Email excuses

Written By: - Date published: 1:03 pm, October 14th, 2007 - 21 comments
Categories: national - Tags:

Bill Ralston writes in his his column in the Herald today, “Okay, I know sometimes I don’t open all my emails, such as ones headed “PM Unveils New Electorate Office for Steve Maharey”, “Arbitration Amendment Bill Passed By Parliament” and “Free Viagra”. But, then, I’m not running the country.”

He goes on to suggest that Winston’s office really should have been reading the emails from the Combined Threat Assessment Group. Fair enough.

This wouldn’t be the first time that a politician has used the “i never read the email” excuse though. There’s been a lot of discussion here on The Standard in the last few days about the role of the Brethren in 2005. The primary defense from the right seems to be that EB involvement was “just like the unions”. It wasn’t. Among other things, it was covert.

What really set the EB campaign apart in my mind though was the fact that Brash and Key and other senior National figures lied – and I think, continue to lie – about the extent of their knowledge.

Brash’s inital defence was “I didn’t read the email”. This is the same line that Key still falls back on. This was the report in the Press on Nov 30 2005:

An email published in the book, sent to Brash from Rangiora Brethren member Ron Hickmott on May 24, 2005, says the church was planning a $1 million election campaign “with the sole goal of getting party votes for National”, and refers to a meeting the previous week with National’s campaign manager, Steven Joyce.

“I am essentially working on our/your election campaign full- time,” Hickmott wrote.

Brash initially denied he had received it, saying the email was “total fiction”.

He then said it was possible the email was sent to an indirect email address and cleared by party staff without his knowledge.

This position became untenable yesterday, however, when Hager released an email he had held back from publication in his book, saying he wanted to see whether Brash would continue to deny his association with the Brethren.

The latest correspondence shows the Hickmott email went into Brash’s parliamentary email inbox at 3.15pm, where it was cleared by Brash’s chief adviser, Bryan Sinclair, and forwarded to Brash’s personal email account at 4.13pm that day.

Sinclair added the comment: “From the Brethren. I usually avoid tangling you up with this, but this is worth reading as it looks like $$ are involved here.”

Brash replied at 6.49pm: “Thanks Bryan. Yes our friends from the Brethren bailed me up at breakfast this morning. I have forwarded this for reaction from Steven (Joyce, National’s campaign manager). Don.”

Brash was shown to be a liar. This is the man National wanted running our country. Possibly even more astounding is National had audacity to run a campaign that explicitly set out to attack Clark’s integrity – the characteristic they referred to internally as “her biggest strength”.

It’ll come as no surprise that I’m skeptical of Key’s scripted denials that “I don’t believe I ever received that e-mail, and I have no record of receiving it. In my opinion that may indicate it was sent to the wrong address”.

Sound familiar?

21 comments on “Email excuses”

  1. burt 1

    I agree, Winston used the same defence as Brash and therefore as a poodle for the Govt it’s valid to then skip to stories about John Key.

    You guys are very very funny.

  2. Robinsod 2

    Burt you are the most consistently disingenuous commenter I’ve seen for a while. Have you considered Ritalin for your problem?

  3. Benodic 3

    I suspect viagra might be more appropriate for burt’s condition.

  4. Robinsod 4

    Shit no! the last thing we want is it breeding! – That’ll just lead to more “special” kids. Burt don’t listen to him – it’s happens to a lot of guys.

  5. Nih 5

    People addressing emails to the wrong place is more common than you’d think.

    It’s such a weak excuse that it might be genuine. I just simply doubt that was the only communication Key had on the matter. Saying he was unaware of it defies belief entirely. Politicians lie, the sun rises in the easy, the sky is blue, etc.

  6. Robinsod 6

    Hey Nih – nice comment on the national party blog. I was so impressed I took a screenshot before it’s erased and you’re banned. I’ve definitely noticed that now this blog and blogblog (and bean and…) are up and running with decent comment threads there’s no need to post over at that other site. The question is will this mean a ban there carries less weight now? (It certainly feels that way to me)

  7. Robinsod (or Robinson, or Robin-whoever) – you’re always welcome to post on my blog, and I haven’t banned anyone!

  8. Nih 8

    Thank you Robinsod. I felt it was time to say something.

    I realised that I was visiting so that I could talk turkey with certain other posters and farrar’s babblings made zero impact on my view of the world. The guy’s not smart enough to engage his commenters in discussion or write a properly structured post and gets all banhappy as soon as someone disagrees with him. No class and I refuse to be brought down by association.

    I’d like to see a few more posters coming over. Basically anyone who could hold a discussion without exposing the world to their psych issues.

  9. illuminatedtiger 9

    John Key and National. Because the truth doesn’t matter.

  10. Lee C 10

    Jeez Base you really have a hard-on for this one. On Friday The Standard blogged about this; to which I summarised what had been written thus:,

    to summarise:

    “The Electoral Office is in a conspiracy to support the Exclusive Brethren in their conspiracy to engage in a conspiracy with the National Party to sidestep the Electoral Act.

    Now if this is not all hearsay, and not provable, why have neither
    The Exclusive Brethren
    The National Party or
    The Electoral Office been prosecuted after the police enquiry?

    I invite you to draw your own conclusions.”

    So now you’ve dropped that approach but still are happy to smear Key based on assumptions, hearsay, innuendo, fabrications and well, bullshit…

    Show us the evidence.

    Show your readers the basic respect of providing evidence for this campaign you are undertaking against Key, or else the only conclusion that can be reasonably be reached is that it is a smear campaign.

    Interesting how some of us are quick to take the high moral ground when we accuse others of being deceitful but are quite happy to indulge in deceit when it suits our own purposes.

    Show us the evidence.

    Please.

  11. Lee C 11

    base – I’ll even go so far as to ask you what it is that you know, which is so damaging to Key’s integrity, that even the Labour Party, under the protection of Parlaimentary Priviledge, obviously do not know, for if they had any evidence, wouldn’t they have shared it with the country by now?

    You don’t know diddly squit. It’s all innuendo, and conspiracy, or to use everyday langauge – shit-stirring.

    Evidence needed, please.

  12. oooo robinsod…you included me in a list of decent comment threads. i am blushing beetroot! but to be honest…i have little more to offer than flitting mindlessly from one patch to another musing on whatever takes my fancy. but at least i do it nicey nice

  13. didn’t ralston only just say in last week’s Listener column that he’d sent the same article to the Listener and to the DomPost or some paper he writes for, resulting in duplicated publishing in both? seems email errors happen a lot.

  14. burt 14

    So do you guys think Dan Brash did the right thing resigned after his telling lies re: “I never saw that email” ?

    If you answer that question yes – then why is this thread about John Key rather than about how Winston should resign for the same reasons you think Don Brash had to resign?

    It started off about Winston then morphed into the same as every other thread on this bog – John Key BAD.

    You guys must be really scared of him ? Why are you so infatuated with him?

  15. Nih 15

    Do you mean Don Brash?

    I think we’ve established Winston’s biggest crime is being a lazy bastard, whereas Key has actively courted the Brethren.

    Neither belong in parliament really, but the method of their ejection is probably going to differ. Winston will tuck his tail between his legs and play a low key election and slip out of the public eye. Key won’t share this sense of good timing and will probably go down in flames.

  16. all_your_base 16

    I’d put Winston’s, Key’s and Brash’s claims at quite different points on the ‘plausibility continuum’.

    I’d say Winston probably didn’t see his email, he seems to have given a pretty plausible explanation regarding volume of correspondence, priority level of the message and so on. At the other end of the continuum we have Brash who was shown to be a flat out liar by means of direct evidence.

    I’d put Key somewhere in the middle.

    Key has chosen his words on this matter very carefully. I say he’s lying though – the collective weight of evidence leaves little doubt in my mind that he was in it as deep as Brash was.

  17. burt 17

    Nih

    Yes I did mean Don Brash, sorry about the typo.

    Here is some reading about what really went on, based on information supplied via the Official Information Act.

    http://keepingstock.blogspot.com/2007/10/mccully-vs-peters.html

    I like this bit:

    The MFAT papers revealed that when news of the troop flights and the certainty of serious political embarrassment hit the public arena in mid-August, somebody in Mr Peters’ office started getting worried. Very worried indeed. Because email records show that on 15 August MFAT headquarters delivered to Mr Peters’ office another copy of the very same CTAG report they had delivered three months earlier, carefully marked to make clear where Mr Peters’ office had been on the MFAT distribution list.

    How very very strange it was then, that a day later Mr Peters was on his feet in Parliament denying absolutely that his office had received any communications, of any sort from his Ministry on the troop movements. Because by then his office had received both the original CTAG report of 15 May, and a second copy on 15 August & just a day before his Parliamentary denials.

    I’m sure that the good folk of this blog will be posting very soon about how the Govt is being propped up by a man who misled Parliament and how something urgently needs to be done about it – Or I guess the next best thing would be a post about how bad John Key is and how we need to ignore Winston doing the same thing we all thought was unacceptable in Don Brash.

  18. Nih 18

    We talked about this sense of proportion Burt.

    It just seems like common sense that if Winston realised how big an issue this could be he would have simply done a search on his email. Unfortunately for him it does look indeed like he didn’t do the basic footwork most of us would done and will now pay the price in reputation. Again.

    I personally don’t have a problem with the original issue of ferrying Aussie troops to Kuwait. What happened to the whole right-wing free market thing you lot had going on?

    As for Brash and Key trying to manipulate an election by dubious means: far worse. Still a victimless crime, but worse than what Air NZ did even if it were illegal.

    So in summation: Winston is a shitty politician and always has been. National would drop the accusations in an instant in trade for his support though and the shifty bastard would be open to the idea.

    In the end I think it just goes to show that dishonest politicians aren’t the dooming influence we think they are. They’re just not very effective once they’re done seeing to their own interests.

  19. burt 19

    Nih

    Winston is a shitty politician and always has been. National would drop the accusations in an instant in trade for his support

    Yes you may be correct in your assertion that National would do exactly what Labour are doing. However two wrongs don’t make a right. You guys would bag National to bits if they did that, yet you seem quite comfortable that Labour are doing it.

    I know I know – take my Ritalin and stop pointing out how insanely partisan (to the point of zero credibility) this blog is….

  20. Nih 20

    I’ve said before he’s a pawn for whoever can offer him the cushiest position and it appears we’re in agreement. Winston has played both sides before and will continue to do so until someone ends his career. Perhaps McCully will do it.

    I wouldn’t bag National for taking him back if McCully isn’t successful. That’s just politics and the basic concept of MMP at work.

    I would also, if I were you, let the traditional visitors vs home team mentality go when it comes to blogs and this one in particular. They’re just making talking points for you to discuss and having a little fun doing it. The nice part is here, you can talk without being abused or banned for having to appeared to side for ‘the enemy’.

    I notice LeeC left because he/she didn’t get this concept either. I hope they come back, although a little less defensive.

  21. ak 21

    Nih said: “Winston has played both sides before and will continue to do so until someone ends his career. Perhaps McCully will do it.”

    I doubt it Nih. From the recent tone of kiwibog and other tory outlets it appears the message has gone out from the Rightstag that all doors are to be left open just in case they’re needed next year. Hence too the blue-green push, the recent demise of blatantly misogynic ranting and the low-key sucking up to the Maori Party.

    Winston is a classic example of how the tory machine is increasingly and inevitably hoist by its own petard. As a party whose essential raison d’etre is reaction to the progressive agenda of the left, it has relied heavily on the politics of expediency – shamelessly and relentlessly using “innoculations” populism and fear in the effort to gain power and roll the clock back to the days of privilege for the few.

    Many of us grey-hairs remember vividly how Winston was heavily promoted as the great hope of National. As with Bob Jone’s promotion of Alan Duff, Winston’s racist dog-whistling at the time seemed like political gold: how could a Maori be accused of being racist?
    Inevitably though, Winston learnt only too well from his masters and quickly became very adept at the same pragmatic politics that had created him. By now he has an impressive list of “achievements” and a sizeable constituency.
    National is deperate for partners for next year and cannot afford to destroy him; hence the current wary tip-toeing and indecision. Tory apologists too, though stung by Winston’s recent anti-National rhetoric, are fairly muted – and again, typically snared by their own directionless sniping. On the one hand we get dog-whistling racism with “brown lap-dog”, “lazy” etc, – but at the same time this “lazy” politician reads every email sent to him!

    Next year National will remain alone and will be forced back into the gutter. The Hollow Men will have no choice but to repeat the hatemongering of Orewa One weeks out from the election. The electorate will be tested and get the government it deserves.

    PS: Disclaimer: amk is no relation whatsoever to ak: not even the same species.

    PPS: The tory mask first slipped on Sept 25th: the TV1 poll covered the period before that.

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