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.

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