Focused on what matters

Written By: - Date published: 7:36 pm, April 28th, 2009 - 60 comments
Categories: auckland supercity, community democracy, john key - Tags:

So John Key has set his taxpayer paid researchers onto David Shearer. The best they can come up with is that 11 years ago Shearer advocated using regulated mercenaries on UN peacekeeping missions because nations like the US are often unwilling to commit their own troops.

If Key, who is clearly obsessed with winning Mt Albert, (he made two unprovoked references to it in Question Time today) wants to play the scandal-monger with the tabloid media over a nominee, I say let him. Labour should keep concentrating on the issues that matter to the people in Mt Albert and around New Zealand jobs, the economy, the supercity.

Speaking of which, why the hell couldn’t Goff or Kedgley just directly ask Key whether he supported a referendum or not? Stop dancing around with convoluted questions and just ask him directly.

UPDATE: David Farrar claims Key’s office were in no way involved. I’m happy to take him at his word.

60 comments on “Focused on what matters”

  1. Greg 1

    I agree with you.

    But its a tad hypocritical.

    H-Fee?

  2. Only on Planet Standard would you think the rest of the country is agonising over what to do with the super city.

    Speaking of obsessions, this new found fascination with “democracy” has disappeared way beyond obsession. The previous Labour govt had no problems with making a wide range of discussions it believed was in the best interest of the country or its electoral chances.

  3. outofbed 3

    Sue Kedgley: Is the Prime Minister aware that the Local Government Act spells out that before any significant reorganisation of local government can take place, an extensive formal consultation must take place, including formally notifying the draft proposal, calling for submissions on it, and having a poll of electors; and can he explain why that has not happened in Auckland since the Government chucked out the royal commission’s proposals?

    • Tyron 3.1

      But because the question was so broad Key didn’t need to say anything about the referendum. He just gave a glib answer about consultation

    • Eddie 3.2

      Ah, I’ve gone and confused the Sues again. I’ll go change it.

  4. Malcolm 4

    you obviously don’t live in auckland daveski.

    captcha reads: fifes people – is that air new zealanders?

  5. mike 5

    “Labour should keep concentrating on the issues that matter ”

    Why hasn’t this post got a humour tag? The hyposcrisy is breathtaking.

    But seriously that Shearer guy has an interesting past all right – and it really did happen unlike the failed muckrake on JK

  6. I agree. Despite the attention-grabbing words ‘support’ and ‘private armies’ placed in such proximity, there’s nothing to this. It’s just seems like an argument for working with local people to achieve desirable outcomes, which doesn’t seem particularly contentious.

  7. “play the scandal-monger with the tabloid media ”

    What scandal? Shearer’s idea is a good one.

    • Pascal's bookie 7.1

      Yeah, sounds like a modest proposal to me.

      I’d like to know more about the context. Folks sometimes say outrageous things, in order to back away from them as the need for outrageousness dissipates. This may be like that. Or it may not.

  8. John Dalley 8

    Taxpayer Funded Researcher, You mean DPF don’t you? Reading DPF’s post on KB he refers to doing research, and he always denies being funded by National ( see Government) i fell a Tui’s moment coming on. Yeah Right!!!

  9. Doug 9

    If Shearer gets the nod just imagine the in fighting, you would almost pay Dollars to watch the fun and games.

  10. Fail. You are in danger of slandering a number of unpaid bloggers with that slur.
    The work was done for free by people interested in promoting the same ideals that the National party stands for. Nobody involved in researching this information is paid by a political party or a union.
    can you say the same thing “Eddie”?
    How do I know this?
    I watched the story develop over the weekend at my house. They make lots of calls to other bloggers and friends and the information flows in.

    • Eddie 10.1

      Um, yeah, I can, but that’s not the point. Don’t tell me you’ve forgotten Cameron Slater’s admission to the Herald’s Patrick Gower that he works hand in hand with the National party research unit.

      I also find it very hard to believe Farrar was simply “searching for Shearer’s Lincoln university thesis on Maori values and environmental decision-making”. Pull the other one, seriously.

      Actually, you know what Bill? I’m getting pretty tired of your miserable attempts to out and intimidate the posters on this site, both here and elsewhere. You, Whale and all your other creepy right wing mates are the exact reason why I don’t want my identity public. I usually leave the banning to others but consider this your final warning.

  11. Hypocrisy alert “Eddie”. Your post mentions paid researchers in its title. You brought it up, you are completely wrong in this instance and I stand by my comment.
    Casting aspersions on others when you are exactly what you accuse them of being is irony squared.
    ban away, keep banning dissent and you will soon become the echo chamber of the left.

    • Eddie 11.1

      You’ll have to forgive me if I don’t consider you and Slater the most reliable source Bill. Don’t pretend for a minute Key’s office wasn’t involved in this smear.

  12. infused 12

    Umm, see kiwiblog? Something is wrong at The Standard lately…

    • Daveski 12.1

      My thoughts too infused. This post looks entirely disconnected with the facts and yet surprisingly aligned with the Labour Party’s press release. Now funny thing, we can’t say that can we around here because we take your word yet DPF is guilty without any semblance of any evidence.

      All I can think from the reaction is that things must be pretty desperate based on what we are seeing here.

      • Duncan 12.1.1

        Anyone who follows Farrar and Slater knows they’re hand in glove with National. As mentioned above Slater has even admitted to the Herald that he works with the Nat research unit for his smears. Farrar usually waits a few days then innocently links to them to give them a wider airing through a more respectable outlet.

        The reality is Farrar and Slater are inseparable from the National and both have deep and longstanding links with the party. When I saw they were behind this I thought the exact same thing – National was behind this research or at the very least knew about it and approved of its release.

      • lprent 12.1.2

        I get most (but not all damn-it) of the Labour press releases. I asked for them a long time ago. Seldom use them as they usually seem to have been written for cretins who need a pair of scissors to create a story. I also get a pile of green stuff because someone (probably the name starts with an R) gave them my e-mail address. Some national MP’s send stuff because some clowns amongst my friends set up redirection addresses with me at the end. Not to mention other stuff from the democratic party, etc etc. Hell I even get the curia newsletters…

        Getting on PR releases is easy – it is getting off them that is hard. I have them auto-filtering to folders if they stay in the inbox for a day unread, along with the e-zines, mailing lists, etc. They are fun to scan on a slow code day. Also fun to pick ideas out from for posts.

        We aren’t journo’s, don’t have budgets, etc etc. So we read blogs, press releases, more blogs, e-zines, google words, or even just wikipedia. Put it together in a post, and let the commentators tell us why we’re wrong. It isn’t a news site, it is an opinion site – often based on expressing an opinion about something someone else said.

        DPF is always welcome to do what he just did, which is say that whatever it was wasn’t the case (haven’t read the post yet) when we repeat stuff. Hell even Whale and Bassett could do it. We’d decide on the merits.

  13. Tyron 13

    Farrar (or supposedly Farrar) wrote: “we came across a couple of articles David Shearer had written for foreign policy journals”

    who is ‘we’?

    In fact, since when did Farrar ever write ‘we’ in reference to Kiwiblog? A couple of Farrar’s recent posts have been written very differently from his normal style. I suspect that not only was the research done by National’s researchers but the post was also written by them

    How come TV3 had time to ask Shearer, Key, and Goff for their responses when Kiwiblog only posted at 4:30? Farrar would have posted earlier if he could have.

    How come Whaleoil then posted 20 minutes later? Too short a time to see Farrar had a new post, read it, and write his own. He must have had the information earlier.

  14. Eddie – Key’s office was in absolutely no way involved. It would have come as a complete surprise to them.

  15. Thanks Eddie.. A true gentleman 🙂

  16. DPF has made a comment and Eddie has accepted it. Good to see a nice clean fight too.

    I suspect that in a country the size of NZ – a tiny fraction of fundamentalists on both sides – it beggars belief that there isn’t meaningful interaction between bloggers and politicians.

    I think it’s a fair bit of what goes round comes around for both camps.

    OOOps … supposed to be a reply to Duncan

  17. Herbie Syde 17

    Craig Potton’s publication of the Seeds of Distrust proved the Greens are just as capable of fighting dirty as any party, despite their carefully constructed holier than thou image.

    Norman looked pleased as punch on TV3 tonight that this had ‘come out’.

    DPF is probably being honest that National had nothing to do with this. It’s the Greens who benefit from it the most.

  18. gobsmacked 18

    I hope John Key continues to attack David Shearer (or whoever Labour select) in Parliament and on the TV news every day.

    I’m sure it will play well with the National faithful, especially among the 1% of the voters who live on politics blogs.

    Meanwhile, the people who really matter, the swing voters – like the thousands who voted for both Helen Clark and National in Mt Albert, the ones who like nice Mr Key but not nasty right-wingers – will start wondering why the Prime Minister is going so negative, so soon, against some guy they’ve never heard of, to win a seat he doesn’t need and says he won’t be spending much time in.

  19. So why do Labour think the private sector is an acceptable solution when women and children are dying overseas in wars, but when women and children are dying here in New Zealand’s hospitals, only the state will do?

    • Tyron 19.1

      The views of a Labour nominee are not Labour Party policy any more than the views of a 14 year old in a bright yellow cap are official ACT party policy, even if he was their candidate for Otaki.

  20. Gustavo Trellis 20

    So the Standard has no evidence that taxpayer money was spent on this, yet is happy to allege that it was?

  21. I don’t get what all the fuss is about, especially on 3 news now. Keep in mind that it was written 11 years ago, pretty much saying, this is the reality, this needs to be acknowledged and properly regulated , else we will end up pretty much with the situation we are in now with Black-Water, or what ever they call themselves now.

  22. gingercrush 22

    Such sheer speed. So obvious the other nominees running for this electorate have absolutely no chance. Labour leadership clearly have their man and anyone else can just forget it.

    • Tane 22.1

      The issue is that Labour has a pretty undemocratic selection process. Part of that’s a safeguard against fringe nutters getting the numbers after Douglas and co hollowed out the party in the 80s. But it means head office has three votes out of seven so once you’ve got their backing you’re pretty much set.

      Having said that, when you look at the internal bustups National’s having in Mt Albert with Ravi Musuku being pressured but refusing to step aside for Melissa Lee it’s clear this is a problem common to both major parties.

      • Tim Ellis 22.1.1

        Tane, I don’t think you can fairly compare National’s selection processes with Labour’s. National has sixty local delegates vote for the preferred candidate. Nominees lobby delegates for their individual votes.

        I don’t think National expected Ravi Masuku to step aside for Lee.

        If Masuku wins the nomination, it will be because he’s convinced a majority of local delegates that he’s the best candidate. If Lee wins it’s because she’s done the same. National at least has the confidence to allow the local delegates to make that choice rather than have head office do it for them.

        National can afford to allow local delegates to choose the candidate because it’s essentially still a mass-membership, grassroots-based Party. Labour has been dominated by unions and factions for so long that grassroots members just don’t have much involvement. Their selection processes reflect this.

        • r0b 22.1.1.1

          National can afford to allow local delegates to choose the candidate because it’s essentially still a mass-membership, grassroots-based Party.

          Thanks Tim – I haven’t had such a good laugh in a long time.

          National centralised its selection process in 2003 and the central party hierarchy has an absolute veto, which it has used in a recent messy selection process, Candidate selection ‘fixed and rigged’:

          Failed National Party nominee Roger Payne’s effort to clean up the political candidate selection process has gone before the High Court.

          Mr Payne, who lives in the South Canterbury town of Orari, told the High Court at Christchurch he led a group of 35 party members who went public with concerns and had the party overturn Mr Carter’s selection. But he said he believed he was scrubbed from further consideration for selection because of the actions he took.

          The rule giving the party an unfettered right to decline a candidate without reason and without interview should not even exist, he told the hearing

          Labour has been dominated by unions and factions for so long that grassroots members just don’t have much involvement.

          Speaking as a happy and active grassroots member – bullshit!

          • Tim Ellis 22.1.1.1.1

            Thanks for your contribution as always, r0b. Roger Payne has taken numerous actions against the National Party. Every time he has lost. I don’t doubt he will lose this time, too. National’s Board does have a veto before selection, but it is used very, very rarely. Payne made a commitment when he stood for a previous nomination that he would not stand for any other political party if he failed to get the national party nomination. He didn’t get the nomination, and then stood as an independent, campaigning against the national party. In 2008 he sought national party nomination. Payne is a serial litigant.

            Nice attempt at diversion again as always though r0b.

          • r0b 22.1.1.1.2

            Thanks for your contribution as always, r0b.

            Why Tim how very kind of you.

            Nice attempt at diversion again as always though r0b.

            Diversion? You come here making all sorts of bullshit claims about both National and Labour, and pointing out that they are bullshit is diversion? You really do need a big dose of “get over yourself” Tim.

          • phenol 22.1.1.1.3

            Tim E: ‘National can afford to allow local delegates to choose the candidate because it’s essentially still a mass-membership, grassroots-based Party’

            That was one of the funniest things you’ve ever written Tim.

        • jerry 22.1.1.2

          Are there any mass membership grassroots parties in NZ ?

          I was under the impression that the majority of the population still had a deep distrust and contempt for politicians and political parties.

          • r0b 22.1.1.2.1

            Most parties – like National – won’t reveal their membership numbers (wonder why). Some – including Labour’s – are noted in this post:
            http://norightturn.blogspot.com/2008/04/parties-ii.html

            As to the character of the parties – here’s Colin James writing in The Herald after the 2007 Labour Party Conference:

            “A Martian visitor knowing the two main parties only by their annual conferences would have rated Labour well ahead. Labour’s was big, energetically explored issues and policies and sprouted young people and national diversity. National’s was tight, white and slight on debate.’

          • jerry 22.1.1.2.2

            Do you believe the Maori party has 23,000 members and Labour has 55,000 ? …. sounds like fantasy to me.

      • gingercrush 22.1.2

        I agree Tane. But when you have Iprent saying:

        It isn’t Labour picking the candidate – no party has a monolithic decision structure. Well maybe the one person parties?

        It is largely the local electorate organization in any well organized electorate for Labour. They will pick pretty much according to our needs with some input from the party hierarchy. That is how the selection panel is structured.

        Quite simply there is no real way to be sure of the outcome until the Q&A, speeches, and other formalities are done. All I’m sure of is that it will be exhausting during those meetings.

        Something doesn’t fit. Either Labour is democratic or it isn’t. Seems to me its all party hierachy with only a charade of local influence. I think Labour is getting themselves in trouble. If the selection panel manage to overrule the hierachy. That presents real problems in Labour internally. On the other hand, if the hierachy wins out and gets Shearer. How much damage in the long-run will that do to the Mt. Albert organisation.

        Helen Clark had such a tight-grip on Labour. She is gone. Cullen is out the door tomorrow. Clark and Cullen were succesful at putting a stop to internal divisions in the Labour party. I see those internal tensions/divisions returning.

        • r0b 22.1.2.1

          Seems to me its all party hierachy with only a charade of local influence.

          Seems to me you can’t count.

          • gingercrush 22.1.2.1.1

            I am aware that the organisation committee outnumbers the party hierachy. But politics is never that simple.

        • gingercrush 22.1.2.2

          Phil Goff and Annette King aren’t exactly the norm inside the Labour party. They’re far more to the right than other members. The new lot of MPs seem to me to be far more to the left than either Goff and King. Trevor Mallard seems to be doing his own thing in the house. He can’t be happy that he isn’t on the front bench when he’s the one that seems to actually be doing half the work in-house. And with Cullen gone no one is better at asking questions or using points of order in the houe than Mallard. There surely must be some aspiration inside the new intake of Labour MPs for advancement. Meanwhile, half that Labour frontbench are under performing. And Goff isn’t exactly sparkling as Leader of the Opposition.

        • lprent 22.1.2.3

          Wrong. Your thinking is too academic. Try thinking like a NGO running with volunteers and a few paid staff rather than a hierarchical system

          The local organization has the major influence if it is an effective local organization. After all they are the people who have to continue to put the effort in year after year to keep the candidate elected. Volunteers walking away is likely to collapse a campaign and future campaigns. This is the issue that faces the National party with Ravi, where they are likely to lose a lot of their local volunteers, especially the ones who know the electorate.

          Just as an aside, Shearer is probably a by-product of a informal discussion between some members at the local level (including me). We weren’t that happy with what we knew about the range of candidates if Phil Twyford wasn’t in it. After all we have to select amongst them and would like to have a range of skills and attributes to select amongst. David Shearer’s name was one of the ones that came up as he’d lived in the electorate. Couple of weeks later he put his nomination forward, so I’d guess that one of the others raised it in either the political or party sphere’s. The ‘parachute’ idea is simply bullshit from the wingnuts and spin from the Nats.

          It is unlikely that the internal divisions of the 70’s and 80’s will return. There are a lot of us from all over the spectrum at grassroots determined that does not happen. People that will not work with all others will informally find that they become a irrelevance. That behavior has become part of the culture now.

          If you want to look at factions, look at the Nat’s.

        • Tane 22.1.2.4

          It’s a difference of opinion gc. To be fair Lynn probably has a better idea of this than I do – after all, he’s an active party member, I’m not.

  23. darryl 23

    I’m a little confused… I can’t see how it’s a smear if this is what Shearer actually said… and to be honest, I actually agree with what he is saying. Rather then saying it’s a National smear why doesn’t Labour accept that Shearer is a smart guy that thinks outside the box which is why they are backing him for Mt Albert? I would have thought there would have been more mileage in that. If National picked up votes in the last election by pulling more to the left surely Labour can gain more votes by pulling to the right? From what I can tell this Shearer guy seems like a pretty good bloke, and probably just the sort of bloke Labour needs right now.

    What will look bad is if Shearer does a complete u-turn on his own opinion because then he just comes across as a guy who does what he is told not what he believes.

    Just my 2 cents.

    • If that’s the case, then I can’t see how the H-fee thing could be considered a smear had Key been implicated in it?

      • Tim Ellis 23.1.1

        Interesting point, KITNO. The H-Fee issue wasn’t a smear when Mike Williams went to investigate it. It would have been newsworthy and a genuine issue if John Key had been implicated in it.

        The smear was when “Batman” implicated John Key in the H-Fee when there was no evidence that this was the case. Labour built its entire campaign in 2008 around negatively attacking John Key on the vague hope that the smear would come to fruition. It didn’t.

  24. Ms M 24

    One would hope our PM actually reads documents before he comments on them aye, but after him calling hypocrisy over Labour happily outing his Government’s not so secret privatisation agendas vs Labour’s new “poster boy for Mt Albert” wanting to “privatise the army” I think we can confirm he doesn’t. Perhaps David Shearer could do a re-write, “Outsourcing War for Dummies, Merchant Bankers and Right-Wing Bloggers”

    Although the timing of this billowing big puff of smokescreen could be so no one notices, once again, a company Key use to work for is going under.

    (j/k)

  25. jerry 25

    Bah wrong place

  26. phenol 26

    This may be just the out Goff needs to step away from Shearer after his embarrassing performance at the Q+A.

  27. BLiP 27

    John Key:

    The Government does believe there should be more democracy at a lower level, and that view is supported by the community chairs.

    Levels of democracy?

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