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Starting early

Written By: - Date published: 10:00 am, May 21st, 2009 - 67 comments
Categories: mt albert - Tags:

I’m starting to feel a little sorry for Melissa Lee given the punching bag she’s become. True, she’s brought it on herself, but even I felt a little queasy watching the events at Auckland University yesterday. But for anyone who looked behind the “rising star” brand National was trying to sell us the warning signs were there from the start.

Here’s Melissa Lee in her first debate speech, on the Bail Amendment Bill:

Melissa Lee: “I would like Opposition members to read the victim impact report, to see what kind of damage these criminals do to innocent families. Perhaps they do not actually have the emotions to understand what it is like to be a victim. I mentioned it in my maiden speech—”

The text only hints at the tone Lee spoke in. Claiming that other parties’ MPs don’t give a damn about the victims of crime, that’s just going too far. Her first speech and she’s already crossing a line that few MPs ever cross even in the most heated debates. It provoked a strong response:

Clayton Cosgrove: “We heard Melissa Lee who apparently has a monopoly on sympathy and concern for victims. I say that is arrogant; I say that is patronising. Maybe when she has spent more than 5 minutes here she will know that every member of this Chamber has empathy and concern for the victims of tragedies when they happen out there. When the member has been here for more than 2 minutes she might lose the arrogant edge.”

Phil Goff: “The reason this side reacted as it did to Melissa Lee was that she arrogantly assumed that nobody on this side of the House could empathise with victims. I have had relations killed by people acting illegally. I can empathise, and I do not need to be told … that I do not understand how a victim feels or how the family of that victim feels.”

So, you can see why we predicted it was only a matter of time before her personality blew up her campaign.

67 comments on “Starting early”

  1. Ianmac 1

    Perhaps she is Rankin-like and her purpose in life is to distract from the very serious problems that are being generated by her colleagues? While we throw stones at her, behind our backs Bill and John are……………

  2. Pat 2

    “So, you can see why we predicted it was only a matter of time before her personality blew up her campaign.”

    Yes you got that one right. But you got your other prediction very wrong:

    “Joyce isn’t going to drop her in it by announcing National will cancel the Waterview tunnel in favour of a surface motorway”.

  3. Tim Ellis 3

    Eddie, I don’t think I’m the only one who spotted the irony in your quotation of Cosgrove:

    Maybe when she has spent more than 5 minutes here she will know that every member of this Chamber has empathy and concern for the victims of tragedies when they happen out there.

    This was immediately preceded by Cosgrove saying:

    I say that is patronising.

    When did Clayton Cosgrove become the poster boy for the liberal Left? He always reminds me of a mini-me to Mike Moore.

    I note that you haven’t described Mr Cosgrove’s claim that Maori corrections institutions would be “holiday camps” as racist, although you were very quick to jump on Lee.

    • Eddie 3.1

      Don’t be so sure, Tim.

      Labour should learn its lesson and never again sink to National’s level by appealing to bigotry. Clayton, take note.

      About time

  4. Pascal's bookie 4

    “When did Clayton Cosgrove become the poster boy for the liberal Left?”

    Who said he was? Oh only you.

    “I note that you haven’t described Mr Cosgrove’s claim that Maori corrections institutions would be “holiday camps’ as racist,…”

    I’m quite happy to. Cosgrove should leave that shit alone. If he believes it, he should think a little harder and while he’s doing it STFU, if he doesn’t believe it and is only pandering to racists, he should stop it. The left doesn’t want, or need, those voters. national is welcome to them AFAIC.

  5. r0b 5

    I’m starting to feel a little sorry for Melissa Lee given the punching bag she’s become.

    I agree Eddie. I hate the cold and desperate politics that she stands for, but the poor woman herself has probably had enough. If she hasn’t been given food for thought by now, it’s never going to happen.

    There is a strong temptation, after the disgraceful right wing hounding of politicians in the last government (Helen Clark in particular), to descend to that level, repay like with like. But I hope that we on the left can in general rise above that temptation. Call them to account, take the micky, play hard and so on on, but no need to kick them when they’re down…

    • Kevin Welsh 5.1

      Fair comment r0b, although a few selective kicks while they are down is necessary from time to time.

      If Labour back off and always play nice, they can kiss goodbye the next general election.

    • Ron 5.2

      No! DO kick them when they’re down.

      People like Melissa Lee waltzed into Parliament on the tide against the last government. Most of use knew she had nothing to offer and wasn’t up to the job. She’s a useless bloody MP who can’t string a sentence together let alone argue intelliigently in favour or her own party’s policies. She thought she was in like Flynn and is now reaping the rewards of her arrogance. If we have to pick them off one by one let’s do that:

      Lockwood is useless and they shifted him off to one side – can’t get at him now
      Richard Worth – will make a headline or two again and is worth burying (no pun intended)
      Get on to the Bakshi thing.
      Bennett is faking it right now and is worth another crack as the stats start to pile up.
      Their are several other Melissa Lees who just haven’t had the chance to show their incompetance yet.
      Wait until you see the whites of there eyes and then keep firing until they’re down.

      • bilbo 5.2.1

        I have no problem with your wish to give politicians a hammering ….. most deserve it.

        I disagree with your point regarding Lockwood though, IMO he’s making a far better job of speaker than last few MPs we’ve had in the position.

  6. Tigger 6

    First of all, National or ACT would stomp Lee’s head into the ground while she was down if she was a Left wing MP so no sympathy for her here. It’s politics. Yes, it’s distasteful but then again lots of us don’t go into politics because we know this is what happens and we don’t like the idea of having to endure it. Lee’s a big girl – let her endure or sink.

    But Lee only has herself to blame (she said this stuff after all!) and she can easily play the downtrodden card and turn this to her advantage so I have no sympathy for her whatsover.

    It’s a good lesson to us all though – humility goes a long way. She shouldn’t have taken this candidate’s spot – she’s clearly not up to par to campaign like this – someone told her she was a high flyer and she believed it.

  7. vto 7

    So one of Lee’s first speeches revealed some less than savoury aspects of her persona.

    Same with Cullen and his maiden speech re ripping off farmers. Arrogance, envy, bitterness…

    Given Cullen survived I would suggest that it is not the bad bones of particular politicians that governs their survival it is their overall political talents.

    Lee and Cullen sit together in the same bad bones box. But one survived because of superior other skills, not the quality of their skeleton.

  8. I also feel sorry for Lee – I think she’s been badly let down by her party. But that quote from her speech is a perfect example of how she doesn’t quite ‘get it’ in terms of what a public figure can and cannot say.

  9. Tim Ellis 9

    It seems pretty apparent to me that Labour’s attacks on Lee, led by Mr Goff and Mr Mallard, have backfired and have created a backlash of sympathy for Lee. It wouldn’t surprise me if this is showing up in Labour’s polling, which would explain why Labour has started expressing sympathy and have gone quiet on further personal attacks against her.

    The tirade of abuse at yesterday’s AUSA meeting labelling her a racist is just gutter politics. As I read it, Labour seems to be having concerns about how well it can control its more rabid activists.

    • Daveo 9.1

      The guy who led the racism resolution, Omar Hamed, is a Unite organiser and no friend of Labour. I think it crossed the line too, as do most of the Labour and Green supporters I’ve spoken to.

      • Tim Ellis 9.1.1

        The resolution appeared to be supported quite vociferously by Labour and Green supporters at the AUSA meeting though Daveo. If these supporters thought Mr Hamed crossed the line, they didn’t shirk from supporting the resolution Daveo.

  10. The Voice of Reason 10

    My Melissa moment of the day was Matthew Hooten on TV3 this morning saying she needed media training. Um, isn’t that how she made her living before becoming a star?

    It shone through for me that when she had the brain freeze she expected the recording to stop while she collected her thoughts, as it would in a TV studio during the making of a scripted program. But this was wasn’t a ‘take two’ situation. It was live, it was politics and it was great TV.

    The other question that is bugging me at the moment is this; has any List MP ever gone on to win an electorate seat? My understanding is that the reverse usually happens. A couple of terms as the local MP, get some seniority and move to a safe list ranking.

    I think Nationals’ fundamental mistake here is putting up a candidate who has no electoral experiance whatsoever. The same applies to David Shearer, but I’m guessing he’s been involved in electorate campaigns in the past and at least has a working knowlege of what it takes to get people to tick your name on the ballot paper.

    • Tim Ellis 10.1

      Interesting question, VoR. Anne Tolley and Paula Bennett went on to win electorate seats after being list MPs, but the situation does seem to be quite rare under MMP. It does seem clear that the demands of being a list MP are very different to the demands of running an electorate campaign in a general election. Running an electorate campaign in a by-election is even more demanding again.

      I’m reminded that my local MP, Nikki Kaye, beat a list MP for the National Party nomination and then went on to beat Judith Tizard in Auckland Central.

      • Irascible 10.1.1

        Hey Timmy,Your NACT membership is showing thru in glorious transparency. you protest your non-NACT membership too much. Your use of the possessive to describe Kaye is too much.
        Face it being the paid apologist for the unsupportable embodiment of arrogance and prejudiced thinking with all the time you have at your “bank clerk job” readily makes you a target for an efficient employer using the Fire at Will act to question your productivity while in his employ.

        • Tim Ellis

          Thanks irascible. It’s always nice to have my personal integrity called into question when I sign in using my own name, by an anonymous person like you, who prefers personal attacks rather than debating the issues.

          I salute your courage.

          • Irascible

            Hardly questioning your personal integrity Timmy. Just asking how you can justify using your employer’s time to cruise the blog sphere to defend the NACT party?
            Hardly a personal attack either unless questioning your bias is a personal attack in which case your reaction demonstrates a justified question.

      • inpassing 10.1.2

        Anne Tolley and Paula Bennett went on to win electorate seats after being list MPs

        Tim, do you see electorate MPs as above (of greater status) than List MPs.. explain please.. with perhaps the National pov on this topic included..

        To all who may know: AsiaDownunder suggests ML’s Asian origin. If this is the case is she from Singapore or thereabouts..?

  11. notreallyalawyer 11

    Shearer has no obvious faults and a credible CV – that plus it’s one of the safest seats around would suggest that there should be no contest. Labour however have decided to make a big issue out of what should be a sideshow. Now Shearer actually has to do better than expected. Maybe he will but having raised the stakes there’s a potential risk.

    And Labour are very quiet about who their real foe is – Russ the Mus. Lee never had a chance but Labour like to keep the spotlight on her for a very obvious reason. I”d like to know what their internal polling says. They don’t really give any impression they’re doing well.

    • Tim Ellis 11.1

      Interesting points NRAL. The fact that Labour have spent the last ten days on a full frontal assault on Lee suggests that they do fear Lee as their main rival. Labour haven’t started on Mr Norman yet. Their strategy seems to be to try and ignore him completely and hope that he doesn’t emerge as a player.

      Mr Norman does appear to be getting far more press than Mr Shearer does. It doesn’t look like the Greens have much of a grassroots campaign though. They seem to be focussing just on a media war rather than getting their local campaign infrastructure up and running.

      I think it was George Darroch who pointed out a while ago that this was a major risk for the Norman campaign, I am paraphrasing him (probably unfairly) but I think the gist of what he was saying and my interpretation of it was that Norman would aim to capture as much media attention as he could without doing the grassroots stuff.

      • exbrethren 11.1.1

        Yes Tim. Labour have been running a full frontal assault on Lee by;

        a. making her make stupid comments re motorway and criminals
        b. making TV3 & Jesse Gurunathan make allegations about her ethics
        c. making her falter in an interview with Duncan Garner
        d. making her not answer Paul Henrys questions on Close Up
        e. making her say that students were drunks and not able to watch TV

        If you really believe that Labour are responsible for these things then I suggest you go and see a psychiatrist. If you don’t stop spinning and get back to your auditing, take a deep breath and come back when you have something sensible to add.

        Lee has been the architect of her own problems.

    • Eddie 11.2

      I heard Shearer this morning basically saying he wants the spotlight put back onto him and away from Lee’s daily fiascos.

      He’s had a pretty easy run so far, and if he’s going to get more air time he’ll need to lift his game. His waffly performance on the supercity on 3 news last night was dreadful.

      Though I don’t think Norman’s the best choice for the seat his campaign has been the best by far.

      • Pat 11.2.1

        “Shearer waffle” Garner called it. Shearer needs to make sure the label doesn’t stick.

    • mike 11.3

      “Shearer actually has to do better than expected”

      If his pathetic rambling to the students was anything to go by I very much doubt it NRL

  12. The Voice of Reason 12

    Cheers, Tim. I thought there might be one or two, but didn’t know where to look to find out.

    I’d be interested to know how many tried and failed to make the shift. I’m starting to think that the two kinds of MPs are very different animals; bureaucrat on the list, politician out on the street.

    It seems to me that Shearer is probably more list material than electorate, but he’ll have plenty of time to grow into the role. As many terms as he needs, I suspect.

    • Tim Ellis 12.1

      It seems to me that Shearer is probably more list material than electorate, but he’ll have plenty of time to grow into the role.

      Lots of List MPs have tried unsuccessfully in electorates, but they tend to get lumped in unwinnable contests (Margaret Wilson in Tauranga where she basically just had to fly the flag, Pansy Wong in Auckland Central when it was seen as unwinnable for National are good examples). There aren’t a lot of “career List MPs” though. Wilson was one example. Rajen Prasad is another for Labour. Michael Cullen became one. Many of the List MPs Labour has now are only List MPs because they lost electorate seats (Carol Beaumont, Steve Chadwick, Sue Moroney, Lynne Pillay, etc).

      Of the career List MPs, they do seem to need special qualities, in terms of either identity or specific talents. National has Hekia Parata and Georgina Te Heu Heu, Chris Finlayson and Tim Groser. Labour has David Parker, Maryan Street, Raymond Huo, etc. I’m not sure that Mr Shearer has any unique, special qualities though. He’s a middle aged white male who I suppose has one thing going for him by being very close to Mr Goff. At least Mr Parker has very strong legal credentials in a party with very few lawyers. Mr Shearer has international and development policy experience, but so does Mr Twyford.

      I’m not sure that Mr Shearer adds a whole lot to Labour’s caucus. He’s similar in that regard to Stephen Franks for National. A useful sort-of plodder with some good skills, but pretty redundant when you have somebody like Chris Finlayson who is always going to be the first call for attorney general.

      • Maynard J 12.1.1

        “I’m not sure that Mr Shearer has any unique, special qualities though. He’s a middle aged white male who I suppose has one thing going for him by being very close to Mr Goff. ”

        I’m not going to be subtle here, Tim: don’t be a ****. Whatever one step down on the ladder is from a low-blow, you’ve just struck it.

        • Pat

          I think you have read this the wrong way, Maynard.

          • Maynard J

            Happy to apologise if I have, but needlessly using the racial/age profile (I have not seen the left mentioning Lee as a half-way to middle age asian female) and then stating his only redeeming quality is in the company he keeps – what do you think I have missed?

            Is there nothing in this at all worthy of mention?

        • bilbo


          Can’t see why everyone is so excited by this.

          1. Shearer will win the seat easily.
          2. From what I have seen and read Shearer is the best candidate.
          3. It will make little difference to NZ (and probably Mt Albert residents), outside of the political hacks, who the MP is.

        • vto

          “”I’m not sure that Mr Shearer has any unique, special qualities though. He’s a middle aged white male ”

          What the fuck is it with people constantly bagging this sector of society these days? People go on and on about racism and bigotry and all that and then promptly go and display all sorts of bigotry themselves in relation to this group solely on the basis of their skin colour and race and age. Shallow ignorant bigots.

          It is seen in advertising. It is seen in blobs like this one. It is exhibited everywhere. It is EXACTLY the same as the naked racism that used to pervade our society not many decades ago.

          Makes my blood boil…

          Just like it used to / still does with others subjected to bigotry …

          p.s. I aint a middle aged white male.

          • Tim Ellis

            vto, I am a middle aged white male. I’m not saying this should bar me from a winnable position in a political party. I’m just saying that to be hand-picked for a high profile spot by the leader, I should have to display some special qualities, in terms of either diversity or background. Middle aged white males don’t win on diversity scores. Mr Shearer doesn’t get extra points on a background score, since in my view his background isn’t overwhelmingly better than Mr Twyford’s.

          • r0b

            vto, I am a middle aged white male. … Middle aged white males don’t win on diversity scores.

            There’s more to diversity than the colour of the skin of course. Country of birth, early experience, and life experience have a lot to do with it. Were you NZ by birth?

            Mr Shearer doesn’t get extra points on a background score, since in my view his background isn’t overwhelmingly better

            I think all Kiwis who have spent a long time overseas, and gained that experience, and choose to return to NZ to contribute, have something extra to offer. Even Key scores a point with me in that respect.

        • Tim Ellis

          It wasn’t intended as a low blow Maynard J. I’m just saying that Mr Shearer’s experience and background isn’t exceptional in the Labour Party, the same way that Mr Franks background isn’t exceptional in the National Party. I made the point that the only thing that put Mr Shearer in front of Mr Twyford, in my view, was his close friendship with Mr Goff.

          In the main I think that middle aged white males need some skills that are quite particular and unique to warrant being favoured by either political party in terms of new list selection or being handed a winnable seat as Mr Shearer was. I don’t believe he has those unique qualities. I don’t believe that being close to Mr Goff is a unique quality.

          • Maynard J

            Might want to be careful about how you frame things then. If you think Shearer has got nothing going you must think that the only things Lee has going for her is that she was born in East Asia and suffered a home invasion; such is your shallow first-order analysis.

        • exbrethren

          Maynard J,

          Tim is obviously right here. Obviously Shearer got has no special qualities that the UN could see.

          Compare that to the mighty-Lee who manages to oversee a media organisation that produces a whole programme a week and occasional Youtube ads and you can see how spot on Tims judgement is.

  13. gobsmacked 13

    Lee has not only been let down by her party, but by National’s cheerleaders in the media. Here’s a classic from Bill Ralston, Herald on Sunday, April 26 (before the parties had chosen their candidates):

    “National is likely to put up a relatively high-profile candidate in Melissa Lee.

    Mt Albert is a culturally diverse electorate and her ethnicity should not harm her. She is also a trained media professional, which should be of great advantage because byelections are almost presidential contests, with the candidates getting much more media exposure than they would normally get in a general election.” (italics added)

    They picked her for the ‘media exposure’. They can hardly complain that they then got it.


  14. Tim Ellis 14

    Eddie wrote:

    I heard Shearer this morning basically saying he wants the spotlight put back onto him and away from Lee’s daily fiascos.

    I suspect that is because he is sensing that voters in Mount Albert are blaming the Labour Party for the attacks on Lee and believe she’s being given an unfairly rough time. I sense that National felt the same resistance from New Zealand First supporters with the attacks on Mr Peters and a fear that there might be a backlash of sympathy that would push NZ First over the threshhold.

    I agree with you Eddie that Mr Norman’s media response has been pretty flawless. There’s nothing the media like better than a really open race. Mr Norman’s votes can only come from Mr Shearer, though. Are Labour worried that the treatment of Lee by Labour’s leadership might be turning Labour voters into the Green camp?

    • Maynard J 14.1

      “I suspect that is because he is sensing that voters in Mount Albert are blaming the Labour Party for the attacks on Lee and believe she’s being given an unfairly rough time.”

      You do Tim, but no one else that I have ever seen does. Remember all the anti-Lee media has been of her own doing. Can you give me one example of someone neutral in Mt Albert blaming Labour for media criticism of Lee (and no, you can not reference yourself)?

      What you suspect seems so far removed from reality I think you are just completely making things up now.

  15. Daveski 15

    I note that Lee has been cleared of misuse of funding claims which were presented here as undoubted corruption.

    Lee’s incompetence aside, it does put a different light on the attacks on Lee.

    I agree that this plays into the Greens’ hands although this should be a walk in the part for Labour.

    Ha ha … capture = her faulty

    • gobsmacked 15.1


      That is NZ on Air, not the Electoral Commission. The latter is the potential problem for National.

      • Daveski 15.1.1

        Good point gs although the comments made by NZOA refute some of the claims made by Lee’s opponents.

        Having said that, she is still a walking timebomb and I agree that the Nats seem to have misjudged her competence.

  16. notreallyalawyer 16

    “The fact that Labour have spent the last ten days on a full frontal assault on Lee suggests that they do fear Lee as their main rival.”

    possibly, if that’s the case then Labour’s polling must be looking very bad then. Which in this context would mean a reduced majority. Still get the seat but not a great look – epecially after all the fuss.

    Tend to think they’re trying to avoid dealing with Russ who has more coherent views on transportation – even though I disagree with those views.

    • gobsmacked 16.1

      “a full frontal assault on Lee”

      That’s just Tim-Spin. Close-Up was a week ago, Q & A was a week and a half ago, and they were all about Lee having a foot-feast while Shearer politely said nothing.

      Labour haven’t even got to Plan A. They haven’t had to.

    • The Voice of Reason 16.2

      Nah, it’s not really the case that “Labour have spent the last ten days on a full frontal assault on Lee”. That’s Tim Ellis’s quote and I’m pretty sure he doesn’t speak for the Labour Party. Remember, one of the oft repeated criticisms of Shearer is that he is too quiet. So what is it? Full frontal attack or grey man walking?

      Actually, there is no undue attack on Lee from Labour. They are showing her respect as the candidate most likely to come second, but really, Shearer doesn’t have to say a word from here on in and he’ll still bolt in. In fact, by saying bugger all, he has manged to appear to be the cleverest person in the race. Better to stay silent and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt.

      • Tim Ellis 16.2.1

        VoR, I suspect Labour never expected that NZOA would report back so quickly on the allegations that Mr Goff and Mr Mallard made against Lee. They were found to be baseless.

        Mr Goff and Mr Mallard did not just ask questions. They made allegations of corruption and theft of public money, which were repeated by posters and commenters here at the Standard. That was a low, disgraceful attack on Ms Lee.

        • bilbo

          “Mr Goff and Mr Mallard did not just ask questions. They made allegations of corruption and theft of public money, which were repeated by posters and commenters here at the Standard. That was a low, disgraceful attack on Ms Lee.”

          Tim are you really that sanctimonious ?

          Politicians as a group enjoy and often utilise low disgraceful attacks the only parties that haven’t gone there that often are the Greens and Maori party although even those two parties have seen some notable exceptions.

        • gobsmacked

          Actually, Tim …

          A political promotion video was made. (true)

          It was not declared in election expenses. (do you know different?)

          NZ On Air have no jurisdiction in this matter. (true)

          Might be better to hold off on the indignation for a while.

        • The Voice of Reason

          Well, Tim, I don’t think she was accused of ‘theft’ of public funds, just flagrant misuse of the NZOnAir dosh. If NZOA are ok with it, fine. I don’t know the rules around that. If I ever want to make a pop video or doco, I’ll do some research.

          However, if the video was not declared as an election expense, then she may end up roasted far more successfully than Winnie was last year. Remember that? Winston Peters? Privileges Committee, allegations of misuse, blah blah blah. Where’s Rodders now that we need him, huh?

          It’s politics, Tim. It’s about perception, for the most part, but if Lee has actually cocked it up, she will be in for an even more uncomfortable time in parliament over the next few months than she is experiancing now on the streets of Mt Albert.

          • Tim Ellis


            You might want to read the NZOA report:

            Conclusion 1:
            NZ On Air is satisfied that Ms Lee did not use the Asia Downunder series for political purposes in the run-up to the General Election, and that the systems put in place to manage conflicts of interest and editorial independence were robust and managed well by TVNZ and the Overseeing Producer.

            Conclusion 2:
            NZ On Air was not deceived or misled at any stage about Ms Lee’s Parliamentary candidacy.

            Conclusion 3:
            NZ On Air is satisfied that public funds intended for production of Asia Downunder were not used to make a campaign video.

            There is some discussion in the NZOA report that “The video is 3m02s and appears fairly quickly compiled with modest production values.

            In short, it was a youtube video.

            If there is a political expense that should have been attributed, that is an expense that should have been declared by the National Party’s finance agent, not Ms Lee. Lee had no responsibility for the return of electoral expenses, just as none of Labour’s MPs have responsibility for Labour’s return. Voluntary time isn’t attributable as an election expense. Materials are. It doesn’t appear that any material costs needed to be attributed.

            Labour can continue to try and flog this element, but there seems to be enough mud on their faces from making these allegations against Lee that I don’t doubt that the further attacks around election expense returns won’t fly either.

          • Duncan

            Where did Labour make allegations against Lee? I saw them ask questions arising from the TV3 piece and poke a bit of fun at Lee’s expense but where have they accused her of anything?

          • Tim Ellis

            Duncan, I suggest you have a look at DPF’s blog which includes the allegations made by Mr Mallard and Mr Goff under parliamentary privilege. Mr Mallard made allegations at Red Alert. Young Labour have been chanting: “Corruption!” and “Pay it Back” at meet the candidate meetings. Writers and commenters here at the Standard have squealed “Corruption!”.

            Labour certainly backed off on the claims over the last week because they knew they couldn’t back them up, and it appears at Red Alert that they even deleted some of the comments made by Labour activists that were defamatory, but let’s not pretend that the allegations weren’t made.

    • Pascal's bookie 16.3

      notreallyalawyer :

      I think everyone is expecting a reduced majority, look at the list votes nat v lab, and you’ll see that Helen’s super majority had a lot of Nat voters in it. There is no reason for Shearer to expect that loyalty. Nice attempt at managing expectations though!

      If Lee can’t get at least the nat list vote I’d say she should be disappointed, given the govt’s poll numbers.

  17. Irascible 17

    Regardless of NZOA’s decision that Lee did not misuse public funds to support NACT the question about her ethics and her inability to keep her political demands out of her business, funded as it is from mainly public monies, remains as a huge question over her and her Party Leader.
    Any candidate with such huge issues of unethical and debateable behavoiiur must be questioned.

    • Tim Ellis 17.1

      Keep flogging it Irascible. Mr Mallard and Mr Goff made claims of theft and corruption and said that Ms Lee should be stood aside pending an inquiry. The inquiry was conducted and exonerated her completely.

      There aren’t “huge issues of unethical and debateable behaviour”, except your own unethical and debateable behaviour in continuing to try and milk allegations that have been investigated and proven to be untrue.

      • Irascible 17.1.1

        Timmy, You remind me of the Captain of a Lewis Carrol poem who, despite having an absolutely blank map, on being asked where they were declared “Never mind if I haven’t been strictly accurate if I state it three times it must be true.”
        In this exchange over NACT credibility and Lee’s inability to be articulate the public perception of Lee and her leader are now the issue. The staffer at Lee’s company who raised the issue with TV3 provided a legitimate issue questioning the financial and ethical management of Lee’s company as well as its intimate relationship with NACT thus allowing others to follow up with legitimate questions – not allegations ( a word you are keen to bandy around ). These questions have received answers of sorts but still leave your candidate and leader exposed as having behaved in a questionable manner.

  18. Ron 18

    Duncan – of course they didn’t make any. And that’s mthe difference with this government. If she’d been a Labour candidate in the last government the TV, paper and talk back hacks wiuld have been all over it for weeks – proof or no proof.

    National relied on the fourth estate to “do their jobs” last time but it seems the current opposition will be on their own.

    • Daveski 18.1

      Ron slight flaw in your argument given that these were trumped up by TV3 and ramped up by Labour themselves. Agreed, it’s not about facts, it’s all about perception.

  19. exbrethren 19

    Poor Melissa Lee. A victim of a vicious strategy by Steven Joyce and the old white racist male wing of the National Party.

    These types are so unhappy with Key bringing in candidates of other demographics that they decided to hang one out to dry and chose Lee.

    She has been the victim of undermining by Joyce over the Waterview route. She has been badly briefed and left to struggle with journalists by her media ‘minders’. What a nasty bunch these guys are.

    My evidence? Well I’m using the Tim Ellis standard of I state it so its fact.

  20. burt 20


    The word corruption has been thrown around a few times and now I would like to know your position on Lee. Do you think the NZ On Air report is worthless and if so what would you suggest happens next.

    Otherwise I think it might be appropriate to apologise, see if you can beat Mallard to it. You might want to hurry though because Mallard is already contemplating it.

    • lprent 20.1

      burt: As the kurffle over NZF last year demonstrated. The issue isn’t with what people actually do, it is with the perception of corruption that is important. There was certainly a question in this case about the use or misuse of public money. NZ On Air had to look at the paperwork before they could say one way or another.

      Incidentally I haven’t seen your public apology to Winston yet. After all he and NZF were cleared of everything except lousy book keeping. Perhaps you should do that first before saying what others should do. Otherwise a word beginning with H comes to mind.

  21. burt 21

    After all he and NZF were cleared of everything except lousy book keeping

    I’m going to book mark this. Unbelievable – You are still defending Winston !

    If it were not for the statute of limitations being so short he would have been standing in court for filing false returns… actually scrub that – he was part of the Labour-led govt so there was no way he was ever going to stand in court.

    • lprent 21.1

      It is unlikely. You’d have to prove intent, and it looked to me like they simply had a chaotic book-keeping system.

      There were ample opportunities for the SFO to try for some kind of fraud charge that didn’t have the 2 year limit that the electoral commission had. They investigated and decided there was nothing to answer because they couldn’t find evidence of intent to defraud or corruption. It is a bad look – the same as Melissa Lee had.

      burt: I’m NOT part of lynch mobs and definitely don’t take advice from idiots like you that like to play “follow the pack”. The mindless following the people with the loudest voice….

      How about growing up into an individual rather than making snap judgments based on the way other people are running…

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