Suck it up political sleazers.

Written By: - Date published: 8:22 am, November 8th, 2017 - 113 comments
Categories: Abuse of power, accountability, act, crosby textor, Dirty Politics, Media, nz first, Politics, superannuation, winston peters - Tags: , , , , ,

It was a classic Dirty Politics ploy right out of the grubby and disgusting playbook that National has been using since the 2002 election. Titbits of largely irrelevant, but personally damaging gossip against political opponents stored away for the right time and released through sources at the most politically damaging time.

Spun out through whatever medium has the least scruples about being sleazy and then amplified by pontificating self-justifying heads keen to gossip without getting their hands dirty.

That was the story, once again, with an unauthorised release of private information, apparently from the Ministry of Social Development, and disseminated through a route that appears to have been Ministers of the Crown and politicalised public servants.

The NZ Herald reports “Winston Peters takes legal action against nine people he believes helped leak pension overpayment info

Winston Peters is taking a scattergun legal approach to those who he believes were behind the attempts to damage him during the election campaign over the pension overpayment leak.

Lawyers for the Foreign Minister are today serving papers on nine people, including former National Cabinet ministers, bureaucrats and two journalists, seeking discovery of material relating to the leaks.

Papers have been served on Newsroom.co.nz editor Tim Murphy and will be on Newshub political reporter Lloyd Burr, who’s currently in Australia.

They have also been served on former Prime Minister Bill English, and Ministers Paula Bennett, Steven Joyce and Anne Tolley, the PM’s former chief of staff Wayne Eagleson and campaign press secretary Clark Hennessy – and the head of the Social Development Ministry, Brendon Boyle, who was the first to know about the overpayment.

High Court proceedings for a hearing, a precursor to a damages claim, have been set down for December 13.

The ‘leak’ was clearly politically motivated and appears to have been facilitated by a culture of political arse licking by senior public servants that has resulted from the last governments slow subversion of the public service. There was no apparent (to me) realistic attempt by the last government to determine who actually leaked the damaging and politically irrelevant information just prior to the election when it was designed to cause the maximum possible damage.

It was also claimed that Bill English wasn’t told about the pension overpayment.

Peters was told about it in mid July, long before it was leaked during the election campaign, and after meeting with the Social Development Ministry, who accepted responsibility for the mistaken overpayment, he paid the money back.

His lawyers are saying his privacy was breached and they will be seeking damages from those served with the papers today.

If you read the headlines, commentary and stories on this particular bit of personal attack dirty  politics, that the superannuation mistake wasn’t Winston Peters but was a systematic problem wasn’t even looked at in any depth before the election. But we had this headline from Stuff after the election “Tens of thousands overpaid on their superannuation, pensions

A total of 52,525 overpayments above what people eligible for on their superannuation or veteran’s pension were made in the year to June 30, 2017, new figures show.

The Ministry of Social Development (MSD) figures show that over the past five years, the number of people being overpaid had increased from 35,101 to more than 50,000

The maximum value overpaid in the year to June 30 was $207,139 and the average value of the overpayments in the 2017 year was $625.

There were about 700,000 pensioners in New Zealand, according to MSD.

MSD group general manager of client service support, Dwina Dickinson, said: “It is absolutely wrong to say that 52,000 overpayments represent any issue with the pensions system any more than the number of tax refunds represent an issue with the tax system.”

Except of course that taxpayers are earning money and many pensioners do not. Overpaying pensioners above their entitlements means that eventually they will be required to pay it back, and will often have to do so on limited means. It simply isn’t a good policy for the MSD to follow unless they wish to cause  considerable pain an anguish in pensioner households in the future.

But this story highlighting a systematic problem really wasn’t touched by our gossipy media. It appears that looking at real political issues is just too hard for most of them (fortunately there are some notable exceptions).

However the strong suspicion must be that leaking one particular pensioners overpayments was a quite deliberate attempt by someone supporting National’s political strategy to drop the vote for minor parties in the recent election.

But whoever leaked it and those who scooped it violated a whole pile of privacy laws for both Winston Peters and his partner. That left them open for a long and drawn out and public torture by legal action.

Frankly win or lose, it is just another round in the continuing battle to reduce the garbage in local politics that National and Act seem to like adorning themselves in. It should also be a round in making public servants accountable for who they choose to share private information information with, and that includes with their current political masters.

I wish Winston Peters and his legal team the best of luck with cleaning this kind of trash out of our local politics. I’m sure that there will be a lot of other people cheering him on in his search for personal responsibility and liability over politically motivated privacy breaches. If nothing else, with Winston Peters record of political legal debate, it will be a long and drawn out educational process of learning how to dot the i’s and crossing the t’s

113 comments on “Suck it up political sleazers.”

  1. cleangreen 1

    Yes,

    I to am very thankful Winston showed leadership here as he did this a day before the election to start ‘Legal discovery’ as a prelude to a possible legal court case against national and their media hobbits.

    This showed a clear forthright claim that this was a suspected ‘dirty politics campaign” using public punding and media to do this.

    I hope also the Labour coalition go looking into every corner of former nine years of the National Government expenditure as there will be some very doggy payments to certain people during that nine years including, Warners, Aluminum smelter, Saudi politician and a missing $100 million that has gone missing without a trace after national re-set up kiwirail by folding ‘Ontrack’ (the seperate rail maintainence contactor) as we have neever found where that $100 million funding went to since National changed the whole structure.

    Many other issues also need to be reviewed as to the way this former National Government said they were “Financially responsible” which they were not.

    • Janice 1.1

      Also they need to look into where the money from the sale of the SOE’s went. It certainly didn’t go on health and education as promised – except perhaps on charter schools.

      • Marcus Morris 1.1.1

        Thanks for raising the “Sale of State Assets” issue Janice. It has been on my mind for some time. I believe we need a thorough audit to show exactly who bought the shares, where the money from those sales went and what has been the net gain or loss to the public, including the loss of a major revenue stream, and the strategic value of those assets were they still owned by us. The new government has it in their power (and interest) to “do this”.

    • OnceWasTim 1.2

      @Lprent and @Cleangreen
      I’ve been trying to point out the bleeding obvious for quite some time. At one time as a public servant and informally as 1 of 3 CEO ‘minders’ despite our reluctance. That CEO later went on to be banged up at Her Majesty’s pleasure. Sadly, the one that followed was even worse – from day one presenting himself as a Master of the Universe, and from people who he thought were his allies (in the Military and elsewhere) described him as one of the most dishourable people they’d ever met.
      Even a drubbing from a Chief Judge didn’t seem to phaze him to the extent he thought it OK to assault an aged and Senior QC during a recess.
      From memory, there are other commenters in here (@Anne maybe?) that have encountered similar things.

      It’s probably a timely reminder to check this out:
      http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/insight/audio/201781443/insight-for-6-december-2015-politics-and-public-servants
      and this:
      http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/political/291268/ssc-rejects-accusations-of-politicisation
      and perhaps Frank Macskasy’s ‘Crony Watch’

      It really is time for public service reform. Currently its a construct of a failing neo-liberal era

  2. One Anonymous Bloke 2

    Interesting to read that the “no surprises” policy “has no basis in law”.

    I’d say the policy has been misapplied, in a deliberate breach of privacy. If discovery exposes the National Party criminal trash, I hope they face prosecution, not just civil penalties.

    • “No surprises” applies at management level of most organisations. If your superiors find themselves caught on the spot and embarrassed by being questioned about something they didn’t know you were doing, you’re in the shit big-time. It’s a policy that’s entirely understandable and reasonable, albeit not officially written down anywhere.

      However, breaching Winston Peters’ privacy doesn’t in any way meet the “no surprises” criteria. The policy is about the minister not being surprised by something the department is doing, not the minister knowing when a rival politician is doing something. And there’s no way a minister can be caught on the spot and embarrassed by questions about one individual’s superannuation forms when it would be wrong for them to actually know the details of an individual’s application. Trying to hide behind “no surprises” doesn’t wash – it shows, as lprent says “a culture of political arse licking by senior public servants that has resulted from the last governments slow subversion of the public service. “

      • One Anonymous Bloke 2.1.1

        To be clear, I’d say the fact that it’s in the Cabinet Manual gives it “a basis in law”, just grossly and corruptly misapplied in this case.

        • Draco T Bastard 2.1.1.1

          Unfortunately, nope. The Cabinet Manual is not part of law but merely a set of guidelines that can be ignored at will.

          • tracey 2.1.1.1.1

            that is ignored at will. FIFY

          • One Anonymous Bloke 2.1.1.1.2

            I didn’t say it has a strong basis, I said it has a basis. Parliament being “the highest court in the land”, it’s procedural manual has constitutional, and therefore legal significance.

            What would be interesting is if the case challenges the “no surprises” policy altogether, or simply the way it’s been mis-applied in this instance.

      • tracey 2.1.2

        PM I suggest that the analogy suffers against politicians because that information determines or influences or undermines the nature of democracy. No surprises does not mean “use for political purposes” but rather be forewarned if a topic comes up?

      • cleangreen 2.1.3

        Psycho Milt – good point,

        “public servants” are employed by us all, to supply us what is in our best interests.

        Jacinda said that yeaterday after the National threat to hold a vote on the speaker of the house.

        These public servants under national were simply ‘self serving themselves and their rich mates.

        “a culture of political arse licking by senior public servants that has resulted from the last governments slow subversion of the public service. “

  3. greywarshark 3

    Graham Edgler? on Radionz this morning gave a well balanced informative background and explanation about it.

  4. ianmac 4

    Just read Tim Murphy’s response on Newsroom. Not impressed. If Tim is a journalist he would reply in simple factual terms. As it is, Tim has attempted to ridicule and diminish the essence of a possible legal action which may or may not involve himself. Poor effort Tim. Must try harder to lift your game.

    https://www.newsroom.co.nz/2017/11/07/58644/winston-goes-fishing

    • Pete 4.1

      I agree. Murphy’s response is smart-arse and cheapens the media in general and his in particular.

      There is obviously the issue of the Peters’ case to be addressed but also the wider ones commented on above. If Murphy’s private information, or that of his family and friends held by Government agencies, were suddenly in the media would he be pleased? Or is it okay in the Peters’ case because he’s a politician?

      How about if historic details of another politician, say an ex-Minister, who had previously had dealings with Work and Income suddenly came to light? And how would that Minister and her/his colleagues react to that?

      My feeling is they’d go ape and the biggest hunt ever would be on to identify leakers and gallows would be installed on the steps of Parliament. And they’d be cheered on by the likes of Tim Murphy taking the moral high ground about the sanctity of private information.

    • tracey 4.2

      It also, imo, breaches journalism 101 – you do not write about a topic in which you have a vested interest. You pass it over to someone else.

      Lloyd Burr’s behaviour in chasing down Turei was the first time he came to my attention. She told him, in answer to a question, that she was going to a caucus meeting where they would vote to decide her outcome. He replied and I am only going from memory

      – but what about Democracy, what about Democracy- as she was climbing into a taxi. Upon hearing this she paused and responded sthing along tge lines – caucus will vote Lloyd-

      To which he replied – what about Democracy –

    • Keepcalmcarryon 4.3

      Murphy certainly came across as running a hatchet job on peters over this , at the time. I lost all respect for their news site over it. Great to see Peters attempt to hold him to account.

  5. patricia bremner 5

    It is just one of many instances of privacy breaches by the last government and its services.

    The difference this time was they chose a victim who knew the law and what this meant.

    So as the saying goes “as you sow so shall ye reap”

    They play a dirty power game on every level, full of self interest without concern for those it affects.

    They are and will continue this in opposition using strategic friends in “high places” to impede embarrass or derail the coalition.

    So any fall out coming their way is Karma imo.

    • In Vino 5.1

      The enemy will pick out the worst bits of that fallout, publicise it widely through their compliant media, and make the Left look dirtier than they are themselves. An illusion, of course, but look at how well they did that with ‘Dirty Politics’, etc.

  6. james 6

    I have no issue with English, Bennet being held to account should they be proven to be the leak.

    However – I think its dangerous when the Deputy PM serves papers on media to get them to reveal their sources.

    • Puckish Rogue 6.1

      Would certainly create quite the precedence

    • tracey 6.2

      Two wrongs do not make a right in my book. If he has no evidence it should be thrown out. I assume he is paying his legal bills not us?
      Fortunately Ms Bennett doesnt believe in doing stuff behind people’s backs so will be happy to release her emails, phone records etc regardless of whether she has to by law 😉

    • tracey 6.3

      Did you think it was dangerous when the police were used to raid Hagers home/office?

      • tracey 6.3.1

        I think this one skipped James eager eye

      • james 6.3.2

        “when the police were used to raid Hagers home/office?”

        police were used by whom?

        It was their decision and I do not thing there has been anything showing the police to be instructed by anyone to have done this?

        feel free to give a link if Im wrong?

        • tracey 6.3.2.1

          You skipped around the question. Do you think it is dangerous for the police to raid investigative journalists(as it turned out wrongly so), or are you comfortable with police beibg used this way to shut down or intimidate said journalists?

          • cleangreen 6.3.2.1.1

            James is just playing with us all here.

            Best to ignore that rubbish he makes no sense;

            There I am the sixth that has said it!!!!!!!!

            • tracey 6.3.2.1.1.1

              It can be useful to highlight his selective answering, to show that he is deliberately avoiding answering certain questions. The one accusing others of avoidance behaviour is, well, avoiding.

          • Joe 6.3.2.1.2

            Nicky Hager is NOT a journalist, nor an investigator. He is a garbologist who rifles through stolen material and cuts & paste obsolete statements to suit his slanted, defamatory narrative. Which is that of his paymasters who back the Green Party. Wake up to who the REAL practitioners of ‘dirty politics’ are in this country. Clue: it is not the National Party

            • tracey 6.3.2.1.2.1

              You might want to
              A. Provide some support for your assertions; and
              B. Hope lprent does not see this.

            • Brigid 6.3.2.1.2.2

              From wikipedia
              Nicky Hagar is
              “He is the only New Zealand member of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.”

              Joe you are a fool.

    • McFlock 6.4

      Go have a cup of tea and think about what you wrote.

    • tracey 6.5

      Leaving aside how hard it is to prove a leak, right James?

      • james 6.5.1

        My main comment was about the deputy PM serving papers on the media to get them to reveal their sources.

        Are you OK with that?

        You seem to be holding back on your outrage this occasion.

        • tracey 6.5.1.1

          Not holding back at all.

          “Two wrongs do not make a right in my book. If he has no evidence it should be thrown out. I assume he is paying his legal bills not us?” as I wrote above.

          Hager only had post event access to the Courts, once his home/office was raided…. Peters has used the civil system, and Murphy and his lawyers can refuse to supply the information unlike Hager whose daughter was frightened and ALL his work removed including his tools to do his job and earn a living.

        • One Anonymous Bloke 6.5.1.2

          Are you OK with that?

          Are you ok if the court determines that in this case, S.68 of the Evidence Act doesn’t apply?

          At the very least it serves as a reminder to journalists and their sources that unless you make it clear that your identity is to remain confidential, the law does not protect your identity.

          Is there a public interest in rooting out (or exhonerating) the crims (or law abiding citizens) in the National Party? Absolutely.
          Is Winston’s vendetta a good tool for the job? Um yeah pretty legal mumble mumble.

        • ropata 6.5.1.3

          False equivalence, the hit job on Peters wasn’t brave journalism it was a dirty leak of private info with no wrongdoing whatsoever on Peters’ part.

          Hager’s book exposed an endemic culture of unethical conduct reaching the top echelons of the Nat Gov, to which the Nats had no answer. They couldn’t sue for defamation because Hager told the truth. So they went for police bully boy tactics instead, and their willing sycophants cheered on the police state.

          Disgusting

          • tracey 6.5.1.3.1

            Yup.

            AND peters will get short shrift from the courts if he is messing about. Whereas Hager and Tea Cup chap had to engage lawyers and in Hager’s case lose material and tools to earn a living until such decisions were made.

    • KJT 6.6

      Should the media be allowed to breach what is, rightly, private, at will.

      It has been obvious that our local media seem to think they are not only above the law, but they feel no obligation to be truthful and accurate.

      The media’s shamelessly partisan role in the election campaign is being called out. As it should be.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 6.6.1

        Disagree.

        There’s certainly a legitimate public interest in the story, which very quickly turned to the guts of it: who are the crims in the National Party? How far do they have to go before their corrupt use of privileged public information falls foul of S.105A of the Crimes Act?

        Every official is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 7 years who, whether within New Zealand or elsewhere, corruptly uses or discloses any information, acquired by him or her in his or her official capacity, to obtain, directly or indirectly, an advantage or a pecuniary gain for himself or herself or any other person.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 6.7

      Edgeler covered this on RNZ this morning – he said S.68 of the evidence act might not apply in this case. From the interview:

      Lloyd Burr has said he doesn’t know [who the National Party crim is], which suggests to me that he didn’t promise confidentiality when he was given this information…

      He’s saying the source is only protected if you’ve made that promise.

      S.68:

      If a journalist has promised an informant not to disclose the informant’s identity, neither the journalist nor his or her employer is compellable in a civil or criminal proceeding to answer any question or produce any document that would disclose the identity of the informant or enable that identity to be discovered.

      I guess Peters could be arguing that the source’s identity might be recoverable (from the journos) via metadata, or something.

      On the other hand, it’s the optics, innit: going after journalists.

      Obviously the National Party criminals can’t hide behind S.68 anyway. As for the civil servants in question, one of them will say which crim(s) they told, and those crims are going to trial. Pity it’s only a civil case.

      • james 6.7.1

        What happened to innocent until proven guilty before you call them criminals.

        • One Anonymous Bloke 6.7.1.1

          Mea culpa, James. Yes, I would definitely have to declare a conflict of interest were I to be summoned for jury duty on this case.

          My confidence is based on the simple notion of cui bono*, and the fact that several of the crims have form in this regard.

          But indeed, I am not impartial. Well spotted.

          *apart from that asshole Bono, that is. That’s a Paradise Papers joke.

        • tracey 6.7.1.2

          Agree 100% that presumed innocent til proven guilty. Did you read the final decision on tge Hager case James?

    • Tracey 6.8

      ” High Court judge found police breached their duty of candour in the information they gave a district court judge who was asked to issue the warrant.

      Special rules apply to looking for information from and about journalists, and the judge’s attention was not drawn to that.”

      I wonder what made the police get this so wrong or deliberately lie to the Judge to get a warrant? What on earth could the police have against Hager to risk its own reputation ( and budget).

  7. Stunned Mullet 7

    All power to him as long as he’s using his own money and is not dipping into the public purse.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 7.1

      You can bet the National Party crims will try and argue that they were acting in their Ministerial capacity and therefore we should pay their legal costs and damages.

      • Stunned Mullet 7.1.1

        No politicians should be afforded taxpayer funded legal support in these type of circumstances whether prosecuting or defending – I applauded Little when he didn’t dip into the taxpayer trough to defend himself.

        • One Anonymous Bloke 7.1.1.1

          Don’t worry, you’ll find a way to defend it when Prostetnic Vogon Joyce tries it on. You’ll suddenly remember it’s pretty legal, or something 😉

          • stunned mullet 7.1.1.1.1

            No read my comment again – No politicians should be afforded taxpayer funded legal support in these type of circumstances whether prosecuting or defending.

            • One Anonymous Bloke 7.1.1.1.1.1

              Will you vote for National again when they demand we wear the costs, like they did with Todd Barclay?

              • Stunned mullet

                I didn’t vote for National.

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  There are obviously several possibilities here:

                  1. You voted for ACT, who enable and encourage National’s most sadistic impulses.
                  2. You’re lying.
                  3. You voted for one of the other parties and yet spend time at The Standard defending (and therefore enabling) the National Party.
                  4. You’re a politically motivated member of some religious sect that prohibits its members from voting but engages in politics anyway.
                  5. You don’t vote because Cabinet Club is more effective.
                  6. This is the only way you can get paid.

                  It’s ACT, eh. With a side-order of option 6 😉

  8. Muttonbird 8

    Barely Sober reckons the pension leaks and the pension leaks alone is the reason we have a new government.

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11941646

    If that’s the case, the National’s indulgence in Dirty Politics has finally caught up with them with devastating effect.

    English, Bennett, and Joyce seriously need to start owning this loss and they were certainly all involved.

    • tracey 8.1

      I dont think Soper likes to think that 50% of the nation dont like national and many suffered at their rule. He is at the Herald now so his cocoon from those realities just thickened?

    • cleangreen 8.2

      Absolutely right Muttonbird,

      But these National Party aggressive folks will never agree to them beeing a failure even though they have brought us to hells door by loading us with over $70 Billion Dolllars now when they have sold so many of our assets and then run us into long term debt also.

      So yes;

      “English, Bennett, and Joyce seriously need to start owning this loss and they were certainly all involved.”

    • McFlock 8.3

      Partially, I think he has a point – but not alone.

      National made the decision to try to drop NZ1 and the greens below 5%. On the face of it, it seems that illegally using information gained by the civil service was a part of that plan.

  9. David Mac 9

    The dirty projectile missed it’s target and now they’re wishing they hadn’t glued razor blades around the boomerang.

    It’s a brave plan that sets out to prosper from a cheap shot at Winston.

  10. That was the story, once again, with an unauthorised release of private information, apparently from the Ministry of Social Development, and disseminated through a route that appears to have been Ministers of the Crown and politicalised public servants.

    Seems to me that personal information held by the MSD should only be available to the case worker and, to minimise the spread of that information, the case worker should always be the same person within practical limits.

    The people higher up have no need to know or have access to personal information. They only need to see the aggregate information because that’s the information that actually produces the necessary policies and advice.

    A good computer system would achieve that as well as tracking who accessed it and when.

  11. Venezia 11

    After nine years of Dirty Politics, I hope this is not the last piece of dirt to catch up with the previous National Cabinet. Karma indeed. It’s been a long time coming.

    • +1

      There is much that needs to be investigated about the previous government.

      • cleangreen 11.1.1

        Yes Draco,

        Labour coalition now need to spend many hours of investigation into all the last nine years of National and sure they will find some dirty double dealinng and waste of public money to buy saudi Politicians and Warner bros intellegence and lobbying tactics.

        Many more like this will come up if their “experts” go to examine the last National government financial reports thoroughly.

        Kiwirail were pressured by Steven Joyce as Mininster of Transport in 2012 to take rail maintainence funding away to Auckland commuter rail from the Gisborne/Napier rail which ncaused the sacking of 12 of the 16 track workers.

        This caused our rail to become washout out because of a lack of funding. (confirmed by Phil Twyford) in 2013 at the Transport select committee.

        Pure corrupt practice there.

        http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PA1302/S00183/kiwirail-admits-lack-of-maintenance-led-to-wash-out.htm

        KiwiRail admits lack of maintenance led to wash-out
        Thursday, 14 February 2013, 1:35 pm
        Press Release: New Zealand Labour Party
        Phil Twyford
        Transport Spokesperson

        14 February 2013

        KiwiRail admits lack of maintenance led to wash-out

        KiwiRail has admitted that its failure to maintain old and damaged culverts was behind the wash out that closed the Gisborne-Napier line, while cuts to its maintenance budget are putting the network at further risk, Labour’s Transport spokesperson Phil Twyford says.

        “Across the country KiwiRail missed its target of replacing 71 old culverts last year, and only replaced 49. This is cause for alarm.

        “The Gisborne-Napier wash-out shows what happens when essential maintenance work is not carried out.

        “KiwiRail cut and deferred $200 million of network maintenance last year. At the very time it needs to be upgrading its network and improving efficiency, the Government’s unrealistic ‘Turn Around Plan’ is putting enormous stress on the organisation and forcing it to cut maintenance.

        “KiwiRail has told Parliament’s transport committee it has 12,197 rail line culverts around the country and has done a risk assessment identifying 53 high priority culverts but ‘…in spite of every effort to mitigate risk, some incidents of wash out may still occur…’

        “National’s plan for rail is not workable. KiwiRail has missed its financial targets for two of the last three years. It is being forced to make cuts that are a false economy.

        “At a time when the Government is wasting billions of dollars on its ‘motorways of madness’, it makes no sense to cripple the national rail line.”

        ENDS

        • KJT 11.1.1.1

          English did say “it will, take two years to clean up the mess”.

          Unfortunately I think it will take a lot more than two years, to undo the mess of the last 30.

  12. Sparky 12

    I too wish Winston good fishing. Will be interesting to see how this develops.

  13. mosa 13

    If it is the same Tim Murphy that was editor at the NZ Herald then i hope Winston is successful in nailing these scumbags.

    Murphy i recall wrote some pretty nasty anti Winston anti Labour material when he was at the Herald that was appalling.

    I am surprised they picked on Winston considering his wrath at being attacked in this way.

    Maybe they thought the damage would be enough to force him from parliament but that was never guaranteed and his supporters were wise to the dirt being spread about here after all it has all been done before.

    Good luck Mr Peters it is time these bastards were exposed.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 13.1

      That it’s Peters at all is problematic.

      On the public information available to date, there’s a decent probability that there has been a breach of S.105 of the Crimes Act.

      I think that takes precedence over Winston’s grievance (assuming he didn’t leak it himself, like Machiavelli woulda).

      I doubt the Police are even investigating whether they can build a case.

  14. Rosie 14

    A POLICY of over paying and then sucking back those overpayments pervades the benefit system to – as you note – the great disadvantage of those entirely reliant on that system.

    THIS TOO needs investigation.

    As to your points about the info on Winston being politically motivated, I agree. First class column. Thanks.

  15. Carolyn_Nth 15

    I am not impressed with Tim Murphy’s behaviour in relation to the Peters super story. I had begun to be very much a supporter of Newsroom and Murphy until this story began to unfold. Now I am very disappointed in him.

    His piece in response to Peters’ discovery action includes this:

    It says Peters became aware of a tweet by me supposedly boasting that Newsroom was about to publish a story. No such claim was made on Twitter or elsewhere. It claims ‘innuendo” that the “story would destroy Peters’ political career”. No such indication could possibly have been taken from the tweet. In any case, the tweet was deliberate parody of news media promotion of their upcoming stories.

    Well, I certainly got sucked in by the (alleged parody) tweet . When Murphy started tweeting about another story implicating a party leader, which was yet to break, I had expectations of Murphy as a serious journalist. He used the #motherofallscandals

    Many people, including many MSM journos were intrigued. My best guess was that it related to NZF’s leader, Peters.

    When the super story started to break, and people connected it to #motherofallscandals, my response was “No way! – this is a non-story”.

    Many people also responded that it was a non-story. But Murphy kept writing stories and talking to the media (e.g. on The Panel) saying Peters had serious questions to answer.

    As Lynn said in the above post, this is not an unusual for people to be over-paid benefits, and Murphy did not look into the mis-management of benefits by Work and Income. Murphy just kept in the gotcha politics vein of going after Peters. And he really needs to be a little more self critical about why he ran uncritically with a Nat-generated smear story

    So his claim that his tweets prefiguring the story was just a parody, just doesn’t wash. To me it looked like Murphy was participating in a take down of Peters for politically-motivated reasons, and during an election campaign – a time when there’s supposed to be non-partisan coverage.

    I understand that Peters gets a lot of negative coverage because he attacks the media. But, in its politics coverage, the mainstream media really do need to raise their game. And they get pretty sensitive and take it personally when they are criticised – yet, some MSM journos seem to enjoy targeting selected politicians and setting out to bring them down – but why was it Turei, not Key! Peters not English or Bennett, or Joyce.

    Yes they crictised Joyce’s budget hole. But I never saw any journo relentlessly targeting him the way they targeted the likes of Cunliffe, Turei, Peters… etc.

    • Sally's Husband 15.1

      Wasn’t Tim Murphy the Herald editor during the Lui Donghua allegations of $100,000 bottle of wine? And wasn’t the whole thing later discredited?

      • Ed 15.1.1

        Murphy has form.

        • Carolyn_Nth 15.1.1.1

          Here is Frank Macskasy’s run down of the Lui Donghua letter and attack on Cunliffe.

          Murphy had limited involvement. it was more Shayne Curry that was involved in the twitter prefiguring of the attack.

          But there’s this:

          “Nothing to see here” Currie’s boss, Tim Murphy, tweeted on 19 June in response to questions about Immigration NZ’s speedy release the previous day of the now infamous Cunliffe-Donghua Liu 2003 letter to his investigations editor, Jared Savage.
          “We seek info, public service tells govt and denies us info. We refine request and get letters. We publish. Pretty standard.”

          But it also looks a lot like Murphy’s priming of the Peters’ super story with his #motherofallacandals tweets.

          Similar MO. Similar innocent, “We are just following the evidence” response. While, in practice, it looks like they are aligned with the Nat Party smear machine.

    • Muttonbird 15.2

      Good post Carolyn.

      Murphy’s claim that the #motherofallscandals tweets he seeded on the Saturday or Sunday were a ‘parody’ smacks of Plunkett’s disastrous Weinstein tweets.

      And if he’s trying to sell us that those tweets weren’t promotion for Newsroom then he must think the entire public is stupid.

      If Plunkett’s behaviour is the type which Murphy wishes to be compared to then good luck to Newsroom, they’ll need it.

      • tracey 15.2.1

        It was almost up there with Mike Williams truffle hunting in 2007/8, but the difference is one is bound by Press Standards and one is fumbling dinosaur

  16. Michelle 16

    Someone needs to be held accountable for this leak and serious breach of privacy. This type of behavior undermines our entire state services sector and brings them into disrepute. And this is not the first time something like this has happened under our previous government as they have been abusing their power for 9 years and they have got away with it. The facts is they tried to take Winny out again and this time it backfired on them. I hope they get to the bottom of this and some ones head needs to roll. I say this because our previous government were extremely punitive when enforcing the rules, laws and policies on others but when it comes to themselves it is all swept under the carpet.

  17. syclingmad 17

    A lot of faith being placed in a politician who is a serial time-waster in terms of court action. Reality is, dumb and transparent move by Nats to hobble Peters, stupid move by Peters to file papers before coalition talks were done. Numpties on all sides, yawn, move on, nothing to see here.

    Meanwhile in the rest of NZ…

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