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Dirty politics vs accountability – you can’t be smeared with the truth

Written By: - Date published: 8:48 am, August 20th, 2014 - 50 comments
Categories: accountability, blogs, brand key, john key, spin - Tags: , , , ,

Nicky Hager has exposed the inner workings of the National Party’s attack politics machine – all the way up to the PM’s office – for all to see.

Key has tied his brand to the mess by refusing to disown it. The only (weak) defense he can run is that it is all a “left-wing smear campaign”, that the political left does exactly the same, that it’s just the way things are, or (if pressed further) just a shrug and “ahh well”. Pathetic.

You can’t be smeared with the truth. And the narrative told in Dirty Politics is being substantiated by the original material being released by the Whaledump hacker. When it’s the truth, it’s called accountability (a point well made by Pete Hodgson on Morning Report today). When it’s the truth, it is keeping our politicians in line, for the good of us all.

Opposition parties and the media (now days including blogs) exist to hold the government to account. It is nonsense to equate this, as John Key does, with leaking private information, hacking in to unsecured systems to attack ordinary party members and donors (no public interest defense there), manipulating the OIA process and SIS files for political gain, rooting round for sexual dirt on one’s opponents, etc, etc, etc.

Accountability is not dirty politics. You can’t be smeared with the truth. John Key’s lines are as worthless as his promises of ministerial accountability.

50 comments on “Dirty politics vs accountability – you can’t be smeared with the truth ”

  1. Enough is Enough 1

    Welcome back r0b

  2. Tracey 2

    thanks rOb

    And discussing the use of the labour party members list on a cross check with sex offenders list, is not innocent as Key suggests.

    • Lanthanide 2.1

      Pretty silly thing to try and blow up into a story, anyway, isn’t it? Parties don’t exactly do background checks on everyone that donates to them, and frankly it would be very disturbing if they did.

      Then again, we did have the same sort of crap just recently with Cunliffe having his photo taken with someone who apparently is a sexual offender, although their identity is “suppressed”.

      Should the media be asking who played a part in publicising that particular story? Without having looked, I’d guess that Whaleoil has a post covering it, if not “breaking” the story originally.

      • Tracey 2.1.1

        Agree. It gives an insight into the type of person slater etc are, and key and collins are sullied by indirectly defending him.

        • Pasupial 2.1.1.1

          The creepy thing about Cunliffe photo is that it was a previously National-associated person who was the alleged sex offender. Given the methods on display in Hager’s Dirty Politics, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if later an email is released to show; that Nat had been directed to seek the photo with Cunliffe, just to give their black-ops dept a target for that week. So either the offender would not have known why the photo was desired by their RW associates (duped), or coerced into the task by compromising information (blackmailed).

          Speculation – no evidence, apart from the sewer modus opperandi to date.

          • alwyn 2.1.1.1.1

            “Speculation – no evidence”
            Perhaps we should speculate on the reasons why Cunliffe approached the man. Perhaps he wanted advice on how to attract young people?
            Just speculation of course. Like you there is no evidence at all.
            Unlike you I don’t suggest that anyone should believe it.

            • Pasupial 2.1.1.1.1.1

              Alwyn

              “Speculation – no evidence, apart from the sewer modus opperandi to date” is the full statement (though I did incorrectly spell; operandi). Also, I did not say that I believed it to be the case, just that; “I wouldn’t be at all surprised if later an email is released” to confirm my conjecture. The evidence is in; Slater’s eagerness to muck rake, and the fact that the alleged sex-offender was once known as a National Party supporter (but is certainly more suggestive than conclusive)

              Your attempted counter fails because; Cunliffe has no history of knowingly consorting with sex offenders, and the individual approached him during a public appearance; not the other way around.

  3. Lanthanide 3

    Pete Hodgson neatly avoided responding to Guyon’s questions about the H-fee scandal.

    • dv 3.1

      Two points
      The Hfee was an investigation to discover if there was truth to the gossip.

      I recall seeing a copy of a/the signed hfee? doc and remember thinking the signature did have a close resemblance to Keys.

      • Enough is Enough 3.1.1

        dv

        Blubber boy uses the same excuse. Just correspondence between friends to see if there is truth to gossip.

        Its bullshit, dirty and distracts from the real game

  4. geoff 4

    The long term solution to all these problems is transparency.

  5. disturbed 5

    Good stuff Rob,

    Like you I could not keep quiet about these undermined attempts to destroy our Democracy.

    I produced a rough transcription of “Nixon in the Den” a reflection of Key’s antics are now so please take it and remark about the possible relationship if you may, or others. Sure we don’t use tapes now but the surveillance issues and stolen labour Party Documents and emails are the same today as the intent to injure and subvert the course of justice was then, and possibly worse now.
    I posted it on the sister blog “Politics doesn’t have to be dirty” also. (hope I don’t get trolled for it I worked hard to make it up.)

    History channel screening 19/8/14 release of “Nixon in the den” history

    Transcribed from the following, hard transcribing it word for word unless you can add to it someone.

    (not all was exactly word for word)

    except the introduction called “Near the end in 1974”.

    Spot the similarities.?

    History channel screening 19/8/14 release of the Nixon history

    Nixon in the den. – History Channel Tuesday 19th August 2014. Excerpts

    1972-74.

    “I’m not a crook”. Nixon 30th July 1973 was described as someone who wouldn’t quit.

    “He couldn’t resign as it would be an admission of guilt”.

    “Near the end in 1974”.

    To save himself the president had had to sacrifice most of the Key Aid’s that had been at his side since the beginning.

    Alderman & Eichmann were forced out.

    And he was loosing all authority..

    Nixon constantly harried in press conferences, about the tapes the cover-ups, and even his personal finance.

    “People have got to know whether their President is a crook or not, “well I’m not a crook”

    Now the lone ranger really was alone.

    Forced to release the self incriminating tapes and face imminent conviction, Nixon finally resigned.

    In August 1974.

    He told his staff in a tearful rambling farewell,

    “Never be petty, always remember others may hate you,

    But those who hate you don’t win, unless you hate them, and then you destroy yourself”

    The ultimate irony with his hate had become the adrenalin of the Nixon Presidency.

    The ambition & ruthlessness that had driven Nixon to the top had spiralled into a consuming rage and mistrust of others,

    That had indeed destroyed him.

    Nixon wasn’t the first President nor will he be the last to end his tenure compromised.

    The relentless pressures of office drilled down to the venerable heart of the incumbent..

    Exposed it to the media’s remorseless gaze.

    END OF “Near the end in 1974”.

    Background of Richard Nixon.

    Described as “He was also a warm liable guy”

    Frank his father was a violent father, and mother showed no love, as a cold person so Richard grew up as a withdrawn person always desperate for success.

    Gloomy guy he was coined as at university.

    Nixon wanted to always make decisions in private.

    He wanted to remain as a leader of the world.

    Henry Kissinger was saying he didn’t enjoy people.

    Like as an extravert in an introvert body.

    Hard work was his forte.

    Gloomy guy he was coined as at University.

    He devoured History books.

    Loved Abraham Lincoln.

    He imagined he was a philosopher President, and he wanted to Shape the world.

    Nixon developed a relationship with USSR & China.

    He believed an opening to China was the way forward.

    The world cannot be safe with China on the outside.

    Nixon would on his first day in white house was to handwrite a plan to rewrite the future of the world with China included.

    “Nixon had early on learnt dirty tactics to win his first Presidential win”.

    “He was ruthless, and loathed East Coast rich establishment.”

    “Nixon’s background was to get his way because as a child he was left out of life with others”. .

    Nixon hated the media. He was going to screw over the press when he got into power.

    As a governor of California, he left on bad terms.

    He planned to come back and was then a ruthless mover to call himself as a saviour of the silent majority, when the Vietnam war becoming unpopular.

    He began a campaign as a nice guy but behind the scenes he arm-twisted any one to get his way he was using shady tactics to win.

    As president he had to resolve Vietnam then get on with China and Russia.

    Nixon was the key to success in politics’

    He engineered a backchannel, a spy network.

    Nixon was upset Kissinger was getting the limelight.

    Nixon used Backchannel operations and covert operations on everything he did as an advantage.

    Bugging and recording everyone, he ordered high security operations in1972.

    He was always with a smile and a tough talker but soft on face

    Kissinger went to Russia and arms and trade deal becoming first to break the cold war.

    1972 Nixon won the election after Kissinger’s plan for Russian deal and Nixon was upset because Kissinger got the credit.

    Nixon got resentful and paranoid so Nixon taped all calls, and eventually got himself in trouble for this.

    Then Nixon’s obsession with spying on everyone got him caught when after the election, the results of a court case in Washington revelled some plumbers were convicted.

    Five men were caught trying to bug the opposition Democratic Political Party’s headquarters offices.

    Nixon in response to the Democratic Party H.Q. break-in news break Nixon dismissed it as “Overzealous people always overdo things during election time!”

    Nixon had actually tried to cover it up it up. The tapes they found did place him as part of the plot.

    He may not have known Watergate at the time of the election.

    His response when they found the incriminating tapes was “We’ll get them on the fields and crush them.”

    The beginning of Nixon’s paranoia with taping everything begun after Nixon was paranoid that everyone was out to get him so Nixon in June 1972 ordered a tightening of security and surveillance was part of this plan.

    He was fending off the impeachment enquiry that tied him to the tapes showing he was part of the plan to bug the Democratic party’s HQ..

    His advisors found that we found Nixon was running himself down and drinking heavily.

    A fighter he ploughed on, and sealed his own fate with his crime with his own tapes.

    Nixon 30th July 1973 was described as someone who wouldn’t quit.” He couldn’t resign as it would be an admission of guilt”.

    • alwyn 5.1
      1. “Near the end in 1974.

        To save himself the president had had to sacrifice most of the Key Aid’s that had been at his side since the beginning.
        Alderman & Eichmann were forced out.”

      2. “As a governor of California, he left on bad terms.

      I thought this might be of interest but I wouldn’t take much notice of the quotes on it.
      I’ve just noted a couple of items, that jumped out as being wrong.
      1. Their names were Haldeman and Erlichman NOT Alderman and Eichmann and they resigned in April 1973, not 1974.

      1. Nixon was never Governor of California. He ran for the position in 1962 but lost (to the father of the present Governor incidentally).
      • disturbed 5.1.1

        alwyn,

        Thanks for the corrections .

        We will fix those as some words on transcript come muffled,,

        What was he in California, a senator or congressman?

        The recording said he stepped down there and vowed to return.

        • alwyn 5.1.1.1

          I didn’t read the whole thing. They were just a couple of items that jumped out.
          Nixon was a elected as a Congressman in 1946, re-elected 1948 and elected as a Senator in 1950. He was then Vice-President from 1953 to 1961 and was defeated for President in the 1960 election.
          He ran for Governor in 1962 but lost. At the time he lambasted the Press and announced that this was his last press conference. He then moved to New York. He was elected President in 1968, and re-elected in 1972. He was described by Haldeman as the “strangest man he had ever met” and by Kissinger as “the oddest man he had ever met”.
          Incidentally I think he was “Gloomy Gus” not “Gloomy guy” at college.
          He claimed to have been nicknamed “Iron Butt” in Law school for how long he spent studying in the Law Library.
          He was, whatever you thought of him, a truly fascinating character.

          • disturbed 5.1.1.1.1

            Alwyn,

            Me being 70 now I went to Canada in 1968 and saw a great deal of him as you could imagine with cable TV into US channels then I did learn a great deal abut his character and actually would as a human being warm and sensitive I took to him.

            Most interesting about him was the media I recall was always rabbiting on about whether he was aggressive and strong enough to run global affairs after Kennedy Johnston era and being from a Quaker family background many saw him too weak.

            I feel sorry when sitting there as the Watergate break-in permeated the hourly news like the latter O J Simpson murder case did.

            I truly did not think he was capable of what was written about him, but what bare we to believe today with very few watchdog agencies to watch the Government?

            N.Z is looking a lot like wild west politics nowadays to me, and if we are to save what our forefathers fought and died for surely we should clean up this dirty politics no matter which side it comes from.

            Before I leave this world I want to be remembered as a good steward of our precious democracy and freedom my past folks left for us.

            Time us gatekeepers pay it forward.

  6. Travis 6

    This entire episode will become notorious in the future. It will be the subject of many thesis and used as a case study by many as to strategic reactions to crises. JK ‘ s response is being shown daily to be dissapating into thin air. Strategically he has made a in all likelihood career ending cock up. Not just for himself but a fair few others. On the other side of the coin whoever obtained the info has shown a strategic mastery. Allowed a book to be published generally describing the content, then predictably Jk has responded as per standard, in effect callingout the content as lies and challenging the source. This has given the source the mandate (from Key himself) to then have no choice butto back up his claims with the raw evidence – the raw evidence will alwayslook far worse in actuality than the book would ever present. Theres a reason we allow silence to an accused – the raw ugly truth always looksworse than a sanitised description. And now 7 days in, the lead item on everynewsbulletin, on every hour, (and those half hourly updates) is leading with the latestturn of events on dirty politics. That is a lot of news bulletins. And by challenging the source jk now has to go to bed each night only wondering what will be the headline tomorrow in the herald….because each day for the next month there will be a new headline, and a new fire to put it out. A strategic blunder of epic proportionon one side, but a masterclass in strategy from the other. This reactive policy will be historically used by many as the exact example of not what to do.

    • cogito 6.1

      Assassins – even smiling ones – eventually have to face the music… and when they do, it’s not pretty, as Key has demonstrated.

  7. Tom Bradford 7

    For any among you still wondering why Key doesn’t hold Collins accountable and sack her, wake up and smell the sewage. Key can’t spend all his time claiming Hager’s book is just an insubstantial smear campaign and then give it credibility by sacking a senior minister because of it. He’s damned if he does and damned if he doesn’t, otherwise known as karma.

    Key is a narcissist. He is Prime Minister purely to serve his ego. Any service he provides for New Zealanders and New Zealand is purely a side-effect. Had there been a real possibility he might lose the election his ego would have required him to resign in order to ‘make way for a successor’ who could then take responsibility for the loss.

    Hager’s book has closed off that option. If he resigns now it will be seen as admitting its truth, yet if he loses the election now his ego will have to bear the responsibility for snatching defeat, and an ignominious and disgraceful one to boot, from what appeared to be the jaws of certain victory only a few days ago.. His ego would find that intolerable and so winning the election has become almost a life-and-death matter for Key, for to a narcissist the ‘ego’ is co-extensive with the ‘self’ and damage to Key’s ego is as painful to him as damage to his self. Expect him, therefore, to fight with every underhand means at his disposal, not for the National Party or because he believes he offers the better path for the Country’s future, but for his own-self image. It could get very nasty.

    And if he wins despite this set-back his already obscenely-inflated ego will only be re-inforced and further aggrandised – and I very much fear that instead of the fatherly, benevolent Augustus we’ve had for the last few years, we would find ourselves with a Nero. I sincerely hope (and suspect) there are some in the National Party who also see this, and who might not be above tapping him on the ankles during the next few weeks in order to bring him down and perhaps open the door on their own advancement at the cost of a term in opposition.

    Key will be hoping that four weeks is long enough for this to fade from the memories of the great New Zealand public and I wouldn’t bet against that given the support he still seems to have from the blinkered and the gullible, but hopefully Kim DotCom’s Great Revelation still to come will also serve to revive memories of this and make Key’s position untenable.

    • outofbed 7.1

      What he said

    • disturbed 7.2

      “We can legitimately call Key the Nixon factor” since Key resides also in the US state of Hawaii.

      Nixon 30th July 1973 was described as someone who wouldn’t quit.” He couldn’t resign as it would be an admission of guilt”

  8. Hami Shearlie 8

    Welcome back Mr Robbins!

  9. Tracey 9

    IMO this book is most likely to be seen impacting the undecided who intend voting.

  10. alwyn 10

    “You can’t be smeared with the truth”
    Why is Phil Goff so unhappy then? He goes on about how the Government, and Key in particular, were out to smear him regarding his denial that he had been briefed about the Israeli’s in Christchurch.
    When Key said that Goff had been briefed he denied it, and kept on denying it.
    He had of course had a proper briefing and evidence for this was released under Slater’s OIA request.
    Why is Goff therefore claiming foul play. After all, saying that the briefing took place was the truth and no smear of Goff ever happened.

    There was, of course a smear involving Goff. He claimed that Don Brash had told the US that the nuclear ship ban would “be gone by lunchtime”. The material in the WikiLeaks affair showed that it never happened as the US officials at the time said that no such comment was made. That was a smear of course as Goff simply made it up and it wasn’t the truth.

    • framu 10.1

      “Why is Phil Goff so unhappy then?”

      because the nats abused their positions of power to both expedite and direct the OIAs and chose their pet attack dog to out him instead of going through the proper channels.

      They used a public forum to attack him where he had no real right of reply

      do you really need that to be pointed out?

      • wtl 10.1.1

        Exactly. If alwyn had read the book, he would note that Hager does not call the attack against Goff a smear, in fact he doesn’t even make any judgment about whether or not Goff deserved the attack or not. He merely uses it as an example to show how the Key (the minister in charge of the SIS) is willing to use the likes of Slater to attack political opponents.

        • alwyn 10.1.1.1

          If you had read my comment you would have noted that I never actually mentioned Hager at all. I only commented on GOFF being all uptight on the matter.
          Apart from that I have included, just below this, a reference to the Director of the SIS saying that Key’s office had nothing to do with the release of the material.

          • wtl 10.1.1.1.1

            Meh, of course Goff is upset about the abuse of power by Key and others, framu already said this so didn’t feel the need to repeat it. I don’t really understand why you are trying to divert this thread to be about what Goff thinks.

            • alwyn 10.1.1.1.1.1

              I found the claim in the heading “you can’t be smeared with the truth” as being totally at odds with Phil Goff’s complaints that he IS being smeared when all that was released about him was the truth.

              • framu

                goff has been cosistantly clear about what has upset him – did you not hear the radio interviews?

      • alwyn 10.1.2

        You, along with Hager and Goff might like to claim this but the Director of the SIS, a very senior, respected and neutral public servant says it isn’t so.
        http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11310735
        Now just why do you refuse to believe her?

        • joe90 10.1.2.1

          Kitteridge wasn’t director at the time.

          • wtl 10.1.2.1.1

            As pointed out above, Kitteridge wasn’t director at the time. Therefore, she would only have information that is recorded in the official file, and no knowledge of any unofficial requests.

          • ScottGN 10.1.2.1.2

            Exactly.

        • Blue 10.1.2.2

          Probably because she didn’t even work for the SIS at the time.

          That ‘assurance’ by the SIS is funny, because if the SIS is claiming it was all them, Key had nothing to do with it, then that means the SIS is accusing themselves of leaking information to Slater.

          Slater somehow knew that his OIA would be approved, that it had been expedited, that it would hurt Goff and roughly when the information would arrive, all well before time.

          Someone fed him that information, and if the SIS is so intent on protecting Key, that means they are claiming it was them.

          • ghostwhowalksnz 10.1.2.2.1

            The GCSB made all sorts of assurances initially and the Inspector general backed them up: until it was found to be a crock of lies.

            But back to what the SIS have said: Kitteridge hasnt said anything its a “spokesman”

            This evening an SIS spokesman said the director was “responsible for NZ SIS Official Information Act responses and made the decision to release and what to release in this case”.

            “Under the no surprises convention the director or a representative would normally inform the minister’s office about what is being released under the OIA.

            “That’s what occurred in this case. Neither the PM or his office expressed a view as to whether the information should be released or to whom or when.”

            The real point is that the essence of the OIA came from the PMs office. This is not denied

            Slater was guided in what to ask and got a quick answer while others didnt. This is not denied.

            The interesting thing would be if Key himself ( verbally) asked Tucker was Goff briefed as it seems outside the convention to declassify something in order to embarrass an opposition MP.

            Everybody else, apart from Slater would have been told we dont release briefings on classified material

            • Blue 10.1.2.2.1.1

              The interesting thing would be if Key himself ( verbally) asked Tucker was Goff briefed as it seems outside the convention to declassify something in order to embarrass an opposition MP.

              That’s exactly what happened. Key went on Q&A and said “I personally didn’t brief him [Goff], but my understanding from the director of SIS, Warren Tucker, is that he was briefed and he was shown the same note and report that I saw.”

              http://tvnz.co.nz/q-and-a-news/john-key-interview-transcript-4321301

              Tucker’s letter back to Slater said they wouldn’t normally release such information, but they were making an exception because the existence of the briefing and some of the content was already in the public domain. The person who put that information in the public domain was Key. After speaking to Tucker.

              Trap was baited, all they needed was an OIA with the right wording. And they got it. Funny that.

            • alwyn 10.1.2.2.1.2

              “This is not denied” you say.
              I suppose I could say the Joe Bloggs (insert any politician’s name you like), has never denied that he is a paedophile. Presumably you would regard this as evidence that he is?

              Blue says
              “Trap was baited, all they needed was an OIA with the right wording. And they got it.”
              If Phil hadn’t lied about it he wouldn’t have had the slightest problem, would he.

              Actually Phil’s real problem was that he basically accused a public servant of breaching his statutory duty to brief the Leader of the Opposition. I don’t think any senior public servant would take kindly to being accused of not carrying out his duties.

        • framu 10.1.2.3

          you asked why goff was unhappy – all i did was explain why – he said as much in radio interviews

          everything beyond that is a different question answer process

          what were you saying about not reading comments again?

  11. disturbed 11

    Alwyn you said; “you along with Hager and Goff might like to claim this but the Director of the SIS, a very senior, respected and neutral public servant says it isn’t so.”

    Bollocks; No rose coloured spectacles please.

    Me thinks we all know now that the Nat’s were engaged in a campaign of backdoor smearing using any means possible to silence any one dissenting against any Nat’s policy.

    Same shit Nixon was involved in.

    We can imagine what they all felt like when any small anonymous email or tipoff came to any brave Journalist, civil servant or opposition M;P who dared to speak against what was seen by them to be wrongdoing.

    I wont elaborate but you all know what that word is for that form of coercion in a democracy right.

    Time for those to come out of the shadows and spill the beans now.

  12. KJS0ne 12

    An important point: Hager didn’t release a lot of information that was included in the emails. He states in the preface that he decided much of it wasn’t in the public interest, stuff about relationships and sexual relations etc. Stuff that would no doubt be embarrassing to those it was about. Here Hager has seperated himself from the mileau, shown journalistic integrity and a moral compass.

    Interesting that the same would most certainly not be the case had the shoe been on the other foot, the leak from Labour and the emails given to Slater – Who time and time again has thrown dirt on his enemies by digging into their history of sexual relations.

    • disturbed 12.1

      ++++++++20

    • ianmac 12.2

      No Right Turn says that the current drop of emails contain personal stuff and he hopes that part is not published. As opposed to Nicky’s wish that no personal stuff is published.

    • Alistair Connor 12.3

      KJS : Yes, but it’s possible that the whaledumper may not have exactly the same scruples as Hager. It’s really too early to tell, isn’t it? Perhaps if the situation warrants it, and there is something really ugly that can’t be revealed without crossing that line… This is what is keeping the Nats awake at night.

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