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Crosby/Textor line de jour

Written By: - Date published: 7:46 am, July 16th, 2008 - 82 comments
Categories: john key, slippery, spin - Tags: ,

Every Wednesday, John Key does his round of interviews. Breakfast TV makes a nice soft start with interviews on Breakfast then Sunrise. Then he’s on KiwiFM with Wammo and bFM with Mikey Havoc, neither of whom are political specialists but are increasingly asking good questions.

Every week, Key comes prepared with two or three lines, which he repeats more or less by rote in each interview, whatever questions he’s asked. They’re easy to spot – Key’s tone alters when he repeats one, they use a sophisticated form of words that stand out from Key’s usually confused speaking style, and they turn the topic into a hit and run attack on Labour.

Two weeks ago, Havoc broke through Key’s Crosby/Textor lines and Key looked dangerously out of his depth (in fact, Key hasn’t been back on Havoc’s show since). To encourage people to see through the lines more often I’ll watch Breakfast on Wednesday mornings and report the lines so you can be ready for them in the subsequent interviews.

Today’s lines are:
“This is Helen Clark’s issue. The Prime Minister has one side of the story from Winston Peters, she should call Owen Glenn, Labour’s sugar-daddy, to get the other side of the story”.

– The Prime Minister is not responsible for the operations of other parties.
– The Prime Minister does not have the right to investigate the operations of other parties
– National’s hypocrisy on donations is breath-taking. They are the ones who received over $2 million in secret donations before the last election. Owen Glenn gave donations to Labour openly, he didn’t hide his identity whereas National set up a system of trusts specifically to hide the identities of its large donors. If National wants to attack on donations, it must open its trusts’ books.

[Update: Key wasn’t asked about Peters on Sunrise, on KiwiFM he danced around to get in an attack on Clark pulls out same line ‘get on the phone to Owen Glenn, she obviously knows him well, he’s Labour’s big donor’. Somehow says this isn’t a major issue for Peters but is for Clark]

82 comments on “Crosby/Textor line de jour ”

  1. Anita 1

    Oooh ooh ooh – can we have a little video clip montage of them later in the day?

    I know it’d be a little work, but all four are available on the net and it would be funny!!

  2. Dan 2

    If Havoc has been dropped because he asks hard questions, then maybe if all journalists asked hard questions, Key might disappear!
    I watched his “positive, ambitious” performance this morning, which reinforced my opinion of Key as something out of Invasion of the Body Snatchers. His rote learning, his dog whistling, and his unashamed hypocrisy (I am sure he doesn’t know he is doing it!) indicate Key would be NZ’s answer to Dubya.
    We can’t let it happen!

  3. “The Prime Minister is not responsible for the operations of other parties.”

    The Prime Minister is responsible for the honesty (actual & perceived) of the Foreign Minister.

  4. mike 4

    Seriously Steve you need some help with your John Key infatuation.

    This is getting ammusing now though – as if he is the only polly with prepared lines for questions he knows he’ll get asked.

  5. The Owen Glenn donations to Labour were kept secret until found out by media earlier this year, then there was cover up by Clark and the Party president.


    All political parties use PR firms like Crosby Textor and they all trot out lines. The only line being spun there is by Labour over CT. Is Labour’s PR firm telling them to push the CT line?

    Who knows?

    National are not the true hypocrites here. They didn’t vote for the Electoral Finance Act, which Labour and its supporters claim was to stop “big money from buying elections”. In the midst of passing the act Labour and NZ first were grabbing secret donations from Owen Glenn!

    Nothing wrong with getting money from large donators though. Just be honest about it.

    Of course when it comes to stolen taxpayer funds to buy the 2005 election, NZ First and Labour are in a class of their own.

  6. T-rex 6

    The distinction between Peters actions as Foreign Minister and as Leader of NZ First has already been made in the past Bryan. He’s lying to his constituents about the actions of his party, not to foreign entities about the actions of NZ.

    I think he’s a total liar and shouldn’t be in parliament, but it’s not Helen Clarks job to get rid of him, it’s NZ voters!

    Considering these are the same voters who, by and large, think John Key’s a nice guy and The Greens are ill informed hippies I don’t have much hope.

  7. T-rex 7

    I think it’s probably worth considering the alternative too – Peters is right, and Glen was just “exaggerating”. Kind of like when he said Clark had told him he’d be a shoe in for transport minister, which I think everyone agrees is spectacularly unlikely.

  8. Felix 8

    Key would be NZ’s answer to Dubya.

    Waay too much credit. If anything, Key is NZ’s answer to David Brent.

  9. Monty 9

    I think it is common practice for all politicians to pretty much repeat the same lines on key issues when they are interviewed . I certainly notice Clark does it and she repeated the “in this case the buck does not stop with me” and “Winston Peters has done his job as Minister of Foreign Affairs with integrity”

    I know you have an addiction problem with John Key – like the sad glutton who hates food but is still facinated with it, so too are the authors adicted to John Key.

    The big issue does remain Winston and the lies and the protection afforded by Helen Clark. It has been the biggest news story, and all I think we have seen is one post back on Sunday. Should the proof come out (and I understand there is much more on this yet to run) then I have no doubt it will bring down the Government – which is clarks biggest fear and that is why her PR spin is being so carefully chosen.

  10. SP: “To encourage people to see through the lines more often I’ll watch Breakfast on Wednesday mornings and report the lines so you can be ready for them in the subsequent interviews.”

    Well, it’s a great idea, but it is a big sacrifice you’re making there.

    It might be more enlightening still to add the echo-effects over on kiwiblog.

    PhilU’s already spotted Farrar’s echo today and challenged him on it (http://www.kiwiblog.co.nz/2008/07/strange_tactics_from_peters.html#comment-464781). Which raises an interesting question. If Farrar posted at 7.23am, and it’s a long post too, how did he know the line to parrot so exactly? As PhilU would say… telepathy.. eh?

  11. Darren, that’s simply not true.

    Glenn’s donations were publicly declared in Labour’s returns. I had first come across his name years before looking at those returns on the elections site.

    There was no secracy around is donations, unlike the secracy that still exists around National’s donors.

  12. lukas 12

    speaking of hit and run attacks and pre determined lines….have a look at this from Frog http://blog.greens.org.nz/2008/07/02/formulaic-answers/

  13. I should add that nothing in my previous message should be interpreted as impugning the integrity of either Mr Crosby or Mr Textor in any way, real or perceived, as they are the cleverest political consultants this side of the black stump — and probably the other side too, but I’ve never been there…

  14. lprent 14

    Darren: Don’t be a dickhead.

    Owen’s donations to the NZLP were reported in their annual reports to the electoral commission.

    Donations to the National party were reported as well. However most of the donations by value were anonymous. They could have and probably did have donations from all sorts of nefarious organizations and people. Voters cannot tell.

    If you are going to spin a line, then please don’t do it stupidly. I hate picking up the bits after the other commentators are finished with you.

    captcha: simple terms
    What this person needs.

  15. higherstandard 15

    Why doesn’t some journalist get off their backside and ask for clarification from Owen Glenn and put this to bed.


    ‘Donations to the National party were reported as well. However most of the donations by value were anonymous. They could have and probably did have donations from all sorts of nefarious organizations and people. Voters cannot tell.’

    Really ? Come on, nefarious organisation like who for example ?

    Perspective required I suggest.

  16. gobsmacked 16

    Bryan said:

    “The Prime Minister is responsible for the honesty (actual & perceived) of the Foreign Minister.”

    Unless the Prime Minister is John Key, and he needs Winston Peters after the election.

    Team A gives Peters a job: disgraceful corruption.
    Team B gives Peters a job: inclusive leadership

    Welcome to Natland, where fingers are pointed, but mirrors are banned.

  17. Rob 17

    I think its fantastic and its great to see Key putting the heat on Helen Clark lets see if she up holds the values she holds so dear. Such as Honesty and Integrity.

    Poor old Dover Samuel’s must be feeling pretty miffed as she cut him loose for much less among others.

    Helen Clark and Labour are very vulnerable at the moment as it may not have been the Brethren trying to buy the last Election but a very wealthy over seas benefactor as exposed by the Maori Party.

    This makes their excuses for the very shoddily written EFA look even more laughable. I think there will be a lot more squirming and nail biting done by Helen Clark and Heather Simpson before they dig themselves out of this cesspit!!

    Isn’t Crosby Textor doing a great job for National at the moment you all have to be very impressed great value for money.

  18. Razorlight 18

    So John Key shows consistency in answers through four interviews.

    Where is the problem with that?

    We have big problems in New Zealand. John Key’s consistent answers to questions is not one of the problems we should be concerned with.

  19. higherstandard 19

    Gobsmacked – You are quite correct, this is however just as true of Labour as of National.

    From a political perspective nothing would delight me more than the Prime Minster and John Key having a joint press conference to announce that they thought Winston was a cock and wouldn’t be in either of their line ups after the election.

    Knowing the NZ public they would then give him a huge vote just to piss off the two of them ……. c’est la vie.

    Razorlight agreed those parents in Albany most be in a terrible state I really feel for them.

  20. vto 20

    I’m getting confused… which side is it again that is continuing to run the same line time after time after time?

  21. lprent 21

    Razorlight: I think the question is more if John Key has mind of his own when he isn’t spouting prepared lines.

    So far his track record isn’t very good.

  22. lprent 22


    Really ? Come on, nefarious organisation like who for example ?

    Perspective required I suggest.

    Thats what I’d like to know. Insurance groups wanting the ACC to be privatized perhaps?

    Unfortunately the Electoral Act 1993 (written by the Nat’s) doesn’t allow the identity of the donors to be made public. Talk about writing a law for their own benefit.

  23. Snelly Boy 23

    Felix, you’re so spot on.

    Key is the David Brent of NZ politics. He’ll do and say anything to please and be liked.

    English as Gareth and Brownlee as Keith?

  24. Pascal's bookie 24

    “We have big problems in New Zealand. John Key’s consistent answers to questions is not one of the problems we should be concerned with.”

    Ah yes. Mr Consistent. On:

    Student loan Interest
    20 hrs free
    Cullen Fund
    Global warming
    Working for Families
    Whether or not Iwi are Kiwi
    & so on
    & so forth

    We have always been at war with Eurasia.

  25. coge 25

    Insofar as Labours historic attitude toward “rich pricks” has me wondering why OG would donate at all to that party. Even less why Labour would accept it. Honorary consul in Monaco? Sounds like a bit of a red herring to me. Plainly Glenn is at least two steps ahead of Labour here. Let’s be real here. What does he really want?
    Maybe with all the sh*t flying with Winston, Labour have unwittingly allowed themselves to be bought by Mr Glenn. Surely he is not a calculating rich prick? He donated to Labout after all!

  26. coge. Cullen called Key a rich prick, that does not mean that all rich people are pricks (or all pricks are rich) any more than me calling you a silly man means all men are silly or all silly people are men.

    There’s no suggestion thatLabour as in any way ‘bought’ by Glenn. He has gained nothing from the donation, he just wanted to see the continuation of a Labour-led government and made a legal and public donation in aid of that cause.

  27. It was so predictable that someone would argue that repeating a line by rote is ‘just being consistant’ and ‘what every politician does’.

    Think about it, a line is a crafted statement designed to spin an issue – it is not just a person saying what they think. The identifiers of a line are that they don’t really address the question, they are usually hit and run attacks (smear the opponent, don’t provide an answer yourself), and they stand out from ordinary speech because they are better crafted.

    Of course if someone is asked the same question several times their answer is likely to be similar each time, but that’s totally different from running a line.

  28. slightlyrighty 28

    What is hypocritical in Winston being held to account regarding anonymous donations to NZ First? National never campaigned against these donations. NZ First did. The NZ First charter makes specific reference to open and accountable government, and states that election reform is to be determined by voters.

    Winston has been quick to brandish e-mails when they suit his ends but when the shoe is on the other foot he “doth protest to much methinks”?

    And if the PM is not responsible for the operation of other parties, then why has she been in contact with Winston on this issue, according to the Herald?


  29. coge 29

    Steve I think you assume too much about Glenn’s motivations.
    If these assumptions prove false, then plainly OG has been less altruistic than you think. Labour will have painted themselves into a very dangerous corner. This is somewhat beyond their control at this point, & not a good place to be. Only time will tell.

    Oh & please answer this, why did your leader choose to snub him? Looks as though Glenn is the one calling the shots.

  30. insider 30

    My god a politician that uses key messages!

    Why did no-one ever think of these things before? To think the regular use of ‘slippery’ was just a complete coincidence, or phrases like ‘kiwi’ or ‘national identity’ or ‘sustainability’, ‘knowledge wave’ ‘closing the gaps’ were completely spontaneous.

    These Crosby Textor guys are brilliant to come up with such an original idea to actually think up phrases and then use them regularly. Worth every penny they are paid for such a masterstroke.

  31. IrishBill 31

    I’m getting a sense of deja vu here, insider.

  32. insider 32

    yeah sorry about that…you can delete the other whoopsie.

  33. Better Dead Than Red 33

    “National’s hypocrisy on donations is breath-taking.”

    You gotta be joking right? While they were screaming their heads off about the EBs, Labour was simultaneously cooking up a cronyist deal with Witless Winnie and the millionaire Owen Glenn (would be NZ honorary consul in Monaco), and also planning to bribe the Maori Party. ..and National are the crooks? Where’s your perspective?

    [what deal? Labour was given money openly by a donor, it was all legal and above board. National hid the identities of its large donors from the public and opposed the law that ended the practice. SP]

  34. NX 34

    Heh – This is your blog, but seriously, criticising a politician for having prepared lines is like criticising a physician for using a stethoscope.

    Don Brash was criticised for not sticking to his lines while Hilary Clinton was commended for doing so.

    If you are wondering why some consider this blog as nothing more than a JK attack blog – then just compared your posts today with that of David Farrars and you see why.

  35. Farrar’s posts are boring cut and paste jobs. I forget to go there these days.

  36. NX 36

    Well if Farrar’s blog is boring, then this is a laugh.

    [lprent: You are welcome to stay there. It isn’t like you say much here that is of any interest. In fact you are turgidly boring, repetitive and predictable. Coming to think of it, I think KB is a cut above your standard – try Clint Heine or Whale’s sites. I think you will fit in well there.]

  37. mike 37

    “he just wanted to see the continuation of a Labour-led government and made a legal and public donation in aid of that cause.”

    Steve, are you saying you think it’s OK for big overseas money to influence our elections as long as it’s declared?

  38. Matthew Pilott 38

    coge – what rationale do you use to justify claiming Glenn is “calling the shots”?

    That the media made our country an embarrassment by blowing up the issue so that Clark couldn’t meet him? That he lives in Monaco City and seems to have little to do with our domestic affairs? That he’s said he won’t be coming back here (because The Herald and National have hounded him to the point where he probably thinks we’re all a bunch of childish, immature tossers)? That National have antagonised a wealthy and generous expatriate for donating large sums of money to valuable causes in this country, only to be attacked and accused of corruption and bribery?

    Insider, NX, just out of interest: are you happy to see Key never deviate from meaningless and empty lines, and have the toughest moment of his day be when New Idea asks him about his favourite choice of table cloth in autumn? What do you get out of that? Do you feel enriched, that democracy is really flourishing, and that political debate in our country is at a really high level?

  39. mike 39

    “because The Herald and National have hounded him to the point where he probably thinks we’re all a bunch of childish, immature tossers”

    No Matt it was Trevor ‘bova boy’ Mallard stopping him from getting within spitting distance of hels …..now that was embarrassing.

    And also a great way your treat your biggest donor.

  40. Sheik Sensible 40

    I agree with NX. This is to my mind the most boring blog in NZ politics, boring due to its predictability. I visit in the same manner that it was a fun thing for Victorian Londoners to visit Bedlam to gape open-mouthed at the eccentrics! The creepy love of Clark which is routinely evidenced by the anti-Key pro Labour nonsense is fascinating to one who supports neither National nor Labour.I suppose the hosts truly believe they have meaningful roles in the NZ political landscape…sigh!

    Will the blog be as weirdly irrelevant after Labour’s imminent defeat at the forthcoming election or will it cease to exist and thereby achieve something akin to relevance?

    [lprent: Sounds like another boring troll – says nothing that it couldn’t have pulled out of the Whale/Heine idiocies phrasebook. Add to the watchlist and see if it can lift its behaviour to the point that I consider it may be human. Otherwise chop as yet another rogue bit of spam that escaped the filters.]

  41. Matthew Pilott 41

    Sure mike, he did it purely out of spite, there was no history behind that incident at all. Good analysis.

    It would have been nice but given the National-led embarrassment and debacle after Glenn was honoured for his donation, and Williams was wrong about a loan, can you be surprised that efforts were made to prevent fuelling any more pathetic media stories?

    I mean Labour chose to honour a $7m donation and the result was a “cash for honours scandal” headline related to a political donation. The business school opening had to be kept separate from the political to prevent more of the same – hence Mallard’s actions.

    You’re right, it was embarrassing. Funny that you haven’t the wit to ask “why?”.

  42. randal 42

    the shreik has spoken…haw haw haw. this blog is very funny. iget mybest laughs from reading obtuse outpouring from the right wing idiotes who are most severley vexed that they can get kicked off and watching them squirm as they go down time after time. anyway shreik if thats the sort of assignment they give you in the national party research unit I suggest you stay on the track of your last post and when the nats go down in flames you can make a living writing historical boddice rippers.

  43. mike 43

    What a joke fingering National for the debacle.

    Williams lies blew up the whole thing. National quite rightly went on the attack.

    Mallards bizzare control freak behaviour in front of camera put a cherry on top.

  44. Matthew Pilott 44

    mike, Williams had nothing to do with the initial donation that got blown up as a cash for honours scandal, you have no idea here do you?

  45. coge 45

    Let’s just suppose for a moment, that Glenn has indeed “purchased” the Labour party. Not a pecuniary purchase, but more like an under the radar hostile corporate takeover. Few can understand it until the results are clear, when it’s all over. Clark & Peters may find themselves pieces on a chess board, with increasingly limited options available. If indeed such a “purchase” has occured, the question remains, what is the appropriate gift wrapping?

  46. lprent 46

    coge: Let us presume for a moment that the aussie insurance industry has indeed purchased the National Party through anonymous donations. They are after ACC being removed so they can engage in liability insurance in NZ. What exactly would we expect to see in National Party ‘policy’. Something like we see now?

    Coge: why not take a realistic scenario like that one? After all the donations to the NZLP were clearly listed, and the NZF donation is at this point totally unproved as far as I’m aware. With the legitimate documented anonymous donations to the Nat’s – one can only guess exactly what types of promises were exchanged?

    Frankly the behavior of the Nat’s over the last 5 years or so can only lead you to believe that they will do anything to get back on the terasury benches.

  47. Matthew Pilott 47

    coge – the question would be to what end, and how will said purchase manifest itself? I’ve read Glenn’s accounts of the donation, have a vague idea of what he does and haven’t seen any evidence that he’s pulling any strings. Have you, or are you assuming a hard libertarian view that no one would spend a penny without an expectation of an equal or greater financial return?

    Maybe you should start the inquisition with a certain bisuness school, which must be turning out hordes of mini-Glenns, ready to do his bidding.

    Or, as 500k is a pretty small fee for the incumbent, maybe you should bark up Waitemata’s $1.2m (anonymous) tree planted under the National Party.

  48. lprent 48


    Oh & please answer this, why did your leader choose to snub him? Looks as though Glenn is the one calling the shots.

    Could have had something to do with a raving horde of cameras watching to snap a shot or a segment for the evening news? Why would they bother making it easy for the predators.

  49. higherstandard 49


    Just an observation – if the commenters such as Sheik Sensible get accused of being a rogue bit of spam that escaped the filters (fair call by the way) why for goodness sake don’t the ramblings of some of those to the left gain a similar rebuke ?

    There’s a couple I can think of who come out with the same claptrap and abuse repeatedly without adding anything to the discussion.

  50. lprent 50

    There are really only two on the left that draw my attention for what is essentially repetition of lines – the ‘sod and randal. Both however tend to vary their lines and to make an active effort to make them amusing.

    Sometimes all of us seem repetitious, it is usually during a discussion where the same points are being chewed over again..

    I know I do repeat (boringly) – but then I’m usually using the same lines for the same behaviour.

    But if you have a look around this site these days, the overwhelming repetition of a line tends to come from the right and usually from ‘first-timers’. It seldom comes from people who have been here a while.

    Reason is that they are doing a “crap and leave” most of the time. I warn them the first time I spot a set of standard lines. They shit on the site to mark territory and leave before someone steps in it. When they do the same a month later, I point them to the previous incident and ban them.

    I do this on the basis that if they are too stupid to read the responses to their last message before making another, then they are unlikely to be useful commentators as well. Purely instinctive marking behaviour should be inhibited as much as is feasible.

    The newbies from the left tend to read before they write. So they get the idea about the level of debate. I wish the crapheads from the right would do so as well. They’ve filling my mailbox with whinges about how I’m restricting ‘free speech’ on a ‘public’ site. Bloody idiots.

  51. mike 51

    So in short Lynn:

    Left good / right bad

    [lprent: Nope – I’m politically in the centre, if anything to the centre-right (not that it matters anyway). I support the NZLP

    It is a case of Obnoxious Bad / Debaters Good.

    For some reason some of the more turgid elements of the ‘right’ has decided that this site should be killed when it started. They started trashing it in comments with repetition, inanities, irrelevancies, and generally crap behavior. Eventually I got tired of reading it and trashed them – which it appears that they also get upset about (do I care – nope – bug squashing is after all my profession). The people on the ‘left’ have generally appreciated the site, don’t trash it, and therefore don’t get trashed.

    If someone is obnoxious and they haven’t previously provided much value in debate, then we’ll ban them virtually straight away. I really couldn’t care less what affiliation they have. They are simply not of value to the site. Conversely it takes a reasonable amount for me to ban someone who does contribute to debate, even when they do excrete inadvertently somewhere.

    When they’re marginal like yourself for contributions, but have a long track record of not going over the edge – they generally get left alone as well.]

  52. Felix 52

    Well I for one think you do a bang-up job of it, Lynn, under rather testing conditions.

    Some days you must feel a bit like Margaret Wilson does during question time.

    mike, beautifully illustrated.

  53. Matthew Pilott 53

    mike, well done. I suppose you’ll go off now and show the dozens upon dozens of examples where someone from the left has come in out of the blue, made a comment against the right that has nothing to do with the thread whatsoever, and thrown out a big bunch of tired, disproved and empty lines for good measure?

    Here’s a clue, champ: you’ll be looking a long time. I won’t, for the inverse.

  54. Tara 54

    “John McCain travels the country every day talking to Americans who are hurting, feeling pain at the pump and worrying about how they’ll pay their mortgage. That’s why he has a realistic plan to deliver immediate relief at the gas pump, grow our economy and put Americans back to work.’


    The same line Key often uses.

    It should not be surprising given Textor role in “directing polling in four US congressional and gubernatorial races in 1994.”


    Key’s campaign seems to be a clone of US Republican Party strategy.

  55. mike 55

    No chance Matt – you’ll see by my posts that I need to keep things brief (employed in the private sector)so don’t have too much spare time.

    Just on the tired, repititious theme, SP’s John Key smear campaign surely qualifies?.

  56. James Kearney 56

    Mike- stop stealing your employer’s time and get back to work.

  57. insider 57

    Talk about long bows Tara. I danced with a friend who danced with a friend who danced with the Prince of Wales… so I am now a clone of him and that is sinister.

    Whereas Labour has made direct use of UK Labour strategists and that is not in any way considered unusual.

    Dog meet whistle.

  58. Matthew Pilott 58

    mike, there’s another reason you couldn’t do that, to which I alluded.

    As for “SP’s smear campaign” I see it as a valid questioning of the personality, principles, guidance and policy of the man who wishes to become our PM. That you see such questioning as a “smear campaign” just shows you to be quite easily contented and placated. Thankfully, others are not!

    Ahh, insider, using a similar strategy and advisors isn’t quite the long bow you’ve made it out to be. In what sense is using the same people and strategy identical to being a clone for having been three dances removed from someone? What a bizarre analogy!

  59. insider 59

    Matthew you seem to have misread. Tara claimed that similar comments of Key and McCain on a similar issue indicated a cloning because a certain strategist worked in four state republican campaigns well over 10 years ago. I’d call that a slightly if not rather long bow.

    I find it hardly surprising right of centre candidates have common views. It’s bizarre that anyone finds that sinister but some people really are intent on plumbing the depths for smearing conspiracies here.

  60. Matthew Pilott 60

    Insider, I just got that Key is using a very similar approach to McCain, given Tara’s first quote, but yes I see what you mean about the Textor link there, I did misinterpret it. I’d have thought Key was closer to the Democrats actually, but maybe he’s sticking to the Republicans’ strategy style…

    I don’t see what their ‘views’ have to do with their approach, the two aren’t intrinsically linked; being vague and populist isn’t inherent to any right-wing policy. Do you ever wonder why such an approach is taken? S’pose it’s a fairly effective one, though I agree with comments lately that it does little for democracy or debate.

  61. Ben R 61

    “Every week, Key comes prepared with two or three lines, which he repeats more or less by rote in each interview, whatever questions he’s asked. They’re easy to spot – Key’s tone alters when he repeats one, they use a sophisticated form of words that stand out from Key’s usually confused speaking style, and they turn the topic into a hit and run attack on Labour.”

    Isn’t this similar to the approach Carville & co used in Bill Clinton’s ‘War Room’ (staying on message, staying on the offensive etc)? They even wrote a book about it..

    “agree with comments lately that it does little for democracy or debate.”


    “…it also flows from the teachings of media trainers, a branch of public relations that originated at J. Walter Thompson in the mid-1970s. Media training was largely a dual response to the tough questioning of Mike Wallace and others on 60 Minutes and the needs of the new business-media outlets that called for a constant stream of corporate executives to chat on the air.”



  62. Rex Widerstrom 62

    – The Prime Minister is not responsible for the operations of other parties.
    – The Prime Minister does not have the right to investigate the operations of other parties

    Oh, puhleeeze. The Prime Minister has a right to demand accountability and adherence to minimum standards of behaviour from his or her Ministers and to sack those that don’t measure up. If Key (who should now be ruling out courting NZF as part of any coalition government) were PM, you’d be rightly calling him on this, as I’ve said before.

    Whether the PM has the “right” to investigate is not the issue. She (or he) has the right to require an explanation and full disclosure. Peters has the right to refuse. The PM then has the inalienable right to say “In that case, that falls below the standards of accountability I expect from not only my Ministry but anyone in a coalition government with my party, so make sure the doors doesn’t hit you in the baubles on the way out”.

    The cloying self-congratulatory “LPG team” video (pass the bucket, nurse) posted elsewhere on the Standard doesn’t herald the “LPNZFG team” because NZF shares few of the principles which the left (erroneously in my view) claim as solely their preserve.

    Your continued defence of someone who doesn’t share the values, principles or standards (pun intended) which you claim to admire in others does you no credit, and makes it fairly obvious that Winston’s newfound status as a working class hero is due entirely to expediency.

  63. Steve and Iprent. If the donations to Labour were so upfront there wouldn’t have been an Owen Glenn scandal in the first place.

    The Labour Party President clearly lied about the number of donations, when they were made, and whether they were deemed gifts or donations.

    That is fact.

    Don’t perpetuate lies about it, because there is media record on the subject.

    [No. Williams didn’t lie. Matthew Pilott explains what happened below. SP]

  64. Matthew Pilott 64

    Rex, maybe some of us think he’s been a damn good Foreign Minister and don’t give a flying nun about trivial comments such as baubles that everyone else seems to get hung up upon.

    She (or he) has the right to require an explanation and full disclosure. Peters has the right to refuse. The PM then has the inalienable right to say “In that case, that falls below the standards of accountability I expect…

    As for your little hypothetical scenario, what happens when Peters says it’s all a crock instigated by the media? This is exactly what Miss Clark has said: he’s answered, so she can hardly say it’s below her standards expected and so on. Nor is it her duty to investigate as you conceed.

    So you’ve just made a strong comment, yet the events that have occured actually satisfiy the conditions set within! Spare us the “oh puhleeese” eh.

    If The Herald grew some balls of their own and looked at NZFs accounts, as per his offer, then they’d have a leg to stand on. Until then, they can piss off backwards as far as I’m concerned. What scum – make an allegation, and then refuse to investigate it because it’s fairly obvious they’d be proved to be on a par with Truth when it comes to making piss-poor allegations.

    (if the last makes no sense to you, look here

  65. Matthew Pilott 65

    Darren Rickard, the ‘scandal’ was about the loan which did not need to have been filed as a donation at that stage, and an Honour that was painted as a kick-back for a political donation, and Williams’ failure to classify the interest on a loan as a donation. The last was the only thing that was wrong, for which said president offered to resign.

    That some shallow folk think it a scandal merely illustrates the depths to which they can be manipulated. But hey, if little media beat-ups are your thing then by all means get excited. Just don’t be upset that there are those who don’t.

  66. insider 66


    Good quotes. THe other issue that makes messaging so important is the over critical analysis of every single phrase for policy movements or hints on issues (cf Key on wages in Keri Keri). It’s self feeding though. The more you stick to the messages the more people look for nuance, and the more you make use of messages either to signal a change or stick to a line.

    Perhaps we and the media need to cut people some slack and realise humans make mistakes – except for John Key of course, he is not allowed.

  67. Tara 67

    Insider: You’ve over-egged the omellette.

    “I find it hardly surprising right of centre candidates have common views. It’s bizarre that anyone finds that sinister but some people really are intent on plumbing the depths for smearing conspiracies here.”

    I was commenting on Key’s obvious interview lines. Does anyone seriously think Key and McCain go door-to-door for policy ideas ?

    Key has spent a large part of his career in an organisation known for funding Washington lobbyists and those associations don’t go away overnight.

  68. insider 68

    ohmigod the conspiracy gets thicker – and I use that word advisedly.

    Have you met travellereve Tara? You’d make a good couple (of what I’m not sure.)

  69. Nice spin boys, you guys just turn around a lie and call it something else.

    Come and read my blog, it is much more interesting and you don’t get dizzy reading it.

    Its a waste of time here. Too many State boot lickers and interfering busy bodies who cant string two cogent thoughts together.

  70. Tara 70

    Insider: travellereve ?

    No. How do you suggest I do that ?

    Please explain.

  71. Felix 71


    I think insider is trying to intimate that because you’ve noticed that:

    a) Key and McCain seem to have an adviser in common and
    b) seem to be using similar lines at times

    then you must be some kind of extremist nut-job conspiracy theorist.

    I’m not sure if he realises the irony of his position regarding the rather long bow he’s drawing.

  72. Matthew Pilott 72

    Sure Darren. I’d love to visit your site daily. Do you always try to point score off dead children who were abused, or was that a one-off special?

    But thanks for giving up so easily, you’re clearly not too astute at following comments (the rest of us do fine here, sorry you are getting all dizzy. I hope you’re sitting down, maybe put you head between your legs for a while. It was already there? Fair enough…). I’d hate to have to try and explain all that again.

    Just for that wee glimmer fighting for existence though – I acknowledged that Williams made that mistake, but not that it was deliberate i.e. a lie. Hope that helps you sleep tonight.

  73. insider 73

    Classic example Felix of how conspiracies can quickly grow. In one instant imaginative leap Textor has now moved from being a strategist to four local US campaigns nearly 15 years ago to an adviser to presidential candidate McCain. And all done to show my assessment that Tara was drawing a long bow is unrealistic. Now that’s irony.

  74. Tara 74

    Thanks Felix.

    Why is it that I sense a rising note of hysteria and concern in
    the conservative blogosphere ?

  75. insider 75

    I think you mean hysterical laughter…

  76. Pilot, why don’t you tell the truth then on the Owen Glenn donations to Labour. You are others who support Labour are lying.

    Mike Williams denied receiving donations from Glenn after the 2005 Election, then said they were not donations because they were merely “loans” but didn’t declare the interest forgone on the “loan” therefore it was a donation. If that is not secretive, I don’t know what is.

    End of story, that is what happened.

    The scandal over promises to Glenn to become transport minister and then Consulate General in Monaco was an add on.

    “Big money” as Ms Clark puts it, buying elections. Nothing wrong with that but don’t be secretive.

  77. RedLogix 77


    Fine, if the case Mike Williams forgetting about the value of forgone interest (to the tune of a few thousand dollars worth) while answering a verbal question is so very secretive and evil… then what are you saying about National hiding the names of their real donors behind a lawyers trust… to the tune of several millions of dollars?

    And doing so in a planned, systematic manner that was a deliberate ploy so that their written returns to the Electoral Office would circumvent the intent of the 1993 Electoral Act?

    And to this day they still maintain a strict code of omerta about?


  78. Felix 78

    Tara, I’m not sure. Perhaps it’s dawning on them that the consumerist lifestyle they all thought would last forever is increasingly irrelevant and essentially meaningless.

    Or maybe they’re just excited about the election…

  79. Rex Widerstrom 79

    Matthew Pilott:

    As for your little hypothetical scenario, what happens when Peters says it’s all a crock instigated by the media? This is exactly what Miss Clark has said: he’s answered, so she can hardly say it’s below her standards expected and so on.

    Given the man’s record of late for honesty and the prima facie evidence of something odd (Dail Jones’s recollection of a sum close to $100,000 appear in their accounts – though I’d trust Jones about as far as I’d trust Winston, though for different reasons) I’d have hoped for a little more from the PM than blithe acceptance of an assurance.

    Like asking to see some evidence, say. Or calling up her good friend and supporter Mr Glenn and asking him to make a categorical public statement on the matter.

    Nor is it her duty to investigate as you conceed.

    I most certainly do not not concede it isn’t her duty to investigate. In fact I assert the polar opposite. I merely conceded she has no right to demand an answer – but if she doesn’t get one she’s at liberty to give him the sack.

    So puhleeze, don’t expect most people – myself included – to be so credulous as to accept nothing more than the PM’s repetition of Peters’ denials as “evidence” he’s innocent.

    As for his performance as Foreign Minister – you’re right, it hasn’t been too bad. Just that I happen to believe honesty when dealing with the public is paramount. Funny thing is, so did Winston once – that’s what drew me to him.

    Unless you’re saying he’s irreplaceable? Plenty of people on the Labour front benches would make a good Foreign Minister – some have.

  80. Razorlight 80

    Jordan Carter wrote a piece a week or so ago in a nut shell saying that due to been a blogger his past statements and beliefs are well known and wil be analysed closely.

    Many people have commented today how Clark does not have to and should not be asking the hard questions of Winnie.

    Just remember the standards you are setting. If this story blew up in 12 months time when Winnie is Key’s Foreign Minister, don’t go asking for Key to ask any questions either.

  81. Matthew Pilott 81

    Razorlight, Rex, point taken there, I guess Clark could demand to see the accounts for example. He’d probably be ok with that, he has already offered access to NZ Herald. To which they declined, for fear of facts getting between their agenda and the truth, presumably.

    I guess burden of proof is inverted here for most.

    As for calling Glenn up, in case no one else has noticed: due to National’s agenda-driven shit-shovelling, the man probably wants nothing to do with us immature snarky kids for the rest of his life, and who’d friggin’ blame him! Way to dump on a wealthy and generous man. What a joke.

  82. Tara 82

    Editor: Perhaps you should turn this thread into a permanent forum on C/T lines as the campaign evolves.

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