- Date published:
10:01 am, July 13th, 2020 - 39 comments
Categories: Dirty Politics, making shit up, national, same old national, spin, todd muller, you couldn't make this shit up - Tags:
National’s latest attempted spin is to try and suggest that last week’s clusterfuck of rolling events did not involve in any way the slightest trace of dirty politics.
Nikki Kaye, speaking on Q+A on TVNZ, acknowledged “the perception was that Todd hadn’t received the information” and that it “should have been [made] clearer to the media”. The party “could have done better”, she said. She insisted, however, that Boag had not provided her with any of the information, and dismissed the suggestion that it was a case of “dirty politics”.
The party had taken swift action in response, Kaye said, with Walker announcing his departure from politics and Michelle Boag quitting a bunch of roles, including her position with the helicopter trust, place on Kaye’s own Auckland Central campaign committee and even her party membership. “You can’t control some of the events that come at you,” said Kaye. “You can control how you deal with them.”
Where to start?
“Events that come at you” suggest that these events are random events and not within National’s control. When a trusted National Party operative gets sensitive personal information and leaks it to at least two MPs this is not a random random. When one of them goes to town on attacking the Government about with one of them saying it was “unconscionable and unacceptable” that the leak had happened this is not a random event. When the second one says there is a stream of Covid infected Indians, Pakistanis and Koreans heading to Queenstown hotels this is not a random event. When he then leaks personal information to the media in the mistaken belief that it backs up his racist dog whistling this is not a random event.
And when your leader gets asked repeatedly if any other National MP including Woodhouse had the information leaked to Walker and Muller fudges then denies that this is the case it is not a random event.
Muller has been trying to justify his “obfuscation”. The particular pinhead that he has been trying to dance on is very small.
Besides Muller does not have a poker face. Just watch this clip.
In 2014 I marvelled at John Key’s ability to bluster through allegations of dirty politics. Muller does not have the same skill.
Is it dirty politics? Nicky Hager thinks so. He said this:
Of course, sometimes in politics things stuff up and go wrong and you don’t know what’s going on, but yes, this had a distinct smell from the beginning.
“The distinctive things are you’ve got a party that is kind of in trouble, it’s not doing very well in the polls, it’s looking for a way to knock down its opponents rather than sort of win the arguments.
“You see, one after the other, tricky things start to happen. When we talk through it, I think it’s become pretty clear that this was an organised campaign.”
Did Muller know what was going on? Hager said this:
[M]y view is that it is 100 per cent impossible that Todd Muller didn’t know that the strategy was to try and find a series of stories which kind of disappointed people’s feelings about the Covid response because Labour was up so high in the polls because they’d done so well on Covid – they wanted to drag that down again, so he knew that.”
The departure from well practised dirty politics here is that Hamish Walker sent the confidential information to the media. Any seasoned operative would have used an intermediary. After Waker did this National was directly implicated. To succeed with dirty politics you have to have to have plausible denial that you are involved.
The one aspect that is really upsetting is that National is willing to threaten the country’s Covid response for political gain. People realise this. That is why National is tanking in the polls.
I spent some time on the weekend doorknocking the good people of Avondale. Everyone knew what was happening and how messy National was. Even people who I thought would normally be National Party supporters were trending left for this election.
National has a hell of a problem to deal with. And I don’t feel sorry for them one bit.