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English “worried” about Obama

Written By: - Date published: 8:10 pm, November 4th, 2008 - 97 comments
Categories: bill english, election 2008, iraq, john key, youtube - Tags: , , ,

More from 3News tonight on the secret recordings taken at the Naitonal Party conference in August. This time it’s Bill English expressing concern over Barack Obama’s “moralistic” stance to international relations:

I’m a bit worried about this whole Obama and Europe thing, just because there’s a limited effectiveness in being moralistic about international relations… and the US you can argue over do it – Bush should have put a different window dressing on it but there still needs to be someone willing to pull the trigger.

Rather than address the substance of his own deputy’s comments Key is outrageously spinning this as “another dirty trick from Labour”. English won’t front either, using the same line as Key.

97 comments on “English “worried” about Obama ”

  1. Nobama 1

    and that’s you banned for life

  2. Pat 2

    In fairness to English, he was speaking in August when the Russians were driving their tanks around Georgia.

  3. marco 3

    This has me a little dumbstruck. A week after its proven that continuing a campaign based on fear is not going to work, Labour (well it hasn’t been proven this is Labour I’m making an assumption) continue on the same path and it has them looking straight up ridiculous.

    My grandfather and father where ardent Labour supporters, both have sadly passed away but I can only imagine how disappointed they would be in a party that has now sunk so low they are practically in the Marinas trench. For crying out loud they are up against a weak at best National party, ridiled with yesterdays politicians surely they can do better than this gutter trash.

  4. all_your_base 4

    Pat – He should have fronted. Instead he and Key are just running C|T lines – it’s patronising and disrespectful to voters.

    marco – “Gutter trash”? What’s Labour got to do with it? You think it’s perfectly ok for the Nats to be saying one thing in public and another in private? Sounds like you’ve bought the lines too.

  5. Danny 5

    “In fairness to English, he was speaking in August when the Russians were driving their tanks around Georgia.”

    … Which is why the tape needs context from the taper and a damn good explanation from English. Sadly, I doubt we will get either.

    “a party that has now sunk so low”? marco, do you know that Labour was behind the tapes? I suggest you are merely speculating. There are plenty of non-Labour groups and individuals that do not like nor trust the National party.

  6. randal 6

    marco speak for yourself
    are you gutless or something?

  7. Danny 7

    … and that’s the thing about National, they’re so full of shit in public …

    and you naive little right wing twits eat their poo with a smile, content with their reassurance that it is not actually poo.

  8. Paul Robeson 8

    I still think Labour should run a Tax Cuts plus campaign- you can have your tax cut, and a cool $3 billion extra dollars towards savings distributed Nation wide when you vote Labour.

    The pluses just add up when you vote Labour.

    Like Bill English says about Kiwibank:

    “It’s working, it’s like a lot of things”

    The Labour Government, working for you, but plus!

    a few laughs eh? don’t mention the war eh? don’t you know what Eric said? Surely there’s some funny people in the Labour party???

  9. Ianmac 9

    marco: There is no backup to the proposition that Labour is behind this anymore than it can be proved that National is behind the plan to destroy NZ First and by association, Labour. But wait …..

  10. marco 10

    Danny, your right as I say above I’m guessing, however these tapes are damaging Labours credibility no other party is taking a hit on this (other than National and its debatable how this will affect them). Also with the Mike WIlliams thing last week, it certainly doesnt look good.

  11. Monty 11

    Those on the right were thinking Oh No – what beat-up will this be – it was well hyped, and lots of coverage and hints before the news on 3. Then imagine our relief when we found out it was only Bill English. – Then I watched the first few minutes of 3 News and my instant reaction was “is that all” . I rang up a friend – and his words were exactly the same. We thought that maybe Labour (Kees Keizer (the not so secret taper) may have done a better job – and held something serious back –

    This pathetic attempt at yet another smear (failed miserably) will lose Labour more votes. I appreciate that today you needed a diversion from the latest update that showed Cullen has driven the economy even further backwards – and I expect on Thursday when unemployment figures show a leap that yet another tape will be released – but this time I expect TV3 to duly ignore it – such as they do not want to piss off even more of their declining viewer numbers.

    I am expecting Labour to drop below 30% on Saturday – in the poll that really does count – and off this the Nats to cruise in at over 50%. Clark will be searching for the fairies all day Sunday.

  12. mike 12

    A new low.

    bye bye helen,

    see ya mikey

    miss ya already

  13. Jeez – you guys are really setting yourselves up for a disappointment…

  14. Craig Ranapia 14

    Let’s do a flip test here — in August, I surreptitiously record Michael Cullen expressing deep concern about John McCain’s foreign policy and what that would mean for a McCain Administration. (Concerns I think were – and are – perfectly justified, FWIW.) Hold it until the last days of our election campaign, anonymously leak it to Three (and flat out lie to Duncan Garner that I have no National Party connections). Well, first I don’t think most people would be particularly surprised and I certainly wouldn’t expect Helen Clark to give a pathetic non-story legs by “responding to the substance” as you put it.

    What is truly patronising and disrespectful to voters is that we’re wasting time and energy on this when there are more substantive issues crying out for attention — and people who are quite willing to address them openly and honestly.

    You might find this hard to believe, base, but one think I gave Clark full credit for was maintaining a constructive relationship with John Howard (arguably the most healthy trans-Tasman relationship in my lifetime) — two people who just did their job despite having little personal affinity, and next to no political similarities. And she got mad props from me in August, during Rudd’s visit, by shrugging off the hideously unflattering briefing paper that ended up being accidentally included in the press packs.

    If Obama wins the election tomorrow (and I think he probably will), he and his transition is actually going to have a lot more to focus on over the next two months. And, contrary to popular opinion, Obama doesn’t suffer from delusions that he causes solar eclipses by clenching his arse cheeks.

    As both Clark and Key said in the TV3 debate last night, the Government of New Zealand (whatever its complexion) is going to maintain constructive relations with the next Administration and legislative branches the American people elect tomorrow. Doesn’t mean we’re going to agree on everything, but how’s that a bad thing?

    Meanwhile, it’s more than a little patronising and disrespectful to voters here trying to beat up a diplomatic crisis out of very little.

  15. bobo 15

    Watchout Russia Bill English is bringing the Sky hawks back to the future and hes a coming for yah..

    [lprent: This place is starting to look like the sewer at KB. Lift your standards or I’ll start giving people holidays from here. It is pretty evident who isn’t doing any constructive work for the election.]

  16. r0b 16

    If you could hook up all the righties madly spinning this issue here to the national grid then our energy supply worries would be over for decades! You folks must be really rattled.

    Be calm eh, what will be will be. Catch ya later.

  17. Janet 17

    Another item on the TV3 news had voters in Greerton disgusted with Key for not turning up to meet with them as advertised as he was too scared to bump into Winston who happened to be nearby. Key has accused Peters of all sorts of things and then is too cowardly to face him in public.

    As for dirty stuff Public Address today reports extremely nasty and mysogynistic comments and video clips about Helen by National supporters on David Farrar’s kiwiblog.

    So taking the moral high ground is just a wee bit hypocritical.

  18. mike 18

    I smell another smear backlash coming – desperation does bring out the worst in people – poor old labour

    Captch “sheet lobbyists ” a typo I think

  19. Thats it???? Thats the big one that has Aunty Helen, smiling?

    Oh dear.

    By the way, Bill English is an idiot and Obama is going to be amazing for the world, but I’m not changing my vote on that.

  20. Paul Robeson 20

    Craig, Cullen would front up and say exactly what he had concerns with. QED.

    It’s not a dirty trick, it is something he believes. And also it is unlikely that our professional and hard working finance minister would be that stupid- he saves his slips of the tounge for those who want to emulate Bush here.

  21. Pascal's bookie 21

    Meanwhile, it’s more than a little patronising and disrespectful to voters here trying to beat up a diplomatic crisis out of very little.

    Who’s doing that Craig? I’m not saying no one is trying to do that, but who exactly?

    What I hear in this tape is English not sounding like someone who knows what he’s talking about. eg Obama’s opposition to the Iraq war was based on it being a stupid idea. There are moral arguments against launching stupid wars that will be counter productive for sure, but it would be strange if English thought that those arguments were wrong.

    I suspect that English simply doesn’t know or care why Obama opposed that war. That portrays something about English.

    How are English’s comments to be understood? To me, they seem like an endorsement of the Bush Doctrine of preventative, rather the preemptive war. That would be a break with NZ’s traditional bi partisan tradition, no?

  22. Oliver 22

    Once upon a time Bill Clinton and Tony Blair led Nato to prevent the slaughter in the former Yugoslavia. NATO went in kicking and screaming over the objections of multiple EU govts even after Srebrenica. Only 2 years ago I listened to numerous folk in Croatia and Bosnia/Hercigovina say “God Bless Bill Clinton God Bless Tony Blair. Even after this there are still numerous EU citizens worried that NATO did the wrong thing. Sometimes you do need someone to pull the trigger.

    Also, not being 100% certain that someone is not going to be a perfect President is not a bad thing. After all, JFK led the US into Vietnam and the Republicans emancipated the slaves.

  23. By the way, Bill English is an idiot and Obama is going to be amazing for the world, but I’m not changing my vote on that.

    Brett – you seem to want this idiot to be the deputy PM and the minister of finance. WTF???

    [lprent: This place is starting to look like the sewer at KB. Lift your standards or I’ll start giving people holidays]

  24. burt 24

    Yada yada,

    Danny added to what Pat said and made the crucial point here.

    Which is why the tape needs context from the taper and a damn good explanation from English. Sadly, I doubt we will get either.

    Without knowing the question, this answer tells us nothing… Desperate stuff, the bloody voters have had enough BS, WTF are the plans for December?

    [lprent: This place is starting to look like the sewer at KB. Lift your standards or I’ll start giving people holidays]

  25. milo 25

    One of the signs of a terminal government is that it starts to believe its own propaganda. This is shown in the the glee from Labour/Standard on this matter, and simply demonstrates how out of touch and self-delusional the left wing politicos have become.

    I’m also amused by the contradiction – Helen Clark clearly has an opinion on Barack Obama – she said as much in the debate, but said she couldn’t express it publicly. How are Bill English’s comments any different from that? He has an opinion too (quite a mild one), and simply expressed it privately. Get over it.

    Or do we now want the thought police clamping down on incorrect private utterances? Crikey, it’s starting to sound like the denouncers and informers employed by the Roman Emperors.

    Vote National ! Clean out the thought police! Down with the informers!

  26. insider 26

    Yes of course he would Paul just like Helen Clark did over the apology to George Bush for insulting him saying Gore was robbed or whatever. And of course Helen has been absolutely forthright on her true opinions of GW and the republicans…

    Well said Milo

  27. tsmithfield 27

    All this negative stuff is turning a lot of people off Labour. My wife is fairly non-political and has voted for various parties in the past. She is disgusted with the negative campaigning and smearing by Labour. She mentioned the other day that a number of people in her office feel exactly the same and have decided against voting for Labour out of disgust.

    Simply trying to smear the opposition is not enough. It is necessary to provide positive reasons to choose you. Labour has not done this in any of its advertising to date. I don’t know who is advising them but they are not very good.

  28. randal 28

    Lprent is right
    this blog has turned into a bleatroom where idots trot out the most inconsequential piffle and expect to be taken serioulsy
    can a few asses Lprent
    they taking advantage of your good manners

  29. That’s really funny ts because my apolitical wife has really been turned off National by their slipperiness and so have all the people in her large office. They’re now talking about voting labour or greens because they don’t trust John Key.

    What to make of this whole thing???

  30. milo 30

    What’s the matter randal? Losing the argument, so you want to resort to censorship?

    [lprent: the censorship is that I’m getting pissed off reading comments that make very little sense and add bugger all to debate. Probably unlike you I’m working all hours of the day and night at present, work, campaigning and moderating. Having to read puerile level comments is just getting to be a nuisance. You know what I do to nuisances…]

  31. Oh and I just asked your wife and she said you’re lying. Or rather she said… “yes ‘sod… yes… you do this so much better than that liar I call a husband… YES!!!”…

    [lprent: ‘sod that line is getting really tired.]

  32. GordonF 32

    tsmithfield, agree with your post, one thing though you need to replace Labour with John Key.
    In both TV debates all he has done is quote slogans and look to belittle the achievements of the Labour government.
    Earlier this year I was thinking that maybe it would be a good idea for Labour to have a term in opposition. However on listening to Key and his team, they do not deserve to be in power.
    In my opinion they have no vision for NZ, it’s all spend, spend, spend.
    Key himself is not fit to be PM, too many skeletons in the closet.
    Then you cast your eye over the Nats front bench, not impressive by any stretch of the imagination.
    Mind you if they do win, we are in for interesting times indeed.

  33. Mark M 33

    it would be really good if labour could produce some policy such as how to turn around the huge deficits heading this way.
    But no what do we get , more trash .
    Dont you guys have any policy.

    [lprent: Don’t be such a stupid dickhead. Read the About, this is a blogsite – not a political party. If you want to act like a jerk in public, then do it elsewhere.]

  34. Robinsod:

    I want John Key as Leader and Aunty Helen out.

    I’m sure all those voting Labour would think that Trevor Mallard is a idiot also, but that doesn’t stop them voting Labour.

  35. rave 35


    The reason that HC would not say what she thinks about Obama publicly is that as head of state of one country she is not supposed to interfere in the internal politics of another.
    That’s what Bush did when he said he wanted Howard to win the last election in Austalia and he got criticised for this.

    The significant thing about BE private splutterings is that he is showing his support for the Bush foreign policy, “someone has to shoot to defend democracy”. Put that next to Key’s early ravings about NZ being “missing in action” in Iraq its a clear indication that National are still aligned to the neo-cons foreign policy.

    OK they could live with Obama as he is also committed to his version of the “war on terror”, namely ‘shoot for democracy’ in Afghanistan where the Taliban the so-called enemy of ‘democracy’ was the creation of the USA.

    These secret recordings are not diversions from the ‘real issues’ but revealing of where National actually stands on these ‘real issues’.

    While National and the MSM are running constant diversions hiding National’s real agenda behind Key’s persona and posturing, the secret recordings, and the other gaffes that get reported, show that National is still the old new-right, neo-conservative, more market, rogernome mk 2 zombies.

    Mark M:
    If you want Labour to solve the international credit crisis why don’t you put forward some suggestions here. Labour is actually doing about as much as you would expect of a social democratic party, but there’s always room for mobilising public opinion around some strong demands that show how limited its politics are.

  36. tsmithfield 36

    Robinsod “That’s really funny ts because my apolitical wife has really been turned off National by their slipperiness and so have all the people in her large office”

    I guess we will find out soon enough.

    However, from my experience in business slagging off the opposition never goes down well unless it is well supported by the facts. Even then, many will hesitate to take this course of action because it is so risky.

    Labour lost all its credibility for running a negative campaign with the JK Elders fiasco of last week. Whether its true or not, most people will simply not believe HC when she says she has nothing to do with the secret tapes. They will simply see it as a continuing pattern of unpleasant behaviour.

    I do seriously wonder if Williams was set up by a National plant with respect to the Elders fiasco. His “deepthroat” could well have been a set-up that Labour fell for hook line and sinker. The “deepthroat” could have provided a signature very similar to Keys with the knowledge that Labour would pounce on it and have it explode in their face at the critical time. This went so badly wrong for Labour I am struggling to think of a better explanation.

  37. Tim Ellis 37

    LP, look, I know you’re busy, and I’m not giving you a hard time here, and I realise it’s just a few days from an election and people from both sides are getting a bit heated and excited and worked up, but a lot of this personal abuse stuff just isn’t on, even from long-time commenters. A bit of a crack at the worst offenders from both sides wouldn’t go astray.

  38. Sorry Lynn – I just find the “my apolitical wife” arguments too easy to take the piss out of…

    They’re right up there with the “I’ve always voted Labour but” arguments…

    I will refrain from commenting on ts’ wife. No better than that – I’ll break the whole thing off and tell her to go back to him and try to make it work…

    TS – slagging off the opposition never goes down well unless it is well supported by the facts.

    Bill English, the deputy leader of the National party, is caught saying Iraq was a good idea but it needed to be spun better – what more fact do you want???

  39. Outofbed 39

    Lets bring on Saturday and the endless posts of we were robbed .how could the media have got it so wrong?, the rolling of Key and replacement with English etc etc
    And them start having a sensible debate on how we are going to get our rivers and lakes clean enough to swim in or how to have safe healthy food in our shops or even the provision of warm dry homes
    You know stuff that really matters

  40. Janet 40

    I like Trevor. He was a very good Minister of Education. And he always fronted up. Unlike the Nats.

    And thanks Lynn for moderating. Unlike David Farrar and those extremely offensive anti-Helen comments on Kiwiblog.

  41. burt 41


    That’s really funny ts because my apolitical wife has really been turned off National by their slipperiness…

    Keeping in mind this woman is crazy enough to be married to you Robinsod… If intelligent men don’t attract her interest then it’s probably in your best interest to just nod and agree with her that John is slippery.

  42. burt 42


    With all due respect may I suggest that you delegate moderation duties while you get a good nights rest, much of what infuriates you today may not be so bad tomorrow.

  43. higherstandard 43

    It’s hard to say who’s more absurd on this blog over the last couple of days the posts or the commenters I find myself looking forward to a post from Eve on 911.

    Janet in the long list of MPs who are a waste of space Trevor Mallard is towards the top of the list.

  44. randal 44

    watchout bill english…you have a whole lot of idiots sticking up for you.
    they are making you look even more than stupid than usual
    if you are not careful you will be declared inane

    where’s hooton?

  45. milo 45

    Redrave: thank you for your response. I do agree that parties have underlying principles. I find it amusing that Labour veer between saying “you know what you’ll get with National” and “they’ve got a secret agenda!”. Those seem contradictory to me.

    And if there is an issue with secret agendas, surely Labour has had the mother of all secret agendas, and it continues to flip flop and pass major contentious policies that haven’t got an electoral mandate. Well, fair enough. You’ve got to govern and that’s politics. But really, it’s hypocritical for Labour to turn around and accuse National of its own sins.

    So anyway, if Labour is unwilling to pull the trigger, why did it do so in East Timor, Afghanistan and Iraq? We have had military casualties under Labour, and pretending that we haven’t dishonours those who were willing to “pull the trigger” and put their body in harms way.

  46. MY US election Victory song featuring Obama , the song is a Garth song, “We shall be free”


  47. Rodel 48

    Apart from the sinister content of Mr English’s comments I’m concerned, very concerned, that we have a person who wants to be prime minister who is stupid enough to voice comments like that. But I’m also concerned that he is comfortable in assuming that his audience of National party members will be uncritically accepting of such comments.That’s the scary part.

  48. tsmithfield 49

    Robinsod: “Bill English, the deputy leader of the National party, is caught saying Iraq was a good idea but it needed to be spun better – what more fact do you want???”

    I think this statement just shows that English has an opinion about something. So what? It is still a free country isn’t it? Anyway, as I mentioned previously, the Williams fiasco has tainted any of this sort of stuff in people’s minds.

    My comment was more about the Labour marketing strategy generally.

    Slagging off the opposition is almost always a bad idea for the following reasons:

    If brand A says “don’t touch brand B. Its terrible”, it is likely to evoke the following responses in the recipient:

    1. Suspicion of brand A because of perceived vested interests in slagging brand B.
    2. Sympathy for brand B due to perceived unfairness by brand A.
    3. Curiousity about brand B, to see if it is as bad as what brand A is saying.

    I believe the Labour campaign is having exactly this effect. That is why I think they have been very poorly advised in their marketing campaign. All Labour is doing IMO is working for National.

  49. presspassbob 50

    Let compare some notes here.

    McCain has run a wholly negative campaign against Obama. We will see on Thursday morning that this, along with his inept campaign management, take for example McCain stopping his campaign to intervene in the credit crisis meltdown. McCain is a self confessed economic ameteur, his actions made him look reactionary and ineffectual. He will have lost when we tune in on Thursday morning, he can blame this on running a negative campaign.

    The continuing negative campaign being run by Labour here has evidently backfired. Trying to win by creating fear, uncertainty and doubt is really only preaching to those who are already converted. To the undecides, this makes Labour look vindictive and desperate to do anything that will keep them in power.

    In time of economic uncertainty, swing voters are worried about whether they will have a job in 3 months time. They will not give a toss about Bill English and his views on Obama. Its the wrong negative message to be focussing on, and makes Labour seem out of touch with the very serious economic reality we are all staring at.

    If Labour had run a positive campaign focusing on their achievements and those areas they can control, and not spent their whole time trying to demonise John Key and National, they would in all likelihood be forming the next government. If they aren’t in a position to do that on November 9, they will only have themselves to blame. They have squandered a gilt edged opportunity.

  50. Burt – I’m more intelligent than you. Get over it and… I don’t know.. maybe do some crosswords or read some real books or something if you feel the need to increase your IQ.

    HS – I think what has been particularly funny is watching you abandon all semblance of rational argument and opt for snide attempts at attack humour instead. It’s like you’re channeling Craig Ranapia. That’s not something any one would want to do…

    Rodel – yes, yes and yes.

  51. Pascal's bookie 52

    We didn’t send combat troops to Iraq, milo, and we were only there as part of the reconstruction phase. Once it became clear that it was an ongoing clusterfuck of an occupation we pulled out.

    The other two examples you cite were not stupid, based on lies, or reliant on made up notions of ‘preventative war’. These were the underlying Obama, European, and NZ Labour Party arguments against involvement in the invasion of Iraq. English seems to think that these arguments are unnecessarily ‘moralistic’. He could clear up how so, any time he likes. At the moment he seems to think that opposing a war on the basis of the wars stupidity is a failing. I disagree with him, and agree with Obama.

    Who exactly is suggesting that we haven’t had casualties under Labour? Captain McStraw of the flying Straw brigades perhaps? If so, consider him slain.

  52. tsmithfield – and selling Kiwibank? And “labout-plus”? If these are Bill’s opinions and he is the second most powerful man in the National party caucus then shouldn’t we assume they are strong influences on National’s policies?

    presspassbob – I actually think the tapes are a positive thing as they allow us to see what those who want to govern us think. Or is an informed electorate a negative thing?

  53. milo 54

    Pascal’s bookie. Actually, you’ve no idea what English thought. You’re just making up what you hoped he thought. And I see no reason why he should be accountable to you for a fairly mild private comment.

    But let’s be clear: we sent the SAS into afghanistan to support a US invasion of that country, aimed at the Taliban who were not part of the Afghan government. I’m okay with that. Are you okay with that? Is Helen Clark okay with that?

    It’s a bit rich to accuse National of being militaristic when it was HELEN CLARK who sent troops to a US war. She clearly AGREES that you do have to pull the trigger sometimes, because she did !

    There’s none so blind …

  54. ak 55

    National accusing Labour of “smearing” is simply mind-boggling in its audacity; and the repetition of these accusations is further proof-positive that the media is firmly in its thrall.

    This is the party that has not only adopted every major policy plank in the most outlandish series of flip-flops ever seen in this country, but has simultaneously waged a relentless campaign of explicit misogynistic attacks and the demonisation of one of our most successful and widely-respected Prime Ministers ever, via its proxies on talkback radio and the internet. With near-total impunity.

    Gird your loins and have another peep at Lew’s paper, or any comments section on the right-wing sewers if you need reminding. Also recall that the son of a National Party president has dedicated his life to the dissemination of this hate-drenched filth (including pasting our PM’s head onto pornography and broadcasting it to the world), and prime tory flunky Farrar has erected billboards comparing the PM to the world’s worst dictators – yet is still accepted by the media as a worthy commentator!

    Utterly staggering – yet this unadulterated obscenity has been repeated and accepted to the degree that many otherwise rational kiwis now target one of our most diligent and intelligent citizens with all their unsolved insecurities. Ask the next Helen-hater you meet “why do you dislike her so?” and watch the reaction for blank-eyed proof of the irrational and baseless nature of the fear that has been so cynically and deviously sown by the Hollow manipulators.

    The current topic is a good example: English’s words are further confirmation of the fact that had Key been in charge at the time, NZ would have become part of the “Coalition of the willing” and forever on terrorists’ lists.
    In an uncertain world, and considering his evasiveness on a host of other issues, this is a huge issue. The very security of our children is at stake – yet the media focuses on “smear tactics” like drugged sycophants unable to think past the next press release.

    On any impartial measure whatsoever (and r0b, the UN and other highly respected international bodies have patiently and regularly supplied detailed and concrete evidence), Labour and Helen Clark have performed in stellar fashion on all fronts. The poll support for National is not only soft, it is surreal and chimerical – and testament to an incredible hi-jack and/or dereliction of duty from our fourth estate. Unfortunately, we could all pay very dearly for this particular reliance on yet another non-existent invisible hand.

    (here’s Lew’s paper, dunno how to do this blue writing linky thingamyjig)

  55. milo 56

    But ak: if there was no connection between Iraq and terrorist attacks on the west, how can invading Iraq lead to an increase in terrorist attacks on the west? You can’t have it both ways, can you?

    Just asking.

    Eh, that’s weird. The long post from ak that I replied to just disappeared. Maybe it’ll come back later …

    [lprent: Wasn’t me, and I think I’m the only one watching at present. There has been one report of things appearing and disappearing on the weeknd. I’m interested because it may relate to a new caching system I put in a few weeks ago. It saved the sites arse with the loads. But I’m still waiting for the other shoe to drop.

    update: It probably was. I released ak’s post from the spam queue earlier (the raw link cause it). That would have caused cache issues.]

  56. presspassbob 57


    Of course an informed electorate is a good thing. The tapes are fine too, I have no issues with wanting to know what political leaders think (it goes with the job), its not a nice tactic, but there you have it. I am certain that National would use similar material if they thought it expedient to do so and they would gain from it. I doubt they would in this election as it would seem they are trying to not do very much at all so as not to piss off any marginal voters. I would rate their campaign as neutral to slightly negative. Not much credit to them there either, and very frustrating to their detractors on this forum as there isn’t much fresh ammunition to fire at them. None the less the polls are evidence of the effagacy of this strategy.

    This issue is that Labour choose to use the tapes material to try to score points in a negative way. HC tonight saying that this showed National as being “militaristic” and trying to paint them as being blood thirsty and wanting to get into a fight just seems lame at this stage. It won’t have the intended effect of scaring voters, there isn’t enough time for the issue to play and for that idea to get hold between now and the election, so why use it? I hold my contention that swing voters will not care about this and positive messages will pay much bigger dividends.

  57. It’s kind of simple milo – when you attack people who are not terrorists for long enough they start to think fighting back might be a good thing. As an analogy if I were to punch you in the face after deciding you were violent (with no real proof) and you were to punch me back in the face should I then say – look! milo is violent because he punched me in the face?

    note: I have no interest in punching milo or anyone else in the face (well maybe the prick that broke into my car last week)

  58. r0b 59

    It won’t have the intended effect of scaring voters

    The intended effect is informing voters. “Time for a change” is a powerful soundbite, but the question needs to be asked – a change to what? These tapes have given us some fascinating insights into what a National government might have in store…

  59. ak 60

    Non-sequitor milo – take it from me, seeing loved ones die as the result of an invasion tends to linger for a few generations – especially an illegal invasion following up on sanctions that killed hundreds of thousands of children.

  60. bob that’s absurd. Are you claiming that when asked for comment Helen should have said nothing? I take it that you feel Key should do the same when asked about Winston Peters?

  61. Craig Ranapia 62

    Another item on the TV3 news had voters in Greerton disgusted with Key for not turning up to meet with them as advertised as he was too scared to bump into Winston who happened to be nearby.

    Janet: Scared? I think it’s rather sensible to avoid being co-opted into Winston’s eternal psychodrama. IMO, Clark would have done the same and bloody good on her if she did. I guess poor Winston finds it rather hard to get media attention without his usual diet of character assassination, bare-faced lies and race-baiting. Diddums, to coin a phrase.

    Apart from the sinister content of Mr English’s comments I’m concerned, very concerned, that we have a person who wants to be prime minister who is stupid enough to voice comments like that.

    Rodel: Starter for Ten: Who is the current leader of the National Party. Hint – not Bill English.

  62. milo 63

    Robinsod, ak: Fair enough. I grant you the point.

  63. milo – cool.

    Craig – Rodel: Starter for Ten: Who is the current leader of the National Party. Hint – not Bill English.

    Jeez – so he’s only the second most powerful person in National’s caucus. I guess that makes it alright then…

  64. Pascal's bookie 65

    Who is saying that Helen Clark doesn’t think triggers sometimes need to be pulled milo, Calm down.

    Actually, you’ve no idea what English thought.

    Exactly right, that’s why ‘I’d like him to clear that up’

    You’re just making up what you hoped he thought.

    Wrong. I said ‘he could clear that up’, and said that he “seemed to think”. I phrased it that way not to be tricky, and not by accident. I want to know what he meant in his comments and offered what I thought his words meant. Sorry if that offends you, but as English isn’t talking I’ll just have to try my best. Perhaps you could offer an interpretation of what he said.

    But let’s be clear: we sent the SAS into afghanistan to support a US invasion of that country, aimed at the Taliban who were not part of the Afghan government. I’m okay with that. Are you okay with that? Is Helen Clark okay with that?

    I’m ok with that (though I’m disappointed in the lack of follow through on the US’ part),

    Clark was ok with that,

    English was ok with that,

    Obama was ok with that,

    Europe was ok with that.

    So that means, that is not what BE was talking about. English was talking about some war that Obama and the Europeans argued against on moralistic grounds, (he claims).

    She clearly AGREES that you do have to pull the trigger sometimes

    As do I. Who’s disputing that? Neither Clark, nor anyone else is disputing that milo. That is a strawman. You killed it though, well done.

  65. Paul Robeson 66

    You mentioned on Public Address that you don’t normally look at this blog.

    What I would like to know is do you support private prisons and private sector involvement in accident compensation, effectively knee-capping the extremely effective ACC?

    If you vote National you are giving them a mandate for both those things.

  66. presspassbob 67

    Clark would have gained much more mileage and political high ground by deflecting the issue, perhaps making fun of English when questioned about it and using the opportunity to score a positive political point. “We are proud of our record supporting humanitarian efforts in Afghanistan, our focus is on making the world a safe place….. We should be focusing on the serious economic issues facing NZ ..” etc. etc.

    It is easy to turn a negative into a positive, good psychology, and it works. Tony Blair used this technique to win four elections in the UK.

    Negative campaigning is a choice, and seasoned campaigners like Clark know it.

  67. I am more interested in her telling a journo the tape was a cracker before she “knew” what was on the tape. The denials about pre-knowledge are getting a bit tired..
    If they lose, the post mortem is going to be ugly.
    Oh, and is there any truth to the stories circulating that a character called kees kiezer is the secret taper and he is a close friend of the entity known as steve pierson??
    Not deliberately trying to pick a fight but all this hiding while flinging poo is likely to be a contributor to the red team losing..

    [lprent: bb – Has anyone asked kees kieser? Or is this one of Whales usual bullshit stories made up of a lot of crap and little fact? I noticed that Whale lied about the sources of funding for this site again as well. But then he lies virtually all of the time. In other words – I’d suggest that you consider the source. From my experience of the jerk, I think that Whale would prefer to lie rather than speak truth. ]

  68. Danny 69

    To be fair to Key, I would also leave Greerton if I found out Winston was there. Sorry Greerton, it ain’t about you.

  69. Danny 70

    As for negative campaigning …

    Clark has, in her career, endured having more negative crap aimed at her than ANY OTHER current politician in New Zealand. It goes back to Muldoon’s National. So is she tough? Hell yes. She would not have survived if she wasn’t.

    Which is why those without short memories find cries of “no fair” from the right to be extraordinarily lame and somewhat ironic.

  70. So can I take that as a denial IP? His post seems very detailed with a good explanation of this kiezer geezer (sorry for the pun) and his links through clinton, rob, psa, labour, the standard et al

  71. Strathen 72

    Danny, I wouldn’t say it’s a call of ‘no fair’, more a bored response from frustrated supporters. Watching their dreams evaporate and having to suppress natural instinct to achieve in the face of political correctness can eat the soul out from anyone.

    You’re right about Clark enduring some pretty tough stuff in her time. Perhaps that’s why she is behaving similar to you view of the supporters of the right and the label of lame and ironic can be evenly spread across the political spectrum.

    Let’s be honest, the National leaders of the past have been weak and HC has been able to wipe the floor with them. It has probably taken its toll and she’s not up to par anymore. I’ve never been in the same job for 9 years, but can only imagine that after 9 years not only in the same job, but as PM would be pretty draining.

    I think that HC is up against a great opponent in JK. If this were 2002 or 2005 it would be a great campaign indeed and would probably be a classic. As it is, HC and Labour are making mistakes and appearing negative. JK and National are trying to distance themselves from it all and if that means dismissal and avoidance of WP, so be it. Seems a pretty relevant reactive strategy to me.

    Now let’s see if anyone can decipher whether or not I actually made a point in that…

  72. lprent 73

    bb: I don’t know – I’ve met Clinton exactly twice. Both times by a accident of position – we were in the same city.

    But as far I can see there is no evidence linking either to the taping. Nor is there is any crime in taping your own conversations from my understanding of the law. So what exactly is he waffling about?

    In my note, I made an observation that Whale is a known liar from what he has said about the funding of this blog site. He repeated that same lie in the post you’re referring to, which annoyed me immensely. I have provided the only funds that have been spent on this site.

    I’ve noticed that all of his other ‘stories’ to be of a similar standard. So my presumption is that he is likely to be lying about all of his ‘proof’ on these latest ‘stories’ as well. Basically he has no facts, just a set of speculations about associations. That seems to be his standard mode of operation. Say someone is ‘guilty’ of something without any proof, and then smear as far as possible by association.

    From what I saw of my brief scan of his posts, his general thesis seems to be that because Clinton knows someone, he is guilty. I did a note on another comment, that on that basis, I’d have to argue that DPF is a liar because he is associated (the blogbus or that group that was fighting the EFA) with a known liar. This is a patently ridiculous proposition (at least I hope so). But it follows from the same logic that Whale was using, probably with more justification because I know Whale has lied about this site on funding.

    Hell half of the people he mentions I know or have met. By his definition of proof he’d probably claim that I was the secret taper.

    Face it – to believe Whale on anything requires the credulity of a child. So BB…. Do you believe the puerile git?

  73. Strathen 74

    Iprent – I have to admit to reading that article on whale and it being the first and only article I have read on that blog. I too found that it was jumping to some major conclusions and there was no substance.

    In saying that, this is only the third or forth article I have read on this blog. The first was the post regarding how National broke the rules when declaring a $20,000 donation. I do recall that the rules applied in the article were for election donations, however the actual donation was a party donation and the declaration was legitimate. My comment at the time “Section 24 doesn’t apply to this contribution, section 24 is for ‘Election Campaigns’. The relevant sections are 54 & 57 under ‘Disclosure of Party Donations’. This is a party donation, hence the title ‘Returns of party donations exceeding $20,000′.” The thread still exists as fact and I doubt people read far enough down for my comments to clarify the contents of the article as incorrect.

    So in my experience both of the blogs (whale & standard) have been inaccurate and need to be read with a view of holding the content at arms length. Whilst I won’t go as far as to call both The Standard and Whale Oil authors as liars, I think it’s fair to say that each has a perspective that influences heavily their topics and loose application of selective facts into the interpretation on to their blogs.

    Please don’t interpret this as a direct insult. The authors on this blog have their point of view and are allowed to express them. I find it interesting reading and would like to thank the Standard’s authors for the few articles I have read.

  74. lprent 75

    Strathen: Generally I’d say that you’re correct. You should hold all blog posts and comments at arms length with a view for accuracy. What they say is generally opinion or interpretation of facts. Sometimes those facts, opinions and interpretations are incorrect. On most blogs, including here, will frequently update or amend a post if they find what they are saying is incorrect. Often we will let the comments point out the inaccuracies. That is why the posts aren’t taken down, because we’d lose the comments on the posts.

    In this case, I was saying that I know that WhaleOil is a persistent liar about one specific fact; his assertion that the funding of this site comes from the NZLP. He repeated the same assertion today in a post which annoyed me immensely. So I’m proclaiming that he is deliberately lying.

    He has been saying this lie since early this year. He is incorrect and has been told so many times. His only ‘evidence’ is that for a period of about 3 weeks in Janurary, the site was hosted on a service that had been donated to the NZLP. That was something I wasn’t aware of at the time I moved the site there. Control of the service had been passed to a tech activist. It was just part of an assist between leftie techs because the site was falling over on my systems. The NZLP didn’t pay for that space. I didn’t pay for that space. The donor did.

    After 3 weeks, I moved the site to a hosted server that I paid for and have continued to pay for it ever since. The only funds that have been paid for this site have come from me, and for 3 weeks from some ISP.

    My comment wasn’t that blogs are accurate. It was that WhaleOil has been deliberately and knowingly lying about this sites funding for over 9 months. It is something that is trivial for me to prove if I ever needed to do so.

    I then offered the opinion that if he has persisted in lying about this for over 9 months, then people reading his opinions should know his propensity to knowingly and deliberately lie.

  75. Craig Ranapia 76

    Jeez – so he’s only the second most powerful person in National’s caucus. I guess that makes it alright then

    No, just that those who are calling others idiots should be more than usually scrupulous on pretty basic matters of fact. And believe you me, Mr. Sod, I’ve had a few egg facials on that score that could have been avoided by hitting ‘preview’ instead of ‘post’.

    You mentioned on Public Address that you don’t normally look at this blog.

    I’ve removed both The Standard and Kiwiblog from my RSS feed, and will only pop over very occasionally or when someone says “you’ve got to see this”. And you know something, I can enjoy both when the signal-to-noise radio is right. Partisan hackery followed by hysterical poo-flinging from both sides? Not so much.

    What I would like to know is do you support private prisons and private sector involvement in accident compensation

    Yes and yes, but with the pretty serious qualification that any such thing would have to be closely monitored with stringent penalties for non-compliance or not meeting performance targets. I know that’s not a very popular view in these parts (and sure as shit NOT what National is proposing, or would be likely to be able to impliment), so you should be thankful I’m not National’s own Heather Simpson.

  76. Felix 77


    Are you saying National don’t intend to privatise prisons?

  77. Janet 78

    I fear, Craig, that if Key manages to cobble together a government, cheerleaders for National like you are going to be very disillusioned, very fast.

  78. higherstandard 79

    Felix – if privatising prisons makes them into better “correctional institutes” and saves money or is cost neutral they’d be mad not to at least look at it.

    Conversely if it makes them into worse correctional institutes and doesn’t save money or just costs the same they’d be mad to do it.

    I would have thought there would be successes and failures overseas they could look to before going down this track or not.

  79. Felix 80

    Or you could look at NZ’s own experience with private prisons of course, under the last National govt. which was an experience totally consistent with that of other countries.

    Remember that Private Prisons™ are still entirely funded by our tax dollars, but there’s a company scooping profits out too.

    To make profits possible, costs must be cut – can you guess which ones? Staff numbers are cut and wages are cut.

    And in no way does that make the prisons any better.

    But actually I was just wondering if Craig had meant that the Nats weren’t planning to do this again or if I’d read him wrong. I thought they had a policy for this.

  80. Danny 81

    Hi HS, you stated:

    “if privatising prisons makes them into better “correctional institutes’ and saves money or is cost neutral they’d be mad not to at least look at it … I would have thought there would be successes and failures overseas they could look to …”

    I agree. The problem, however, is that certain members of the National Party are ideologically blinded to the nasty little social suprises that privatisation often brings with it. These “social-nasties” and indirect effects and costs on society are incredibly hard to quantify, unlike the financial costs. So your measure of “effectiveness” depends largely on your world view.

    I can state with absolute confidence that the private prison system in the US is an abject failure. To back this up I can then point to prisoner abuse stats; the presence of lobby groups interested in policy that increases crime rates; the presence of lobby groups that support increased sentencing for collateral advantage (which include prison workers’ unions); a lack of rehabilitation; increased social exclusion; increased stigmatism for even minor offenders; the existence of extremely high crime rates when contrasted with ours, this is, of course, a correlation that does not prove causation but which is part of a much larger social package that can be shown to increase crime; I could on and on and on …

    The problem is that to some, these things I note above that concern me and that I feel affect the very fabric of my society, are of little value to “others”. So your measure of success and failure collapses.

    These “others”, incidentally, presently want to appear to the public to share my social values when they couldn’t be more different. They are liars. And that is the reason you will not see the National Party engage anyone on privatised prisons.

  81. rouppe 82

    Maybe here’s some context. Note: This is a complete guess.

    I’m a bit worried about this whole Obama and Europe thing, just because there?s a limited effectiveness in being moralistic about international relations

    For example, the UN goes in but is so hamstrung by how they’re allowed to operate that thousands get murdered. Rwanda, Kosovo are examples that spring to mind. They (Europe and UN) were too fucking scared to allow the troops to pull the trigger.

    and the US you can argue over do it

    Iraq. Obviously. Not afraid to pull the trigger but too stupid to know when not to.

    Perhaps Bill English was trying to make the point that a good middle ground where innocents are protected (Rwanda) yet pulling the trigger doesn’t do more harm than good (Iraq).

  82. gomango 83

    I don’t follow this closely but I thought the Auckland Remand Prison was generally regarded as the best run prison in NZ under its’ private manager? Anyone have direct knowledge?

    Personally I am a bit reactionary on prisons – just find the optimal point on the trade off curve between cost and not making the majority of criminals who go in worse than when they went in, better if you can (access to literacy and numeracy programs would be the biggest, most cost effective improvement).

    No matter what side of the argument you are on, it is pretty clear our prison system is terrible for all stakeholders (wider law abiding society, staff, and the inmates) – if the current system demonstrably worked, the argument against privately managed prisons would be a lot more clear cut.

  83. Matthew Pilott 84

    gomango – it was apparently cheaper than other prisons – but remand prisons always are. No serious rehab, education or escape attempts to deal with. I would imagine National would equate ‘best run’ with ‘cheapest’ though…

    No matter what side of the argument you are on, it is pretty clear our prison system is terrible for all stakeholders

    How so? Escapes are at a very low level, rates of prisioners in work is increasing, and reoffending isn’t increasing at all…

    On a tangent: “wackenhut”? That’s like privatising ACC to a company called “cripplebroke”.

  84. Nick 85

    I have some knowledge as I visited there when it was privately run.

    I also visited the disgusting, old, decrepid version next door run by the State.

    The private prison was outstanding. It was clean, run well, and the prisoners were happy.

    I never, in two years, heard of one assault or complaint. It was a resounding success. End of story.

  85. Vinsin 86

    Nick – how could you tell the prisoners were happy? Did you talk to them and ask? Were they not slitting their wrists; therefore, they’re over the moon? Or – and much more likely scenario – you just assumed they were happy, the same way you assume that because you didn’t hear of any assaults that none happened.

  86. Matthew Pilott 87

    Yep Nick, if I understand correctly, you’re comparing Auckland Central Remand Prison, a very new and modern facility (built with public funding, of course, so the private management can’t take credit for that) to Mount Eden, c.1917 (foundations 1856).

    So remand (short stay, high turnover, few escapes and little trouble) vs a proper medium security prison.

    No story in the first place.

  87. higherstandard 88


    This ideological blinding that you allude to occurs on both sides – the reality is sometimes private is best sometimes public is best. That has as much to do with who’s running the facilities themselves and than whether it’s private or public pretty much exactly the same situation in the debate about public and private healthcare.

    I can’t see why people can’t accept that both can work extremely given the right structure and incentives.

  88. Felix 89


    That’s the end of the story?

    Here’s an interesting interesting interview with Bevan Hanlon, president of the Corrections Association of NZ (union for corrections staff).

    It addresses the issue of public vs private prisons, prison work schemes and more. Well worth a listen.

    Oh, it’s not the end of the story btw 😉

  89. Nick 90

    How do I know the prisoners were happy?

    Because I talked to them and I sat in the muster room during visting hours. It was a much more pleasant experience than the shithole next door.

  90. Nick. It was just a more modern facility than the shithole next door. Bring private was not the reason it was a better facility. It’s still a better facility now it’s publicly run

  91. Matthew Pilott 92

    Not to mention they were prisoners pre-sentencing, vs those sentenced and serving in a run-down meduim security prison, as i mentioned…

  92. Vinsin 93

    Nick- I, like you, have visited both prisons and while i felt less like throwing up in the remand prison I can’t say that i saw any difference in mood amongst the prisoners of the remand prison and those in Mt Eden. To be honest I found both sets of prisoners to be incredibly depressed. How do i know? Well, i talked to the prisoner i was visiting who told me about an attempted suicide, a fight, and a guy who broke his fists after smashing them against the walls for too long. I also talked to family members of some prisoners who – understandably – were upset and worried about their family members in such a depressing place. It was almost exactly the same story at Mt Eden when i visited him 3 months later. Maybe these happy go lucky prisoners you talk about were “happy” because they didn’t get raped or stabbed that morning but to say they were ‘happy” because they were staying in a more modern place – whether or not it’s a private or state run – is just absurd. You show me one prisoner happy because of some tastefully painted walls and i’ll show you a hundred that aren’t.

  93. exbrethren 94

    This tape was a total non-event. I’d seriously question the judgement of the person that thought this was worth keeping back. This was fairly mild private criticism of Obama and I doubt he’ll ever hear of it.

    I suspect that not a single floating voter will be running away from National for this tape.

    To try and be fair to English can anyone seriously suggest that Labour / other politicians haven’t said far worse things about Bush than this. Matt Robson’s (although he’s inconsequential) comments about McCain were far worse.

  94. Danny 95


    “the reality is sometimes private is best sometimes public is best”

    That’s a generalisation. I agree that some services are best provided by the private sector, however, prisons do not fit into that category. If you share the social values that I do, then corrections must be run by the state, with the argument surrounding how exactly the state carries out that obligation.

  95. Strathen 96


    Seems Whale are unreasonably holding on to an accidental result. I applaud you for all your efforts with this blog and hope you keep up the good work! That’s from a rightie for this election too. Hence my opinion that this blog sensationalises rather dramatically and misses key (excuse pun) points of debate and a reasonable perspective when dealing with issues. 😉

  96. Rodel 97

    Craig I said “a person who wants to be the PM……”
    Sorry you didn’t cleverly detect an error.
    Watch this`space.

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