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.)

BLip

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 4.3.1.1

          agree

          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 4.3.1.2

          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

  • Speech to the Property Council of New Zealand
    Kia ora koutou katoa   Is it a pleasure to be able to speak with you today, and to be able to answer some questions you may have. I would like to acknowledge the organisers of this event, the Property Council. The theme of this year’s conference is City Shapers. Together ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 hour ago
  • Additional MIQ for Christchurch
    An additional hotel will be added to our network of managed isolation and quarantine facilities, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “I have approved and Cabinet is in the final stages of signing off The Quality Hotel Elms in Christchurch as a new managed isolation facility,” Chris Hipkins said. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 hours ago
  • NZ COVID-19 response earns another major digital investment
    Minister for the Digital Economy and Communications Dr David Clark welcomes Amazon’s Web Services’ (AWS) decision to establish a Cloud Region on New Zealand shores, further boosting New Zealand’s growing digital sector, and providing a vote of confidence in the direction of New Zealand’s economic recovery. “Amazon is the second ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 hours ago
  • New Zealand invests in cutting edge cancer R&D
    Scaling up the manufacture of CAR T-cell cancer therapy for clinical trials Advancing New Zealand’s biomedical manufacturing capability Supporting future international scientific collaborations Transforming cancer care with targeted, affordable solutions Research, Science and Innovation Minister Hon Dr Megan Woods has announced that the fight against COVID-19 will not stop the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 hours ago
  • Expert group appointed to lead New Zealand’s future health system
    An outstanding group of people with extensive and wide-ranging governance and health experience have been appointed to lead the Māori Health Authority and Health New Zealand, Health Minister Andrew Little says. “This Government is building a truly national health system to provide consistent, high-quality health services right across the country. This ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    9 hours ago
  • Funding to help clean up contaminated sites
    The Government is supporting the clean-up of contaminated sites in Northland, Dunedin and Southland to reduce risk to people’s health and protect the environment. Environment Minister David Parker said the funding announced today, through the Contaminated Sites Remediation Fund, will help us turn previously hazardous sites into safe, usable public ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    12 hours ago
  • Predator Free apprenticeships open up new job opportunities
    The expansion of a predator free apprenticeship programme is an opportunity for more people to kick-start a conservation career, Conservation Minister Kiri Allan says. “The Predator Free Apprenticeship Programme is focused on increasing the number of skilled predator control operators in New Zealand through a two-year training programme. “The Trust ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Further NCEA support confirmed for Auckland students
    The number of Learning Recognition Credits for senior secondary school students will be increased for Auckland students, Education Minister Chris Hipkins confirmed today. This recognises the extended time these students will spend in Alert Levels 3 and 4. “It means students in Auckland will have a fair opportunity to attain ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Long-term pathway next step to better mental wellbeing for New Zealanders
    The Government is taking a new approach to support people who experience mental distress, Health Minister Andrew Little says. “Kia Manawanui Aotearoa – Long-term pathway to mental wellbeing (Kia Manawanui) is the first 10-year plan of its kind that targets the cause of mental distress and also sets out how ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Keeping our Police safe to keep our communities safe
    The Government is committed to keeping our frontline police officers safe, so they in turn can keep New Zealanders safe – with one of the largest investments in frontline safety announced by Police Minister Poto Williams at the Police College today.   The $45 million investment includes $15.496 million in ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Clean Vehicles Bill passes first checkpoint
    The Land Transport (Clean Vehicles) Amendment Bill will help New Zealand drive down transport emissions by cleaning up the light vehicle fleet, Transport Minister Michael Wood says. The Bill passed its first reading today and will establish the legislative framework for key parts of the Government’s Clean Car Package, including ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Funding boost supports ongoing Māori COVID-19 response
    The Government is responding to the need by whānau Māori and Māori Health providers to support their ongoing work responding to COVID-19 and to continue increasing rates of Māori vaccination, Associate Minister for Health (Māori Health), Peeni Henare and Minister for Māori Development Willie Jackson announced today.   This increased ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Significant increase to COVID-19 penalties
    Penalties for breaches of COVID-19 orders are set to significantly increase from early November 2021 to better reflect the seriousness of any behaviour that threatens New Zealand’s response to the virus, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “Throughout this Delta outbreak we’ve seen the overwhelming majority of people doing ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Counter-Terrorism Legislation Bill returns to Parliament
    The Counter-Terrorism Legislation Bill has returned to Parliament for its second reading in an important step towards giving enforcement agencies greater power to protect New Zealanders from terrorist activity. “The Bill addresses longstanding gaps in our counter terrorism legislation that seek to protect New Zealanders and make us safer,” Justice ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Joint Statement: New Zealand and Australian Trade Ministers
    Hon Damien O'Connor MP, New Zealand Minister for Trade and Export Growth, and Hon Dan Tehan MP, Australian Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, met virtually on Monday 20 September to advance trans-Tasman cooperation under the Australia-New Zealand Closer Economic Relations Trade Agreement (CER). CER is one of the most ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Prime Minister’s Post Cabinet Press Conference/COVID-19 Update opening statement
    ***Please check against delivery***   E te tī, e te tā, nau mai rā [To all, I bid you welcome]   As you will have seen earlier, today there are 22 new community cases to report; three of which are in Whakatiwai in the Hauraki area, and the remainder in ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Major milestones for Māori COVID-19 vaccine rollout as new campaign launches
    Whānau Ora and Associate Health (Māori Health) Minister Peeni Henare acknowledges two major milestones in the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccination programme for Māori. “I am very pleased to announce more than 50 percent of eligible Māori have received their first dose and 25 per cent are now fully vaccinated,” ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Government funding to fight infectious diseases
    $36 million for research into Covid-19 and other infectious diseases The investment will improve our readiness for future pandemics Research will focus on prevention, control, and management of infectious diseases The Government’s investing in a new Infectious Diseases Research Platform to boost Aotearoa New Zealand’s Covid-19 response and preparedness for ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Quarantine-free travel with Australia to remain suspended for a further 8 weeks
    Suspension to be reviewed again mid to late November Decision brought forward to enable access from Australia to first tranche of around 3000 rooms in MIQ Air New Zealand working at pace to put on more flights from Australia from October    The suspension of quarantine-free travel (QFT) with Australia has ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Extra support for Ethnic Communities to share vaccination information
    Extra support is being made available to Ethnic Communities to help them share COVID-19 vaccination information within their communities, Minister for Diversity, Inclusion and Ethnic Communities Priyanca Radhakrishnan said. “We know we need to get every eligible person in New Zealand vaccinated. A fund being launched today will allow for ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • School holidays remain unchanged for Auckland region
    School holidays in Auckland will continue to be held at the same time as the rest of the country, starting from Saturday, 2 October, Education Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “I’ve carefully considered advice on the implications of shifting the dates and concluded that on balance, maintaining the status quo ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Government continues crackdown on gangs and organised crime
    Operation Tauwhiro extended until March 2022 Since it was launched in February, Operation Tauwhiro has resulted in:   987 firearms seized $4.99 million in cash seized 865 people charged with a firearms-related offence Gangs and organised crime groups will continue to be relentlessly targeted with the extension of Police’s successful ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Speech to Body Positive 'HIV Treatments Update Seminar 2021'
    E ngā mana E ngā reo E ngā iwi Tēnā koutou katoa Ka huri ki ngā mana whenua o te rohe nei. Tēnā koutou. He mihi hoki ki a tatou kua tau mai nei I raro I te kaupapa o te rā. Nō reira tēnā koutou katoa Acknowledgements It’s a ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Power bill changes bring fairness to charges
    A key recommendation of an independent panel to make electricity charges fairer across all households will be put in place, the Energy and Resources Minister Megan Woods has announced. “Phasing out the regulations on ‘low-use’ electricity plans will create a fairer playing field for all New Zealanders and encourage a ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • NZ economy’s strong momentum will support rebound from Delta outbreak; COVID fund replenished
    The economy showed strong momentum in the period leading up to the recent Delta COVID-19 outbreak, which bodes well for a solid economic rebound, Grant Robertson said. GDP rose 2.8 percent in the June quarter, following on from a 1.4 percent increase in the previous March quarter. This was a ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Projects create benefits into the future
    Making a well-known lake swimmable and helping to halt the decline of the endangered hoiho/yellow-eyed penguins are among a suite of new projects being supported by the Government’s Jobs for Nature programme across the southern South Island, Conservation Minister Kiri Allan says. “It’s no secret that many of our most ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Opening statement for Whāriki Indigenous Small Business Roundtable
      Kei ngā tōpito e wha o te āo e rere ana te mihi maioha ki a koutou nō tawhiti, nō tata mai e tāpiri ana ki tēnei taumata kōrero mo te ao hokohoko arā mā ngā pākihi mo ngā iwi taketake Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou katoa – Pai Mārire.  ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New members appointed to Kāpuia
    The Government is adding four additional members to Kāpuia, the Ministerial Advisory Group on the Government’s Response to the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the terrorist attack on Christchurch mosques. “I’m looking forward to having Pamela MacNeill, Huia Bramley, Melani Anae and Katherine Dedo  join Kāpuia and contribute to this group’s ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Timeline confirmed for Emissions Reductions Plan
    Cabinet has agreed to begin consulting on the Emissions Reduction Plan in early October and require that the final plan be released by the end of May next year in line with the 2022 Budget, the Minister of Climate Change, James Shaw confirmed today. “Cabinet’s decision allows organisations and communities ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Pay parity pathway for early learning teachers confirmed
    Pay parity conditions and higher funding rates for education and care services will come into force on 1 January, 2022, Minister of Education Chris Hipkins confirmed today. The Government signalled this work in Budget 2021. “From 1 January, 2022, centres opting into the scheme will receive government funding and be ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Speech to the New Zealand Nurses Organisation Conference 2021
    Kia Ora tatau katoa.   Ka tuku mihi ki nga nēhi, He pou Hauora o Aotearoa, E ora ai tatou.   Whakatau mai  I runga i te kaupapa o te ra Te NZNO conference.   Tena koutou tena koutou Tena tatou katoa   Good morning, and thank you inviting me ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government investment in farmer-led catchment groups sweeps past 150 mark
    171 catchment groups have now been invested in by the Government 31 catchment groups in the Lower North Island are receiving new support More than 5,000 farmers are focussed on restoring freshwater within a generation through involvement in catchment groups  Government investment in on-the-ground efforts by farmers to improve land ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Fight to protect kauri on track
    The Government is pitching in to help vital work to protect nationally significant kauri forests in Auckland, Minister of Conservation Kiri Allan says. “Ensuring the survival of these iconic trees for future generations means doing everything we can to prevent the potential spread of kauri dieback disease,” Kiri Allan said. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Joint statement of Mr Bernard Monk; Hon Andrew Little, Minister Responsible for Pike River Re-entry,...
    [Note: The Parties have agreed on terms to fully and finally settle the proceeding and will jointly issue the below statement.] At the heart of this litigation are the lives of the 29 men tragically lost at the Pike River mine on 19 November 2010 and to whom we pay ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • More financial support for businesses
    Today’s decision to keep Auckland in a higher COVID Alert Level triggers a third round of the Wage Subsidy Scheme which will open for applications at 9am this Friday. “The revenue test period for this payment will be the 14th to the 27th of September. A reminder that this is ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Aotearoa New Zealand provides further humanitarian support for Afghanistan
    Aotearoa New Zealand is providing a further $3 million in humanitarian assistance in Afghanistan, Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta announced today.  “There is significant humanitarian need in Afghanistan, with the crisis disproportionately affecting women and girls,” said Nanaia Mahuta. The UN has estimated that 80% of the quarter of a million ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Innovative te reo prediction tool announced in Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori
    A new Māori language prediction tool will play a key role in tracking our te reo Māori revitalisation efforts, Minister for Māori Development Willie Jackson announced today. He Ara Poutama mō te reo Māori (He Ara Poutama) can forecast the number of conversational and fluent speakers of te reo Māori ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Further Government support for people to access food and essential items
    The Government is responding to need for support in Auckland and has committed a further $10 million to help people access ongoing food and other essential items, Minister for Social Development Carmel Sepuloni announced today. This latest tranche is targeted at the Auckland region, helping providers and organisations to distribute ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Half a million Pfizer vaccines from Denmark
    The Government has secured an extra half a million doses of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines from Denmark that will start arriving in New Zealand within days, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced today. “This is the second and larger agreement the Government has entered into to purchase additional vaccines to meet the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Inland Revenue providing essential COVID support for businesses
    Inland Revenue is seeing increased demand for Resurgence Support Payments and other assistance schemes that it administers, but is processing applications quickly, Revenue Minister David Parker said today. David Parker said the Resurgence Support Payment, the Small Business Cashflow (loan) Scheme and the Wage Subsidy are available at the same ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago