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How many leaks to sink a ship?

Written By: - Date published: 12:45 pm, September 9th, 2008 - 44 comments
Categories: john key, national - Tags: ,

This is really getting pretty serious now – a fourth National party policy has been leaked to Labour, who have made it public. In the last week we’ve seen National’s environment, conservation, biofuels, and, now, research, science, and technology policies leaked from within National. This is unprecedented – so many policies being leaked this close to an election with the clear goal of undermining Key’s leadership.

So, who is the leaker? Almost certainly, an it’s an MP and, almost certainly, they are not acting without the knowledge of others in National. A lone wolf who is willing and able to leak so much policy without a direct payoff but is also willing and able to appear within the mainstream of the party in public seems much less likely than the English camp strategically moving to undermine Key so that English can move to roll him quickly after the election, whether they win or not. Remember, these leaks are just one element of the internal discord that has become public – the hollow men leaks, the secret agenda tapings at a National function, the Lord Ashcroft leak, the ‘gaffes’ by Williamson et al, and these policy leaks are all part of the same story. Within National there is a bloc dedicated to undermining Key at any cost, including winning the election.

I see Key is desperately trying to divert attention from this latest leak by holding a press conference to make a redundent and obvious call on the PM to sack Peters if Glenn can prove his story. Of course, that’s nothing new from Key and it’s what the PM would do anyway, if Glenn could prove Peters has been lying to the public. Look for him to come up with more silly accusations of dirty tricks by Labour now that his fantasy story that the papers were accidentally lost by an MP has lost all creditiblity. But what else can he do? He doesn’t have the power within caucus to defeat his opponents and he can’t afford a bloodbath this close to the election. He’ll have to just keep on grinning and praying, even as others sharpen their knives behind his back.

44 comments on “How many leaks to sink a ship? ”

  1. lprent 1

    This is too widespread to not be deliberate. et tu brutus…

  2. Matthew Pilott 2

    Let the Misdirection begin:

  3. I meant Australian copperfields…

  4. John 5

    Don’t taser me bro!

  5. Tim Ellis 6

    Goodness me, SP. You’ve missed the boat on this issue. It isn’t very subtle to pass off Trevor Mallard’s press release as unadulterated fact, but let’s take what you’ve written point by point.

    This is really getting pretty serious now – a fourth National party policy has been leaked to Labour, who have made it public.

    Four, that’s right. Biofuels, Conservation, environment, and science. The first three aren’t unrelated. They were obviously approved at the same caucus meeting, and were part of the policy launch on Saturday. The science and technology policy release may well have been circulated at the same caucus meeting, for all I know. Simply relying on numerical superiority to establish there is a leak is unreliable, SP. By that standard, I could release a single ten-page document, release a page at a time, and shout from the roof-tops that there have been TEN LEAKS!

    This is unprecedented – so many policies being leaked this close to an election with the clear goal of undermining Key’s leadership.

    No, this isn’t the clear goal SP. There is no evidence that the leaker is motivated by a desire to undermine John Key’s leadership. Just because that motive appears in Trevor Mallard’s press statement doesn’t make it true.

    So, who is the leaker? Almost certainly, an it’s an MP and, almost certainly, they are not acting without the knowledge of others in National.

    I know that you like using hyperbole SP, and I try not to sound patronising when I say that I enjoy your youthful exuberance. But it certainly isn’t “almost certain” that the leaker is an MP. As discussed in the previous thread on this same subject, posted little more than an hour ago here at the Standard, the likely distribution list for these caucus documents is over 100 people. Less than half of them would be MPs. You are claiming that not only is the leaker an MP (which is the least likely scenario), but there is a conspiracy of MPs operating on this. That is simply far-fetched.

    A lone wolf who is willing and able to leak so much policy without a direct payoff but is also willing and able to appear within the mainstream of the party in public seems much less likely than the English camp strategically moving to undermine Key so that English can move to roll him quickly after the election, whether they win or not.

    A nice idea of a big conspiracy SP, but one of the things about conspiracies is that the more people involved in the conspiracy, the harder it is to keep them quiet. You are suggesting that Bill English, who lead National to the worse election result in the party’s history, who is primed to be deputy prime minister in the next national government, would be quite happy to become leader of the opposition for another three years. That, my friend, is moonbat territory. I understand the spin you’re trying to articulate, but it doesn’t stack up.

    I see Key is desperately trying to divert attention from this latest leak by holding a press conference to make a redundent and obvious call on the PM to sack Peters if Glenn can prove his story.

    At the risk of accusing you of using blatant crosby textor MOs, SP, many people would assume that this was not John Key desperately trying to divert attention from the leaks of minor material, but Trevor Mallard and Helen Clark trying to divert attention from the privileges committee inquiry.

  6. Ha 7

    i’m sure ‘Ad Guru’ Fraser Carson will really utilise this in his ‘innovative’ ad campaign he is no doubt cooking up for the Labour election run.

    What a joke this guy is

    Shows you the poor judgement of our current Government if they are going to leave their election fate in the hands of this train wreck.

  7. piggy 8

    Agreed Tim, crank dat. More New Zealanders are probably interested in the fact that our foreign minister is under investigation for fraud etc than Trevor Mallard being used as some sort of mongrel attack dog for the sort of ‘dirty politics’ Clark has been employing over the past two weeks or so. As I commented on the video posted earlier, it’s ludicrous to think that Bill English would be looking to get John Key sacked – he knows what happened to him in 2002, but I don’t think this echo chamber does!

  8. Dom 9

    What is wrong with Carson? Is he less betterer than National’s adman?

  9. piggy. are you john key?

    just I know key was a fan of piggy muldoon and he’s obviously a frequenter of the site since he’s now attacking us by name http://www.thestandard.org.nz/?p=2760

  10. Lew 12

    Dom: Fewer betterer!

    Edit: Bollocks, SP beat me. I must refresh before hitting the post button 😉


  11. Ha 13

    If your having to ask what’s wrong with Carson, Im very amused.

    I wait with baited breath to see his ground breaking campaign.

  12. piggy 14

    You’re right, it’s me, I’m John key – this is muldoon country. How did you find out bro, did Trevor Mallard’s source leak it to you?

  13. Duncan 15

    “Ha” – why are you running the same line on kiwiblog as Bcampbell?

    You seem to be a new commenter both here and over at kiwiblog.

    My guess is you’re Glenn Jameson and you’re gutted your billboards are a failure and your nutty objectivist links have been exposed. This is your attempt to come back at the left – by linking to the website of some guy who’s working on Labour’s campaign.

    That’s some pretty sad behaviour right there.

  14. burt 16

    If the ship you are talking about is Owen Glenn’s then I suspect it’s the life raft that is going to sink with Labour’s bag man trying desperately to make it to a safe harbour.

  15. I hope the person who is leaking this private information has criminal action taken against them.

  16. Duncan 18

    You mean like breaking their kneecaps Brett?

    Captcha – reforms National

  17. randal 19

    fifty lashes with a wet manifesto!

  18. Talking of Labour’s campaign – I know for a fact that Aunty Helen will use the emissions trading scheme as her catalyst approach to apparently “doing something constructive in her time as PM” for the country.

  19. Duncan. To be fair, Ha sounds a lot more sane than Jameson did. Take a look at the end part of this thread http://www.thestandard.org.nz/?p=1511#comment-25612 . It remains the only thread we have had to close off because of the behaviour of a commentator. After we closed it, he just moved to other threads endlessly proclaiming his ‘victory’ until we had to ban him for good. On the other hand, Jameson did start off reasonably sane, before descending into ego-centric madness.

    Brett. What would the offence be? I’m not sure if you could say a member of a caucus giving that caucus’s policy away is theft, and i’m not aware of any prosecution for the leak of policy, in fact i’m not even aware of the leak of policy like this before.

  20. Ha 22

    to clarify. i am not Jameson.

    I am someone who wants to see the cream of the nz advertising community directing these campaigns and neither Carson or Jameson fit this criteria. i’m looking for more than cheesey commericals staring helen and billboards will delightful airline patterns.

    For the past 2 or 3 elections the campaigns of both political parties have been poorly directed to say the least.

    Jameson is a fool – and will always be a poor choice for National. He is a ranting egomaniac, who revells in people in the industry thinking of him as eccentric.

    Carson has failed to impress on all fronts. His previous work in the 90’s for labour was cringable. And looking at his current work at his agency there is little substance, and nothing that shows a progression in his approach or thinking. He is out of his league.

  21. randal 23

    ha ha ha blar blar blar…so what is your point besides looking for the account?

  22. Lew 24

    I agree with Ha in this case.

    As a confirmed and admitted propaganda geek, I’ve been looking forward to a ripsnorter of a campaign, and the best entries in it so far are either satire or are released by the Green party.

    Where are the big dogs, eh? Inquiring minds want to know.


  23. Matthew Pilott 25

    Ha – do us all a favour and stick to pepsi and hair dye! Politics is being destroyed by advertising, the cream thereof or no. i’m not lookind for the best billboard in teh world, i’m looking for good policy direction…

    Piggy, what do you mean by what “dirty politics” Clark has been employing “over the last two weeks or so”? A breastfeeding bill? The ETS? Closing a loophole in Kiwisaver? That’s what she’s been up to. What is dirty about breastfeeding, for example?

    SP – you reckon that Jameson was National’s Jameson? Because his skillz were…lacking. Surely that’s not the Jameson who used the line ‘less bureauc…


  24. Bill 26

    If Carson is Carson then what a wonderful example of market principles ensuring that only the brightest and best rise to the top.

    BTW On topic. One leak. Isn’t the question, ‘How fast will it sink?’ Might want to have a couple of leaks there. Or one will suffice if caused by torpedo I guess.

    No torpedos so far. Just a lot of jagged rocks ’cause the ship has run aground. At which point the question might be, ‘Does the ship still sink?’

  25. Dom 27

    I won’t judge Carson till I see what’s on the page – until then it’s all moot.

    Of course, National have set the bar so low that Carson could throw up on a billboard and do a better job than we’ve seen from the tories.

  26. Daveski 28

    Same old SP really

    It would be more valid if Labour was attempting to roll out policies of its own – no one here would believe that HC will simply turn up and say “3 more years of what you’ve had”.

    Again, assumptions have been made that wouldn’t be acceptable if the boot was on the other foot. What evidence is there that there has been 4 separate leaks? Or that it is an MP.

    Given what else is happening today and the fact that Labour are still delaying announcing an election, I wouldn’t lose any sleep over this.

    Who knows – the Nats may benefit from all of these side shows by getting their act together during the phony war? Labour still has to crank up its campaign.

  27. Ha 29

    “If Carson is Carson then what a wonderful example of market principles ensuring that only the brightest and best rise to the top.”

    Self promotion.

  28. theodore steel 30

    It’s interesting the “leaking” is occuring in such a way. Obviously it is coming from someone who is planning on remaining with National long-term and either trying to bring them down from the inside or merely disliked the current direction. I think Key may have accidentally disenfranchised some of the outer members of caucus. What is telling against the theory it is an MP with a problem who is leaking is that previously MPs from all parties have had no problem stnading up for themselves and publicly denouncing their own party. This underhanded infiltration suggests that it is an MP or a group trying to bring down John Key, or a lone staffer who managed to get inside the party and not intends on preventing a National Govt.

  29. weka 31

    Why is it not feasible that there’s been one leak and Mallard is drip feeding them?

  30. Anita 32


    I think it’s feasible if it’s a genuine leak.

    If it was, as National says, a bundle of papers left in a cafe National should have released all the policies in the bundle by now as a defensive manoeuvre.

  31. Tim Ellis 33

    I’m surprised National hasn’t used the Dail Jones excuse:

    “There was no signature on this document, so it must have been forged by Trevor Mallard!”

  32. weka 34

    Anita, that would make sense except that the supposed careless MP hasn’t owned up so how would National know which policies were left and which weren’t? I’m not saying this is what happened, just curious about the range of possibilities.

  33. Anita 35

    or the Brash/Key excuse: “I don’t remember…”

  34. Tim Ellis 36

    Or the Helen Clark excuse: “They’re all honourable men.”

  35. Anita 37


    I wasn’t aware National was actually saying they can’t find the accidental leaker, I thought they had been gently sidestepping. That’s seriously embarrassing; they’re defending themselves by saying that one of their trusted core is not only prone to human mistakes, but also cowardly and dishonest.

    I would have thought that if all the leaked policies went to the same caucus meeting and if they genuinely believe it was a lost pile of paper, then they could safely assume that all the policies that went to that caucus meeting are in the wild.

  36. Anita 38

    Tim Ellis,

    Isn’t it “because they are all honourable men I have to take them at their word that they are honourable men”? 🙂

  37. weka 39

    Anita, something I’ve read in the past day or so said that the papers had gone only to the MPs, and that no-one knew which MP had ‘lost’ their papers. Can’t remember where I saw that though, might have been anti-right interpretations.

  38. bill brown 40

    Nats not saying anything about the leaker…

    I notice they’ve stopped talking about the taper too.

    Are young Nats hipper than Key thinks?

  39. Phil 41

    Are young Nats hipper than Key thinks?


  40. Tim Ellis 42

    That sounds like something Mark Antony would have said, Anita.

    I come to bury Owen, not to praise him;
    The evil that men do lives after them,
    The good is oft interred with their bones,
    So let it be with Owen… The noble Trevor
    Hath told you Owen was confused:
    If it were so, it was a grievous fault,
    And grievously hath Owen answered it …
    Here, under leave of Trevor and the rest,
    For Winston is an honourable man;
    So are they all; all honourable men

  41. garth mcvicor 43

    oh well – looks like ‘fraser carson’ won’t have any money to work with now that the owen glenn money pit has dried up.

    maybe a few fliers will have to suffice.

    The less crap with helen’s mugg on it the better

  42. zoro 44

    Seems like the ad man has chosen a bizarre key word to use for a political campaign. Trust and politicians don’t go well together in any context let alone the current one. I would have thought such a great ad man could have done a lot better.

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