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Did Lockwood mis-speak too?

Written By: - Date published: 8:14 pm, August 5th, 2008 - 93 comments
Categories: assets, national, privatisation, slippery - Tags:

It has been revealed that Bill English isn’t the only senior Nat who has been discussing a secret agenda behind closed doors. On TV3 tonight, a recording was played of Lockwood Smith saying:

“There’s some bloody dead fish you have to swallow… to get into Government to do the kinds of things you want to do… and you have to balance up what really matters.”

“If you try to do everything differently you’ll scare the horses and under MMP it’s very hard to win.”

“Once we have gained the confidence of the people, we’ve got more chance of doing more things.”

“We may be able to do some things we believe we need to do, perhaps go through a discussion document process… you wouldn’t be able to do them straight off. … I’m hoping that we’ll do some useful things that way, that may not be policy right now.”

Earlier today, English, in a humiliating charade, appeared before journalists under Key’s gaze to ‘clarify’ that he ‘mis-spoke’ and used ‘loose language’ in his recorded comments and TV1 interview*. The revelation that Lockwood Smith was assuring delegates about the same secret agenda behind closed doors totally discredits any credibility that English’s ‘clarification’ might have had. Unless we’re expected to believe that Lockwood misspoke too….

*(so, when he said National will sell Kiwibank “eventually, but not yet”, I guess a tighter version of that would have been “we’re not telling the punters yet but we’re going to sell Kiwibank” and, when he repeatedly said Working for Families is “complex” rather than say Key understood, it a clearer verison would have been “Key is to dumb or lazy to understand pretty basic maths”).

93 comments on “Did Lockwood mis-speak too?”

  1. MonkeyKing 1

    Isn’t what he said stating the bleeding obvious? Politics is all about compromise to get what you want.

  2. Was Lockwood caught on tape? Oh well, I suppose it beats the Parliamentary video camera again.
    Corruption abound in the land of lies.

  3. Rocket Boy 3

    MonkeyKing what he said was ‘this is what we are doing to get elected, but once we get the chance we really want to do something totally different’, which is pretty much the same thing that Bill English also said.

    In my mind politics is about having principles and a vision, I would admire the National Party more if they actually said what they really wanted to do and stuck to it.

  4. MonkeyKing – “I’m hoping that we’ll do some useful things that way, that may not be policy right now.” – ‘we have plans to do things that we are purposely not openly talking about now’… that’s not compromise, that’s deceiving the public so they will give their vote to National in ignorance.

  5. mike 5

    I didn’t think even the lowly lefties would resort to dirty underhand tactics like covertly recording answers to loaded questions in order to get some sound bites.

    I would love to hear what Cullen really thinks about Tax cuts too but you wouldn’t get a Nat dress up in a cardie and filthy beard to find out.

    [mike, clearly you’re angry about the political damage this will do to National. It’s ok to be sad, just come and say that. But don’t pretend there’s some moral issue around the recording, hell even Key said ‘we’re on record 24 hours a day’ – it’s a fair cop, politicians shouldn’t be saying one thing to their supporters and another to the public. SP]

  6. Proctor 6

    You wouldn’t have to, though – would you Mike? It’s pretty clear what his position on tax cuts is.

    You don’t have to like Labour, but at least you know where they stand.

  7. forgetaboutthelastone 7

    “underhand tactics like covertly recording answers to loaded questions…”

    what do you expect when a party refuses to release any substantial policy?

  8. Matthew Pilott 8

    And what’s obvious is Cullen is a Keyensian economist, so would be happy to give tax cuts in times of economic difficulty, where available. In fact, he told people just that at Drinking Liberally. So not quite a secret there.

    It’s called consistency, which is what people can appreciate.

    This, OTOH, is inconsistency. That can be construed as deception, misleading people, lying, immoral and worse really.

    I think what this really illustrates is the problem of a carefully stage-managed campaign, in which you pretend to change your views so as to “not scare the horses” – you end up saying something ‘on mesage’ that’s so far out of line with what you really believe.
    Full credit to Naitonal for keeping the facade up for so long but tha just makes it worse now.

    Hell, maybe they’ll decide to come clean and say what they really want to do, and argue why it’s a good idea, in their eyes! (fat chance…)

    I like Cullen’s take on this:

    “He could admit that he has no intention of sticking to the centrist ‘Labour-plus’ agenda he is promising New Zealanders.

    “Or he can admit that the senior MPs around him are very happy to use him to gain power but have no intention of letting him run the show if they are elected.”

  9. Pascal's bookie 9

    “It’s pretty clear what his position on tax cuts is.”

    Yep. He’s a Keynesian. Which for those of you of a biblical tradition will find explained here

    Kinda makes me cry a little that so many righties think that just because their own position amounts to “Cut taxes on principle” that this somehow means that others just have a polar opposite view.

    You can imagine them running around calling the Pharaoh all sorts of names because he was running a cow and corn surplus, which is just clearly theft. And then when the famine arrived and the food stores are opened they’d be bleating about flip flops and calling him names again. Sad.

  10. outofbed 10

    I think all these so called fuckups from National are a textor/crosby cumming plan to lead us on the left into a false sense of security.

    I mean whats the point in going out there to get the vote out if its a foregone conclusion ?

    Talk about taking candy from a baby 🙂

  11. johndoe 11

    lol, a cumming plan 😉

  12. coge 12

    On the surface it seems journos are becoming more cunning. Technology is a wonderful thing. This sort of stuff is great for ratings I imagine. Guess none of your leaders live in glass houses. And if it’s not journos doing the bugging, then we have come to resemble a police state.

  13. outofbed 13

    A Freudian slip if ever there was one 🙂

  14. Felix 14

    “And if it’s not journos doing the bugging, then we have come to resemble a police state.”

    ??? Please explain?

    (I really do want you to explain. I have no frickin idea what that means.)

  15. DS 15

    “(I really do want you to explain. I have no frickin idea what that means.)”

    I think coge is hypothesising a situation where Labour is doing Nixon-style bugging of its opponents. You know, standard far-right conspiracy theory stuff.

  16. outofbed 16

    I guess there are few nervous senior NATS out there tonight

  17. RedLogix 17

    PascalB

    Thanks very much reminding us of Joseph. It may be very old hat, and pre-date Keynes much several thousand years… but it remains to this day a very profound story with many layers of meaning.

    It reminds us that the days of plenty can quickly turn to calamity if we fail to understand properly what true wealth is, and how to use it with wisdom and humility.

    Humility to understand that wealth is a grace, a gift that has little to do with our personal merit.

    Wisdom to spend it prudently and set some aside for the hard times that inevitably follow.

  18. coge 18

    DS. What sort of reaction would you expect if the PM’s private conversations were released into the media? (from any source)
    The whole issue is the onesidedness of these edited “leaks” Which lends itself to speculation about who or what is sanctioning these activities? Perhaps someone could clear this up for me?

    Nixon had his opponents bugged as did Stalin, but to their credit they kept the details private.

  19. gazzaj 19

    Wow, so political parties might have policies they don’t intend to campaign on and might introduce in later campaigns, or even mid-term. Big shock.

    I clearly remember Labour campaigning in 2005 on buying out Toll and repealing Section 59.

    Oh wait, no, they didn’t.

    The English and Smith comments are gaffes, they’ll be reported as gaffes, it’ll probably hurt National a little but be completely forgotten by the election.

    If it’s a sign of more to come, then yeah National has a problem. But it ain’t gonna change the result 😉 Sorry.

    [wikipedia: “A gaffe is a verbal mistake made by a company or individual, usually in a social environment. The mistake comes from saying something that is true, but inappropriate, or, what might be as bad, an erroneous attempt to reveal a truth”. English and Lockwood are speaking the truth, the only ‘mistake’ was getting caught on tape.. and that’s a good outcome for democracy, which relies on an informed citizenry, even if it’s bad for Bill and Lockwood. Also, Labour had speculated on buyin back Toll before 2005 and s59 was a members’ bill that came, Labour chose to support it, as did National. SP]

  20. Draco TB 20

    What sort of reaction would you expect if the PM’s private conversations were released into the media? (from any source)

    I’d be horrified. The problem being with this argument is that the conversations taped weren’t private.

  21. RedLogix 21

    I clearly remember Labour campaigning in 2005 on buying out Toll and repealing Section 59.

    You may have missed it on the other thread; but I think you have forgotten that:

    1. The repeal of S59 was a Green Party Private Members Bill.

    2. Around the 2005 period (I forget exactly when) after TranzRail collapsed, Labour purchased the track and formed an SOE called OnTrack. The intention was to negotiate access fees to the new operator. Unfortunately Toll played hard-ball and in the end Cullen decided that it was better to buy the whole thing, than prop up a private operator with public money.

    I’m not sure how Labour was supposed to campaign on these in 2005, given that neither policy existed at that time.

  22. VJ APU 22

    what a joke

    lockwood merely stats what goes on in the real world. in business sometimes you need to give a little to get a little and in the end everyone wins.

    there is no agenda here. did you not read the bit about discussion documents etc etc. real secret stuff those are LOL

    smacks of total desperation for the lefties to record conversations in secret and chop em up to suit eh?

  23. Quoth the Raven 23

    lockwood merely stats what goes on in the real world. in business sometimes you need to take a little to get a little and in the end everyone loses.

  24. VJ APU 24

    quoth the raven sounds jaded to me.

    its not the way i do business sunshine. if i help my customers win then I win with them

    its not rocket science

  25. vto 25

    QtR I can’t believe you said that

  26. Razorlight 26

    If people are really surprised by the contents of this recording they would be shocked by what really happens behind Caucus closed doors.

    Does anyone really think every member of the Labour or National caucus is completley comfortable with every policy decision the party makes. Helen Clark used the term, “not in the first term” numerous times in 1999. I specifically recall her saying that term when batting away questions about reducing Student Fees and Student Loans.

    Every MP has to sacrifice some things they believe in to get into power. This is hardly a scandal.

  27. coge 27

    Draco, I would dispute that conversations that take place “in house” are anything but private. People should be able to talk freely without fear. Looks like big brother has come to town. Any individual or group who sanctions such activity should be labled unprincipled. I would hope that the Labour led Govt would seek to denounce such tactics, or risk guilt by tacit approval. Otherwise
    what sort of example are they setting?

  28. Otherwise
    what sort of example are they setting?

    Jeez that’s lame. So very lame. Suck. It. Up.

  29. outofbed 29

    Supposing one suspected National was running a secret agenda
    How would one find out ?
    They have only being caught out because they are saying one thing privately and another publicly
    Why don’t they just tell everyone what they really stand for instead of being put in the ludicrous position of having to defend their support of Labours policies which they privately don’t agree with?
    I mean that is fucking stupid.
    They nearly got in last time with a right wing agenda and they would have probably got in this time with that same agenda. Then at least they could have campaigned on something they believed in, something they joined the National party for. I think most people would respect that I know I would
    Now another day goes by and another adoption and defence of another policy they don’t believe in… its a farce

    Oh well at least KIWIBANK has got some great free advertising

  30. Tanya 30

    This is just fun. Won’t change the outcome, I agree. National have a secret agenda? Really? This so-called scandal will be gone by lunch time, and Winston will be back. The real news of the day.

  31. Hmmm – that comment reminds me of occasional observer. Are you occasional observer, “Tanya”?

  32. outofbed 32

    Does anyone know what happened to the Herald porkometer ?

  33. Tanya 33

    Once again, that is my real name, Robinsod. Occasional observer? Yeah, right.

  34. Once again, that is my real name

    No it’s not.

  35. r0b 35

    Love the title of this thread. In the National Party of 2008 to tell the truth is to mis-speak. Very 1984.

  36. Tanya 36

    I decline to argue anymore. Good night, I look forward to the morning Winstonian headlines.

  37. Razorlight 37

    looks like great debate going on here this morning

  38. max 38

    Great debate as usual on the standard

  39. Here you have two leaders of National speaking their mind about matters that go against what they know is what the majority of public want.

    Kiwi’s like a bank owned by New Zealand, National wants to sell it. Kiwi’s want MFF, National wants to “change” it. Kiwi’s don’t want privatised health care, National wants to privatise it and more over they show an incredibly arrogant attitude towards “the punters” comparing them to easily panicked horses.

    They speak their mind about topics obviously discussed behind closed doors to people whom they believe have the same attitude. The only problem is that someone in the audience(a journo or someone just sick of the lies)records the conversation.

    It is almost as if National’s leaders have been caught conspiring isn’t it? LOL.

    Sort of; We will tell the suckers (the horses, the sheeple, whatever) what they want to hear and when we are in power we will do what we want (Borrow, Spend and Sell and make lot’s of money when we end up on the boards of all those privatised assets leaving the punters to sort out the debt we’ve left them with).

    Ah, John Key brings Wall street to NZ. Welcome to the real world.

  40. simon 40

    I suspect if National were more forthcoming with their policies and less secretive, then Journalists wouldn’t have to resort to guerilla tactics. They’ve played a silly game and really National are making there own bed here, but are not prepared to lie in it.

    I shall now tell a conspiracy story… 6 months after National gain the Government Writs, John key is either (a) assasinated by a little known radical group or (b) Quits due to ill health or (c) A financial scandel causes his fall (leaked by a member of the Business Roundtable) Bill English becomes PM, removes all KEYITES from positions of influence and proclaims “Yes A National Party led by John Key said “…..” But I’m not John Key and in the best interests of the New Zealand we will unfortunately have to privatise Health, Education, ACC, Kiwibank, Kiwirail…

  41. monkey boy 42

    I’m interested in this Tanya thing. Is it another poster who is male pretending to be a woman, or a previous poster with a new name? yo appear to have ‘something’ on him/her.
    Two issues; one is of privacy, the second is about blackmailing someone to suppresscomment.
    Put up or shut up rob and you too ‘Tanya’.
    Rob – your attitude comes across like a bully-boy, and begs the question, how do you ‘know’ if Tanya is misrepresenting him/herself, and also what gives you the right to exploit this info?

  42. Monkey boy – I’ve got something on lots of people (including you) and I am a bully. HTFU.

    [Tane: Sod, pull your head in.]

  43. max 44

    The incisive debate continues, not.

  44. sod, can you cool it? people have a right to privacy when they comment on a blog

  45. Billy 46

    Did anyone hear Cullen on morning report? Very slippery indeed. Resused about four times to answer whether Labour were behind the covert tapings, answering instead that he didn’t know the identity of the person who did the taping. Quite intentionally not the same thing.

    This really is a beat up of monumental proportions.

  46. coge 47

    Perhaps someone here will answer this question. Do Labour sanction the use of taped private conversations of political opponents?

  47. Billy 48

    And I notice on their 9 o’clock news bulletin, National Radio are reporting the story with the focus on who is behind the taping.

    I once played a game of soccer in which we scored a 30 metre own goal (‘keeper at the edge of the box, central defender spoon-foots over his head, one bounce, goal). This remarkable effort may just have been bested.

  48. Billy 49

    For what is “HTFU” an acronym?

  49. Billy, Cullen said he has no idea who recorded the tape.

    don’t pretend there’s some moral issue around the recording, hell even Key said ‘we’re on record 24 hours a day’ – it’s a fair cop, politicians shouldn’t be saying one thing to their supporters and another to the public

  50. Classic Crosy Textor repsonse: dont address the issue, shoot the messenger, act like nothings wrong and then press home that ‘New Zealand sucks’.

  51. Billy 52

    “don’t pretend there’s some moral issue around the recording…”

    Better tell Radio New Zealand.

    I have no doubt Cullen does not know the identity of the person who made the recording. That is not the same thing as not knowing that the recording was planned as a strategy. Cullen’s insistence on answering the question as if he were being asked who the person was, when he was really being asked did he or the Labour Party have any involvement in procuring the recording, tends to show that Labour are behind it.

    And Smith’s comments were hardly earth shattering. Was I invited to vote for Labour last election on their policy of buying back rail? Or their policy of extending Kiwisaver?

  52. Billy 53

    And whose strategy is it, leftrightout, to covertly tape private conversations at cocktail parties. Maybe there’s someone worse than Crosby Textor directing Labour’s strategy. Come

  53. coge 54

    Steve, can you please answer my question. The evidence is compelling, your willingness to sanction this activity is demonstrated in your posts of yesterday. I will speculate that you appear to be part of the pro-Labour apparatus. So on the surface
    it looks as though elements of Labour do wholeheartedly approve of the taping of opponents private conversations.

    [lprent: Coge – don’t be a ignorant dipshit. Steve has publically said before that he is more likely to vote Green than Labour.

    I think it is a bloody good idea that the hypocrites in the Nat’s are pulled up on the difference between what they say in public vs what they say in private. Writers on this site have been pointing out that is probably the case forever, based on the revelations in the Hollow Men. Looks like that has been confirmed by someone. Doesn’t look like the Nat’s have changed much – they still look shifty. Now I consider that is good information for the public to know.

    As far as I’m concerned Steve or anyone else can put posts up about this. I sanction it – if you have a problem with that then I can sanction you not being here – clear? If you take that tone (trying to tell a writer what they can post) here again, you will find out what I have a reputation of being a bastard at times.]

  54. Vanilla Eis 55

    Billy: I think the point is that Labour never ruled out the prospect of buying back rail – they’ve had a history of re-nationalising struggling infrastructure (such as Air New Zealand), and extending Kiwisaver wasn’t something wholly unexpected from them.

    National seem to be deliberately hiding some policy because they think it won’t be liked by the public, and we can’t look at the previous things they’ve done in power as a guide for what to expect – or would you like us to look more closely at the 90’s? Half of Nationals front bench was in power then too…

  55. lprent 56

    Do Labour sanction the use of taped private conversations of political opponents?

    I also wonder who did the same thing to the NZLP congress earlier this year with Mike Williams. Perhaps coge, as a National supporter/member, you could tell me if National sanctioned the use of taped closed sessions of political opponents.

    I think I’m the only known member of the NZLP of the writers on the standard. I didn’t “sanction” it – but I think it is a good idea. As Steve said – parties should not be telling their supporters one thing in private and then putting a completely different emphasis/policies in public. That is what makes politicians to look so damn shifty and unreliable.

    Could be NZF supporters. Could be green supporters. Could be anyone – could be disaffected Nat’s or Act – who knows?

    I suspect that activists of some persuasion did it off their own bat. Frankly journo’s do not seem to have the abilities to do this in NZ. Politicians tend to be too reluctant. It is left to activists to find out what is really going on, to do the blogs, to do the investigations, and to generally make sure that the public does get the information they need. Who cares if a few politicians get caught on the way through.

    They must have been pretty convincing.

  56. Aj 57

    I guess Lockwood will say he is guilty of ‘loose’ talk too. The question is, where now is the credibility of English and Smith.

    What is loose talk? is it lying? is it saying things that you don’t want heard by other people? is it being careless and letting your innermost thoughts slip out? {think Mel Gibson}

    I don’t think English/Smith want us to think they were lying or bullshitting, as it were. If they want us to think that then their political crdibility is gone.

    No, I think English just said exactly what he thinks and the expression ‘loose talk’ is just a smokescreen he’s trying to hide behind.

  57. Billy, I wouldnt be surprised if it was someone from within the party itself, just like the ‘hacked’ emails. You give National too much credit if you think that their party is full of loyal members who’ll stand by their leader.

  58. Billy 59

    leftrightout,

    Maybe you’re right. But then, why did Cullen go to such lengths to say he didn’t know who the person was (when that wasn’t what he was being asked)? If Labour had no involvement, Cullen could have avoided looking so slippery by just saying Labour had nothing to do with it.

  59. “And whose strategy is it, leftrightout, to covertly tape private conversations at cocktail parties. Maybe there’s someone worse than Crosby Textor directing Labour’s strategy”

    I suspect that even the commenters here are going to frame some of their comments as “misspeech” soon. Covertly taping conversations may not be honourable, but how many National voters would condemn Bill Sutch who was entrapped through similar circumstances?

    Secondly, as has been already suggested, this was arguably a response to the mole within the Labour conference who recorded Mike William’s comments.

    While Billy might think it is stock and trade, and even legitimate for politicians to blatantly lie to voters, many voters, including I, want to observe a higher standard of honesty and transparency in government. It’s certainly easier to run down, and downsize government if you have politicians there who don’t act in the public interest.

  60. coge 61

    Iprent. Of course peoples voting habits & memberships are their own business. What goes on in the polling booth usually stays there. I don’t belong to any political party & have not yet decided which party or candidate I will cast my vote for.

    “I didn’t “sanction it” – but I think it’s a good idea”

    Perhaps “tacit approval” would better describe your support of using taped private conversations of opponents? By your own admission you are part of your parties apparatus. And witness SP’s
    willingness to publish edited transcripts yesterday.

    The remaining evidence is equally compelling as to who or what is sanctioning this activity. Clearly Labour ministers & the PM have not been targeted. I’m sure that would make for interesting coverage. But you won’t see this, as most kiwis are fair-minded with unspoken morals. Good people would never even entertain such ideas. Clearly there is someone or more likely some political group
    with a barrow to push. The electorate deserves to have this cleared up, as the evidence does point to Labour right now.

    [lprent: Don’t be daft – I spend $15 per year to be a member. I have zero/nada/no position in the NZLP apart from being an enthusiastic volunteer for various tasks when I have time. I will admit to having wound up as a branch secretary in the past before I left that to people who like to organise.

    I’d say that Mike Williams was targeted at conference earlier this year when he was taped – perhaps you have forgotten about that? Or was that a legitimate target in your rather confused mind – was that ‘moral’?

    Presumably that tape carried other conversation as well – just nothing that was newsworthy. Does that say something about the relative levels of public/private hypocrisy between the parties?]

  61. lprent 62

    Billy – I heard part of that interview. It sounded to me like the interviewer made an assertion that it was labour party people or activists or something. Cullen said that he didn’t know who made the tape.

    The interviewer then made the same assertion several times again, and Cullen said that he didn’t know who did make the tape.

    So technically you are correct. The question wasn’t asked. Of course that just means that the interviewer was trying to be slippery by not asking the question, and trying to pass it off as an assertion.

    It souynded like whoever was doing the interviews was one of the more obnoxious fwit commentators off KiwiBlog. They try to use that same technique on the basis that if you make an assertion enough it may magically become true.

  62. Pascal's bookie 63

    The perfectly legal but dastardly spying plan wouldn’t have come to much if senior Nat MP’s agreed that the National party under Key was a new beast.

    But they don’t, so it’s news. What’s the problem?

  63. Draco TB 64

    I would dispute that conversations that take place “in house’ are anything but private.

    HC makes a good point about public life here.
    As Prime Minister Helen Clark said of Mr English being caught out: “That’s public life isn’t it – we live in a goldfish bowl. There always a possibility that anything we say can get picked up, spun around and end up on the front page of the newspaper.”

    I don’t have any qualms about our politicians being recorded saying what they believe in at what could be considered in public hearing.

  64. Andrew 65

    Ok, lets go through this one at a time shall we.

    “There’s some bloody dead fish you have to swallow to get into Government to do the kinds of things you want to do and you have to balance up what really matters.’

    Ummm, nothing wrong with that statement. National would love to replace things like WFF with something better, but cant as all the public dont want to lose what they know.

    “If you try to do everything differently you’ll scare the horses and under MMP it’s very hard to win.’

    very true, you can’t come in all guns blazing and change everything. It would deffinately stare everyone.

    “Once we have gained the confidence of the people, we’ve got more chance of doing more things.’

    Once again, no rocket science there. Once people realise you are not the monster that Labour portrays they trust you to make decisions for them and do what’s right for them.

    “We may be able to do some things we believe we need to do, perhaps go through a discussion document process you wouldn’t be able to do them straight off. I’m hoping that we’ll do some useful things that way, that may not be policy right now.’

    And finally, what’s so wrong with that paragraph … “perhaps go through a discussion document process” i think thats the key line of the paragraph.

    JESUS … JUST WHERE IS THE HIDDEN ADGENDA??? IM FU**ED IF I CAN SEE IT IN THOSE QUOTES!!!!

    Once again, it’s the lovely sensationalist media twisting the story round to make it sound worse than it is.

    [lprent: I’d suggest that you avoid using that first line (and others like it). I view it as a particular type of trolling used in KB that attempts to state assertions as facts. Just state your opinion – don’t try and dress it up into anything more. ]

  65. Pascal's bookie 66

    Coge, if there was no recording and the questioner relayed the converstation to a journo, would that be spying?

    The reason I ask is that I’m trying to find out what the problem is here.

    Is it that Nat Mp’s were tricked into saying things that they would rather not have the public hear? (Which is very close to a very famous definition of what ‘news’ is.)

    Is it that evidence exists? Should the politicians simply be allowed to claim they never said it, when they did.

    Is it that the public are aware?

    Those are all good things in my view.

  66. Daveski 67

    I tend to agree with Andrew that while the comments will sell shift some product, it’s not like there is a *detailed* hidden agenda – just core beliefs.

    I also – much to my surprise – agree with HC’s comments about the goldfish. I thought she showed a good touch there – rather than politicising it further, she made what I think is a sensible observation about the need to say what you say in public in private … or is it the other way around??

    I really don’t like the way this is going. Perhaps when the phony war is over and the election proper is underway, then we can get on to substantive matters. It’s all assumptions and supposition at present.

  67. coge 68

    So three or four posters (by their own admissions)approve of the taping of political opponents private conversation. (not interviews with journalists or reporters which are public conversations & are often released to the media)

    Is this a common practice by Govts in democratic countries?

    [lprent: What ? I haven’t heard anyone apart from yourself suggesting that any government body has done it. Shall I add you to my mental list of conspiracy theorists?

    From the quality of the recording on the TV1/3 sites, I’d say that it wasn’t particularly good equipment. Way too much background noise. I’d suspect that spooks would have better gear than that. So for that matter should journo’s – but I’ve heard some pretty bad tape from them in the past.

    Sounded like DSE level gear.]

  68. Felix 69

    Andrew that’s one interpretation, a generous one but perfectly valid.

    A more skeptical listener might take more notice of the context – that is: who the speaker was, his known political views, the nature of his likely policy desires contrasted against his party’s public position, his history of honesty/dishonesty etc.

    Then a far less generous (and equally valid) reading may emerge.

    Don’t you think it’s a little naive to remove all context from a statement and take it purely at face value?

    Perhaps it depends on the length of your political memory. Not many who were of age when Dr Smith last presided over a govt portfolio would give him much credit for speaking plainly and honestly.

    edit: coge, why do you keep saying it’s the gummint who are taping people?

  69. Andrew 70

    Dont panic lprent, just portraying my exasperation at the media/labour beat up on the so called ‘Hidden Agenda’ at the moment.

    Face it … there is no hidden agenda, i challenge anyone to show proof of otherwise. There is nothing in the two conversations of anything hidden. Labour has been more guilty of a hidden agenda than national.

    anyhoo, thats my 2 cents worth. keep on fishing. You had better warm up the opposition benches for when they belong to you.

    [lprent: I wasn’t looking at the content of the comment – just the format. It is a particular annoyance of mine because it usually leads to flamewars.
    You will probably find that some people here think differently about the relative agenda’s – but that can wait until I’m out of the BOFH role. ]

  70. Ari 71

    Did I not say that in the long term, C/T-style campaign tactics bite in the ass? I believe this is my opportunity to give Lew a big old “told you so” 🙂

  71. coge 72

    Felix, I haven’t said “the gummint is doing it”, but saying on the surface, the evidence lends itself to certain conclusions.
    I am willing to accept, however, a strident denouncement of such tactics from the Government. If such a statement ever occurs.

    I would like to thank Iprent for his or her forebearance, as I prefer posting here to say Kiwiblog where most of the posting is about mutual agreement. For now I prefer to be in the thick of it.

    [lprent: Yep – you’re usually quite an effective commentator, which of course gets you forbearance. But if you are saying government, then you’d better clarify exactly what you are referring to – spooks?. ]

  72. Andrew 73

    “Don’t you think it’s a little naive to remove all context from a statement and take it purely at face value?”

    Why not? neither you nor i was there so we don’t know the context of the conversation so we can only take it at face value.

    I am old enough to remember enough governments back to the 70’s. The national government of today is not the national government of the 80’s and 90’s. A lot of the core principals remain, but the extremist views have been all but eradicated.

    Much the same as the extreme socialist views of some in the Labour government have been watered down as well.

    whats wrong with a flatter tax structure? reducing compliance costs? give the people back more of their own money and let them decide what they want to spend it on.

    Why should i spend 1,000’s of dollars furthering my career to get a better paid job, only to be demonised by society for “earning too much”. remember 20% of the population pay 90% of the tax.

  73. Felix 74

    Let’s pretend you didn’t say “national government of today” as I’m sure you were mis-speaking 😉

    The point I was making Andrew was that if you indeed remember Dr Smith when he was in govt then you will inevitably apply certain filters to what he says as he has a proven track record of deceit.

    This is the context I referred to, not the idea that you had to be there and hear it for yourself – just that some people’s words demand very close scrutiny based on their record – and if you accept the word of someone with Dr Smith’s record you are by definition naive.

    As for “extremist views have been all but eradicated” from the Nats, can you demonstrate where this has been the case?

    As far as I can see, the extremists are all still there – especially on the front bench. To name a few there’s the two Smiths, McCully, Williamson, English, Brownlee, Ryall et al. A few moderate, centrist Nats have left but the hard-liners are all still there.

    Unless you’re suggesting that these seasoned tough right-wing political operators have all had some kind of life changing experience and no longer believe the same things they always have then your statement just doesn’t hold any water.

    The last two paragraphs of your comment are just standard Act-troll fare and don’t really warrant further comment except to wonder why you brought them up. Not really on topic but obviously the reason 20% of the population pay 90% of the tax (if those figures are accurate) is that they have well over 90% of the money. You’re smarter than that Andrew, don’t lower the discussion.

  74. Felix 75

    coge: I thought when you said

    “Is this a common practice by Govts in democratic countries?”

    you were implying that you believed the gummint here was involved.

    lprent: Yes the audio is pretty rough, could even be from a cellphone or similar device. Even budget recording gear (say a portable minidisc and a concealed lapel mic) can produce much better covert recordings.

    Of course that depends on the user knowing how to best use the gear which probably rules out spooks as well – you’d expect them to know what they were doing.

  75. Draco TB 76

    @ coge:
    When you become a politician then almost all of what you say becomes public because the public need to know. Both HC and JK have said something to this effect so going around complaining, like JK is, about these things happening is a little precious. If you don’t like it then don’t become a politician.

  76. Scribe 77

    I was overseas in 2002, and I couldn’t find the answer using a google search, so this is a genuine question.

    Did Labour campaign on the passage of the Prostitution Reform Act and the Civil Union Act in the 2002 election campaign?

  77. Scribe 78

    Sorry, that should have been 1999 for the PRA; it was introduced in 2000.

  78. r0b 79

    Scribe: Did Labour campaign on the passage of the Prostitution Reform Act and the Civil Union Act

    I don’t recall. But for the sake of argument assume that they didn’t. Your point would be that Labour did something they didn’t campaign on, har har gotcha it’s just the same.

    But it isn’t the same at all. The PRA and CUA were not major election issues that Labour made very clear statements on, and then when on to do the opposite.

    Here’s what we are looking at with National. Very clear statements (sadly lies) about preserving Labour’s KiwiBank, Working for Families etc. But speaking to the faithful their people are caught telling the truth. The real agenda is privatisation and the gutting of social services. Same old Nats.

  79. “So three or four posters (by their own admissions)approve of the taping of political opponents private conversation. (not interviews with journalists or reporters which are public conversations & are often released to the media) ”

    If you think that Ian Wishart’s off the record interview with John Tamihere was fine and acceptable, yet disapprove of National politicians being recorded against their knowledge, then you are simnply revealed as the party hack you are.

  80. Lukas 81

    only difference is that Wisharts was on the record. I have heard the voice mail of JT asking Ian not to print the story once it was already at the printers

  81. How is this a private conversation? You’ve got two public figures, talking at an event where people try don’t know including National party members, town hall staff memebers and media are present, with people milling around… this is a public conversation. It is not English and Smith having a conversation with family or friends in the privacy of their own homes.

    Moreover, what matters is what was said, not where it was said.

  82. Scribe. Not everything you do in a term in power has to be pre-announced before the election, new things come up – things like the Prostitution Reform Act, which was a private members’ bill and was a conscience vote ( members of both Labour and National voted for and against it), or the EFA which was a response to information that emerged after the 2005 campaign.

    What isn’t OK is to have policy, have plans for what you will do in government before the election, and not tell the public. That’s a secret agenda.

  83. coge 84

    Let’s say for a minute that these recordings were made by a Labour Party activist, who had misrepresented themselves to get into the conference. Then the person had one on one (clearly private) conversations with some MPs, & recorded them without the MPs consent or knowledge. Then excerpts are selected/doctored & handed to TV3. Would you consider this a principled activity? If Labour do not sanction such activity, would it not be unreasonable for the activist to be hung out to dry by the party?
    If not why not?

    [lprent: Firstly I refer you to the tapes made in closed session at the labour congress and ask you the same questions.

    Secondly, I’m a labour party member and probably would be regarded as an activist.
    I do things for the NZLP when I can. However I also do things for myself (like this site). The NZLP doesn’t run my life, and can’t tell me to do anything.

    Thirdly, I’m also a member of Southern Cross, AA, insurance schemes, investment plans, etc. They can’t tell me what to do either.

    So why do you think that Labour Party can exert ANY control on any of their activists outside of the narrow confines of the labour party meetings? ]

  84. r0b 85

    Let’s say for a minute that these recordings were made by a Labour Party activist

    Hey coge – you first. Let’s say the same (made by a National activist etc) about the tapes made of Mike Williams at the Labour Party conference. Go ahead and answer your own questions….

  85. coge 86

    Iprent. Should a principled polictical party seek to publicly disassociate itself from said activist when they had been correctly identified? Absolutely they should, as the action could damage the partys reputation. We both know if the activist acted alone, & without prior knowledge or sanction of the party, nothing could be done to prevent it.

    rOb, you should already know how I feel about private coversations,
    ANYONES private conversations, being recorded without consent. It’s a violation the majority of us do not tolerate.

    If there is more to this story to come, I expect we won’t have to wait long to hear about it.

  86. Anita 87

    coge,

    What makes something a private conversation?

    In this case English, Smith1 and Smith2 were talking in a crowded room. They were surrounded by people who could overhear the conversation, many of whom they did not know.

    Where is the line between a private conversation and a public one?

  87. coge 88

    Anita. Ultimately it is a matter of intention of the MP speaking. In these cases I believe it is likely that these conversations were one on one, or in very small groups. What is clear is the media were not being addressed. The MPs were not informed that they were being recorded, or who was doing the recording. Or that the recordings would have excerpts edited & handed to TV3.
    So I contend, as far as the MPs were concerned, they had some expectation of frank privacy.

    At this point there is media interest, so hopefully the true facts will enlighten us in the coming days.

    However you look at it, I cannot see how it could be seen as anything more than unprincipled behaviour from someone afforded an expectation of basic human trust. Please don’t tell me you agree with such activities.

  88. Anita 89

    coge,

    Would it make it more/less ok for you if the person recording was one of the people in the conversation?

    How about if they person who went to the media had overheard the conversation and repeated it without recording it?

    How about if the retelling was Nat-to-Nat? (“I was at the conference last week and I heard Bill saying … he’s so right!!”)

    If I was at a crowded cocktail party and said something indiscreet which was overheard and retold to a client or competitor I would consider it to be absolutely my fault. Shouldn’t I?

  89. coge 90

    Anita it’s not an issue of heresay, chinese whispers or other innuendo. It is a matter of intention. Someone, in all likelyhood, misrepresented themselves, entered a political opponents convention in the possession of a recording device. They then abused the position of unspoken trust they had been given. Their intention, through subsequent events, was very clear from the time they entered the venue.

    Again I ask, do you give this your approval?

  90. Anita 91

    coge,

    I don’t know enough about what happened to approve or disapprove.

    To come back to something we don’t have enough information about… you have said that your problem with the recording is that it was a private conversation.

    I have asked what makes it a private conversation – particularly given that it was a crowded space full of people who were not personally known to English, Smith1 or Smith2. You (I think) have said that it’s a private conversation because E/S1/S2 intended it to be a private conversation.

    So if I’m at a crowded cocktail party discussing work with a colleague in a way that can be overheard by anyone standing nearby, is it a private conversation? If I want it to be private does that make it private? If someone overhears my conversation and tells someone else about isn’t it my fault for being indiscreet?

  91. If this is illegal then Target is f*cked. It is so the “stolen” emails all over again. Let’s hope this time that the media look past teh misdirection…

  92. Oh and didn’t Key say it was just a consequence of being a public figure when it was Bill that was caught out?

    Or maybe it just took a day to get Crosby Textor over to do damage control…

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