Two weeks ago, Matthew Hooton started pushing David Parker for the Labour leadership in an NBR article. WhaleOil picked up on it and gave it some air-time, as did Farrar and a speaker at the ACT party conference.
Then Darren Hughes’ police investigation was leaked from the Beehive. The police investigation has now been ruined by the media spotlight and justice will be ill-served because politics has sought to interfere; despite Labour trying to allow the police to do their job and allow justice – for the complainant and for Darren Hughes1.
Suddenly in the wake of the Darren Hughes story the centre-right started spouting that a leadership coup was under way, Parker had the numbers to roll Goff. iPredict for Goff to be gone before the election soared to over 70c. Selwyn Manning at Scoop picked up on the line WhaleOil, Jason Ede and Judith Collins had been pushing (right down to Maryan Street and Ruth Dyson doing the numbers), and suddenly it had some credence. The NBR gave it more, even if they thought a “well-placed source” would actually think that Helen Clark was still running the party.
Vernon Small and Tracy Watkins were a bit more circumspect (other than the headline), but managed to get an (isolated) “up-and-coming” MP to give a disgruntled quote… and the story was on.
I was at the Auckland Labour List conference today… no-one was doing the numbers. I rang some Labour people with contacts elsewhere… nobody was doing the numbers.
Now, it is hard to find the Goff coup story on stuff. Phil Goff’s iPredict has more than halved. Matthew Hooton must have made a killing on his pump and dump.
And any chance of anyone remembering the controversial Marine and Coastal Areas Act that threatened to drain National and Maori Party support and strain their alliance, is gone. We might get onto discussing the horrendous budget that Bill English is going to introduce next week, but that criticism is delayed.
These stories have been constructed on the right-wing blogs before, and they will again. But will the media start to wisen up?
1 There is a lot of pressure for the police to press charges now (and let a court decide) because they cannot investigate properly – hopefully they will make their decisions on their own merits, rather than that pressure.
Also: when will stories about Hughes (or back when Mana apparently didn’t want Fa’afoi) stop featuring “Labour insider” or “hardcore Labour activist” Phil Quinn commenting and instead have “disgruntled ex-Labour staffer who now lives in the US” Phil Quinn?