John, it’s time for Paula to go

Written By: - Date published: 1:02 pm, April 30th, 2010 - 230 comments
Categories: benefits, corruption, national/act government - Tags:

Update2: IrishBill: The facebook email has been released:

Things went really well she wasn’t that scary I dropped the tears a few times and she felt sorry for me wont put me back in the media and get me hurt again and willing to talk settlement. I’ve got a tough choice to make have two days to come up with what I want as a payment I don’t want to sound greedy but its hard to put price on what iv been through

As Danyl points out over at the DimPost this doesn’t look like a joke so much as a breach of a confidential agreement that needed to be passed off as a joke. I only hope Fuller got a decent payment after what was done to her.

[Update: TV3 now admits its ’emails’ were a Facebook exchange between Fuller and a friend and Fuller says she made up about the money. For fuck’s sake, TV3, you can’t run a story based on someone’s Facebook comments. Still, Bennett should not have been meeting with a complainant just before the report is due out. It’s clear she is looking to avoid an embarrassment]

Yesterday I thought I was going to write a piece on the advisers Paula Bennett has appointed to the Welfare Working Group. There’s Peter Saunders, a man who says there is a link between “low average intelligence and low class position” – that people are poor because they are dumb – and that the DPB makes welfare dependence attractive (Saunders is in high company on that belief – “breeding for a business” Key called it). And then there’s ex-ACT President Catherine Issac who wants a “competitive market for sickness, invalid, and unemployment insurance” – profit-seeking parasites taking a slice of the welfare budget.

Or how she has her ministry writing to Kiwis asking them to spy on their neighbours who are getting a benefit. This goes far beyond an invasion of the privacy of people who are entitled to assistance when they fall on hard times. It’s the nasty turning of neighbour on neighbour that reminds us of East Germany, Orwell’s 1984, or Thatcher’s Britain.

But her attempt to bribe Natasha Fuller into silence overrides those issues, for now.

You’ll remember how Natasha Fuller was one of two DPB mums who dared to question why Bennett had canceled a training allowance designed to help DPB mums get off the benefit – an allowance that Bennett herself took advantage of. For their trouble, Bennett released their private benefit information unleashing a torrent of bigotry on these poor women that was so vicious Fuller had to move house and get counseling.

Now, we learn that Bennett had a meeting with Fuller on Wednesday and, according to Fuller, offered her money to drop her complaint with the Privacy Commissioner (which raises questions about why the second DPB mum, Jennifer Johnston, suddenly dropped her complaint after meeting Bennett).

With Palin-esque implausibility, Bennett refuses to confirm or deny meeting with Fuller. [overtaken by new facts as above]

230 comments on “John, it’s time for Paula to go”

  1. Joshua 1

    Those are some serious allegations Eddie – I do hope for your sake that you have seen the source documents that prove such a claim, instead of simply relying on a news article – especially when there are conflicting reports as to the veracity of such reports. Unlike IrishBill’s post which referenced the allegations, you come right out and state as a fact that she has taken a bribe and called her corrupt. I would love to see your evidence – and not a reference to some comment made, but an actual quote or email would be good. I’m not defending or condoning – just taking a rational, evidenced based position. Something that sadly seems to be lacking from you and others posting here.

    • Bright Red 1.1

      people are entitled to rely on media reports.

      ps. your blog is really weird.

      • Joshua 1.1.1

        Only if they reflect the media report, as IrishBill’s did.

        And thank you 🙂

      • Joe Bloggs 1.1.2

        people may be entitled to rely on media reports

        but if they actually do so then they’re fools – there is so little genuine investigative journalism in mainstream media you’d be hard pressed to find anything other than cut-and-paste copywork and beat-up sensationalism.

        • lprent 1.1.2.1

          …hard pressed to find anything other than cut-and-paste copywork and beat-up sensationalism.

          Sounds like kiwiblog…

  2. Joe Bloggs 2

    In this morning’s New Zealand Herald, the complainant was quoted as saying there had been no offer of money. When asked about the 3 News report, the complainant said: “None of that is true”.

    So Bennett and Fuller both reject the TV3 allegations.

    And no evidence to the contrary has been tabled by TV3 – time for TV3 to apologise or stump up with the goods.

    Ditto Eddie – looks like you’ve been sucked in by some shabby reporting from a little creep as Helen kindly described him

    • NickS 2.1

      Cutting and pasting links is not that frakking hard, so source please.

      • Joe Bloggs 2.1.1

        Source is NZ Herald print edition – cut and paste that frakking link buddy

        [lprent: The NZ Herald puts the whole of its print edition online. You should be able to easily locate a link. Nick thinks that you’re bullshitting and I do as well.

        Since you haven’t produced a link when asked, show no signs of doing so, and haven’t withdrawn, you’re banned for a week for bad behaviour in the debate – see the policy. ]

        • NickS 2.1.1.1

          However, The Herald sticks up it’s print edition articles on it’s website, likewise what you’ve claimed would be rather tasty for the rest of the media, so it’s somewhat perplexing it hasn’t been cut n pasted by another media site. Like Stuff, or Scoop, for which one has yet to see the claims you make repeated.

          Also, there’s these wonderful things called “digital cameras” these days, which I hear you can use to take “photos” and then upload these to the internet, thus providing evidence of things in print only.

          Which is to say, I think you’re lying, and will otherwise till I see evidence to the contrary you douche-hound.

        • Joe Bloggs 2.1.1.2

          lprent – sorry for failing to post a link to the print edition – the link was not posted because I had a meeting to go to – my bad.

          In any case here’s an updated link where Fuller confirms Paula Bennet’s version of events.

          http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10642021

          [lprent: That is a saturday morning granny herald story based on a friday night TV3 story. I banned you on friday afternoon because you were referring to a friday morning granny story as your source in your assertion of fact. Can you see into the future or work at TV3? I’d accept the latter could give you an inside source., but doesn’t excuse blaming the story on the poor old granny. The ban stands – it is only a week. ]

    • NickS 2.2

      Lawl:
      http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/3641270/Bennett-meets-complaint-mum

      And looking on The Herald’s website, it’s pretty clear it’s Bennett doing the denying, rather than Fuller, who hasn’t been in contact with the media since yesterday.
      probably lying one?

    • Gus 2.3

      Jesus Eddie, how dumb are you. This one is going to hurt !!!

  3. deemac 3

    personally I thought her action in naming the women should have led to her sacking or resignation. Unforgiveable abuse of power.

    • Joe Bloggs 3.1

      would that be anything like Helen Clark labeling John Yelash as a murderer or her unjustified criticism of Auckland surgeon Joe Brownlee? – unforgiveable abuses of power!

      • lprent 3.1.1

        From memory, John Yelash was convicted of manslaughter rather than murder. More a matter of semantics of intent than anything else.

        • Joe Bloggs 3.1.1.1

          do you also recall that “matter of semantics of intent” resulted in an out of court settlement after Yelash sued Clark?

          • lprent 3.1.1.1.1

            Do you remember Lange vs Atkinson? Probably not, you don’t appear to be aware of much past slogans.

            The situation for talking about a moronic politician are quite different to those of a private citizen.

          • Bright Red 3.1.1.1.2

            So what you’re saying, Joe B is that when ministers get it wrong, they should get the punishment they deserve. Clark called a killer a murderer and paid defamation for this technically false statement.

            What should Bennett’s punishment be?

        • Rex Widerstrom 3.1.1.2

          Do I even have to point out how wrong is not only the original statement, but your attempted defence of it?

          Most of what you write suggests you’re anything but a shrill ideologue Lynn, but somehow when it comes to defending Helen the scales form on your eyes.

          • lprent 3.1.1.2.1

            Not really, I know both Helen and John Yelash. It wasn’t an abuse of power (which was the origional statement) because the usual legal process went ahead and resulted in an out-of-court settlement. I was just pointing out the facts of the case.

            JB got a ban for an argument he had in another thread with Nick S where he made an assertion and failed to attempt to back it up.

            • Rex Widerstrom 3.1.1.2.1.1

              Not arguing with your banning, LP. But there’s a world of difference beyond the semantic in calling someone convicted of manslaughter (which can be a reflection of something as relatively minor as negligence or recklessness) a murderer, which implies intent.

              I have no idea what Mr Yelash did to be convicted of manslaughter but whatever it was, he doesn’t deserve to be called a murderer any more than do you or I.

              This wasn’t an involuntary slip of the tongue – the clear intent was to discredit Yelash’s account and bolster Chris Carter’s.

              There’s not even a logical basis for such a smear – even serial killers tell the truth sometimes, so criminal does not automatically equal liar and Clark would have known that and voiced the slur with the clear intent of discrediting Yelash.

              Sometimes, it pays to be as apparently dimwitted as Paula Bennett because then you can get away with saying “Duh, I just didn’t think…” But even her worst enemies wouldn’t call Clark stupid.

              Just because someone is compensated at a later date doesn’t negate the abuse of power that occurs when someone in a powerful position attacks a member of the public.

              Being one of the few people to have been in that position, when Ron Mark dredged the bottom of the barrel in 2008, I know you feel utterly outgunned. And seeing him tossed out of the House, while some consolation (as I’m sure was Mr Yelash’s payout) only went part of the way to make up for ir.

  4. Evidence-Based Practice 4

    Great questions from Catherine Delahunty and revealing answers from Paula Bennett, particularly to the question of representation of disabled people on a working party that is targetting them. The academic PB mentions is from the area of rehabilition, which is not the same as the disability sector.

  5. Fisiani 5

    Last straw EDDIE
    More like clutching at straws

  6. ianmac 6

    Joe Bloggs: “In this morning’s New Zealand Herald, the complainant was quoted as saying there had been no offer of money. When asked about the 3 News report, the complainant said: “None of that is true’.”

    I am a long way away from the Herald. A pity that I can’t read for myself. Was the Complainant refuting:
    -the TV3 interview in general not true?
    -just the money aspect being not true?
    -the visit as being not true?
    I suppose something will be clarified shortly now doubt that there really is a major issue. Pity that.

  7. Dirk D 7

    Oh my god, you people really are clutching at straws now!

    In my humble opinion Paula is doing a fantastic job with her portfolio; long may it continue.

    I think Eddie should withdraw and apologise.

    [lprent: Definitely has pretensions to be a Baldrick clone. I haven’t seen so much pathetic fawning for quite a while. You get the impression that he is going to start drooling like a spaniel shortly. ]

    • ianmac 7.1

      Pointless point Dirk D!

      • Dirk and Tim Edgar 7.1.1

        My girlfriend asked me last night to start a flamewar/parody on a website and watch it flourish. I work with a guy named Tim and I just watched boogie nights.

        To all those who commented or reference me in this and the other thread i thank you. You were my pawns.

        A special mention goes to lprent. He has moderated my tongue in cheek comments in the past and almost always knows when i am having a lark.

        Onto the actual subject matter though. I think it was a poor piece of reporting, from an underfunded news room.

        As for Eddie and IrishBill your dog whistles did the job. The commenting and general loon behavior is a disapointing feature of the opposition movement in this country.

        Paula Bennetts profile has been tarnished and while some of it was of her own making, her opposition will be feeling happy enough tonight with the outcome.

        Thanks

    • Tigger 7.2

      This was featured on a national news show. It’s hardly a straw, it’s a hay bale.

      And glad you think revealing someone’s private details is de rigeur. Care to volunteer to have your government held data made public?

    • bahandhumbug 7.3

      “I haven’t seen so much pathetic fawning for quite a while”

      I suggest you watch parliament on TV – whenever Key or Goff are standing up speaking the fawning from those sitting behind them is vomitous !

  8. It was a very expensive case of “semantics” for the taxpayer lprent

    “The man who collected $55,000 in a taxpayer-funded defamation payout from Prime Minister Helen Clark says the settlement has cost him his health and career”.

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=200319

    $55k plus legal expenses, just for using the wrong word – sheesh, that should sound a warning for people who toss words like “corrupt” and “bribe” around, don’t you think 😉

    • lprent 8.1

      Nope – the situations are not similar. In NZ politicians don’t have the same level of protection under defamation or libel that private citizens have.

      You should remember the Lange vs Atkinson case that established that in NZ precedent. It has been discussed often enough when you’ve been loitering around.

      I guess you’re just attempting to stir….

        • lprent 8.1.1.1

          Yeah, I do it enough that I can recognise the signs… 😈

        • ghostwhowalksnz 8.1.1.2

          How funny . Some people cant even see the difference between a private citizen ( even a convicted one) and a politician. The defamation laws( and precedent) treat them differently.

          Bennett wont be sueing anytime soon, despite her threats to TV3, remember she was full of bluster when she broke the privacy laws too.

          Note as well she was relying on the other parties claims( as reported??) , why doesnt she refute them herself.

          • Fijoa muncher 8.1.1.2.1

            Why wouldn’t she?
            With not a shred of evidence TV3 shrieked that she had offered “hush money’ to settle the complaint. Now it transpires there was no evidence, and TV3 didn’t check their sources. And after all that the meeting was perfectly appropriate and sanctioned by the Privacy Commissioner. And the other party cheerfully admitted to haveing made it all up.
            I’d sue. And I’m a journalist!

            • Armchair Critic 8.1.1.2.1.1

              And I’m a journalist!
              Clearly – it’s the spelling that gives it away.

    • Pascal's bookie 8.2

      maybe.

      But then again, it’s starting to seem as if getting sued for defamation might be the only way citizens have to find out what’s going on in cabinet.

      Still don’t know why Worth was forced out of parliament, and now it’s starting to look like there is no recourse if a minister breaks the privacy act for political reasons.

      That’s the point I’ve yet to see any of you excity righties touch.

      If this can be settled privately, and the PM chooses not to question anything, then how can the public know if the Minister did in fact breach the privacy act, which she certainly appears to have done?

      If she did breach it, is that just ok?

  9. prosaic 9

    The claim that ‘there is a link between”low average intelligence and low class position” does not necessarily imply “that people are poor because they are dumb”. It could mean that people have lower intelligence because they are poor. We all surely accept that poor people have poorer educations than wealthy or averagely-off people–in general–and maybe it is the lack of education, the lack of adequate nurturing and care at school and at home which poor children offen suffer that leads to lower performance in intelligence tests (if that’s how he’s measuring intelligence). In which case, it’s not really an unreasonable claim, is it? I’d like to know what else makes this guy so unreasonable.

    • Bright Red 9.1

      prosaic. we ball know the guy is making a Randian argument – the wealthy are the heroes, the brilliant minds who carry the rest of us, and the rest of us don’t deserve to be carried.

      • prosaic 9.1.1

        You assume that we ‘ball’ know that but what about those of us who know little about him–perhaps the author of the post could give us a reasonable analysis of him rather than an invalid argument.

  10. I just hope this is not swept under the carpet and lost.The facial expressions of Bennet on parliament TV when questioned about this incident were revealing.They made this old campaigner very uncomfortable . I would hate to be a solo mum under this nasty two faced women. Tthere’s no doubt the Nat’s will do their best to keep this out of public view . the whole of the Left must keep digging on this.
    I bet Crosby/Textor is working overtime .

    • ianmac 10.1

      Some MPs taunt and ridicule other MPs. Seems sort of normal somehow, but I intensely dislike the venom and straight out nastiness that Paula Bennett spouts at times. It would not be comfortable at close quarters say in the same house. My wife is a funny good person to be with. Lucky me!

  11. Rex Widerstrom 11

    Much like Obama’s birth certificate, if Ms Bennett wants us to believe she never made such an offer then all she has to do is table the relevant documentation – all correspondence between the parties, diary notes of any meetings and conversations etc. After redacting any more personal information about Ms Fuller, of course.

    Similarly, TV3 could release the emails it claims to have. In fact why wouldn’t it make these the centrepiece of the story rather than (as I understand it) simply referencing their existence.

    We’re not well served, it seems, by either our elected representatives or our media.

    • Bright Red 11.1

      I reckon the emails are leaked from the Privacy Commission.

      • Rex Widerstrom 11.1.1

        Would even Bennett be dopey enought to cc the Privacy Commission in on the offer of a bribe?

        If so, I fear I’m about to use up my laughter quotient for the entire year.

        • Maynard J 11.1.1.1

          I can see it now, the harried aide bursts into the room and explains. Bennett, flushing a deeper shade of leopard starts to mutter:

          “Privacy commission? Not bribery comm…”

          Bennett rushes to hit “recall this message”, not knowing what the rest of the world does…that recall this message is a fucking waste of time.

          • Rex Widerstrom 11.1.1.1.1

            Oh this is ripe for comedy…

            Bennett: “But the recall thingy worked on that ‘shut ya hole or my daughter’s boyfriend will fuck youz up’ email!!”

            Aide: “Errr, no Minister, they just didn’t believe it came from you”

            Bennett: “What, even after I drew that dagger dripping blood on it? Look, the vivid marker is still here on the screen…”

  12. Name 12

    “It’s the nasty turning of neighbour on neighbour that reminds us of East Germany, Orwell’s 1984, or Thatcher’s Britain.”

    Way over the top, and untrue. Neighbour turned on neighbour in Soviet Regimes and 1984 either through desire for very real rewards or through fear they would suffer for the neighbour’s guilt if they didn’t. Neither situation exists in New Zealand. And as a resident of Thatcher’s Britain during the period referred to I have no recollection of any attempt to turn neighbour on neighbour.

    I’d describe myself as left of centre – which is why I come here – and I’m no fan of Thatcher or what she did, but “Thatcher’s Britain” is too often and too thoughtlessly used as a bogey by Left-wing commentators, devaluing their arguments and merely displaying thoughtlessness.

    • Bill 12.1

      “..I have no recollection of any attempt to turn neighbour on neighbour.”

      Miners strike? Just as a throw a way example.

      • Eddie 12.1.1

        1951. then they actually made it illegal to help your neighbours, even just give them food, if the father was a waterfronter.

  13. tsmithfield 13

    Not a good look if the “Privacy” Commission leaks like a sieve.

    Don’t know if you’re right though, BR. I think Bennett would have been demanding all e-mails they have sent by now. As I understand it, she has made denials to other media outlets too since TV3. So I thought she would have been a little more reticent to make media statements. If you are right we might hear something from her tonight.

    I expect “I resign” would be appropriate if she is actually caught fibbing.

  14. Irascible 14

    Paula Bennett, with all the allegations of doubtful, on the edge behaviour and abuse of position, should be under a very public warning from her immediate superior/s if not being given the cardboard box and a request for her office keys. However, one doubts if Key has the integrity enough to do so.
    From Lee to Worth to English to Brownlee to Heatley to Smith and Hide the trail of shonky behaviour gets longer and longer. At what point will the media find evidence of the “smoking gun”?

  15. tsmithfield 15

    This just out from the Privacy Commissioner with respect to meetings between people on either side of a privacy complaint.

    Sounds like they think hooking up with the other party is cool.

    • Tigger 15.1

      I’ve got no problems with her meeting Fuller. But why evade TV3’s questions over whether she did?

    • Bright Red 15.2

      so why did Bennett lie and evade when questioned?

      And the Privacy Commission is wrong. It migth be ok for other parties to try to resolve things befroe a report but for a minister to try to get a complaint withdrawn days before a report is due – that’s not on.

  16. the sprout 16

    Bennett’s career is taking on a distinctly Hindenberg quality

  17. Ian 17

    Relaxed, Disappointed, will the new word John learns be Concerned?

  18. ianmac 18

    The Press 05/30.4.10 today:
    “Social Development Minister Paula Bennett has admitted meeting with the single mother who complained to the Privacy Commissioner after the minister made public details of her personal finances.”
    http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/news/3641290/Bennett-admits-meeting-woman

  19. Nick C 19

    Until there is a shread of evidence for this, it’s nothing more than a conspiricy theory

    Many of the comments on this thread sound like they are coming from conspiricy theorists.

    • Jim Nald 19.2

      It is more convincing that there is greater conspiracy to keep any real and full detail of the incident away from public scrutiny than there is conspiracy to expose the considerable failings that have been most foolishly self-inflicted.

  20. gingercrush 20

    Most stupid non-news story I’ve seen TV 3 present. Jesus christ what an absolute joke. The emails were between Natasha and a friend. Not Paula and Natasha as TV 3 presented last night. Honestly, an absolutely joke.

  21. Indiana 21

    Well I hope everyone watched the news as the email were revealed

  22. Ruhroh 22

    So it was all based on a facebook posting from Natasha Fuller and she admits making it up.
    Colour me surprised, or maybe tickled.

  23. gingercrush 23

    After the hell that Bennett has put her through, the last thing that Fuller would do is lie in a way that’s going to put the spotlight back on her. Bennett on the other hand shows scant understanding of and even less regard for the limits of acceptable behaviour for a minister.

    Lies

    Bennett will owe Fuller compensation once the report comes out (and she better pay out of her own pocket) but Bennett isn’t offering compensation, she’s trying to prevent the report coming out at all.

    You don’t understand the role of the Privacy Commission.

    —-

    I’m sorry but TV 3 presented the story as evidence there was a discussion between Bennett and Fuller. Most of us took that as emails between Bennett and Fuller. What we get instead seems to be banterish-like posts on facebook between two friends. TV 3 look stupid. Fuller unfortunately will look bad out of this and Eddie looks foolish for not understanding how the Privacy Commission works. And most of you also look stupid for being taken in by the TV 3 story. One would have thought you’d learn from the H-Fee disaster.

    Actually if I go even further. What TV 3 did today is far worse than what you lot accused Paula Bennett of doing when she alledgedly broke Natasha Fuller’s privacy.

    Did TV 3 seriously not talk to Natasha Fuller yesterday? What TV 3 did today set Natasha Fuller to look like a fool.

  24. tsmithfield 24

    Ha Ha Ha Ha.

    That was even more pathetic than I could have possibly imagined.

    Fuller? Fuller shit more likely! Obviously a serial liar. Winz need to investigate her to see what other lies she’s been telling to get her benefit. I am never going to believe anything I see on TV3 again. What a pathetic source for a news item. Facebook pages!!???

    • IrishBill 24.1

      That’s quite an unpleasant comment you’ve made there tsmith.

      • tsmithfield 24.1.1

        Yes, apologies Irish. I probably did go over the top a bit. To be fair to Fuller I think more of the blame is with TV3. Her facebook comments would have been private if TV3 hadn’t got involved. Now they have embarrassed her quite unnecessarily. That was some of the worst journalism I have ever seen. TV3 should be apologising to both her and Bennet. Honestly.

        • Eddie 24.1.1.1

          Fuller made some comments on Facebook. She didn’t lie to the public. It’s TV3’s fault for talking Facebook comments a fact.

  25. mark 25

    looking to forward to the Eddie apologising for slandering Paula Bennett.
    looks very sad when Labour put this lady forward to make a privacy complaint and then she lies on there behalf.
    Even sadder when this blog site that claims total independence from Labour , blindly plays attack dog for them without a cursory checking of the facts.

    [lprent: We are independent. Are you suggesting we aren’t? Be careful with your answer.. ]

    • Eddie 25.1

      I’ve edited the post to reflect the new information. I blame TV3 for running on the strength of someone bullshitting with their friend on Facebook.

      Fuller isn’t linked to Labour as far as I know, which is to say I’ve seen nothing in the media saying that. I certainly don’t take lines from Labour and I’m entitled to take media reports as fact – that was my fact checking, what else would you have suggested?

  26. Hamish 26

    Ohh dear:

    “Now the solo parent who wrote them says money wasn’t talked about, and admits she made those details up.”

    “She said she was “lying and joking’ and that even thought the discussions were quite detailed – this was just “part of her personality’.”

    LINK:

    http://www.3news.co.nz/Beneficiary-admits-fabricating-Bennett-meeting-details/tabid/419/articleID/153588/Default.aspx

    Like I said, ohh dear.

  27. NickS 27

    In this wonderful time of the internet, linking to something is only a google, and a click or two away, but I guess those above me are too dumb to do this and cut n paste a single link…

    http://www.3news.co.nz/Beneficiary-admits-fabricating-Bennett-meeting-details/tabid/419/articleID/153588/Default.aspx

    Bloody stupid TV3 for not doing their fact checking.

    On the other hand, the beneficiary bashing that’s going to result’s from this is going to produce a thousand facepalms, more so given the inability of those idiots to understand how much stress results from being slagged off by moronic talk-back radio bots who have literacy issues when it comes to reading about beneficiary entitlements.

  28. gingercrush 28

    Um did you not watch the bit with the Privacy Commission Eddie. Where in her statement she said:

    The Privacy Commission said today:

    * It commonly arranges these face-to-face meetings
    * Settlements include an apology, an assurance an action will not recur, modest compensation or personal gestures, such as flowers or vouchers
    * Settlements are kept confidential

  29. Oh dear – so Paula Bennett ISN’T corrupt, and DIDN’T try to bribe Ms Fuller into silence. Like Mark above, I look forward to Eddie’s public apology.

    [fuck off. I relied on the publicly available facts. I’ve changed my post in light of the new facts. I have nothing to apologise for because I did nothing wrong, TV3 did.]

    [lprent: Correct. The post offered opinion on a politician based on what are now known to be rather spurious ‘facts’ from a news organization. Isn’t free speech about politicians wonderful? ]

    • Inventory2 29.1

      That’s a lame excuse. You defamed Paula Bennett based on information from TV3. Sure, they are the source of the incorrect information, but YOU are the one who said

      But her attempt to bribe Natasha Fuller into silence overrides those issues, for now.

      I notice that you’ve now removed the “corrupt” allegation – that’s good. But you can’t escape the fact that YOU wrote the post, not TV3.

      I got burned a couple of months ago with something I posted at Keeping Stock. It took a retraction, an apology, and a couple of conversations with a party (whom I had inadvertantly linked to something that didn’t concern them) to put things right again; it was a salutory lesson.

      More fools though the supposed “journalists” at 3News who got taken in!

      • Eddie 29.1.1

        I don’t know the incident on your blog you’re referring to because, like everyone else, I don’t read it.

      • lprent 29.1.2

        Perhaps you should stick to defaming politicians as you did in 2007/8. They have a lot fewer defenses

  30. Anne 30

    We know the meeting took place . Ms Bennett refused to admit it yesterday.
    Bad look no 1.

    We know that the Privacy Commissioner encouraged the meeting despite the fact that one of the parties to the dispute is a cabinet minister.
    Bad look no2.

    It is clear that the motivation of the minister was to get the complainant to withdraw her complaint so that the Commissioner’s findings would never be made public. We have to assume that it was with the Commissioner’s blessing.
    Bad look No 3.

    Labour has fore-shadowed it will be asking questions in the House next week.
    And so they damm well should!

    • tsmithfield 30.1

      Anne, I think the best advice to Labour is to drop this very quietly and walk away. It will only look worse for them if they keep pushing it.

    • Roflcopter 30.2

      I really hope they do!!!!!

      I’ve even prepared a knee-deep hole for them, have a shovel on standby, and have hidden the ladder.

  31. tsmithfield 31

    So, thats a win chalked up for the dark side today?

  32. Rex Widerstrom 32

    Christ. If there aren’t sackings at TV3 after this, then they deserve to have no one watching their “news”.

    And no, there’s nothing wrong with Bennett meeting a complainant to try to reach a settlement with which both parties are happy. Standard practice for Tribunals and that level of thing for years, and even the higher courts are heavying parties into mediation more frequently as a tactic to try and unclog the courts.

    Here in WA I have to put in “certificates of conferral” to attest that I’ve tried to reach agreement with the other side even when there’s clearly no hope of doing so.

    Sad that we live in an era where idiots are responsible for providing our news.

    Sadder still that we live in an era where, based on past performance, it seems entirely credible that a Minister of the Crown would behave in such a way.

    • Marty G 32.1

      Regarding the meeting, it is still different when it’s a minister. They have extraordinary authority and power, they shouldn’t attempt to make complaints go away.

      • Rex Widerstrom 32.1.1

        You’re right, Marty, but as tsmithfield alerted us to earlier the Privacy Commissioner seems to have encouraged the process (and from the days when she was in the Clerk’s Office, if Marie Shroff “encourages” you to do something, I seem to recall you are overcome by a pretty strong urge to do it. Clare Curran wishes she had the same powers).

        Much as I hate to be defending Bennett, if the Commission urged consultation and it came out that the Minister had refused, then she’d be up for just as much bad publicity, no?

    • bahandhumbug 32.2

      Perhaps there’s a job for Gordon Brown at TV3 after he’s booted out next month, he’d fit in perfectly.

  33. gingercrush 33

    If Labour are going to ask questions. It has to be entirely centered around the privacy matter and what Paula has heard back from the privacy commissioner etc. To use the TV 3 story to ask questions would in my opinion be an utter mistake.

    • Anne 33.1

      Agree with you gingercrush. I am sure that is Labour’s intention to centre the questions around the
      privacy matter…

      It is to be hoped that Natasha Fuller and her friend have learnt a big lesson here. You don’t bullshit around with talk of ‘money’ when it never happened. But it doesn’t alter the fact that Paula Bennett tried to obscure the truth about the meeting last night, and I feel distinctly uneasy about the apparent collaboration between her and Marie Shroff over the attempt to shut the complaint down. Don’t care if it is normal process elsewhere. When a senior cabinet minister and politics are involved… it’s a very, very bad look!

  34. Anne 34

    Be assured ts… your advice would be among the last that Labour would heed.

  35. big bruv 35

    Ha ha ha…when will you guys ever learn.

    I have not bothered to scroll back up through all the left wing knuckle dragger’s comments but is it safe to assume that you guys have offered Ms Bennett a full apology?

  36. ianmac 36

    Out of all of this there does seem to be a universal dislike of this Minister. Much may be down to a partisan position but I don’t think that many other Ministers would be such a target. We did believe that she was capable of underhand tricks as her original action showed.
    The other good thing is that Ministers might be a bit more cautious about mis-use of power- perhaps.

    • champagne & hookers 36.1

      Hang about Ian, Not sure that there is a universal dislike, maybe between the 25 or so apparatchiks that frequent this blog there is.

      But get out and meet the real working person whose taxes are funding the likes of Fuller et al, and there most certainly is not a dislike of Bennet, but people thrilled with her MO.

  37. tsmithfield 37

    Why didn’t TV3 take the very simple step of checking with Fuller before going to air last night? Basic basic basic.

    • Eddie 37.1

      damn straight. I thought they had from the last night’s story

      • Anne 37.1.1

        It was my understanding they tried but Natasha Fuller was pretty much not talking yesterday.
        We know why now. 🙁

  38. Michael Foxglove 38

    If this whole thing wasn’t behind closed doors (like everything with this government) we wouldn’t be having these problems.

    • Jared 38.1

      Privacy Commission meetings usually are behind closed doors. Insinuating other wise would be disingenuous

  39. Nick C 39

    Sorry but i simply dont buy your ‘its not my fault cos tv3 said it’ line. Authors on this blog constantly complain about the unreliability and sensationalism in the media. But when that sensationalism suits you, you’re happy to use it as a source.

    If his was about a labour MP and Farrar was saying what you’ve been saying, you wouldnt shut up about it for weeks. Double standard.

    • Michael Foxglove 39.1

      There’s still something fishy about this whole business though. Don’t you think Nick C?

    • Peter Johns 39.2

      sub standard more like it

      • Eddie 39.2.1

        Peter Johns. You’re a guest on this blog. If you’re not going to say anything other than insults, you won’t be welcome.

        • Peter Johns 39.2.1.1

          and we know how this site treats ‘guests’ sometimes.
          Eddie, you are a idiot, relying on blogs for your info.

          • NickS 39.2.1.1.1

            Except he used TV3, not a blog.

            • Peter Johns 39.2.1.1.1.1

              does not say much about TV3 then, less factual than Winston Peters

              • NickS

                The stupid, it burns.

                What metric exactly are you using to judge TV3 on? Because it seems to be one that doesn’t involve actually checking empirically the ratio of bullshit to reality, which would probably make Winston look rather more untrustworthy than TV3, though against say FOX news, he’d probably come off much better.

                i.e. you’re a complete idiot.

          • lprent 39.2.1.1.2

            It was on the TV3 website and Campbell Live. Do you think those are blogs? It is linked in the posts. Can’t you read?

            You usual ill-informed and frequently just strange commentary hasn’t improved. Too many toxic chemicals?

    • Eddie 39.3

      Nick C. We’re entitled to rely on the media’s statements of facts. The fact that we know the media gets it wrong sometimes doesn’t change that.

      • Feral 39.3.1

        Thats one of the silliest statements Ive ever heard

        • NickS 39.3.1.1

          You don’t get out much do you? Otherwise you’d have seen far more stupid things, such as people claiming HIV doesn’t cause AIDS, or that homoeopathy/[insert flavour of alt.med here] works, that the earth’s less than 4.2 billion years, or my current bugbear, that 1080 doesn’t break down and minuscule, non-toxic concentrations of fluoride are teh evil.

          Also, hypocritical much? Given you probably rely on media information as much as the rest of us, and no, non-traditional sources are also prone to fuck-ups all the way to being lying sacks of shit.

  40. Steve 40

    Come on Eddie, just say “I am sorry, I fucked up”

    Not that hard to admit a mistake is it?

    As Whale says “you own your own shit”

    • NickS 40.1

      Of course we’re talking a guy who’s also a massive hypocrite and all round douche nozzle here, so probably not the brightest example to use.

    • Eddie 40.2

      I relied on a media organisation’s facts. Nothing wrong with that.

    • Armchair Critic 40.3

      ‘cept it was TV3 that fucked up. Are you asking Eddie to own someone else’s shit? I’m still waiting for your shining example to own his own shit; he’s not a great example.

  41. Armchair Critic 41

    For fuck’s sake, TV3, you can’t run a story based on someone’s Facebook comments.
    Keep in mind, the original story relied, in part, on people’s Trade Me message board comments. The right went to town on these comments, dined out on them for weeks.
    Heads must roll. At TV3 for one. But remember, Bennett’s release of personal information was still wrong and TV3’s fuck up doesn’t change that – she still has to go.

  42. Peter Johns 42

    Paula’s mistake was not making the comments under Parlimentary privilage.
    She still has more balls than the collective male population in parliament.
    Eddie, don’t beleive everything you read.

    ha ha ha

  43. Armchair Critic said

    But remember, Bennett’s release of personal information was still wrong and TV3’s fuck up doesn’t change that she still has to go.

    So you’ve seen the Privacy Commissioner’s report then have you Armchair Critic? Or are you hoping that’s what the finding will be?

    • Armchair Critic 43.1

      I’ve no problem making up my own mind, based on the evidence at hand. How difficult can it be? All the laws are available online. The Privacy Commission has a reasonable website. The issue is one of whether making private information public was appropriate, so by definition the information is available.
      I don’t care what the Privacy Commissioner’s findings are, because Commissioners can and do get things wrong. I have no confidence in the government and wouldn’t put anything past them.

  44. Michael Foxglove 44

    Jesus Christ. You righties are beating up on Eddie for relying on information from TV3, then updating as new information came to light… All the while right-wing nut hero David Farrar is slurring a Labour MP (all the while running more of National’s homophobic campaign) based on information coming from Cameron Slater.

    How many of you are over there setting him straight? The word hypocrisy comes to mind.

    • IrishBill 44.1

      Bennett got lucky. She shouldn’t have met with Fuller and the privacy commissioner is either a fool or a coward for suggesting the meeting as the standard for a minister of the crown is far higher than the standard for an average citizen (or else Richard Worth would still have his job).

      Once again I’d note that Rebbecca Wright broke the story and she’s the TV3 journo that took over from Sia Aston. Aston is now Bennett’s press sec.

      The good news for Bennett is this has taken the edge off any deliberation from the privacy commissioner. Which is a shame as what she did was a gross abuse of power.

      • Rex Widerstrom 44.1.1

        the privacy commissioner is either a fool or a coward for suggesting the meeting

        The Commissioner was following standard procedure from which, I’d argue, a Minister ought not to be exempt. In fact I’d applaud if more watchdogs forced Ministers to sit down, listen to disgruntled constituents, and try to reach a resolution satisfactory to both.

        That’s a lot better than the look-down-the-nose we get from them under normal circumstances.

        However I think the crucial passage in Shroff’s statement is this:

        A member of the Office may or may not be present depending on the circumstances.

        I think it’s important we know whether there was someone present from the Commission at that meeting. If so, I’d say they’ve behaved okay. If not, I’d agree with you IB.

        • Pascal's bookie 44.1.1.1

          But there is still the matter of a minister of the crown breaching the privacy act.

          What reconciliation or settlement the Minister reaches with the subject of that breach is one thing, the Cabinet Manual is another.

          This is now on Key.

          The privacy commissioner doesn’t have the job of deciding what is acceptable behaviour for cabinet ministers, but if John Key is comfortable with senior Ministers misusing the information that is available to them as Ministers in order to silence citizens then that tells us something.

          • IrishBill 44.1.1.1.1

            Rex, I assumed that there wasn’t a member of teh office there. If there was then I concur.

            PB, this isn’t on Key because regardless of Bennett’s behaviour or the commissioner’s deliberation this is now all about the sideshow. TV3 has handed Bennett a misdirection on a plate.

            • Pascal's bookie 44.1.1.1.1.1

              Yeah I know it won’t be on Key, but it should be. That’s what a media is for, innnit?

              Political editors get paid enough, shouldn’t they care enough to mention the actual governance issues?

  45. Steve 45

    I don’t remember Eddie giving a link, and now Eddie posts an update blaming TV3 for comments on Facebook.
    Come on Eddie, say that you fucked up

  46. Olwyn 46

    The bit that is getting least comment is the bit that interests me most, which is the writing to private citizens asking them to spy on their neighbours. That really is scary behaviour that flies in the face of notions like citizenship and democracy. Anti-spam word: followed.

    • B 46.1

      Pretty consistent with singling out citizens who speak out against unfair policies and making their details public.

    • Rex Widerstrom 46.2

      Yeah, given that this has gone pear-shaped in a dozen different directions, I hope a Standardista salvages that, and the bit about appointments, and puts up a fresh post. Please?

      • lprent 46.2.1

        Its friday night, and I really don’t trust myself to write at present (Palmer was right). Besides, the half written one I have is about a crappy journo 😈

        Ummm whats on the queue…

  47. Hamish 47

    Contact details for TV3..

    You can write to them at:

    TV3 Auckland
    3 Flower Street
    Eden Terrace
    Auckland
    Private Bag 92624
    Symonds Street
    Auckland

    Or ring by phone and blast them at:

    09 928 9000

    I will be sending an email later tomorrow when I have a couple of minutes.

    This is piss poor reporting at best. If TV3 have any brain’s they’ll run a story
    on their own mistake, and say sorry to Paula for the error. Probably not….

  48. Scott 48

    Eddie, I think an apology is called for.

    For the record, I don’t partlicularly like Paula Bennett’s policies, but you crossed a line and got it badly wrong. It isn’t enough to blame the media for the error. You accused someone of bribery and corruption on the basis of flimsy evidence.

  49. tsmithfield 49

    TV3 did more damage to Fuller than Bennett ever has.

    Eddie: “I relied on a media organisation’s facts. Nothing wrong with that.”

    Eddie, the problem is that “media” and “facts” are an oxymoron.

    • Pascal's bookie 49.1

      Are you going to address the matter of whether it’s appropriate for a minister of the Crown to breach the privacy act?

      And Fuller had to change her phone number after that privacy breach, remember that and remember that she has kids.

      • tsmithfield 49.1.1

        Pascal, at the time I would have felt a lot more sympathy for Fuller had she not been bragging about her situation through various internet sites anyway. As I recall it, there was opinion from some authorities that this self-disclosure legitimized what Bennett did in disclosing the information, since the cat was already out of the bag by Fullers own actions. Having said that, by and large, I don’t like these sorts of disclosures.

        What TV3 did was a lot worse because it has portrayed Bennett to the whole of NZ as a liar. Given that she was making those statements in a context that she would have felt safe in making them, I felt it was entirely wrong for TV3 to publicize the statements, especially without checking with her as to whether she stood by them.

        I don’t think Eddie can really defend himself by claiming he was relying on media “facts” because it has been proved time and time again that the media doesn’t have the “facts” when it all boils down.

        I am actually despairing of the media. I am starting to think more like a socialist in this respect. I am not sure that competition is good for accuracy of reporting as it is now much more like infotainment than actual news. I am starting to think in favour of a single national broadcaster for the news. At least provide more balanced, accurate, less sensationalized news.

        • Pascal's bookie 49.1.1.1

          The victim has nothing to do with it smith. Neither does your sympathy. Nor your ‘likes’.

          I wouldn’t have much sympathy for an axe murdering psychopath who after being acquitted on a technicality was in turn killed by a hit squad sent around by a hypothetical Minister of Police “dirty harry”

          I would still think it an outrage, and would still think the minister had to go. That’s because it is never about the identity or even the actions of the citizen. It’s always about the actions of the Minister. Always.

          So, for about the gazillionth time, is it acceptable for Ministers of the Crown to misuse information about citizens for political reasons?

          If not, what next for the Current Minister of Welfare who seems to have done just that. Plenty of righties are crowing because a shitty media story might let her get away with it, where do you stand?

          If she breached the act, should she resign?

          Should the PM be informed of the terms of any settlement so that at least he will know whether they contain an admission of breaching the act?

          • tsmithfield 49.1.1.1.1

            PB: “So, for about the gazillionth time, is it acceptable for Ministers of the Crown to misuse information about citizens for political reasons?”

            Ordinarily I would say no, PB. However each situation needs to be judged on its own merits. In this case there were a number of factors for consideration:

            1. The women were campaigning publicly about a change in government policy that allegedly meant their income was no longer adequate while studying. Since the public were only getting one side of the story, the information was released as a matter of balancing the debate.
            2. The women were very happy to publicly discuss the matter anyway. Since the women had put the information in the public arena anyway, it is more difficult for them to argue for privacy. An example here is TV3. They have used information that Fuller has made public on facebook. Their journalistic standards were shocking, but, should they be prosecuted for breach of privacy?
            3. The women are being funded by the public, so there is an argument that the public are entitled to know about where their money is going anyway. For instance, we know what politicians are paid, who are also publicly funded individuals.

            On the balance of it, in this situation I think it is quite probable that the Privacy Commissioner would have found in favour of Bennett. It appears that the complaint has been settled, and no money has changed hands. This would suggest to me that Fuller herself has withdrawn the complaint because she sees the writing on the wall and wants to avoid further negative publicity. It seems likely to me that the Privacy Commissioner had advised her that a decision would go against her if she chose not to withdraw. However, we may never know that.

            On the balance, then, I see the minister as bearing some of the blame in that it has not been a good look. Therefore, Bennett should be given some re-education on the matter of privacy (she may have already got this) rather than an outright sacking.

            • felix 49.1.1.1.1.1

              Your 3rd point is quite offensive and shows your contempt for and feelings of superiority to our democratic society, smith, as have been some of your other remarks about this matter. You’re showing your nasty side lately.

              The comparison with politicians is entirely spurious. Beneficiaries haven’t been hired to perform a publicly accountable job like politicians are – accountability is to their case manager at WINZ and it’s none of your or anyone else’s business.

              If you think it is your business then come out and say it – don’t be a coward and hide behind “there is an argument”. Stand up for what you believe – the question is a relatively simple one:

              Do you think that when a someone has been approved according to their circumstances by a WINZ official as eligible for and entitled to a benefit according to the relevant legislation that you have any right to know anything further about the matter?

              This has nothing to do with Natasha Fuller btw, I’m addressing your 3rd point which has nothing to do with information being already in the public arena.

            • Pascal's bookie 49.1.1.1.1.2

              1) This was well worked over, and is irrelevant. There was no need to release the selected personal details that the Minister released. To ‘balance the debate’ she could have released the general details about how much people on the dpb get. Instead she chose to release a raw stat without going in to why they were getting what they did. she knew the effect that this would have. Indeed, she was quite open, initially, about why she did so. ‘Lessons’ needed to be learned.

              As a result of those utterly predictable effects Ms Fuller felt the need to change her phone number. Lesson learned, I suppose.

              2. This is Bennet’s ‘implied consent’ excuse. there is nothing in the legislation or the Cabinet manual to support her view. TV3 does not have any obligations under the privacy act with regard to things on Facebook. It was utterly shit journalism, but was no breach of the act.

              3) There is a difference between payments to public officials and a private citizen’s entitlements.

              I see the minister as bearing some of the blame in that it has not been a good look.

              That doesn’t seem to make any sense. It looks like a retreat into post modernist wankery to tell the truth. The question is “Is misusing information about private citizens for political purposes acceptable for a Minister”. Your answer appears to be ‘sometimes’.

              Bennett should be given some re-education on the matter of privacy

              Why? You seem to claim in your comment that what she did was justified by 1-3 and that while ordinarily breaching the act would be a problem, these circumstances made it ok. So why the need for any education?

              In summary I think you realise that saying breaching the act is ok is untenable, but you don’t think any actual wrongdoing occurred on a moral level so feel the urege to explain why she shouldn’t be sacked. This, to me, is the nub of it. It’s a rule of law issue.

              You think breaking the law is ok for a minister if you feel the victim doesn’t deserve the protection of the law, for reasons 1-3.

              This is known, essentially, as feudalism.

              • IrishBill

                Tsmithfield is not able to reply as he has been banned for a month.

        • ak 49.1.1.2

          TS; it is now much more like infotainment than actual news. I am starting to think in favour of a single national broadcaster for the news.

          Goodness. And congratulations on your candour and/or enlightenment. To hurry you along on this salubrious train of thought, may I recommend that you cast your mind back and compare the hysterical media treatment of such heinous crimes as signing a painting for charity, sitting in the back seat of a speeding car, “anti-smacking”, Winnie possibly lying, lightbulbs, the EFA (what?) “Death of Democracy” red front page Lenin/Helen graphics, with the current treatment of various government actions exhaustively described on this very forum – including the summary dismissal of a council of elected representatives – which have necessitated such ongoing, elastic and thoroughly entertaining philosophical acrobatics from your good self.

          The “Media” of this fair land lost any claim to the authority born of independence and accuracy with which its founding fathers endowed it long, long ago. Sold for a pottle of jam and pissed up against the wall, almost literally; the most senior political political reporters on our largest outlet (Garner and Espiner) hitting the tiles with the Smiling Hologram – and having the gormless gall to admit it. With impunity.

          The privately-owned media’s monopoly on the political opinion of the crucial swing voter is the sole bogey to progression. Welcome to the light, Tarquin freezingworks.

        • uke 49.1.1.3

          “I am starting to think in favour of a single national broadcaster for the news. At least provide more balanced, accurate, less sensationalized news.”

          Doesn’t Radio New Zealand come pretty close?

  50. ak 50

    Mauler Benefit and the Fly

    Can I come into your parlour

    lisped the Basher to Natasha,

    there’s a Process to these things you see

    but oh my God! you’re just like Me!

    oh yes, yes please, do you have camomile?

    and of course I’ve seen the rest of your file.

    Do listen, young sis – can I call you Tash?

    the trick of my Trick is the size of the pile

    of gold at the end of a crocodile smile

    for us wee gels in the tory boys’ game

    fleeting and few as we be.

    So Hush, sweet Tash, and play the Jack

    It’s Honey, my dear, or the rack.

  51. Jim Nald 51

    It is a relief to hear that Bennett has not bought off the complaint. There should be more information and transparency about the process because the matter is not just a private one between two citizens but is of considerable public interest as it is between a Minister of Crown and a citizen. TV3 has, with this example, very pointedly displayed the substandard quality of journalism and reporting we have generally been unhappy about and they must pull up their socks. As for Eddie, we should expect nothing less than rigorous questioning and sharp comments in a robust and healthy democracy with people like him to draw attention to breaking news and also modifying his posts as the news reveal more.

    • ak 51.1

      It is a relief to hear that Bennett has not bought off the complaint.

      Oh quel relief. Orgasmic really, Jim – she didn’t rape or murder either, just splattered, for naked political purpose, the bare and misleading details of her income to all and sundry, to be repeated by Fairfax this very day. Mauler Benefit. Monster.

  52. Feral 52

    Like most lynch mobs you lot got it completely wrong.
    The only one coming out of this with any credibility is Paula Bennett.
    tsmithfields last 2 post puts the situation in its correct perspective and any shock, horror, outrage of what Paula Bennett may or may not have done is nothing but the usual hysteria by the standards pet trolls

    • IrishBill 52.1

      It’s pretty clear there’s been a confidential payment made. Bennett could have said “any discussion of payment is confidential” but she didn’t she lied outright knowing confidentiality would ensure it couldn’t be proved that she lied.

      • big bruv 52.1.1

        Jesus Bill, you really have no idea when to stop digging do you….

        • IrishBill 52.1.1.1

          So you don’t think there was a payment?

          • big bruv 52.1.1.1.1

            No, and frankly you look more and more desperate by suggesting that there has been.

            This type of arrogance is what will keep Labour in opposition for a very long time.

            • IrishBill 52.1.1.1.1.1

              Of course there has been. If you’re really naive enough to believe there hasn’t then I know of a Nigerian prince that could make you rich if you help him out with a temporary cash flow problem.

      • Jim Nald 52.1.2

        oh

      • Feral 52.1.3

        Have you got a source to backup these allegations?

        • IrishBill 52.1.3.1

          Only Fuller’s published emails, Bennett’s dodgy response and a lot of experience with confidential settlements.

          You’d have to be very naive to think otherwise.

          • tsmithfield 52.1.3.1.1

            Irish, you are barking up the wrong tree here.

            If Bennett was aware that a financial settlement had been reached, she likely would have fallen back to the “not discussing issues that are with the privacy commissioner” defence. After all, she, if anyone, would know the potential for information to leak out. So, telling outright lies was a very dangerous strategy.

            Most confidentially agreements are tied to that; confidentiality. Why would Fuller risk losing her “payment” by breaching the confidentiality agreement and publicizing the information as she did even if it only was on facebook? Her admission of making up stories is much more credible if that can be said of someone who has just admitted to lying.

            The facts available now are:

            1. Bennett has denied making a payment.
            2. Fuller has said she lied about her statements.

            Deese are da facts Mun.

            • Bill 52.1.3.1.1.1

              Wouldn’t be the first time that someone has naively put info on facebook overlooking the fact that it does not carry the privacy of a telephone conversation.

              Thoughtlessly slapping down conversations containing sensitive info is way too common in today’s environment where facebook etc have replaced ( or expanded on) deniable telephone and face to face conversations for many people.

              Meanwhile, for improved context, I’d like to see the pieces of the conversation that come before and after the quoted text. Anyway.

            • pollywog 52.1.3.1.1.2

              Deese are da facts Mun.

              …is that supposed to be some comical pisstake of a black faced negro lawyer ?

              EPIC FAIL !!!

          • Feral 52.1.3.1.2

            Not exactly up to the same standard of proof you require when you ban others is it

            Since you haven’t produced a link when asked, show no signs of doing so, and haven’t withdrawn, you’re banned for a week for bad behaviour in the debate – see the policy. ]

            • IrishBill 52.1.3.1.2.1

              The threshold for getting banned by me is whether you’ve pissed me off or not. I’m glad to see from your inability to directly respond to my statement that you agree a payment is the most likely explanation.

              • Feral

                Your statement that “a payment is the most likely explanation was so unlikely” That I asked you for a source, in other words “Proof”
                Using the standards that you apply to other posters on this site, if you cannot supply a source,link of proof then you must be bullshitting . I think you are!

              • IrishBill

                So you do agree that payment is the most likely explanation. Good.

  53. Feral 53

    What Part of “I think your Bullshitting” Do you not understand

    • IrishBill 53.1

      It seems clear to me that you realise that the most likely scenario is that Fuller was paid off, broke confidentiality and then freaked out about losing the settlement. The fact that you are so determined to misdirect only underscores this.

      • Feral 53.1.1

        All I am trying to do IrishBill is to hold you to the same standards of proof as you apparently require of other posters to this site As below:

        Since you haven’t produced a link when asked, show no signs of doing so, and haven’t withdrawn, you’re banned for a week for bad behaviour in the debate see the policy. ]

        If you cannot prove your allegations you should withdraw them or ban yourself

        • IrishBill 53.1.1.1

          lol. I’ve never banned anyone for not producing a link. I ban people because I feel like it and because I can. Asking me for a link to prove my analysis of the situation and then bleating on about how I should “ban myself” (oh noez!) is the kind of desperate and dumb tactic people employ when they know they’re wrong.

          You know there was a settlement. If you didn’t you wouldn’t be backing down with a comment that starts “All I am trying to do” which is a pretty bad attempt at reframing the debate away from the main point.

          I’m glad you’re willing to tacitly admit you think there was a settlement.

          Now we’ve got that out of the way, how do you feel about a minister being able to buy her way out of trouble like this? Doesn’t speak to personal responsibility much does it?

          [lprent: I’m the one that bans people for not producing links. IB is constructing an argument – quite different. ]

        • NickS 53.1.1.2

          @Feral

          wtf?

          Joe Bloggs was banned for not producing a link to the NZ Herald article he claimed proved Fuller had denied meeting Bennett, what IB’s doing is building an argument via inference about a possible settlement based off the somewhat non-transparent actions of Bennett over this situation. Something rather different, but this does point to you having failed the critical reading part of NCEA/School Cert english, of course it could be that you don’t understand basic rhetorical technique and thus think you’re being smart here.

          When instead you come off looking utterly stupid.

          • Jim Nald 53.1.1.2.1

            Dear IB

            I’ve just had a quiet moment to review all the postings. There seems to be a few more pieces of the jigsaw that are yet to be uncovered. Quite right that you are raising the questions and legitimately so that you are pursuing other lines of inquiry. But some of the postings here by particular folks are fast lowering the tone and standard (yes, that is a pun too) and creating noise that may be a put off for others to contribute and comment. Perhaps their postings are meant to be a deliberate distraction.

            Given this is your website, or you have a stake in it, it would be most welcome if you exercise your bans and suchlike functions quite liberally. Neoliberally, if you wish. You don’t have to give a reason (or just refer to a link with a standard response to those who whinge).

            Alternatively, there can be some kind of setting where those who have a record of contributing reasonable comments have their postings uploaded (almost) right away and, for those who don’t, have theirs be delayed until moderated or screened off.

            Sometimes I think most from the Left are far more polite and scrupulous and try to be a bit more balanced and fair, perhaps a bit too much and quite unnecessarily so. If the boot is on the other foot, I’m quite sure a rabid right website would be much quicker to remove the annoying and nuisance postings.

            Kind regards, J

            [lprent: We do exercise the stakeholder rights reasonably liberally when it is appropriate. But it tends towards fighting off flamewars and the like (check back in the archive to posts in late 2007 to mid-2008 to see what we want to avoid). People who comment here regularly get a lot of leeway. Newbies coming in to troll don’t get those chances. Different moderators work on different processes. I’m usually pretty discriminating about behaviour I ban for. Irish will ban because he is sick of reading twaddle. Keeps commentators on their toes. ]

            • Inventory2 53.1.1.2.1.1

              Jim – I think you’ll find DPF applies bannings far less frequently than the combined might of Eddie, IrishBill and lprent 😉

              • lprent

                Which is why the sewer is largely unreadable if you’re not in the ‘in’ crowd of bullies (like yourself). Offering dissenting opinions there merely gets you verbally beaten up.

                People make ridiculous assertions and aren’t pulled up on them which makes the comments section there rather pointless to read. It is the faithful preaching to the faithful where moderates are pilloried as being extremists, by the nutter fringes of society.

                I can see why you fit in there well…. 😈

              • Jim Nald

                If Inventory2 were to do unto DPF what he (presumably Inventory2 is a prick rather than a bitch) he is doing here, he would single-handedly multiply lone DPF’s statistics a hundredfold as compared with the combined figure that he alleges can be attributed to the collective effort of Eddie, Irishbill and lprent.

                captcha: left

  54. Feral 54

    Bloody Hell “Your Dumber then a bag of Hammers

    • IrishBill 54.1

      Nope. You’re just transparent. I’d also suggest you work on your spelling and punctuation before you start casting aspersions on other people’s intellect.

  55. sounds like y’all need to meet up behind the gym after school and sort this out like real kids…

    captcha : assembly

    Still, it’ll be interesting to note if Fuller has a sudden cash windfall soon.

  56. Feral 56

    Spelling and punctuation, who cares We all get lazy with the spell checker. Maybe you should look at your own spelling in your posts. Get over it.

    I do not realize that the most likely scenario is that Fuller was paid off,

    I am not willing to tacitly admit I think there was a settlement.

    And if as NickS posts “what IB’s doing is building an argument via inference about a possible settlement based off the somewhat non-transparent actions of Bennett over this situation.”
    Isn’t this what TV3 did.

    “It’s pretty clear there’s been a confidential payment made” This is not an argument, This is an assertion and I am simply asking for proof

    • IrishBill 56.1

      It doesn’t matter whether you’re willing to tacitly admit anything because you have tacitly admitted you think there was a settlement. In fact you just did it again by using the phrase “not willing” to evade having to say you don’t believe it. Lol!

      I think I’d like to see some kind of proof that I made an assertion of fact rather than an assertion of opinion. Please prove with a link or I may have to ban you.

      • Feral 56.1.1

        Yeah Right! When all else fails you just ban.
        I stated ,you made an assertion. I didn’t say whether it was an assertion of fact or an assertion of opinion.
        You’ve failed to answer a quite reasonable request to prove your assertion so I can only assume it is simply not true.

        [lprent: Assertions of fact are the only thing that you can try to ‘prove’, and in fact what I look for is simply a reasonable attempt.

        However, you don’t make the rules here (start your own blog if you want that privilege) and if you persist in trying to make ‘rules’ here then I’ll be happy to ban you. Does that clarify the limits to your behaviour? ]

        • IrishBill 56.1.1.1

          You don’t even realise I’m taking the piss out of you! Classic.

          Would you like to explain how I am supposed to provide a link to prove my assertion of opinion?

          • Feral 56.1.1.1.1

            GOTCHA
            Whose taking the piss out of who is debatable

            You seem to be floundering, trying so many different tact’s

            A great many of the posts on this site banned in the past , for not providing links could also have been assertion of opinion?

            [lprent: Very few, and most of those have been things that the race relations or human rights commissioners would have been interested in.

            Statements of opinion are easily distinguished from assertions of facts. They contain phrases like “In my opinion”, “I believe”, “It is my recollection”, “I understand”, “If we speculate”, etc etc. Assertions of fact baldly state that something is true.

            Opinion can be argued about. Assertion of fact requires proof because otherwise it usually degenerates into the flame when the asserter doesn’t offer substantiation of their claim.

            Anyway, my toleration of you trying to make the rules here is wearing very thin. Next time I have to waste time on this subject I’ll make the problem go away. ]

            • IrishBill 56.1.1.1.1.1

              Nope. You mean “who’s” by the way.

              • Jim Nald

                and he meant “so many different tacks”
                that was doubly bad

              • Feral

                Who cares Your arguments totally sunk

                your still floundering

              • IrishBill

                Sunk? But you agree with me that Bennett probably paid a settlement. You are a very confused troll aren’t you.

    • NickS 56.2

      @Feral
      /facepalm

      Except you’re quoting mining IB, when instead what you should be doing is reading his posts and examining and critiquing the arguments he makes that lead to the statement you “quote”.

      It’s a basic essay writing skill that you should’ve picked up in 3rd form/year 9…

      So get back to highschool and learn thy self some basic critical reading and writing skills.

  57. I admire your persistence IB, but the fact that none of the main papers or their websites are running the story today suggests that it is a non-starter. TV3 got duped by Ms Fuller; they only had to go back and read some of the stories from around August-September last year to realise that they should have been very sure about checking any “facts” she gave them.

    • IrishBill 57.1

      Of course it’s a non-starter. That doesn’t mean it’s not clear to everyone how it’s played out.

  58. eye saw 58

    So when is the privacy commissioners report due out?
    If it doesn’t appear ,can we then assume that a settlement of some kind was reached,and if so how do we find out what that settlement was?
    Confidential in this case would only cast doubt on what really happened.
    captcha careful

  59. tsmithfield 59

    Reading some of the comments above, it looks like some contributors are trying to build fantasy castles higher than the one that Fuller appears to live in. Be careful. If you build them, you might end up living there.

    Let me reiterate:

    On one hand we have a strong denial of an allegation. That denial has remained constant and has not be retracted.
    On the other hand we have someone who has admitted publicly to making up porkies.

    Seems a fairly simple choice to me.

    • IrishBill 59.1

      On one hand we have a strong denial of an allegation by someone who knows anything other than a denial is the end of her career. That denial has remained constant and has not be retracted.
      On the other hand we have someone who has admitted publicly to making up porkies but would be highly likely to lose thousands of dollars she really needs if she didn’t make such an “admission”.

      There you go TSmith. I’ve fixed it for you.

  60. tsmithfield 60

    Keep building that castle, Bill. It looks like you’ve nearly finished it. So, what you are saying is that if Fuller has not been telling the truth about lying, she has been lying about telling the truth, and that her ability to be truthful depends on how much or how little she is being paid. Not a very credible witness, do you think? Not a very complimentary picture you’re trying to paint of her either.

    So, which part of your additions to my statement are anything more than completely unfounded speculation?

    • IrishBill 60.1

      Of course it’s speculation. I’ve not got access to the details of the confidential meeting. Personally I think Bennett got lucky because of a confluence of personal motives. I’ll guarantee that most of the gallery will be thinking the same thing.

  61. ianmac 61

    On one hand Natasha is in a more powerful position because Paula depends on Natasha denying that money was offered.
    On the other hand Natasha is in a weaker position because she has contradiced her own story. Less credible. Though she is not a professional politician just an ordinary Kiwi with frailities.
    However again perception is everything in politics. The doubt is present because the Facebook does have a credible ring. Paula, to some of us, is a dodgy unscrupulous person. Would she try and protect herself with clever denials? Yes. I think so. So no matter what if anything transpires, Paula has probably been damaged.

    • IrishBill 61.1

      She certainly has been damaged and the more the right get all excited about press complaint and the like the harder it will be for Bennett to put it to bed and move on.

  62. tsmithfield 62

    Bill, you clearly have a much lower opinion of Fuller than I do to support your admitted unfounded speculation.

    1. You think she is too stupid to realise that publishing the “facts” on facebook would be a violation of confidentiality.
    2. You think she is prepared to lie publicly if she is going to lose a lot of money maintaining the truth.

    So, in summary, you seem to see Fuller as a stupid, money-motivated liar. Correct?

    IrishBill: So in summary you seem to think I’m the kind of guy that will allow you to willfully misrepresent me on my own blog. Take a month off you stupid fuck.

  63. Feral 63

    Sunk? But you agree with me that Bennett probably paid a settlement. You are a very confused troll aren’t you.

    IrishBill, I agree that you have a very confused line of thinking and an argument that has no merit or credibility

    • IrishBill 63.1

      Yes I think that Bennett probably paid a settlement. In fact that was my point right from the start and as you have at no stage argued that you think Bennett didn’t make a payment then I’m not sure what your point is.

      Perhaps you need a cup of tea and a lie down?

      • Jim Nald 63.1.1

        I circulated the weblink to wider family and friends overseas who have little background about the case and asked them to assess the Honourable Minister’s credibility just based on the body language and responses.

        All the feedback received was unfavourable.

        A couple of friends made the comment that it was like watching their ten-year old trying to talk out of a situation when something quite naughty had been done.

      • Feral 63.1.2

        “Oh you poor dear” I knew you were floundering but didn’t realize you’d lost your way completely.

        I think the words I used were “Proof” that she had paid a settlement and “Bullshitting I think you are” This would seem to imply that I disagreed with your argument and was of the opinion that she had not paid a settlement.
        However I will make it clear just for you

        I don’t believe Paula Bennett paid a settlement (Can I make it any clearer)

        • IrishBill 63.1.2.1

          So now you don’t think there was a settlement? How on earth am I expected to debate with someone who is constantly changing their position?

          • Feral 63.1.2.1.1

            constantly changing their position?
            What on earth are you on?

            Hmm, I think Im back to the quote
            “Dumber then a bag of hammers”
            or you could try
            “about as sharp as a sack of wet mice”
            or possibly
            “only one oar in the water””

            • IrishBill 63.1.2.1.1.1

              If you’re going to come here to make nonsensical arguments and then throw insults around I think you’d be better off commenting over at Kiwiblog. You’ll feel more at home there I’m sure.

              It’s good to see your spelling and punctuation has improved.

  64. Rex Widerstrom 64

    What we have here, it seems to me, is two opposing stories from two women, both with virtually zero credibility.

    Which suggests that all the inferring in the world, in either direction, won’t help us get to the truth… and nor will the ill-tempered banning of conflicting opinions.

    Surely a more valuable discussion to be having is about what, if any, mechanism exists to independently investigate the actions of the Minister (because, as Pascal’s bookie said earlier, “It’s always about the actions of the Minister. Always”) notwithstanding any private agreement as to confidentiality. And how to initiate such an investigation.

    ON a related note, as the recipient of a taxpayer funded settlement following my unjustified dismissal from the NZ First Parliamentary Office, which included a ‘say nothing’ clause, it seems to me that once you’ve got your hands on the money you can pretty much say what you like… after all, what are they going to do, revictimise you by demanding it back?

    • mark 64.1

      both with zero credibility Rex.?
      You should be one of the last people to cast aspersions on other peoples credibility

  65. It would be nice if people remember the facts and course of events correctly. Let me help a little …

    The women that Ms Bennett chose to put in the spotlight and let be vilified in public DID NOT give any personal financial information to any Labour Party MP. The only information they gave was how losing TIA would affect their ability to continue their learning.

    At no time in any communication with MP’s, or with the media, did anyone concerned say that the DPB was NOT enough to live on. They only highlighted the impact losing the TIA would have on their ability to either undertake or continue their studies, as beneficiaries with children in their care.

    The two women did not approach the media. They were known to the reporter of the original story (NZ Herald, Govt axe destroys dreams, 19.07.09) through the then newly formed lobby group Hand Up (formed 10.07.09), and asked to comment so that the issue of the cutting back of the TIA could be highlighted, using their individual experiences.

    It was only after the Minister talked to the media about the two women specifically, that Natasha approached TV3 to try and defend herself against the ensuing onslaught of hatred towards her (NZ Herald, Bennett gets tough with outspoken solo mums, 27.07.09).

    These are the facts. The full timeline of how the events unfolded is very clear, including who did and said what and when.

    I can only hope that the Privacy Commissioner makes her ruling soon. After all, it has been almost 9 months. Time to give some closure to all involved and give focus back to the original issue … that the TIA was dropped quietly and quickly without putting in place an alternative that would mean those beneficiaries who could study be given the chance to do so.

    • ianmac 65.1

      Good to read the facts. Very relevant in this context. Thanks Sally Anne

  66. Steve 66

    Did Eddie say “sorry I messed up” yet? Easy to blame TV3 but that does not explain the witch hunt in the last 24 hours.
    TV3 fucked up, but so did you Eddie, by not checking, just repeating

  67. Rich 67

    Personally, I don’t believe Ms Fullers retraction. She was probably pressured/bribed/bullied into it by Bennett and the National Party.

  68. Steve 68

    Billie, I fess up when I shoot my mouth off without checking FACTS.
    I think the posters here should do the same don’t you?
    TV3 bullshit gets repeated on The Standard by Eddie and then Eddie shoves it of to misinformation!!
    Just say sorry Eddie. Simple as, and will do much more for your credibility than blaming others.

    Ban me Bill, the truth is worth a ban

    IrishBill: “fess up”? Who the fuck says “fess up”? Quit your crying and fuck off like you were told.

    • Armchair Critic 68.1

      You must be fucking angry at John Key for his misrepresentations about tax cuts, GST rises, privatisation and the like, then Steve. I mean, all Eddie did was repeat what others had said, whereas JK was making shit up!
      IB, please ban this MF.

  69. infused 69

    Cry more Irish. Really don’t like being wrong over here eh.

    anti-spam. communications: you should learn how to communicate better.

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