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Boots Theory: Creepy behaviour from David Farrar

Written By: - Date published: 9:49 am, September 27th, 2014 - 78 comments
Categories: David Farrar, tertiary education, welfare - Tags: , , , , , , ,

This post by Stephanie Rodgers originally appeared at Boots Theory. You can follow Stephanie on Twitter.

It wasn’t at all surprising to me that David Farrar is scathing of students who have to seek hardship grants to pay their bills, categorising them as bludgers who “say yes to free cash“. Nor that he believes that every journalist who reports on the cost of living should demand “a detailed break down of income and expenditure, so readers can judge for themselves the situation”.

(David Farrar isn’t a journalist, so he’s not bound by such ethical considerations – or he might have considered linking to the actual UCOL policy on hardship grants which makes it clear it is definitely not just “free cash”.)

It’s a typical rightwing attitude which reinforces the idea that lesser people – beneficiaries, students, parents – just aren’t allowed to have nice things. It assumes that survival is good enough – not being able to live a life with some dignity, nor understanding that human beings aren’t just automatons who you input fuel into to extract productivity.

What’s disturbing is this bit, where after completely misrepresenting an interviewees’ statements (she commented that she was speaking generally, not of her own situation; Farrar reforms this into wholesale journalistic inaccuracy):

I’ve had a look through the Facebook pages of Lauren and Karn. They both seem very cool friendly people, and in no way are they political activists for a cause. They seem very typical students. I would note however that contrary to the perception in the article of starving students (and I am not blaming them, but the story) they seem to have pretty good social lives judging by the photos, and references to Big Day Out etc.

We’ve seen this before, of course, with Paula Bennett unashamedly releasing the personal details of beneficiaries who criticised her ill-judged, mean-spirited decision to cut the Training Incentive Allowance. And there have been many similar cases of people having sick leave cut because they looked happy in a couple of Facebook photos.

It’s a really nasty intimidation tactic – silencing people by threatening to embarrass them publicly, undermining their experiences by attacking their credibility. If you’re not dressed like a Dickensian urchin covered in chimney-dust, the argument goes, you can’t really be struggling to pay bills week-to-week.

David Farrar is saying no more and no less than this: if you do have political leanings, your argument would be invalid (he pretends to be generous in pointing out that they don’t); if you do have a social life, you must be lying when you say some students are trying to get by with $2 a day to spend on food sometimes. And don’t even think about attending the Big Day Out in February if you might be short of cash in September or you deserve to go hungry, you horrid, reprehensible bludgers.

It’s par for the course for our government and its bloggers, and it needs to be named for what it is: unacceptable bullying.

Edited to add: a few responses on Twitter which highlight that this is repeated behaviour from Farrar, and why it’s irresponsible for him to expose young women to the lecherous creepiness of his commentariat (which he keeps promising to clean up).

78 comments on “Boots Theory: Creepy behaviour from David Farrar ”

  1. Tom Gould 1

    How long will it take for this latest Tory dog whistle to appear in the Herald and on Newstalk ZB? When it comes to the media, the owners tend to get what they pay for.

    • Mark 1.1

      Have to say I am have been stunned that the ZB network continues to use Cameron Slater as a commentator on politics. Slater has come out of the Dirty politics saga without a shred of credibility.

  2. Yoyo 2

    Does anyone have any idea what this post is about? Hard to understand the comparison with Paula B. I just don’t get it.

    • Bill 2.1

      Smearing and/or embarrassing people to shut down debate on the issues they have raised. That was just from a cursory read. Christ! If you’re being genuine, I really despair on peoples’ ability to comprehend anything in print beyond ‘Dick played with Nip’.

      • adam 2.1.1

        It’s because the written word is dying as a means of communication Bill. It is this massive decline in our ability to communicate issues and ideas, is just one of many ways, which has enabled the corporatocracy to walk into power. And also why people like Farrar can write any nasty piece they like. Who is going to pull him up – really who?

        I mean if I saw him I’d kick him in the nuts and break my non-violence vowel – No I won’t as he really is not worth breaking that vowel, but I’d be tempted. Why? This man has put so many women lives in danger, he needs to live with the fear some man or some women, will kick him in the nuts. A little pain ,may make him human again – but some how, I doubt that.

        • Bill 2.1.1.1

          Remember the days when people used to talk? Maybe even attend meetings comprised of people who had gathered for the sake of some common cause?

          Remember how ground shifted between you and another when there was the ability to engage in actual conversation before this stilted interweb bollox?

        • Elizabeth FOY 2.1.1.2

          The written word may be dying – it just gets harder to take people seriously when they have a silent (or is it non-violence) A-E-I-O-U …. not that I have even been credited with great spelling – but I’ve also not taken a vow to be non-violent (its just I have been raised in a time when manners were more important than vowels)…LOL

  3. It was creepy behaviour from Farrar. But to compare it with what Paula Bennett did really does a disservice to how unbelievably unethical Bennett acted when releasing private information for her own gain.

  4. quartz 4

    Farrar’s still up to his neck in dirty politics. Someone says something that contradicts his paymasters? He trawls through their facebook (or the research unit does) and uses it to have a crack at them.

    The lesson he is trying to teach people is don’t even tangentially criticise his masters or your personal/social life is fair game. As is the reputation of any journalist who carries a story his masters don’t like.

    The irony is when someone points out his dodgy behaviour he starts to cry about he’s the victim.

    He’d do well to remember that those who live by the sword die by the sword.

    • ghostwhowalksnz 4.1

      Farrar and the research unit are one and the same. Thats where he started for national, before he moved to parliament to work alongside Eade.
      Still connected to their ‘opposition research unit’ as this sort of story shows.

      Someone should dig out the council floorplans of his building where he works and look at the names on the wall in the lift lobby. Could there be a office area with no listed tenant but a ‘hive of activity’

  5. waikatosinger 5

    This is a bit over the top. You pick a minor nit with one of Farrar’s articles and work yourself into a frothing fit over it. Farrar actually seems like the sweet voice of reason by comparison.

    [lprent: You mean like Farrar does? Perhaps you should talk to him… ]

    • ghostwhowalksnz 5.1

      “…responses on Twitter which highlight that this is repeated behaviour from Farrar,”

      You can retract now or have you another ‘minor nit’ to raise ?

  6. ghostwhowalksnz 6

    As the ‘Princess party’ part of Hagers book showed, we know why Farrar is interested in poor struggling female students.

    The vile Jimmy Savile at least raised millions for charity for further his own leacherous ends.

    • Higherstandard 6.1

      Pretty vile smear.

      • ghostwhowalksnz 6.1.1

        “..well i was going to say i have cleared the field for you, given you the most likely targets and will get them drunk for you”

        So they were considered ‘targets’, I dont think he was thinking of getting them enrolled to vote’

    • TheContrarian 6.2

      Wow, putting Farrar up there with one of worlds most notorious sex offenders and pedophiles.

      You fucking awful derelict.

      • adam 6.2.1

        So you’re OK with sex offenders TheContrarian? It’s OK to publish details of young women on line, or have parties and get them drunk, to do sex with them?

        And your calling ghostwhowalksnz the derelict – that’s a bit rich don’t you think – or are you just another one of those RWNJ women haters?

        • TheContrarian 6.2.1.1

          “So you’re OK with sex offenders TheContrarian? It’s OK to publish details of young women on line, or have parties and get them drunk, to do sex with them? ”

          Not one fucking part of that statement is true. You’re calling Farrar a sex offender. That is a very serious claim and not something one just lays down lightly. When Farrar is charged with a sex offence then we’ll go down that route.

          And “to do sex with them?” What are you, 10 fucking years old?

          • adam 6.2.1.1.1

            Yeap thought you were a women hater, thanks TheContrarian – just wanted to make sure.

            I didn’t call Farrar anything, I asked if you supported it – and by your response it appears so.

        • Psycho Milt 6.2.1.2

          Dunno about you Adam, but when I were a lad we absolutely did think it was OK to have parties at which young women would (we hoped) get drunk enough to do sex with us. We were often disappointed at just how astonishingly drunk a young woman could get without finding herself wanting to do sex with us, but hope springs eternal in the human breast…

          • Murray Olsen 6.2.1.2.1

            Which governing party were you running these parties on behalf of, PM? We all did shit when we were young, except probably for Farrar and his mates, but we learned. When we grew up and participated in adult organisations, we did not carry on that behaviour.

          • adam 6.2.1.2.2

            You really could not get laid without booze Psycho Milt? Wow, sorry for you – that is just sad. And, one of the lamest stories I’ve ever heard. I hope you grew up and became a real man.

  7. aerobubble 7

    the right is not just hooten, boag, farrer, slater, these commentors all are neo-liberals, they have the same values. And thats the problem. The right only lets one view of conservatism, revolutionary conservatism.

    The editors actively choose these people and deny the right the same disunity we see in the left. Its nothing less than state sanction censorship.

    • Sacha 7.1

      Genuine conservatives don’t get a look-in. Must feel uncomfortable about at least some of the stuff we have heard about dirty politics. Where are their values at?

      • adam 7.1.1

        I’m also pretty sure, most of the libertarians on the right – are feeling stab in the back right about now.

        • aerobubble 7.1.1.1

          Weed party gets more votes than United future. Its a complete joke to have Dunne as a minister in every government, no matter what hue.

  8. We’ve seen this before, of course, with Paula Bennett unashamedly releasing the personal details of beneficiaries who criticised her ill-judged, mean-spirited decision to cut the Training Incentive Allowance.

    And that certainly was pretty appalling. However, looking somebody up on Facebook is not “releasing personal details,” it’s “looking somebody up on Facebook.”

  9. infused 9

    Well, I don’t buy that shit about being a student either. I was one from 2000-2003. I was denied the free allowance, whatever that was called, so could only pull $150 a week, which i had to pay back.

    I got a part time job at burger king, which paid fuck all.

    I lived in a flat with 5 other people. Was pretty grubby. There were some very poor weeks, but that was mostly due to me buying piss.

    Not once did I ever visit winz though. I don’t understand what’s so hard.

    It’s good going through a tough time like this imo, gives a lot of perspective later on in life.

    • Tom Gould 9.1

      Ah, so poverty is character building? Interesting. What does extreme wealth do to the character, then?

      • Richies McClaw 9.1.1

        Extreme wealth is the result of good character. People who are extremely wealthy are always nice people who worked hard to get where they are. There is not one single example of an extremely wealthy person having bad character.

        • SPC 9.1.1.1

          I suppose you have little knowledge of the eugenics movement in the USA and its relationship to US support for the German regime in the 1930’s.

        • KJT 9.1.1.2

          “Wealthy people are all extremely hard working, entrepreneurs who got their wealth through effort and sacrifice”.

          That’s why you see so many on the Golf course. Very hard work, Golf!

          “Wealthy people are job creators who make new businesses and create employment”.

          In fact research has shown that less than 3% of the wealthy in the USA gained their wealth through entrepreneurship and even less invest in new businesses and job creating industries.
          Preferring instead to invest in existing assets, especially tax payer started ones, or join each other in bidding up the prices of financial instruments.

          Most inherited their wealth.

          Which is why capitalism needs redistribution, socialism, to work.

      • mac1 9.1.2

        And Jesus said to His disciples, “Truly I say to you, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” Matthew Ch19.

        • Richies McClaw 9.1.2.1

          Why are you citing a totalitarian communist?

          • mac1 9.1.2.1.1

            Ah, the Left have all the good lines………………… and the good songs.

            • Richies McClaw 9.1.2.1.1.1

              To be fair, the right have Ted Nugent….

              • lprent

                Braindead Headbanger (the two things are definitely interconnected).

                He did crap dumb music when I was young and it doesn’t seem like his limited intellectual abilities survived the experience.

                • I recall an interview with Steve Jones in which he banged out a few fave Sex Pistols riffs and disclaimed any particular talent, saying that without the others it just sounded like fucking Ted Nugent. A wise oik, is Steve.

    • SPC 9.2

      When you say you worked 2000-2003 and were paid little, you were right. The current government learnt how to be cheap with MW increases from the 1990-1999 government.

    • David H 9.3

      IN 2000-2003 the $150.00 was the living allowance. Your fees were paid and they gave you the living allowance and yes you have to pay it back. But in 2k3 jobs esp part time were easy to get,

      And if you went to WINZ they would laugh at you, or have you arrested for attempted benefit fraud. Because you were on a living allowance.

      And the so called free money, wasn’t free, you paid for it in your compulsory student fees!

      http://www.msd.govt.nz/about-msd-and-our-work/publications-resources/statistics/statistical-report/statistical-report-2008/students/student-loans.html

      I know this is 2k8 but still pretty much unchanged from 2k3

      I did the Student thing in Dunedin best time ever

  10. Treetop 10

    I’d like to know if Farrar thinks that a birthday gift of money or a stocking filler sould be used to buy food?

  11. Delia 11

    How about we just ignore him and his bunch of merry followers and hopefully he will just go away.

  12. Del Griffith 12

    Looking up someone on Facebook who decides to put themselves in the public eye is not creepy, particularly given that one of the women openly admitted on Facebook that the press blew the article all out of proportion a fact the author of this post chose to leave out.

    Some of you might do well do reflect on the election result and the mood of the nation at the moment. It appears that the “beneficiaries can do no wrong ” meme you are pushing is out of step and if someone expects the rest of us to give them a helping hand they should respect that there are limits to what they can expect of us.

    • Students aren’t even beneficiaries, so … go away, astroturfer.

      • Del Griffith 12.1.1

        I don’t know what an astroturfer is but if you want to avoid my points and argue semantics instead I think you learned nothing from last weekend.

        • Sacha 12.1.1.1

          gosh, you’re awfully persistent

        • Psycho Milt 12.1.1.2

          I don’t know what an astroturfer is…

          So, if I understand this correctly, ignorance is a point of pride with you, but you nevertheless hope to write persuasive comments on people’s blogs? That would require not merely ignorance, but stupidity, which is why the post author is doing you the courtesy of assuming you’re an astroturfer.

    • Tigger 12.2

      Our nation’s mood has been twisted by creeps like Farrar so it’s not a reliable gauge.

      And Farrar is not an investigative journalist. He is a hired National Party apologist. So yep, it’s creepy.

      • Del Griffith 12.2.1

        “Our nation’s mood has been twisted by creeps like Farrar so it’s not a reliable gauge.

        And Farrar is not an investigative journalist. He is a hired National Party apologist. So yep, it’s creepy”

        its a stretch to say the entire nation has been hoodwinked by the likes of Slater and Farrer, why hasn’t it been twisted by the likes of Bradbury and Mickey Savage? You would scoff at that kind of heavy handed remark if the election had gone the other way and someone claimed the countries collective mind had been twisted by [insert name of respected left wing blogger here] and I’m doing the same to you.
        Its odd that the left have been left behind to such a degree by social media when they are usually the first to embrace new ideas.

        Who said he was an investigative journalist? All he had to do was google the names and thats all he appears to have done.

        • SPC 12.2.1.1

          You cannot have it both ways, say that there is a left wing as well as right wing presence in the social media and then that the left is being left behind by the right in this medium.

        • lprent 12.2.1.2

          Social media is a two edged sword. You have to respect it or you get #dirtypolitics. We don’t do it so we don’t get a book written about us in the way that Slater / Farrar / Odgen / Hooton / Ed / Collins / Key / Williams etc have

          • Psycho Milt 12.2.1.2.1

            We don’t do it so we don’t get a book written about us in the way that Slater / Farrar / Odgen / Hooton / Ed / Collins / Key / Williams etc have

            The currently-favoured right-wing view (depressingly iterated on my own blog) is that this merely demonstrates that no-one has hacked into your messaging accounts (yet), and were someone to do so, the vicious conspiracies thereby uncovered would make Slater et al look… well, that’s the funny thing – it would apparently make them look no worse than the vile smear campaigners of The Standard (a “nest of vipers” being a direct quote), which is an odd recommendation for a Slater enthusiast to make if you ask me.

            • lprent 12.2.1.2.1.1

              Ha! We don’t do that kind of stuff. Definitely not the paid attacks on civilians. There is a bit of authors attacking their internal dislikes in the left parties. But it is outweighed by having a diversity of opinion as you can see now.

              This is a collective made up of everything from myself (and politically I am right of most of the party and MPs) to Mike Smith (who is a the classic beltway insider) to more radical greens and lefties (both old school and internet generations, party and non party (hi Karol)) with an anarchist on the side (hi Bill).

              Any attempt to coerce or manipulate them is liable to give cause a tearing of anyones body parts. I certainly don’t try it. We cooperate. We don’t have to like each others ideas.

              Over the last year, we have managed to get Labour to release stuff to us about the same time that they do to the journos most of the time. The Greens are more consistent at present via email. Good thing too as we seem to have lost their RSS feed again. All of them are still getting chastised by me periodically about not having the links to to the deeper information that we can inform opinion from. Press releases have about as much information in them as reading a dry turd.

              I’m testing mechanisms to disperse that internally to authors.

              That is about it. The rest of it tends to be from twitter, facebook, blogs, and other media. We argue our own impressions.

              Pretty much the same at the daily blog apart from Bombers line into the the IMP.

          • politikiwi 12.2.1.2.2

            “We don’t do it so we don’t get a book written about us in the way that Slater / Farrar / Odgen / Hooton / Ed / Collins / Key / Williams etc have”

            I hope that’s not the only reason…!

        • “its a stretch to say the entire nation has been hoodwinked by the likes of Slater and Farrer, why hasn’t it been twisted by the likes of Bradbury and Mickey Savage?”

          Because Bradbury is an idiot and couldn’t hoodwink a paper bag, quite frankly.

          • ghostwhowalksnz 12.2.1.3.1

            Too dangerous to appear on The Panel ?

            But of course Princess Farrar gets invited to all the best parties

        • Huginn 12.2.1.4

          The difference between Slater and Mickley Savage & Bradbury?

          Judith Collins Slater & Odgers Mark Hotchin ; The Russian Mafia; money laundering for organised crime

          Now stop being so naive

      • ghostwhowalksnz 12.2.2

        yeah a 47 year old unmarried man trolls through facebook pages of young female students.

        Nothing to see here people !

  13. Lucy 13

    I would have thought that the fact that he thinks its OK to go through someone’s facebook page while not their friend gives an indication of what type of mind set he has. Its nasty and stalky and definitely not journalism – equivalent to going through peoples rubbish bins in a previous time.
    When I was on my tech student association people could ask for help and each case was determined on need. Some gave money back when they were in a position to do so.
    Anyway student associations are not compulsory (thanks to this Government) so if you are a student who does not agree with hardship grants just don’t to join. But shut up when people who are more compassionate than you help!

    • ghostwhowalksnz 13.1

      Farrar runs the Stasi operation for national- indexes of all the enemies no matter how insignificant.

      Filed, indexed, and stored in a database.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 13.1.1

        Imagine the fun when all his bases are belong to us.

        • ghostwhowalksnz 13.1.1.1

          A good location for rawshark to run his password cracker.

          After all its all in plain sight as Slater said. ( in reality he had to spend money to get computer gurus to read ‘the data’ as it was in backup format)

          • infused 13.1.1.1.1

            No it wasn’t. It was sql data in zip format. Don’t need to pay anyone to read that.

            • ghostwhowalksnz 13.1.1.1.1.1

              How do you know that. Plus Slater doesnt have software and in depth data skills to reverse engineer that.
              eg zip is easy only if it says .zip and sql data in its raw format could be anything ( and sometimes version number or ‘flavour’ counts)

              Rawshark files have Oily Orca discussing payment for work on labours data

  14. Murray Olsen 14

    From Kiwibog: “I’ve had a look through the Facebook pages of Lauren and Karn. They both seem very cool friendly people, and in no way are they political activists for a cause.”

    An excellent reason to keep your Facebook account private. I wouldn’t want Jimmy Saville looking at photos of my kids, not even someone who just thinks it’s funny to pretend to be him.

  15. Eliza 15

    He is a bit of a leech, I’m friends with a young Nat on Facebook, she’s 21 years old and very youthful looking. The other day she posted “Wind = 1. “Name retracted’s” skirt = 0. He replied almost straight away saying “God bless the wind :)”

  16. Dramaticus 16

    David Farrar is a right wing opinionated twerp who is so far into John Key that he can even replace Keys mouth on national television, quite amazing to see that occur
    No matter what his credentials he is just another of these pseudos who has never had his mouth shut when a bit of fear in his direction may help ensure that that could happen
    He speaks with all the gaul of someone who has never really done anything to help his fellow man A classic waste of space
    Its time to go back to a real job if I can find one or maybe I could encourage Farrar to do the same

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