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Astroturfers of the world unite

Written By: - Date published: 9:14 am, November 20th, 2021 - 52 comments
Categories: act, feminism, making shit up, national, same old national, spin, tax, taxpayers union, you couldn't make this shit up - Tags:

Well this is unfortunate.  Two days before what is claimed will be the mother of all protests links between the Groundswell organisation and the Taxpayers Union have been discovered.

Groundswell has a website up and running to coordinate events and no doubt to harvest the details of individuals including those who truly believe that this Government wants to impose world Government on Aotearoa New Zealand and that there are microchips in the Covid vaccine.

The website is quite good.  It is clean.  It will harvest information about those people who are for some reason really upset with the Government.

It raises questions however.  Who is behind the protest and what will happen to the personal information harvested by the website?

It appears that an urban based organisation that I consider is nothing more than an astroturf entity for the political right may be behind the new website.

There has been a really weak response.

But here is where it starts to get weird.  Because suddenly the domain was registered to a different entity, a company called The Campaign Company Limited.  This was not a piece of overt subterfuge, Jordan Williams is the Director and Shareholder of the Company.  Although for a short period of time I contemplated an extraordinary deep into the rabbit hole sort of conspiracy because a company with the identical name but owned by Matt McCarten used to exist.  I am sure using that Jordan using the exact same name for his company is a random unplanned event.

But this does cast doubts on the suggestion that Groundswell is a spontaneously generated entity with no links to the organised right.

As for the campaign with the greatest of respect Groundswell’s goals show how deeply mired in the 1950s the organisation’s thinking is.

Believing that land owners have some god given right to do what they want with the environment is exactly the sort of thinking that has got us into a global emergency that threatens humanity’s viability.  Opposing the planting of forests because it will change your way of life is many degrees of selfishness.  Opposing the clean car package is Trumpian in its logic and understanding.  And opposing water reforms because things are fine shows how removed from reality their perception is.

The protest is on Sunday.  The organisers are doing their best to hide the innate misogynist tendencies supporters have and have released a list of safe but very dull things people can have on their signs.  Time will tell if all of their supporters can resist the urge to be dicks.  I would not count on it.

But the movement is now tainted and there is a rather strong whiff that organised forces of the right are willing to put up with bizarre thinking, proposals that will wreck the environment and misogyny of the grossest kind just so they can take it to the Government.

52 comments on “Astroturfers of the world unite ”

  1. Tiger Mountain 1

    These links with the Taxpayers Union (a yellow “union” indeed) deserve to be put out there for people to consider. There is often shyness on the right to disclose exactly who they are. I would call it deception, but hey we don’t have to delve into that for our purposes here.

    Two other cases;
    COLFO, NZ Council of Licensed Firearms Owners, makes out it is grass roots but in fact it has strong links to the arms industry manufacturers and retailers. ACT MP Nicole Mckee was spokesperson for COLFO until she became a member of Parliament. COLFO www site used to display links to the American NRA via international sport shooting affiliations–those links were removed sometime prior to ACT inviting gun lovers to join its circus.

    Cannabis. Some genius invited American anti marijuana group SAM into Referendum debates. The “Nope to Dope” campaign was born. Russell Brown on “Public Address” has done some handy research which shows collusion between Bob McCroskrie’s Family First and the USA SAM (Smart Approaches to Marijuana) prohibitionist organisation, including sharing offices and web resources. Technical separation basically enabled their part of the NO campaign to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars more than legally permitted.

    So well done Micky for bringing this to people’s attention. Astroturfing is a variant of the Slater/Key two track strategy where public and behind the scenes personas and actions can be very different.

    p.s. did anyone ever discover the back story of ferret features holding that anti Jacinda sign?

  2. Robert Guyton 2

    Favourite comment from the Groundswell site:

    "the real problem are the urban greenie commie supporters that are screwing us over they vote cindy"

  3. Ad 3

    Surely it's time for Seymour to break cover and pick up the mike tomorrow.

    The extra 5% of voters that breaks National must be there for his taking.

  4. Maurice 4

    Not the organisers we need to be wary of …. but the participants.

    Many of those own pitchforks!

  5. vto 5

    tedious whingers

    record payouts

    new tractors and utes

    the primary sector has zero history in protecting the environment


    tedious whingers

    whinge whinge whinge

    • Unicus 5.1

      Not to mention free trade bonanza with the poms – whine whine

      Just one point – silly Stewart Nash probably doubled the turn out tomorrow calling them racists and anti-vaxers which some may be – calling rurals nasty names -red rag to a bull

      Very dumb

    • Tricledrown 5.2

      Not so more farmers are changing practices ,customers a driving changes

      Premiums are being paid for Organic environmentally sustainable food.

      Traditional grown meat is not profitable .

  6. Maurice 7

    It appears that the "right" is learning some lessons from the "left".

    Reverse Alinsky Rules?

    • Sacha 7.1

      Hardly a new observation. https://www.openculture.com/2017/02/13-rules-for-radicals.html

      But liberals and leftists have no special purchase on Alinsky’s legacy. As one thoughtful, eloquent pundit recently wrote, “the Right has taken Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals and shoved it up where #TheResistance don’t shine.” Not long before this charming appropriation, Alinsky’s 1971 manual of political warfare found its way into the hands of some of the same Tea Party organizers who had made his name synonymous with everything they despised about the left.

      Bit of a contextual difference though.

      What follows is for those who want to change the world from what it is to what they believe it should be. The Prince was written by Machiavelli for the Haves on how to hold power. Rules for Radicals is written for the Have-Nots on how to take it away.

      Good luck defining the current whiners on our right as 'have-nots'.

    • joe90 7.2

      Alinsky never rationalised fascism – use the power of the state to achieve his political goals.

      What I saw at the National Conservatism Conference


      My old friend Rod Dreher of The American Conservative argued that because the left controls the commanding heights of the culture and the economy, the only institution the right has a shot at influencing is the state. In these circumstances the right has to use state power to promote its values. “We need to quit being satisfied with owning the libs, and save our country,” Dreher said. “We need to unapologetically embrace the use of state power.”

      This is where Viktor Orbán comes in. It was Dreher who prompted Carlson’s controversial trip to Hungary last summer, and Hungarians were a strong presence at the National Conservatism Conference. Orbán, in Dreher’s view, understands the civilizational stakes of the culture war; he has, for instance, used the power of the state to limit how much transgenderism can be taught to children in schools. “Our team talks incessantly about how horrible wokeness is,” Dreher said at the conference. “Orbán actually does something about it.”



  7. Sacha 8

    So Jordan claims he only helped them with a website? Here is his comms guy from the Taxdodgers Onion also 'helping out' – click on the image to see the full text.

  8. gsays 9

    I was disappointed to find out last protest, instead of driving their tractors into town, they hopped in their late model utes, drove in and borrowed a tractor from the local supplier.

  9. Graeme 10

    It's a bit odd Groundswell adding 3 Waters to their list of issues.

    For years farmers' lobbies have been saying freshwater contamination issues are as much, or more, the fault of 'townies' and government should get towns should clean up their act before even thinking about asking farmers to do a thing.

    Now Government is attempting to get 'townies' (I doubt there is one farm in NZ directly affected by 3 Waters) to actually get serious about the contamination entering fresh water from urban sewage and runoff via stormwater farmers are protesting to stop it.

    My head hurts.

    • pat 10.1

      Not so strange when you consider the degree of influence the farming sector has on regional councils …..and 3 waters threatens council control of water both directly and indirectly.

      • Robert Guyton 10.1.1

        The farming sector tends to put their weight behind the regional councils. 3 waters is mostly a territorial council issue.

        • pat

          Directly yes….indirectly a central (or 4) authorities will have control over source problems one would expect

    • weka 10.2

      small towns will be affected. Living in Winton or Gore and having Chch make decisions for where you live will go against the grain. It's not just farmers supporting Groundswell.

      • Graeme 10.2.1

        It's going to be fun to watch the hissys if 3 Waters gets put down ant the good burghers of Gore and Winton have to stump up the ratepayer cash to make their water and sewage infrastructure compliant. In both cases the work, and cost will be substantial, probably threatening the ongoing viability of the towns.

        In Gore's case, two thirds of properties have combined sewage and stormwater services, which is third world shit and very expensive for a small town to fix. To their credit GDC is planning to fix it, but it looks like a 'start' in 10 years.

        This is what gets farmers exercised.

    • georgecom 10.3

      the hackneyed shout of "theft of water assets without compensation".

      It would be theft if the likes of ACT with support from the minor party National sold of water assets or turned over running to a corporate to extract profit from it. ACt would that in a heart beat if it could, anything not nailed down sold or privatised. 3 waters isn't theft simply because assets are retained in public ownership and no need for 'compensation' as along with the revenue generation will come the renewal costs of infrastructure. Previous sunk costs and future needed costs are simply managed by another entity.

      • Graeme 10.3.1

        "theft of water assets without compensation"

        Really the removal of Councils' ability to borrow against the valuation of their 3 Waters infrastructure to fund things other than 3 Waters infrastructure. Like street upgrades and civic centres, in order to get said councilors re-elected.

        Where 3 Waters infrastructure has been upgraded to standard Councils are being compensated for the loss of equity resulting from those upgrades, but that's not everyone.

  10. georgecom 11

    I groaned inwardly and spat out a comment about hypocrites regarding the moans from this group about planting of pine plantations ruining their way or life and threatening their communities and rural jobs.

    Where were the farmers 80 odd years ago when transportation and centralised dairy factories were resulting in the loss of small single family farms and localised rural villages, where farms got bigger, small dairy factories closed with loss of jobs and rural lifestyles were changed. I suspect many of todays pine tree plantation moaners are those living on large farms and having their milk transported 30 or 70 miles to a town for processing. Economics have always changed the rural landscape, dairy farming changed dramatically and those now moaning benefitted.

  11. observer 12

    In democracies around the world anti-government protesters are greeted with water cannon (on a good day) or worse.

    In Jacinda's Evil Dictatorship Which Is Totally Communist/Fascist Whatever … the police guide the traffic.

  12. Pete 13

    The movement being tainted is irrelevant. Lies, misinformation, manipulated half truths and propaganda will come out from them. It'll be repeated time and again and thickheads will believe it.

  13. Sacha 14

    Of course we could have it all wrong..

  14. Patricia Bremner 15

    Will theyangry pay for the carbon they generate?

  15. Sacha 16

    More backstory – a whole thread.

  16. ghostwhowalksnz 17


    Is now a 404 message when clicked.

    probably shift to another url soon enough.

  17. newsense 18

    Can’t find anything about how we used to subsidise polluting industries ‘accidentally’ through a scheme where the phase in was slow or we paid subsidies or something to encourage industries to join the ETS.

    seems difficult to search historic things through certain browsers.

    certainly the overthrow of environment Canterbury is more difficult to consign to historical amnesia.

  18. woodart 19

    it seems as though grandswill isnt really about freedom. " a list of fifteen approved signs". its a protest for phucksake . I bet : bring back buck. wasnt on the approved list! call yourselves kiwi's!

  19. roblogic 20

    Did someone say Astroturf?

  20. feijoa 21

    It's all straight out of Shock Doctrine

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