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Fran O’Sullivan and Dirty Politics

Written By: - Date published: 1:02 pm, October 11th, 2014 - 33 comments
Categories: democracy under attack, Media - Tags: , , ,

I know that I and others regularly get stuck into the Herald. It is just that its general tone is so anti Labour and pro National.

The variation in quality of writers is considerable.  Reading a John Roughan article invariably causes me to prefer that I had not done this.  At the other end of the spectrum I usually enjoy reading Toby Manhire’s and Brian Rudman’s pieces.

Fran Sullivan is in a class of her own.  She clearly has a right wing view of the world.  But her writing is tough and intelligent and she is willing to criticise anyone if she believes that criticism is warranted.  Her articles demand to be read with respect even though often I will not agree with her.

Her article today on Dirty Politics and Mark Hotchin has more than a hint of anger to it.  I suspect the keys of her keyboard were bashed as she committed some of her ideas to written prose.

Her anger is understandable.

She was implicated in the Mark Hotchin inspired attacks on the head of the Serious Fraud Office and the Financial Market Authority.  The Cam Slater email that crushed Judith Collins’ career contained this passage:

Cathy [Odgers] can outline her contact with Fran O’Sullivan separately. Basically though the Herald and other media are now picking up our lines…

It is clear that O’Sullivan does not agree with this claim and wishes to publicly refute the suggestion that she was merely regurgitating Slater attack lines.

Her article contains a personal acknowledgment she received from Odgers that unlike other reporters she (O’Sullivan) had neither given nor received any information with Slater and Co.  Good to see.

O’Sullivan then criticises the Government’s handling of the issue and criticises the terms of reference.  These are:

This Inquiry will inquire into and report upon allegations that Ms Collins was involved in efforts to undermine Mr Feeley during his tenure as Director of the Serious Fraud Office, including whether:

(1)  there is any evidence Ms Collins acted inconsistently with the conduct expected of a Minister by undermining or attempting to undermine Mr Feeley’s tenure as Director of the Serious Fraud Office; and

(2)  Ms Collins provided information about Mr Feeley during his tenure as Director of the Serious Fraud Office to Mr Cameron Slater or any other party who did not have a proper entitlement to receive such information; and

(3)  Ms Collins inappropriately sought or received information about Mr Feeley from Mr Slater or any other party;

and will

(4)  identify and report on any other issues relevant to the above matters, to the extent necessary to provide a complete report on those matters.

The first shortfall is a glaring one.  The attacks on the Financial Markets Authority are not being investigated even though they were relentless and disturbing.  As said by previous head Sean Hughes “I’ve never experienced the level of personal denigration and anonymous  attacks that I’ve experienced in the NZ media context”.  I am not aware of any allegation that Collins had any involvement in the attacks on Hughes but confirmation is important and even though Collins was not the responsible Minister (it was Craig Foss) the source of any Government information used by Slater in attacking the FMA should be investigated.

The use of the phrases “proper entitlement” and “inappropriately sought or received” in the terms of reference are interesting.  The emphasis should be on whether or not Collins contributed to the public denigration of a senior Public Servant not whether Slater was entitled to receive the information.

And as O’Sullivan correctly states the investigation is missing the big issue.  There should be a police investigation into whether or not there was an attempt to pervert the course of justice by an attempt to undermine the SFO and FMA investigations.

O’Sullivan correctly concludes with the following:

But while the police have been busy poking about in Hager’s affairs – hacking is, after all, a crime – they do not appear to have actively followed up on Acting Opposition Leader David Parker’s pre-election complaint over various actions disclosed in the Dirty Politics affair, including the alleged “SFO/Hanover Sting”.

This suggests to me a failure of prioritisation on the part of police chief Mike Bush and his team.

I believe he could start by requiring Odgers, Graham and Slater to say just who paid them for apparently trying to fit up Feeley.

And why they obliged.

The issue is too big to be swept under the carpet by mere politics and a focus on chasing whistleblowers instead of the real issues.

Well said Fran.

33 comments on “Fran O’Sullivan and Dirty Politics ”

  1. r0b 1

    Slater has gone off at O’Sullivan and is making his usual threats. An interesting discussion ensues on Twitter:

    • Kiwiri - Raided of the Last Shark 1.1

      Thanks. That tweet links to the yucky site, so I visited the webpage via: http://www.donotlink.com/bzwo

      • mickysavage 1.1.1

        Thanks and really weird. The readers of the blogsite that should not be named think the Herald is part of a vast left wing conspiracy to bring Slater down.

        • One Anonymous Bloke 1.1.1.1

          To which the response is that The Herald, O’Sullivan et al are donkey deep in it and Slater is going to offer their emails as evidence in a legal setting.

          Wouldn’t that be a tragedy 😈

    • karol 1.2

      So, was that post actually written by Slater? Is he usually so up with the legal niceties of such a situation?

      • mickysavage 1.2.1

        Yep it reads a bit like a committee effort with bits of law and some veiled threats thrown it.

        Slater’s claim that he has emails is interesting. Often he will claim that one of a series of facts is wrong, therefore they are all wrong, even though he is only able to disprove one fact.

        This post by Geoff from August 30 is proving very prescient (http://thestandard.org.nz/some-thoughts/). He said:

        So Judith Collins is gone.

        This is English’s faction taking control of dealing with the Dirty Politics mess. There’s no way Bronwyn Puller would have placed a privacy complaint against Collins without English knowing. She’s still tight with the National Party and with his faction.

        I have no doubt the email that Key used to sink her came from inside the National Party. Why else would it go straight to Key’s chief of staff and why would it be taken so seriously if he didn’t know its provenance?

        I’d say that since English deliberately distanced himself from Collins in his PREFU stand up – which was coordinated with Key changing his position to say she was
        “unwise” – they have been working to get to this point and cauterize the wound.

        About the same time Steven Joyce dropped away from commenting on it.

        It’s not taken much for National’s factions to come to the surface as I’ve previously posted there’s been a cold war on for a while:

        It’s no secret that the small but vicious Collins faction has been worrying the rest of the party for some time. Fran O’Sullivan points to her sacking of John Judge as a reason for this, but Collins has caused many other, less public ructions and her proxies, Cameron Slater and Simon Lusk many more again.

        There’s no doubt now that English is running the show. The question is will the remnants of Collins’ crew fight back or is it all over for them? And what happens to Steven Joyce?

        This will really be a test of that famous National Party discipline.

        • karol 1.2.1.1

          Also, he has a go at O’Sullivan for publishing Odger’s private emails.

          O’Sullivan is a journalist. Would Odger’s send her the emails being certain O’sullivan wouldn’t publish them?

          I’ve read before that some people say, where journos are concerned, nothing is off the record these days.

          • mickysavage 1.2.1.1.1

            Yep and they were sent to O’Sullivan. Unless there was a specific understanding they would not be published …

            • One Anonymous Bloke 1.2.1.1.1.1

              If there is, I’m sure O’Shillivan will rely on the public interest defence.

      • Murray Rawshark 1.2.2

        There’s no way Slug Boy wrote that post. He can’t write about a woman without speculating on her “rooting qualities”. His writing is both quaint and obscene and reminds me of a little rich boy trying to pretend he came from the other side of the tracks, all set in the 60s.

        He’s certainly right up himself, threatening the Herald. As always, his trained dogs froth at the leash and are eager to take Granny down, possibly for being a “dud root” or a “ratbag”. In reality, I suspect the individual commentators on that thread would fit in a phone box.

  2. nzlemming 2

    Perhaps well said in this example, but this is O’Sullivan trying to whitewash her own dirty linen. Compare and contrast with http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=10756517

    And using a supposed conversation with Odgers as a basis for claiming the moral high ground is hardly what she’d permit from a subject of her own ‘investigative journalism’. O’Sullivan sold out to the business crowd years ago. Whether a willing accomplice or a useful idiot, I don’t know, but her breast beating now rings a little hollow to me.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 2.1

      +1

      O’Shillivan is covering her arse.

      • Kiwiri - Raided of the Last Shark 2.1.1

        Quite. A tweet or two from others in recent days seemed to give that arse-covering impression.

      • Tracey 2.1.2

        yes, cos this might just as easily have been written prior to the election, but fran waited… til now.

    • Manuka - Ancient Order of Rawsharks 2.2

      NZlemming: “or a useful idiot, I don’t know”
      You may have “misunderestimated” her.

      Fran is managing director of NZ Inc and publisher of the http://newzealandinc.com website, which is “the organizing partner for the annual China Business Summit and other internationally-focused events which drive New Zealand’s international business engagement”. A heap of her other rather impressive sounding business and business journalism credentials at http://newzealandinc.com/about/

    • Pathetic piece of butt covering. She should go, along with the others, Jared Savage in particular.

  3. coaster 3

    The majority of people I know dont beleive dirty politics happened and that it was all made up hype. Seems like they are all starting to turn on each other.

    even though I dislike mr slaters way of doing things, he still has the best name for a web site ive seen.

    • mickysavage 3.1

      Did you understand coaster that the allegation is that Mark Hotchin paid Slater to attack the head of the SFO and the FMA in an attempt to stop him from being prosecuted?

      Is that what you mean by having a good name?

  4. tc 4

    Cruising down a river of crocodile tears in a boat called ‘Schadenfreude’.

    Would this be an issue if she did some actual journalism and verified what she receives prior to publication.

    Go see Roughan or Armstrong for stronger flea repellant as they never seem to itch, probably enjoy the bites interpreting that as affection.

  5. Craig Glen Eden 5

    O’Sullivan is covering her arse for sure. Its often said we need better quality RWNJ’s on the Standard, O’Sullivan is just that but nothing more. I would’nt give her to much credence MS, at the end of the day just like any Tory she does what’s good for her and nothing more.

  6. coolas 6

    ” … start by requiring Odgers, Graham and Slater to say just who paid them for apparently trying to fit up Feeley.’

    Hotchin, of course, we know that thanks to Rawshark. Why don’t you do the investigation yourself, as a journo, and come back to us with the time line and to and fro between the players. It’s a great story and who better placed than tell than you. I assume they’d all talk to you.

    And then there’s the political corruption bit with pinpointing the sources of Govt info being passed preferentially to bloggers who play a clandestine roll in National’s political machine.

    Collins? Of course. She gone or just in the dog box? Foss? I thought he was demoted ‘cos he’s inept.

    Surely, the juice in this story is: John Key was in regular contact with ‘David’ and ‘Cam’ – he thanked them at his after match party – How much did he know about their ‘dirty politics’? What else did they talk about if it wasn’t their common interests as Leader and his craven propagandists? And then there’s Jason Eade?

    Can’t see Fran writing this part of the story in a hurry.

  7. cricklewood 7

    The old saying lie down down with dogs wake up with fleas rings true in this situation. A whole pile of msm were happy to run Slaters agenda and now they a desperately trying to rid themselves of the ‘fleas’ as it were. Hager alluded to the media relationship and that he’d left it out in the hope they would see the error of their ways.
    I dont think the likes of Fran are due any sympathy really…

  8. Pascals bookie 8

    Peter Aranyi has helpfully highlighted a Pete the Whaleoil blog runner post that is in turn hilarious and demented. They are all cut from the same rhetorical cloth of bullshit and jelly beans with promises of more to come and so forth and so on.

    http://www.thepaepae.com/wp-uploads/2014/10/Pete-Belts-reality.jpg

  9. O’Sullivan’s problem is that she thinks that capitalism can be cleaned up.

    For those who keep getting surprised at how dirty it is reflect on this:

    Economic Manuscripts: Capital Vol. I – Chapter Thirty-One
    https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1867-c1/ch31.htm
    Karl Marx. Capital Volume One

    … The genesis of the industrial capitalist did not proceed in such a gradual way as that of the farmer. … The snail’s pace of this method corresponded in no wise with the commercial requirements of the new world ….. capital comes dripping from head to foot, from every pore, with blood and dirt.

    • hoom 9.1

      O’Sullivan’s problem is that she thinks that capitalism can be cleaned up.

      Quite.
      If any of the Rightie Dirty Shill Columnists are consistent in criticizing the problems of little govt free market idiocy, its her.
      But she still believes the solution is more of the same.

  10. Brian Biggins 10

    Why ‘well said Fran!’? Fran O’Sullivan is a PR lapdog for the National Party and a promoter of neoliberalism which is the antithesis of the socialist ideals which, presumably, the supporters of this blog embrace. So why do we give people like O’Sullivan any praise at all? This is the problem with the left right now-a kind of wavering. lily-livered opposition to the people who actively promote neoliberal policies and government, while these same people openly and directly attack anything remotely appearing to be socialist, at every turn. If you want to change the narrative then you need to be confident (and not cautious/scared) about the language you use. How badly do you want change? The Neville Chamberlain style of opposition is a well-proven failure!

    • Marksman33 10.1

      Well said Brian, none of the scum will be getting any big-ups from me, EVER. I hope they all rot in Hell, we all know who they are. Ps, not too convinced about Manhire, Rudman’s alright tho.

  11. Ambush under Bush?

    For a pithy satirical summary of the key findings in Hager’s book Dirty Politics:

    NZ PM John Key’s Suppressed ‘Missing Million’ Voters Letter http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL1410/S00029/john-keys-suppressed-missing-million-voters-letter.htm

    Originally published at:
    http://snoopman.net.nz/?p=2359

    The scathing story behind the ‘scoop’:
    NZ PM Writes to ‘Missing Million’ Voters, “Thanks for not voting, loser”. http://snoopman.net.nz/?p=2371

  12. D'Esterre 12

    I’d have had some respect for O’Sullivan, had she published this before the election. Bit late now, isn’t it?

    I used to visit the Whaleoil site, but gave up when the content became too much for me to tolerate. I can’t bring myself to go there again – or even to read what he’s written.

  13. (swallowing bile in throat) Bit late for the outrage, Fran; where was her protest vote and voice when it counted?

    History proves that no “issue is too big to be swept under the under the carpet by mere politics.” She can’t have missed that she has helped into power a nondisclosure “catch me if you can and then what are you going to do about it?” party. She, along with the rest of NZ, are already paying the price.

  14. sabine 14

    even a stopped clock is right twice a day.

    or

    too little too late.

    It is sad to think that these ‘polished, educated, worldwise’ Journalists of the nzherald and other publications do believe that the oppression of Journalists will not happen to them. So they tut tut the whistle blowers, and clutch their pears, until….the carp hits their own door. – Pathetic.

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    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • South Island areas prioritised in tourism fund
    Five South Island areas are prioritised in the latest round of decisions from a tourism fund that is supporting infrastructure projects from Cape Reinga to Stewart Island and the Chathams. Tourism Minister Stuart Nash has announced details of 57 nationwide projects to receive support from the Tourism Infrastructure Fund (TIF). ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • New code sets clear expectations for learner safety and wellbeing in tertiary education
    A new code of practice for the pastoral care of domestic tertiary and international students will be in place from January next year, Education Minister Chris Hipkins announced today The code, which makes clear that creating an environment that supports learning and wellbeing is a shared responsibility between tertiary providers, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • First TAB New Zealand Board appointments announced
    The members of the first TAB NZ Board come with experience in racing and sport administration, business and governance, the betting industry, broadcasting and gambling harm minimisation. “This Board will progress from the excellent work done by the interim board, put in place in August 2020,” Grant Robertson said. “The ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Northland Maori Pathways initiative introduced
    The Government has today launched Māori Pathways at Northland Region Corrections Facility, a ground-breaking series of initiatives designed in partnership with Māori to reduce re-offending and improve outcomes for whānau. A key part of the Hōkai Rangi strategy, Māori Pathways looks to achieve long-term change and involves a number of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Extended Essential Skills visas being rolled out
    Two year Essential Skills visa to provide certainty to at least 18,000 visa holders Streamlined application process to benefit at least 57,000 visa holders The Government is increasing the duration of some Essential Skills visas and streamlining the application process to provide more certainty to employers and visa holders while ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Pause to Quarantine Free Travel from Victoria to New Zealand
    Quarantine Free Travel from Victoria to New Zealand will be paused from 1.59am (NZT) Friday, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins has announced. The decision follows updated public health advice from New Zealand officials and a growing number of cases and locations of interest. The pause will run for at least ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago