Defining dirty politics

Written By: - Date published: 5:47 pm, September 22nd, 2008 - 12 comments
Categories: election 2008, rumour - Tags:

Dirty politics and personal attacks. They’re two of the phrases of the campaign so far. The Sunday Star Times took the time to investigate what dirty tricks might mean. According to Wanganui mayor and former National MP Michael Laws:

“A dirty trick is a covert act “that you would be embarrassed about if you were exposed”. When he was a National candidate, he was the target of malicious faxes sent anonymously to newspapers. And when he worked for the National Party research unit, he was involved in gathering dirt on Labour MPs. This was part of a system of deterrence and mutually assured destruction practised by both main parties, he says.”

So if a dirty trick is defined by the “undercover” nature of the exercise, what defines a personal attack? Is it asking questions? Is it calling opponents names? I did find Mr Key calling Helen Clark hysterical somewhat at odds with his commitment to run a clean campaign.

We keep hearing that election08 is about leadership and trust. I think it’s valid to examine past performance and past record when trying to draw conclusions. I don’t call that a personal attack or dirty tricks. After all if you can’t ask questions of those who wish to be PM/MPs at this point in the cycle, when can you?

12 comments on “Defining dirty politics”

  1. Carol 1

    And TV One has just shown John Key to be less than open and trustworthy about his rail share trading. Legitimate exposure IMO.

  2. Quoth the Raven 2

    We’ve got Nick Smith saying Cullen’s a homosexual now as well.

  3. Janet 3

    JK certainly looked uncomfortable at Fran Mold’s questions about his rail shareholdings on TV1 just now. She provided some pretty convincing evidence on a timeline that he had been ‘less than open’ (euphemism!) about it all after coming into parliament. Good investigative reporting for a change.

  4. Carol 4

    Exactly. Key clearly knew exactly how much he had spent on shares – he came back quickly with the higher amount when he was challenged on the “fudge” amount he gave at first, which was a repeat of the (lower) amount he’d claimed in the past.

    Also, he used the same justification Clark had used about knowing about the difference of claims between Owen and Peters (ie no-one had asked him the amount before, or at least put the higher amount directly to Key).

  5. Anita 5

    To risk setting the right off…

    Anyone able to think of a time when a male NZ politician has been described as hysterical?

    The best example of a dog-whistle I’ve seen in ages.

  6. Pat 6

    I don’t think it was investigative reporting. It was handed to One News today by Labour.

    Bill Ralston said a week or two ago he had heard Labour had a couple of “nuclear bombs” to drop. Now everything is falling into place:

    – That’s why Helen was so keen to base the campaign on Trust, even though Labour was looking a little shaky after Owen Glenn’s comments.
    – That’s why Helen never sacked Winston. She knew she could time this share trading scandal to counter the outcome of the privileges committee.
    – She also knew Winston and her can claim responsibility for the US free trade agreement. This might get Winston up to 5%.

  7. higherstandard 7

    “nuclear bomb”

    Yawn more like a damp squib.

  8. Hey HS – I think you’ve posted on the wrong thread. You want to misdirect over at the thread about Key being caught using privileged info to make a few bucks for his greedy self…

  9. Anita 9

    … and then lieing about it.

  10. higherstandard 10

    Hey Sod I was responding to Pat – although it’s interesting to see some commenters getting into a tiz about Key purchasing shares I saw the item on TV one and in my opinion it was a complete nothing.

    Although I expect the EPMU and Labour to spin it for all it’s worth such is politics.

  11. outofbed 11


    Nick Smith saying Cullen’s a homosexual now as well.

    September 19th Nelson Two Campaign Launches.
    In attendance one party co leader, one deputy leader
    one with asuccessful environmental photographer and publisher the other with a misogynist perverted radio host

    One berates cabinet Ministers about their sexuality and talks about altering the RMA to build a new road on a reserve only metres from two schools and three early childhood centres spliting asunder the most thriving community in Nelson.

    The other talks about affordable housing and clean rivers and is very positive and visionary

    One gets full coverage in the local Rag complete with Pics and reporter in attendance

    the other gets two lines tacked on the end

    Someone give me a Gun

  12. randal 12

    pass it to john key so he can shoot himself in the other foot.

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