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It’s about principle

Written By: - Date published: 9:09 am, August 8th, 2008 - 54 comments
Categories: national - Tags:

The clamour for ‘policy’ from National is actually a slight misnomer. What Kiwis want to know is the principles that National stands for as much as specific policies.

We know what the Greens stand for, we know what the Maori Party stands for, we know what Labour, NZF, UnitedFuture, and ACT stand for. But we haven’t known what principles National stands for.

And that’s because National keeps on changing what it tells us it stands for – from the extremism of the 1990s to Bill English’s supposed moderate stance (actually he campaigned on reversing all Labour’s first-term achievements), to Brash’s money first/people second agenda, and now what Key tells us is an ‘ambitious’ agenda (ambitious for what we don’t know). Kiwis have naturally suspected that National’s ‘trust me, I’m harmless’ face has been a marketing ploy (indeed, English himself has called Key a great marketer and Key calls his years in a state house a ‘great marketing tool’).

Now, we have the proof. Now, we know that National’s principles are what they always were and that they are prepared to deceive the public to get into power so they can put that secret agenda into place. That’s the real significance of the recordings – they show, incontrovertibly, that senior Nats are consciously hiding their true agenda, their unpopular, anti-social spending, pro-privatisation agenda, behind Key’s smile.

54 comments on “It’s about principle”

  1. Bill 1

    And we know what Nat do not want discussed according to Lockwood Smith. So those things should be getting hammered and brought into the public discussion arena.

    I have no interest in who taped Nat. That has been nothing but a diversion and I hope I’ve heard the last of it.

    I do hope though, that there are indeed more revelations to come as intimated by TV3 (best TV this year!:0)…hopefully after the Olympics are done and people’s focus has returned.

  2. Lew 2

    Steve, do you mean `clamour’?


  3. higherstandard 3

    Actually I don’t think people do know what the parties stand for they probably have some vague notion but that’s about it.

  4. the sprout 5

    as Dad once said, it’s all about paua.

  5. sdm 6

    Should Labour have told us that they intended to Abolish the privy council (or sort a mandate to do it)?

  6. Scribe 7


    Actually I don’t think people do know what the parties stand for they probably have some vague notion but that’s about it.

    I agree. Take UnitedFuture, for example. It has changed markedly since the 2002 election, but most people probably wouldn’t know that.

  7. Lew 8

    Pshaw, everyone know UF believes in blending half the kittens!


    (Yes, I’m aware I’ve done this one before 🙂 )


  8. the sprout 9

    ps. can we get that footage of Goff in the House yesterday with the pictures of the suspects in the Key electorate office rubbish raid? that was priceless.

  9. Daveski 10

    A new tactic from the left.

    First demand policies. Complain when there aren’t policies.

    When policies are announced, move on to “principles”- we all know that only the left have these 😉

    We know what Labour wants in the same general brush we now what National wants. In no way has Labour spelt out all its policies prior to elections nor has it kept to all its principles all the time.

    And as plenty of people have pointed out, all Labour’s principles hasn’t meant it has reversed the decisions you blame on the right.

    Captcha – land insane … The Standard??

  10. bill brown 11

    I agree Daveski, we are obviously setting the bar too high. I mean policies and principles?

    What ever will we want next?

    Perhaps we should base or decisions on who has the nicest smile?

  11. sdm. pretty sure it was the manifesto

  12. Daveski. they haven’t announced policies… they’ve given uncosted bullet points..

  13. sdm 14

    Are you sure Steve?

  14. Draco TB 15

    When policies are announced, move on to “principles’

    National haven’t released any policies – they’ve released bullet points but they have, inadvertently, shown their their complete lack of principles.

  15. coge 16

    Good morning Steve. Yes, principle must be practised in politics.
    It affords one to be seen to hold the moral high ground. It enables those that possess principle to answer questions honestly & provide frank admission, even if it may seem unpalatable.

    Your recent opinion pieces based of taped private conversations indicate to me your approval of such methods. This may indeed conform to your principles, & I don’t have any problem with that. But can you please answer these two questions. Remember if it falls within your principles, you will have my respect for giving me frank & tuthful answers.

    Do you know the person that did the taping?

    Did you have prior knowledge of it?

    Thanks, Dave

  16. coge 17

    I meant “truthful answers” dammit!

  17. Chuck 18

    What are Labour’s policies?

    I’m interested, because so far, they appear only to have released a partial education policy:


    captcha: gayly per-national

  18. Quoth the Raven 19

    What is this stuff about methods coge? I don’t get it. This wasn’t some covert operation it was a taping of a converstaion with a member who holds public office in a very public setting a cocktail party. He wasn’t bugged. We’re not talking James Bond, cold war spy stuff. So what if the questions were leading, don’t journalists ask leading questions? I just can’t get my head around these complaints about the method. If National wasn’t attempting to deceive the public there would be no problem anyway.

  19. the sprout 20

    yeah pretty shonky method getting senior National politicians to speak frankly about what they actually think AND record them in case they deny any subsequent quoting.

    the source should have trusted their honesty and openness, and relied on them to corroborate that that’s what they’d said.

    no hang on, isn’t this all about a lack of honesty about what’s being thought and said? silly me.

  20. coge 21

    QTR, I can see where your coming from. What I’m looking for is consistancy from that position. If there is absolutely (in you view & that of others on this blog) nothing wrong with someone A/misrepresenting themselves to get into a party conference, B/ entering the venue with secreted recording equipmemny & C/ Recording MP’s frank & private discussions, without the MP’s consent or knowledge, D/ furnishing edited excerpts to TV3, well why is the identity of the person being protected? Was there prior outside knowledge that this was to occur at the conference? If there is nothing wrong with this activity, why all the secrecy?
    Why no admission, like “Hey I did it, I’m proud of my actions,
    I have nothing to hide?”

    Still waiting to here from Steve, (who I understand is a busy man)

  21. Scribe 22

    Sprout (apparently the most loved man on The Standard),

    yeah pretty shonky method getting senior National politicians to speak frankly about what they actually think AND record them in case they deny any subsequent quoting.

    That would be one thing. These tapes were released before the contents of them were denied.

    BTW, did anyone else find it ironic that yesterday’s editorial in The New Zealand Herald gave two reasons to legitimately publish covertly recorded material, yet neither of those reasons was evident and they were still running the stories?

    Discreet recording is done but not commonly published by ethical news organisations for two reasons.

    First, it is not fair to release a reporter’s tape or transcript unless the subject denies something plainly said or the recording could serve a public interest somewhat more compelling than partisan politics. Second, the publication would damage the gathering of further information. Once bitten, a public figure is twice shy.

  22. sdm 23


    If it emerged that the Ninth floor was behind the secret recordings, with reference to your call for ‘principles’ would you at the standard then demand the immediate resignation of Helen Clark.

    Yes or No.

  23. r0b 24

    sdm, you first:

    If it emerged that the National Party was behind the secret recordings of Mike Williams, with reference to Bill English’s call for ‘principles’ would you sdm then demand the immediate resignation of John Key?

    Yes or No.

  24. forgetaboutthelastone 25

    JK said on Monday that the Bill English recording was a “fair cop”. What do you think changed his mind?

  25. Quoth the Raven 26

    The only part that is slightly and I mean slightly dodgy is misrepresenting himself. The frankness of the converstaion doesn’t matter. As I’ve stated above I don’t think it was all that private a discussion. I wouldn’t know who did the editing it might well have been TV3. The editing doesn’t matter what we’ve heard is damning, whatever else he was talking about might be interesting but what is it actually going to show us? Why is the identity of the person being protected? That’s TV3’s decision if the person wants to remain anonymous then TV3 has to abide by that. Who was deepthroat? It’s like saying that Watergate was wrong, which it was, but that Deepthroat keeping his anonymity for all that time was also wrong, which it wasn’t. Was there prior outside knowledge that this was to occur at the conference? I think your trying to say did Labour know this was going to happen? I don’t know, probably not. This guy has said he doesn’t belong to any politcal party. TV3, well Duncan Garner anyway know who this guy is and I’m sure there are plenty of others also. Why does he remain anonymous? Come on I’m sure you can answer that one yourself. One question to you are you not at all concerned about the content of these tapes? Like I’ve said before there would be nothing to talk about on these tapes if National had been open and honest with the public of New Zealand. It’s an issue because National has been caught out trying to deceive us. This questions about the method are only misdirection.

  26. the sprout 27

    scribe – i am not a man, i am a legume with delusions of grandeur stemming from my rare vegability to type.

    “These tapes were released before the contents of them were denied”

    true. that was the one flaw in an otherwise very professionally executed piece of damage maximization.

    i’m not sure i can fully agree with the ethics of taping in such circumstances.
    but let’s face it – being precious about such practices, practices indulged by msm every day of the week, is not going to cut it in any attempt to draw heat away from the far greater ethical lapse of senior National party politicians being exposed as two-faced liars, now is it?
    the NZ public ain’t buying it and someone should tell National to put down the spade because in their attempts to bury it they’re only digging themselves in deeper.

  27. the sprout 28

    “If it emerged that the National Party was behind the secret recordings of Mike Williams”

    i wouldn’t be entirely surprised if the National Party, or factions therein, were behind these recordings too. there are winners and losers from all this within National after all. and then of course there’s Winston’s remarkable prescience last week about how this week National would get what’s coming to them…

    “questions about the method are only misdirection”

    exactly. sadly for National that’s all they seem to have in their toolbox.

  28. Scribe 29

    Not-so-random thought: I wonder what the thief might find on David Cunliffe’s hard drive/flash disk.

    The plot might thicken then…

  29. r0b 30

    i wouldn’t be entirely surprised if the National Party, or factions therein, were behind these recordings too.

    That is still an outside shot of course. It is consistent with The Hollow Men leakers within National. After all, what else would there be for an honest Nat to do these days?

  30. Scribe. What do you think would be found?

    Do you think we might get Cunliffe promising to sell off Kiwibank ‘not yet, but eventually?’ or saying ‘you have to swallow some dead fish, gain the people’s confidence and then dothings you want to do once in power?’, or confirming they use Crosby/Textor?

  31. Phil 32


    “This guy has said he doesn’t belong to any politcal party.”

    I simply don’t buy that as being even remotely plausible. The idea that some ‘concerned citizen’ would, entirely of their own accord, go to the conference and secretly record conversations with senior MP’s is too far fetched to be credible. If someone was genuinely that motivated, they must have close ties to a party. If not membership, then in some other capacity.


    “i’m not sure i can fully agree with the ethics of taping in such circumstances. but let’s face it – being precious about such practices, practices indulged by msm every day of the week,”

    That’s rather disingenuous of you. There is a big difference between a dictation machine sitting on the table between you and the interviewee, and a dictation machine hidden away in your pocket with the interviewee unawares.

  32. Phil. would that difference be that when English knows he is being recorded he says he won’t privatise Kiwibank etc, and when he thinks nobody is listening but allies he reveals his secret agenda to sell off such assets?

    captcha: dis- ambitious = Key’s 10 point plan?

  33. coge 34

    Steve. Back O/T. Principles. Please explain how somebody misrepresenting themselves to trespass a political conference is a principled act? Also, do you know the person in question?

  34. Pascal's bookie 35

    Scribe, re the Herald quote:

    First, it is not fair to release a reporter’s tape or transcript unless the subject denies something plainly said or the recording could serve a public interest somewhat more compelling than partisan politics. Second, the publication would damage the gathering of further information. Once bitten, a public figure is twice shy.

    Firstly I’d say the fact that senior National Party front benchers were implying to their partisan followers that they had a secret agenda is in the public interest.

    Secondly it wasn’t strictly a journalist’s tape or transcript was it?

    And anyway, I don’t get that point. Is it somehow more ethical to pretend you don’t have it on tape, relay the conversation and only after a denial play the ‘hah gotcha’ card? Seems a bit silly to me, I say put all the evidence out there and let them respond.

    The herald’s second point isn’t an ethical one in my view. To me the ethics around this for the journo’s lie around the questions:

    Is there a public interest? Yes.
    Are the tapes accurate? Presumably.
    Do the subjects have any reason, beyond not being made to look foolish, to have the tapes kept secret? None that I can see.

    All this talk about ‘bugging’ ‘private’ conversations is nonsense. A party to the conversation is the leaker. It was his conversation as much as theirs.

  35. CMR 36

    Principles? National? Yeah right!

    Principles? The Clark filth? Yeah right!

  36. There isn’t a principled politician inhabiting that seething cess pit of maggots they call the Beehive. All bullshit and jellybeans!!~!

    [Dad, I get numerous complaints about your comments every day, they’re never substantive and usually abusive. I’m starting to think things are better when you’re not around wrecking our threads. 2 months ago you wrote to us begging to be let back on, promising to not just be a pain in the arse. Last chance ever. SP]

  37. Draco TB 38

    Please explain how somebody misrepresenting themselves to trespass a political conference is a principled act?

    Dunno why your still asking – it’s obvious that you’re not going to believe any of the rational explanations provided.

  38. coge 39

    Lies, trespass & deception, these are not principles.

  39. RedLogix 40


    Actually it’s not technically trespass until AFTER you are asked to leave the premises.

    Basic Trespass Info

  40. Anita 41


    You say “private conversations” again. What makes a conversation with a complete stranger in a crowded room where many strangers could overhear “private”?

  41. coge 42

    Good link there Redlogix. But surely you are not comfortable
    with the methods used by this person? I notice you have been pretty quiet on this one.

  42. RedLogix 43

    I notice you have been pretty quiet on this one.

    No just busy professionally. But most of what needs to be said has already been said.

    We can parse down the meanings and angles all we like, but the ghost of John Tamihere and Mike William’s little entanglements with tape recorders haunts this one; and any voter paying attention knows it.

  43. Clinton, please don’t twist the truth. I have never “begged” to anybody in my 48 year life span and I am NOT about too start.I have SOLID principles.
    Last chance mate, never let a chance go by, said the 10 foot Hells Angel.

  44. the sprout 45

    the more they harp the more damage they do themselves.
    National seems to have a Marsala complex.

  45. But sprout the polls indicate the damage is in Nationals favour.

  46. the sprout 47

    you’ve studied stats under Deborah Coddington haven’t you Dad.

  47. Yes I did sprout until I got lost in her legs. As a principled man I walked away.

  48. there haven’t been any polls since the tapes, dad.

  49. Yes SP, the tapeworm may turn a few stomachs but then again maybe not?

  50. Dad4justice commenting on a post about principals? Has the world gone mad?

  51. Hi tiger tea,didn’t you know that a sound sense of judgment is just madness put to good use by the eccentric through blog opinion.
    My principal taught me that through use of the cane. Ouch.

    Edit – my Bat picture has gone? How sad.

  52. Lew 53

    Totally performance art. Like, woah.


  53. the sprout 54

    shame he passes out so early really.

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