Anatomy of a right-wing smear

Written By: - Date published: 7:01 pm, June 6th, 2010 - 51 comments
Categories: len brown - Tags: , , ,

It seems Len Brown’s recent out-polling of John Banks has spurred National’s smear machine into action. After all if you can’t beat the arguments then you need to attack the man.

And they’ve started by digging around in his credit card details and then handing them to a Sunday Star Times journalist who once did a puff-piece about Banks titled (and I kid you not) My Mentor: John Banks and was also the “journalist” who stalked that other Banks enemy, Andy Williams, from a restaurant and filed a muck-raking piece full of unsubstantiated implications about what followed.

Next step is to get the echo chamber going using Slater’s blog. The good thing about him is he’s got nothing to lose so he can get as vile as he likes. The usual useful idiots chime in.

Step three is to get David Farrar’s blog to pick up on Slater’s smears with the usual “shucks that Whale goes too far but this is funny” angle. Readers are expected to forget that Farrar has previously been paid to run dodgy polls for Banks.

Meanwhile the right-wing councilors do what they can to keep the story going.

It’s a pattern we’ve seen play out time and time again over the last few years but I suspect enough people are getting wise to this tory dirty tricks machine for it to be getting a little counter-productive.

And then there’s that other adage to consider. You know the one about living by the sword…

51 comments on “Anatomy of a right-wing smear”

  1. Doug 1

    Story seems to have legs, Standard calls it a Smear. From TV One.

    Councillors slam Len Brown’s splurge.

    Manukau City councillors are questioning Mayor Len Brown’s spending habits after details of his personal spending with a council credit card were revealed today.

    Councillors Dick Quax and Jami-Lee Ross are calling for a full review of Brown’s mayoral credit card usage after it was reported in the Sunday Star Times that he had purchased family groceries, a stereo system, and paid to take his wife to Auckland’s Rendezvous Hotel with his ratepayer funded credit card.

    • Gee Doug

      It was Dick Quax and Jami-Lee Ross. They are as right wing as they come and have always opposed Len. Quax was a Mayoral candidate last time and was heavily defeated.

      He was previously a reasonable middle distance runner and relies on the name recognition, rather than talent and ability, to be elected.

      Len paid the sums back immediately. This is not abuse of a card. I bet you all the mayoral candidates have had similar mishaps.

      Is this the best they have?

    • Bunji 1.2

      It’s not unusual for Mayors from T Shadbolt northwards to use their mayoral credit card for personal expenses. They pay it back when they balance their expenses, like Len did. They’d be fools not to, as they’re all well aware that it will come out under the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act.

      It’s also not unusual for political opponents, in this case Quax & Ross acting in proxy for Banks, to use those expenses to sling mud. Banks is probably very sensible not to have a council credit card, as he would no doubt suffer those attacks.

      But just because the Sunday Start Times’ best hatchet man is auditioning for a job at The News Of The World, doesn’t mean this story has much content.

  2. tsmithfield 2

    Pot meet kettle

  3. TightyRighty 3

    some of the big differences with this “smear” by “the right”, and both H-fee’s, is that this article is based on truth, which is documented and well researched. also, someone other than a partisan identity has deemed it to have merit. in other words it is an accurate allegation of wrongdoing by len brown. Is this lame attempt at defending the indefensible the only weapon in your arsenal against the documented instances of len browns unethical spending of public funds eddie? you must feel pretty futile, that what you have to go on the attack about is the coverage of it, rather than the substance of the allegations against brown.

  4. gingercrush 4

    It seems John Key’s recent out-polling of Phil Goff has spurred Labour’s smear machine into action. After all if you can’t beat the arguments then you need to attack the man.

    And they’ve started by digging around in his blind trust and then handing them to a TV 3 journalist who once did a puff-piece about John Key. That journalist was also the “journalist’ who stalked that other Phil Goff enemy, Bill English, from close up and filed a muck-raking piece full of unsubstantiated implications about what followed.

    Next step is to get the echo chamber going using The Standard’s blog. The good thing about them is they’re all bonkers and can get as vile as they like. The usual useful idiots Tumeke, No Right Turn (mickey savage – not so useful) chime in.

    Meanwhile the left wing idiots do what they can to keep the story going. Even espousing hilarious posts of “This thing is not like the other”

    It’s a pattern we’ve seen play out time and time again over the last few years but I suspect enough people are getting wise to this left-wing dirty tricks machine for it to be getting a little counter-productive. Namely they lost the 2008 election and are well on their way to losing 2011.

    And then there’s that other adage to consider. You know the one about living by the sword

    • I am sure that no one will persuade you that it is wrong for Key to have a blind trust when he knows what is in it.

      In GC world any attack on glorious leader John Key is a Labour Party conspiracy.

      But you seem to miss the principle involved. If he knows what he owns he may make decisions that will make what he owns increase in value.

      This puff journalism on Mayor’s credit cards is precisely that. There is no analysis or principles at stake, just a chance to smear.

      I understand that Williams was previously a member of the Act party. It is strange for me to defend him but the principle is still the same.

      • Jared 4.1.1

        Yet the media reports of Wayne Eagleson’s Vegas jaunt isn’t smear journalism? Is it only wrong to smear if you disagree with the target?

    • zonk 4.2

      Sorry you’ve said John Key there when you meant Phil Goff.

      I was going to ask where these journalists were doing puff pieces on Phil- you know hangs out with world leaders, gets phone calls from international figures, always sends Christmas cards to his friends in office across the world personally, makes girls go giddy when they have to wear their corsets too tight, voted sexiest man of the people, talks about his testicles to avoid answering questions about why parents shouldn’t be fucked off about losing free child care they’d been promised- but fortunately you didn’t claim that was happening.

      All the stories about Phil seem to get filed under politics.

  5. Santi 5

    So do you condone Brown’s credit card abuse? If so, say it in the open instead of calling it a smear campaign.

    What’s your position?

    • IrishBill 5.1

      I’d like to see Banks’ mayoral credit card records before I would feel comfortable passing any kind of comment about usual practice.

      • gingercrush 5.1.1

        He doesn’t have one apparently.

        And to answer you mickeysavage. No I don’t care about John Key’s blind trust. As you supported Helen Clark despite any scandal concerning her so too do I support John Key as leader of the National Party therefore my vote will go to John Key. I don’t actually see the blind trust as a Labour conspiracy. My post was being facetious.

        Likewise, just because Farrar and Slater pick up the mayor story doesn’t make it a right-wing smear. In most cases any scandal to do with the left will be picked up by them as is the same in most occasions concerning the right and this blog. Thankfully, at least no one here has picked up the even more stupid story about four people going to Las Vegas.

        I don’t particularly care about Len Brown and Credit Card spending. Its not much, its not unlawful and its barely unethical. The story is however legitimate. Like it or not any spending by a public figure can be scrutinised. Especially when that spending is for personal use. As illustrated in this particular blog post, http://www.thestandard.org.nz/ministers-just-sorry-they-got-caught/ that aptly got called corruption. If that is seen as corruption as Marty G saw then surely Len Brown’s use of a Mayoralty credit card for personal use is too corruption.

        Of course most us are not centrist voters on the blogosphere. We’re partisan as fuck and barely care what happens on our particular side yet are always outraged when it involves the opposite side of politics.

      • Inventory2 5.1.2

        You won’t IB, because Banks says he doesn’t have a mayoral credit card!

        • Rich 5.1.2.1

          Nah, he just funds his political campaigns out of “charitable” pokie money from his bars. Or used to, allegedly.

  6. Savant 6

    They need to smear Brown because the BritomartvBluewater u-turn story has got traction with One of the channels…

  7. Nick C 7

    When it happens to a right wing politician its called a scandel

    When it happens to a left wing politician its called a smear

    Do you really think the process by which labour digs its dirt is any more dignified? Think H-Fee.

    • Sorry there is no comparison. Len buys a couple of items, either uses the wrong card or does it but then realises they do not fit the policy and pays the sums immediately.

      Key puts his assets into a blind trust, knows that he still has an interest in them and makes decisions that enrich himself.

      You have this right = good left = bad mantra and presume that lefties have a left = good right = bad mantra.

      There is a thing called the merits of the argument. These attack postings however obliterate the arguments about the merits.

      • Jared 7.1.1

        You are assuming it was paid off immediately. The article merely said that “The personal expenditure totalling $579.27 has now been refunded to Manakau City Council”
        Shit, Phil Heatley spent some extra on his credit card and the left weren’t bending over to understand like you are with Len Brown.

        • IrishBill 7.1.1.1

          Actually I didn’t think that listing seventy dollars of wine as “food and beverages” was a big deal. I think there was more to the Heatley deal than that.

          Which means you’re wrong. Be wrong like like that again and you can take a week off.

          • Jared 7.1.1.1.1

            How am I “wrong”? Calling you out for a similar situation where the left called for his head yet Len Brown spends nearly $600 on private purchases and you pretty much say its not a big deal, that its just a smear?

            I don’t buy that for one second either. Phil Heatley’s situation involved a ministerial credit card where expenditure was mislabelled, with the Attorney General stating that “Heatley didn’t intend to deceive”. Yet putting the family groceries on the council card gets a “Oh he must have used the wrong card”. He must have used the wrong card when he took his wife to dinner as well, what a silly mistake.

            My point is that regardless of the political orientation of an MP or Mayor for that matter, its hypocritical to excuse the behaviour of one when its convenient because they are on the same team. Misappropriation of expenditure is inexcusable regardless of being left or right.

        • mickysavage 7.1.1.2

          You equate the media with the left.

          Show me one place on this blog or any left blog where Eagleson’s trip has been discussed. Unless there is a comment in one of the blogs it has attracted little if any attention.

          Also do you have proof it was not paid back immediately or are you just assuming that I am wrong?

          As for Heatley I agree I always thought it was a beat up and could not imagine why he would have resigned unless he had done something more serious.

          • Jared 7.1.1.2.1

            We don’t have proof of either Micky. The line states that the total has now been refunded to the council. Interpret that how you will, to me that sounds like it has been paid now that the discrepancy has been identified. I didn’t say you were wrong, I highlighted that you assumed it was paid immediately.

            Also, Wayne’s trip is being discussed in the comments of this post

            Coddington on our overgrown weeds

      • Nick C 7.1.2

        Actually i was refering to H-fee in 2008. You know, the one where the process was
        1) Put labour research unit to work digging through australian court documents
        2) Spread rumours about an ‘H-bomb’ for several months
        3) Send party president to australia to collect court documents

        You always acuse all the writers on this blog who you disagree with of having a ‘right=good left=bad mentality. Ever looked at yourself?

        • felix 7.1.2.1

          Still a lot of unanswered questions around Key’s dealings of that time, and neither your willingness to ignore them nor the lack of the likelyhood of any immediate political gain to be made by the opposition asking them at this time makes them any less so.

          In time the truth will out, and Key will be long gone, and you will casually rearrange your memories and remark that you always had your suspicions about the whole affair.

      • infused 7.1.3

        Using the wrong card, lol. I have about 6-7 cards for business, there’s no way I would “use the wrong card”. You’d have to be an idiot.

        • Marty G 7.1.3.1

          Heatley used the wrong card at least a couple of times (along with claiming things he shouldn’t have) as did some other ministers

          • Tigger 7.1.3.1.1

            So I fully expect John Key when questioned as to what he thinks (and come on, the guy has an opinion on everything – well, everything he’s got poll data) to support Brown just as he supported Heatley… Come on MSM, ask Key what he thinks about people making mistakes with credit cards…

  8. Sanctuary 8

    One aspect of these wing-nut attacks is receiving little or no intention, yet in a democracy it is in many ways the most worrying aspect of all. It is the way right wing multi-millionaires like Key and Banks use their personal wealth to insulate themselves from this sort of smear. Effectively, anyone who is not a multi-millionaire and therefore able to fund their spending in a way that is outside public scrutiny is vulnerable to smears from those who are. It is a very American, a very nasty, and a very worrying development for democracy.

    The obvious solution, of course, is to force all candidates for public office to reveal all credit card transactions for up to three years before their election. Len Brown should challenge all millionaire politicians to stick that in their pipe and smoke it.

  9. Bored 9

    Oh dear Eddie, gone 9 at night Sunday on a long weekend and I look at this site as my wife has hogged the TV and the book is slightly wearisome….., its raining and the dog doesnt want a walk…..so I take a cursory glance at your little ditty on right wing smears…not many Standardistas in view, obviously they are having a splendid long weekend.

    But wait, lo and behold, the usual suspects from the right TS, Santi, ginga, TR, queing up to add another orchestrated litany of spurious claims….jeez guys, doesnt anybody love you enough to take you somewhere, buy you a beer etc???????? No? Not surprised, you are a sad crew, very very dull. Im bored with you lot, so so predictably tedious, goodbye, I think it best to go away and find more intellegent company, or by default the comforting presence of my cat (demanding bugger, wants food). Back Tuesday.

  10. Jared 10

    Waaa waaa, cry some more. You happily defended Sam Cash and his repeated “smearing” of John Banks, infact, Sam Cash quite happily gloated when Banks was criticised in the media. Yet you whinge when the media try and smear Len Brown? diddums.
    The fact that you also happily protect Sam Cash and who he works for smacks of the boy who cried wolf.

    Captcha: Know…

    [lprent: We protect our authors anonymity, you can attack their opinions but not who or what they are. Even I don’t know who he is. You on the other hand don’t have that protection, and you’ve been down this path before. For the moment you get a weeks ban for making presumptions about my motivations in protecting our authors anonymity. Read the about.

    The only reason that you get a light ban is because when you’re not getting on your frigging high horse attacking this sites policies, you write good comment. Even if it is from a perspective that I think in somewhat stupid.

    But if you want a permanent ban, I’m quite willing to hand one out – you’re starting to piss me off. ]

  11. Buster 11

    SO where is the story? Brown has expenses that are all signed off by the CEO and he reimburses any that are personal use. Seems like a desperate smear to me.

  12. RedFred 12

    Buster Good Call & Correct

    That is exactly how it works, Ive used my corporate credit card in exactly the same way for 15 odd years. In fact you find CEO around the country use it like that.

    There is also a nice little perk that some run; they book all the companies travel on their credit card to get the air miles for personal use….Something for the IRD perhaps.

    I don\’t think Banks has got a chance anyway, watch them get more desperate.

    • Graham 12.1

      Ummm … really? There’s no way I’d use my corporate credit card for any personal expenses (like a stereo system???), then reimburse it – I use my own personal credit card for personal expenses. Pretty damn simple concept, really.

      Getting it confused? Well ok, I admit my corporate credit card and my own personal credit card are very similar in colour and I guess it can be easy to get confused if I don’t spend two seconds looking to see which one says “CORPORATE Credit Card” (/sarcasm)

      And, talking of smears, is this an example of YOUR smearing against the National Party? You claim that “… Len Brown’s recent out-polling of John Banks has spurred National’s smear machine into action … And they’ve started by digging around in his credit card details and then handing them to a Sunday Star Times journalist …”. Well, reading the link you provided, I don’t see where it actually states who gave the credit-card details to the jounalist. How do you know it was someone employed by the Nats who went digging around? In fact, the way I read the story, it was the Sunday Star Times who requested the information. Pot, meet kettle.

  13. Laboursucks 13

    Anonymous online labour smears with no factual basis at the standard good, named real life attacks with factual basis in real life bad.

    Eddie since you’re so keen to point out Farrar’s bias towards banks, maybe you might want to disclose any affiliation you have with Len Brown.

    [lprent: We don’t disclose affiliations for the reasons outlined in the about. But as far as I know Eddie isn’t even based in Auckland.

    However in my case, I have no affiliation with Len Brown apart from filming him once at a Drinking Liberally. However I dislike Banks for quite personal reasons – I grew up around some of his rather estranged family. I didn’t think much of his retarded behaviour 40 years ago – and his behaviour since has merely confirmed it. Yours isn’t much better.

    I’d suggest that you read the policy and the consequences of attacking this site. Questions like this that clearly want the authors to breach our pseudonymous policy are rewarded. In your case with a 4 week ban under any of your aliases for being stupid enough to not read the policy before commenting. ]

  14. Irascible 14

    One would expect the smear attacks on Len Brown to come from Quax & Ross as they come from the NACT stable in Manukau. Quax has been an ACT candidate and the local body group he purports to represent on Council is an ACT front. Both are advocates of Councils only being involved in providing “core services” (to be defined by them?) which puts them in a policy vacuum in Manukau where the Council actually has a social services policy and looks to improving the quality of life for those resident in the city.
    The beat up against Len will be intensify as the NACT driven creation of the supercity gets closer and closer and Banks and NACT get more desperate to control the ratepayers’ assets and strip them down to”core services” only.

  15. Rob 15

    Didn’t Heatley deliberately try to claim the items as legitimate expences? When they were obviously not!! Duh

  16. Zaphod Beeblebrox 16

    The people who will worst affected by this will be Quax and Curtis. Not good to be seen to be lackys of the NACT smear machine.

  17. kriswgtn 17

    Banks is a homophobic prick and a person like that should NOT be mayor of anything

  18. Herodotus 18

    He has a lead that Jonhbanks needs help to recover from. Interesting, this is getting dirty, just as well that most who are passive I think will vote for anyone but Johnboy as long as they get out to vote. This is where the effort should be placed to get voters to vote. High turnout Len wins, Low turnout John wins politics is so easy to control !! hahah
    How about johnboys water promise ” Water has got to be used for water. We cannot take any cash from water profits to use for general council spending. That bad behaviour must stop. We shouldn’t be taking profits from stormwater. We should be using profits for [wastewater] separation so we can clean up the beaches.’ link to full article below
    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10469846
    sorry IPrent had to comment !!!!!!!

  19. Winner 19

    No wonder Brown needs insect repellant working with the likes of Quax and his little mate Jamie. Both are Dicks and pains just like flys feeding off Banks shit. Neither have acheived a single thing for their areas and will never get out of the gutter or off the poo heap. NZ media need to go after some real stories about waste of rate payers $$. Like Banks defending the loss of $3 million on My Fair Lady and Banks committing fraud with his KiwiSaver company.

  20. Sam 20

    I fucking love how Brown had already paid it back long ago, so the irrelevant Quax is forced to fall back on ‘oh it’s not a good look’ because he’s realised there’s nothing to be made in attacking people’s expenditure. If it mattered John Key would have lost popularity when it came out that he had the highest travel bill of everyone in parliament shortly after taking power.

    It’s ever so convenient that Banks is always called to comment and he always says the same thing – I don’t use my council credit card ever. That’s no surprise – when you’re the mayor and you’re wining and dining people it’s clearly a business expense. I don’t see anyone trawling through the expenses he charges to his various companies, do you? That’s because when it’s the private sector nobody gives a shit about inefficiency or expenditure. Even if it is borderline corrupt.

    Quax should fuck off and retire. He was no good as an athlete and he’s even worse as a local politician. Two words: washed up.

  21. Jack L 21

    Haha, it was so obviously a right wing smear attempt I didn’t even bother to read the article.

  22. Priceless.
    Fact one. Len Brown uses a council credit card for personal expenses.
    Fact two. Len Brown does not pay it back until the newspaper starts asking questions.
    Fact three. Council credit cards are not allowed for the use of personal expenses.

    Don’t you just love the way public servants seem to be exempt from accusations of fraud if they pay it back, even after they are caught?
    Lets see David Lewis and Conor Roberts spin their way out of this one.

  23. soon as i heard this story i thought typical tory smear.usual tactic when tories are losing to throw as much mud to see if it sticks.reminds me of republicans and their attack ads or using 3rd parties to dish the dirt.

    • Of course the National Dirty Tricks Brigade is behind the Len Brown smear campaign. Readers will remember that I warned of such a move by the Tories some time ago. What is surprising is that they have waited so long. This is a smidgering of what to expect at the Super City election.The Right will use the Auckland election as a rehersal of the General Election . Just take my word for it .The scandalous Kiwi/Iwi ad. and the 1970s Cossacks adverts will be small hat at these two elections. If the Right come out the worst at the Auckland (as I think they will ). Well watch out they will pull out all stops ,most of It dirty trick action.
      They have an abundance of money ,whilst the Left were left broke because of the money paid “back ” because of the so called pledge card overspend. Which was a misscarriage of justice in my opinion. The whole thing was a set up for sure .And before the members of the political Right start screaming ,just remember the Nats cheated on GST and it still not been paid back . No headlines and consistent stories from the Herald on that.
      Please Lefties be most vigilant regarding the coming election be aware of the Political Rights obsession to win at all costs , Beware of their conviction of their B

  24. Graham 24

    I posted this a bit further up, in reply to RedFred, but just noticed that his post was at 10:19 pm yesterday, so I was probably a little tardy. I’ll repost here.

    RedFred claims that he’s “.. used my corporate credit card in exactly the same way for 15 odd years. In fact you find CEO around the country use it like that.”

    Ummm really? There’s no way I’d use my corporate credit card for any personal expenses (like a stereo system???), then reimburse it I use my own personal credit card for personal expenses. Pretty damn simple concept, really.

    Getting it confused? Well ok, I admit my corporate credit card and my own personal credit card are very similar in colour and I guess it can be easy to get confused if I don’t spend two seconds looking to see which one says “CORPORATE Credit Card’ (/sarcasm)

    And, talking of smears, is this an example of YOUR smearing against the National Party? You claim that ” Len Brown’s recent out-polling of John Banks has spurred National’s smear machine into action And they’ve started by digging around in his credit card details and then handing them to a Sunday Star Times journalist ‘. Well, reading the link you provided, I don’t see where it actually states who gave the credit-card details to the jounalist. How do you know it was someone employed by the Nats who went digging around? In fact, the way I read the story, it was the Sunday Star Times who requested the information. Pot, meet kettle.

  25. Buster 25

    This was such an obvious smear that even right wingers don’t like it. I don’t normally agree with Redbaiter – but have a look at this post on Kiwiblog after the original article went up:

    Redbaiter (9717) Says:
    June 6th, 2010 at 1:38 pm

    Why do we need this??
    Can’t we win on ideas??

    http://www.kiwiblog.co.nz/2010/06/images_from_whale.html#comment-702018

    – I couldn’t agree more.

  26. Graham 26

    Yeah, whatever.

    I still think this story reeks of a smear against the Nats by Eddie.

    (captcha: “projects” – as in Eddie’s own personal project to wage a little vendetta against the Nats)

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