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Silence those media lambs

Written By: - Date published: 9:17 pm, July 8th, 2008 - 32 comments
Categories: john key, Media, national, slippery - Tags:

Media bleating about Labour’s ‘personal attacks’ is getting tiresome. Some journalists seem to forget from one election to the next that an important element of the triennial exercise is to find out whether contenders for political office are fit to hold elected office. That means they will be probed, scrutinised and, yes, criticised, for failings or weaknesses, real or perceived. The higher the office, the more rigorous the scrutiny. It has been this way forever – it is called politics. It can be a robust business, and not one for those who lack conviction or courage. The challenge for those involved in this campaign hurly-burly is to stay within the foul lines. Targeting slippery John Key over his ownership of Tranz Rail shares when he was questioning the government for competing with Toll to buy back the rail tracks, is hardly a case of playing outside the foul lines. The crux of this issue is that Key appeared to have a conflict of interest, and Helen Clark rightfully pounced. If Key wants to be PM he has to demonstrate that he will be a credible and competent leader of our country. Clark, fighting for her political life, will be endeavouring to prove otherwise. A conflict of interest is damaging to Key’s credibility, and that’s why Clark highlighted it. Prissy journos who don’t like her hard-nosed approach had better harden up. We’ve got about four months of it ahead of us.

32 comments on “Silence those media lambs”

  1. “Prissy journos who don’t like her hard-nosed approach had better harden up”


  2. J 2

    If hardening up means taking a closer look at those claim and finding them wanting in substance as they proven to be then I welcome it.

  3. IrishBill 3

    I think you’ll find that while the first statement addressed questions made after the share were sold it was subsequently discovered that Key had asked earlier parliamentary questions while still in possession of the shares. I’ve seen this taken up in the media a little bit but each time the questions are addressed by a “spokesperson for John Key’s office”. Says it all really.

  4. John 4

    who will be the first to tell helen she has no clothes?

  5. Dan 5

    New Zealand needs strong journalists now more than ever. I could help but feel the firing of 40 subbies in Fairfax had a bullying element in election year.
    But I fear that fourth estate notion has been lost forever, and we will rely on bloggers to get closer to the heart of the matter. Spread the word: The Standard, Public Address for mainly thoughtful comment and elucidation; even a few right wing blogs to show the lack of substance behind C and T’s smiling emperor without his clothes.

  6. Razorlight 6

    It is quite funny today. The Kiwibloggers and the Standard crowd are in agreement.

    Everyone over there is complaining abouth the partisan pinko media (their word not mine) for their failure to break DPF’s big scoop of the day.

    Over here we have complaints about the media ‘bleating’ about Labour’s tactics

    It is nice to see we are all in agreement over the medias competence

  7. Razorlight 7

    What am I doing wrong…still moderated

    [lprent: I’ll have a look – an old IP range in the moderation queue. Fixed]

  8. sean 8

    “If Key wants to be PM he has to demonstrate that he will be a credible and competent leader of our country. Clark, fighting for her political life, will be endeavouring to prove otherwise.”

    You guys just don’t get it. Clark should be fighting for her life to show Kiwis why she is the right person to be running the country and taking it out of the shambles it is in now.

    Focusing on attacks on opponents is never going to win votes – it just looks desperate and ends up turning people away.

  9. Razorlight 9

    “That means they will be probed, scrutinised and, yes, criticised, for failings or weaknesses, real or perceived.”

    Where does calling Mr Key a ‘rich prick’ fit into the above analysis.

    Serious question. I agree with what you have said but Labour is going further than they need to in scrutinising Mr Key. Giving someone a title like rich prick or slippery just stinks of desperation.

  10. Razorlight 10

    Cheers lprent

    [lprent: bugger = looking again]

  11. IrishBill 11

    Razorlight, I agree. I think that those were both clumsy amateur attempts to play the Crosby Textor game and Labour are not going to beat National on those terms because the Nats (or rather their hired guns) have far more experience in the attack game. Key needs to be scrutinised in terms of his fitness to do the job but the problem Labour has is that scrutiny needs to be stimulated. Ironically, I suspect the news the Nats are being guided by CT has done just that. I expect Labour will manage to cock that opportunity up of course.

  12. IrishBill 12

    Lynn, I added an IP to the moderation list to get rid of that bigot Murray and probably did so without your finesse. It might pay to check that.

  13. lprent 13

    Razor if you’re around – try again.

    I just kicked the services at the server because I couldn’t see a reason for the moderation. I think that the database was having a quiet seizure

  14. Razorlight 14


    [lprent: damn that is weird – ok starting to look for strange coincidental strings]

  15. lprent 15

    Got it – someone was a bit over-enthusiastic in moderation and it matched a fragment of your e-mail. Try again.

    Sorry about that…

  16. ramsey 16

    4 months! I’d say Labour will have to announce an election date within 4 weeks otherwise a perfect storm of bad economics and bad polls will make winning unachievable.

  17. Razorlight 17

    Thanks…. Now everyone has gone to bed and there is noone to argue with

  18. IrishBill 18

    I’d argue with you razor but I too have to sleep. Plenty of time to argue yet. G’night bro.

  19. lprent 19

    Ditto. I have a pile of stuff to get through in the morning.

    ramsey: spare a thought for those (from all sides) of us who actually go out and campaign. The weather gets better in late October and November. Having nice weather in those last couple of weeks makes campaigning so much more pleasant (shudders remembering the cold days in 2002)

    Besides this give C/T more time to demonstrate how to run a shallow campaign, and helps the spend more money in aussie.

  20. Blar 20

    You thought 2002 days were cold for you Lynn? Spare a thought for us…

    Targeting slippery John Key over his ownership of Tranz Rail shares when he was questioning the government for competing with Toll to buy back the rail tracks, is hardly a case of playing outside the foul lines

    I see that statement as roughly comparable to:

    Targeting barren Helen Clark over her childlessness when she was questioning National over Working for Families, is hardly a case of playing outside the foul lines

    Both are nasty, gutter politics that people like Ian Wishart indulge in. Look where his obsessive focus on other’s private lives has gotten him and ask yourself if that’s where you want Labour to end up.

  21. If you want nasty gutter politics I’d take a look in the mirror bro, it’s your side of the political that has CT and obsessive stalker freaks like steady eddie…

    Where’s he gone anyway?

  22. Blar 22

    My ‘side of the political’? Sod bro, is everything ok at home? Your writing has been slipping recently and it upsets me.

    I think National has pulled back from the worst excesses of gutter politics. I hope you would agree the sort of attacks leveled against Clark now are more reasonable than those that were leveled in the 90s.

  23. ramsey 23

    Havent seen any positive campaigning by Labour.

    It’s all been spittle flecked hate filled invective.

    The image reminds me of union reps screaming at bus riding commuters on upper Symonds street last election.

  24. lprent 24

    Blar: Well 2002 was a pain in the toes, fingers, nose, …..

    I don’t think the two statements are in any way comparable.

    One looked at a legitimate conflict of interest in a politician. He was commenting in a portfolio in the way that could possibly have affected his own financial interests. That deserves attention surely?

    Where do you draw the line that way? When they are the minister in charge of transport and own the competing companies?

    And on the other hand ….

    Ok – tell me what possible public conflict that could have caused? Bearing in mind that Helen has sisters with kids that seem to spend a lot of time around her? Not to mention all fo the kids that Peter’s family has.

    I don’t have kids either but I’ve been heavily involved in my sisters kids, cousins, 2nd cousins, etc. Are you telling me that I shouldn’t have an opinion on things that affect them because I haven’t had any kids myself?

    If you use that logic then no male should be able to vote or comment on abortion. No-one over the age of say 30 should be able to have an opinion on education. No-one under the age of say 50 should be able to have an opinion on superannuation. No-one who isn’t Maori or didn’t have ancestors here in the 1870’s should be able to have an opinion on Waitangi issues…. etc

    Blar – that attitude is pathetic because one was directly relevant to the policy area, and the other was just personal point scoring..

  25. ramsey 25

    Its also group mentality/union tactics 101 to give “the man/the system/the enemy” a name.

    In this case labour and the unions are going with CT as a code or rallying cry that actually means nothing but can have all sorts of innuendo and imagery associated with it.

    Politics of anger and hatred.

  26. Um retards – there was a big positive launch of KiwiRail just last week. Not even Audrey is buying the poor wee Johnny Boy line:


    The only folk whining about it are you trolls. What a joke…

  27. ramsey 27

    Big and positive + kiwirail – you truely are the retard buddy!

    Audrey who?

  28. If anything JK is exhibiting all of the tendencies of the weak right – throw the muck around and then whine that it’s not fair when the it comes back to visit you. Boohoo. And to think – you lot claim to be about personal responsibility…

  29. Blar 29

    ” Are you telling me that I shouldn’t have an opinion on things that affect them because I haven’t had any kids myself?”

    Lynn, please go and read my comment. I don’t care whether or not someone has kids. Nor do I care whether or not a minor backbencher and associate spokesman owns shares worth a pittance relative to his net wealth has a written question directed through him by the National research unit.

  30. YEs – you heard Blar. Nothing to see here. Strange considering his tendency to hysterically exaggerate any minor issue around Labour. I think he fancies himself as a player…

  31. lprent 31


    Lynn, please go and read my comment.

    You said:-

    Targeting slippery John Key over his ownership of Tranz Rail shares when he was questioning the government for competing with Toll to buy back the rail tracks, is hardly a case of playing outside the foul lines

    I see that statement as roughly comparable to:

    Targeting barren Helen Clark over her childlessness when she was questioning National over Working for Families, is hardly a case of playing outside the foul lines

    Both are nasty, gutter politics that people like Ian Wishart indulge in.

    What I said is that there is no way that the two statements are comparable. One had some relevance to possible conflict of interest. The other was a personal attack on the basis that without personal experience, one couldn’t have an opinion or view on a subject.

    What I pointed out was the logical absurdity of extending the latter concept to several other areas.

  32. voltaire 32

    Thanks for not advising me that you decided to censor (or should I say delete) my comments………….for an organisation that espouses “freedom” your blog in my opinion is a current day parody of Orwell’s Animal Farm

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