Lee down, under; about to be reborn

Written By: - Date published: 9:10 am, May 14th, 2009 - 34 comments
Categories: corruption, mt albert, national - Tags: , , , ,

mellisa-lee-3Melissa Lee’s recent interviews on Q+A, TV1, TV3 and RNZ proved once and for all that being able to read an autocue doesn’t mean you’re any good at handling the media.

When Lee put her hand up to rob the hapless Ravi Musuku of any chance of ever being rewarded for standing in Mt Albert, I doubt she realised how brave she was. She probably thought it’d be good for scoring a few brownie points with Sir John.

Now with National’s scrapping of the Waterview tunnel and the enormous heat that’s going to develop, the Anti-Supershity hikoi in a couple of weeks, the Black Budget just around the corner, and the latest pilfering public funds allegations – Lee looks like she’ll be taking the wrap for a substantial National humiliation in the Mt Albert by-election next month. Perhaps belatedly sensing her terrible error of judgement in standing and her potential demise, Lee has to date consistently appeared arrogant, aggressive and highly defensive.

This is definitely bringing Lee down fast. The only question remaining about her political career is has she already gone under, but I doubt she’ll join Dick Worth just yet. Lee’s handlers will have undoubtedly seen the problem even if Lee couldn’t. If she’s smart she’ll take their advice and do a quick change of face to a much softer, kinder, more caring, more listening, more conciliatory appearance.

Stand by for a 180 personality makeover.

34 comments on “Lee down, under; about to be reborn”

  1. andy 1

    Stand by for a 180 personality makeover.

    Noooooo! Then Tim will have to tell us how even more super duper mega excellent dipped in double chocolate National sauce she is!

    • bilbo 1.1

      Crikey have you forgotten that this is exactly the advice that was given to Helen as the election loomed.

      And lest we forget HC was a very very good politician, Lee’s pretty much an amateur.

  2. gingercrush 2

    Can we define a landslide or what humiliation is. For instance the party vote difference between National and Labour was about 2, 500 votes. If its within that margin is that a landslide? Or will a landslide be either Lee is third in the votes cast for her or she is outside 2, 500 votes? Or will you define any win by Shearer as being humiliating and a landslide?

    • the sprout 2.1

      hmm fair point gc.
      i guess humiliation for either will be substantial decline in vote for the loser relative to 08 party vote. what is substantial? it won’t be statistical validity, it’ll be what media pundits say it is to a large extent. considering their typical inumeracy that could be anything from statistical insignifincance upwards.
      i do think shearer will need to win by more than the 08 Mt Albert party vote margin for him and his backers to save face.
      lee can afford to lose and still keep face so long as she soesn’t lose by a margin ‘subtantially’ greater than the 08 party vote for Mt Albert.
      norman will be humiliated, because he is a party leader, if he doesn’t increase the green vote substantially beyond what the greens got in Mt Albert in 08 when jon carapiet (the green’s ravi musuku) was the candidate. i think that’s a real risk for their startegy of standing norman in this by-election.

  3. Pat 3

    Lee will be taking the wrap? Do you mean gladwrap or bubble wrap?

    Maybe you mean she will be taking the rap.

    • the sprout 3.1

      yeah i mean gladwrap Pat. it’s the Evil Baton of Death used to suffocate unsuccessful, humiliation inducing candidates.

  4. When Lee put her hand up to rob the hapless Ravi Musuku of any chance of ever being rewarded for standing in Mt Albert …

    And David Shearer’s long standing relationship with the seat of Mt Albert is exactly what?

    Having said that, I do agree that Lee is looking out of her depth and somewhat error prone which is completely at odds with her reputation.

    National seems to be intent on making sure it gives Mt Albert residents every reason not to vote Nat but at least you can’t accuse them of trying to buy the seat 🙂

    • gingercrush 4.1

      I still hold hope for her. This will make her stronger no doubt.

      • bilbo 4.1.1

        Feck give it away it might not be pleasant but the reality is she’s political dog tucker.

  5. gobsmacked 5

    She won’t lose by that much. A couple of thousand maybe.

    But what the MSM Commentator-Parrots don’t seem to grasp is the difference between a by-election result and a by-election campaign.

    National can brush off the result in one weekend (safe Labour seat, didn’t expect to win, blah blah). But the campaign is much longer. It’s uncontrolled (unlike Beehive spin). And the coverage isn’t confined to voters in a corner of Auckland.

    For National’s opponents, it’s a gift that keeps on giving.

    • r0b 5.1

      Excellent point gs, I hadn’t thought of it like that.

      We have weeks more Leeisms to look forward to! Maybe Key will decide to cut his losses and pull the plug on her campaign.

      • bilbo 5.1.1

        I dunno – every party needs their own version of Judith.

        Perhaps a post on the stupidest things said by ‘politicos’ is in order to remind ourselves that we haven’t yet reached the levels of Dan Quayle.

      • the sprout 5.1.2

        good points gs.

        the outcome will be milked for a long time by whoever is the victor – either a supposed rejection of the Govt’s direction by the electorate (as in NZ, not just Mt Albert), or an endorsement of National’s mandate to keep doing more of what they’re doing.

        either would be an overblown interpretation of the result but it’ll still be used as such.

        • calltoaccount

          Besides the magnifying effect of the by-election itself, we have the fact Lee is a list MP. Win or lose, she carries on and so therefore will any part of this whole episode that can be traced back to her.

          “Time for a change” of candidate? Too late I reckon…

  6. Tim Ellis 6

    and the latest pilfering public funds allegations

    Nobody has made those allegations except you, Sprout. Good to see you conducting yourself with dignity and not stooping to the gutter, though. Using her private company to produce a youtube clip doesn’t amount to “pilfering public funds”, any way you want to spin it.

    • r0b 6.1

      private company taxpayer funded company

      youtube clip national party campaign video

      Fixed that for you. No charge.

      • Tim Ellis 6.1.1

        r0b, by your measure every company that does business with government is a taxpayer funded company.

        If you want to keep calling it a national party campaign video, then good for you. It was a three minute clip that was posted on youtube and the national party website. There were many other youtube clips posted during the election that appeared on other websites, including left wing ones posted at the standard, which were not disclosed as an election expense.

        • r0b

          r0b, by your measure every company that does business with government is a taxpayer funded company.

          Tim, you really try hard for National, you really do. I admire your tenacity. And you used to be good at it. But denying the bleeding obvious is destroying what’s left of your credibility.

          NZ on Air is also investigting allegations that National MP and Mt Albert candidate Melissa Lee used staff hours funded by the taxpayer to film and produce the video clip through her production company, Vision Asia

          If you want to keep calling it a national party campaign video, then good for you.

          I’m calling it what the TV3 report called it Tim – a resource produced for the National Party. “Youtube clip” is your spin to try and trivialise the issue.

          • Tim Ellis

            The youtube clip isn’t my spin, r0b. The very article you quote says:

            Two staff who work for Vision Asia helped make the “National Asian Team” clip on YouTube which is fronted by Pansy Wong and has footage of National’s other Asian candidates.

          • r0b

            Yes indeed, it is now only available on youtube because National has deleted it (their own campaign video) from their website. Why did they do that Tim?

      • the sprout 6.1.2

        cheers r0b

  7. exbrethren 7

    The Tim Ellis rapid rebuttal service strikes again. Seriously Tim you should ask the Nats for some funding, you’re doing a grand job.

    However, you facts are a little out. Its not sprout spinning here, it’s you. The accusations have been made by Jessie Gurunathan, and repeated on Morning Report today quite clearly. The allegation is that Lee got an employee to work on the video during work time. According to TV3 news last night this employees wages are funded by NZ On Air.

    Gurunathan has a lot to lose through these allegations, I should imagine a defamation case at least, so despite your assertions there is a serious case to answer and Lees replies have been inadequate thus far. Laughably on TV3 News she said that she couldn’t recall the employees working in work time. Not good enough, there needs to be a NZ On Air investigation pronto to clear the case up either way.

  8. Tim Ellis 8

    exbrethren, Jessie Gurunathan didn’t make an accusation that Lee pilfered taxpayers’ money. That is Trevor Mallard muckraking.

    • exbrethren 8.1

      Semantics Tim. If she used NZ ON Air money for Nat Party adverts that is misappropriating funds.

      Classic diversionary tactics, but try as you might you can’t remove the stench of questionable ethics from Lee. Only a NZ On Air investigation could do that.

    • r0b 8.2

      Jessie Gurunathan didn’t make an accusation that Lee pilfered taxpayers’ money.

      It’s hard to keep up with all your distortions Tim. Gurunathan and other staff certainly accused Lee of using taxpayer funded resources:

      “There were a lot of incidents during the day where some of the other staff who had basic camera and editing experience would go with her and film things,” says Ms Guruanathan, “with the equipment from work, and edit them for her.” “It was tense – none of us knew who was going to have jobs. What if they win? Will we have jobs?

      “I do remember discussions with us saying why that had to be happening during work hours, [with work equipment] and with work employees.” Ms Guruanathan adds that Asia Downunder editing machines were also used on the campaign ad.

      Ms Lee pulled out of an agreed interview with Campbell Live today.

      The allegations are serious enough that they are being explored by the electoral commission. Perhaps, like Lee herself Tim, you need to recognise when you’re in a hole, and stop digging?

  9. Tim Ellis 9

    Semantics Tim. If she used NZ ON Air money for Nat Party adverts that is misappropriating funds.

    There’s no evidence of that, exbrethren. Gurunathan never made that claim. You are stretching what she said quite deliberately.

  10. Bethany Mark 10

    Leaving to one side the issues around NZ on Air funding and conflicts of interest, Russel Norman is quite right to lodge a complaint with the Electoral Commission over the Melissa Lee produced video, as there is still an outstanding issue about the Asia Vision Ltd donation to the National Party.

    The Electoral Finance Act has since been repealed, but its provisions were still applicable during the last election. Section 94 is quite clear an election expense included the preparation, design, composition etc of an electoral advertisement.

    The National Party have suggested in the Herald this morning that because the work was done by volunteers, it is not an election expense.

    They are correct in a sense, but whether the Asia Vision Ltd employees donated their labour directly to the National Party, or instead donated their labour to their boss, who then made a film for the National Party, may be a material difference in this case (although this point is as-yet untested).

    But more importantly the reasonable commercial value of materials used in the production of the video needed to be included as a donation under this same section 94 of the repealed Act. The relevant sub section is primarily intended to cover things like donated wood and commercial hoarding sites, but there is a strong case to be made that any materials at all used by Asia Vision Ltd in the production of the video needed to be recorded by the National Party, regardless of whether money changed hands.

    The production of the clip was a donation from a company to a political party, it needed to be recorded in National’s expense return, and it wasn’t. I’m looking forward to the Electoral Commission’s response to Russel Norman’s complaint.

  11. Maynard J 11

    To pretend that the VA case is just like any other business interaction with the government is a bit credibility-stretchy. Here’s an equivalent example:

    An HNZ contractor using government recources and money intended for state houses to build a National campaign office.

    If that’s not ok, then why can VA use government recources and money to film an ad for National?

  12. exbrethren 12


    you seem to have remarkable difficulty in following a simple scenario, or are you just running diversions?

    1. Gurunathan claims that an employee worked on the vid during work time.

    2. As TV3 News stated last night that employee is funded by NZ On Air.

    If the above two statements are proven true NZ ON Air money was involved in the making of the ad. Simple enough for you yet?

    These aren’t my claims, they are the claims of TV3.

  13. Go Tim Ellis! Go boy go!
    utube clip!
    one of many, the manicurist did the camera work, the caretaker did Pansys makeup, whatever.

    Say it long and often enough Master Ellis and you will out in the end. Eventually.

    methinks he dost froth too much

    anyhoo, hah – good one, a kinder gentler Melissa This is my country dammit Lee?
    So her handlers are gonna put her on the Jonkeys meds? Will they be strong enough?

  14. insideCat 14

    Sneaky little bird doing the rounds recently told me Jessie Gurunathan got taken for a long ride by Asia Down Under, the tele show. She nearly accused the boss at the time of slavery and some supposedly fairly heavy abuses – guess who the boss was trying to do a number on her?
    Melissa Lee of course! Sounds like this Lee woman is a baaaaaad apple and Gurunathan will be the first of many to come out saying Lee is dodgey as.

    Who paid for whatever is past tense – the case is murky but obvious enough that there were misdeeds in the video made and where the donation came from…

    Watch this space – politicians who wanna play underhanded usually get upended…..

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