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National’s leak problem

Written By: - Date published: 9:24 am, October 3rd, 2018 - 146 comments
Categories: national, Politics, Simon Bridges - Tags: , , ,

I said yesterday that I did not think that Jami-Lee Ross was National’s leaker.

I am going to have to review that opinion.  Now I am not so sure.

Richard Harman at Politik (paid content) has reported that well placed sources have told him that Ross was being advised by National Party board member Glenda Hughes. She has history as acting as the party’s troubleshooter and was involved in sorting out the Todd Barclay problem for the party.

To compound the impression that National is leaking like a sieve Harman’s article includes news from well placed sources that Hughes is advising Ross and that Ross does have personal matters that need to be attended to.  He also comments on the more than remote possibility that Winston Peters and Cameron Slater know who the leaker is.

And Bomber Bradbury may have been in the wrong place at the wrong time, at least as far as National was concerned.

Meanwhile Bridges can’t buy a trick.

His comment that Ross’s leave was unrelated to the ongoing leak investigation is when you think of it pretty rubbery.  And it has been torn to shreds by Audrey Young in the Herald:

National leader Simon Bridges said Jami-Lee Ross’s departure was unrelated to the ongoing leak investigation.

Bridges has been careful with his words.

Of course the MP’s leave is unrelated to the leak investigation because the investigation has not yet reported its findings. Bridges has to say it is unrelated.

Jami-Lee Ross has denied being the leaker. He has simply pleaded his case for needing time off work and Bridges absolutely must accept an MP at his word. He has no evidence not to.

And his comment that Ross is suffering from a “potentially embarassing” medical problem has been met with derision.

The situation is a mess for National. Of course they will talk about Labour’s issues with Clare Curran and Meka Whaitiri but these are several degrees less serious. They do not involve the potential undermining of the perception of solidarity they have created.  Believe me.  I lived through the Cunliffe years.  I know how toxic this can become.

National’s best chance may be to blame the original leak on Labour.  Stand by …

146 comments on “National’s leak problem ”

  1. Yep not good. Even hosking is scathing of bridges in his latest pimple squeeze of a column.

    This is a monumental disaster. Bridges is unforgivingly useless – his caucus must be pooping their pants – if bridges can toss someone under the bus like this, with his ’embarrassing’ comments what hope for them?

  2. Anne 3

    I lived through the Cunliffe years. I know how toxic this can become.

    Sheesh… tell me about it. You only had to hint that you liked David Cunliffe and you wanted to support him and it was just a matter of time before the Thought Police arrived complete with metaphorical hand-cuffs and a warrant for your arrest. 🙁

    Wonder if there will be an apology to Labour for accusing them of leaking the material?
    Don’t hold you breath anyone.

    • Enough is Enough 3.1

      The difference is Cunliffe had Labour polling consistently below 30. He was electoral poison.

      Under Bridges National has maintained circa 45% in the polls.

      So long as he keeps the party in front of Labour and/or north of 40, I doubt there will be any movement.

      • Draco T Bastard 3.1.1

        The difference is Cunliffe had Labour polling consistently below 30.

        Could have sworn that was the white-anting of DC by other Labour MPs.

        • JohnSelway

          No matter how much you or I wanted to like him blaming white anting by Labour is a cop-out.

          He was just a poor candidate that didn’t resonate with the electorate. Simple as that.

          • Draco T Bastard

            What will David Cunliffe be accused of next?


            Cunliffe had strong support from the Labour Party membership. In the leadership contest he won first-preference votes from only one-third of Labour MPs.[27] His leadership of the party was marked by continued infighting and instability.

            With little time to make the structural changes needed to build a proper campaign and a Party marked by continued infighting, Labour performed poorly in the public opinion polls 2014 campaign. It was, as Cunliffe was to say later, “the craziest and in some ways the most unfortunate campaign in recorded memory”

            • Enough is Enough

              “With little time to make the structural changes needed to build a proper campaign”

              He had a lot more time to make those changes than Jacinda did and look what she managed.

              • Draco T Bastard

                It was the continued infighting that brought down DC. Without that infighting I’m pretty sure that DC would have been able to make the necessary changes as well.

                • Enough is Enough

                  Indeed – politics would be very easy if you took the politics out of it and there was no infighting. But then it wouldn’t be politics….

                  The people who succeed in this modern day blood sport are the ones who manage that infighting. Clark and Key both had very factional caucuses but dealt with them and had long term governments as a result.

          • KJT

            Actually Labour electoral polling got better when Cunliffe starting making “socialist” statements.

            Much to the horror of Labours Blairites.

            Just like the anti – Corbyn league in Britain he had to be removed before he started heresy like empowering workers, or increasing taxes on the wealthy.

        • Enough is Enough

          It could well have been white-anting. That doesn’t change the fact that the Cunliffe lead Labour Party never rose high in the polls.

          MP’s worry when their jobs are at risk and start looking for alternative leaders. I don’t think the Nats are anywhere near that level yet. Hopefully it will come in the next 6 months but for now I think Simon is safe.

          • Draco T Bastard

            The latest opinion poll shows support for Labour stalling, ending a run of strong rises since David Cunliffe took over as Labour leader.

            My bold.

            So, evidence is that the polls were rising under DC until the electorate got sick of Labour’s infighting.

            • Dennis Frank

              Look, to be a successful political leader you have to have what it takes! He didn’t. End of story. I get the impression (from a couple of personal experiences/friends) that he was/is authentic in person. Not enough. Totally inept at the top political level and his performance kept proving the point ad nauseum. That’s why everyone remained unimpressed.

              Now Shearer was a different story. Came in from a position of strength, allowed himself to be emasculated by pc-driven Labour drones, once he started fronting the media with that stricken possum-caught-in-the-headlights look we knew he was a dead man walking. And we felt he knew it too. Cunliffe, nah! Narcissism had him clueless till the end.

              • KJT

                Funny how he was white anted, as soon as he stared making noises about Labour actually becoming left wing. Instead of pretending to be.

            • KJT

              Yep. Couldn’t have “socialism sneaking in”.

  3. Stuart Munro 4

    Best way out for the Gnats is to talk Jamie Lee Ross into being the leaker even if he isn’t. It closes the book. Not sure he’ll want to take one for a ‘team’ led by Bridges though.

    • Dukeofurl 4.1

      I think they will because maybe what they ‘arent saying’ is his leave could be connected to a name suppressed court case. ( No, not like the other name suppressed court case or the deliberate dodging of police investigation)

      To me thats the only reason for Glenda Hughes (an ex police investigator/detective) being involved.

      Hughes is quite colourful

      “A DRAG queen once broke into Glenda Hughes’ apartment in the red-light district. The former weightlifter was in bed at the time. “I sat up and said, `Whoever’s in my lounge, you weren’t invited and I suggest you get out in a hurry.”‘ The burglar took off and Hughes, who had seen her, called the cops. A police line-up later identified the transvestite as “caught on the premises of Glenda Hughes”. “The sergeant said to the burglar, `Well, you’re lucky to be alive,”‘ says Hughes, laughing.

  4. Muttonbird 5

    It’s the cover-up that gets you, Simon.

    Pretty amazing testimony from Bradbury there. Just reinforces the corrupt nature of the National Party and the right-wing in general.

    • Chuck 5.1

      “Pretty amazing testimony from Bradbury there”

      I don’t think you can hang your hat on what Bomber comes out with.

      • Dukeofurl 5.1.1

        best of all , Bomber hasnt yet revealed all which he overheard……hehehehe

        As for BB veracity …well he did reveal the pony tail harassment, so he does have some biggies

      • mickysavage 5.1.2

        If he was referring to Glenda Hughes it is all on.

        • veutoviper

          I don’t necessarily agree with BB’s latest tweet on this issue 30+ mins ago, but I am inclined to think that this remark in the thread by Todd Scott of the NBR may be closer to the situation than JLR being the leaker – and the reason for why Glenda Hughes may be involved.

          “Another way of looking at this is that “embarrassment” that impacts the family does lead to “health issues”. Bridges was wrong to comment, but the truth will soon reveal he wasn’t wrong.”

        • Grumpy

          If Hughes is involved Ross is toast

        • marty mars

          Hard to believe Bomber being anon in the corner overhearing stuff – more likely they saw him and were having fun winding him up and he fell for it.

          • Anne

            My thoughts too.

            Mind you, he might have been in disguise. 😈

            • marty mars

              Make a great skit if we had a satire show on the telly.

              “The chair scrapped, with the sound of a cat getting its tail stood on, as bomber slowly slid closer to the other table. Even above the din of the 20 people chattering and clunking the noise stood out. The target table for bomber immediately stopped talking in hushed tones and both people furtively looked around. They never even noticed the large pot plant sitting at the table beside them – to them it was invisible. Bomber couldn’t believe his luck and his flightless fingers, like a kiwi ejecting a possum from its nest, began immediately frenzied tweeting, tweeting from the frontline of the biggest story in the country.

            • AB

              You mean a different coloured V-neck jersey under his sports coat?
              Dear old Bomber is younger than me, but just can’t help looking like my grandfather…. Got to love him for it.

          • Draco T Bastard

            No, really, it isn’t. You actually have to be looking for people to recognise them in a crowded room.

            • marty mars

              Yeah nah you don’t especially with a distinctive person like the bomber.

              • Dukeofurl

                beards are a good ‘disguise’ as he could be any ‘millennial’ in a busy cafe.

                Its not like Bradbury is as recognisable as say Oily Orca

              • Anne

                Well you never know, he might have dyed his luxuriant hair growth red for the occasion and then rinsed off when he got home. 😉

        • veutoviper

          Interesting. I did not realise Glenda Hughes is Independent Chairperson of the NZ Racing Board, as well as all her other connections as ex policewoman, ex weightlifter, member of the Parole Board, member of the National Party Board etc …

          Small world in NZ.

    • Ed 5.2

      Who were the journalists most east to manipulate?
      Guesses anyone?

  5. Chris T 6

    “Of course they will talk about Labour’s issues with Clare Curran and Meka Whaitiri but these are several degrees less serious. ”

    A senior high ranking govt minister physically assaulting staff, with a report into it that got leaked is several degrees less serious than a dude in the opposition taking some time off for health reasons and a leak into travel costs that was being released in a few days any way?

    That’s some logic there

    • joe90 6.1

      The leader being white-anted is perhaps the worst thing that could happen to any party.

    • Hanswurst 6.2

      The basic problem in National’s case is:

      1. The expenses leak saga makes its leader look like a dick.
      2. He is a dick.

      Seeing as Labour doesn’t have either of those problems, their issues are orders of magnitude smaller.

      • Chris T 6.2.1


        Now we are all clear on where physical assault in the workplace by your employer fits on the serious scale on here.

        • Muttonbird

          I suspect the investigation into the leak of the report on that incident won’t be good news for the Nats either.

          I’d not keep bring it up if I were you.

        • ankerawshark

          Chris T of course physical assault is more serious than a leak.

          But from purely political point of view, Bridges is looking worse and worse as this unfolds (both Garner and Hoskings saying so, really is as bad as it can get for National)……………..

          • Rapunzel

            If the physical assault was to grab/take someone by the arm it is not good in anyway but the longterm effects of verbal and operational bullying on staff in many ways, or in the home.school, can and often are seriously damaging over a long period of time with longterm detrimental results.
            Or to put it bluntly as I am sick of having to mince words mental and verbal abuse is up there with physical abuse in many cases, that has to start to be recognised.

            • Anne

              mental and verbal abuse is up there with physical abuse in many cases, that has to start to be recognised.

              Thanks Rapunzel. I can attest to what you have said from personal experience. And if you’re a woman it can be worse because we are invariably brushed aside as… being neurotic and/or telling porkies.

              • Rapunzel

                I have seen it many times, like any bullying – even if you try to tackle it on another’s behalf – it brings everyone down and one thing leads to another, more commonly in schools and homes the phy. Not seeing it for exactly what it is means that it is rarely resolved, it just needs to be called out and halted – that can even bring positive changes for the “bully” but that is in reality far too rare.

            • RedLogix

              What’s the difference between say, breaking your arm in a car accident, and having it broken by someone attacking you?

              The intent.

              Now consider how emotional and verbal abuse always has a bad intent. There is no difference.

              Now consider how many people dish it out on the internet thinking it does no harm.

              • In Vino

                True, RL, but anonymity and zeal prompt the lesser caring types to get the retribution in first and score for the team they foolishly believe in.

          • ScottGN

            Yeah time for the pile in?

        • arkie

          Obviously people can only care about one thing at time. If a thing is bad it makes all other things great; it’s just logic! No one can have opinions on more than one issue, and must always focus exclusively on topics that max out the serious scale.

        • Michelle

          Well it cant have been that physical otherwise she would be getting charged by our police who don’t seem to want to go there it must be along the same lines as ponytail pulling

        • Craig Glen Eden

          “Now we are all clear on where physical assault in the workplace by your employer fits on the serious scale on here.”

          Imagine how bad it would be if a male Prime Minister was involved in pulling a waitresses hair. She asks him to stop but he does not, his wife witnesses the hair pulling and tells him to stop but he just continues. Shit now that would be some level of Physical assault aye? Imagine the scandal and embarrassment surely a matter of such seriousness that anyone with any decency would tender there resignation. Oh wa…..it

          • Chris T


            Now we know that it wasn’t a big a deal as it was made out to be on here

            Thanks for reminding us

            • Michelle

              like the cup of tea and a man almost lost his job Chris and it ruined his career thats no big thing aye chris cause how many people lost their jobs (thousands) under that national government

        • bwaghorn

          What’s your position on a pm repeatedly physically assaulting a waitress. ???

        • Visubversa

          Not serious enough for the Police to consider it was an assault in terms of the standards for prosecution. Taking someone by the arm has varying degrees of seriousness.

          • Craig Glen Eden

            Grabing someones hair is ok? Grabing someones arm has varying degrees of seriousness. Hmmm the hypocrisy is so thick it smells.
            That would be the same Police who got involved in harassing Journalists on behalf of the same Prime minister.

      • Ngungukai 6.2.2

        If it looks like a dick and acts like a dick, it probably is a dick ?

  6. veutoviper 7

    Just a note for people re Politik – link under the “paid content” in the post.

    You can read two stories a month for free without signing anything – in other words, without signing up for a paid subscription.

    The month does not seem to be a calendar month, but rather a month from the date of reading your first story.

    It also seems to be affected by which device you use. I am currently blocked from free views on my PC, but not on my ipad.

  7. Dukeofurl 8

    national discussing the ‘communications plan’ when the leaker name becomes public fits in with my idea that JLR going on leave has become part of the ‘plan’ it that it fits into well known confusion marketing corporate strategies.

    • Anne 8.1

      National are very good at using silo methodologies when it suits them – that is, separating issues into individual supposedly unrelated strands.

      It looks like that is what they might have done on this occasion. Yes, JLR has personal health issues and he is taking a few months off so he can have treatment. End of story. What’s that you say…? No, this has got nothing to do with anything else. We’re concentrating on helping our colleague get through a bad time in his life.

      Sounded good until he used the word “embarrassing”.

  8. Reality 9

    Seems likely the tactic has been to remove JLR off the scene well before the inquiry outcome, and for some time after, so he is not at Parliament for interviewing or door-stopping and is “off limits” because he is “embarrassingly” unwell. And then, if on his return, the issue will be old news.

    Glenda Hughes may been busy lately.

  9. My call now is.
    Bridges deliberately using that word embarrassing to put the boot in – he know what word to use and what not to use.
    Bomber trolled in the cafe and fell for it.
    Gnats in disarray.

    • Chuck 10.1

      Bridges used the word embarrassing more than once before trying to walk it back later in the interview.

      I would suggest to check out what Tova O’Brien is up to (or not).

      “O’Brien was asked if she knows who leaked the information to her, to which she said “no comment”, adding that she protects her sources.”

      • Skinny 10.1.1

        Tova will know who the leaker is you can count on it. Yes she protect her sources from my dealing with her she is solid.

        • veutoviper

          Exactly*, and she has to protect her sources as it is a basic rule for journalism. If she were to leak the identity of a source, her career would be over instantly.

          * ditto for your other comment a little further down here a few minutes ago. Todd Scott seems to be thinking along similar lines. https://thestandard.org.nz/nationals-leak-problem/#comment-1531493

          • Skinny

            I do the odd number with her. Never fails to deliver the desired result 🙂

            • veutoviper

              Re my second remark/link, there has been some interesting absences from the House over the last week or so (not PB) and seat shifting when there.

  10. Michelle 11

    soimon used that word to cover his backside so when it all comes out because it will be very embarrassing hence why they are trying to cover it up and have brought in their weigh lifter hughes to help them cover it all up

  11. ankerawshark 12

    # Let’s keep Simon!

  12. Michael 13

    I’ll be interested to see where Jami-Lee ends up in the Nats’ Game of Thrones after Crusher rolls Soimun. He may well be doing the numbers for her again (if his health permits of course).

  13. BM 14

    The fact that National still polls in the mid 40’s with a dolt like Bridges at the helm should be of grave concern to the government.

    If National replace Bridges with either Collins or Adams National will rule out right in 2020.

    • marty mars 14.1

      Lolz yeah they’ll be kings of the world…

    • Dukeofurl 14.2

      Duh It polls in mid 40s because it doesnt have any other parties to leak voters to !

      The fact that the Government polls in the low 50s drives nationals people nuts .

      • BM 14.2.1

        You don’t think National can pick up another 4-5%, I do.

        All they have to do is pick a female leader and they’d be polling mid 50%.

        • Skinny

          All sounds like a bit of fornication has gone down.

        • veutoviper

          Not all females are equal.

          • BM

            True, but they’re far more tribal then men.

            Lots of women out there voting for Jacinda purely because she’s female, National hasn’t really tapped into the female demographic. so plenty of votes to be had.

            • veutoviper

              I am female and I do not vote on the basis of gender, nor do I know many women who do. And I can assure you that I and many other women I know would never – repeat never – vote for Judith Collins, Paula Bennett, Amy Adams or even Nikki Kaye.

              Yes, we can be tribal but not in the way you seem to imagine. When it comes to National, probably the opposite. ROFL.

              • Muttonbird

                Indeed. BM as usual has the wrong end of the stick if he thinks women vote on gender. They probably vote for kindness which is JA’s catch cry. None of the women you list have the faintest idea what that is.

              • BM

                And I can assure you that I and many other women I know would never – repeat never – vote for Judith Collins, Paula Bennett, Amy Adams or even Nikki Kaye.

                Really? wow, I would never have believed that.

                I thought you and all your leftwing political mates would ditch Labour in a heartbeat if National had a female leader.

                Back to the drawing board for me then.

                • Charlie

                  You could be right BM if National had a female leader it would be more like comparing apples with apples between opposing leaders. Only problem I see for National is that their apple would be a rotten one compared to the fresh, crisp, tasty government one.

              • Chuck

                “or even Nikki Kaye.”

                Jacinda Ardern was beaten twice by Nikki Kaye in Auckland Central. So someone must have voted for Nikki…including many women 🙂

                • veutoviper

                  Sure, in the case of Auckland Central Kaye did win and presumably a lot of women voted for her. But then Ardern also did well in Mt Albert.

                  But I was rushing out when I posted the above, and I should have made clear that my comments were in respect of National being led by any of those women MPs.

                • Ankerrawshark


                  Hi chuck when you look at the party vote in Auckland central, National 6000+ ahead of labour. Jacinda only 600 behind Nicky. Clearly with the change in demographics in central, the area is a national stronghold. Jacinda did well to come so close to Nikki

                • ScottGN

                  For some reason Nikki Kaye is extremely unpopular in her caucus so the chances of her becoming leader are about zilch.

            • AB

              BM is now an expert on the female psyche. I’m sure that will go down well.
              Them silly girlz just votes for other girlz!
              Not like you with your rational, objective male brain – voting on issues and evidence and manly stuff like that.

            • Ngungukai

              The Sparkling Pony nailed it in the 2017 Election

        • KJT

          Where will National find a female, leader?

      • Chuck 14.2.2

        “Duh It polls in mid 40s because it doesnt have any other parties to leak voters to !”

        Yes, it does…NZF / Labour / Greens / ACT.

        To date, the Nat vote has held up, with little leakage to other parties.

        Where do you expect Labour to pick up any votes from? they have decimated the Green vote to the point it will be slim pickings for any more (at least the Greens will hope so otherwise they are toast).

        NZF is clearly after traditional Nat voters out in the provinces. But Labour can’t rely on NZF like they can with the Greens to be a “partner for life”.

        BM is correct.

        • Dukeofurl

          NZF has partnered with labour how many times ? this is 3rd isnt it.

          Once with national was enough to swear them off for life.

          Same thing happened in Australia with the smaller parties and the Liberals/nationals.
          the small parties found labour was much easier to deal with as they often came from a union or community background and were used to the arts of compromise and accommodation. Liberals were less likely to compromise as they came from business backgrounds where it was ‘smash them bro’

    • Muttonbird 14.3

      Yet they picked the dolt. That suggests they have no idea what they are doing, and with the experience they have clearly not knowing what they are doing there won’t be any planning or good decision making done in the foreseeable future.

      This government will be a 3-5 term government and I expect they’ll change to four year terms in 2023 so it could be 2035 or longer before the corrupt Nats see the benches again.

      • KJT 14.3.1

        Not like they were, “spoiled for choice”.
        A bunch of ignorant entitled young bludgers, off Daddies money, and assorted alien lizards.

  14. Antoine 15


  15. Hooch 16

    I’d be more interested in hearing who these “journalists” are that can be easily corrupted

    • Dukeofurl 16.1

      Interesting that national ‘insiders’ have gone beyond shaping a story and target manipulation of the journalists that could advance their interests.

      That was always the unexplained side of the Rachel MacGregor -Colin Craig saga. Why was Macgregor friends with Jordan Williams ( and through him to national party insiders) and it seems he used her for inside info on the Conservatives and Carig.

      Not that surprising after all..

    • mosa 16.2

      All of them !!!

    • Ed 16.3

      Does corrupted mean compromised?
      Do the National Party have dirt on some journalists?
      That would explain the outright sycophants…….

  16. ankerawshark 17

    Hooch 100 +…….hope there is more to come from BB

  17. R.P Mcmurphy 18

    the nationals party is the rotten hulk of the right wing in new zealand.
    keys policies did not work and other social experiments were a disaster.
    and the times have changed and they will not face up to that either.

  18. When they begin to get worried for the future, those Tories in marginal seats will start to complain about the leadership. But National doesn’t have alternatives. The ambitious ones will keep their powder dry. I can think of a couple or so who will throw their hats into the ring when National gets slaughtered at the next elections. When Bill English was leader in 1999 National got 21%. They had to play the racist card with Don Brash three years later; but they still lost narrowly. A loss is a loss is a loss!

    • mosa 19.1

      Yeah but Brash almost got close enough to nibble Helens ear.

      To close for comfort.

    • Michael 19.2

      “those Tories in marginal seats” will nearly all have electable list spots so if they do lose their seats they’ll still make into Parliament. It’s the people lower down the Party lists who have to worry when the polls turn against them. One of the things I liked during last year’s campaign were those graphics showing who was in and who was out among the Party lists under varying scenarios. It might be worth resurrecting those (especially if the heat goes on the Nats).

  19. My guess, for the record, is that it came from Cameron Slater who was fed it from a very good friend in the caucus. Slater fits the leaker profile regarding mental health issues. It may be the the caucus person found a way of supplying the info without leaving a electronic track and as Slater is not a staffer he may not be uncovered by the inquiry.

    • Anne 21.1

      JLR was part of the Slater crowd and got a mention in Nicky Hager’s book “Dirty Politics”. Just saying.

  20. JustMe 22

    I must compliment Simon Bridges on doing a wonderful job for the NZ National Party. He(Bridges)has achieved what could have been a difficult job. That is Bridges has wonderfully and effectively destroyed whatever little credibility the NZ National Party had left.
    He has successfully made a joke out of National and no sane voter would want to vote for any National MP ever again.
    So well done Simon Bridges.
    And now Jamie Lee Ross is allowed to take between 3 to 7 months off work and still be paid well by the NZ taxpayers. Way to go National. Not too long ago you(National)were complaining about Jacinda taking 6 weeks off work when she had Neve.
    It seems so amazing that National must always sponge off the NZ taxpayers albeit for travel and accommodation costs, a flag referendum no-one but John Key wanted or purchase of beemers with bum warming seats.
    I wish Jamie Lee Ross well but he needs to do a real re-evaluation of his life and his political life-time. His health is more important than money and perks of the job.
    But looking at the way Bridges has treated him is abhorrent. Bridges has in a way using innuendo directed and blamed Jamie for the leakage.
    I wouldn’t trust Simon Bridges even if he worked in a supermarket for half a day and contaminated a cucumber by holding it in his mouth.

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