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National’s political hit job on Winston Peters

Written By: - Date published: 7:22 am, August 29th, 2017 - 231 comments
Categories: Dirty Politics, labour, Media, national, nz first, Politics, same old national, the praiseworthy and the pitiful, winston peters - Tags:

The hit job that has just been performed on Winston Peters is a sign of how desperate National is to divert attention from Jacindamania.  But I suspect the attempt will backfire.

The timing and the mode of disclosure, using multiple media contacts to ensure the news was maximised suggests strongly that the spreading of the news was deliberate rather than accidental.  It appears that Newshub and Newsroom both knew about the story.  It has been reported this morning that Anne Tolley had been given a heads up by way of a no surprises disclosure two weeks ago.  And Newshub has disclosed that it received an anonymous phone call a couple of days after Tolley was told of Peters’ problems.

From the Herald:

The Beehive was told about Winston Peters’ private meeting over his superannuation payments a fortnight ago and before it was leaked to media, the Herald can reveal.

The Ministry of Social Development told its minister Anne Tolley on August 15 under the “no surprises” policy that it had met NZ First leader Winston Peters about his superannuation payments. The Prime Minister’s office has confirmed English’s chief of staff Wayne Eagleson was then told by Tolley’s office. A spokesperson said Eagleson did not tell English or others in the office.

Tolley has denied the leak came from her office.

News of that briefing comes as Peters questions how news he had to repay money for superannuation overpayments made it to the media, saying it would be a “criminal” action for his personal information to be leaked.

Winston Peters is not amused.  He is quoted in Stuff as follows:

Someone decided they would break the law and leak it in a political way and some of those tweets and other comments point to knowledge out there that it was malicious and politically dirty,” Peters told media following a candidates meeting in Northland on Monday night.

I’ve been flat out, as you know, on the campaign of issues and when I’ve got time I’ll turn my mind to it, but I’m not going to stand by and let someone get away with blatant dirty politics and breaking the law.”

The matter could be easily progressed by release of some information and I believe that Peters should do this.  He should just disclose the form he completed when he applied for the benefit.  Presuming he completed a manual form he could release the form itself and the question of who is responsible will be answered.  Here is the relevant part of the current form:

But you can bet Peters won’t.  It is not in his style.  And so the media will be dominated for the next short period by discussions about what Winston may or may not have done and who may or may not have leaked the information.

Peters is right that if the public service has breached his rights of privacy then heads should roll.  But the heads up given to Tolley and the timing of the leak suggests that the public service may not be the leaker.

And you have to wonder what this will do to the possibility of a National New Zealand First coalition.  It is hard to imagine how this could now occur.  Perhaps as Matthew Hooton has said National’s strategy now is to drive New Zealand First and the Greens under 5 %, and for National to hold its vote and have an absolute majority.

If true this is a very risky strategy.  Most importantly it could shake loose New Zealand First voters and send them Labour’s way.  Rumours that National’s overnight polling has shown that Labour is now ahead of it may be right and may explain this very risky activity.

231 comments on “National’s political hit job on Winston Peters ”

  1. lprent 1

    This was definitely a hit job, and uses private information from either MSD or the IRD.

    Whoever was privy for this information should be interrogated by the police for a probably breach of one of several criminal laws, and whoever in the chain who passed it to a journalist should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. Regardless of who it was.

    There will be an audit trail of all people who had access to this information. They should all be interviewed by the police.

    The public, regardless of who they are provide information to both the MSD and IRD in good faith. For National to break that trust for some scummy dirty politics ploy is well beyond the bounds of any authority that they have.

    • AsleepWhileWalking 1.1

      Yes there is a troubling pattern of non accountability forming which needs nipping in the buds.

    • Stephen Doyle 1.2

      All that may well be true.
      However we know that the police will say, as they always do when National are involved, “Nothing to see here… move along.”

      • lprent 1.2.1

        Well if needs be. There is always a private prosecution..

        But really I suspect that compiling a list of potential suspects and releasing their names, addresses, occupations, and reasons that they could have released it into the public sphere would help in eliciting information. This is all information that should be public to provide transparency in the public processes.

        If the police and/or the public service won’t do it, then I think ALL of the potential suspects deserve to feel the effects.

        Let the public make up their own mind.

    • Ross 1.3

      National of course has remained silent, which is most telling. National should be outraged that a party leader’s private info has been leaked. I mean, it could be a National MP who suffers the same fate next! But, no, all National can say is that it’s a private matter. Pathetic.

    • tracey 1.4

      Like when Collins and Bennett did it. They have history Lynn. And they keep doing it cos they keep getting away with it.

      How are these deliberate acts of breaking the law by cabinet ministrrs not worse than a 23 year old beneficiary.

    • DH 1.5

      I’d been wondering why the media had such little information if the source was a leaker at MSD or IRD. I’d think anyone in the know from either of those parties would be privy to all the details yet the media have been left to speculate on much of it.

      The ‘no surprises’ briefing would likely have been an abridged summary with no reason to pass on all the finer points like cause, boxes ticked or unticked, sums paid etc. The absence of detail might be a clue in itself.

      • reason 1.5.1

        Winston Peters has been hated by National since the wine-box days ….. when through an informant “ Deep Throat” he lifted the lid on a scam involving $400 million borrowed from the BNZ … and the money returned via shell companies and through the cook Islands … with false tax certificates

        He cost rich National party donors money http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/money/8515361/Money-trail-leads-home-to-New-Zealand

        There was a criminalization of the banking, accounting and Lawyer professions during the 1980’s …. And new Zealand was the wild west. .. http://bealeness.tumblr.com/post/31987806819/the-basics-behind-the-winebox-inquiry

        “This is how you rob a bank. The Bank of New Zealand purchased $50 million worth of redeemable preference shares in each of the 8 shells. This comes to a total of $400 million which was a very large portion of the banks capital base being offered to one customer. This is again the work of Michael Fay and illegal in most countries at the time. In return each “shell company” promises the Bank of New Zealand a 10% dividend on the shares. European Pacific, via the Cook Islands then goes on to invest the $400 million …”

        …”to really appreciate the beauty of European Pacific we just need to take a good hard look at it. The first question one has is this. Why would Brierley Investments, Fay, Richwhite and Co. and the Bank of New Zealand want to combine and register a company in the Cook Islands? Not only that, but they floated an extra 14% of European Pacific on the Luxembourg Stock Exchange, which has long been known as a “tax haven”. One can only guess.”

        “guess who the Chairman of Bank of New Zealand was, well none other than tin arse Ron Brierley himself. Guess who accounted for some 45% of Bank of New Zealand’s total receivables account, well none other than Michael Fay. This meant that 45% of BNZ’s exposure was to one man or the company of one man. This is a level of exposure which was illegal in most countries.”

        “In 1984 Michael Fay had been tipped off by Roger Douglas about the impending devaluation….. As a result he reportedly made some $3million in profit”
        “ It is estimated that some $280 million NZ dollars was profited in the great currency speculation of 1984 and back then that was a lot of money, all thanks to a leak from the Finance Minister.”….

        “The insider trades continued throughout the whole privatization process and one man in particular, Michael Fay, became the master of executing deals, which in most countries would be illegal due to “conflict of interests” and also “insider trading” through the possession of forward information.”

        Winston gave us our first ( poorly reported ) look at an industry which has been quietly built up for the last 25 years or so http://www.interest.co.nz/news/81311/documents-show-john-keys-personal-lawyer-successfully-lobbied-him-and-revenue-minister

        and he has been targeted by National … with the support of our media ever since

        More recently …..When Key was around abusing the powers of Government ….

        while quietly working on his real mission and area of expertise … which was plugging us fully into the shadow banking/tax haven networks.

        His clownish absurd performance of denial in Parliament …. Which he Should have been crucified over by our media ….also included a lot of mocking ……

        Rt Hon JOHN KEY: I cannot confirm whether the Bahamas is a tax haven or not—I simply do not know….

        Andrew Little: Will he join me and release his tax records to dispel rumors that he has benefited from the use of tax havens?

        Rt Hon JOHN KEY: Firstly, there are no rumors such rumours. Secondly, I do not think the member actually should table his tax return. I think he should table his CV because he will be out looking for a new job soon.

        Rt Hon Winston Peters: How can he stand by his statements yesterday that New Zealand “is not a tax haven” and that we “also have an extensive disclosure regime”, when specialist law firms on trusts for foreigners point out there is no need for disclosure of identity, or trust registration, or for any such trust accounts to be audited?

        Rt Hon JOHN KEY: Because I am right.


        I think we should note that the $400 million being shuffled around in the wine box scam … or more recently the 2.2 Billion ‘tax vehicle attempted ‘ drive off by our Aussie banks …….. is a few more dollars than Winstons accidental superannuation over payment

        Most corporations are now crooked …. fixing the rot would gain us Billions in tax revenue from the richest thieves on earth ……

        “Rozvany is writing a series of books on corporate tax ethics. https://independentaustralia.net/life/life-display/tax-havens-and-the-big-four,9226

        “He says,

        This is not a victimless crime. While Western governments have been cutting back their aid to the most underprivileged in society, from the homeless to orphaned children in Africa, multinational companies have been diverting ever larger profits into tax havens.

        The global community must also recognise the links between aggressive taxation behaviour, money laundering, corruption, organised crime and terrorism, of which the Brussels bombings and 9/11 are chilling reminders. ”

        Hopefully after the election Winston will finish the job he started with the wine box

        • WILD KATIPO

          … ”Hopefully after the election Winston will finish the job he started with the wine box”…

          And hopefully , … then we can gather together a few of those mentioned above for a quiet wee fire side chat about corporate theft , treason and long prison sentences …

          We can but live in hope …

    • popexplosion 1.6

      Well yes obviously it could not have been a bureaucrat wanting to show how a benefit forces couples to breakup to receive more money. And sure, Peters did not out himself, makes himself look the victim, gets him noise, like Ardren, like the Greens, like TOP… …certainly helps dirty politics of nasty Nats get a up swing to them as NZF voter return if we go with timing and poll cycles to deaden Jucinda mania. Seriously though, are we going to find out Peters ticked the wrong box, coz the way it’s sound he did not, and this shows how abusive MSD can be to those caught in data, but why then would a bureaucrat tell via no surprises that they stuffed up and made Peters single… …okay they might of.

      Look trust media to impugn character, rather than talk about how govt benefit destroy families. Why should a working father, not being paided enough be effectively forced to breakup with the mum of their kids? And what happens if they have broken up and share the same residence? MSD policing that? it’s wrong in my opinion that the state manages relationships. Kids should not be worried their parents will goto jail if they say the wrong thing. Coz that’s what it means, they don’t have Peters money.

    • OncewasTim 1.7

      Glad you recognise it ( that this was a rather pathetic attempt at a hit job ) @LPRENT. Given your IT skills – dig deeper (or not if you’re trying for a better work-life balance, and you deserve better than chasing fukwits: chris73’s dave’s and all their pretence)
      Dying Daze at the moment, but never underestimate the power of bullshit
      Lately it’s what we’re living on

    • Skinny 1.8

      Oh please this is a number clearly controlled by the the master. If you guys want to play along with his game full credit to you all. Whatever it takes I guess.

      • lprent 1.8.1

        Ah – So skinny ‘thinks’ it was Stephen Joyce wot leaked !!

        (FFS: If you want to talk in code rather than making your meaning clear, then I suggest you return to stupid city at the sewer. Otherwise I’ll have fun ‘interpreting’ what you say. We are interested in the opinions of people – not some brain dead parrot with anorexia. ).

        • Skinny

          There was enough in that sentence of mine, if you can’t work it out then that is your problem not mine, Just don’t be hasty shooting the messenger.

          Here is the tip, tune in live 9/11 the Hub stream. Peters & Jones up against L/G & Natcorp, the big debate in Northland. The Mod yours truly, the filter of bullshit Mr Simom Wilson. Moment of truth? count on it!

          • AsleepWhileWalking

            A bit wearing all these build ups to moments/scandals.

            And can you come up with something more 2017. Perhaps “Moment of Strewth!”.

            I know it’s not original, but its more original than yours.

            • Skinny

              “And can you come up with something more 2017. Perhaps “Moment of Strewth!”.”

              Well no it is what it will be. A proper political debate where all main parties are going to be called out. On policy, what they have said, or in some cases what they haven’t told the voters yet. So it will be ‘moments of truth’.
              The public have been spun ‘fake news’ through-out this whole election campaign, by the media, the political parties spin doctors, and senior MP’s and leaders. So stop being petty, some of us walk to talk while others are all talk and no do anything. You and that egotistical old coot enjoy the rest of your day 🙂

    • Eco maori 1.9

      The honorable Winston Peters did not deserve to be kick in the private parts buy Natinal they will only admit to this when there ads is dragged into court.
      Metiria never foreseen being treated like that she is a strong Maori women still fighting for the oppressed and women’s= RIGHTS and Our environment.
      You go girl

  2. Incognito 2

    My theory is that Winston Peters leaked it himself to make it look like a hit job on him. I am finding it all a little too ‘convenient’ to believe that National is yet again involved in DP; they’d be unbelievably stupid to pull this kind of stunt again, wouldn’t they?

    • AsleepWhileWalking 2.1

      He has no need to conduct some weird strategy.

      • Grantoc 2.1.1

        He may not have a need but if it means he can get to play the victim and not the villain then that’s a bonus for him. Peters playing the victim equals votes for NZ First usually.

    • lprent 2.2

      You’re thinking for the publicity? It seems unlikely. Amongst other things it holds Winston’s partner up in the glare of the media. Use your brain and your memory. When has Winston ever revealed anything about his personal life?

      National aren’t exactly known for being subtle. The only difference that social media brought them that I could see was that they had a different channel (and they thought concealed) to push the sleaze in.

      But if you look at headline examples from Muldoon leaking privileged information on Colin Moyle through to Paula Bennett giving out MSD information on opponents of here withdrawing the educational ladder after her for people on the DPB, they all used journos. It is their pattern of being pious hypocrites who don’t recognise the legal bounds

      • Incognito 2.2.1

        I know it is far-fetched but let’s see whether I can come up with a few plausible arguments (not evidence!).

        If indeed a genuine mistake was made 7 years ago, it got corrected, and somehow (?) Peters got wind of somebody (?) wanting to use the information to take him down. In this case the best defence is attack.

        It fits Peters’ need and MO to be in full control of all the cards. It would allow him to indulge in his usual grandstanding & pontificating from his wine soap box as only Peters can.

        Peters is about the only old fox NZ politician who can play the game well and control the narrative, which is so much easier when you hold all or most of the cards. The sad experience of Metiria Turei shows that when you lose control of the narrative you lose the battle. (NB I reckon Peters was unusually quiet when the Turei story broke)

        Technically, Peters did nothing illegal by ‘leaking’ information about himself.

        While Peters is making wild accusations he hogs the limelight, especially diverting attention away from Jacinda Ardern and Labour.

        All the usual suspects are implicated and thus on the back foot or worse and expending lots of energy that they should be using for the campaign and meanwhile Peters is manoeuvring himself in an even stronger Kingmaker position.

        I think it is not unlikely that NZF will even benefit in the polls or stem any bleeding of NZF voters to Labour (and TOP?).

        So, Peters got the means, motive, and opportunity; has he filed an official complaint yet or gone to the police? He won’t nor will he show the form he filled out 7 years ago.

        He’ll milk this for all it’s worth; this is likely to be his last election.


    • Anne 2.3

      I am finding it all a little too ‘convenient’ to believe that National is yet again involved in DP; they’d be unbelievably stupid to pull this kind of stunt again, wouldn’t they?

      If they are desperate enough they will try anything Incognito. Morality and principal does not figure highly in their book of rules. Bill English will have been shielded from the details of the case. The culprits will be further down the chain.

      It won’t work this time because most pensioners know how easily it could be them. I wouldn’t have a clue if my super is the correct amount. So long as it appears regularly every fortnight that’s all that matters to me.

      Winston is likely to gain more votes from the 65+ bracket because they will know what a dirty, pathetic beat-up over nothing it is.

      • Delia 2.3.1

        Why would Bill be shielded, honestly he is in that team and I think is fully aware of what is team is up to, if he isn’t why is he Leader.

        • Anne

          He would be shielded from the detail so he can plausibly claim he had no knowledge of the story or where it came from etc…

        • greywarshark

          Delia, honestly anyone who talks about National and uses the word ‘honestly’ isn’t on the needed level of understanding to understand them, honestly.

    • Stuart Munro 2.4

      All the evidence I’ve seen for the last nine years supports the premise that they are indeed unbelievably stupid.

      You don’t get to worst suicide in the OECD, worst housing in the OECD and worst child poverty in the OECD by having the ghost of a clue what you are doing.

      • greywarshark 2.4.1

        National are stupid, like Trump is stupid. Both have managed to gain enough votes to rule a country, and for too long. So who put them there, stupidly?

  3. Ad 3

    This will shore Winston’s core vote up of Superannuitants.
    National are giving him profile at the worst possible time.
    He’s fine for 8%.

    • popexplosion 3.1

      Winston just telegraphed he’s on a pension. This hurts him, he is seen by some as to old, less accountable as he won’t survive the term or go onto a new term. Also those who wonder about taking a pension and still working, or so wealthy dipping into govt welfare… …not saying he does not have a right and can be why he’d be livid at MSD.

  4. One Anonymous Bloke 4

    How would anything Winston could release expose the criminal behaviour of the National Party?

    We need to stop expecting their victims to do anything at all. In Winston’s case he will hit back as hard as he can: he still deserves our support whether or not we agree with his politics.

    Most people can’t hit back at all.

  5. Carolyn_nth 5

    Whatever anyone thought they were doing with this leak, that’s National done for.

    • lprent 5.1

      That would be my guess. Releasing information from IRD or the MSD for political effects is something that is way past any bounds.

      Why would anyone give them information to leak? It destroys the whole basis of trust between the public service and the public. This will resonate particularly with the superannuiants regardless of who they are.

      By the sounds of it, the only likely suspects for the source of the information were either public servants like Eagleson or Tolley acting in their specific and constained roles or the people inside the public service, or people that they informed.

      It sounds like the public service were acting under orders of no surprises to give it to their National minister, who then appears to have dispersed it wider inside the National hierarchy. Of course it could have been Peter Dunne in his similar role at the IRD – but I can’t see a reason for it.

  6. Pete 7

    Remember Anne Tolley being full of assurances about the safety of data about sexual assault victims?

    Security of the information absolutely assured.

    A fortnight ago her office was told about Winston Peters’ private information. The information was leaked. Absolute details, not just general ideas.

    I have never trusted her. Should I?

  7. Sanctuary 8

    Audrey Young indicates the media pack is swivelling it’s guns to a new, better target which is very bad news for Bill English. Clumsy doesn’t begin to describe how inept this attempted hit was.

    This has the potential to seriously damage National, given there is a mood for change and crony, overly familiar chumminess amounting to corruption between the government and the senior civil service feeds the perception it is time for the Nats to go into opposition.

  8. timeforacupoftea 9

    “Newshub has disclosed that it received an anonymous phone call a couple of days after Tolley was told of Peters’ problems”.

    Ok Newshup lets hear the phone call.
    Its not to hard to cough it up for us to hear — for petes sake !

  9. Greg 10

    But this time we know there behind it
    Question have asked we all provide sensitive information to government depth
    Nationals reach to use private information for there own purposes national is a corrupt entity they has to be a probe into that party
    They seem to be above the law they have influence over our lives in insidious ways

  10. Sanctuary 11

    If in the minds of the public it can be proved to a reasonable suspicion to be a deliberate dirty trick, then National may have just given the election to Labour. Why vote for a sleazy, negative bunch of dirty trixters when the alternative is so bright, fresh and positive?

  11. Pete 12

    Of course I would totally trust Judith Collins. Who told her?

    The right questions have to be asked, (not to say they wouldn’t lie.)

    So far it’s Bennett, Tolley and Eagleson who were told. If they say they didn’t tell anyone and the information got out they’re lying. Unless one one the MSD minions spilt it.

  12. odysseus 13

    “Rumours that National’s overnight polling has shown that Labour is now ahead of it…” .
    Is that Labour alone or Labour + Greens ?

  13. peterh 14

    Just go to whale oil, he received it last week, he almost states where it came from.

    • tracey 14.1

      If he got it last week his contacts are still feeding the Whale

    • tracey 14.2

      He would never sit on a story like that and let others take it… unless Newsroom was a target too(which is unlikely)

  14. Carolyn_nth 15

    A tweet from Peter Dunne on Sunday evening after the story started to break:

    Let’s see how the Superannuation overpayment story looks 24 hours from now
    8:03 PM – 27 Aug 2017

    I guess he wasn’t considering how it would look 48 hours from the time of the tweet.

  15. One Anonymous Bloke 16

    Funny how Newsroom isn’t covering this angle of their MOAS. Must be a bit embarrassing being just another one of the tools in the National Party’s bag.

  16. Dirk Meatwhistle 17

    I’m a National voter but if (and its still if) National did leak this then I’ll be voting Winston based on just how sloppy this hit job is

  17. Siobhan 18

    Well, this will be interesting when the truth ‘outs’, but meantime, Shouldn’t the story be about paying universal benefits?

    Jacinda was on RNZ this morning talking about the need to provide for EVERYONE at the two vulnerable points in their life..ie the first year, and retirement.
    But the point is, if you don’t even notice the payment, and can refund an overpayment within 24 hours…how ‘vulnerable’ are you??

    • Carolyn_nth 18.1

      Universal super ensures that all who need it, get it without being demonised. It lessens the bureaucracy, and ensures there are no punitive witch hunts.

      We just need a more progressive tax system so elderly on high incomes give back as much as they take and more.

      • greywarshark 18.1.1

        What a lovely little policy gem to turn up on the shifting sands of the blog. The points made about the universal aspect of super, and others mentioned should be remembered by all.

    • AB 18.2

      Universality of benefits is a very good idea. It is administratively simple and doesn’t create injustices at the margins where people just fall one side of the line or other – which always happens with targeted benefits. It also creates and reinforces the notion of a citizenry who all have equal rights and responsibilities by virtue of being citizens alone and for no other reason.
      However – it does need to be combined with a reasonably progressive income tax – so that people with good sources of other income essentially pay the benefits back in higher taxes.
      Because we’ve lost our way on progressive income tax since 1984, then this opens the door for universality of benefits to be undermined by exactly the arguments you are making Siobhan. I don’t think we should be sucked into making that argument – instead we should be arguing for universality of benefits and properly progressive income tax.

  18. National’s election strategy is: the opposition is a shambles.
    Labour’s leader Andrew Little fell, replaced by an “inexperienced girl”.The Green co-leader, Metiria Turei fell, hard. NZ1st leader, Winston Peters has been shafted and is fighting. Shambles. Manufactured shambles. Or pure happenstance, the voters will decide.

  19. roy cartland 20

    If you play shoot-em-up games (or cricket) you tend to get riskier as you realise you’re losing. The opponents are increasing, none of your tactics seem to work.

    You get to a point where you are so overwhelmed you just flip into a crazy maniac; flailing at everything in the hope that you cause as much damage as you can before you’re smothered.

    Nat is now at that point.

  20. ianmac 21

    The MSD rules are that you pay up whatever they say is due. You pay then have 3 months to challenge the detail and amount. Which Winston will do in due course as he is rather busy at the moment.

  21. ianmac 22

    @Mickey:”The matter could be easily progressed by release of some information and I believe that Peters should do this.”
    Why should he? The real issue is the leaking by persons unknown.

    Why did Seymour have access to the info? Is it just a coincidence that Seymour has been openly attacking NZF recently?

    • tracey 22.1

      If Taxpayers Union had it, then they might give that to ACT? This actually smells most like Collins.

  22. Delia 23

    Good luck with that coalition National, but maybe you knew, Peters hates the ex Key govt. Had to happen, all this back stabbing and using of private information (remember the two single mothers) and than they thought they would take on the big boppa, that is how conceited National is and now are totally unstuck.

  23. Dot 24

    Will you you please find and use another photo of Winston Peters .
    as this is another form of dirty politics.
    [I am not a Peters voter but I do know that
    visuals are frequently used against women]

    [I chose this photo because it is of Peters looking filthy as I imagine this is how he is feeling right now – MS]

  24. gsays 25

    DrNine to noon had Jane Patterson on this morn on this subject.

    It would seem that the ‘no surprises’ clause is being mis-applied.

    I don’t see the need for Winston to sign privacy waiver. To do so takes attention away from the real story: who leaked the details?

    Is there such a thing as bad publicity in the last month of electioneering?

    Something reeks, perhaps the rotting carcass of a regime who’s time has come.

    Now on rnz, the solicitor general was briefed to find out who else should be briefed.

    • tracey 25.1

      It was always a means for governments to have time to prepare for scandals. It has been violated. Whodda thunkit.

      Just like the Cab Manual demands the highest ethical standards in political and personal behavioyr but PMs just scoff using the Wayne Mapp mantra of “if it is legal it is ok”.

  25. swordfish 26


    It has been reported this morning that Anne Tolley had been given a heads up by way of a no surprises disclosure two weeks ago. And Newshub has disclosed that it received an anonymous phone call a couple of days after Tolley was told of Peters’ problems.

    From the Herald:

    The Beehive was told about Winston Peters’ private meeting over his superannuation payments a fortnight ago and before it was leaked to media, the Herald can reveal.

    The Ministry of Social Development told its minister Anne Tolley on August 15 under the “no surprises” policy that it had met NZ First leader Winston Peters about his superannuation payments. The Prime Minister’s office has confirmed English’s chief of staff Wayne Eagleson was then told by Tolley’s office. A spokesperson said Eagleson did not tell English or others in the office.



    TV3’s Jenna Lynch @JennaLynchNZ Retweeted Newshub Politics 2 hrs

    The story shifts…

    Newshub Politics‏Tweets

    Anne Tolley’s office now saying she was verbally informed about Winston Peters by MSD CEO on July 31st and was updated on Aug 15

  26. ianmac 27

    “Inland Revenue and the Ministry of Social Development have launched investigations into whether there was a leak of NZ First leader Winston Peters’ superannuation payments.”

    Wonder how long and how effective this will be?

  27. Dot 28

    I repeat my request, please find another photo of Winston Peters
    as I do not like to see The Standard participating in dirty Politics.

    • red-blooded 28.1

      Dot, how is it dirty politics to use a photo of Peters looking pissed off? How relevant to the story would a happy, smiling photo be?

    • AsleepWhileWalking 28.2

      He looks good and it conveys a sense of suspicion of those around him.

      Besides I don’t think you can get a bad picture of Winston. He’s got a great face for politics.

      I bet there will be a photo with a shit eating grin once he turns all of this to his advantage.

    • Anne 28.3

      Dot I think mickeysavage is trying to paint a picture of how Winston Peters must be feeling at the moment. He’s had a cart load of D.P. dirt thrown at him, and he’s still spitting out the bits and trying to clean himself up.

      The Standard (as you put it) is not the one throwing the dirt… its the National Party.

    • lprent 28.4

      The Standard is a dumb computer, authors pick their own images. If you’d like to change that, then I refer you to the last section of the About.

      But because I’m sometimes nice, I have added this one to the library for them to pick from. Looking at the existing images of Winston in the library, that one gets used a lot because it is the right size. Looking at the images on google over the past week, it is hard to find one without too much glowering.

      But you could always provide a link to an image that is reasonably up to date.

      • WILD KATIPO 28.4.1

        That’s a nice enough one 🙂

        Classic ‘ dog with a bone ‘ look from Winston.

        And in this case , it will be like a pit bull wrapping its jaws around certain National types , – and that pit bulls jaws are gonna lock down hard and not let go .

      • xanthe 28.4.2

        gosh i am trying to remember there is a very famous historical case where a glowering photograph was used by the opposition and it backfired! the public saw determination and strength.

      • Agora 28.4.3

        Who does the hair ?

  28. Michael 29

    It might even the score a bit if the scandal involving a senior National Party MP sees the light of day before 23 September. Of course, the learned profession is doing its utmost to make sure the people remain uninformed of a matter concerning the character of said senior National Party MP until we ll after their party gets another term.

  29. Cryptozoology 30

    Having worked previously at IRD would be near impossible to leak it from there; as MPs judiciary and IR staff are locked under special files. IR have thermonuclear protection around this and anyway wouldn’t show any overpayments as such just the amount of gross and tax paid on it. Not sure on the robustness of WINZ systems though?

    • lprent 30.1

      The two times that the security on MSD systems were notable were:-

      1. When Keith Ng demonstrated that their public consoles were a good pathway into their data.
      2. When a system for providing private and personal information about clients from NGOs to MSD was also good at providing it to other NGOs.

      These were just the external systems. God knows what kind of shit-shape their internal systems are.

    • weka 30.2

      WINZ client files are openly accessible from any WINZ stafff computer in NZ. I think they can see who has accessed any given file. Clients can request that their files be locked and one might hope that people like MPs would be offered this but they don’t bother telling ordinary benes about it.

      However there was something on one of the beneficiary FB pages recently about WINZ sending out letters telling clients with locked files that their files would become unlocked if they didn’t notify WINZ by a certain date to keep them locked. Yes, that stupid. Some people thought they had locked files but hadn’t received the letter. This degree of mess is not unusual ime and I’d consider WINZ information to not be as secure as most people would assume.

      When we consider that National want to create big data open access between govt depts and even NGOs it just looks like a nightmare.

      • AsleepWhileWalking 30.2.1

        If your file is locked (secure) all it means is that they require a manager to insecure it before a normal staff member works in or on it. At that point it is supposed to be made secure again but they often forget.

        It’s is a very, very thin veil of protection.

        • weka

          How do you know if it’s not been relocked?

          • AsleepWhileWalking

            If you ring the 0800 they don’t need to wait for someone authorised to unlock it, so no additional wait time. Or you could just ask.

  30. Good on you Winston , – they picked the wrong kid on the block this time.

    Go for their throat.
    Give them nothing , take them nowhere.

    • Unicus 31.1

      Splendid sugestions

      I can add – except to their burial pit !

      • Dspare 31.1.1

        Much as I like Turei personally, Peters is a much more formidable lawyer. The circumstances aren’t exactly equivalent, but if they had been; Peters would not have conceded for the good of his party, instead found someone else to blame.

        I’m not a National supporter, but they should take whoever thought this was a good idea to the burial pit before Peters does. Then point him to the open grave, and hold his jacket while he pisses on the corpse. Do they want to lose this election? Why??

        • tracey

          More formidable based on what? His lawyer is Brian Henry (who IS formidable).

          I do not get what you are saying?

          • Dspare

            The winebox inquiry as a starting point, I can’t recall a similar high profile case in Turei’s career (though tbf she operated as a commercial lawyer, so the lack of headlines is more of a mark of success in that field). But just his general adversarial style is more suited to courtroom battles than Turei’s consensus building (which I prefer, but isn’t always the most effective).

            Obviously, Peters isn’t representing himself. It is an old legal adage that; “a lawyer who represents themself has a fool for a client” (plus it is the middle of an election campaign).

            • tracey

              And is much younger. Again Brian Henry was the formidable lawyer and Peters the courageous politician.

              What kind of law did Peters practice before entering politics?

              BTW unless he holds a current practising certificate he cannot legally be called a lawyer. I know I cannot.

              I sense this is an apple and oranges situation. Also Peters machismo is in play here something I agree Turei doesnt exhibit.

              I am not sure why you are drawing a comparisson to Turei at all? I am genuinely trying to get it.

            • tracey

              He was 32 when he entered Parliament and had been a lawyer at Russell Mcveagh. Am trying to find what law he practiced.

              “Former teacher, a barrister and solicitor in his own law practice.”

              • DSpare

                Been offline, so didn’t see your comment till now. The comparison with Turei seemed apt to me – both; Māori, former lawyers, heads of political parties, during this election beset by “scandal” involving overpayments from MSD. There are other rumours too (which are not yet substantiated), that might make the similarity even clearer.

                Anyway, if I have to explain this much, I have been inept at communication in the first instance. If it bothers you that much, just skip the first paragraph – the comment was really a response to unicus’; “burial pit” imagery anyway.

          • Humphrey

            Watching Slater go monkeys over leaks from Ministeries the former Police and ACC Ministers (Collins and Tolley) used to operate Dirty Politics from is surely a highlight. Wonder if he’s chatted to his lawyer Brian Henry lately?

  31. Here is the relevant part of the current form:

    That seems to be the relevant form today. Was it the same seven years ago?

    I know that there’s been changes to other WINZ forms.

    Perhaps as Matthew Hooton has said National’s strategy now is to drive New Zealand First and the Greens under 5 %, and for National to hold its vote and have an absolute majority.

    If true this is a very risky strategy.

    And about the only one that they’ve got left. With the Peter Dunne Party collapsing that’s one support party gone and it’s not looking good for either the Māori Party or ACT (I wouldn’t be surprised if National had polling indicating that ACT was going to lose Epsom despite (or perhaps because of) National telling their voters to vote for him.

    Now, hopefully, Labour and the Greens will lower the threshold so that we get a government of 50% or more. That will, I think, keep National out permanently.

  32. Let’s not forget about our old pals, Judith Collins and Cameron Slater.

  33. adam 34

    I suppose when you win using dirty politics, it’s the only game the national party know.

  34. swordfish 35

    Rebound Time – Tragically the Story’s definitely turning against our very close & much loved Tory chums

    1 News Corin Dann Political Editor

    ‘You’ve got a political party deeply exposed all the way to the Prime Minister’ – Winston takes aim at Nats

    And Mr Peters is considering legal action after the bombshell revelations this morning, that government ministers and the Prime Minister’s chief-of-staff had advanced knowledge of Mr Peters superannuation situation

    “This is humbug – it’s tawdry, its dirty, it’s filthy and they should not succeed on it.”


    Claire Trevett Herald

    English said he was concerned about how the matter became public and he would take any leak “very seriously”.

    He said Ministerial Services would look at how the information was handled within the Beehive.

    Matthew Hooton

    A ministerial services inquiry is for when you don’t want to find a culprit. It’s not like there’ll be any emails..


    Newshub Jenna Lynch: Who didn’t know about Winston’s superannuation overpayments?

    The list of those in the Beehive who knew about Winston Peters’ superannuation overpayment is growing by the second.

    It might be an easier task to compile a list of who didn’t know ……

    Deputy PM Paula Bennett is also reported to have been briefed under ‘no surprises’ in her capacity as State Services Minister.

    That is bizarre.

    Judith Collins, the Minister for Revenue, wasn’t made aware even though her department was involved. A statement from her office says there’s no ‘no surprises’ policy in relation to individual taxpayers.

    “The tax secrecy provisions (section 81 of the Tax Administration Act), means that this is not a matter that the Minister would ever be informed of or briefed on in any way. She would never ask for or receive this kind of information,” the statement said.

    So why were others notified of a private personal finance matter?.

    • tracey 35.1

      24 hours after the event English says he will take the leak seriously. INterestingly that wasn’t his initial reaction yesterday. Like Key he clearly needs 24 hours of training and polling to decide what to think.

  35. Pete 36

    Tim Murphy has termed the leaker a ‘whistleblower’? What?

    I thought whistleblowers in an ordinary sense spill the beans about some surreptitious happenings in a bureaucracy so that the issues having been brought to light could be sorted out.

    A private citizen’s ordinary dealings with a Government department does not come under that. The motive for the leak clearly has been to cause political mayhem. It has.

    It needed a media voracious to be ahead of the pack and more dramatic, to do the dirty work. Of course they oibliged.

    • tracey 36.1

      Unless there is more to it, like the Leaker is going to say who (If anyone) told them to leak, then it does not appear this information is in the public interest, in the legal meaning of that term (as opposed to purient interest).

      There is no way this is a no surprises issue. For a start no one should know about it other than peters and the MSD/IRD person/people dealing with his case.

  36. Macro 37

    Double Dipton @ 11.13am

    “Minister Tolley advised my Chief of Staff who made the judgement that it was not necessary for me or anyone else to be informed.

    “Chief Executives make the decision on what to advise the Minister under the no surprises policy. They do this carefully and in good faith.

    “On this occasion, however, given the personal and confidential nature of the information, it would have been better for the Ministers not to have been advised.

    “I believe that the leak did not come from within the Beehive or the National party. The two Ministers and my Chief of Staff have assured me of that. I would take any leak very seriously.”

    If you believe that last paragraph – I have a large bridge in Auckland that is going cheap.
    This was an obvious and stupid attempt at personally attacking Winston, and the only Party that could possibly conceive to benefit from this attack was National. That the details were known around the time of the attack on Meteria, but were not made known until after that had died down, just adds further credence to the growing opinion that this was none other than Nationals Dirty Tricks brigade up to their necks in shit again.
    National can see the writing now on the wall. With Dunne gone, The MP making overtures to Labour, NZ First’s policies are more in tune with Labour than National, and the Greens were never going to go with them anyway – they are a stand alone Party with the exception of 1 Act MP. Simply not enough to control the purse strings any more.
    The continued release of watered down Labour policy speaks for itself.
    National are running scared.

    • tracey 37.1

      It is almost like he has never met Eagleston, Bennett, Collins or Tolley before.

      He needs to be pressed on his understanding of the criteria for “No Surprises”.

  37. Dirk Meatwhistle 38

    So who stands to gain and who stands to lose from all this…

    Winston is very quick to point the finger at any other politician “if you have nothing to fear you have nothing to hide” so why isn’t he showing the form to prove to everyone how above board he is…

    Surely National don’t believe they can govern without NZFirst so why antagonise Winston?

    A Labour party hit job perhaps…if so well done to them

    • Where is Jason Ede?

      Oh hang on ,… that was 2014 ‘s National scandal.

      One every election, that’s National for you.

    • Dspare 38.2

      Dirk Meatgently
      How would that even happen? Labour are not (yet) the government and haven’t been demonstrated to have the information before it was publicly available. Also, why is the Goebbles (translated) quote attributed to Peters? I can’t find any evidence that he has ever said that – perhaps you can provide a link of your assertion that he holds Nazi views?

    • One Anonymous Bloke 38.3

      Inflexible contortionist fails to convince skeptical crowd.

    • lprent 38.4

      …so why isn’t he showing the form to prove to everyone how above board he is…

      It simply doesn’t matter.

      Do you expect all of us citizens to prove that we that we aren’t guilty whenever some arsehole in public service criminally releases private information? Our systems don’t work like that. It is up to the prosecution to prove guilt. Not for the defendant to prove innocence.

      If so then you are a complete fuckwit. Just consider this

      And please supply – in public – all of your tax returns for the last 7 years and all of your receipts for all purchases so that we *know* that you haven’t been fiddling anything.

      Why? Because you are commenting in the public sphere about politics. This is EXACTLY the same thing that you are claiming that Winston Peters should be doing.

      Until you are willing to do this, then you are a simple criminal and hypocrite.

      • Dirk Meatwhistle 38.4.1

        Nah I don’t think so matey, Winston Peters loves to ask similar questions of others but now the boots on the other foot hes not quite so keen

        At the moment hes saying theres nothing to it but he won’t supply any proof because we should just trust him

        But then why would anyone ever doubt what he says


        • One Anonymous Bloke

          I think so matey: vicious little Stalinists like you deserve contempt, and you should be grateful for that.

          Now run back to whatever STASI blog you get your opinions from.

          • Dirk Meatwhistle

            First time I’ve been called a Stalinist I’ll admit

            • One Anonymous Bloke

              Other terms in common usage that describe your behaviour and values include “panty-sniffer” and “curtain twitcher”, but you’re inoffizielle Mitarbeiter by any other name.

        • tracey

          Collins also said that over GCSB but deleted texts instead of giving them to an investigator and then didnt give her permission for them to be retrieved. Same as English over Barclay tapes

          Bennett leaked info to silence a beneficiary in direct violation of the law as did Collins (resulting in an innocent person getting death threats), but you would never vote for National while those kinds of folks are there, would you?

        • North

          Dork…..you have a tragically ignorant appreciation of things, Trump-like ignorance indeed.

          Someone’s falsely accused of fraud. Turns out the putative victim says “No issues…….all satisfied.” But STILL ignorant fool insists that unless the falsely accused positively proves no fraud, then there is fraud.

          Save us !

    • tracey 38.5

      Collins also said that over GCSB but deleted texts instead of giving them to an investigator and then didnt give her permission for them to be retrieved. Same as English over Barclay tapes

    • tracey 38.6

      Rubbish. Nats are banking on greens under 5% and TOP @ 2%. That makes Nats able to govern alone at about 45%. They are arrogant enough(or desperate) to try to collapse NZF support and take a bit of it to them.

      • Dirk Meatwhistle 38.6.1

        Its certainly not a strategy I’d consider but I wouldn’t put it past them

        • One Anonymous Bloke

          No, you wouldn’t consider it at all. You just voted for it and supported it and wear the stain everywhere you go.

          Trying to weasel out of your personal responsibility for the filth you enable is another typical right wing attribute.

          Own it.

          • Dirk Meatwhistle

            Me and close to 50% of the country for near on a decade 🙂

            • One Anonymous Bloke


              Statistically challenged too I see. National has managed to get support from slightly less than 30% of the electorate (29.7% from memory), not the country. Go to the Electoral Commission’s website, check the results and divide their vote by the number of registered voters if you can.

              If you follow the typical right wing parrot style, you will now retort by asking what percentage of the electorate voted for other parties, rather than owning your ignorance and/or gullibility.

              Unless you knew all along and are simply lying.

              Which is it: ignorance or dishonesty?

              • tracey

                “never subscribe to malice that which can be explained by stupidity” Dirk meatwhistle 29 August 2017

            • tracey

              Lots of people vote for Putin too. At least Labour supporters have admitted the damage done by the 84 and 87 governments.

        • tracey

          With Greens polling below 5% it makes no sense for Labour to nobble the only other viable partner to enable them to become government.

          • Dirk Meatwhistle

            Yes that is also a good point, “never subscribe to malice that which can be explained by stupidity” or something

            • One Anonymous Bloke


              Making excuses for right wing values is no use to the victims of your malicious stupidity.

            • tracey

              You and Ian Wishart are peddling the same story. How proud you must feel.

    • Treetop 38.7

      “If you have nothing to fear you have nothing to hide.”

      Peters is trying to flush out all who knew. The list is getting longer and longer. The minute Peters shows the W&I NZ Super form details, this stops National from misleading the public and all the focus goes on what Peters has said and whether he has misled the public.

      Peters strength is that a breach of privacy has occurred.

  38. swordfish 39

    Hoots-Farrar Twitter Exchange 45m

    Matthew @MatthewHootonNZ

    Current unofficial #Beehive line is that the @winstonpeters info was leaked by an @msdgovtnz datacenter worker with @NZGreens connections


    David Farrar‏

    Replying to @MatthewHootonNZ @winstonpeters and 2 others

    I have no idea who leaked it but the thought it was someone who thought Turei was hard done by is pretty likely.

    Matthew Hooton‏ @MatthewHootonNZ

    Yes, that is the current line.

    • Ad 39.1

      Even if they find a scapegoat from any one of the three investigations now underway, Winston has fantastic tv facetime three weeks from the election.

      Winston will now have further tv facetime when:

      – He launches his own investigation with his lawyer, esp to Privacy Commission
      – Each of the three Departmental investigations concludes to the media
      – The Prime Minister announces that he will fire someone, or the SSC has “an employment matter”
      – The tv media finally run the story of who leaked it on the Sunday during the National campaign launch

      I see Winston on 10-11% about this, taking 2% off National.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 39.2

      Interesting choice of words from Littlefinger Hooton. His dwarf eunuch will no doubt be promoting the “current line” at the Sewer.

    • francesca 39.3

      If that was true the info would have been leaked while the furore over Metiria was still in full flight, to deflect
      Hooton and Farrar are desperate.The old Crosby/Textor playbook has had its day

      • tracey 39.3.1

        And to cover for Jordan Williams whose Taxpayers Branch of National Party is rumoured to have had the leak?

        Cos a Green supporter would leak to Taxpayers Union, right?

    • swordfish 39.4

      One wonders if the National Party hierarchy have any sort of conscience a la The Young Ones’ Rick…

      Conscience: Rick… Rick… this is the voice of your conscience speaking.

      Rick: Shut up! Shut up!

      Conscience: Don’t tell me to shut up, you spotty little bastard! I’m your conscience. You killed Neil (shopped Winnie), didn’t you?

      Rick: No! No! It wasn’t me. It was, er, Vyvyan and Mike (the Greens). They did it and I’m going to tell on them as well!

      Conscience: They didn’t bloody well do it! It was you. ya little liar !

      Rick: Oh, God! Whose side are you on?!

      Conscience: Not bloody yours, matey!

      Will the equivalent exchange go on In Steven Joyce’s brain as he tries to sleep tonight ?

      • tracey 39.4.1

        Karl Rove (Joyce) has a conscience??

      • Dirk Meatwhistle 39.4.2

        If its anything like the episode I think I remember Joyce will start dreaming about attractive young women…

        • DSpare

          If it’s anything like the episode, Peters will come back to life with the relentlessness of a hydra’s head grown anew.

    • tracey 39.5

      What. Bastards.

      Hoot On has never lied for political gain or fudged OIAs and neither have National. Talk about pushing their grass roots hot buttons.

    • Carolyn_nth 39.6

      Well Peters has a different view. Posted on RNZ website 35 minutes ago: “Peters maintains National to blame for leak”

      Winston Peters has rejected an assurance from the Prime Minister, who said a leak about the New Zealand First leader’s superannuation overpayment did not come from National Party ministers.

      He said he did not believe Mr English and National’s campaign chair Steven Joyce had not been briefed.

      “The Prime Minister did know and he was briefed by Mr Eagleson and Mr Joyce, that’s the first fact he needs to admit.”

      There was no reason why ministers should have been briefed, said Mr Peters.
      He said Mr English’s assurances did not remedy what he believed to be “seriously illegal” behaviour.

      “And the Prime Minister should understand the ethics of this matter – clearly he doesn’t.”

      Mr English said Ministerial Services were investigating how the information was handled within the relevant offices.

      Mr Peters said he was not satisfied.

      “Well they can all cover their bum as much as they like, but frankly it’s rotten, it’s bad and we’re not going to have an in-house inquiry sorting out what should never have happened in the first place by looking into their own mis-actions.”

      And Mr Peters said he did not accept the assertion from the State Services Commission ministers were only told once the matter had been resolved.

      “They knew already – that’s what’s clear from the chronology now.”

    • Carolyn_nth 39.7

      Tim Murphy was hinting at something similar in his piece on Newsroom today – basically in this piece, Murphy shows his slant on the whole thing. He shows he sees Peters over payment of Super & paying it back “on the quiet” was some sort of hypocrisy on Peters’ part:

      Crucially, Peters himself did not go public with his “mistake”, overpayment, inquiry and repayment. Had he done so, the issue would have flared and died within a news cycle or two.

      Why on earth should Peters have gone public about this? It was purely a personal matter. There is no evidence of wrong doing on Peters part, so Murphy is really spinning wildly here. Murphy also seems to think there was nothing wrong with Ministers being informed about it.

      Then he goes on:

      Instead, a whistleblower contacted news organisations, providing the critical information to show the leading proponent of superannuation and accountability had quietly sorted a longtime, repeated overpayment from the state.

      It is unclear what benefit National might think it would get, at this critical stage of the campaign, by damaging and humiliating perhaps its only likely partner to get across the line to govern from September 23.

      Even if it harmed Peters’ vote, that would in almost any scenario harm National’s chances too.

      For Labour, the affair is prima facie positive. Peters at war with National. National caught by its ‘no surprises’ control freakery and made to look guilty even if it is not. But as Jacinda Ardern danced around matters this morning, she made it clear talking about Winston Peters was not her priority at a big spending education policy launch.

      There are those in the public service apparatus plainly irritated by the unseemly hounding and demise of Metiria Turei.

      Seriously, Murphy is really showing his colours here, and it indicates he probably thought the overpayment was the #motherofallscandals

      • tracey 39.7.1

        And Labour nobbles NZF and loses another partner (if Greens do not get over 5%)?. I wonder if he has projectile vommited from all that spinning?

        • Carolyn_nth

          And just a staggering misunderstanding of the Greens, and the left generally, if Murphy thinks they/we would see Peters’ super overpayment as some kind of major crime?!

          Probably also shows a misunderstanding of the importance of and experience with super by many older kiwis.

          • reason

            National and their dirty politics crew have accused green party members of making false sexual assault allegations for political purposes in the past ….


            Wayne Mapp tried to pretend the greens taught them how to scam and rort their housing allowances …

            Some right wing idiots used to compare the greens to to the Taliban ….

            So all sorts of trash talk and bullshit …. from the dirty crowd who Would do such acts …. gets projected at the Greens.

            “Key has repeatedly said that there were rapists, child molesters and murderers on Christmas Island, but figures released since have showed that none of the 40 New Zealanders in the detention centres have been convicted of rape and only one had been convicted of indecently treating a child.

            Turei says Key needs to correct the record as he had technically misled Parliament.”

      • North 39.7.2

        Shows how intellectually corrupt and hopelessly partial the likes of Murphy et al are. “Had he done so……” [viz. gone public about payment etc] “the issue would have flared and died within a news cycle or two.” What ??? That’s Murphy complaining that Winston’s not helping the dogs of the media out of a hole they dug and then fell into.

        Listen up Murphy – If ya can’t bite ya better not growl !

        • Ed

          The media is corrupt, owned and a puppet of the neoliberal establishment- some of us have been saying this for a while.

    • lurgee 39.8

      Current unofficial #Beehive line is that the @winstonpeters info was leaked by an @msdgovtnz datacenter worker with @NZGreens connections

      I must admit I am struggling with the idea of National trying to sabotage a crucial coalition partner. I did wonder if Labour would hope to profit from any fall in NZ1st vote.

      Though I am not suggesting this was planned by any party.

      • tracey 39.8.1

        If nats believe Greens are under 5, and TOP gets 2%, if they can crash winston’s vote, they can rule alone. That makes as much sense as Labour trashing it’s most viable coaltion partner

      • swordfish 39.8.2


        I must admit I am struggling with the idea of National trying to sabotage a crucial coalition partner

        Tracey’s already alluded to National’s strategy (above) – but more detail here …

        National sees path to victory – Politik

        National is now going to target Winston Peters and NZ First in the hope of winning one or two per cent of his vote back off him

        They believe that will be enough to hold on to power ……

        Daily Review 28/08/2017

        • ScottGN

          Do you reckon that will work though swordfish? Personally I think they’ve launched the hit on Winston in order to grab maybe 2 percent of his votes (back?) so that they remain the largest party in the low 40s. I don’t think the whole governing-alone-with-46.5%-of-the-party-vote idea is realistic at all.

        • lurgee

          Tracey’s already alluded to National’s strategy (above) – but more detail here …

          I think National would have to be a bit daft to try that strategy, to be honest. It relies on the Greens not getting into parliament, alienates a significant potential partner and relies on Boring Bill managing to be more appealing to voters than John Key, and on Ardern not having much of an impact.

          Of course, this is New Zealand politics we’re talking about, which seems to be going through one of its mad phases, so who knows?

    • dukeofurl 39.9

      Love the spin

      Datacentre workers dont have links to gallery journalists.

      Clearly has no idea about datacentre work, their hands fly over the keyboards, the names mean nothing. If they though about they would be able to keep up.

    • Pete 39.10

      In other words they’re trying to create a narrative that suits their panic stricken arses.

      If it got down to it Farrar would blame his own kid if it was the last thing he could do to save National.

  39. tracey 40

    It makes no sense that a No Surprises policy does not include the PM knowing.

    • In Vino 40.1

      This lot seem so incredibly irrational that nothing would surprise anyway…
      Tolley: informed, but felt obligated to remain silent. As our enemy Audrey Young pointed out – this destroys the whole point of what ‘No Surprises’ is supposed to be about.
      Another sensational conundrum that distracts from policy.. (Not that I want a lecture from Gareth..)

    • dukeofurl 40.2

      The only rule is the PM has to have plausible denial.

      Ways at doing this are
      : ‘not briefed’ which is apparently a formal occasion but we do gossip at other times!

      : ‘not heard that’ , but it was written down instead.

      : Keynesia , which is what is sounds like by the time they catch up with you , who cares.

  40. Pete 41

    Bill English has said the leak didn’t come from the Beehive.

    Well, well, well, whoop dee fucken doo, you can bet all the money in Barclay’s Bank he’ll be telling the truth!

    • One Anonymous Bloke 41.1

      No, it came from my cellphone while I was wearing my “Prime Minister” hat, not my “leader of the National Party” hat, and by definition a Prime Minister cannot leak.

    • tracey 41.2

      Well, he coudn’t remember he made a statement to police over the Barclay thing even though his office was scrambling to keep his name off documents.

    • dukeofurl 41.3

      Not from beehive ?

      Would that be Bowen House then, where Seymour and ACT have their offices. It would have gone from beehive to Bowen though.

  41. For those, like the author, implying Peters could make this go away by disclosing more information: Hold up just a goddamned minute, I am no fan of Peters, but if anything we’re not entitled to half of the information we already have on this story, and there was no legitimate public interest in leaking it. (even though I have been a fierce advocate for Metiria, I would have agreed that there might be public interest in someone leaking her story for it to have been debated if that information had been held somewhere, as ensuring the money is repaid is of public interest. Peters’ situation is a different story as he ensured the repayment before the story even broke)

    Peters has no moral or legal obligation to release the form showing whether he indicated he was single or not. He has paid back the money and nobody has demonstrated or even reasonably implied any deliberate attempt to defraud the state. He is perfectly welcome to maintain his privacy, and in fact is quite entitled to complain about the breach to his privacy from MSD, which is leaking like a sieve and seems to think the “no-surprises policy” (which should be significantly walked back as it is) allows them to commit privacy breaches when there could be political implications to their regular day-to-day operations. (It doesn’t, it requires them to notify ministers if they are about to release information under the OIA and there could be political or policy implications that Ministers need to prepare for. As written it’s perfectly reasonable, as practiced however it’s used to give ministers a chance to argue that information shouldn’t be released, which is inappropriate political interference)

    There is no way this information was eligible to be released under the OIA, therefore the admitted disclosures to ministers were privacy breaches rather than “no-surprises” briefings. Those responsible for briefing the ministers should be disciplined or even fired as appropriate. It would even have been irresponsible and illegal to advise the minister in more anonymous ways. (ie. “a politically significant person has been found to have received super payments, we are handling it like any other person in that situation” is still a privacy breach, as it could lead to people investigating and finding out who it was when they had no right to know)

    If I were a betting man, I would bet that any revelation as to who leaked the document will reveal someone who is affiliated or sympathetic with the National Party, but as there’s no evidence for that yet, all I see the point in saying on that subject is that I hope someone (or better yet, multiple someones) is investigating furiously.

    • tracey 42.1

      Bennett got a slap on the hand with a wet bus ticket for her deliberate privacy breach, why would that have deterred them?

    • Hongi Ika 42.2

      They won’t find anything until after the Election I am sure, the damage has been done to Winston and NZF, and the Public believe what MSM tell them.

      • tracey 42.2.1

        I do not see this damaging Winston. For a start the media are not calling for his head on a plate, so why would the populace, let alone NZF voters walk away from him?

    • weka 42.3

      I largely agree with that except for this. Whether something gets deemed fraud vs overpayment is discretionary and WINZ can choose to write off debt or not seek to reclaim it. There is a big grey area between the MSD making a mistake and someone deliberately lying to get extra money. That grey area and how people in it get treated appears to be highly discriminatory. Peters privilege as an MP (and possibly his reputation in power mongering) is possibly a factor in how this is being handles from the MSD’s side.

      So my concern here is that the MSD said there was no issue, but the MSD aren’t actually trustworthy either in this specific situation (the no surprises release) or in general (they treat people very badly depending on who the person is and who the staff is).

      I think that Privacy rights here are incredibly important esp in the context of what Paula Bennett did in releasing beneficiary information a few years ago and then telling the Privacy Commissioner to fuck off when they ruled against her, and from memory saying she would do it again.

      I also think that there is a melee going on over values. For instance I don’t think there is a public interest in Turei’s debt from 25 years ago that would outweigh the Privacy rights (because of the grey area). Certainly not if Peters is now to be afforded those same rights when we don’t know what happened.

      I don’t think Peters should be required to release the form, but a coherent explanation instead of the 2 days of obfuscation we’ve had from him seem a reasonable thing to want given his position as MP.

      I also agree with what others have said about his role in developing Superannuation policy and framing in NZ. He could have used this situation to talk about the problems with WINZ/MSD, but I’ve heard nothing on this, nor concern for the pensioners who are now worried about their own entitlements and possible overpayments (not been paying much attention today).

      Something went wrong, we don’t know what, and neither the MSD nor Peters appears concerned about public confidence in that system. Not that that’s unusual, beneficiaries are well used to that, but I would place this as an important issue alongside the Privacy ones.

      tl;dr Yes Peters is entitled to Privacy rights, and he has responsibilities as an MP that he is currently shirking.

    • Anne 42.4

      Peters has no moral or legal obligation to release the form showing whether he indicated he was single or not.

      I doubt Peter’s has the form. I recall a form being filled out when I attended my ‘appointment’ prior to the start of my receipt of the Super, but I have no recollection receiving a copy of it. It was an administrative document only. I’m not altogether sure I filled in the form. It may have been the case officer who filled it in based on my answers.

      • Michael 42.4.1

        That “administrative document” you seem to take so lightly is the very thing that will incriminate you if MSD calculates it can obtain a conviction (and remember it is government policy, via the Welfare Working Group’s recommendation that were subsequently implemented) to criminalise as many beneficiaries as possible – and that includes superannuitants in the government’s view of things (“useless eaters” just like the sick and disabled). Your signature on that document will be the primary evidence that you committed an offence under the Crimes Act 1961 (s228, IIRC). That’s why government bureaucracies make you sign all those forms.

    • Treetop 42.5

      Once out in the public arena it becomes dirty politics. The person who leaks it, leaks it to gain popularity/an advantage and to disadvantage/wipeout the person who the issue involves. The leaker has committed a criminal act and takes the chance of not being discovered.

      Tolley says, an operational matter.
      Eagleson says, that Tolley informed her.
      English says, that Eagleson did not inform him.
      Bennett says, she was advised by the State Services Commission.

      No surprise policy and the PM being responsible for ministerial services and not being informed. Yeah Right!

      What is the point of having a no surprise policy and not being informed?

      Now there is a crime to investigate.

      Bush (police commissioner) has another stench in the National Party to investigate and has to try and figure out how to get to the bottom of the truth, when the shields are up (by people who do the governments dirty work).

      Were I Peters, I would be asking, how co-operative are those employed by/in government going to be regarding any internal or external investigation?

      English has ministerial responsibility, he cannot worm his way out of this one like he has so far with the Barclay botch up, English cannot say that it is NOT a ministerial matter.

  42. Hongi Ika 43

    Nats want to deliver the killer blow to Winston and get rid of NZF once and for all.

    • tracey 44.1

      Thanks. The hypocrisy is incredible and again, proves Turei;s point that it is open season on beneficiaries who this govt and many of its supporters consider to have as many, or fewer rights than prisoners

  43. JustMe 45

    Paula Bennett is on record as saying she would happily and without remorse provide the names of beneficiaries who have criticised the National government.
    It appears now that Winston Peters(a beneficiary)has also had his privacy breached by either a National MP or an employee in the National government and is someone in the Beehive.
    Peters has often criticised the National government and it does seem now the fact of his overpayment becoming public knowledge is an orchestrated attempt by the National government to undermine him.
    Of late Paula Bennett has been suspiciously quiet on matters eg Metiria Turei’s bold and brave admission of her benefit actions in the 90s. Is it because Bennett has a past she doesn’t want the NZ Public to know about and any attempt to take attention away from National(the very political party she criticised whilst on a benefit in the 90s)creates the opportunity to find fault with WInston Peters??!!!!
    A rotten fruit doesn’t fall far from a tree and even though I just cannot stand Paula Bennett I think it’s time she owned up for her actions of the past. Not resort to getting a pathetic womens magazine to write a glowing article about her because she is intent on re-election.

  44. ianmac 47

    The IRD has very very strict checks and balances.
    The MSD has I suppose an equally strict Checking system.

    If both are able to prove that none of the people who had the detailed information, could have released it other than to the Government, then the ball bounces much more heavily on the Ministers or their staff.

    This could get interesting indeed.
    Denial would not be convincing. Even a very loud Ministerial “NO” would be ironic?

    • Anne 47.1

      An interesting piece by Judy Cunningham:

      … I’ve sat in a WINZ office with a woman who could have been my mother.

      She was lovely. As was the superannuitant who sorted Brian’s some years earlier.

      Both of them filled in the forms for us and, although we’re both reasonably literate, we were both very grateful, because forms can confuse.

      So I have no difficulty believing that Winston had trust in the officer who processed his application, and that he simply signed this form as we did. Particularly since his partner was with him at the time and there should have been no confusion about his status.

      So, like us, he may have assumed that all the details had been checked and accepted by WINZ, since their representative had filled them in.

      My recollection of my appointment with WINZ is much the same. Quite sure I didn’t fill in the form. The case officer asked the questions… I gave the answers.


  45. Exkiwiforces 48

    Well what last 48-24 hrs reading here, other news sites and other blogs, I think this is going to got ugly for someone/ bodies and it won’t be the old fox. The old fox is very cunning being a former lawyer, very good rugby player in his younger days and I’ve been told he could’ve gone very far, some say his boxing was of a high standard as wee, he understands chess and history as will.

    The old fox will bay for time and he unleash his attack/ response of his time of choosing. If anyone here knows Tim Barnett especially when he was the Labour government whip will tell you how the old fox operates.

    One old desert vet I know and a former pollie once said he Winnie reminds him of another fox called the desert fox, Field Marshall Erwin Rommel.

    So fastest your seatbelts and watch these wezzels tired get out of this one when it blows up

  46. Michael Shanahan 49

    In my view the leaking all started when Brendan Boyle and Peter Hughes passed information to ministers which was far out of the proper scope of a “no surprises policy” .

    The point of such a policy is, I guess, to help with confidence between ministers and public servants, but in implementation thought needs to be given to potential future governments and ministers, and having their confidence as well. Didn’t happen. How would it be if someone from NZ First became Minister of Social Welfare?

    There also needs to be confidence from ordinary members of the public that if they have some juicy info held at MSD that might play well in the media to the advantage of the govt, that it won’t get handed over. This erodes that still further, after the stuff to do with Paula Bennett.

    I understand that advice was sought of the Solicitor General on how to handle the issue. That advice should be made public.

    I think Hughes and Boyle should resign.

  47. Et Tu Brute 50

    Winston Peters faces a fairly serious allegation.

    We go to the polls in a few weeks and this is of the highest public interest, considering the role he will have post-election picking the next government. May I propose something of a double standard here among the opposition. Dirty Politics uncovered information critical for voters to make their decision, but it was based on theft. This scandal is the same. I don’t think we should treat them differently. Sure, police should get warrants and investigation in the fullness of time. BUT the fundamental question is whether the guy who will decide the election willfully misled MSD on his relationship status for financial benefit.

    • Ed 50.1

      The fundamentals are:

      1. A government that uses state surveillance to intimidate opposition MPs.
      2. A politicised civil service.

    • xanthe 50.2

      no winston does not face “fairly serious allegation” . He was overpaid by WINZ, happens all the time !

      • D'Esterre 50.2.1

        Xanthe: “no winston does not face “fairly serious allegation” . He was overpaid by WINZ, happens all the time !”

        Heh, nailed it!

    • D'Esterre 50.3

      Et Tu Brute: ” BUT the fundamental question is whether the guy who will decide the election willfully misled MSD on his relationship status for financial benefit.”

      Nope. You have fundamentally missed the point here. It actually doesn’t matter a damn what the causal chain was that resulted in the overpayment. The issue of moment is the breach of Winston’s privacy, by way of misuse of the “no surprises” policy.

      Our senior public servants ought to know what that policy was designed for, and it was not for such purposes. That they appear to have been unaware of it suggests that muppetry extends right up into the highest levels of the public service; heads should roll, and I sincerely hope that they do.

      Winston is perfectly within his rights to be incandescent with rage over this situation, and to refuse a privacy waiver; were I in his shoes, I’d do the same. He’s already suffered intrusion into his private affairs, and you’re wanting him to give a privacy waiver, so that there can be further prurient prying by the msm? Bugger that for a game of soldiers!

      All of us who are pensioners or beneficiaries ought to be very angry about what’s happened here; I certainly am, and I’m an anonymous nobody. We are entitled to rely on MSD and IRD to keep our personal information confidential; this case risks undermining trust in these agencies on the part of all of us.

      • weka 50.3.1

        Are you suggesting that if Peters (or anyone) committed benefit fraud that this should be ignored if the MSD breached their Privacy rights?

        Personally I think it’s highly unlikely that Peters committed fraud. The risks were too high and why would he need to anyway?

        But the problem now is several things. One is that Peters has been evasive and it does make it look like something isn’t right. The other is that the MSD who said the case is closed also breached his privacy rights, so is the MSD trustworthy or not? Both of those are public confidence issues separate from whatever National are doing, and they need to be dealt with better than we are currently seeing.

        • D'Esterre

          Weka: “Are you suggesting that if Peters (or anyone) committed benefit fraud that this should be ignored if the MSD breached their Privacy rights?”

          In virtue of what should you suppose that Peters has committed fraud? MSD has said that the case is closed; were fraud – or even the sniff of it – involved, it seems unlikely that it would do that. Penny to a five-pound note that the mistake occurred in data entry: fat finger syndrome.

          Peters has said that the payment went into a savings account. He has other income and wouldn’t necessarily notice the amount of the superannuation. Other pensioners in his situation would no doubt tell the same story.

          Nor does it matter that, as an MP, he also earns a generous salary. He’s as entitled to the pension as any other citizen: that’s the whole point of a universal scheme. Those of us paying attention to such stuff in the 1990s well remember the injustices of means testing; thank god the Clark administration, when it came to power, did away with that.

          As I and others have pointed out, Peters has had his privacy egregiously and very publicly breached. Whatever the facts of the overpayment, that breach is of much more moment, and would trump the issue of fraud. And now the holier-than-thou brigade want him to sign a privacy waiver; enough already!

          “….Peters has been evasive….”

          He’s notorious for evasiveness: it’s his MO. But I’ve listened to him being interviewed; I don’t think he has has been, where this story is concerned. And he’d have been quite within his rights to tell various members of the msm to go jump in the lake, given the leaks, and how some of them have reported this story.

          “…. is the MSD trustworthy or not?”

          As I pointed out above, this case risks undermining trust in MSD – or IRD, if the leak came from there. If you did a straw poll of those of us who are superannuitants, you’d probably find that our faith in these agencies has been shaken by the Peters case. In any event, I doubt that MSD enjoys much trust among beneficiaries in general.

          • weka

            I’ve already said I don’t think Peters committed fraud.

            Just to be clear though, you are arguing that if someone’s privacy rights are breached then they should be excused any fraud they’ve committed?

            • D'Esterre

              Weka: “….you are arguing that if someone’s privacy rights are breached then they should be excused any fraud they’ve committed?”

              No. I’m saying that in a situation commensurate to that of Winston, had there been actual fraud, the nature of the privacy breach is the greater crime. I doubt that a court would proceed with a prosecution under such circumstances. Much as it might annoy Winston’s enemies, the case would probably be thrown out.

              On the other hand, whoever was responsible for the leak – if their identity is ever discovered – ought to be prosecuted. A fortiori if said leaker is employed by IRD.

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