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Gordon Campbell on the ethics of taping politicians

Written By: - Date published: 2:07 pm, August 7th, 2008 - 48 comments
Categories: national, slippery - Tags:

You’d be hard pressed to have missed the story on what some National MPs have been caught saying behind closed doors.

We’ve seen discussions over the content, questions on the law. Now Gordon Campbell asks:

…is it more unethical for a delegate to tape someone speaking candidly or a for a political party to dedicate its campaign efforts to not being candid, and thereby assisting the public to deceive itself?

Frankly, if a lone activist with a $200 dictaphone can defeat the massed phalanxes of p.r. bullshit, and thereby give the public a clearer idea of what the next government may actually do when elected, then surely that’s all to the good – isn’t it?…

So far, the public has been the winner. In the wake of the taping, National’s response this week has actually been quite informative. We now know more about what it plans to do about Kiwibank, Working for Families and Kiwisaver than we did before the tapes were leaked. This has been a big advance towards an informed electorate, in that the tapes and their aftermath have told us far more than the National Party’s skeletal policy releases.

48 comments on “Gordon Campbell on the ethics of taping politicians”

  1. Labour scum 1

    Yep, record everything. Surveilence cameras on every street corner. Shut down free thought. Unify ideas in favour of the party line. Limit freedom of speech – exactly what Herr Leader wanted with the EFA. No policy development allowed. No discussion of ideas. And definately no resistence! Herr Leader will tell us what to think, what to eat, what to do, when to work, when to rest and how much she’ll take from our salaries. Hail, Great Leader! Join the Labour party and help destroy democracy!

    [lprent: More performance art? It must be catching. Oh well if it spreads and becomes more trolling then I’ll cauterize the infraction. Otherwise enjoy this rare example of moronic ranting.]

  2. r0b 2

    I rate it a solid 7 / 10 for spittle content but only a lowly 4 / 10 for originality, for a total of just 11. Distinctly average. Could try harder.

  3. Patrick 3

    Nice troll!

    Oh, by the way LS, when was the last time a National party spokesperson was allowed to be involved with the development of the policy for their portfolio?

    hehe, Captcha: securely NAME

  4. Rob 4

    Great question in the House today by Brownlee to Dyson about her telling some people at a gathering where she was taking Social Development Policy!!

    To include triples he asked her to expand on what she meant by this she said no very stony faced. Oh dear I dont believe this was meant to come out before the Election Heather would have been planning this for a while but it was meant to be hidden away until later. Isnt it amazing that if you have certain sexual leaning you will do everything to pass those laws through for your mates who are of the same Ilk. I have one question what thought is given to the Children in these screwed up relationships not much!!

    I wonder if she will also pass a law for Mormons to have multiple wives dont think so because there not same sex relationships. Its sure one screwed up little country we have now with no moral boundaries isnt it

    [lprent: Perhaps the moronic ranting is catching? I have absolutely no idea about what you are referring to. Perhaps you missed putting in Brownlee’s question accidentally? Your comment might* make more sense then.
    * it is Brownlee – do I need to say more.]

  5. Quoth the Raven 5

    You have one National troll complaining about a lack of freedom and then you have another National troll complaining about new freedoms. Funny that.

  6. Matthew Pilott 6

    I think Rob is gutted that ‘triples’ (or ‘threesomes’ in the real world), aren’t illegal. If they were illegal he’d have no reason to feel such rejection, it would be criminal.

    I think the most screwed up fact about this country is that people can go through school without the faintest idea what an apostrophe is (if the person I have in mind has in fact made it through any form of education at all. One would suspect not).

    Love it how one tool complains about a lack of freedom (Labour scum, if you’re suppressed then what the hell are you doing posting here? Shouldn’t the Stazi be smashing your knee caps, or are you just more stupid than you look? I’ll have a bash at them if it would make you feel your pathetic wee cry has some substance.) while tool no.2 complains about the awful freedoms we have (in this case, it seems to be to complain that we’re allowed 3 to a bed. Don’t worry Rob, you’re still free to keep it lights out and missionary). What a cute pair.

  7. Daveski 7

    Meanwhile, back on topic …

    Campbell is welcome to his viewpoint but it’s just another case of the means justifying the ends in his opinion.

    I’ve posted before that this is dangerous territory because all it will do is encourage a revenge attack. Who knows … is it “revenge” for the Williams incident?? Whatever, it is only going to get ugly and the attitudes here will no doubt change.

    For the nth time, no one has been caught out lying. What has happened is that the links have highlighted a lack of smarts about the Nats, and embryonic plans for term two and beyond.

    Perhaps once National releases the rest of the policy this issue will die down. I don’t think so as the real strategy from the left is to create doubt about the future rather than focus on actual policy.

    The irony of course is that Labour hasn’t felt the need to encapsulate all its plans in pre-election policies – in any case, that would be non-sensical and completely impractical. But it hasn’t stopped Labour from creating the view that that’s how they have operated.

  8. fiona 8

    Are you too hip to be a Young Nat? If so, you may be the person who taped Nick Smith at the National Party cocktail party !!!!

  9. Greg 9

    I’m at odds with everyone on this subject. Labour want to portray to the electorate thast National has some sort of secret agenda this election. Hence why so much press has been put on these tapes. But the fact is they don’t, in essence National and Labour are very similar, they only significantly differ on one or two policy areas. They baubles of office will ensure that John Key and National will stay boringly centerist. I wish National had a secret agenda! It might do some good for the country, instead of sticking to the status quo.

    The other thing that has to be understood by the tapes is that they are not suprising. Its good that MPs are not creatures of the party, they are their own people and have their own opinions. I assure you there are very right wing National MPS just as there are very centerist National MPs. There is a common saying that MPs believe 80% of their party’s policy and simply put up with the other 20%. This applies to Labour and all the other parties also!

  10. Rob 10

    Mathew

    I wont keep you long you can get out of your leather bondage suit later and entertain your two boyfriends.

    I never said it was illegal did I !! but what I did note was how reticent Ruth Dyson was to talk about it very much like she had been sprung looked very awkward indeed. No doubt Labour & Heather Simpson don’t want this Policy rewrite to come out prior to the Election.

    It really isn’t Blue collar worker policy, However does show the pull that Rainbow Labour has in this party much to the traditional Labour Party voters disgust!! Just as John Tamihere said

  11. Anita 11

    Rob,

    Dyson’s speech was in a public forum, her speech notes were made public, and she permitted them to be tabled in Parliament today.

    What on earth makes you think she’s “been sprung”?

  12. randal 12

    all nats are paranoid!!!

  13. CMR 13

    “All nats are paranoid!!!” (sic) per randal.

    Does it follow therefore that all paranoiacs are Nats?

    I know the answer, no! This thread reveals sexual insecurities held by certain regular contributors that can be seen as paranoid and those persons are not Nats. Nuts,yes!

    This is yet another excuse for a pointless debate.

  14. Paul 14

    This just in, the hunt continues, but more pics have come to light.

    http://concernedoflinwood.wordpress.com/2008/08/07/the-hunt-continues/

  15. Quoth the Raven 15

    You realise Rob that for tens of thousands of years humans progressed without this relatively new concept of the nuclear family. I’m no hypocrite Rob if someone wants to have more than one wife or husband be they morman or not they should be allowed.

  16. Fishy 16

    Id be hard pressed to of missed the real story, one Clntn Smth said to be author ofthe Stasndard was quoted in my morning newspaper

    Does this fella Clntn Smth post here regulary. what name does he use then

  17. Fishy 17

    Do anyone know what any Labour party policys are
    They just rant on about what some fool snuk into a cocktail party and seceretly taped

    [come on fishy, you can do better than that. SP]

  18. fishy. That would be me. I’m not the person who did the recordings, and if I had tried to go in I would have been recognised in a second, my face is in two vids on this blog and I’m seen at various political events around town. Hell, I saw Bill English on Tuesday, he would have been able to point me out then.

  19. Paul 19

    Turns out there isn’t any security footage of the party. But National reckon they’d spot the tall less than immaculately dressed person again.

    I’ve just got pics of the person, I don’t know why they think they’ll spot him again, the lamp disguise is pretty good.

    http://concernedoflinwood.wordpress.com/2008/08/07/the-hunt-continues-2/

  20. Rob 20

    Anita

    A public forum where at the Gender Benders club. If she was so confident about how it would be perceived why wouldn’t she talk about it in the house!! Put it on Labours website go to the Newspapers and speak about it. Oh no cant do that whats Helen Clarks famous quote might frighten the Horses.

    Anita its obvious that this sort of policy is social engineering and the majority of the public hate it. The Labour Blue Collar workers hate it. Its just as John Tamihere said Rainbow Labour have to much pull in this Labour Government.

    Hey but what about the kids in this what about their identity who do they belong to. The damage done to them is huge just because a few gays wants to have three in a relationship or four in a relationship or five in a relationship. Once you open the lid on a Sewer its really hard to stop the SH#T from flowing

  21. Pascal's bookie 21

    I’m with Rob! (in a completely heterosexual manner of course).

    Sex should only be legal in a marriage, for procreative purposes. Divorce should be nigh on impossible and shameful. Marriage should only be allowed bewteen two people of opposite sex, but the same race, class, and religion. We must do this to protect society.

    Anything else would be social engineering, and a KY slope to ten-in-a-bed man on box turtle antics. Which might be alright in videos for the menfolk to watch together, in a completely heterosexual way, but I think we can agree that the children that issue from such unions get a rough time of it.

    Which is probably good, as it serves as a discouragement.
    Sheets on, lights off. No exceptions.

  22. Lew 22

    Pascal’s Bookie: I see a growth industry: Marital Relations Compliance Accreditors. Someone’s got to make sure the duly constituted laws of the land are being enforced, what-what!

    L

  23. Pascal's bookie 23

    Indeed Lew,

    They could work under the Ministry for the Promotion of Virtue and Protection from Vice, overseen by the Minister of Not Social Engineering.

  24. Lew 24

    The Ministry of Antisocial Engineering? Perhaps Whale does have a calling after all!

    L

  25. Fishy 25

    David Farrar who blogs under his onw real name publicaly says Rob samond founds to Standard but the news paper says clinton Smith founded it

    Maybe Clinton smith is aka Rob salmond

    [Tane: Fishy, you’re not even a decent troll, and seem unable to read a newspaper. Rob Salmond has stated publicly he has nothing to do with The Standard. As with most things, Farrar got it completely wrong. Rob and Clinton are different people and live in different countries. Hmmmm… a brand new poster with three attack troll comments in a row – take a few weeks off and come back when you’re ready to contribute to the discussion.

    Just had a look through the backend, looks like you’ve been banned before under a different name. Bye Fishy.]

  26. Rob 26

    Pascal

    Nice try to make humour out of what is really a very sad thing. The growth industry will be in Social Workers trying to deal with yet more youth problems. Probably youth suicide Hey but it must be worth it to legalise the sexual urges of Ruth Dyson mates!!. Id rather money went into Herceptin thanks!!

  27. Pascal's bookie 27

    Rob, nice try at claiming the high ground, but what I was mocking was your bass ackward belief about what ‘social engineering’ means.

  28. Rob. Youth suicide skyrocketed in the 1990s as youth unemployment touched 30%, it’s dropped massively under the full employment policies of the left. http://www.thestandard.org.nz/?p=1413

    that you would accuse the left of causing suicide, especially when it was the neoliberal policis of the right that caused youth suicide to increase is disgusting and ignorant.

    fuck you’re lucky Irishbill is overseas at the moment, he knows too much about how National’s policies led to young men killing themselves.

  29. Matthew Pilott 29

    Rob, I’m sorry my first comment hurt you, that’s why you had to make a juvenile crack about my sexuality. I’ve always suspected you were a borderline illiterate-but-angry 17 year old bigot, I guess that would be proof.

    In truth, I had no idea what you were on about but thought you were up to your usual antics of spouting entirely inaccurate and thoroughly inarticulate drivel, and the best course of action is to mock you (being below contempt).

    I see others have picked it up, PB and Lew, well done, what!

  30. Hissy 30

    Lol you think i have all day to sit around on my ass rading newspapers
    i have to work real good to earn a crust and help defeat nzLP at the elction

    but since you have lotsa time to post here in working hours answer me the main question that DF put,

    total refuting all claims made by farrar and slater
    Im sure you can link all them

  31. Matthew Pilott 31

    *arrow pointing above*

    What the hell is that?

  32. bill brown 32

    What the hell is that?

    Oh, that’s Hissy, he’s a

    borderline illiterate-but-angry 17 year old bigot

  33. Tane 33

    I think Hissy is Fishy. Always uses a different IP address, but his stupidity and knack of being about two months behind the news cycle gives him away every time.

  34. Matthew Pilott 34

    Thanks bill. I hope that phrase catches, I quite like it. nothing like a hangover to put a bit of venom in a comment.

    I just get sick of comments that are genuinely indecipherable. Abuse the Queen’s English, mutter mutter…

  35. Rob 35

    Mathew

    Not everyone that disagrees with you and your Government and its Social Engineering agenda is a Bigot. As mentioned why hasn’t Ruth discussed her policy with the Nation of having three parents/ partners or four parents/ partners written in Law. Yup you got it because she and Heather and Helen know that most people will go OHH YUCK!! what a depraved lot!! when will it ever end. Could be bad for the votes lets just keep it quiet and do it when we get back in if we do. After all we never told the voters we would fund sex change operations did we. Hey but we wont do Herceptin Ohh perhaps we will now because National has said it will. Lets see Ruth proudly put this up on the Party Website for all to see. Go out to the Newspapers and show them her great new policy, Hey wait a minute isn’t there a lot being said about Child Poverty in New Zealand at the moment. Oh Ruth don’t worry about that got to get laws through for your mates first!!

  36. r0b 36

    Not everyone that disagrees with you and your Government and its Social Engineering agenda is a Bigot.

    Not everyone no, but you certainly sound like one. Hey, have a read of this, knock yourself out:
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/may/18/iceland

  37. Matthew Pilott 37

    Bigot, you’re a bigot because you made homophobic comments, presumably because I’m left wing and you have this idea that everyone from the left must be gay.

    Most people would think “hell yeah I could do with a couple of wives/husbands” – only bigoted 17 year-old reactionaries would actually think OH YUCK! How is the 18th century going for you anyway?

    And I still have no idea what you’re on about because you’re still incoherent. Can you type less, but with a bit more effort? Where’s this ‘policy’ then, give me a link.

    Hey but we wont do Herceptin Ohh perhaps we will now because National has said it will

    I bloody hope not. Just because National want to interfere with the functioning of an independant impartial body and manipulate health funding in a sop to some peoples’ emotions (and to look good to complete idiots like you) I would hope that labour keeps right out of it – screw whether it would get them votes, stick to being honest and principled, unlike National. Trust you to be one of those fools to be sucked in, you mindless bigot.

    Maybe in six years, when you are at the heady age of 23, you might learn to think for yourself.

  38. Rob 38

    Mathew
    Have a great weekend enjoy [no derogatory remarks about sexuality. SP]

  39. RedLogix 39

    Rob,

    Well the first time I met Matthew at a social function about six weeks ago, he appeared to be in the company of a very attractive yooung lass.

    Stop making a fool of yourself.

  40. So let me guess this right then, you guys are all for secretly taping a private conversation at a National party convention, but boy oh boy if the police tries to secretly record a criminal’s phone call or if governments keep a watch on terrorists, your out there PROTESTING screaming “SHAME SHAME SHAME SHAME”

    If Labour had planned any of this, and Aunty Helen knew about it, she should be in jail.

  41. RedLogix 41

    Brett,

    So let me guess this right then, you guys are all for secretly taping a private conversation at a National party convention,

    The recording was made by some person currently unknown.

    The statements on them were the responsibility of English and Smith.

    The publicising of them was done by news media.

    You have no linkage to “us guys’ whatsoever.

    The conversations were NOT private, they were being held in an uncontrolled environment with multiple persons present. Moreover it is NOT illegal to record a conversation to which you are a party.

    The only possible ethical objection is that the conversation was recorded without the consent of all present. On the other hand as you rightly point out, various agencies routinely do this kind of thing. The police and media often do, as can private citizens if they believe their interests are best served in doing so. It is good manners to ask for consent to record, but it is neither legally necessary, nor an absolute principle.

    For instance the TV program Target routinely films tradespeople without their consent; justifying this intrusion with the reasonable argument that the public interest is served by it.

    We are frequently recorded in both public and private locations, by all manner of agencies, employers and operators without our consent. Indeed one of the ironies here is that the person who made these recordings may well be identified because he in turn was being recorded without his consent.

    And I cannot help but recall that when taped conversations of Tamihere and Williams, obtained without their explicit consent surfaced in the media, I struggle to recall any outrage from the right about using that material to embarrass them.

  42. So if someone from the Labour party has a private conversation taped and then that tape is released by the media, you wouldnt have a problem with that? heck if only I had a tape deck when Marion Hobbs taught at my old school in the mid 80’s, she never would of got into government a decade later.

  43. RedLogix 43

    Brett,

    1. It was NOT a private conversation. By definition it cannot have been because neither English nor Smith can remember WHO they were talking to.

    2. There were multiple people present, anyone of whom could have heard.

    3. The environment was uncontrolled, otherwise the Nats would merely have to go back through their invite list to identify the person concerned. It was not a closed meeting.

    4. A trespass does not occur until AFTER someone is asked to leave a premise.

    So loose the ‘taping of a private conversation’ line. It was not private.

    Would I have a problem with a Labour person being recorded without their consent? Probably not. Mike Williams and John Tamihere were both crucified over recordings made without their consent, but I’m don’t recall the left resorting to this line as their primary defense.

    I do concede that it is good manners to ask if you are going to tape a conversation; but that then begs the question of why anyone, especially a politician who on the face of it should always be pleased for the attention and publicity, would object to being recorded.

  44. It was sleazy and underhanded not telling him that he was being tape, but I come to expect that from the left.

  45. RedLogix 45

    It was sleazy and underhand for National to be telling the electorate one thing, while believing in another, but I’ve come to expect that from the right.

    (And if you don’t like my reasoning, don’t grizzle to me.)

  46. coge 46

    Lies, intrusion, deception. These are not principles. Most kiwis have an innate understanding of this.

    Who stood to benefit? Who repeated “extracts” in the house?

  47. Anita 47

    coge,

    Who stood to benefit? Who repeated “extracts’ in the house?

    What’s with the scare quotes? What are they meant to be telling us?

  48. r0b 48

    Lies, intrusion, deception. These are not principles. Most kiwis have an innate understanding of this.

    I quite agree. The National Party should stop lying to the electorate.

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