Written By: - Date published: 8:28 am, October 21st, 2018 - 463 comments
Categories: Abuse of power, articles, Dirty Politics, labour, Media, national, Politics, same old national, Simon Bridges, spin, the praiseworthy and the pitiful, you couldn't make this shit up - Tags: Donghua Liu, heather du plessis-allan, jami-lee ross
So over the last week we have seen the most monumental meltdown of the credibility of a major party as you can imagine.
A senior MP goes rogue and starts spilling the beans of all of the dirty politics that they engaged in for the past few years.
It turns out that he is, what is the scientific description, rather strange and has subjected women in various positions to various states of abuse.
He gets blamed as being the leaker of rather insignificant information about how much Simon Bridges spent on transport on a get to meet the country. Bridges then burns through huge amounts of money and only manages to burn off his numbers person and create out of control chaos.
But according to some there is no problem. Everything is awesome. National is in great shape. Simon Bridges has handled things really well and his leadership has been strengthened.
There is no problem with the $100,000 donation that was carved up into smaller donations just so that the identity of the donor would not have to be released. To those who say that can I refer them to the donations funded by contributions regime in the Electoral Act.
Claims that Simon Bridges had come out on top are rather fanciful. Sure he is still leader and has not been booted out of the National Party but that is a rather low bar to set.
And how did he not know about the allegations that had been swirling around Ross for so long? And going from mental health induced leave to behaviour inappropriate for a married man to what we have now is quite a leap.
And wouldntyaknowit but someone had to say this was all Labour’s fault.
National MP Simon O’Connor addresses the JLR horrorshow on his Facebook page by <blinks> blaming the media and the Labour Party? pic.twitter.com/SoWN0fMWrg
— Russell Brown (@publicaddress) October 18, 2018
Ross is now threatening to release texts between himself and John Key. He said this:
I was asked by John Key to go in and talk to the donor and see if there was something about the Labour Party that we could find out. John Key and I ended up discussing that later on in text messages.”
I am pretty sure that he is referring to the Donghua Liu donation where a donation from Liu did not appear in National’s donations disclosure but instead popped up as a campaign donation to Liu some time later. Meanwhile Labour was savaged by the Herald for receiving donations from Liu that did not actually happen. Here is something I wrote a couple of years ago:
The claim that this donation was for Jamie Lee Ross’s electoral expenses appears to me to be contrived in the extreme as it meant that the donation, unlike the previous donation made by Liu, did not have to be disclosed the day before Williamson resigned. I am sure that Liu did not care or even think about the difference. And why should any electorate seek donations when they were receiving a $24,000 cheque from head office? This feels like an extra serving of spin designed to preserve as much as possible TeamKey TM branding. If any media is reading this they should ask is who the cheque was made out to. And which account it was banked into. And why this particular Cabinet Club payment was treated differently to other Cabinet Club payments as well as the previous Liu donation.
And how do I feel about this? Well fucking mad. Extra words seem unnecessary. This whole fiasco could have cost Labour the election. Rob Salmond estimatesthat it may have cost Labour 2% of the vote and I agree with this. That is up to three seats and it sucked a lot of momentum out of the campaign.
And you want to know the really funny thing? There is no evidence of a donation to Labour or of Labour breaking any rules to help Liu. But there is now pristine evidence of National receiving a donation from Liu and of subsequent action taken by a National Minister to help Liu in a police prosecution that resulted in this Minister being sacked.
New Zealand you got played.
Heather du Plessis-Allan has the best take on this week’s events in this Morning’s Herald. She thinks that Ross and Bridges are both finished and describes the three stages that Bridges’ leadership will go through:
National leader Simon Bridges’ future is also determined. He will be rolled. It won’t happen immediately but it will happen.
Don’t be fooled by National’s “nothing to see here” act. There’s plenty to see. National is a party in crisis. It’s been shocked and rocked by Ross setting off his political suicide vest this week.
Bridges’ future will play out in stages.
Right now National is in Crisis Stage One. This is where the party acts like a cat in a corner. It defends and attacks at the same time.
The party is in full attack-Jami-Lee mode. Why do you think at least four women have suddenly come forward accusing Ross of everything from bullying to “brutal sex”?
The party is also in full defence mode. This is where MPs are told to toe the line or else. They’re told who to talk to, what to say, when to smile, where to be.
Take the case of Maureen Pugh. This is the MP described by Bridges in a secret recording as “f**king useless”. As soon as that tape leaked, National took over her life. They took her phone off her. A staffer answered it on her behalf. They probably drafted the tweet she sent out accepting Bridges’ apology. They marched her out to tell TV cameras she was fine. They sent another MP for support. Or supervision.
Stage Two comes next. This is the Shock stage. By this stage, the story will have died down, so the adrenaline will have worn off. National’s polling will probably have dropped. The party’s support will likely have taken a huge knock.
MPs at this stage will feel aggrieved about the dead rats they were forced to swallow and the cups of concrete they were told to drink. They will wonder whether it was worth sucking up whatever they were told to suck up, given that the polls still dropped.
Then comes Stage Three. The Roll.
This where Bridges gets rolled. This stage only comes after a big drop in the polls. No one will roll Bridges without that. No one wants to be the person who rides the polls down. But everyone wants to be the white knight who carries them back up. So a low polling is a prerequisite.
There are a couple of polls out tonight. I suspect Bridges’ preferred ratings may go up a bit as tribal Nats rally around the leader. But if the party support starts to slide, and I am convinced that it will, stages two and three will not be far away.