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Dirty Politics: The Brestapo

Written By: - Date published: 7:00 am, August 14th, 2014 - 88 comments
Categories: babies, corruption, democracy under attack, democratic participation, john key, national, national/act government, Politics, same old national - Tags: , ,

breastfeedingMany have commented that there is nothing shocking about the revelations in Nicky Hager’s new book, ‘Dirty Politics’. It is the sad and sorry truth of New Zealand politics that there is some merit in such comments. That does not mean that the stories in the book are not significantly newsworthy.

Whilst most people inside the “political beltway” have long suspected links between John Key’s office and blogs like Whale Oil, it is quite another thing to see the concrete evidence of the bigger picture and the very cynical communications between those involved. The book very firmly ties up John Key’s office and the clear strategy from the outset of his leadership of the National Party: To paint himself as clean and “above dirty politics” while very quietly pulling the strings and using proxies to run his attacks for him.

The downside of a book like this is that there are just so many stories that would each in themselves be well worthy of the front page of a leading newspaper. From the individual political attacks and abuse of ministerial powers through to blog posts paid for by PR companies on behalf of tobacco companies, Ports of Auckland, Fonterra and the Food & Grocery Council; I fear that many good stories will not get the coverage they deserve. I can only hope that the book is widely read from cover to cover.

I have chosen to highlight one story that was particularly hard for me to read. I have become desensitized to much of the dirty politics covered in the book. That is not to say I do not care, I very much do. Whilst I will always remain in firm opposition to anything which distracts from what politics should be about – that is a genuine contest of ideas and policies – there are only so many times you can feel genuinely emotional, shocked, and outraged over the same old dirty tricks.

I do not like political corruption. I do not like political parties and industry lobbyists cynically manipulating public opinion for their own self-interested ends. Yet I have come to expect it where I have seen it before: The National Party, the alcohol and tobacco lobbyists, and PR companies employed to combat unions and political activists.

A couple of years ago I read “The Politics of Breastfeeding” so I am only too aware of infant formula companies’ involvement in what can only be described as the corporate murder of millions of babies around the world. Yet here in little old New Zealand I have genuinely (and now obviously naively) believed that the only opposition to breastfeeding is from a dwindling generation of very out-dated thinking and a very tiny minority of people who have carried on such thinking.

How wrong could I be?

To paraphrase Nicky Hager’s comments on Campbell Live last night: Everyone knows what sort of character Cameron Slater is and that in itself is not newsworthy. I have foolishly never taken Cameron Slater very seriously except when his attacks have been obviously for the benefit of the National Party. I actually believed that the misinformed and bigoted viewpoints that prevail in his posts were his genuine opinions. It fits his character to drone on about “The Breastapo” “Sucking on the Taxpayers’ Tit”. To discover that such posts were actually written and paid for on behalf of Fonterra actually shocked me. I cried and then I paced around the house feeling very genuine emotion and outrage.

It leaves me questioning: Are there really people out there who genuinely believe that breastfeeding advocates deserve to be labelled such nasty names as “The Brestapo”? Or are these ideas almost always bought and paid for by those with a financial interest in ensuring they can continue to push their products without regulations to combat the harm they do? If Whale Oil is a paid outlet for this rubbish then surely it is only the tip of the ice-burg.These industry paid for posts are not a calm and reasonable defense of the products they push. It is cynical, dog-whistling manipulation of the public at its very worst.

Here are some bits from the very posts published on Whale Oil that Nicky Hager has shown were bought and paid for by PR lobbyist Carrick Graham:

The Brestapo don’t seem to care about how limiting (destroying) the branding of, for example, New Zealand’s largest company and other New Zealand companies infant formula brands will impact on this country’s global competitiveness.

Up first is the concept of a ‘Wet Nursing’ programme, an idea flowing from the Christchurch earthquake crisis where mum’s were stressed out and struggled to breast feed naturally.

For Kiwi blokes, this means some random lactating woman turns up at your front door, flops out her tits for the young fella to have a suck on, while the missus sits there and watches.

On the other hand if this woman turned up knocking on your door, offering to ‘wet nurse’ your infant, many dads would not only be more than happy to welcome her into their home, but wish they were 2 years old as well. Don’t think the mums would be, though

Another idea latched onto (excuse the pun) by these troughers is that of a ‘human milk banking’ system. Apparently during times of crisis, like Christchurch, a Government funded (of course) milk bank would kick into action, sending litres of chilled breast milk down to the starving infants whose mothers are too stressed to breast feed naturally. These troughers just can’t stand the idea that mums might consider buying infant formula.

Meanwhile Fonterra and other infant formula producers can all go and take a bath, as these troughers would rather crawl over broken glass than have infant formula as a ready solution to mums struggling to breast feed.

And to top it all off this ‘hui’, stakeholder consultation or whatever you want to call it, also had an earth mother ‘stunt feeder’ attend,  sitting there breast feeding her baby throughout the meeting without saying a word. I’m surprised the baby didn’t erupt with reflux having to sit through that bollocks.

On a final note: There have been many comments from the right alleging that the real dirty politics can be seen in the recent Internet/Mana video with chants of “Fuck John Key” and an unrelated burning of an effigy of John Key. I would argue that the prevalence of dirty politics outlined in Nicky Hager’s book is exactly what creates an environment where effigy burning (and if this continues, perhaps worse to come) is inevitible. When a small but powerful elite come to dominate politics and focus the media away from the real issues onto attacks and other distractions, what is lost is the ordinary citizens’ engagement in politics. When ordinary people feel more and more powerless as discussion of the real issues becomes impossible they disconnect from politics. Eventually they will stand up and fight back and it may not be pretty. It is our responsibility to keep politics clean if we want our democracy to survive and prosper.

88 comments on “Dirty Politics: The Brestapo ”

  1. One Anonymous Bloke 1

    Fonterra. That’s horrible. There will be consequences.

    • Colonial Viper 1.1

      And there already has been – melamine.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 1.1.1

        Way beyond that. I’m in no position to criticise Fonterra and yet my blood boils. I make no distinction between bigots and those who encourage their bigotry, and to do so for financial gain, knowing it hurts their family members never mind their neighbours.

        A gutsful I have had.

  2. karol 2

    The quotes from the WO blog – such contempt for women.

    And that was written by a Fonterra person?

    • felix 2.1

      A “Fonterra person“?

      Given that the person is writing in the capacity of “Public Relations” on behalf of Fonterra, I think it’s fair to say it was written by Fonterra.

    • Alison 2.2

      Are you really surprised?

  3. Stuart Munro 3

    Release that story in China and Fonterra will never sell another pint.

  4. miravox 4

    It’s not really in the spirit of the International code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes is it? I guess it shows how much clout Fonterra has that this code is still voluntary in NZ. This swipe by them in the slimy lair is appalling ‘marketing’.

  5. Excellent post rocky.

    It shows that there has been extensive corruption at the interface of business, politics and new media.

    The layers of deception you detail are nothing new, sadly, but remind us that the network established at this interface has been put to wide use by all of those who wish to manipulate New Zealanders surreptitiously.

    If I was a Whaleoil devotee – and it appears there are thousands in New Zealand – right now I’d be reconsidering my allegiance.

    • If you were a Whaleoil devotee, by definition you’d lack the integrity needed for this to cause you to question that allegiance. I can’t see him losing any readers over this.

      • Puddleglum 5.1.1

        Hi Psycho Milt,

        I guess I’m hoping that, even in ‘devotion’, there’s something of a normal distribution in commitment. Surely at least some regular WhaleOil readers will get a little twinge from this?

        But I can see your point.

  6. northshoredoc 6

    Threee things.

    Firstly please put a warning when linking to slater’s blog. Secondly the first article it links through to is very very supportive of breast-feeding. Thirdly ..’I am only too aware of infant formula companies’ involvement in what can only be described as the corporate murder of millions of babies around the world.” …… what ?

  7. “Are there really people out there who genuinely believe that breastfeeding advocates deserve to be labelled such nasty names as “The Brestapo”?”

    As a longterm breastfeeding advocate, I can assure you – Yes. There are. Read the comments on any Herald or Stuff article where breastfeeding is discussed.

    Many of them are women who are hurting because breastfeeding did not work for them, and choose to blame their pain on breastfeeding advocates instead of a society that fails to support breastfeeding in any material way. (lotta talk, little real help with the barriers) Others simply believe that formula is really just as good so why not just buy it?

    The opinions promoted by Cameron Slater and John Key are reflected in society around you – that’s why they are still around and they won’t change. Clearly though, the influence of corporatism and advertising on public opinion cannot be overstated. Opinions are bought and sold every day.

    • Lanthanide 7.1

      I’ve also read quite a few stories from mothers who feel like they are being harassed and treated as lesser people by beastfeeding advocates when they can’t breastfeed through no fault of their own.

      You personally may treat people with compassion and understanding, but that doesn’t mean everyone who promotes your cause acts the same way.

    • Populuxe1 7.2

      Many of them are women who are hurting because breastfeeding did not work for them, and choose to blame their pain on breastfeeding advocates instead of a society that fails to support breastfeeding in any material way.

      Well gosh, I bet women who for whatever reason can’t breastfeed are feeling really great about themselves now. The flaw in your logic is that I can’t see why women who can’t breastfeed would blame “a society that fails to support breastfeeding in any material way” because, well, THEY CAN’T BREASTFEED IN THE FIRST PLACE.

      They’re probably mainly hurthing because self-righteous Le Leche busybodies like you are out to make them feel like bad inferior mothers for something completely beyond their control.

      [lprent: This isn’t the topic of the post. I’ll leave it here as it is in the context of the comment you replied to. However raising this topic directly in this post is liable to cause some abrupt moderation. ]

      • Jess 7.2.1

        Case closed, I think? This response has the depth, scorn and obligate namecalling of a post in… another blog 🙂

    • JonJ 7.3

      With a 2 week old child, and a wife who was physically unable to breastfeed due to a clear medical condition, I have to say “the Brestapo” is overwhelmingly in charge of our public health system. Every morning i would come in to the hospital to find that my strong, confidant, educated, caring, wonderful wife had at some part of the night been reduced to tears by an interfering, ignorant midwife. The number of times we had to ask them to read her medical history (and often explain to them how it meant there was no physical chance of her producing breastmilk). The endless dirty looks & snide comments from midwives when i was preparing bottles of formula. Being told that the are are “baby-friendly hospital” so can’t give us any information about which formula might be best suited to our child?
      While i do not in any way condone opinion being bought or sold by marketing departments; it’s worth noting that our tax dollars fund the anti-formula opinion being aggressively pushed in our public hospitals.
      whatever the right & wrong, he said/she said; the last 2 weeks has shown me that “the breastapo” is the most accurate/funniest tag i’ve heard in a while.

      • JonJ, if “the Breastapo” were actually in charge, there would be funding for enough trained midwives and lactation consultants so that the medical care errors you describe your wife suffering would not have happened. From my own experiences, having hospital staff too busy, jaded, and exhausted to attend to your individual needs is the rule, not the exception simply for breastfeeding issues.

        Breastfeeding and birthing advocates have been petitioning the government for years to pay attention to the poor treatment and degrading outcomes for mothers in hospitals. Solutions includes options like milk banks and wet nursing, which would render artificial milk and its historically filthy industry practices unnecessary for mothers like your wife.

        Yet these approaches are ignored (and mocked, as per the quoted blog above), I must assume because Fonterra and the rest of the dairy industry is so powerful that only cows’ milk may be harvested for human infants. The public hospitals are caught between the known fact that artificial milk creates health risks for babies and the lack of available human milk options for mothers who cannot breastfeed.

        Ask yourself – which group has the public interest at heart? Which group truly deserves a nasty name and public backlash?

  8. Alison 8

    Rochelle, thank you so much for writing this.

  9. Tracey 9

    but defacing billboards is BAD!!!!!!

  10. AaronC 10

    Die Fonterra Die!

  11. FlashInThePan 11

    I would love to hear the Federated Farmers respond to this claim. Traditionally very Nat aligned, surely they can’t be happy with the shadow Fonterra’s involvement will cast on their members…

    I found this address for a Comms manager on their website dbroome@fedfarm.org.nz if anyone of influence wants to raise it with them…

  12. FlashInThePan 12

    Comms at Fonterra mike.burgess@bbg.co.nz

  13. Dont worry. Be happy 14

    Thanks Rocky. You are perfectly entitled to cry! Not only do the likes of Nestles have blood on their hands for the evil they got up to in the Third World but Fonterra was slow to alert Chinese mothers to melamine in baby formula. I think it took them a month. Thats a lot of little babies getting fed what is essentially plastic ….and for a long time.

    Did any of those babies get plastic kidney stones? Did any of those babies end up with damaged kidneys? Did anyof them die? Does Fonterra too have blood on it hands?

    • Truth 14.1

      Fonterra tried and tried to get their majority chinese partner to recall the products, and they wouldn’t do it, bad publicity before the olympics was not allowed, it took them blowing the whistle to the govt at home in NZ to finally get the issue addressed, I think to this day, that is why a lot of kiwi consumers study what they buy in the supermarket closely, and if it has Made in China on it, they put it back on the shelf…there’s always that niggling doubt, that if our govt hadn’t got involved in the melamine in infant formula scandal, that we wouldn’t have heard a word about it.

  14. Sable 15

    Big corporations rule the world. Just look at the situation in the Ukraine if you want a very ugly example of that. What amazes me is people are genuinely surprised by this. None of this is new or especially original.

    The reality it the right supports and is supported by big business because they are in effect one and the same. Have been for years. Who paid Hitlers way into office and kept him there. It wasn’t the workers he falsely claimed to represent.

  15. lprent 16

    This has been the top read post all day so far. The page views are at least double every other post and from people who appear to have never inhabited the blogosphere from the IP analysis.

    I’m guessing women. Lots and lots of women coming in from facebook, twitter, and links from sites that I have never heard of.

    I wonder if Cameron Slater and Fonterra realize just how offensive woman are finding this action of theirs to be. Not to mention people from Christchurch.

    I wonder how this will play out in the political sphere. I suspect there will be some guilt by the association of dirt.

    • Tom Gould 16.1

      We can only be thankful that the truth has eventually come out and we can see our ‘number one company’ for what it really is. This will do massive damage to their brand both here and overseas. And all so they could play in the mud with their Tory mates. Idiots.

    • Red Rosa 16.2

      +1

      • Rosie 16.2.1

        +2 @ Lynn. good to hear. And Thank You Rocky for your post. Really disturbing reading.

        As for your last (well said) paragraph, the examples of what some consider “bad crowd behaviour” should be seen as a positive rather than a negative by those that criticise. Like pain in the body telling you something is wrong, the response from these people is telling us that something is wrong.
        Pain expressed as anger. Anger isn’t always our most attractive expression but it can be necessary, as a catalyst. Those that criticise should look beyond aggro and ask why.

        Like John Lydon said “anger is an energy” ! And because any time is a good time for a sing along:

  16. Hayden 17

    I do like how Whaleoil readers apparently need to have wet nursing explained to them.

  17. redfred 18

    I went on Fonterra page and asked whether they paid PR Consultant Carrick Graham to orchestrate an anti breast feeding campaign via Cameron Slaters website.

    https://www.fonterra.com/nz/en

  18. Red Rosa 19

    For those of us who haven’t been able to get a copy of the book – is it clearly established that Fonterra actually paid for some of this stuff?

    Can anyone get hold of Fonterra to find out?

    And since Slater is an integral part of Team Key, what does Team Leader have to say?

    Could be that quite a few women’s votes will depend on the answers.

  19. Matthew Hooton 20

    Before Fonterra was established, the Dairy Board’s strategy was to avoid infant formula and instead develop products like ANMUM. The rationale was that this would avoid the political risks of baby milk formula while also expanding sales (mothers need more nutrition than babies). And there were products for breast-feeding mothers that would apparently improve their breast milk. The idea was that NZ would be pro-breast whereas arch-rival Nestle was pro-bottle. I always thought this strategy made sense. Surprised Fonterra has abandoned it.

    • the pigman 20.1

      Oh MATTHEW it is so good to see that you’re okay! But your post feels like it’s missing something… was it a long night?

      After your conspicuous absence yesterday I was worried. But then again, I guess you don’t have people like Cack-tus Kate trying to engineer situations to put you at risk of physical harm.

      Happy days!

  20. Penny Bright 21

    FYI

    14 August 2014

    ‘Open Letter’ /OIA request to NZ Prime Minister John Key – Please provide copies of all correspondence between your Senior Advisor Jason Ede and blogger Cameron Slater

    Dear Prime Minister,

    Please provide the following information:

    1) Copies of all correspondence between your Senior Advisor Jason Ede and blogger Cameron Slater.

    2) Copies of all correspondence between all/any persons attached to, or employed by the Office of the Prime Minister, particularly Jason Ede, Wayne Eagleson, yourself (Prime Minister), Minister of Justice Judith Collins and Cameron Slater; and David Farrar,

    3) Copies of the ‘procedure’ or ‘protocol(s)’ to be followed by all staff attached to or employed by the Office of the Prime Minister.

    4) A copy of the organisational ‘flow chart’ (or the like) which shows the clear reporting framework to be followed by all staff in your Office of the Prime Minister.

    5) A copy of the budget for your Office of the Prime Minister, with a clear breakdown of monies paid by whom, for what, on an annual basis from 2008 – 2014.

    6) A copy of the ‘Code of Conduct’ that applies to staff employed in your Office of the Prime Minister.

    Kind regards,

    Penny Bright

    ‘Anti-corruption /anti-privatisation Public Watchdog’

    • Matthew Hooton 21.1

      Jason’s work is not subject to the Official Information Act. He worked for the leader of the National Party, not the Prime Minister.

      • Shrubbery 21.1.1

        Which is presumably exactly why the PM would use Jason Ede to provide information from the SIS to Slater and Farrar.

    • The Pink Postman 21.2

      Penny

      I have often commented on the crooked deals of Crosby -Textor . Has anybody found any connections betweeen Crosby .T. and Whale Oil or the National Party Team Key . Any idea Penny you are nearer the action in Auckland rather than sleepy Cambridge.

      • Te Reo Putake 21.2.1

        You must be loving this Postie! I really salute your efforts on the Labour stall in a tory town. I bet you’re going to have some interesting conversations this weekend!

  21. Penny Bright 22

    Thank you Matthew.

    FYI

    14 August 2014

    PRIVACY ACT request to Prime Minister John Key – Please provide a copy of ALL correspondence held by any/all members of your staff in the Office of the Prime Minister – particularly Senior Advisor Jason Ede, which pertains to myself, Penelope Mary Bright, aka Penny Bright.

    Dear Prime Minister,

    Please note this is a PRIVACY ACT request, not an Official Information Act request:

    Please provide a copy of ALL correspondence held by any/all members of your staff in the Office of the Prime Minister – particularly Senior Advisor Jason Ede, which pertains to myself, Penelope Mary Bright aka Penny Bright.

    Kind regards,

    Penny Bright

    ‘Anti-corruption/anti-privatisation Public Watchdog’

  22. Michael 23

    A Party Vote for National on 20 September is also a vote for abusive corporate PR tactics like Fonterra allegedly used here. It does leave the question of which Party to vote for. Labour is conspicuous by its silence here. Why is that?

    • unsol 23.1

      Allegedly being the operative word!

      But like leaking to the media, big business having their fingers (or whole hand!) in the political pie should be no surprise either…….surely you have known about the influence big business has had on our politics? It goes back decades.

      After all, it can’t be a coincidence that it is monied men who are often the party presidents – men who have often been on the boards of all kind of key businesses & corporations.

      This goes back decades too – including for Labour.

      I think the sad thing about all of this is that more NZers are going to become painfully aware how unclean & dirty our politics really is & will feel even more disconnected than they do now…perhaps resulting in an even lower turnout than last time.

      I am not sure Hager’s timing did our democracy any favours as this really could hurt all parties as I am certain Slater will go on a whole new crusade of vile faux outrage.

      • Pat 23.1.1

        Nope. I think you will underestimate the fury of voters. Particularly women voters. I for one have felt silenced up to this point. But no more. Like Rocky, I cried when I read about this. I suspect Slater and co would say “boo hoo” to that. But fuck them all. Not all parties are full of moneyed men who are have been on the boards of all kinds of key businesses and corporations. There is ONE party and ONE party only that is completely over-represented in this kind of unethical stuff. Nice try Unsol Your post will certainly be how the Nats will try to spin this. They will be aided by (fake) bloggers and the media who contribute to the clusterfuck and have way more money than the rest of us. But they don’t have the truth on their side.

        • unsol 23.1.1.1

          Hmmm Pat you seem to have a short memory – Michael Hirschfeld or Mike Williams ring a bell? Both are (were for Hirschfeld) exceptionally rich & both were on many boards.

          Of course overall the National Party MPs do have a lot more wealth, but that is because they chose to go out & work for a living rather than leave uni & become an institutionalised politician. I think that is probably the basis of the appeal the party has to most voters – they have lived in the real world even if they no longer do.

          And let’s not forget all the rich mates Labour allowed to get significantly richer – most probably helped by the tax loop holes left wide open (LAQCs etc) when they introduced a new top rate of tax:

          In 1999 the Rich List had 135 individuals and 36 families, with wealth estimated at just over $9.8 billion. By July 2006 the number on the rich list had increased to 187 New Zealand individuals and 51 families where they had increased their wealth by just over $3.7 billion in just 2005-2006. These people on the Rich List had a wealth estimated at over $35.1 billion – that is a massive jump in wealth for a tiny minority whilst the rest of us saw stuff all real wage increased despite massive increases in the cost of living.

          So re “There is ONE party and ONE party only that is completely over-represented in this kind of unethical stuff”…..well unfortunately I don’t think your claims that the Nats (implied) are the epitome of evil & glutton will ever stack up – esp for those of us who felt the effects of Labour’s poor policy & lack of foresight first hand.

          So nope, can’t see this having a big impact on the Nats at all, but I can see it affecting Slater & his beloved tip line.

          Interesting out of all the so-called lies he has been busy refuting today he has yet to deny he is but a puppet that merely sells out to the highest bidder?

          My guess it is that which will turn people away from him as no one likes a sell out.

        • One Anonymous Bloke 23.1.1.2

          Well said Pat. Slater is a sideshow like Dotcom.

          What matters is that powerful interests think nothing of feeding Slater’s mania, in the hope that they will be insulated from the manifest harm they do.

          This is far more disturbing than politicians and their games, serious enough as they are.

          It amounts to a deliberate and cynical betrayal of the nation by its most fortunate beneficiaries.

          Effigies are not enough.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 23.2

      How is Cunliffe being interviewed live on the subject “silence”?

    • weka 23.3

      “It does leave the question of which Party to vote for.”

      Apart from the fact that we are spoilt for choice this election.

    • George 23.4

      Labour seem to be committed to “positive” campaigning at present. Good luck with that.

  23. unsol 24

    Like many I am not shocked about the leaking & manipulation that goes on between the beehive – on all sides, let’s not be naive about this – & the media or bloggers.

    I am not convinced however, that the allegations that the attacks on the left have been part of some super stealth coordinated efforts by John Key & his Nat party minions – his minions like Jason Ede for sure, but whether it goes beyond that remains to be proven. If Hager comes out with his so-called proof (e.g. hacked emails) then sweet, but until then I remain skeptical.

    We all know Slater is tight with Collins & Banks, but I am not convinced the weekly chat with JK is necessarily conducive to proving they have a “bromance”. After all, it is obvious that JK is quite a bit smarter than Slater (he did manage to make legitimate millions the easy way!), so my guess any involvement comes down to political expediency rather than a genuine relationship.

    Then there is of course the nature of anti-left attacks led by Slater – they are often petty, irrelevant puff in the wind kind of BS that means a lot to those inside the political beltway but SFA to the rest of us.

    For most people the only time their political ears turn on & listen is when they hear something that is going to directly benefit them. The rest of it is just seen as superfluous mud flinging that most of us have very little time for.

    I will say though I really surprised how much of Slater’s blog appears to be but a mere mouthpiece for the big companies.

    Like you (Rocky) I just thought his random rants were indicative of his generally narcissistic manic personality, not resultant of his opinions being sold out to the highest bidder. Weirdly I find that really depressing as I was far more comfortable with him just being a rabid dog prone to defences of the indefensible…..I actually thought he was too smart to be controlled by a puppeteer, to have his strings pulled by big money. It’s just so cliche & that was the one thing I didn’t think he was.

    So the fact that he was paid to go anti plain packaging for the tabacoo companies was a surprise, but it makes sense…..he doesn’t even smoke so like most I mistakenly thought it was just another WTF post to get ratings….or that perhaps he had missed his meds as it made no sense…..tobacco use costs far more in health costs that it recovers in taxes. That’s why most of us advocate smoke free NZ.

    So at least now we know why he picks up some of these random ’causes’ that his wife seems to defend to the last breath as being indicative of him going on some kind of moral crusade….how she justifies that & things like labelling car crash victims as feral is I’m guessing beyond the comprehension of most of us. God she must be so embarrassed, I really feel for her & their kids. How horrible to have NZ media & MPs etc say the fact that your spouse & father is nasty & vile is no surprise. I felt so bad for her when Campbell Live were beating down her door last night. Just awful.

    As for the breastapo – I am in the breast is best camp & was fortunate enough to be able to breastfeed our kids exclusively, but I have to say I also understood some of the points he raised re what was seen as the anti Fonterra campaign by the breastfeeding advocates…..primarily because it is new mothers that get caught in the middle of this kind of debate, mothers who soon realise that when it comes to parenting & doing right your child mum actually knows best.

    That said, knowing now that Slater was probably just putting up PR blurbs by Fonterra does change things as it goes against full disclosure as it is sneaky & underhand & seeks to manipulate your view on the issue rather than be upfront & honest, give all the facts & allow you to draw your own conclusions.

    So while I am doubtful that this stuff will have any major impact on the Nat’s chances at reelection, I do wonder whether this book will result in Slater becoming the victim of his own success whereby his blog, after the initial spike in page views etc I suspect it is getting now, will just crawl back under the rock of vile irrelevance it first came out of.

    I hope so as I’m guessing silence would be his worst nightmare.

    I just hope that others don’t try & fill the void he would leave – it would be nice to see NZ politics mature out of the kindergarten BS it has been in since its inception.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 24.1

      Cameron Slater is a tool, significant only inasmuch as dynamite is to the engineer.

  24. greywarbler 25

    I have noticed there is a certain male element that finds babies superfluous, except to obtain when wanted, perhaps. Too much trouble, and takes a man away from his important concerns. These are getting money and things and amusement and interests for himself, and a female or another male, who shares them. Such men can be heard complaining about supporting ‘other men’s kids’ through paying out for the old DPB, now revised, downwards of course.

    To find these anomic, anti-social, irresponsible society raiders turning up in Fonterra is shocking. The mindless corporation emerges with no real connection to society except to suck up money from it! With little mercenaries who are happy to have been born and raised to adulthood and then turn round and vampire-like suck the goodness and strength from society. Their task is to encourage dependence on the corporation and learned helplessness and in this case shows disrespect for women and their essential role of loving and nurturing
    edited

  25. AmaKiwi 26

    @ Michael: “Labour is conspicuous by its silence here. Why is that?”

    Key answers that in today’s report on TV3 on-line. In the press conference Key repeatedly accuses the “the Left” of being the dirty politicians. He repeatedly claims the Left want to smear rather than debate “the real issues facing NZ”. Key claims this is all about Cameron Slater and has nothing to do with the National party.

    I think Labour is silent because:

    1. Cunliffe is constantly talking about the “real issues”: jobs, health, housing, families, a smart economy instead of a commodity economy. “Vote Positive.”
    2. I think Cunliffe is relaxed letting the rest of the media tear Key apart. No need to become just one of the unidentified sharks in the feeding frenzy.
    3. As Hager points out, negative politics turns many people off so they drop out and don’t vote. But conservatives are more likely to vote despite the negativity. Negativity is good for National and bad for the Left.

    What the reporters don’t ask Key today is, “If Hager’s book is all lies, why don’t you sue him?” “Why not release your emails to prove Hager is lying?” (thanks Penny Bright).

    • unsol 26.1

      Good call Amakiwi

      If you have nothing to hide you don’t hide nothing!

      Key & the Nat MPs should all release their emails to prove that whilst they were no doubt involved in leaking stuff to the media, they were not involved in some kind off orchestrated & co-ordinated attack on Labour, that this was all Slater & his cronies.

      Labour MPs should also all do the same to prove they have never tried to harness votes using smear tactics. I doubt this involves the Greens or Winnie – they are too idealist & a little naive to be that devious. Winnie likes to think he’s ahead of the game, but I just don’t think he has the smarts.

      I absolutely believe that Cunliffe, like Key along with Jacinda, Hekia, Anne, Steven, Raymond & others are above all this crap, but I think there are many MPs on both sides of the house who I suspect are donkey deep in it. You just have to go by the comments they say in the house, the underhand tactics they use & the things they say on FB & Twitter. Mallard & Collins spring to mind.

      That said I don’t believe any MP is capable of going as low as Slater – he & his fellow guttersnipes are in a whole other world of twisted logic.

      Funny thing is that for those in the real world we see it as child’s play, kindergarten BS that has no place in NZ politics & get frustrated with how much it detracts from the real issues – while these fools are squabbling we are still struggling to buy houses, left to deal with teachers who are more concerned with politics than teaching & wondering why we even pay tax when you can have a 3 year wait for a hip replacement. The side show is not the main act & just wastes more taxpayers money & solves nothing. Yet Slater et al think they are being really clever. Ironic really.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 26.2

      Amakiwi your 2. nails it; I’ve been trying to figure out a way to express the same sentiment.

      • Kiwiri 26.2.1

        +1

        John Key tried hard very unsuccessfully today to go on about Hager launching his book at 5pm yesterday, saying it was done to pre-empt response. And there was John Key, having more than 20 minutes given all to him by the media and not giving a real response ??
        His credibility has well and truly been flushed away – on its way to merging with the sewer.

  26. Plan B 27

    National do not want your vote, they want your apathy

  27. Claris Moses 28

    A bought and paid for slug.

    I do have to wonder how many companies he has received payment from for his dirty brand of publicity seeking lobbying.

    Did he declare any of these payments and did he pay tax on any of his illicit income?

  28. Whywelly 29

    “There are a few basic propositions with negative campaigning that are worth knowing about. It lowers turnout, favours right more than left as the right continues to turn out, and drives away the independents.’ In short, many people stop participating in politics. If politicians cannot be trusted, if politics looks like a petty or ugly game, and if no one seems to be talking about the things that matter, then what’s the point of bothering to participate? Just leave them to it.”
    – Simon Lusk, National Party strategist, quoted in Hager’s book.

  29. Lucy Telfar Barnard 30

    I went to Fonterra’s facebook page and asked “Dear Fonterra: is it true, as I hear is implied in Nicky Hager’s “Dirty Politics”, that you paid PR Consultant Carrick Graham to orchestrate an anti breast feeding campaign via Cameron Slaters website?”
    Fonterra replied: “Hi Lucy, thank you for your question. No, it’s not true. Our view about breastfeeding is that it is the best source of nutrition for babies. We have never, directly or indirectly, requested or paid for posts on the Whale Oil blog. Hope that clarifies things for you. Kind regards”
    I followed up with “Thanks for your reply, that’s a good start. Do you employ Carrick Graham, directly or indirectly?” They replied “No, Lucy. We don’t.”

    That’s a pretty categorical denial. It’s not a diversion or a bingo card comment, it’s a straight denial.

    Just thought you’d be interested.

    • weka 30.1

      Thanks. Do you have a link, I can’t find it?

    • Colonial Viper 30.2

      Yeah I got a tweet from Fonterra saying much the same thing. I would like to think they are being totally up front but how would one know.

    • I hate to be picky (that is untrue) but based on your questions they’ve only categorically denied currently employing Carrick Graham, not employing him in the past.

      • weka 30.3.1

        Lucy went back and asked if they had employed Graham in the past. I think the word ’employed’ is problematic and the questions needs to be asked if Fonterra have ever benefited from PR done by Graham’s firm irrespective of how Graham gets paid. Or something like that.

        Nice work Lucy 🙂

        • Lucy Telfar Barnard 30.3.1.1

          Thanks. I decided in the end (as noted in a comment further down) that there would be all sorts of ways they could play with tenses and verbs, so cut to the chase and asked them to explain why Carrick Graham was twittering in their interest. Funnily enough, their reply has been a whole lot less forthcoming than the original responses.

  30. Natalie 31

    My fists are balled with helpless rage. When does it stop? Fonterra using it’s money and power to publicly bully and demean women by the slimiest route possible. I feel sick to my stomach.

  31. greywarbler 32

    @ Natalie 10.16
    Good rant Natalie. If you can keep the fire going, carry on and get others active and down to the polling booth, and that would be a good use of your energy and concern.

  32. emily 33

    carrick graham must just enjoy tweeting in Fonterra’s defence then if he is not getting paid by them….

  33. Murray Olsen 34

    @lprent: Not getting reply buttons again. Using Chrome on a MacBook Pro.

    @Penny Bright: Matthew Horton has told a partial truth. Jason Eade was paid by the taxpayer and changed a while ago to being paid by the National Party. I can’t recall the exact date, but I think it was earlier this year. Documents relating to his work while paid by us should be available as official information.

    @ unsol: Thanks for making the NAct strategy on this so clear. Get rid of Eade, Slater, and perhaps even Collins, but Key is to be protected at all costs. Labour making all their correspondence public is a nice touch, but the fact is there are no serious accusations against them. Nice try.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 34.1

      Ditto reply button: Chrome on Win7. The reply buttons appear if I write a comment – hence the “test” comments that I’ve been deleting 🙂

  34. Lucy Telfar Barnard 35

    I couldn’t find a way to leave it as a main post, and didn’t want to link it to anything involving other people, so it’s part way down their page( https://www.facebook.com/Fonterra?fref=ts) under a recipe for “Mhm. Pasta with Kahurangi”.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 35.1

      Their next reply will be interesting 🙂

      • Lucy Telfar Barnard 35.1.1

        Yes. There have been a range of similar conversations happening on twitter. I’ve been looking at choice of tenses. Clearly they feel comfortable stating that they’ve never paid, directly or indirectly, for any posts on whaleoil, but that would be easy to deny if you had just contracted a company which sub-contracted to Carrick Graham for some amorphous job “promoting Fonterra interests in social media” or some such.
        I’m trying to think of a way to phrase a question that would capture all that – something like “has Carrick Graham ever received money to promote your interests”? But I think the existing question asking for an explanation of his tweets in their defence pretty much covers that.

  35. Lucy 36

    I always wondered about the increasing noise about breast feeding that has happened in the last 5 years. I am so angry and would suggest that the knighthood should be removed from Henry van der Hayden if this happened on his watch! Won’t happen but hey we can ask

  36. Lucy Telfar Barnard 37

    So I finally have a reply from Fonterra on facebook, saying “Fonterra’s head of communications on public record now, here http://www.nbr.co.nz/article/fonterra-rebuts-hager-allegations-jb-p-160925“.

    I’ve responded asking whether going on record for those who’ve taken out a $130 subscription to NBR counts as public.

    • weka 37.1

      You’re a gem Lucy. There are few here with NBR access, so hopefully someone will do a cut and paste.

      • weka 37.1.1

        Cool, a bit of it is on Public Address,


        Michael Homer, in reply to Lucy Telfar Barnard, About 2 hours ago

        They deny it:

        However, Fonterra’s group director of communications Kerry Underhill says the dairy cooperative has never, directly or indirectly, requested or paid for posts on the Whale Oil blog and has never discussed the matter with Carrick Graham.

        … He says Fonterra hasn’t worked with that public relations agency since he has been with the company [since August 2013], and that to his knowledge Fonterra has never worked with the agency or ever requested or paid for posts on any blogs, either in New Zealand or overseas.

        … “These things can take on a life of their own, and this is absolutely without any truth or foundation.”

        http://publicaddress.net/system/cafe/hard-news-dirty-politics/?p=319922#post319922

        • Pat 37.1.1.1

          There is, to me, a fair bit of wiggle room here. “To his knowledge”. Is Carrick Graham on Fonterra’s books or not?

  37. Lucy Telfar Barnard 38

    Now that I’ve read the chapter in question, I think it’s just as possible that the Brestapo post came from Katherine Rich and the Food and Grocery Council, as from Fonterra. I don’t think that lets Fonterra off the hook, but it would explain the confidence with which they deny involvement.

    • lprent 38.1

      I think that rocky said that somewhere. However she also said that even then Fonterra had a indirect route in that they are large contributors to the Food and Grocery Council. Since this was in their area of expertise it seems unlikely that the F&G council wouldn’t have talked to them about it.

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