinks about that.

  2. Lanthanide 2

    “rich people don’t lose elections unless they are fucking hopeless or stupid”

    So which one is John Palino? John Banks?

  3. Westiechick 3

    Bhatnagar’s appointment is an example of how it is done these days. Once there were merit based appointment systems and the Minister’s concern was that the process was transparant and the most competent person was selected. Now tribunal and other such positions are like sweets in a lolly jar that Judith gets to give out as treats and rewards. My hope is that when labour wins on 20 September – the new, clean and ethical government will return to merit based selection and will resist the temptation to copy national and to stack boards, tribunals and the judiciary with their friends rather than the best qualified people.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 3.1

      They need to go further. All of Judith Collins’ Ministerial appointments are suspect and must be properly investigated by the Serious Fraud Office.

  4. Ennui 4

    Glad you have written this story: I listened to Collins say she barely knew Bhatnagar, then Shonk this morning on TV say the Bhatnagar was a family friend of Collins. Cant these buggers even sing off the same hymn sheet?

    • Anne 4.1

      Aaron Bhatnagar is the son of this man

      Daddy was near the top of the Rich List for a number of years but have no idea if he’s still there.

      He was an ACT activist in the 1990s but transferred across to National… probably around the time Hide became leader.

    • Tracey 4.2

      Collins former deputy of the law society and tax lawyer doesnt understand conflict of interest? Yeah right

      She is the gift that keeps giving…

      Key needs to be asked if he approves of ms collins response to knowledge of police evidence being leaked and if he had known her attitude would he have made her minister of o police or justice?

    • Tracey 4.3

      i think the bhatnagars had the penthouse in the george street apartment block that turned out to be a leaker… I wonder if it soured relations with shipley unless her was a different block in the same street

      ” Dame Jenny Shipley’s upmarket townhouse near Auckland Domain also leaked. It was built by Mainzeal, owned by Richina Pacific, which she chairs “

      • McFlock 4.3.1

        “Dame” shipley?
        That’s another thing on my wish list – get rid of titular honours again, and convert all the current ones into non-titular honours.

        Fuck, anyone who wants to be a “sir” or whatever is either overcompensating for inadequacies the still feel, or is a crook looking for social legitimacy so they can make more cons.

        • Tracey


          One reason i want the left to win is cos i have a sneaky feeling one thing key wants from his playtime with N is a knighthood

        • Murray Olsen

          Ed Hillary accepted a knighthood because it helped him get donations in the US and A, which he used to build schools and stuff in the Himalayas. Apart from him, I suspect you’re correct. The only knight I know personally is a slimy creep lacking in ethics. I think I’d put him in your first category.

  5. appleboy 5

    Gosh the right wingers are awfully quiet round here these days…..

  6. lprent 6

    Drat, this post slipped out when I hadn’t finished loading it…..

  7. NZJester 7

    Well of course she went visiting China to lecture the locals about corruption. Who is more skilled than her to lecture them on how it should be done. If they had wanted someone to talk to them about how to prevent corruption they would have had to send someone else. She is the perfect person to talk about corruption and how to not easily get caught and how to get out of it if the media does happen to get wind of the milk going sour!

  8. tricledrown 8

    Hey Draco did you see Collins age by 20 years instantly when the TV 3 reporter mentioned bhatagners name

  9. tricledrown 9

    Collins was crushed priceless

  10. disturbed 10

    Nixon & Watergate on at 8.30 tonight on History channel

Links to post

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • New Public Housing Plan announced
    The Government has released its Public Housing Plan 2021-2024 which outlines the intention of where 8,000 additional public and transitional housing places announced in Budget 2020, will go. “The Government is committed to continuing its public house build programme at pace and scale. The extra 8,000 homes – 6000 public ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    15 hours ago
  • Prime Minister congratulates President Joe Biden on his inauguration
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has congratulated President Joe Biden on his inauguration as the 46th President of the United States of America. “I look forward to building a close relationship with President Biden and working with him on issues that matter to both our countries,” Jacinda Ardern said. “New Zealand ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    17 hours ago
  • Jobs for Nature funding will create training and employment opportunities
    A major investment to tackle wilding pines in Mt Richmond will create jobs and help protect the area’s unique ecosystems, Biosecurity Minister Damien O’Connor says. The Mt Richmond Forest Park has unique ecosystems developed on mineral-rich geology, including taonga plant species found nowhere else in the country. “These special plant ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Pre-departure testing extended to all passengers to New Zealand
    To further protect New Zealand from COVID-19, the Government is extending pre-departure testing to all passengers to New Zealand except from Australia, Antarctica and most Pacific Islands, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “The change will come into force for all flights arriving in New Zealand after 11:59pm (NZT) on Monday ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Bay Cadets learn skills to protect environment
    Bay Conservation Cadets launched with first intake Supported with $3.5 million grant Part of $1.245b Jobs for Nature programme to accelerate recover from Covid Cadets will learn skills to protect and enhance environment Environment Minister David Parker today welcomed the first intake of cadets at the launch of the Bay ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Cook Islanders to resume travel to New Zealand
    The Prime Minister of New Zealand Jacinda Ardern and the Prime Minister of the Cook Islands Mark Brown have announced passengers from the Cook Islands can resume quarantine-free travel into New Zealand from 21 January, enabling access to essential services such as health. “Following confirmation of the Cook Islands’ COVID ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Supporting communities and landowners to grow employment opportunities
    Jobs for Nature funding is being made available to conservation groups and landowners to employ staff and contractors in a move aimed at boosting local biodiversity-focused projects, Conservation Minister Kiritapu Allan has announced. It is estimated some 400-plus jobs will be created with employment opportunities in ecology, restoration, trapping, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Border exception for some returning international tertiary students
    The Government has approved an exception class for 1000 international tertiary students, degree level and above, who began their study in New Zealand but were caught offshore when border restrictions began. The exception will allow students to return to New Zealand in stages from April 2021. “Our top priority continues ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Tiwai deal gives time for managed transition
    Today’s deal between Meridian and Rio Tinto for the Tiwai smelter to remain open another four years provides time for a managed transition for Southland. “The deal provides welcome certainty to the Southland community by protecting jobs and incomes as the region plans for the future. The Government is committed ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New member for APEC Business Advisory Council
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has appointed Anna Curzon to the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC). The leader of each APEC economy appoints three private sector representatives to ABAC. ABAC provides advice to leaders annually on business priorities. “ABAC helps ensure that APEC’s work programme is informed by business community perspectives ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Govt’s careful economic management recognised
    The Government’s prudent fiscal management and strong policy programme in the face of the COVID-19 global pandemic have been acknowledged by the credit rating agency Fitch. Fitch has today affirmed New Zealand’s local currency rating at AA+ with a stable outlook and foreign currency rating at AA with a positive ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Additional actions to keep COVID-19 out of NZ
    The Government is putting in place a suite of additional actions to protect New Zealand from COVID-19, including new emerging variants, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “Given the high rates of infection in many countries and evidence of the global spread of more transmissible variants, it’s clear that ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • 19 projects will clean up and protect waterways
    $36 million of Government funding alongside councils and others for 19 projects Investment will clean up and protect waterways and create local jobs Boots on the ground expected in Q2 of 2021 Funding part of the Jobs for Nature policy package A package of 19 projects will help clean up ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • New Zealand Government acknowledges 175th anniversary of Battle of Ruapekapeka
    The commemoration of the 175th anniversary of the Battle of Ruapekapeka represents an opportunity for all New Zealanders to reflect on the role these conflicts have had in creating our modern nation, says Associate Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage Kiri Allan. “The Battle at Te Ruapekapeka Pā, which took ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Better care for babies with tongue-tie
    Babies born with tongue-tie will be assessed and treated consistently under new guidelines released by the Ministry of Health, Associate Minister of Health Dr Ayesha Verrall announced today. Around 5% to 10% of babies are born with a tongue-tie, or ankyloglossia, in New Zealand each year. At least half can ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • Prisoner disorder event at Waikeria Prison over
    The prisoner disorder event at Waikeria Prison is over, with all remaining prisoners now safely and securely detained, Corrections Minister Kelvin Davis says. The majority of those involved in the event are members of the Mongols and Comancheros. Five of the men are deportees from Australia, with three subject to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • Pre-departure COVID-19 test for travellers from the UK and the US from 15 January
    Travellers from the United Kingdom or the United States bound for New Zealand will be required to get a negative test result for COVID-19 before departing, and work is underway to extend the requirement to other long haul flights to New Zealand, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins confirmed today. “The new PCR test requirement, foreshadowed last ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago