Sheepgate and National’s last defence: Labour does it too

Written By: - Date published: 11:51 am, June 4th, 2015 - 42 comments
Categories: Andrew Little, Annette King, john key, national, phil goff, same old national - Tags: , , ,

john-key1

Remember dirty politics? Do you recall that even though there was no evidence that the left had ever smeared public servants, hacked computer systems, leaked information to bloggers who then attacked critics of the Government and facilitated the release of SIS information so that Phil Goff could be attacked Key made the allegation that the left wing did it too?

It was clearly a sign of desperation.  Danyl McLaughlan described an early event in these terms:

John Key did a media stand-up yesterday about Dirty Politics in which he mentioned the words ‘left-wing conspiracy theorist’ about twenty times, and insisted that everything in the book is a lie, and that the real dirty politics comes from the left.

From a communications point-of-view that’s a sensible approach. His audience is not the journalists at the stand-up, but rather the television viewers who haven’t read the book and who will see excerpts of the statement and be reassured by the PMs words.

But some of the reporters listening to the PM have read the book. And when Key insists that the real dirty politics comes from the left, I think, or hope, that they’ll reflect that no one on the left is publishing the addresses of journalists online in the hope that someone assaults or murders them in revenge for writing about tax-havens, which is what Cathy Odgers, Cameron Slater David Farrar and Matthew Hooton discuss on page 91. Also, no one on the left is going around brothels trying to find out whether journalists have visited them, so they can be blackmailed, which is what Cameron Slater, the Justice Minister’s close friend, and long-term collaborator with the Prime Minister’s office is up to. No one on the left runs smear campaigns against attempted rape victims, or publishes graphic affidavits describing their political enemies having sex. There’s no one comparable to Slater on the left of politics, or blogging. He is a phenomenon unique to the National Party.  Key can insist that this is all just a lie, just a conspiracy story, but people who read the book know that this is simply documentation from Slater’s emails and that the Prime Minister is lying to their faces.

It was clearly a sign of desperation.  No other rational defence was left.  National had positioned Key as the non politician and had to burn up political capital by getting him to repeatedly tell fibs about the left. They were relying on a feeling of disdain that the general population has for the political classes and the aim was to neutralise the effect that Dirty Politics was having on National.

A great amount of false equivalence was required.  The left also have blogs therefore, according to Key’s logic, they also engage in smearing and the publication of public servants’ details and the feeding of attack posts written by the Prime Minister’s Office’s staff.

I had a feeling of deja vu yesterday watching Key in Parliament answer questions about Sheepgate.  The video is below.  Key was at his teenage adolescent bravado best.  Every question was responded to by the claim that “Labour did it too”.

Key said that Labour was aware of the problem in 2007 and was considering its options therefore it also engaged in the same sort of behaviour.

The alleged cabinet papers have not been released and I have no idea of the background although McCully’s cabinet paper hints at it.  In 2007 there may have been a claim notified.  This is the year that Labour imposed a formal ban on the export of livestock for slaughter.  There has been talk about a letter from Chen Palmer.  The normal limitation period would have expired no later than 2013 and there has been comment that the legal claim had been withdrawn.  So it would have been appropriate to discuss resolution of a claim in 2007 but not in 2013.

But Key would have us believe that discussion of a claim in 2007 equates to payment of money to settle a non existent claim in 2014.  The talk about a legal claim is a false equivalence.  The money was clearly paid to a private individual in the expectation that a free trade agreement would be signed.  There is a description for this but it is not settlement of a legal dispute.

Key’s further claims that Annette King and Phil Goff were trying to set up Andrew Little is a joke.  King is clearly animated at the allegations and she is totally justified.

Phil Goff and Jim Anderton have called for the Cabinet Paper to be released.  For the sake of transparency this is important.

So now we have another classic “Labour does it too” situation.  But the false equivalence is that Labour may have been considering the legal implications of the matter as it then existed whereas National has paid money when clearly the legal dispute had run its course.

Clearly Fran O’Sullivan can tell the difference.  Hopefully the rest of the media can do the same.

Update:  This afternoon Labour tried to table the 2007 Cabinet Paper in Parliament.  National refused leave and indicated that there was an OIA seeking the paper.  No doubt they will want to redact parts and still have some wriggle room in what is in the public domain.

42 comments on “Sheepgate and National’s last defence: Labour does it too”

  1. Red Blooded 1

    Good on Annette King for calling key on his lies and calling him PinoKeyo. I know others have used it before but maybe it’s time for that term to hit the MSM. Show the Key brand for what it is.

  2. dv 2

    Cant Lab release the 2007 cabinet paper?

    • mickysavage 2.1

      Peters asked why the legal opinion could not be released and Key replied by referring to the Cabinet Manual. There is a process generally preventing publication (http://cabinetmanual.cabinetoffice.govt.nz/4.58).

      • emergency mike 2.1.1

        The Cabinet Manual? I thought that was “just a guide”.

        Is this the same John Key who declassified classified documents when it was in his, in mean the public interest?

        • Tracey 2.1.1.1

          EXACTLY ^^^^

          who doesn’t enforce the “higher standard of ethical behaviour” part of the manual?

          THAT John Key?

    • Presumably they’ll just leak it now

      • Tracey 2.2.1

        thats what you would advise aye Hooton? Or you’d advise National to leak it, and blame Labour.

      • emergency mike 2.2.2

        I dunno, watching John Key refuse to put his cards on the table when his bluff is called for a while has a certain appeal.

        Besides that, a tangible level public interest would justify a leak in this case wouldn’t you say? Given that our PM is using this document as his defense for this whole mess. The document he doesn’t want to release.

      • Naturesong 2.2.3

        I agree with Matthew Hooten 🙁

  3. Stuart Munro 3

    I’d avoid the name calling and concentrate on the lying.

    Our system of government relies on the integrity of MPs and ministers. The frequency and facility with which Key lies is destroying the function and the credibility of the institution.

    The Prime Minister is lying. This is sufficient to demand his resignation – he is paid and sworn to represent NZ – not to lie to us. It is a very serious matter that demands his ouster. Calling him “Pinnochio” lets the crook off the hook.

    • Tracey 3.1

      Whatever they do, they have to repeat it over and over, including when answering questions that dont relate to it.

  4. dukeofurl 4

    There is no “Free Trade deal” signed or any prospect of it happening soon.

    Its straight out of Nigerian Scammers 101: get some money, then make some more promises, get a lot more money and move a little more.

    Keep asking for money but NEVER deliver on the pot of gold promised.

  5. shorts 5

    …and again the NZ Public have moved on cause its all to boring and complicated to bother following the story as its not on the front page in huge bold letters, they don’t read the columnists varying opinions and and and National control the discourse

    Regardless of the lies, the probable corruption etc we know this will go nowhere

    I dunno what labour (in particular) should do… maybe just state they will continue the moratorium against live sheep exports and refuse to bribe multi millionaires in the hope we can secure a free trade deal with one of the worlds most corrupt regimes

  6. emergency mike 6

    Aside from the false equivalence, what gets me about the ‘Labour did it too’ defense is that even primary school kids don’t get away with ‘so-an-so did it too’ as an excuse for bad behaviour. (Even at that age they accept and understand when it’s pointed out to them that two wrongs don’t make a right.) But somehow if John Key does it with a big enough smirk on his face it works a treat.

    Of course he knows exactly what he’s doing. As alluded to with the DP example, he is simply muddying the waters for the shallow observer. The average punter who watches the soundbites of the above argument selected by the Tee Vee, sees two sides pointing the finger at each other. They either believe the side they voted for, or shrug their shoulders and switch off.

    It’s a known manipulation technique of psychopaths. Accuse your victim of the same thing they are accusing you of. The outside observer sees two people calling each other liars, and concludes the truth is somewhere in the middle, or declares it a draw somehow. Which is a win for the psychopath. (It also has an intimidation factor: ‘look how low I’m willing to go, do you really want to take me on?’)

  7. Kevin 7

    From Fran O’Sullivan…

    “For instance it does not canvass the propriety of what might be seen as a facilitation deal which is still legal under New Zealand law, but is a crime in many of our trading nations.”

    Why am I not surprised.

    • dukeofurl 7.1

      Especially when the other side hasnt yet delivered a SIGNED trade deal

      More money required !

  8. repateet 8

    Ironic in a week when New Zealanders are getting all uppity about corruption at FIFA that this story is being played out. Most New Zealanders don’t care about football (soccer) and don’t care about who runs it and yet there is so much ‘tut-tutting’ about Blatter and Co.

    The reaction shows the same attitude to lying. We expect our kids to not tell lies, we expect that under oath people in courts will not lie yet we are so ho hum about John Key doing it. We don’t care, we even expect it now.

    Some soccer mogul somewhere is corrupt and we are incensed, our moral sensibilities affronted. Murray McCully, and/or Cabinet are implicated in the shady sheep deal and it’s, ho-hum, business as usual, how sad never mind.

    • emergency mike 8.1

      Which goes back to Nicky Hager in DP talking about how interested Simon Lusk was in research from the US showing that spreading the ‘all politicians are liars’ meme was helpful to the right come election time.

      A government that needs dirty politics is a government with something to hide.

      • Tracey 8.1.1

        but, but, but our right wing voter posters say that’s not a “tactic” or “strategy”

    • Tracey 8.2

      Irony goes over the head of our MSM

  9. Draco T Bastard 9

    John Key stood up and blatantly lied to NZ and defamed people with those lies. This should have him removed from parliament and jailed.

    Nothing less is good enough.

  10. Richard Christie 10

    At about 6 min the chap behind Key is making hand gestures that Freud might well construe as being his real thoughts about Key and his replies.

  11. hoom 11

    Yet more banana republic nonsense from the Nats.
    Should be no surprise to anyone.

    Doubtless won’t affect polls any more than any of the gazillion other bits of Nat banana republic nonsense.

    • Anne 11.1

      Idiot/Savant:

      As for what should happen next, Labour should publish and dare the government to do something about it.

      1. Okay Labour you’ve got the cabinet papers – UNREDACTED.

      2. You know the MSM have submitted OIAs.

      3. You also know Key will ensure the evidence contained that prove he is a lying will be REDACTED from the OIA’d documents.

      4. What do you do?

      You tell him – and any petty minded bureaucrats who have hissy fits – to “get stuffed” by releasing your UNREDACTED papers to the MSM forthwith.

      Its time to play the bastard at his own game Labour!

      • felix 11.1.1

        Exactly.

        Be quite nice to see Labour MPs leaking to hurt the govt for a change.

      • Wynston 11.1.2

        +100!

      • Draco T Bastard 11.1.3

        Yep, call National’s lies out with proof that they’re lying rather than just letting it pass. NZQT isn’t the place to call out National’s lies because very few people watch it and it’s not the accountable place that it should be.

  12. Charles 12

    How many more of these instances will it take for both Labour and the Left to realise that anyone who supports Key/National now isn’t actually involved or interested in politics? Better to spend the time constructively building their own brands, and finding ways to reach the people who don’t view Key/Nats as a part of their personal psyche. 55% is all they need, combined.

  13. Pascals bookie 13

    So the sheep we gave to him as a part of this thing that was not a bribe so stop saying that, we bought them off him first.

    Bought the sheep off him. Then gave him the sheep. Seems like a bit of a bargain.

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/farming/69110144/Saudi-bound-sheep-bought-from-man-Govt-gave-them-to

  14. ScottGN 14

    Accordiing to Radio NZ just now McCully is back-pedalling furiously this morning, finally conceding that his government’s extension of the ban was a prime irritant to the Saudis. What’s the bet the OIAs are granted later this arvo, just a tad too late to make the 6pm news?
    What with this and the tragic death of the South Auckland toddler thanks in no small part to a substandard Housing NZ house I feel like I am living the final years of the Shipley regime all over again. Let’s hope the electoral outcome is the same.

  15. Neil 15

    There had better not be anything in these cabinet papers that could embarrass Labour, it would be devastating for Labour if there is.

    • Anne 15.1

      I doubt Labour would be calling for their release if there was anything incriminating.

      It’s more likely Key was planning to misrepresent something that is in the papers on the basis that particular ‘something’ wouldn’t be released due to some confidential clause or another. Therefore the public wouldn’t know it was a misrepresentation and would accept it as true.

      That’s why I, and others, are calling for Labour to throw caution to the wind and release the unredacted version of the papers.

      • David H 15.1.1

        Or let Key and co release their fictional version. Then release the real version.

  16. And thenthere'sme 16

    Nah, better to wait for the redacted papers to be released first, then ask in QT about the redacted sections, to get some lies on record before releasing the full version.

  17. SMILIN 17

    Its actually about goats Keys always doin it
    At least I know hes not a kiwi bred goat because he is a sheep acting the goat

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