Crosby – Posturing with little substance

Written By: - Date published: 3:20 pm, June 9th, 2009 - 11 comments
Categories: crosby textor, john key, national - Tags:

Spinner

Spinner

Lynton Crosby of the political spinners Crosby/Textor, who ‘advised’ both John Key and Don Brash, has finally given up on trying to pursue a unwinnable defamation case against Nicky Hager and Radio NZ.The case appears to me to have been started largely as intimidation by the Crosby (and maybe the National party) to find out who was feeding Nicky Hager information from inside the National party.

Nicky Hager has a long but very interesting post in ‘Crosby v Hager’: defamation proceedings used as a political weapon

The case arose following a feature article I wrote last year, revealing something that the National Party leader John Key had been keen to keep secret. When Key became leader at the end of 2006, following the publication of my book The Hollow Men and the resignation of former leader Don Brash, he pointedly told reporters that he would not be using the same political advisers as Brash. He went further in another interview and said that he didn’t get advice on things like media because he preferred to rely on his own instincts.

It was therefore embarrassing when I found out that, after just one week as leader, Key had visited Australia and sought a meeting with Brash’s most controversial advisers, the Australian political strategists and pollsters Crosby/Textor. He signed them up to work for him, not just on the coming election campaign, but immediately as his personal advisors on image, presentation and tactics. Key’s ‘natural’ image, which had been complimented in the media, was actually being managed by the same wily and cynical Australian spin doctors Brash had used. The article outlined the company’s controversial reputation and described the partners Lynton Crosby and Mark Textor’s tactics in Australia, Britain and New Zealand.

When the story appeared on 29 June 2008, National was furious. Key refused to confirm publicly that he was using the company while behind the scenes his media staff attacked me for doing the story. The day after the article was published I was invited onto Radio New Zealand’s Nine to Noon programme and basically repeated what I had written in the newspaper. For unclear reasons, I was sued over this interview (not the article) and the lawsuit came from Crosby/Textor co-director Lynton Crosby (not the other co-director, Mark Textor, who has mostly acted as the advisor for National).

This case dragged on for 11 months with legal trivialities about the layout of legal documents. It got to the point that Crosby would have had to have disclosed information about Crosby and Crosby/Textor’s practices and clients.

Early on my lawyer and I assumed that Crosby would pull out of the process before it reached the ‘discovery’ stage, when legally we could demand to get copies of internal Crosby Textor documents that might provide further evidence of the sorts of manipulative tactics I had discussed in the interview. This is what happened. In the last few weeks they have negotiated their way out of the case.

In other words, when Crosby would have had to have made a case and do it on evidence rather than empty legal posturing. Nicky Hager and his lawyer could have had a field-day with information that Crosby would have had to provide.

So Crosby took the couple of minor brownie points that Nicky conceded long ago about some trivial mistakes.

A correction and apology was made to Mr Crosby in this week’s settlement that the words ‘Mark Crosby’ were not referring to ‘Lynton Crosby’.

Towards the end of the interview Mr Hager talked about personal attacks on the Labour Party leader, Helen Clark, being an example of dirty tactics in politics. He didn’t say Crosby was behind these attacks — which Crosby claimed in the defamation case — so he offered early in the case to clarify this as well.

The first was mixing up the names of Lynton Crosby and Mark Textor in a live interview, when referring to Mark Textor’s role in some notorious push-polling in a aussie election.

There is no evidence that the systematic and deliberate personal attacks on Helen Clark were being pushed by Nationals advisors. However the spread of those viral messages through the comments sections of political blogs and in some fundamentalist communities was certainly increased about the time that Crosby/Textor started advising Nationals leaders. It could have just been an unfortunate coincidence in timing.

After 11 months of what can only be described as irrelevant legal posturing, Crosby dropped the suit. Not that he would have won anyway if it’d gone to court. It does not appear that there was a winnable case.

The likely reason for bringing the suit originally was more interesting. When you got through all of the turgid and florid legal posturing from Crosby’s lawyer Ric Lucas, you get to the point of why the proceedings started. It had nothing to do with Crosby’s reputation.

The letter then made a curious demand: ‘Mr Crosby requires you to disclose your sources immediately.’ The National Party and Crosby/Textor of course wanted to know who had leaked me their inside information that had appeared in my book and then in the article on Key’s use of Crosby/Textor. But this was hardly essential to allegations of defamation (there are special rules in defamation to protect sources) and added to my feeling that the legal action was motivated by more than seeking redress for the supposed defamation in the Radio New Zealand interview.

As Nicky Hager says, this is seems to be using defamation as a political weapon of intimidation. The question is probably less about Crosbys ‘reputation’ and more about how much John Key or the National party were involved in initiating and continuing this vexacious suit? The case appears to me as having been started so that John Key and National could find the leaks inside their party that Nicky Hager has been accessing. If so, then this means that National are getting really concerned about their leaking ship.

11 comments on “Crosby – Posturing with little substance”

  1. Maynard J 1

    Right, it is time to attack Hager. By the Right, quick…March!

  2. GC Martin 2

    Anyone else see potential conflicts of interest in the Hager websited material..?

    Both during the so-called process and by extension offset to it..?

  3. large fat man 3

    Lynton crosby is great in the sack

  4. toad 4

    large fat man said: Lynton crosby is great in the sack

    Hey, LFM, are you actually Whaleoil under a different name? Somebody at The Standard needs to check the IP address for that post.

    [lprent: no-one we know]

  5. vto 5

    If that is Spinner then who is Clutch Cargo and Paddlefoot? Lockwood and

  6. Macro 6

    But the most important part of Nicky Hager’s Article is the fact that Crosby/Textor were using the legal process of a Defamation claim to attack a critic – quite unjustly as Hager quite clearly shows – in order to silence him. And further with the obvious intent of winning by legal/monetary exhaustion. Fortunately he had the assistance of a lawyer pro bono otherwise the result might have been completely different!
    There is a need to change the law here so that these sorts of spurious claims are not used in the manner that Crosby/Textor have.
    Unfortunately a law change to stop Crosby/Textor or other well heeled bullies doing this sort of again is unlikely with the incumbant head law maker making use of their “services”.

  7. Tom Semmens 7

    Actually Macro the easiest answer to the increasing use of the law as a weapon would be:

    a) Put a statute of limitations on court action. If your case doesn’t come to court within something like, say, twelve months then it is simply dismissed. Give meaning to “justice delayed is justice denied.” It would only take one murderer or high profile white collar shyster to walk free because of delays and you’d see proper resourcing of the court system!

    b) Reform the justice system with the aim of reducing the stranglehold the elite, “expert” legal priethood has on the whole process. Why not simply empanel “grand juries” drawn from the local community in the local school hall every Saturday and Sunday and get them (with guidance by an official) to rule on all sorts of minor misdemeanours like graffiti, minor vandalism, noise complaints, minor shop lifting etc etc etc. It would massively free up the courts and actually return the system to something much closer to its roots than what we currently have.

    c) Go back to a Swiftean view of libel law, and basically repeal all libel laws. Allow anyone to say whatever they want about anyboby. Wanna call politician X a kiddy fiddling facist in the pay of the Illuminati? Go for the doctor. Rely on the common sense of the voters & citizens to work out if you have any actual evidence of this or not. Lets face it – most of the KBR commentariat behave as if they live in a libel free zone anyway. I was reading a political debate in the USA from the 1860’s the other day where one candidate called the other a “corrupt Irish son-of-a-bitch” who no one should vote for. And they managed to elect Lincoln.

  8. Nick 8

    Sounds like a good scheme if you are a lawyer, kerrrrrching!!!!!!!!!!! Perhaps Shonkey can advise us to the existance of God in this case so that we may be assured that Lynton Crosby and associates can look forward to an extremely hot eternity.

  9. John E. 9

    Is it the continued advice from Crosby Textor that is leading to such poor government as we are experiencing?

    Did they advise Key to hang Lee out to dry?

    Did they advise Key to drag Worth throught the mud?

    Is there advice what it used to be, when they had a more amenable client like Don Brash – who crashed and burned in any case.

    Congrats to Nicky,.

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Government caves to multi-national tax avoiders in the shadows
    News that the Government has secretly caved in to the demands of multi-national tax avoiders come as no surprise, but will disappoint Kiwi taxpayers, says Labour’s spokesman for Revenue Michael Wood.   “It has been revealed that a United States ...
    50 mins ago
  • Cheaper to stay at The Langham than emergency housing motels
    Labour’s comprehensive plan to fix the housing crisis and ensure there’s enough state housing, means we won’t be paying through the nose for emergency accommodation like the current Government has to, says Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni. “National has ...
    2 hours ago
  • Government must come clean on water
      News that the National Government is secretly working behind closed doors on its own water charging schemes shows their utter hypocrisy on this issue, says Labour’s water spokesperson David Parker.  “They have been carping on about Labour’s plan for ...
    6 hours ago
  • Government pays twice the price for emergency housing motels – with two more on the way
    Under Labour’s plan to build at least 1000 state houses each year, New Zealand wouldn’t be paying more than double the valuations for motels to house Kiwis needing emergency housing, says Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni. “Under questioning today, ...
    1 day ago
  • HAM shows country needs Labour on housing
    The latest Housing Affordability Measure report shows affordability dramatically worsening for Auckland first home buyers, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. ...
    1 day ago
  • Canterbury kids get more support for mental health
    Children in Canterbury and Kaikoura will get dedicated mental health support to help them overcome the trauma of the earthquakes, says the Leader of the Opposition Jacinda Ardern. “We’ll fund an extra eighty mental health professionals for the next three ...
    1 day ago
  • Statement on Julie Bishop’s comments
    It is highly regrettable that the Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has chosen to make false claims about the New Zealand Labour Party. I have been utterly transparent about this situation. I stand by my statements this morning that I ...
    2 days ago
  • Labour stands with Pike families
    A Labour Government will stand with the families of Pike River and reaffirm its commitment to safe workplaces by ensuring there will be a Minister responsible for Pike River, says Leader of the Opposition Jacinda Ardern. “The Pike River disaster ...
    2 days ago
  • Yes to Sallies – Labour will build more state houses
    The Salvation Army’s latest report ‘Taking Stock’ shows why New Zealand needs a Labour-led Government committed to a massive house building programme, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “When the Sallies say the country needs 2000 extra state houses a ...
    2 days ago
  • New Zealanders deserve better than scaremongering over water
    New Zealanders need to hear from National about how they will fund the clean-up of our rivers and lakes for future generations. Instead, National has broadened its scare-mongering, says Labour’s Water spokesperson David Parker. ...
    3 days ago
  • School Leavers’ Toolkit to equip young people for adult life
    Labour will give school leavers the practical skills and knowledge they need for adult life with a new School Leavers’ Toolkit, says Leader of the Opposition Jacinda Ardern. “Our teachers and schools do a great job of teaching our children ...
    3 days ago
  • Pay equity to be a priority for Labour
      Labour will make sure that the country’s mental health workers are a priority when it comes to pay equity negotiations, says the Leader of the Opposition Jacinda Ardern.  “It is very important for me to right the wrong created ...
    5 days ago
  • Labour’s positive education plan
    Today’s announcement on learning support is more tinkering and proof that only a Labour Government will deliver the resources that schools and parents are crying out for, says Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins.  “We have a positive vision for a ...
    6 days ago
  • Pike footage raises questions over government’s actions
    The Government’s seeming determination to turn a blind eye to new questions about what happened at Pike River Mine is troubling, says Labour’s West Coast-Tasman MP Damien O’Connor. ...
    6 days ago
  • Solution to rent rises lies in building houses and stopping speculators
    The spread of rental increases from the big cities to the surrounding regions shows why we need to get on top of the housing shortage build homes our families can afford, and lock out the speculators, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson ...
    1 week ago
  • Clean rivers don’t cost $18 a cabbage
    National is falling into a bad pattern of promising the world and not saying how they will fund it, says Labour’s Water spokesperson David Parker. ...
    1 week ago
  • Time for honest answer on transport funding
    National needs to explain how they will fund the $6 billion funding gap in their 10-year Auckland transport plan, says Labour’s Auckland Issues spokesperson Phil Twyford. ...
    1 week ago
  • Time for true numbers on overseas speculators
    It’s time for the Government to give accurate figures on the number of houses being bought by overseas speculators, says Labour’s Land Information spokesperson Raymond Huo. ...
    1 week ago
  • Fair and sustainable trade: A Green Party vision for New Zealand’s trading relationships
    Trade is a cornerstone of the New Zealand economy. It provides us with the things we want and need, and enables us to pay for those with exports that generate business opportunities and jobs. However, it should be recognised that ...
    GreensBy Barry Coates
    1 week ago
  • Clean rivers for future generations
    Labour will lead a nationwide effort to restore our rivers and lakes to a clean, swimmable state, says Leader of the Opposition Jacinda Ardern. ...
    1 week ago
  • New Zealand really can do better on health
    Labour’s commitment to affordable access to high quality healthcare will provide a better service for New Zealanders than the current Health Minister, who will not apologise for statements that he made that wrongly criticised hard-working staff in the Southern DHB’s ...
    1 week ago
  • Labour’s plan the answer to motorway chaos
    Labour’s plan to build a light rail network and improve heavy rail and bus services across Auckland is the only answer to the kind of motorway congestion Aucklanders endured this morning, says Labour Transport spokesperson Phil Twyford. ...
    1 week ago
  • Labour to build rail to Auckland Airport
    A world class city needs a rail connection from the CBD to its international airport – that’s why Labour will build light rail to Auckland Airport as a priority, says Leader of the Opposition Jacinda Ardern.  “Let’s get Auckland moving ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Is pay equity just too hard for this Govt?
    You are hard pressed these days to find someone that openly admits their misogyny, that men should still be paid more than women. Politicians proclaim that they want to see women paid more, but do their actions back it up? ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour’s commitment to our Rainbow nation
    The Labour Party has reaffirmed its commitment to New Zealand’s rainbow community with its 2017 Rainbow policy, featuring the goal to end HIV in New Zealand by 2025. Grant Robertson says Labour continues a long and proud tradition of advocating ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour’s vision for Auckland more than reheated roads
    Labour is more ambitious for Auckland than the reheated set of transport projects proposed by National, says Labour’s Auckland Issues spokesperson Phil Twyford. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Waiting urology patients are the tip of the iceberg
    The 10 patients waiting for urology surgery at Dunedin Hospital are just the tip of the iceberg, says Labour’s Health spokesperson David Clark.  "Hundreds of patients are waiting for follow-up appointments, but they are not deemed serious enough to be ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Maori Landowners Misled by Maori Party
    Māori landowners are being misled by Government hui being held throughout the country promoting the troubled Māori Land Service (MLS), which underpins the Crown’s unpopular Ture Whenua reforms, says Labour’s Ikaroa-Rāwhiti MP Meka Whaitiri. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Government’s Johnny-come-lately approach to multinational tax won’t wash
    It’s a case of baby steps for a Government that still allows multinational companies to avoid paying their fair share of tax, says Labour’s Revenue spokesperson Michael Wood. “After nine years in government, five years after the issue of multinational ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Auckland congestion up there with the world’s worst
    Traffic congestion is costing Auckland up to $2 billion in lost productivity according to the latest report from the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research, says Labour’s Transport spokesperson Michael Wood.  “This is a disaster and underlines the need for ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Experience in Youth Parliament 2016
    Being a Member of Youth Parliament was an unexpected, but fabulous opportunity for me. It provided me a way to connect with other young people who have some things in common, and to learn what it is like to be ...
    GreensBy NZ Green Party
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour backs renters’ call for warm, healthy homes
    80 per cent of renters wish their home was warmer and drier, and that’s what Labour will deliver, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • We can – and must – do better for Kiwi jobs
    Labour has the plan to get more young New Zealanders into jobs and tackle concerns raised in the latest statistics which show an extra 3000 young Kiwis are neither earning or learning compared to the same time last year, says ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Statement from Jacinda Ardern, Leader of the New Zealand Labour Party
    I want to start by giving my thanks to Andrew. His announcement today and the situation we have found ourselves in is not what anyone expected or wanted In my time working with Andrew I know one thing to be ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Better homes for Maori under Labour
    Labour’s vision is that Māori enjoy an equal playing field and have the same home ownership opportunities as non-Māori, says Labour’s Māori Development spokesperson Kelvin Davis. “Today Labour is proud to announce a detailed Māori housing policy from South Auckland’s ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Labour to build replacement for Gorge Road
    Labour will build a new road to replace the Manawatu Gorge Road as quickly as possible, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Government suppresses better transport options for Auckland
    A newly-revealed un-redacted report into options for Auckland freight movement shows the Government has been actively trying to suppress more efficient and cost-effective options to construct a third rail line, says Labour’s Transport spokesperson Michael Wood. “While Auckland’s congestion gets ...
    3 weeks ago
  • How to vote and keep your info private
    Going to vote or enrolling to vote can be scary. Having your details out there can open a can of worms. I wish we lived in a country where everyone was safe and secure enough to be openly enrolled, but ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    3 weeks ago
  • Coleman’s lost control of his Ministry
    Basic blunders and chronic underfunding revealed in Treasury documents obtained by Labour clearly show Health Minister Jonathan Coleman has lost control of his ministry, says Labour’s Health spokesperson David Clark. “Every New Zealander deserves affordable access to quality healthcare but ...
    3 weeks ago

%d bloggers like this: