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Fairfax Media’s polling on Dirty Politics

Written By: - Date published: 9:07 am, August 30th, 2014 - 44 comments
Categories: john key, national, you couldn't make this shit up - Tags: ,


The book Dirty Politics has thrown up all sorts of issues concerning journalism and morality.  The selective leaking of information to attack blogs and the framing of issues have been seen to be powerful weapons in National’s attempts to retain political power.

In the Dominion Post this morning some Ipsos polling on issues has been released and reported on.  The framing is interesting.  Three individuals are interviewed to give their comments on what has occurred.  One who is normally a Labour supporter is said to be thinking of voting Green, an elderly National voter thinks that Hager is a communist, a third person who also supports National thinks that dirty politics is “not ideal” but he will not be changing his vote.  The underlying message is that the only party that is being hurt is Labour which cannot be correct.

It has to make you wonder about the selection of these individuals.  I am certain they could have picked someone who had liked John Key but who were incensed by what they had read and were going to change their vote because as the data confirms there are a few of these people.

The selection has a feel of a created narrative rather than a genuine attempt to let ordinary people express their opinions.  I say this with confidence because the data that the poll reports presents a totally different picture.

Thirty percent said all parties engage in dirty politics.  The commonly expressed phrase “they all do it” suggests that no one in this particular group have even read the book and just assume the worst in everyone.  But they clearly have little if any comprehension of the dramatic difference between attack tactics of the right and attack tactics of the left.

If you want proof compare posts in the Standard with those at Whaleoil.  Judith Collins is wrong to claim that the Standard is a Labour website and is engaged in the same sort of behaviour as Slater’s site engages in.  It clearly is not.  The posts here are based on information sourced from the main stream media but often with alternative analysis.  The site is not used to smear and attack the way that Cameron Slater’s site is used.  The discussions get robust but this is because there is often aggressive comments made by right wingers and some of the left commenters respond in kind.

In other parts of the poll National convincingly wins the contest for being the most dirty party.  28% thought it to be the worst offender, followed by Internet Mana at 17.4% just ahead of Labour.  And most National supporters thought that dirty politics was acceptable, an interesting statement of the party’s morality.

The two statistics that should be causing National fear are that nearly half of respondents thought the incident had hurt Key and 7.9 % of voters said that the revelations had caused them to reconsider who they are going to vote for.  The article used the word “only” but the news must be all bad and if even half of these people actually change their vote then National is in big trouble.

44 comments on “Fairfax Media’s polling on Dirty Politics ”

  1. disturbed 1

    Yes the MSM is being used at the heart of this subject to persuade voters that what we call Slater gate is “business as usual”, and conducting a wash over campaign to normalise “dirty politics” as o/k therefore, and now being reflected in polls.

    Strange thing is that when the “News of the World”/ Scotland Yard spying leaking of private information scandal broke last year the MSM went ballistic, but now is doing the opposite with Slater gate, and we should be worried.
    Our entire democracy rests on a free forth estate open media voice and we no longer have this, and if we did the pooling issue would be high on the agenda as receiving some criticism to clean up their biased selective polling of candidates.

    When I was called on 22nd by Herald Digipoll they wasted 10 minutes of our time before saying we don’t need your input, so we were considered by Herald as retired persons not suitable for poll results, no wonder why the results were way out from the one a day before?

    It is time for all opposition parties to consider boycotting the MSM perversion of the media and disregard these rigged polls, or request an urgent royal commission into media corruption we are facing today.

    • Draco T Bastard 1.1

      Our entire system is corrupt. We urgently need anti-corruption laws and several investigations across all of government and connected businesses.

      • Colonial Viper 1.1.1

        That’s the looking backwards part. The looking forwards part is building all new independent institutions to play the roles an actual democracy requires to thrive.

        • disturbed

          We need an independent corruption agency as Australia has.

          They have ICAC Investigating Corruption

          The ICAC has significant powers to investigate corrupt conduct involving or affecting the NSW public sector.

          This includes state government agencies, local government authorities, members of Parliament and the judiciary.


        • Draco T Bastard

          Building new institutions tends to take a lot of time and they tend to end up just as corrupt as the first lot. Better to halt the corruption that we have and work to ensure that it doesn’t come back while reforming the present institutions.

      • aerobubble 1.1.2

        But wait. Its you fault though. Every election ACT is helped by the National party. ACT could not have as much influence if it wasn’t using the MMP system. And how does it do that? Well its because National is a list party, and every Dunne, Hyde, Colins or Anderton can have huge extra power and influence by turning one electorate over. And why, because Labour isn’t competitive. Labour had the opportunity of turning the Progressives into the Labour seat party and removing the incentive that ACT, United, etc all have in playing the system.

        And so we get back to YOU. Why as a lefty you aren’t arguing for Party Vote Green and Labour vote in the seat. This is NOTHING different than what National does with ACT.

        Should enough Labour voter party vote Green, Key would be out of office. Just think about that, that all Labour voters need to do, is PARTY VOTE GREEN and Labour wins government. No need to change National voters mind, no need to win Peters over, no deals with Dunne.

        So I ask you why the left are routinely played narrartives by the MSM that let National game the system, and you as a lefty wanting change are willing to go along with them.

        • adam

          Poor aerobubble. The world no longer fits into his 1980’s world view and of course the left is to blame. Blah, blah, blahed be blah blah, different troll – same lie. Boring, dull. Change the same old record – take some personal responsibility and fix your side- you bunch of immoral, godless, egoists.

  2. karol 2

    Excellent analysis, micky. That poll article was pretty skewed as you say.

  3. Lanthanide 3

    “The discussions get robust but this is because there is often aggressive comments made by right wingers and some of the left commenters respond in kind.”

    While generally that is true, another aspect of it is that commenters with a bad track record tend to be ridiculed when they post anything that is slightly stupid, more than that individual comment itself would deserve. srylands being the current best example, but Pete George similarly was often attacked whereas if someone else making the comment he did in isolation wouldn’t be attacked. Another target (that I indulge in) is Morrissey, and then there’s phillip ure who is often a target of ridicule for his pot-smoking, vegetarianism and incomprehensible writing style. There are of course many examples, these are just the ones that immediately come to mind.

    I think pretending that the above doesn’t happen is being disingenuous. It is of course nothing approaching the scale of WhaleOil in the amount of hate-speech directed at anyone and anybody in society, due to the moderation that goes on here.

    • karol 3.1

      I think political debate in diverse spheres is strongly influenced by the culture of mainstream politics – at its most extreme in Question Time in the House. It is a polarised culture that has an aggressive and combative style that is the legacy of a long entrenched patriarchal culture. Point scoring and cleverly presented aggression are seen by many as giving people status and a sense of control of the issues/debate.

      One of the things I like about the Greens as they are explicitly trying to cultivate a less combative, more collaborative style of politics – not easy given the wider culture within which they are operating.

      • disturbed 3.1.1

        In a true democracy we the taxpayer all expect each party to work together for the common interest of their employer being the taxpayer citizens of NZ.

        Why don’t the Media & opposition remind the National party of this constantly?

        • Colonial Viper

          all expect each party to work together for the common interest of their employer being the taxpayer citizens of NZ.

          We’re not their employer, more like they rule over us. Perhaps not as individuals but certainly as the institutional establishment. And many in that system don’t believe in this thing called the “common interest.”

          • disturbed

            Have to agree with you CV.

            The Government and their agencies have assumed the power to rule over us using our public funds while using every tactic possible.

            The police, courts, law and media control.

            So our contention is to request that first a royal commission is held to change the corruption and abuse of power these Politicians place their power over us all.

            Then set up a similar watchdog agency as Australia has and we don’t have.

            Called ICAC it is Independent Commission Against Corruption.


            “Investigating Corruption
            The ICAC has significant powers to investigate corrupt conduct involving or affecting the NSW public sector.

            This includes state government agencies, local government authorities, members of Parliament and the judiciary.”

          • disturbed

            Cracks in the National ranks New flash;
            Collins resigning Herald says this Morning.

            Now we need all opposition MPS to call for whole enquiry to proceed around media conflict with Slater et al.

      • Pete 3.1.2

        I think question time is one of our most important parliamentary traditions. I would hate to see our system turn into American-style congressional debates where there are no interjections and point scoring is done entirely by proxies via the media. This allows us to see our representatives unmediated and unpolished.

    • Craig Glen Eden 3.2

      I think discussions and points made by individual posters like you and me Lanth are quite different from what Mickey is talking about with regards to Blogs, like over at the sewer being used as attack vehicles for people like John Key.

      I have never seen attack politics as is described in Hagers book being used at the Standard. I have never seen articles been produced on this site with attack lines that then get repeated by Labour MP’s or the said Leader that are then repeated over and over by Journalists,eg Cunliffe should resign for the Don Liu letter bullshit. Or the other one that the media are running that Cunliffe is tricky when all he does is actually say what he is going to do under the current law eg foreign land sales. It just amazes me that journalist articles almost always end with Key getting in the attack line. Now that is not just bloody coincidence.

      No one is pretending that commenters like you and me dont get pissed off and get argumentative in their posting against one and another.

      • RedBaronCV 3.2.1

        “get argumentative in their posting against one and another.” and this is the heart of it.

        Lanathide’s analysis seems to miss the point in that these argumentative discussions are taking place with all the players in the room so to speak. There are also discussions about items posted elsewhere but we are not naming names of third parties and smearing them with things that may simply not be true and then baiting them into trying to defend themselves.

      • Tracey 3.2.2

        i certainly hope that when an author posts something here they have actually written it. Mr Slater puts his name as an author to things emailed to him by someone else. It might not amount to bullying but it is deceptive and a misrepresentation.

    • Lanthanide 3.3

      In reply to all above: actually I was taking the excerpt to be about cyber-bullying exclusively, rather than the involvement of politicians leaking details to a site.

      Re-reading the post, my reply really isn’t addressing that particular point.

    • Morrissey 3.4

      Another target (that I indulge in) is Morrissey….

      Do you? I never even noticed.

  4. Michael Nolan 4

    I was furious reading the article this morning, where they continue to attribute tasteless hiphop songs and burning effigies with “the left”, implying guilt for Labour and Greens. The left have condemned these actions and bear no responsibility for them. There has only been one party conducting a ruthless,nasty hate-and-fear campaign against its opponents, and that is National. Their poll question is leading, and journalistic integrity is vacant in this blatant attempt to help National paint others with their own grotty little brush.

    • Bearded Git 4.1

      @michael. The problem is that the MSM has realised that by (unjustifiably) conflating the burning effigies, tasteless hip hop songs and FJK chants with the Left the older more conservative people (65+) of which there are now many have been turned off the Left in droves, if the polls are right. This is a major problem and is likely to lose the Left the election.

      I think if Cunliffe has any money left in the kitty or policies to announce these should be directed at this over 65+ group, while at the same time distancing himself from these tactics in just about every speech he makes.

      • Colonial Viper 4.1.1

        Perhaps Labour should raise the retirement age further? I’m expecting Key to go on the attack around this very shortly. Dumping that policy would be worth 2% in the polls.

        • Murray Olsen

          At least 2%. If NAct get back into office, Labour’s stupid superannuation policy will be largely responsible. I say this because it will lose them votes, and it is something that they could easily change. They don’t even seem to have looked at alternatives.

  5. karol 5

    I also think it’s important to keep pointing out the distinction Hager makes in Dirty Politics, between the Smear Oil attack politics strategy – diverting and distracting from significant issues via continuous petty smears and attacks – and holding politicians to account for the way they exercise power (speaking truth to power).

    The poll article, some in the MSM, and I suspect many members of the public, collapse them all under the labels of “negative politics” or “attack politics”.

  6. ianmac 6

    If I was a National Voter, I would say No. The book would not affect me. I would say Labour do it too. And Labour or Green or National would say we will not change our vote. But in the real world some National supporters will be very uneasy.

    My adult nephew was phoned 3 times last week from different polling companies and Murray being Murray gave 3 different answers when asked which Party he would vote for. Wicked. I haven’t been phoned but I think I would give false info too – in protest.

    • Colonial Viper 6.1

      Many National supporters are very uneasy about the Dirty Politics revelations. In fact, some of them are likely to have been part of the network who leaked to Hager.

      • Tracey 6.1.1

        he is clear in his acknowledgements to include thanks to National Party staffer. Something the media continue to overlook and not one has mentioned it when the liars squeal ” left wing conspiracy”

        People who usually vote national wouldnt shift to labour under any circumstances but tgat is not where the harm for national wouldcome from.

  7. Skinny 7

    John Key is being shown up and will continue to slide in the public’s opinion. What the book Dirty Politics shows is that John Key has little substance. I am not telling any of you who regularly post on here anything new. However for a ever waking up public they see Key through a totally new set of eyes. He is bland, boring and merely a puppet.

    I will give Judith Collins full credit for maintaining her position and giving Key the middle finger. Now it appears she is no longer being prepared to tolerate watching ‘others pulling the strings.’

    Many people ponder if Collins has something over John Key. I just think it’s as simple as Key is not in control of the National Party and she knows she is in a strong position with support of other MP’s who are also sick of the fraud being pushed by Joyce.

    Interestingly the split developing between John Key and Bill English, with Key contradicting English over tax cuts. Bill comes out looking respectable over the dirty politics scandal. He is positioning himself well clear of Key and I would hasten to say if people were surveyed who they trust most between English & Key, the answer would be Bill English.

    Get polling on that one idiot pollsters.

    • Colonial Viper 7.1

      I think many of your suppositions are meritorious. Collins clearly could not stay in Cabinet without considerable caucus support and also that of external backers. English (and his faction) are carefully but noticeably distancing themselves from the Collin’s blast radius. And Key’s position has been weakened further as his status as a PR asset to the National Party has rapidly eroded in recent times. The guy is on increasingly thin ice and is currently only hanging on via his still high ‘preferred PM’ polling. And of course, support from the very well heeled bankster fraternity.

  8. Sable 8

    As I have said so many times, in my estimation the MSM can not be trusted. Legislation is urgently needed to ensure they behave fairly and with integrity as clearly they can not be trusted to do so of their own volition. They need to be taken to task along with their partners in this dirty government.

    • aerobubble 8.1

      TV3 actively regales us about their Key agitator and former wannabe National MP, as if it was a good thing that such rank neo-liberalism was a social good that we need to invite into our homes nightly.

      • aerobubble 8.1.1

        You can be damn sure Paul Henry will never get out the red book and start prattling on about how evil his rich mates are. Those damn Greenies though, their evil, you can hear him saying it can’t you. Its just so unbalanced and farcical that TV3 thinking its money whore brothel of a night news show is serving the watching public.

  9. RedLogix 9

    And now everyone should have a clear understanding of why Lynn Prentice has been so scrupulous to ensure everyone commenting here understands that The Standard is not controlled, or in any way the creature of, any Party.

    I”m thinking that now would be a very good moment to go back to the media with a Press Release emphasising this point – and the fact that it is a rolling maul of non-professional authors loosely connected in various ways to the Left.

    Quite different to Slater’s operation.

  10. Observer (Tokoroa) 10

    Hello Micky
    and other contributors.

    I wonder if the non National politicians could entice The Guardian (UK or Australia) to print and edition here.

    They are brilliant Newspaper specialists. Their authority is enormous. They are not tabloid skitty muck and babyish like the Mains Stream press here. They are good fun.

    They certainly would be much more even handed than our msm.

    Also, they are compelling, attractive reading. The right will hate them

    • RedBaronCV 10.1

      Now I like that. Maybe we could have an online edition at first (people could print out perhaps if they log the circulation) with the overseas news from the other two editions since our local papers don’t bother and a couple of journalists/editors with integrity researching and writing here. NZ should be able to pay for that from ad revenue – perhaps even pay stringer rates to expend coverage. Somehow I think there would be a lot of journalists falling over thenselves moonlighting.

  11. Colonial Viper 11

    Twittersphere is saying Judith Collins is history. To be announced at a PM’s press conference very shortly…we shall see

    • Tracey 11.1

      will that prove key is a fab leader again?

      • aerobubble 11.1.1

        Key would just be proving how far he’s willing to bend over to keep clean in the eyes of the public, when we all know there’s no way he will ever question the morality and ethics of spending his private career betting for and against our economy when the margins said profit. Key is a profit slut, a monetry whore. Damn it, Slater who was paying you to call the poor family’s son a feral. What a sick puppy, a puffed up prig, a scumbag, does that, and whose paying for the smear machine, someone is. Why hasn’t Key distanced himself from Slater, the moment the feral story broke? Key’s so dirty he doesn’t know how to get clean anymore.

  12. Tracey 12

    Now that Odgers, slater and Hooton have been found to involve themselves in threatening behaviour ( nicky hager, chop chop and supplying his address and street name) for political purposes will they be spied on by SIS and GCSB as a potential threat… In the way that the Locke family were for much less reason?

  13. Bill 13

    Why an embedded graphic that depicts literal mud/shit slinging at National? Wrong fucking message to be even remotely suggesting in the context of this post I’d have thought. But hey….

  14. b waghorn 14

    What I want to know is how does nz rid it’s self of the tick that is slater.

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