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Confused? A guide to the letters & leaks in the Nats’ Civil War

Written By: - Date published: 4:03 pm, March 31st, 2012 - 77 comments
Categories: ACC, john key, Judith Collins, kremlinology, national - Tags: , , , , , , , ,

The ever-growing list of letters, emails, and leaks in the National Party Civil War, that started off as an apparently apolitical privacy breach by ACC, is getting hard to follow. Here’s a summary of the various documents and their ramifications – so far. I’ll go by order in which they’ve come into the public domain and I’ll update this post when needed.

The ACC privacy breach
: the details of 6,700 ACC claimants ended up in the hands of an, at the time, unknown ACC claimant who leaked the list to the Dompost on March 13.

Ramifications: an investigation by the Privacy Commissioner into how ACC let this information out. It turns out that, of all people, the largest leak in ACC history went to a person who had also received the then Minister for ACC’s personal support in her ACC claim, which led to his resignation. How can that be a coincidence?

The report on the ACC privacy breach: ACC inquired into the leaking of the details of the 6,700 claimants and reported to ACC Minister Judith Collins just three days later on March 16. This report did not name the claimant but contained some important allegations – that the claimant and her support person had tried to extort two years’ worth of ACC payments in return for returning the leaked information, they said the minister and ACC could be embarrassed, and that two senior managers had attended (it would later be revealed that this was on the instigation of National-linked ACC board member John McCliskie).

Ramifications: ACC referred the alleged blackmail to Police.

The Boag-Collins email: On March 18, the Herald on Sunday published the details of an email sent by National apparatchik Michelle Boag to Collins and some related information that identified Boag as the support person of National insider Bronwyn Pullar, who was the ACC claimant who had leaked the original privacy breach. The article describes Boag as being “furious her letter had been leaked” and she later said “I sent it to the minister only … and I asked whether it was a secure email address before I sent it.”… “When you can’t send a communication to a Government minister without fearing that the privacy of that communication is going to be breached, that’s very, very dangerous.” [in fact, any such letter is subject to the OIA, allowing for privacy exemptions etc]. Collins suggested that Boag might have leaked the email, which is laughable.

Ramifications: The leaking of this email remains the primary issue in the ACC affair. It looked like the standard breach of privacy by this government to intimidate or discredit a critic or someone who had embarrassed it (cf. Paula Bennett) but with the added element of Lusk/Slater latching on and attacking Boag, primarily via their shared pseudonym – Whaleoil. The only sources of the leak could be Collins, her staff, or the top brass she sent it to – all have denied being involved. The Privacy Commissioner is now investigating how this email was leaked.

The Smith-ACC letter
: On March 20, the Government released a letter that then ACC Minister Nick Smith had sent to ACC in support of her ACC claim. This was a proactive move apparently intended to pre-empt the letter coming out under OIA and nip the issue in the bud (although, given the letter presumably was held by Collins’ office, questions need to be asked about that now). We later learned this email was accessed a number of times by Pullar’s former case manager in the days before its release.

Ramifications: John Key initially expressed confidence in Smith but calls for his resignation, first from opposition parties and then the media reached fever pitch by the next morning. Speculation over the, um, closeness of Smith and Pullar’s relationship made the situation all the worse. A second letter by Smith concerning Pullar, although far more innocent and involving only a technical conflict of interest rather than active promotion of the claims of an ‘acquaintance’, was given as a reason for him to resign without an embarrassing Prime Ministerial u-turn.

All this would have remained safely in the closet and the well-liked Smith would have kept his portfolios if not for the leak of the Boag-Collins email. This fact sparked bitterness from the Brat Pack camp towards Collins – the only logical source of the leak that anyone has suggested in my opinion and the opinion of most others – and was seen by the Joyce Camp as an opportunity to attack their rival for the post-Key leadership. Collins’ faction blamed it all on Boag. While the opposition was seeing this as a case of National Party cronyism regarding Pullar’s special treatment by Smith and ACC, inside National the battle lines were being drawn.

Pullar’s private insurance claim: On March 25, the Herald on Sunday’s David Fisher (who had revealed Pullar’s identity the week before) published details of her million dollar private insurance claim for the same injuries (there’s nothing wrong with claiming ACC on top of private insurance) based on an email from Boag – it’s unclear if this was the same email as the previous week’s story was based on but there were additional details not in that email. Again, Whaleoil was all over this story and using it to attack Boag. The logical conclusion is that Fisher’s story came from the same source as the previous week’s story. And, based on the evidence, I think that was probably the Collins Camp who were out to discredit Boag and her faction.

Ramifications: this signaled the start of the open civil war phase of this affair. What had originally been about problems with ACC that seemingly just happened to involve National Party figures was now a battle between National Party factions.

The Nat leaks: We started receiving information on the internal machinations behind all this in the following days as, apparently, did Labour. It was clear to us that the reason for Collins’ faction attacking Boag and the anti-Collins leaks we have been getting are that this is about who will lead National once Key is gone – probably before the next election. Collins was the front-runner before this last week but Boag’s faction would have been a challenge for her.

On March 28, National operator Simon Lusk was identified by Labour in the House as the conduit for the Boag-Collins email from Collins to Fisher. Collins denies giving the information to Lusk.

Ramifications: The response from the Collins faction was telling. Lusk/Slater’s Whaleoil pseudonym went silent for a few hours (this is from a blog that as of 4pm has had 17 posts in the past 9 hours – on a Saturday!) and then came out with an onslaught of every bit of dirt they’ve every thrown at Mallard plus more dirt directed at Boag and some at The Standard.

Collins herself threatened to sue Mallard and Little unless they retracted their comments. They ignored her and no suits have been filed as of yet. If it happens, it will be the first known case of a minister using taxpayer money to sue someone for defamation. This was seen by all and sundry as a purely political move with no chance of success in the Courts. She only made this move after Lusk was named.

The Privacy Commissioner’s investigation widened to include the Boag-Collins email following these events and Collins has hid behind public interest as a reason not to answer questions in the House subsequently.

There are growing calls for Collins to resign as her failure to adequately explain the leaking of the Boag-Collins email leaves people suspecting her involvement. Key has expressed confidence in her.

The National Party Civil War shows no signs of abating with the Collins faction keeping up their dirt throwing at Pullar and Boag today and Boag yesterday saying only someone who was “unhinged” would be making the leaks that are widely thought to have come from the Collins faction via Lusk/Slater (the “unhinged” reference appears to refer to Slater’s well-known mental health issues). The inside tips are still flowing too to us, media, and political parties.

If Key is trying to broker peace, the factions don’t seem to be listening, further underlining his lameduck status.

The Sovereign Insurance – Boag letter: On March 29, Close Up revealed a letter from Sovereign Insurance to Boag referencing earlier communications with Pullar and Boag over Pullar’s $14 million(!) insurance claim, and mentioning Pullar’s 28-strong ‘support team’ of prominent National Party figures including Jenny Shipley and Key (who had that day finally returned to the country after spending a week trying to accidentally bump into Obama in Korea). Key denied ever being part of such a support team and Pullar said the 28 names were “a list of known people who were aware of my dispute with the insurer, and who the insurer may encounter in the course of their business”. Boag says that the list was supplied just so Sovereign would be aware of who knew about Pullar’s claim but Sovereign didn’t see it that way, there was clearly an inference that powerful people were on Pullar’s side in her claim and there would be consequences for Sovereign.

Ramifications: Pullar, Key, and Boag have all moved to protect Brand Key but the stink of cronyism and corruption over this whole affair got stronger. The source of this leak is unknown. Would it be in the Collins faction’s interests to drag Key in? I wouldn’t have thought so. Is that list a show of strength by Boag?

Unanswered questions –

  • How did Bronwyn Pullar, of all people, end up with the largest ACC privacy breach of all time?
  • What other links to Pullar did Nick Smith have that needed to be brushed over with his quick resignation?
  • Who leaked the Boag-Collins email?
  • Can Collins remain in office if, as seems most likely, see she linked to the leak?
  • Which members of other factions are supplying info to try to hurt Collins?
  • Who leaked the Sovereign-Boag letter?
  • If Key is now a lameduck waiting to be rolled before the next election, which looks more unwinnable by the day, how long will he bother hanging around?


77 comments on “Confused? A guide to the letters & leaks in the Nats’ Civil War”

  1. Pascal's bookie 1

    When Cabinet meets this week they should be getting the advice from the government’s legal beagles about the strength of Collin’s defamation suit. On recieving that advice they’ll decide whether or not, or to what extent, the crown will pay the legal bills.

    It’s interesting that the press release announcing that she is taking action, (rather than considering action), was a ‘NZ Government’ press release.


    That doesn’t necessarily mean that the Govt would be paying for the action, but it does imply it. It would be odd for the government to announce that a Minister was taking action, as a Minister, but have then have the person who happens to be the minister foot the bill.

    Whether or not they jumped the gun by announcing that action ‘will’ be taken rather than that it is being considered, I’m not sure that they have followed the spirit of the Cabinet Manual.

    It’ll be interesting to see what they decide.

    They could back down and not press a suit, which would be awkward, or they could pay for the suit, which would look like they pre-empted the process outlined in the CM, or they could make Collins pay for the suit herself, which would possibly be the most elegant, if somewhat odd, solution.

    It would be good to see what the advice is from the legal beagles in any case, natch.

  2. toad 2

    There is a parallel story to this Eddie, which no-one apart from Kevin Hague appears to be telling.

    That is the story of how ACC claimants are being treated (or mistreated) by ACC. I am not convinced Pullar’s motivations are necessarily honourable and may well have much to do with personal gain, rather than a genuine attempt to address how the system fails ACC claimants.

    But as someone who has for many years assisted ACC claimants, including taking cases to review and appeal, I can verify that many of the concerns Pullar expresses in her list (published in the post from Kevin Hague I have linked to above) are genuine concerns about ACC practices and culture that require investigation. A good number of them were raised in a report from an inquiry completed by Judge Peter Trapski as far back as 1994. But nothing has ever been done to address them, and the issues, as far as ACC claimants are concerned, fester on.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for hounding out the Nat corruption and cronyism going on here, and for what appear to be appalling information privacy practices by ACC. But just as important is ensuring other serious issues about the way claimants are treated by ACC are addressed.

    [agreed. but that post took like two hours to write and is 1600 words long. Couldn’t cover everything. Good that the Greens are on this stuff though. Eddie]

    • Pascal's bookie 2.1

      +1 internet points.

    • toad 2.2

      Hey, cheers, Eddie.

      Wasn’t being critical of you. Just there is so much involved in this that I had to add in my 2 cents worth about what is largely being ignored, which is the way ACC shits on those who have legitimate entitlements in the interests of cutting costs.

      BTW, I am not a fan of gambling, but still curious re whether iPredict will run a contract on how many Ministers and/or senior public servants will lose their jobs over this. One down, and I am sure there are more to come.

  3. Phew,make a great movie.
    The latest from key at the golf classic says that he hasn’t seen pullar and boag at the
    course, (they are both there) at all and yet pullar released a statement yesterday stating
    that key had only discussed her claims because she mentioned it to him.
    Key, according to the dom post has ‘swept’ his office to see if he had any commuications
    with pullar and there was none found, what would happen to the communications if found
    anyway? and why would he ‘sweep his office’ anyway?his statement to media was
    ‘i can sleep at night’, under the circumstances of the last week,perhaps not.
    It was good to read the guide and be able to read the events in one article because
    there are so many different branches of this,it makes your head spin.

  4. felix 4

    Andrew Little made a good point the other day when he said (something like): 6,700 people’s details – what do you have to ask for to get that by mistake?

    • Anita 4.1

      I thought I saw, back in the dim mists of time, something saying that the problem with what she was sent was that it wasn’t redacted or data masked. That kinda made sense to me, I can think of lots of questions which would get a response of a data set of that size (or greater), but it should be redacted or masked to maintain privacy.

      I imagine if I was in dispute with ACC I’d be asking for data to look for patterns or inconsistencies.

      • Lanthanide 4.1.1

        The lack of redaction is the very basic thing to get wrong. ACC should never have been sending client data using excel spreadsheets attached to emails in the first place – there are multiple problems there and multiple steps they could have taken to improve that system, even if that was the method they chose (which it shouldn’t have been).

        To add insult to injury, once having chosen that very poor system, they didn’t have any requirement to redact out unimportant information. These excel sheets were being shared for statistical purposes, and yet they retained people’s real names. This is simply inexcusable and shows that ACC really haven’t taken this as seriously as they should have.

        It’s like the straw that broke the camel’s back, really: leaked anonymised data would be bad enough, but leaked data that includes names is terrible.

        • Anita

          I am suddenly curious about whether any government agencies routinely data mask when they extract from their core systems. If masking was done as part of the standard process for extracting data there wouldn’t be real names floating around in spreadsheets to begin with.

          • Lanthanide

            The best-practice database systems do not allow you to extract data unless it is anonymous.

            • Lanthanide

              I should clarify a little further here: the best-practice database systems used for statistical purposes often do not even store things such as names (since they aren’t important for statistical purposes) and also have very clever controls in place to prevent you from being able to retrieve specific information that would allow you to deduce details about any individual.

              Eg if you ask for the details of someone who is aged between 45 and 46 and only 1 such person exists in the database, it will refuse to give you the information, or alternatively can be configured so as to ‘fudge’ the data so that it’s not necessarily correct. On aggregate the ‘fudging’ averages out and doesn’t affect the statistical use of the database, but means any individual data item cannot be trusted.

            • Lanthanide

              I should clarify a little further here: the best-practice database systems used for statistical purposes often do not even store things such as names (since they aren’t important for statistical purposes) and also have very clever controls in place to prevent you from being able to retrieve specific information that would allow you to deduce details about any individual.

              Eg if you ask for the details of someone who is aged between 45 and 46 and only 1 such person exists in the database, it will refuse to give you the information, or alternatively can be configured so as to ‘fudge’ the data so that it’s not necessarily correct. On aggregate the ‘fudging’ averages out and doesn’t affect the statistical use of the database, but means any individual data item cannot be trusted.

              • eljaydee

                From reading the information I have on this fiasco, I think it is quite clear that the data was extracted by someone with access to the database but outside of normal reporting protocols. They ran a query on the raw data and sent this direct to Pullar in an Excel spreadsheet. I do not believe this can be as a response to an enquiry through proper channels. To me, it looks more like information, solicited or otherwise, sent to Pullar so that she would have something with which to threaten the ACC.

                • McFlock

                  I tend to disagree, having myself been on the receiving end of somewhat more information than requested. If it’s a random request from someone who doesn’t raise any flags and the analyst is in a rush, crunching the data extract and pressing “save as .xls” is pretty easy. If the request was to do with filters 50 variables to the right of the client_name variable, it might never have been in the window. And then there are always the “sent to wrong recipient” or “reply all rather than reply” possibilities.
                  All enabled because of crap systems design.
                  My dim view of humanity as it is, I tend to put incompetence before duplicity when guessing at motives 🙂

                • Lanthanide

                  The same email was apparently sent to at least 40 other mid-level managers at the same time, so your theory is pretty much ruled out already.

                  I think it was just a typo and auto-complete put in Pullar’s name instead of whoever else it should have been.

    • Pete 4.2

      Depending on the document management system the ACC uses it could be an entirely innocent mistake – a misclick on a particular document in one of a number search results generated by the DMS… a moment’s inattention and off it goes.

      I forget the DMS my department used when I was in the public service, but each document carried a history of when a file was opened, edited and emailed. So investigations can quite easily track down the responsible person.

      • Anita 4.2.1

        I think Lanthanide and my point is that perhaps an unredacted/masked list of ACC clients shouldn’t be in their DMS to begin with. There are many reasons to redact at the point of extraction from the core system.

        While it may be a simple mistake to send the wrong document, it’s questionable whether the document should have existed to begin with.

      • mickysavage 4.2.2

        I believe the fuck up theory applies to the initial release of the ACC data.

        All the rest is definitely part of the conspiracy or to be more accurate fuck over theory. 

    • There seems to be a common misunderstanding about ‘details’.
      The only details that related to privacy were the names of the claimants.
      No details about type of claim, or any of the personal information involved in that claim.
      An ordinary ACC claimant wouldn’t know if they were ‘sensitive’ or not.
      So it was far from the ‘largest’ privacy breach of all time, living memory, blah blah. Paula Benefits disclosures of beneficiaries private information out of sheer pique was much worse and she should have been sacked. 
      It seems a very weak breach to use for the purpose of blackemail which is probably why ACC called Pullar’s bluff. If I was her case manager I would tell her that any further consideration of her claim would have to wait until she returned the information and destroyed all copies.
      Pullar seems to think that her power play with her NACT cronies would work like her private claim and screw another million out for her.
      ACC’s performance should be judged in terms of its historic underfunding, political manipulation and what could be called pre-existing degeneration.

  5. Lanthanide 5

    These items should be numbered, for quick reference. There’s also a number of typoes and spelling mistakes:

    “it will be the first known case of a minister using taxpayer money to use someone for defamation.”

    Answer to this question:
    “How can that be a coincidence?”

    The same way any other coincidence happens – through chance.

  6. Eddie 6

    Another Lusk piece on Whaleoil going off at the Boag faction. Hilarious and informative.

    I mean, if you’re going to pretend to be Whaleoil, don’t refer to him in the third person, Simon.

    Might have to look up the names Peter Keily and Alastair Bell….

    • toad 6.1

      Peter Keily is the Nats’ chief in-house legal beagle. If he is involved, I guess it means they are getting desperate and looking to throw more legal action around to try to close the story down.

      • mickysavage 6.1.1

        I would offer this one piece of advice for poor old Cameron and I hope he ignores it.

        The last person you defame is a lawyer, especially the senior partner of a downtown law firm that has done National’s work for decades and who has a reputation for not tolerating fools.

        Please ignore this advice Cameron.

        BTW how is Simon? 

        • felix

          Indeed, it’d be awful if Cameron was hauled into court to answer for something he couldn’t even admit he didn’t write.

        • toad

          And from what I know of Keily (admittedly from some years back), he will back Boag all the way politically.

          Watch out Whale!

    • ghostwhowalksnz 6.2

      Alastair Bell is from the landed gentry in Mid Canterbury- Ashburton. Been based in Auckland for a long time and been involved with behind the scenes National party regional politics. Previously Auckland Regional Chairman. Did work in the PMs office when Ashburton MP Shipley was running the place. Unusually, has access to private helicopter from the family trust and uses for political favours. Has BCom and worked at senior positions in financial management and human resources in private industry and now has own consulting practice. Possible contender as National Party President, which will be a display of strength for his Centre faction.

  7. jimmymac2x 7

    Is teflon John,going to get a hole in one after his weekend of relaxation.Cronies for lunch,and this is the menu,we are solid to not to forget your friends.

    • ghostwhowalksnz 7.1

      The shot I saw was well and truly in the rough.

      Its a bit of an identifier which faction of National you are in.

      Golf course – Boag, traditional conservative fixers

      Mai Mai or ranges- The Slater ‘shotgun’ faction

  8. RichWhite&Fey 8

    Harrumph !

    Where does an honest conservative grass-root new venture creator go to these days ?

    • Robert M 8.1

      Anywhere but here. The decline in the money and sophistication in Auckland over the last decade has been amazing. Auckland is now no more than a small time extremely conserative Pacific nearly third world provincial city in which any excitement or non left wing dissent is rapidly erased by over zealous police, hard left attack dog old cow feminists-|Bradford, Coney , Malcolm and possibly Coddington.
      The Smith Affair shows ACC is outdated and uanffordable

      • Kotahi Tane Huna 8.1.1

        Nah, the Smith affair shows that right-wing opinions and born-to-rule arrogance lead to abject failure and humiliation.

        • Robert M

          Nick Smith and English are essentially alpha students from deep in the provinces and are conservative in patronising and paternalistic way. Worse they are cynics and too frightened to attempt any substantial change or reform to anything. Their politics are essentially managing NZ’s decline so we all get poorer with generally poorer slower services , pretty much together.
          Beyond their sickening determination to enforce moral and sexual conservatism the claim of Nick Smith to be an enviromentalist is a laugh. The reckless sacking of CRC was nothing more than an attempt to quicky get irrigation, overuse of river water and land resources and the granting of consents for dairy conversions to dubious applicants to buy cheap votes and jobs.
          Smith had the gall to state that farmers were better judge of what was sustainable in water and land use than conservators, the CRC and environmentalists. I have to admit that for once I agreed with Deborah Coddington.
          Given the Government is going nowhere a political coup to return Nick and Smith to exile in Tapawere and Dipton would be an excellent idea.

  9. Anne 9

    Wow! thanks for that Eddie.

    I have made a hard copy so that next time my head hurts trying to figure out which damm email/letter is in the news/being dissected, I can refer to “The List”.

    I swear on the bible there is only one hard copy, and I will ensure it remains in my hands and mine alone. (joke… for PG’s benefit)

  10. randal 10

    so what is the key link in the pullar chain?
    boageys at 12 o’clock.
    so is it pullargate or is it pull my leg.

  11. Anne 11

    Seriously, this post is fascinating and accurate. Perhaps someone could go through it and correct the typos (more than understandable given the length and depth of analysis) so that we can run off good copies to spread far and wide.

    Best be done quickly before…

  12. tsmithfield 12


  13. Ad 13

    People, surely we have done enough on this (other than as entertainment).

    The Police report on this could take 6 months, as could the Privacy Commission report, and Audit as well. Key will never agree to any other report. He will manage it like he did the Teapot Tape story release. When those reports are released he will probably get both himself AND Collins out of the country for that one.

    Over Easter this ACC story will die down – I’m betting. When the reports finally come out, Collins will stay, and the ACC Board will be cleaned out instead.

    I think we need to start preparing for the Budget stories, and the new Crafar Farm decision story. The spokesperson for Penxin is Cedric Allen -who is in partnership with Michelle Boag.

    Also, as Mickey Savage suggests in another post, preparing for the power-game driving the Ports, which is the Governance contest. As a result of this there needs to be a comprehensive clean out of all the Act/National appointees. Mickey they need you on that Board, for a start.

    This site could do worse than start debating names of good people who can do a better job than the current lot of Board members, for every one of those CCOs. And then forwarding those names to the Mayor.

    Every day the Mayor doesn’t clean those Boards out, is another day he plays with the deck stacked by the Government, against him.

    And then we actually need to start on budget stories. The Greens were great today calling out uselessness of some of the Roads of National Significance. More please, Greens.

    • Hami Shearlie 13.1

      Isn’t it strange that Rob Campbell is on the ACC board and was also on the POAL board? Both places with deep trouble at the moment. I even heard someone on radio say that Campbell is on 36 different boards! Wonder if it’s true? How on earth could anyone keep up-to-date with the ins and outs of 36 different entities. No wonder the finance companies went down, not enough attention paid to the day-to-day internal business! Wonder how many boards Doug Graham was on? I know Jenny Shipley’s on quite a few! It’s a nice little earner, until you stop doing your job properly, get lazy and just turn up for the huge fees. Like the fee Shipley would get for the rebuild of Christchurch. How on earth could she know anything useful about that?

      • ghostwhowalksnz 13.1.1

        Its easy , when you are a ‘professional’ director. ie Its your only job. Each board is only 1 day per month with jan off.

        • Anita

          Which is how one ends up with 300 hours community service and a $100k fine 🙂

          • Colonial Viper

            Some perspective is needed here. A $100K fine is the fee from serving on two mid sized boards.

            • Anita

              I was commenting on the effect of seeing being a board director as a cushy content-free job which can be done without paying attention or putting them time in.

    • calltoaccount 13.2

      Good points Ad, but there is JC’s libel threat to go though. Will she backdown? What else does Mallard know? Stay tuned! 🙂

    • KATY 13.3


      People, surely we have done enough on this (other than as entertainment).

      Good one, I thought you where serious, until I remembered its April fools day.

  14. RichWhite&Fey 14

    Damn it, I’m still confused ..

    • locus 15.1

      only 10% chance of jc litigation against the Standard? c’mon time to up the game. i ‘predict’ 90% likely that jc ‘left’ a paper copy for ‘someone’ to pick up….

  15. newsense 16

    so when does the media start complaining that the National Party is hostage to factions and special interests?

  16. “If Key is now a lameduck waiting to be rolled before the next election, which looks more unwinnable by the day, how long will he bother hanging around?”

    Perhaps longer than Labour wants despite their best efforts – again – to nobble Key’s leadership.

    Talking up internal war and leadership manouvering seems little more than trying to talk up some wishful thinking. There’s been no credible indication that leadership is an issue.

    Key on Q&A this morning reiterated that it’s his expectation that he will contest the next election. This is consisent with past indications, in contrast to fanciful opposition stirring which has come up with absolutely nothing to back up their claims apart from savagemicky saying “just wait and see”.

    • Colonial Viper 17.1

      Perhaps longer than Labour wants despite their best efforts – again – to nobble Key’s leadership.

      Haven’t you been following Pete? National Ministers are all busy jockeying for early positions in a post Key political world. Starting from Simon Power, to all the nonsense going on now.

      • Pete George 17.1.1

        I try to avoid following bulls full of nothing but hot air.

        Odd that so much effort is being put into trying to talk down an opposing leader. The absence of talking up their own leader is what stands out.

        • felix

          Keep up Pete, most of the hobbling talk is coming from within the Nats’ own ranks.

          Others are just reporting on it, as you’re doing now.

        • Colonial Viper

          I try to avoid following bulls full of nothing but hot air.

          You follow Peter Dunne, though.

        • Pete George

          Four personal nitty pickers, and no argument with:

          The absence of talking up their own leader is what stands out.

          • felix

            Who’s my leader, Pete, and why do they need talking up?

          • Pascal's bookie

            Hey pete.
            Tell ya what.

            You go back through Archives here as long as you like, until you find a comment from you being all positive and talking up your ‘leader’.

            Then I’ll go forward from that comment and see how many snide, repititive, pointless little snipey passive agressive comments you’ve made about Labour, the Greens, and the Standard. I’ll stop when I get to 20, and see how long it took you.

            And the crucial point is, yourpostive comment talking up United future or Dunne has to be unsolicited, ie not in response to someone asking you to say something about United Future or Dunne.

            Or, you could explain how your post today about positivity and the like, isn’t actually yet another tedious example of your insessant negativity and partisan sniping.

            You will lose all internet points fs you respond to this comment with some variation on the theme thatyou are not partisan because, gosh, you say things ot KB or WO sometimes.

            Partially because that’s boring and irellevant, but mostly because you spendso much time on those blogs complaining about what goes on here.

            • Pete George

              Hey PB, tell ya what.

              a) I’m not an MP., I’m a private citizen. Since the election I comment here on a personal basis, promoting my own interests.

              b) Peter Dunne doesn’t need any talking up, he seems to do doing his job fine with little to criticise him about.

              c) Talking Dunne up here is a bit pointless, no one seems interesting in discusing anything UF, it usually just initiates ignorant personal abuse.

    • McFlock 17.2

      Do Q&A make a habit of asking pms whether they think they’ll be able to last another 2 years in the job?
      I would suggest that the fact he felt the need to reiterate it significantly lowers the probability of that occurring.
      I think he still has better than 50:50 odds at this stage, but then we don’t know how many ministers he’s going to throw under the bus in the meantime, and whether the survivors will get a bit twitchy.

      • ianmac 17.2.1

        The fact that Mr Key has to defend his position as PM suggests that the vultures are circling. Once there is doubt in the mind then anything is possible, whereas 12 months ago it would have been unthinkable.

  17. Fortran 18

    Am still waiting to hear who in ACC mailed the list to Puller – and WHY ?

  18. Hillary 19

    There was a link somewhere about a week ago where she said ACC had replied to an email inquiry from her by forwarding a response instead of replying. She said something like she believed her email was forwarded to someone else for advice about how to respond to Pullar, and when the response came back it had an attachment which got forwarded by mistake to Pullar. So it sounds like she was supposed to get the email just not the attachment.

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