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Fran’s fracas

Written By: - Date published: 9:48 am, October 17th, 2012 - 131 comments
Categories: spin - Tags: ,

Well, Fran Mold has done it now. It was surprising to many that she kept her job as Labour’s head spin doctor after her part in Labour’s worst election performance in generations. But this tops it. She’s got Shearer to go large based (it is alleged*) on  her man’s claim that there is a tape of Key talking to the GCSB in February about Dotcom. There may be a video but no proof’s emerged, and it’s the proof that counts.

Shearer looks bad. His brand was the straight up, honest guy who doesn’t play gotta politics. Now, that’s taken a big hit. And what for? To try to land some killer blow on Key? He was already going down. All Fran’s foul-up has done is give Key a breather and put Shearer on the ropes.

You don’t get a bigger fuck-up than that as a spin doctor. You would think she was a double-agent, expect a double-agent wouldn’t be so audacious to go for a fuck-up this big.

I can’t imagine she’ll be around much longer.

– Sash


* I added the bracketed italics. As was pointed out in comments this allegation appears to be solely based on the most unreliable source in NZ political bloggers. Cameron Slater is more noted for his ability to do fantasy logic (equivalent to making 1 + 1 = 111) than his ability to be accurate. There don’t appear to be any sources definitively confirming his “logic” that I can see. lprent

131 comments on “Fran’s fracas ”

  1. Ad 1

    Selling out your lover, your lover’s deeply confidential friend, making a rookie overreach mistake, diverting the EPMU story that took months of planning to make, and endangering your leader, all in 2 days: Fran Mold should leave office today.

    Not good management by Alastair Cameron either, unless he too like Robertson is just another of Shearer’s willing undertakers.

    All of it makes me like Shearer more for getting the bruising, but winning the fight overall.

    Right now Shearer’s only political ally, even inside his caucus and his own office, is Prime Minister John Key. The gift who just keeps giving.

  2. BM 2

    I get the feeling David Shearer has been setup.

    • One Tāne Huna 2.1

      If so, he has been remarkably complicit. Both hands seemed to be in view in the interview I saw – neither looked to be twisted half way up his back.

      • Jim Nald 2.1.1

        Setup or not in connection with the AV material, one thing stands and that is Shearer was set up as leader on 13 Dec 2011.

        What Shearer has done, does and continue to do,
        who he chose and chooses to have around him,
        from whom/what he chose and chooses to take advice,
        with what he chooses to say next –
        these and other matters,
        are his judgment call.

        It is his judgment on display for all to see as to whether he is fit to be leader of Labour, to be leader of the (still) main opposition party in Parliament,
        and whether he and his party demonstrate they are ready to govern,
        ready to be the government-in-waiting*.

        *With the shambles from Johnesia that is sinking the country,
        we can’t afford to wait too long.

        (McFlock: I have some questions & comments for you following a previous post and, apologies for now, those will have to wait till later when I have some more time today.)

  3. tsmithfield 3

    I don’t think you should understate Shearer’s role in this fiasco. If you are going to make claims about the existence of a tape, then make sure you actually have the tape before going public about it.

    And certainly don’t make accusations about public servants deleting the said tape that can’t be proved to exist in the first place. In doing so he has implied criminallity on behalf of public servants who are unable to respond to defend themselves on the basis of no evidence at all. That is quite disgraceful, really.

    • Enough is Enough 3.1

      I agree TS

      And also if he had kept his mouth shut, the only story on this issue at the moment would be that forgetful lying bastard Key.

      Instead it has been flipped to a story about proving whether a tape exists or not.

      I doubt Shearer can survive this.

    • Plan B 3.2

      He should only have made the comment after he had secured the tape in a condom and swallowed it. If there is a camera it should be possible to look at the log to see when it was actually turned /recording on and if the clock had been set. Ie the camera has its own memeory- not removable- has this been anaylsed. – I bet they set the clock – so we do not need the tape- just the camera- if we are lucky that is.- But not a lot of luck out there.

  4. quartz 4

    This smells like a Trevor Mallard strategy to me. He’s got a long record of trying to bluff shit out. The only question is whether he really believes it’s a good idea to base a major attack on a beltway rumour when you’ve got no evidence or whether he’s trying to ruin Shearer deliberately.

    • King Kong 4.1

      After the hatchet job that Trevor performed on Cunliffe in the leadership race, he better hope that Shearer stays leader.

      Setting Shearer up to fail doesn’t make any sense from his perspective.

      • dancerwaitakere 4.1.1

        It makes perfect sense for Trevor to ditch Shearer, especially if it means that Robertson gets the gig.

        You gotta remember that Shearer was the man that everyone in the ‘ABC’ faction (completely constructed by Mallard) backed when they realised that they could’t win if Parker ran as well… So in effect Shearer just became the puppet for the old guard and those who still cling to a very centrist agenda.

        Not that hard to cut the strings and replace him with Robertson, all they have to do is make it seem like Shearer has failed, so the Dep gotta stand in.

        Shearer has been played, the sad thing is, he is too politically inept to recognise it.

  5. insider 5

    Shearer’s the leader. He makes the decisions. If he was unhappy with it or uncertain he would not have done it. So either he is confident it is true or he is so pliable he has as much strength as a piece of blue tack.

    What he needs to do is burn his bridges and drop the issue. There is the risk he will do a Goff/SIS and die in the ditch over this because he can’t accept he might have been wrong or made a poor decision (which perhaps indicates the pressure he might be under – there was an interesting item on RNZ this morning along those lines).

    • Indigo Bob 5.1

      You’re right insider, Fran Mold is just an underling. It sounds barely believable that Fran would have told Shearer to talk about the existence of the tape unless she knew they had their hands on it already. Shearer went too far. Mallard and Shearer have been looking very rattled in the last couple of days and none of their colleagues have backed them up. A big own goal from Shearer. There’s no use blaming Fran when the leader makes these kindergarten mistakes.

      • insider 5.1.1

        Well, she is more than just an underling – she is his chief media advisor and probably part of their political strategy team. So she is worth listening to seriously. But it was a big risk tying Shearer closely to something like this where there was only the promise of evidence. Compare the H-fee issue which was a Mike Williams/Mallard show with Clark kept arms length publicly.

        The other thing to remember is SHearer sits on the cross party intelligence committee and potentially could be minister in charge. The way he is playing this, does it give confidence he could be trusted in that supposedly broader nation interest non partisan role?

        • Indigo Bob

          You’re right insider and a comparison with Clark’s management of these things is useful. Clark had two go-to people to run smear attacks on National, Hodgson and Mallard. Hodgson has gone and Mallard is damaged goods.

          The question then goes to who should have fronted it. Shearer has a need to look politically relevant when he’s at 8% preferred PM against Key. Ideally he would be landing the sucker-punch on the PM. The only way he can do that is to have the tape. Given he didn’t have the tape it’s a very high-risk strategy to talk about a tape that you don’t have. It’s even worse to then say he believes the tape was deleted. It makes him look like he’s making it up as he goes along.

          Mallard couldn’t front the story. Robertson is helping manage the story but he doesn’t want to front it because he wants to be leader and he doesn’t want it damaging him if it backfires on him. Decent political management would have dictated it go to somebody with similar portfolio responsibility, with the skills and experience to foot it against the PM. Cunliffe has the skills and experience, but it’s hardly an economic development issue. Which makes me think Goff should have fronted it. If it had backfired on Goff then he could have worn the damage.

          • insider

            Goff who? Seriously where is he? Maybe on intelligence issues he feels either constrained because of his former leadership role or because of his spat with the SIS. not his portfolio either.

            • Indigo Bob

              No it’s not his portfolio, and you’re right about the SIS spat, but he was Foreign Minister for many years and has authority as he sat on the Intelligence Committee, and I doubt he would have gone as far as to say the GCSB may have deleted the video to bury the evidence as Shearer did. Goff’s spat with the SIS was over recollection of what was said in a briefing (actually many parallels with Key’s situation), not a basic misunderstanding about what an intelligence agency would or would not have done.

              I’m just saying that without a tape, it was too risky for Shearer to front it and claim there was a tape. Everybody else is too damaged, inexperienced, unqualified by portfolio, or personally ambitious to front it. Goff should have been called on to do it.

              • Pascal's bookie

                You are all treating this like it is some sort of game.

                It’s not.

                Our spies have broken the law.

                Finding out what happened is the only consideration.

                What Shearer did helped.

                What his sources did helped.

                • karol


                • Indigo Bob

                  It’s not a game, you’re treating it as if Shearer’s sources didn’t break the law by leaking to him.

                • insider

                  Point of order Pascal. It was already well established that GCSB had broken the law. Shearer played no role in that. What Shearer is doing is playing a political blame game. And the debate is, how well is he playing?

                  • Pascal's bookie

                    Go fuck yourself.

                    The PM is one of two people who is responsible for making sure the spies don’t abuse the remearkble amount of trust we give them.

                    Finding out what he knew when, or why the fuck not, isn’t just allowable, it’s necessary.

                    • insider

                      I’m not disagreeing with you. But you are claiming that the issue is the illegality. Well it’s not on this particular thread, if you go to the top and see the subject of the post. The importance of the illegality to you and more widely, doesn’t give you the right to tell others what to discuss.

                    • Pascal's bookie

                      Erm, twas you that ‘point of ordered’ there insider.

                    • insider

                      In reference to your “Our spies have broken the law. Finding out what happened is the only consideration. What Shearer did helped.”

                      Nothing he has asked about a video has any relationship to finding out about or addressing the illegality.

                    • Pascal's bookie

                      Finding out what the PM knew and when he knew it, is actually part of finding out what when on.

                    • insider

                      not in relation to the illegality -something you believe is ‘the only consideration’ – because that happened before the ‘video’ event. Everything after the illegality is fluff and politics.

                    • Pascal's bookie

                      Everything that happened after the illegal activity is fluff and politics?

                      So all that ‘not remembering’ and ‘not realisng it was illegal’ and ‘not informing the PM’, and the PM ‘not having a clue what was going on in the organisation he is responsible for’ is political?

                      Could well be. It’s also legal, and about governance.

                      To have confidence that the GCSB will axctually follow the law in the future, we need confidence in its governance. It’s outrageous that they had all the facts to know the spying was illegal, but just couldn’t work it out. It’s outrageous they didn’t tell the PM. It’s outrageous the PM couldn’t figure it out himself.*

                      *By his own account, he knew DotCom was an NZ resident on the day of the raid. When Dotcom was mentioned in the Feb briefing huge alarm bells should have started ringing in his noggin. It’s called oversight. It’s for makig sure the GCSB follows the law. His job.

                • TighyRighty

                  But it is a game. Your lot tried to score points turning it into a game. Then you owned goaled and now you are crying we shouldn’t play games. Whatever

                • Huginn

                  +1, Pascal’s bookie

                  Key knew that Dotcom was a New Zealand resident on January 24th, four days after the raid. It’s on video –

                  One video exposes Key, GCSB’s & Banks’ Dotcom lies

                  As Minister in charge, it should have been obvious to him that the GCSB couldn’t be legally involved in that raid.

                  If the Prime Minister thinks it’s ok to make jokes about the GSCB’s illegal involvement in that raid a month later when it is disclosed to him instead of demanding explanations . . . then we’ve got a problem.

                  Key’s initial response was revealing. So yes, what Shearer did helped and what his sources did helped.

              • BLiP


                Hmmm . . . concern trolls?

  6. Stephen Doyle 6

    ISTM that one of Shearers big handicaps in a woefully under performing front bench. Apart from Adern, Cunliffe and Parker, the others are anonymous. Is Tony Ryall the best health minister ever, how would we know?? With all the stuff ups Parata has made have we heard a peep out of Mahuta?
    Until the Front Bench fronts up Shearer is handicapped big time.

    • Lanthanide 6.1

      Yes. Especially Mahuta. I really, truly, think that if Cunliffe hadn’t done his double-ticket with her, he would have had much better chances.

      Picking someone who has never been in the spotlight as your running mate doesn’t make a lot of sense.

      • seeker 6.1.1

        Mahuta has been in the fight since the get go of this term and puts out many press releases which are not picked up by the mainstream. She fought valiantly over class sizes with powerful press releases and was never linked to by Bryce Edwards during the main week (althought to be fair Bryce rarely links to labour and usually only mentions them if he can undermine or criticise them in some way.)
        She has posted more than most on Red Alert and, unlike some labour MPs, will engage with the commenters.

        Even Claire Trevett (NZH October 11th) has noticed her:
        “Mahuta, for example, has ramped up the press release machine to at least one a day this month. Until now, she has issued between five and eight a month.”


        She also makes herself available on cell phone which she posts at the end of her press releases I have these posted to me by gmail. Just ask Labour for these if you wish to be kept abreast of things and find nothing in the media.

        *I am only just beginning to see Jacinda Ardern making herself known (apart from the tornado and Hamilton) and welcome it is too, although I believe she has a Children’s Bill waiting to be drawn. Until now I have only seen Mitiria Turei standing up strongly against Bennettt and her Welfare Oppression.

        PS Who is Sash? And has Sash got a tape of FranM. “getting Shearer to go large……based on her man’s claim that there is a tape of Key..”?

  7. Te Reo Putake 7

    Well, speaking as a ‘labour party hack’ (copyright P. George), can I just say I really miss John Pagani’s steady hand? I can’t help thinking Pagani would have scoped the possible responses before letting the leader go out on a limb. And announcing the existence of a tape leads to an obvious question: ‘can we see it?’. Clearly, nobody in Shearer’s office thought to take the devil’s advocate position before sending Shearer out to be slaughtered. I thought that was pretty much standard in these cases; ‘If I say x, what will my opponent’s response be?’

    Anyhoo, the upside is that brand National is fatally tarnished now and they’re on the way out. The good news for Labour is that our current leader can easily be replaced, but National have to stick with Dunnokeyo because they have no alternatives at all.

    • Craig Glen Eden 7.1

      “The good news for Labour is that our current leader can easily be replaced.”

      We need the best Leader we have got and as the Party faithful/members told the caucus in the Leadership race Cunliffe’s the man.

    • Ad 7.2

      That upside you speak of happened anyway. This fuckup didn’t need to happen and at minimum has hurt Shearer’s office, for no added political advantage.

      Replacing a leader is no small thing and will damage Labour. Wrong outcome to even contemplate. 1 month to Conference.

      • Lanthanide 7.2.1

        Disagree. Look what Brash did for National in 2004.

        I think Labour is in with a chance if they replace the leader in the next 2-3 months. Just ready to capitalise on National’s fall from grace.

        • Ad

          February is the first chance for anything like that because that’s the “confirmation” caucus meeting.

          It would take Goff or King to raise their eyebrow and switch from the Shearer faction to Robertson for anything to happen.

          At that point Cunliffe and Mahuta would not stand again, and the pink centre right is locked in for quite some time.

          Whether this would make any difference to the formation of a 2014 government is moot, but careful what you wish for.

          • Bill

            It would take Goff or King to raise their eyebrow and switch from the Shearer faction to Robertson for anything to happen.

            The Shearer faction is the Robertson faction! But they ballsed up the strategy (surprised?) of running Shearer for a few months and shoulder tapping him to make way for Robertson.

    • lprent 7.3

      He tended to be good at the media/talkback side, and pretty damn bad on the party side. I guess he got too used to the rump of the alliance. Made him somewhat unbalanced.

      • Te Reo Putake 7.3.1

        Yeah, I was just stirring, really, LP. Though I was dinkum about the devil’s advocate stuff, which I know is a technique Pagani used. It innoculates your guy against the possible responses and means that when your opponent tries to pick holes in your argument, you have the defenses ready.

        While I know many people here disliked Pagani’s (perceived) politics, he had the technical aspects of the job nailed. The only recent slip up of this sort was Goff not having an answer to Key’s ‘show me the money’ line. This situation is not too dissimilar, actually, but hopefully won’t have the same outcome.

        • lprent

          That technique almost always works. The usual problem is the same as with a number of techniques. It is about getting the person it is being applied to to sit down and spend the time at it. It is used across many professions.

          Best trick is when you can get them to see themselves on camera when they are unprepared (or even when they think that they are prepared), and then get a group of non-sycophants to ruthlessly criticize how much of a dork they look like.

          I noticed that Lyn is pretty good at it – probably from directing, taking and editing so much film of people from business. Fortunately I don’t have to do that type of thing for several decades.

          But there will always be holes..

  8. freedom 8

    serious question: call it a devil’s advocate question:
    When was it confirmed by anyone that the source was Fran Mold’s partner ?

    I have seen plenty of circumstantial statements flying around but haven’t seen (maybe missed) the public admission and/or confirmation of the source.

    • karol 8.1

      It hasn’t been confirmed.  The partner was not at the GCSB at the time Key spoke to the staff in February.  However, Mold has been the Labour Party press person, so has some responsibility for that, whatever.

    • Pascal's bookie 8.2

      nowhere. barry Soper announced that it had been ‘revealed’ the day after whaleoil floated the idea.

      Soper gave no source whatsoever, other than that it was something that had been ‘revealed’.

      other media are citing Soper.

      • freedom 8.2.1

        which is what i understood, so how can such an innaccurate post make it to the boards here ?
        “She’s got Shearer to go large based on her man’s claim that there is a tape of Key talking to the GCSB in February about Dotcom.”

        [lprent: Guest post. But I will put in something. ]

        • freedom

          thanks lprent, I know it was insignificant, as we all know it is not confirmed, but why give trolls the ammo right?

      • Lightly 8.2.2

        there’s a herald article too. no-one disputes that that’s the source.

        • Pascal's bookie

          The Herald article that cites Soper, who cites an unidentified revelation?

          Is that the one you are talking about?

    • insider 8.3

      To quote Shearer: “No um, but …; what we’re doing here is asking the question. We have got…how else are we going to do this?”

      • Pascal's bookie 8.3.1

        It’s interesting isn’t it, that Shearer’s claim is a scandal, that he must back up, but this one is just meh?

        • insider

          AHa but Shearer hasn’t denied it! 🙂

          • Pascal's bookie

            fact reamains that Shearer’s claim about what Key said is better sorced than the Fran Mold stuff.

            1. Shearer says he has multiple GCSB staff, present at the meeting, who told him what was said.
            2. Whaleoil claims someone told him.

            • insider

              I agree Fran Mold is a better source 🙂

              • Pascal's bookie

                It’s only about whether our spies follow the law or not 🙂

                • Indigo Bob

                  It’s also about whether Fran’s boyfriend followed the law or not numbnuts! So far Shearer is the only one to say there is a tape, and the only one to say the GCSB might have deleted it. Shearer is asking the PM to deny something that he hasn’t produced evidence for, yet he has gone strangely silent on whether Fran is connected to the source. You think it’s ok for Shearer to connect the dots, then accept when everybody connects the source back to Fran.

                  • Pascal's bookie

                    It is being reported as fact that Mold’s partner is the source.

                    All I am doing is pointing out that there are better sources for Shearer’s claims than there are for this claim. (Do you dispute this? If so, then source the Mold claim. I’ve asked Soper via email, but haven’t heard a reply after a few days.)

                    But it’s me that’s applying a double standard?


                    • Indigo Bob

                      You’re right Pascal’s Bookie the only evidence that Fran’s partner is the source is a lack of denial from Fran or Shearer on it, which is really pretty damning if he’s not the source.

                      How are you pointing out that there are better sources for Shearer’s claims than for Soper’s claim? Shearer said there was a tape. He then said the tape might have been destroyed. He said he had multiple sources. None of those statements have been corroborated by anybody.

                      It is possible that all of the statements by Shearer and Soper are correct, that there is a tape, that it was destroyed, that there were multiple sources, and from Soper that one of those sources is Fran Mold’s partner. It’s possible that all of Shearer’s statements are correct, and Soper’s isn’t. Or the opposite. Or that they’re all wrong. Right now all of the statements are unsubstantiated.

                      The GCSB has refuted Shearer’s statements. I think that is material. Shearer hasn’t refuted Soper’s statement. I think that is also material. But put aside that. If Soper is wrong, and Shearer doesn’t refute him, what has Soper got to lose? Nothing. Even if Shearer is right, but has no evidence, then his whole political credibility is lost.

                    • Pascal's bookie

                      You’re right Pascal’s Bookie the only evidence that Fran’s partner is the source is a lack of denial from Fran or Shearer on it, which is really pretty damning if he’s not the source.

                      Shearer responded to the claim saying that he would not be identifying his source.

                      That isn’t evidence either way, especially not for the initial claim. There is no evidence presented for the claim. The first I saw of it was in a whaleoil post in which he also alleged that he knows who it is within GCSB that stuffed up on the dotcom stuff, that they are in the gun for it, and that they colluded with Mold’s partner to smear Key.

                      You’ve suggested that Shearer’s claim should be treated with some scepticism because of political motivations, and that is fair enough. But the same goes for these claims of Whale’s, but that isn’t happening. The more explosive claim is being completely ignored. If you are concerned about Shearer’s source being a law breaker, who could have the info Whale claims to have been given?

                      How are you pointing out that there are better sources for Shearer’s claims than for Soper’s claim? Shearer said there was a tape. He then said the tape might have been destroyed. He said he had multiple sources. None of those statements have been corroborated by anybody.

                      There are better sources for Shearer’s claims.

                      Sheaere says he has multiple witnesses to what Key said. Those are his sources. Two or more people who were there. we don’t have names, but we have some info. Not perfect, but something.

                      Soper didn’t indentify any sources at all, and Whale just said ‘A source’. that could be anyone. It could be his cat, it could be someone in Key’s office. It could be Simon Lusk. If Whale had any info to give us as to why we might find his source credible, he didn’t present it.

                      If you think that Shearer’s non denial counts of evidence, then what do you make of whal;e’s non describing of his’ source’.

                      I honestly cannot see how anyone could say that Shearer’s claim does not have clearer sourcing.

                      The GCSB has refuted Shearer’s statements.

                      They’ve denied it. They’ve also made all sorts of frankly astonishing claims about what they didn’t know and when. They have also broken the law. I’m discounting them quite a bit until confidence is restored, thank you very much.

                    • Indigo Bob

                      Sheaere says he has multiple witnesses to what Key said. Those are his sources. Two or more people who were there. we don’t have names, but we have some info. Not perfect, but something.

                      Shearer’s word isn’t evidence of the existence of sources. There is no evidence at all, except Shearer’s word for it. Notably Shearer has wanted to stop all further talk about the sources or even the existence of the tape. That doesn’t give a lot of confidence at all about the existence of the tape, or any sources for it.

                      Soper didn’t indentify any sources at all, and Whale just said ‘A source’. that could be anyone. It could be his cat, it could be someone in Key’s office. It could be Simon Lusk. If Whale had any info to give us as to why we might find his source credible, he didn’t present it.

                      Yeah I get that but I would hope that the Leader of the Opposition’s standard for making unsubstantiated allegations is a bit higher than a right wing blogger.

                      If you think that Shearer’s non denial counts of evidence, then what do you make of whal;e’s non describing of his’ source’.

                      I don’t care what whal;e’s standard is. You don’t even know if Whale is Soper’s “source”.

                      I honestly cannot see how anyone could say that Shearer’s claim does not have clearer sourcing.

                      It’s not clear sourcing because Shearer hasn’t produced them. The PM has produced a source to refute the claims, in the name of the Director of the GCSB, who investigated them and denied them.

                      They’ve denied it. They’ve also made all sorts of frankly astonishing claims about what they didn’t know and when. They have also broken the law. I’m discounting them quite a bit until confidence is restored, thank you very much.

                      You can discount all you like. In the meantime I’ll discount anything David Shearer has said about the existence of a tape that may or may not have been described, when he wants everybody to stop talking about the tape as soon as the Director has come out and report that he’s investigated it.

                    • Pascal's bookie

                      Again, all I have said is that Shearer’s claim is better sourced than the claim about Mold.

                      Shearer has told us where he got this info from, and why he thinks we should believe it. That’s what giving sourcing for info means.

                      The ‘right wing blogger’ cites something with no sourcing whatsoever, and it is accepted as fact, even though it is politically useful for him and he has nothing to lose by lying.

                      And you say that’s a good reason to apply a lower standard to his claims in terms of scepticism?


            • Indigo Bob

              “1. Shearer says he has multiple GCSB staff, present at the meeting, who told him what was said.”

              Shearer says he has multiple GCSB staff present at the meeting, who are prepared to risk their jobs and prison time to tell him about the meeting. Shearer also says that there was a tape, but the tape may have been deleted.

              GCSB Director says an investigation reveals there was no tape, that they quizzed everybody who might have operated the camera, and that none of them made a tape, and that no tape would have been deleted.

              The GCSB Director’s story hasn’t changed on this. Shearer’s has. Personally I tend to believe the GCSB Director’s consistent, non politically motivated version over Shearer’s politically motivated flakey one.

              • Pascal's bookie

                Wrong debate numbnuts.

                What evidence is there about the claims of who Shearer’s source is?

                But on your faith in the GCSB bigwigs, did you read today’s news?

                The first story was that they didn’t know spying on DotCom was illegal because they were confused about his residency status. ie, if they knew he was a resident, they wouldn’t have spied.

                Turned out that confusion story didn’t hold water because the changes to immigration regs wouldn’t have affected his stautus. but more importantly, it also now it turns out that they have known he was a resident since before the PMs meeting with them in Feb, yet failed to tell the PM, or even realise that his being a resident meant they were spying on him illegally. ie, they didn’t know being a resident made it illegal.

                But their story hasn’t changed, and they don’t have any motivation to cover their arses?

                The director just oozes competence and trustworthiness.

              • @Indigo Bob
                The director of the GCSB is in a job that is connected with the biggest international political powers; involving highly political activities. How do you arrive at the conclusion that this director’s actions wouldn’t be politically motivated?

              • Colonial Viper

                GCSB Director says an investigation reveals there was no tape, that they quizzed everybody who might have operated the camera, and that none of them made a tape, and that no tape would have been deleted.

                So there was a camera there. What kind of camera was it. And when does it normally operate.

                And when he says “there was no tape” does he mean “there is no recording”.

                If so, he should come out and say just that.

      • QoT 8.3.2

        No um, but …; what we’re doing here is asking the question.

        Robertson used the same line on FirstLine this morning. Dear Labour, when you’re using the Glenn Beck defence, you’ve fucked up royally.

  9. Raymond A Francis 9

    Ok, so Shearer and his so called mindesr have stuffed up badly, unless that is what they had in mind but honestly I can’t believe that
    What has impressed me is Shearer’s public utterances while arguing the impossible, he has come across really well “Key has to answer the question even though I have no tape and if I haven’t it is because it was deleted”
    The man has the makings of a politcian but it might be time to do a real investigation on who sent him down this goose track

    • Colonial Viper 9.1

      Somewhere at the end of this rainbow there is a political pot of gold, Raymond. I’m just sure of it.

  10. muzza 10

    If Shearer is not able to make these sorts of judgement calls for himself, and realise that its a NO GO area, then he is even more incapable, and a bigger plant than I figured!

    Its all very convenient isn’t it…

    Two sides, same coin!

  11. higherstandard 11

    No no no… surely for such meritorious incompetence there’s a plum job in parliament or at the very least a managerial position in the MSD IT department ?

  12. Blue 12

    The idiocy is just staggering. When you publicly state that there is a tape, the first questions you’re going to get are, where is the tape? Can we see it? Have you seen it? Who has it? What is said on the tape?

    If your answers are ‘I don’t know’, ‘No’, ‘No’, ‘I don’t know’, ‘I don’t know because I haven’t seen it’, then surely you would realise it would be better to keep your mouth shut?

    Shearer may be politically inexperienced, but he’s been sold as having a few brain cells in there somewhere. How did he get himself into this situation?

  13. karol 13

    I’m shifting my comments to this thread.  Somehow we got onto the camera on a tripod issue on the Banks thread.

    I don’t know where John Key ever confirmed a tripod.  I’ve only heard Peters and Robertson say that.  Here is what Key said in the House yesterday:

    Grant Robertson Can the Prime Minister confirm that a camera capable of taking audiovisual material was on a tripod in the staff cafeteria at the Government Communications Security Bureau when he spoke to staff on 29 February?

    Rt Hon JOHN KEY;: I cannot confirm it but I am advised that there was a camera there. There could certainly be a camera capable of taking a video—absolutely right. So let us go through that for the purposes of ensuring that his leader really hangs himself—

    Shearer did well in flushing out that John Key did actually talk about Dotcom in the GCSB cafeteria in February.  The tape isn’t needed to confirm that.  But Key made the existence of a recording the issue and the MSM dutifully went with that.
    I guess many will say that the Labour Party has to work within that framework.  But it is the MSM complicity that has enabled Key to regain the position of leading the agenda.  Initially Shearer led the agenda, now Key does.  But the discourse is skewed towards Key and the largely sympathetic MSM.

    • David H 13.1

      And a similar question would be Do you expect us to believe that a security department that has cameras every where, and who tape everything. A: Did not tape this, an important visit by the PM, and have that same footage for training purposes. Are you telling us that this is the only time in history, that a video record has not been taken?

      • David H 13.1.1

        It won’t let me edit
        So it should have said. A Better question would be .

      • Anne 13.1.2

        Do you expect us to believe that a security department that has cameras every where, and who tape everything. A: Did not tape this, an important visit by the PM,…

        Unless of course the prime minister of the day, arranged for the message to be passed on to the Director of the GCSB (a person appointed by him) that he would prefer there was no tape recording of his address to the staff. No questions asked of course, but it would certainly ensure no incriminating evidence becoming available at any time – especially given the twist and turns this whole sordid episode seems to be taking.

  14. tc 14

    Labour’s getting what it generally paid for with a politically inexperienced leader against a well advised government in terms of diversion and misdirection.

    The hollowmen are very happy with DS as leader and Trev still directing the strategy….excellent smithers.

  15. Coaster 15

    You can’t blame the mainstream media. This is a genuine, unalloyed f*ckup from Shearer and his advisers and it brings his judgement and suitability as leader into question. Even as a staunch Labour supporter I can see why Gower ran this piece. It’s of genuine public interest and Labour Party members should be deeply concerned about the way these clowns are running the party.

    • karol 15.1

      I’m not a great fan of the Labour Party as it is now, but I’m more concerned that, given all the ways Key Inc has been shown up as slippery, the MSM and the Speaker both play it as a game of superficial point scoring.  Maybe if the Labour Party had better strategists, they would be ahead on points by now. 
      But, in the long term, this is not they way I want to see the country run or portrayed in the MSM. It has nothing to do with democracy, but is all just blokey power games in a framework skewed to the right.

  16. They wheeled out Grant Robertson onto Firstline this morning to once again demand that Key prove a tape doesn’t exist that Labour has failed to prove exists.

    Someone needs to give them a lesson on logic.

  17. gobsmacked 17

    Some of us on here keep explaining Politics for Beginners, hoping against hope that somebody in the hierarchy will pay attention. But they fail, and continue to fail, and so we’re left with conspiracy theories (i.e. “They can’t really be that stupid, so there must be another reason – what’s their game?”).

    I have no idea what’s going on. But yes, the buck stops with the leader.

    It boils down to one question: Do you think things will change by shuffling staffers, benches, media trainers, and the like? I don’t.

    OK, a second question: What do National – the Right in general – want Labour to do?

    Answer: Keep Shearer. Continue to f*ck up. So, why give them what they want? WHY?

    We are watching a government piss all over the people. It will only get worse. Time for the Labour caucus to put the people before themselves. If they care.

    • tsmithfield 17.1

      It is definitely a very curious situation when right-wingers are more supportive of the leader of the LP than left-wingers are.

      I wonder if there is a deep strategy at play here. Perhaps the aim is some sort of comparison bias in the minds of voters: i.e. the new leader looks amazing compared to the old one.

      • starlight 17.1.1

        Would the fact that shearer was at a bbq with national politicians,then decided to contest
        the leadership of the labour party as posted by a commenter previously,insider trading perhaps

        • belladonna

          Can someone tell me why he was at a barbecue with Nats. It has been mentioned on this site more than once but I for one would like a good explanation as to why he was at a barbecue with members of the National party. Seems bizarre to me and if true, a satisfactory explanation is required.

          • Colonial Viper

            It was an iPredict election celebratory party IIRC. A lot of politicians were invited, Shearer was the only Labour MP who attended. Lots of NATs etc there.

            Rookie mistake 1 – never turn up at these events without copious backup.

            Rookie mistake 2 – don’t fucking drink more than one pint when you are in the middle of circling vultures.

            Rookie mistake 3 – on no account mistake the fawning of the neoliberal wolves at the party for friendship.

            • Cactus Kate

              In his defence Shearer did not have more than two glasses of wine. It is a complete lie to suggest he was pissed. He was the most sober person at the party except for the kids. Even then I think the eldest Hooton child was on a sugar rush and higher than a kite.

              Shearer arrived later than I did (very late, positively mid-afternoon), which was well into Hooton’s pinko mates smashing case 5 and a half of Veuve and eating most of the catered food.

              I was naturally extremely hungover from election night after witnessing the ACT election result which accounted for the lateness.

              And Shearer barely spoke a word. To anyone.

              How could he when he was receiving unsolicited advice from every random left winger and commentator from the left in attendance?

              Come to think of it when he did, the speech consisted of ughms, aghs and indecision to tell Pagani, Trotter and Martyn to STFU.

              Should have been a sign….

          • Anne

            My understanding is that it was a post 2011 election BBQ hosted by Matthew Hooton. It took place within a week of the election – some time before the Labour leadership vote. John Pagani was invited and he talked Shearer into attending with him. To be fair to Pagani, he and Hooton were regular sparring partners on Radio NZ’s Monday morning political spot so I expect that was the reason he was invited.

            There’s actually nothing much wrong in having a bit of social contact with political opponents. You don’t have to hate one another all the time. Indeed, up until Muldoon’s tenure, I’ve been told it was normal for MPs on both sides of the House (FPP remember) to socialise outside of parliament. Some even became close friends.

          • Matthew Hooton

            belladonna, I can assist you on this matter: Bomber Bradbury invited him.
            The background is that, the day after the election, I had my usual post-election party and this time invited those who had been involved in the iPredict TV show to thank them, as well as friends and political contacts. We had about 100 of so through the day, plus kids, a first-class registered early childhood teacher to look after them, and Mr Whippy.
            From memory, the Nat MPs who made it were Tim Groser and Lockwood Smith – I think Simon Bridges and Paul Goldsmith sent their regrets. Cam Calder showed up. There were others from the Nat camp whose high profile means I shouldn’t mention them. Same with the Business Roundtable and pro-Israel lot.
            Andrew Campbell from the Greens came along and John Pagani from Labour. Laila Harre and Don Brash sent their regrets.
            WhaleOil and Farrar refused to attend because there were too many lefties. Cactus Kate made it because there were 6 cases of Veuve Clicquot.
            We had all the commentators of course – Willie Jackson, Chris Trotter, John Tamihere, Matt McCarten, Fran O’Sullivan, Sean Plunkett, plus Bomber, Phoebe Fletcher and a few other lefties they brought along.
            Ben Thomas and a bunch of other Beehive staffers (whose ministers wouldn’t have been pleased they were at my place) who were pleased to keep their jobs after the night before.
            Plus some public servants who I won’t name.
            Big dairy and kiwifruit were of course well represented.
            And the NBR crowd.
            Plus all the team from Exceltium and enough clients to make it mostly tax deductible.
            And so forth.
            Anyway, mid afternoon, Bomber invited Shearer and Cunliffe via text. Cunliffe couldn’t make it. Shearer showed up and had a few wines with the commentators and we enjoyed his company (we were all quite pissed, and slurring and stuttering by then, so it was a good match).
            Funnily enough, though, within a week, Willie, Chris, JT, Matt, Fran, Sean, me and everyone else had written columns saying he should be the next leader of the opposition. Maybe if Cunliffe had showed up it and not Shearer it would have been the other way around!
            Who knows?
            Anyway, when Shearer became leader I sent him and Grant Robertson (who I know from when he was a student leader) a bottle of Veuve as a bit of personality irony – you know, Labour leader, French champagne. Got a nice hand written note saying thanks and acknowledging the irony.
            So not much of a conspiracy really.
            Just a pleasant Sunday.

    • It’s just classic r’wing hype, boost the ego’s of the followers by belittling the oponent.

      I’d expect his attack about Dotcom was based on his “Fairness” ethic.

      He’s just started too speak the ground he stands on,
      We are the ones who will take time too understand that ground.

      If he can show people that ground in a year he’d be far ahead of every other politician in the cabinet.

      We’re judging him based on 1 minute sound and video bites, lets say 2 mins a night 3 nights a week.

      We’ll give him a holiday so 48 weeks = 2.4 hrs.

      Not a lot when you judge someones character really, 10 weeks for a 1/2 hour of his time.

      Now we’ve known John Key for 4 Years = 9.6hrs
      (Generous I know, it should be closer to 15yrs)
      How well do his supporters know HIM? and the party that wants him as leader ?
      What’s he gonna do next ?

      Threaten the stooges/people “Off the Record” perhaps ?

      Smile for the camera and “Deny Everything” ?

      How can anyone want those bozos in power any more ?

      • gobsmacked 17.2.1

        Do you understand what an election campaign is?

        How is Shearer going to survive one?

        We’re judging him based on 1 minute sound and video bites, lets say 2 mins a night 3 nights a week.

        If Shearer had a public meeting every night of the week for 2 years, and each one was attended by 1000 people … he would reach fewer people than the TV debates.

        I don’t want three more years of National for no reason EXCEPT the leader of the opposition being a walking time-bomb. There is NO other way National can win except by Shearer losing it. It is that simple.

        I don’t want fools like you coming on here the day after the election and saying “Oops, my bad, never mind.”

        I don’t want every poor kid, every sickness beneficiary, every vulnerable person facing three more years of shit, for NO REASON … except we felt sorry for Shearer, diddums.

        National must be beaten. Therefore, the opposition must be led. Therefore, Shearer must go.

        • PlanetOrphan

          Fair enough,

          Join the Labour party and topple/run for leader 🙂

          You’ve polished your personal attack skills nicely here, branch out , get a real job M8!

          • prism

            gobsmacked makes a cogent argument. Belonging to the Labour Party isn’t equivalent to waving a magic wand and getting the best people for the leadership job. The drivers in the LP don’t necessarily pay attention to the members views M8.


            • PlanetOrphan

              He argues without definition, what are the failings? Whats Perfect?
              (I ask and get silence, then a PR splurge, :-))

              He uses personal judgements based on Shearers speech patterns/manerisms.
              He wants a leader, but doesn’t know/can’t describe what a leader is.

              In GobSmackeds’ opinion :
              1. He’s the perfect man for the PM’s chair leading the Gnats’.
              2. If GobSmacked joined National he’d have JK’s chair in a year.
              3. You could show them what neo-libereral really means M8!.

              NOW I’m sorry if that hurts bud, but ….. that’s what you’ve been saying.

              Ya reckon?

              Bernhard Reckons:
              1. Leadership is about having “Solid Ground” under your thoughts and actions and words.
              2. Know yourself and where you’re going and people will follow the example.
              3. They might call you a fool sometimes 🙂

              • prism

                Planet Orphan
                Whiffle waffle. How does that deal with the reality of the leadership requirements to get Labour in and NACT out?

            • Colonial Viper


              Belonging to the Labour Party isn’t equivalent to waving a magic wand and getting the best people for the leadership job. The drivers in the LP don’t necessarily pay attention to the members views M8.

              This is very true.

              It is necessary to MAKE THEM pay attention.

  18. It stands to reason that if your going to go public with a supposed tape recording being made,
    the tape will need to be presented at some time and it needs to be seen before then, just saying
    it exsists isn’t enough.

    Although key did say he was at the 29th briefing and had mentioned dotcom,so not all is lost.

    May i suggest that shearer makes a mould of mold and and turf it into the deep blue yonder.

  19. pete 19

    David Cunliffe. Cometh the hour, cometh the man.


    The National Party

  20. vto 20

    ha ha ha

    cameras in a spy office

    ha ha ha

    cameras not recording

    ha ha ha

    seriously, who’s pulling whose tit here?

    • Pascal's bookie 20.1

      Also love Key’s quip that ‘they are spies, they don’t delete stuff, they archive stuff’. Followed by how thoroughly they had checked the deletion logs on the hard drives.

      they are just so credible that we have no choice but to speculate wildly about who any leakers might be and under no circumstances have any sort of independent inquiry.

      • blue leopard 20.1.1

        ” ‘they are spies, they don’t delete stuff, they archive stuff’. Followed by how thoroughly they had checked the deletion logs on the hard drives.”

        LOLZ I hadn’t picked that one up! FUNNY!!

    • Te Reo Putake 20.2

      Well, I suppose the spooks may have figured that Key was too boring to be worth recording. For mine, I’d say we are asking the wrong question. I want to know if any recording was made, digital, analogue, monkeys at typewriters etc. Just asking for video allows the GCSB off the hook.

      ps, is it possible that spies lie?

      • Treetop 20.2.1

        “ps, is it possible that spies lie?”

        Yes if they are ex cops, have a mortgage to pay/family to support, vote national, want a promotion.

      • NickS 20.2.2

        A better question is; “is the GCSB required to record everything official that goes on within the organisation?”

    • tsmithfield 20.3

      Vto “cameras in a spy office
      ha ha ha
      cameras not recording”

      Sort of like the presence of a fire extinguisher being evidence of a fire, I guess.

      • McFlock 20.3.1

        well, the appearance of a polly coming over to see the new offices and say how cool you guys are is pretty much the camera equivalent of a fire. Standard thing: pretty slide show, take a few snaps, get some sound bites, all to look glossy in the annual report and provide nice comments for the comms dept and of course the manager’s bio when he gets a gong.

  21. LBC 21

    Unbelievable this charade. Proves the point that just because someone worked in the Press Gallery that they’re automatically qualified to work as a spindoctor. Transitioning from being a journo to becoming a competent communications manager isn’t easy.
    The fuck up was in appointing Fran Mold in the first place — ego got in the way and now they pay the price for Shearer stupidity.

    Mold’s got to go and Labour needs to stop picking its backroom staff based on nepotism and get people in who aren’t interested in their own profile and can call a spade a spade..not yes men — in this case woman.

  22. Santi 22

    The clock is ticking away: Shearer and Mold’s days are numbered.

  23. captain hook 23

    I wouldnt say that.
    David Shearer is a man of integrity and he believes in giving people a chance.
    as soon as he hardens up and believes his own eyes and ears instead of relying on CV’s and who you know then he will be much the better off for it.
    He needs some men around him and not pretentious little hot house flowers looking for their next ride on the PM’s jet and free hotels.
    thats the whole problem of the kiwi its not what you know ethic (or lack of).
    there is a premium on ignorance because you dont have to eksully know anything.

  24. Matthew Hooton 24

    Even though I picked immediately, and said in a comment on this blog, that advancing the video story was a gaffe by Mr Shearer, I think some of the comments here attacking him are a bit over the top. As Duncan Garner said on 3News, he has caused John Key to have to admit there was a photo of Kim Dotcom at the February briefing, and that he may even have made a joke about him, so that is something.

    • Blue 24.1

      I was wondering how long it would take for the President of the David Shearer Fan Club to show up.

      Shake those pom poms, Matthew.

  25. tsmithfield 25

    Could everyone here please stop picking on that nice man, David Shearer.

  26. Roflcopter 26

    You’re all just picking on Shearer coz he’s grey.

  27. jellytussle 27

    Of course there wasn’t a tape. I’m sure that Key is quite right when he says that no tape has been deleted. However that doesn’t mean he isn’t bending the truth by being very literal. Most cameras record straight to their hard drive these days and then if footage is moved it gets downloaded into a computer and onto a disc. Tape. What tape?

  28. tsmithfield 28

    Shearer just needs more time to grow into the job. With a bit more time he has the potential to be the next David Lange.

    I suggest a good place for him to start would be to watch “The King’s Speech” five or six times to pick up some good tips. 🙂

    • He’s been keeping us informed of many things, He’ll definitely improve.
      But doing an admirable job in a climate of extreme dysfunction created by the Gnats.

      I’ve said it before and I know many disregard it …
      W’craft is in play, and that f***s with your head big time.

      His improved delivery is because the Gnats’ have mighty headaches at the mo.

  29. Rogue Trooper 29

    It appears DS is improving; coalescence of coalition material and God Bless DC
    (not a vote of confidence in Parker, however; Real Men are not going to have confidence in him, imo)

  30. outofbed 30

    The Bloody Labour Party
    We waited two years for them to roll the unelectable Goff
    Then we endure Shearer leading Labour slowly to defeat again
    We should have king hits on pretty much every fucking Ministry/issue
    BLAH, too many to fucking remember

    The National Party could not organise a piss up in a brewery at the moment,
    They present such a wide target
    And what do we get? A coordinated approach? or even a simple ongoing “nanny state “like meme?
    (With which the Nats successfully hit Labour with every week for three fucking years)
    No we get a fucking disorganised infighting rabble. whom it must be said, did ever get any coherent policy together it would pretty much be pratically indistinguishable from the crap we are getting now
    Fuck me Jesus, Get your shit together Labour, it’s not rocket science. Get a vision Tell everyone about it And attack the Bastards simply and consistantly Because make no mistake whilst you lot are pissing around, These Bastards are destroying everything in sight

    I have been supporting and working for the Greens for 3 elections now. They are not a party I am naturally drawn to, but who on earth would work for or vote Labour FFS

    If anyone out there wants to start a new party on the Left, count me in

    • Colonial Viper 30.1

      Just wait for the stars to align mate. Need to find someone with $250K to start off with, if that can be done I’ll sort out the raising of the other $250K. It’s fuck all money, in context it’s barely enough for a very average, typical Auckland dwelling.

      • Indigo Bob 30.1.1

        Why don’t you ask Owen Glenn? Oh that’s right you burnt your bridges with him. Try Cunliffe then, if he’s really committed to leading the labour party he’s not short of cash. Why aren’t the unions contributing like they used to?

        • Colonial Viper

          Because Labour and National acted together to destroy union membership. Re: Owen Glenn, he’s busy.

    • Well said outofbed

    • starlight 30.3

      +1 with everything you say,it’s also a shame that labour voters have to get so frustrated
      and annoyed with the labour caucus and leadership.
      Self destruction is not an admirable passtime and does not garner respect. (re: labour leadership
      and party direction) (@ outofbed)

  31. newsense 31

    seemed like a reasonable punt.

    still does to me. How it plays in the polls nobody knows. If they have another attack to bring it is ok.

    It got Shearer on Campbell Live, put him to the front of things.

    I mean the Labour figure with the biggest media profile right now? Steve Maharey. Chances of face recognition of the front bench otherwise? not great…

    Shearer can’t be a politician who doesn’t play politics. Besides this is an issue that is BIGGER THAN POLITICS.

    Accountability of those who can covertly put us under surveillance is a massive issue for democratic freedom. It is very much a high ground high minded idealist view, not a partisan point scoring thing. For me no image conflict.

    As to if there should be more leadership issues- it would be unfortunate given the polls unless there is a united party behind it. Any more distraction with division merely means those headlines, not a concerted push to the next government. The composition of that government is important, but it is more important that it is Labour and that Labour can do something to renew our faith in our ideas of what it is to be New Zealand.

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  • Speech to Building Nations 2050 conference
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  • Speech to Constitutional Kōrero conference
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  • Further sanctions on the political and economic elites of Russia and Belarus
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  • Speech to Aotearoa Refugee Hui
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  • Defence Minister visits Ukraine and Poland
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  • Stuart Nash to attend OECD meetings
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  • Speech to the Asia New Zealand Foundation
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