Marwick on dirty politics, leaks and the OIA

Written By: - Date published: 2:01 pm, March 13th, 2017 - 31 comments
Categories: Dirty Politics, john key - Tags: , , ,

Interesting piece by the tenacious Felix Marwick at Newstalk ZB:

No sunlight, no disinfectant. Political machinations remain behind the veil

A little over three years ago the then Prime Minister, John Key, made an off the cuff comment at one of his weekly post-cabinet press conferences that he did have contact with bloggers. It was an interesting statement at the time as it was quite clear Government messages were being channelled directly to websites that were aligned with, and sympathetic to, the National Government’s agenda. I was curious to see what these contacts entailed so lodged a series of Official Information Act requests with the Prime Minister and several Cabinet Ministers to see exactly what was being passed on, and to whom.

Read on in the original piece for the sorry details. Conclusions…

Well a lot of the material disclosed in Nicky Hager’s book Dirty Politics probably went through the exact same channels that I tried to use the OIA on. Hager came in for intense criticism, mainly from those who were front and centre in his book over their political machinations, for his ethics and the way he acquired his information. What my use of the OIA shows is that leaks and surreptitious acquisition of evidence is the only way you are going to get political material of this nature that is in the public interest. The Official Information Act won’t overcome political self interest as long as politicians are allowed to determine what hat they’re wearing when they’re using public information for their own political ends. Being a Minister and a Prime Minister is a full time job. Politicians shouldn’t get to finagle the system just so as to protect their political manoeuvring. Governments wield immense power so there need to be adequate checks and balances on those that exercise that power.

The other thing you can deduce from a three year battle over access to correspondence is that the most senior politician in the land probably had something to hide.

Seems like.

31 comments on “Marwick on dirty politics, leaks and the OIA”

  1. tc 1

    What did you expect ? Dirty politics and the use of pengiun/blubber etc are stock in trade methods of operation for nact.

    They’ll never lie as well as shonky did so they need it more than ever now.

  2. Keith 2

    No shit Felix!

    I recall the same PM telling opposition MP’s he had “drawer full of dirt ” on them or words to that effect prior to the last election. Wonder where that came from?

    But even more strange is how Newstalk ZB even allowed such an OIA inquiry to be made by one of their reporters in the first place.

  3. shorts 3

    Felix Marwick has done good work here, respect – and the NZ public need reminding of the dirty politics saga and who orchestrated it… especially as we near another election

  4. Tory 4

    “What my use of the OIA shows is that leaks and surreptitious acquisition of evidence is the only way you are going to get political material of this nature”

    Or in other words steal the information or contract someone to steal the info. Who knows as Hagers dirty tricks seem to be on a par with Ministers (I.e. Deny the source etc)

    • Muttonbird 4.1

      Hager isn’t a public servant, although he does better work than most of them.

    • Keith 4.2

      You cannot possibly defend the filth Key and others were up to. They are scum.

      As Marwick found out and as we all know, National simply refuse to comply with the law insofar as the OIA goes to hide their dirty little secrets. They are above the law!

    • adam 4.3

      LOL your always good for a laugh Tory. I love how you can just ignore facts, and just get to the heart of your propagandize message.

    • Andre 4.4

      Are you suggesting that whatever they do is OK with you as long as they don’t get found out?

      • Draco T Bastard 4.4.1

        That’s exactly what he’s saying. Tories always defend the actions of their leaders no matter how unethical their actions.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 4.5

      Hagers [sic] dirty tricks

      What were they again? Oh that’s right: he shone some sunlight on scum like you. A job that should be done by the cops.

    • Or you know, that if you’re concerned with people “stealing information,” you might want to loosen up the chains on the old OIA responses so that people don’t need to go digging through other sources to do legitimate journalism.

      As for your framing, there is no such thing as stealing information, as information can’t be “lost” the same way property can. There is “unauthorised leaking,” or “hacking computer systems,” but neither of those actually involve stealing anything.

      Hager also doesn’t hack anyone. He’s just established as someone who people who do have this information can go to if they think there’s no other way to get it public, which is precisely what a good journalist should do, whether you rate him as such or not. This is precisely what “anonymous sources” always was, at least when the label was used legitimately, it’s just that right-wingers are much more likely to cross the lines so your lot have been cracking down on the leakers rather than simply making an effort not to do things the public doesn’t like.

      If you were actually consistent about your standards of behaviour for politicians, you couldn’t have supported either Key or English, even without the leaks from Hager. Ponytailgate was waaaay past anything Clark ever did, and Bill English has some very discriminatory things to say about immigrants that shouldn’t be tolerated in NZ politics.

  5. Anne 5

    I’m currently trying to put together some time-lines concerning several controversial events involving John Key in recent years. My aim is to see if there are common political threads (local and off-shore) that link them together. It will be impossible to include everything that has happened, but if it works out successfully I will post here. 🙂

    • Carolyn_nth 5.1

      I looked a bit at Xero NZ, Thiel and John Key.

      It looked to me that Key got involved with Xero NZ, more in relation to Kiwi Rod Drury than via Thiel. Thiel did meet Key early on. But I think they were all part of the circles Key moved in.

      Drury is a globalist, looking to do business int he US. Plus someone else in Xero, chris Liddell joined Trump’s team.

      Drury and Xero seem to want to keep a step or two away from Key’s government, but nevertheless were looking to influence him/Nats.

      It may have been the case that Key linked up with these right wing, business oriented, individualistic, entrepreneurial libertarians because they had some common aims: dominance of the internet machinery, plus wanting in on global power networks, rather than being totally in sync. Plus the 5 Eyes connection

      Key seemed to encourage a range of overseas, wealthy, digital business entrepreneurs – as well as some behind the scenes dirty politics, bloggers, and spinners.

      A wide network Key has been spinning.

    • Chris 5.2

      Have you had a look at Campbell Live’s analysis of the links and timelines around Key’s visit to Warner Brothers etc and his denial of his previous knowledge of the Dotcom saga? Campbell et al did a great job and got so close to nailing Key’s massive lie. He was one thread of teflon away. I’m guessing big things are about to be uncovered before the election, hence Key’s shock departure.

      • Anne 5.2.1

        Yep. Followed that analysis closely. Had quite a few things to say about it here. The biggest tell-tale sign was Key’s decision not to attend the funeral of the three soldiers killed in Afghanistan. His excuse was he had promised his son he would fly to Los Angeles in time to see him play a baseball game. It transpired the game wasn’t scheduled until four days later – plenty of time to attend the memorial service and get to his son’s game. But:

        it also transpired he had a dinner date prior to the game with Warner Bros. and you can bet your bottom dollar there were some other very interesting people in attendance. We just don’t know who they were.

        • mosa 5.2.1.1

          I remember Anne being outraged that he was not attending the soldiers funeral and when i learned of the reason why i sent a letter of disgust to his electorate office.

          Yet not one howl of outrage from anywhere with regard to his actions in fact the general consensus was that he was a Father and had to make time for his kids sport.

          How things have changed, no previous PM could have got away with this , the political damage would have been huge.

          With this latest revelation it just proves what an utter bastard John Phillip Key was and is and that he was not motivated to seek high office to do anything for his country and its people but instead used the office to further his own personal agenda and that of his many powerful friends in New Zealand and overseas.

          Whats happened to the respect we all had as a nation to our soldiers past and present that we could elect somebody as Prime Minister who does not recognize the sacrifice and honor of his owned armed forces and when they pay with their lives his priority is not too attend a memorial but be in America furthering his corporate friends agenda.

          • Anne 5.2.1.1.1

            Hi mosa, I’ve just completed a post which comes to the same conclusion. I’ve used a time-line perspective and its too long to be a comment so will have to submit as a guest post – my first, so I hope people will be nice to me. 😀

            • mosa 5.2.1.1.1.1

              Great Anne

              I am looking forward to your post and i am sure it will provoke plenty of comment.

              Don’t worry about the nasties, they are always offended when presented with the reality of the truth.

  6. emergency mike 6

    One of my favourite Nicky Hager quotes: “A government that needs dirty politics is a government with something to hide.”

    • tc 6.1

      Exactly and IMO another reason key shot through is because he can’t be sure it’s not going to hit the fan before the GE.

      The fact he skewerd the economy with his sugar rush property bubble, had diary shit all through our waterways and flogged assets/laws/sovereignty ackshully was something he couldve kept shrugging off. Especially with our rank MSM.

      Yet he didn’t, he snapped his fingers and was gone. I do hope Winnie chooses SCF for a last hurrah, NZ deserves to know.

  7. Ad 7

    The next Labour etc government needs to prepare to be even dirtier.

    If landowner and business 1%ers really have their monopolies challenged, they
    will not play fair,
    or obey the law,
    or play the ball,
    or “go high”,
    or observe due process,
    or separate legislative and judicial authority,
    or use clean money,
    or twist whole capital markets against the state,
    or overturn governments,
    or not undermine society to protect their interests,
    or not use $$ to corrupt politicians and civil servants,
    or not go after your family hard, or stop using attack media …

    … in no small part because the 1% of capital and of politics are interchangeable in their interests.

    I respect dirty politicians who smash markets. They tend not to live long, but by and large they know that. The politicians with clean hands are either lazy, cowardly, ineffective, lotto-scale lucky, or once-in-a-century lucky with historical circumstance.

  8. The Weatherman 8

    I was visited or befriended by both a Xero employee and someone who worked for the Clinton Foundation while overseas. Probably a coincidence. The others weren’t.

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Alfred Ngaro might be sorry – but to whom?
    The fact that the number of people classified as homeless on the Social Housing Register has doubled over the past year alone should be the real reason for Alfred Ngaro’s recent apologies, says Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni. “As ...
    17 hours ago
  • Government’s data-for-funding backdown embarrassing
    The Government’s U-turn on their shambolic attempt to collect private client data from social services is an embarrassment for a senior Minister, says Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni. “After months of criticism and mismanagement, the Government has finally cut ...
    18 hours ago
  • Overloaded hospitals reach crisis point
      The country’s hospitals have reached breaking point with some hospitals discharging patients to free up bed space and patients with serious injuries having to wait hours to be seen by a doctor, says Labour’s Health spokesperson David Clark.   ...
    18 hours ago
  • National fails on critical school building needs
    Students are paying the price of the Government’s failure to invest fast enough in school buildings to keep pace with Auckland’s increasing population, says Labour Leader Andrew Little. “Parents should lay the blame for their children having to put up ...
    1 day ago
  • Tipping culture is not welcome in NZ
    Deputy Prime Minister Paula Bennett’s comments about tipping have been in the news and have sparked off a series of furious discussions about tipping in Aotearoa. From our point of view, tipping every time you’re provided a service is a ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche
    2 days ago
  • Mental Health a huge cost for Police
      The cost of dealing with mental health incidents for our police was a staggering $36.7 million which shows just why we need Labour’s fresh approach on Mental Health, says the Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little.   “Police now ...
    2 days ago
  • Grant Robertson: Speech to Otago-Southland Employers Association
    Thanks to the Otago Southland Employers Association and Virginia for hosting me this evening.  It is always a pleasure to come back to the city and region that shaped who I am as a person. I believe that growing up ...
    3 days ago
  • Renting a home in the Wild West
    It can be tough renting a place to live, and it could be about to get tougher. Radio NZ is reporting that the American Rentberry app wants to start operating in New Zealand. Rentberry allows landlords to play perspective tenants ...
    GreensBy Metiria Turei
    3 days ago
  • Free West Papua leader in Aotearoa
    Last week I hosted Free West Papua leader Benny Wenda at Parliament and travelled with him to a number of important events. Benny is spokesperson for the United Liberation Movement for West Papua and lives in exile in England. 14 ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    5 days ago
  • Nats unprepared for record immigration
    National’s under-investment in housing, public services, and infrastructure means New Zealand is literally running out of beds for the record number of new migrants, says Labour’s Immigration spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway. ...
    6 days ago
  • Labour opposes Ports of Auckland sale
    Labour would strongly oppose the sell-off of the Ports of Auckland to fix a short term cash crisis caused by the Government blocking the city’s requests for new ways to fund infrastructure, says Labour’s Auckland Issues spokesperson Phil Twyford. “National ...
    1 week ago
  • Workers pay the price of Silver Fern’s Fairton closure
    The threatened closure of Silver Fern Farms’ Fairton Plant in Ashburton raises serious questions about the Government’s support of the sale of half of the company to a foreign company, when it appears this outcome may have been inevitable, says ...
    1 week ago
  • National’s answer to the housing crisis: One new affordable house per 100 new Aucklanders
    National’s fudge of a housing plan will make Auckland even more of a speculators’ paradise, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. ...
    1 week ago
  • Government can’t be trusted with private data
    The independent review of the Ministry of Social Development’s data breach in April has shown, once again, that the Ministry cannot be trusted with private client information, says Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni. “The investigation by former Deloitte chairman ...
    1 week ago
  • Another crisis, another half-baked National plan
    The National Party may have finally woken up to the teacher supply crisis facing our schools but their latest half-baked, rushed announcement falls well short of the mark in terms of what’s required, says Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins. ...
    1 week ago
  • Nats: Don’t bite the hand that feeds you
    Alfred Ngaro’s recent comments have exposed the Government’s ‘don’t bite the hand that feeds you’ approach, says Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni. ...
    1 week ago
  • Breaking news – National admits there’s a housing crisis
    National finally admits there’s a housing crisis, but today’s belated announcement is simply not a credible response to the problem it’s been in denial about for so long, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. “National can’t now credibly claim ...
    1 week ago
  • Nats lay the ground for housing bust
    Goldman Sachs’ warning that New Zealand has the developed world’s most over-priced housing market, with a 40 per cent chance of a bust within two years, shows the consequences of National’s nine years of housing neglect, says Labour Housing spokesperson ...
    1 week ago
  • Well they would say that, wouldn’t they?
    Property investors’ lobby groups have been up in arms this week about Labour and Green parties’ plans to close tax loopholes and fix the housing market. That’s probably a good thing. Like an investor in any other sector, they expect ...
    GreensBy James Shaw
    1 week ago
  • Alfred Ngaro reflects National’s culture of silencing debate
    Image from Getty Images Community groups must be free to advocate for the people they serve. It’s these people who see first-hand if ideas dreamt up in Wellington actually work on the ground. It’s essential that they can speak freely ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    1 week ago
  • Bill English must reassure community organisations
    The Prime Minister must do more to reassure community organisations after Cabinet Minister Alfred Ngaro's apparent threats to their funding if they criticise government policy which has left a born-to-rule perception amongst many, says Labour Leader Andrew Little. “Alfred Ngaro ...
    1 week ago
  • Extremism and its discontents
    Another scar on global democracy appeared recently, this time in Germany.It seems that the number of soldiers on duty with extremist political leanings has become a concern to the military leadership in that country. Soldiers were found openly possessing ...
    GreensBy Kennedy Graham
    1 week ago
  • Government’s suicide approach disappoints
    Mike King’s sudden departure from the Government’s suicide prevention panel, amid claims the Government’s approach is ‘deeply flawed’, is further evidence National is failing on mental health, says Labour’s Deputy Leader Jacinda Ardern. “Mental health is reaching crisis point in ...
    1 week ago
  • National backs speculators, fails first home buyers
    National is showing its true colours and backing speculators who are driving first home buyers out of the market, says Labour Leader Andrew Little. “By defending a $150m a year hand-out to property speculators, Bill English is turning his back ...
    1 week ago
  • More oversight by Children’s Commissioner needed
    More funding and more independence is required for the Children’s Commissioner to function more effectively in the best interests of Kiwi kids in State care, says Labour’s spokesperson for children Jacinda Ardern. ...
    1 week ago
  • Labour to end tax breaks for speculators; invest in warm, healthy homes
    Labour will shut down tax breaks for speculators and use the savings to help make 600,000 homes warmer and healthier over the next ten years, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. “It’s time for fresh thinking to tackle the ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Health of young people a priority for Labour
    Labour will ensure all young people have access to a range of health care services on-site at their local secondary school, says Labour’s deputy leader Jacinda Ardern. “Our policy will see School Based Health Services extended to all public secondary ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Ratifying the TPPA makes no sense
    The recent high-fiving between the government and agricultural exporters over ratification of the TPPA (Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement) is empty gesture politics in an election year. Ratification by New Zealand means nothing. New Zealand law changes are not implemented unless the ...
    GreensBy Barry Coates
    2 weeks ago
  • NIWA report proves National’s trickery re swimmable rivers
    National have a slacker standard for swimmable rivers than was the case prior to their recent so-called Clean Water amendment to the National Policy Statement (NPS), says Labour’s Water spokesperson David Parker. “The table 11 on page 25 of the ...
    2 weeks ago
  • MPS shows new approach needed on housing
    The Reserve Bank’s latest Monetary Policy Statement provides further evidence that only a change in government will start to fix the housing crisis, says Labour Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “It is more evident than ever that only a Labour-led government ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Fresh approach on mental health
    Labour will introduce a pilot scheme of specialist mental health teams across the country in government to ensure swifter and more effective treatment for those who need urgent help, says Labour’s Leader Andrew Little. “Mental health is in crisis. It ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Sallies back Labour’s plan for affordable homes
    The country’s most respected social agency has endorsed Labour’s KiwiBuild plan to build homes that families can afford to buy, and delivered a withering assessment of the National Government’s housing record, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Education is for everyone, not just the elite
    Proposals by the National Party to ration access to higher education will once again make it a privilege only available to the elite, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “Speaking at the Education Select Committee, Maurice Williamson let the National ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Cancer support changes far too little, certainly late
    Anne Tolley’s belated backtrack to finally allow Jobseeker clients suffering from cancer to submit only one medical certificate to prove their illness fails to adequately provide temporary support for people too sick to work, says Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Kids must come first in enrolment debate
    The best interests of children should be the major driver of any change to policies around initial school enrolments, not cost cutting or administrative simplicity, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says.   “The introduction of school cohort entry is ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Feed the Kids
    While in Whangarei last week, I had the pleasure of meeting Buddhi Manta from the Hare Krishna movement whose cafe is making lunch for some schools in Whangarei. His group have been feeding up to 1,000 primary school kids at local ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    2 weeks ago
  • DHBs’ big budget blowout
    New Zealand’s District Health Boards are now facing a budget deficit of nearly $90 million dollars, a significant blowout on what was forecast, says Labour’s Health spokesperson David Clark.   Labour believes health funding must grow to avoid further cuts ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Govt plays catch up on drug funding
    The Government's backdown on Pharmac is welcomed because previous rhetoric around the agency being adequately funded was just nonsense, says Labour's Health spokesperson David Clark. ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Labour to build affordable homes in Hamilton
    Labour will build 200 affordable KiwiBuild houses and state houses on unused government-owned land as the first steps in our plan to fix Hamilton’s housing crisis, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. “We will build new houses to replace ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Mental Health waiting times a growing concern
    There is new evidence that the Mental Health system is under increasing strain with waiting times for young people to be seen by mental health and addiction services lengthening says Labour’s Health spokesperson David Clark.   “Following yesterday’s seat of ...
    3 weeks ago