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The anatomy of a smear campaign

Written By: - Date published: 8:59 am, June 20th, 2014 - 322 comments
Categories: david cunliffe, john key, labour, Media, national, newspapers, public services - Tags:

It is interesting to compare the media’s treatment of David Cunliffe this week with its treatment of the smear campaign against him.

Labour has this year attacked National for its rather cavalier treatment of donors.  Firstly a senior Minister used her ministerial position to benefit the company which her husband was a director of and which made large donations to National.  Easy target, Collins’ behaviour tramples every rule concerning a Minister not seeking a personal advantage from her office as well as creating a strong impression of bias.  The criticism was and is perfectly appropriate.  Ministers should not use their position to benefit their partner or people who donate money to the National Party.

Maurice Williamson’s sacking for interfering in a Police prosecution was utterly inevitable.  FFS he breached the Cabinet Manual in an egregious way.  He had to go.

But then this week we have seen the National counterattack where it is trying to create the impression that Labour is just as bad if not worse.  But as Stephanie Rodgers has noted is David Cunliffe forgetting that he signed a letter over a decade ago really far worse than Maurice Williamson interfering in a police case?  Really?  Really?

There are some on the left who have chosen to criticise the staff member involved.  Shame on them.  Absolutely shame on them.  Their intolerance of human frailty and the lack of human perfection is very upsetting to me.  Their expectation of perfection is so removed from the human reality that I wonder what they are thinking.

There was nothing unusual about the letter and it certainly did not advocate for a decision favourable to Mr Liu.  It essentially said to the Immigration Service that all that was wanted was a date when a decision could be expected and the letter confirmed that it was understood there would be a delay.  Apart from a couple of typos and the misspelling of the name in the file name the letter is beyond criticism.

Despite a search the letter was not immediately discovered.  The electronic file name for the letter had a simple typo which meant that it was not instantaneously evident.  Readers of my posts will realise that typos are not unusual occurences.  Instead of “Liu” the word “Lui” was typed.  This is a not unusual occurrence.

After 10,000 files David’s inability to instantly recall the names of everyone who he had signed a letter about is also not unusual.  What is really unusual is this expectation that he should be omnipotent.  And it would help if the letter could have actually achieved something, if not anything.  The fact that it asked for a response as to when a decision could be made while acknowledging that a delay was inevitable is so sanguine that they should have tested it for tranquillisers.

But what is really egregious is the contrast in the treatment Labour and National receive from the media.

This morning the Herald sets out a very clear timeline from yesterday which shows that a senior members of this Government has been caught out lying.  On May 9, 2014 Michael Woodhouse learned about the existence of the letter.  He told John Key about this the next couple of days.  Shortly after this he received a hard copy of the letter.  At the same time a Herald OIA for the immigration file was declined on privacy grounds.  By late May the Prime Minister’s office has a copy of the letter.

Then on June 16 the Herald ran the story about the Liu donation to the Labour Party.  Two days later and the day after the gocha question the letter is provided by Immigration NZ to the Herald.

Yesterday at 2pm Mr Woodhouse denied telling Mr Key about the letters, then by 3 pm he said officials from his office briefed Mr Key’s office on the letters and then by 7 pm his office said the minister himself told Mr Key’s office about the letters and his office also gave copies of the letters to Mr Key’s office.  It is amazing that Cunliffe should be criticised for forgetting something that happened 11 years ago but there is no criticism of Woodhouse for “forgetting” events that occurred in the past month.

You have to ask why a decision was made by Immigration NZ to give the letter to the Minister, release it under the OIA and only give David Cunliffe 5 minutes notice of the release.  This factor is critical.  It meant that Labour had a couple of hours after the letter had been released during which it tried to understand the implications of the letter while the right attacked and Labour looked messy.  You have to question the independence of Immigration NZ and why it acted in a way that gave National a clear political advantage over Labour.

If you want to hear David’s response to this he very eloquently counterattacked on Morning Report this morning.  Despite Guyon Espiner’s attempts to distract Cunliffe made his points well.

I wait with baited breath for a John Armstrong article saying that it may now be time for Michael Woodhouse to resign.  And an interview where Guyon Espiner asks Key and Woodhouse tough questions about the mechanics of the release and why Woodhouse changed his story twice in 5 hours.  Anything short of this will cement an already strong impression that the media has a double standard.

322 comments on “The anatomy of a smear campaign ”

  1. King Kong 1

    You really can’t see why poor management and the hint of dishonesty by the guy auditioning to be prime minister is more news worthy and of interest to the public than the timeline of information delivery by a middle ranking member of government?

    This might explain Cunliffes problems, it’s the people he surrounds himself with.

    • mickysavage 1.1

      There was no dishonesty. Cunliffe’s answer was perfectly accurate. There was no poor management, just a typo which meant a letter from 11 years ago was not located. If it had been located and read Cunliffe’s answer would have been the same.

      So what do you think about Immigration NZ broadsiding Cunliffe with the release and Woodhouse’s answers yesterday which involve more than a hint of dishonesty.

      • Mark F 1.1.1

        KK. They honestly can’t see it! Hanlon’s Razor describes it more than adequately;
        “Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by incompetence.”

        • Tracey

          people understand what you are arguing, many dont agree. That is not necessarily blindness.

          Now, you thinking that national had nothing to do this, well there is another saying…

          None so blind as those who will not see

          • Mark F

            So what if National did? Any smart operator should have seen this coming and kept their powder dry or at least have made absolutely sure they knew all their facts. To make an absolute statement NO, NO and thrice NO only to be tripped up the next day drips of incompetence at the very least or outright deceit at worst.
            When your man Robertson started making noises about Liu guess what, Woodhouse went and checked to see if there was anything that he should be aware of, guess what he found? Now in Soccer terms that’s what is called an own goal.

            • Colonial Viper

              So, Cunliffe’s office staff didn’t check an 11 year old hard drive in a long forgotten about laptop. While Key was willing to reach deep in his secret desk drawer for dirt to throw around but all he came up with was this.


              • Mark F

                OIA to the Immigration Office what’s so hard about that?

                • lprent

                  You have to remember that there might be something there to look for?

                  Remember that there are thousands of routine letters written to Immigration by electorate offices every decade. Most are only sighted by the MP when they sign them.

                  It was particularly hard in this case because Liu had several names and went by several nicknames.

                  • Mark F

                    No, if you were smart you would check anyway just to make sure there were no gotchas!

                    • lprent

                      I find it curious that you don’t suggest any means to do that. There are protections against MPs and even other departments invading the privacy of correspondence with the government. It has to go through an OIA or privacy request. To do so means that you have to know what you are asking for. You can’t simply do blanket searches across government departments prying into their files.

                      Admittedly we currently have a PM who appears to ignore those protections when he wants to find something to smear his opponents with. But that is a separate matter that needs to be looked at quite thoroughly – probably by the State Services commission or the police..

                      What Cunliffe did was to look in his own files. There was a misfiled letter that wasn’t even in the currently held records. It was 11 years ago FFS.

                  • Any OIA along the lines of “please provide all correspondence ever written by [MP’s name] to the Ministry on constituent matters” would simply be rejected on the grounds of taking a ridiculous amount of time – or possibly being impossible given the way records are held in some departments.

                    • Tracey

                      i recently made a lgoima request(local govt version of oia for those who dont know). I was very specific about the documents i wanted because i had them in front of me. The response was they had no record of some and it would take too long to find others. Fascinating given they had provided them last year. I had to request them because i had them as part of disclosure for another client and you cant use them in another case.

                      My point is that some agencies are more helpful than others. Auckland council is particularly unhelpful if they know you work in leaky home area.

                      But, leaving aside all other questions, other than privacy and anything legally privileged can just anyone request someones immigration file?

                    • Mark F

                      No to the Immigration Office concerning Liu, that’s who we are talking about.

            • Tracey

              was that before or after that cabinet minister lied Mark F?

        • Puddleglum

          Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by incompetence.

          Mark F, I presume your allegiance to this dictum means you disagree with King Kong’s – and many other commentators’ – assessment of Cunliffe’s behaviour in this instance as providing “a hint of dishonesty”?

          After all, how could there even be “a hint” if the dictum were followed?

      • Cancerman 1.1.2

        This is what I don’t understand. If Cunliffes answers are completely honest now doesn’t that mean he is lying in parts of his letter. You can’t have it both ways.

        • lprent

          Why? Please explain what your obscure and strange logic is

          As far as I can see you are making a set of assumptions that start with the equivalent of saying that 1+1=111

          • Cancerman

            The letter reads “I have been approached by my constituent Donghua Liu…”

            So two points from this

            1. Donghua Liu was not a constituent of David Cunliffe, he wasn’t even a citizen/pr so not a constituent of anyone.
            2. ” I have been approached”. Approached. His staff might of been but not him unless he is lying currently.

            That is my 1+1=2

            I don’t see how both those points are factual in the letter and what he is saying now is true.

            • Chrissy

              ah dear…. you are a drear soul cancerman.

              just imagine for a minute, you might manage it.

              constituent is a word you can use to describe someone living in your electorate, or who is presented as doing that. Mr Liu might not have met the strictest and least imaginative meaning of that word, but there’s no LIE in referring to him in that way. It’s the normal way a constituency clerk would frame a letter: it’s the migration form letter you use to write a mild letter asking where their application is up to. you are determined to see a LIE in that.. well, there’s a saying about people who see only what they want…

              same for approached. ok if you are a literalist fundamentalist, you might quibble over the formal physical meaning of that word, and you might have a little trouble imagining it could include an approach made by mail, or through a migration agent, and not involving a physical personal approach. But again, it seems to moist reasonable people to be a perfectly acceptable way of describing someone asking you by any means, physically or otherwise, if you are prepared to write a letter asking about their case. Calling it a LIE is more than faintly ridiculous.

              I recommend you just relax a little and try to imagine ways in which these statements are not LIES but ways of describing situations and people that are really, for the rest of us, quite reasonable….

      • Once was Pete 1.1.3

        Look, I get that 11 years is a long time. Every one gets that. And everyone also gets that MP’s and Ministers routinely sign letters on behalf of constituents. But this person was not an ordinary constituent. He was an extremely wealthy business person whose situation fell completely outside the normal parameters of electorate business. Even so, forgetting this would not normally be a terminal offence, and nor would the letter itself normally raise any eyebrows. Although I do think raising the fact that he has signed 10,000 letters in that time is a not so subtle misdirect, as only a handful would be like this one.
        What does cause significant concern is when a politician who is leading the charge on ‘money for favours’ denies doing so himself, and is found to have done the very things he said he didn’t. When you engage in attacking other politicians and also claim the moral high ground you really shouldn’t be surprised when you get the ‘back splatter’.
        For me this is just another example of clumsiness. I won’t list them here because they are all well publicised. I just don’t see David Cunliffe as having the adroitness, street smarts, and finesse required to lead the country. For heavens sake, why didn’t someone in his office know more about Liu, and why did he paint himself into a corner like that? I think it exposes some flaws, that we all need to see before we make any commitment to vote for him.
        How the letter leaked out, who had it and the timeline just don’t interest me, in the same way I didn’t really care about how the Oravida ‘stuff’ surfaced. These are just deflections from the core substance of the issue, and that is, that yet again, the Labour leader has managed to totally stuff something up.

        • Colonial Viper

          What are you going to do next, start picking on David Cunliffe’s punctuation?

          You righties are really stupid.

          NZers can see that National are desperate to spin and distract away from any conversation directly to do with policy and the big issues facing our nation. Stranded, reaching and without imagination is how I would describe this Tory government.

    • Hamish 1.2

      Nice try at diverting the thread, KK.

      Quick, say anything to avoid talking about that slimy worm Woodhouse.

      He interfered with the running of a government department to push his own smear campaign.

      Mind you he’s got a history of this, he got his campaign manager to interfere with a tv show which made him look bad.

      He’s a nasty wee piece of work that Woodhouse.

    • Tracey 1.3

      so, the constant “hint” of dishonesty from key since 2008 is ok cos he manages the lies well??? Key is better at picking people around him to manage his lies so that is ok for a pm

      If you apply your “logic” about this meaning cunliffe is not fit to be pm, then you cannot support key…

      Said iain rennie recommended ian fletcher when it was key who recommended him and agreed to contact him
      Said labour tied the govt into buying bmws during a recession so nats couldnt change it. False
      Said labour was responsible for the payout to scf investors. It was bill english who renewed the guarantee against treasury advice

      All of these were within weeks of him knowing the actual facts, not eleven years? That those on the right, like you call hypocrite would be funny except it’s not?

      The sad thing is that i think you, bm, gosman, infused and others believe this and dont see the damage this thinking does in terms of what nzers then see as acceptable and unacceptable behaviour.

      I dont care which politicians behave this way, it undermines the fabric of our society.

    • infused 1.4

      “ut as Stephanie Rodgers has noted is David Cunliffe forgetting that he signed a letter over a decade ago really far worse than Maurice Williamson interfering in a police case? Really? Really?”

      That’s not even the issue.

      • Colonial Viper 1.4.1

        The issue is that the Right Wing are desperate to see Cunliffe gone, and to spin away any discussion to do with the concerns of real NZers about issues of inequality and unfairness facing the country.

  2. fisiani 2

    When in a hole stop digging. The more this is discussed the more Labour is associated with lying or incompetence. Either way the hole is deep enough. It is not a smear to reveal the truth. It is not a smear to be honest. I cannot see 1,000,000 voters collectively thinking. ” Poor Mr Cunliffe has been smeared.”

    • karol 2.1

      It’s the Tory media and anti-democratic Nats that are spending all their diversionary time digging…. digging through dumpsters and the backfiles of their dodgy supporter and funder, Liu.

      • Wreckingball 2.1.1

        And dodgy supporter and funder of the Labour Party.

        • karol

          Any support for the Labour Party happened well before Cunliffe was Labour leader. Liu is now the Nats supporter, – and the Nats keep on using this dodgy guy, via their dodgy dealings with him. Key deals with this criminal and dodgy financier who always aimed to buy his way into NZ.

          They are trying to divert from this with their weak and failed attakcs on Cunliffe,.

          Key’s government have many questions re-Liu to answer to,….. and are trying to avoid doing so.

          • grumpy

            You do realise how hypocritical you sound, don’t you?

            [lprent: How? If you want to haurange my authors then you’d better make it bloody clear what you are talking about. I need them a damn site more than I need your contributions. You know the policy. ]

            • Tracey

              you do realise how lacking in ethics you seem?

            • karol

              Back at you.

            • grumpy

              Fair enough lprent, Karol is one of the better contributors here – withdraw and apologise.

            • Mark F

              That’s interesting. Your authors can harangue contributors with impunity and if someone should answer back you threaten them with that. The biggest problem here is that people start by debating the topic and very soon authors and longtime contributors resort to “ad hominum” attacks on contributors with a differing point of view and stop debating the issue. Then “The Standard” of debate drops considerably.

              Looking down the page I see that this will probably be the last straw! So much for honest and open debate of the subject!

              [lprent: karol doesn’t harangue and has not in this case. She has clearly stated her own opinions with the reasons for forming those decisions. All she has been doing is responding to arseholes like yourself attacking her without providing reasons. If you don’t like obeying the rules of the site, then feel free to leave.

              If you want to comment here, then follow our rules and don’t attempt to impose your own. That I suspect is the real reason that you feel you need to flee. You don’t like people looking at your arsehole behaviour. ]

              • Mark F

                No I don’t want to flee, I would like to debate issues in an adult manner. That certainly doesn’t warrant calling me an arsehole. I am sure if the comment was reciprocated to any of this site’s authors or regular contributors I would become “persona non grata” very quickly.

                Your response only reinforces my point about ad hominem attacks. There that said for all to see.

                Just for the record I wasn’t haranguing Karol, I used the term Authors (plural), more to the point I was referring to your response to Grumpy.

                [lprent: There you go again. How stupid are you?

                I and for that matter anyone else can call you whatever they want. There are some limits but they are wide. It is in the policy as “robust debate”. What we don’t tolerate is “pointless abuse”. Perhaps you should read the policy rather than trying to make up rules for us to follow. Doing so is a guaranteed way to get moderators looking at you.

                We write our policies to ensure that the debate doesn’t deteriorate into mindless flamewars and protects my authors from personal harassment. In short to make sure we have content for posts, that the comments relate to the posts, and that people commenting don’t just run away in flamewar of boring repetitive sloganeering. To my mind from your comments today you appear to prefer the latter. So you got warned and warned pretty lightly by my usual standards.

                If you weren’t hauranging karol intentionally then it was one of the better imitations that I have seen, and since I have read most of the 750k comment on this site, and innumerable ones elsewhere over the last 30 years, I suspect that my external view is probably more accurate. Certainly it is more authoritative in its judgement here.

                Incidentally, I warned Grumpy that he was overstepping the tolerable bounds. He knew what that meant because he has been around here before. He also knew what was required to get my beady sysop/moderator eye off him, and get back to having my author/commentator responses instead.

                Perhaps you should think about how a comment section should be run before mindlessly blundering off trying to use your lack of experience to demand changes to the way you think it should operate.

                BTW, my patience with this discussion is diminishing rapidly. It is getting in the way of dealing with the other things I need to do around here. I’m going to have to decide soon if I simply ban you as being unable to learn. ]

          • Cancerman

            So Cunliffe didn’t receive any electorate donations at the time from Donghua Liu?

        • grumpy

          With brown paper bags stuffed with cash – according to some reports.

          [lprent: Perhaps you should provide a link rather than merely repeating with rumours from the arse end of the blogs and politics. ]

          • karol

            Dear god. Pleease… some links so we can judge the credibility. And what has this to do with the current Labour caucus?

            And what do you have to say about Michael Woodhouse’s actions and the attempted cover-up?

            You are so concerned about some 10 year old dealings of a past government, and seem to have no concerns about our current government’s cover-ups, and deals with a dodgy foreign investor out to buy favour from them.

            • Clean_power

              Are you blind? Can’t you see this has much to do with a “smear campaign” as with Labour’s staff own incompetence in failing to protect David Cunlife?

              It was that who allowed him to take the high ground from which he has now fallen precipitously. I repeat: are you blind?

              • mickysavage

                Clean power ever made a typo?

                And what is more disturbing, a typo made 11 years ago by an electorate secretary or a Minister changing his story about recent events twice in three hours?

                • Seti

                  E-files are usually searchable by multiple letters in the subject. I certainly know to change the parameters if the first search doesn’t yield a result. “Donghua” or “Dong” or even the typo “Lui” would surely have been considered if trying to prevent a 9.5 on the embarrass-ometer.

                  • McFlock

                    how do you know they weren’t? Oh, you’re just pulling shit out of your arse…

            • BM

              As you know Cunliffe was part of the previous government.

              If there was dodgy behavior going on, people would want to know was Cunliffe involved.

            • Tracey

              Apparently you can only be hypocritical if you actually have a moral compass in the first place, it is the only way grumpy et al’s avoidance of applying their “logic” to the behaviour of those actually holding power can make any sense.

          • grumpy

            If you insist, from that well known intrepid journalist today. Just remember he normally comes up with these things shortly before they become public. Must be well connected.

            “Senior Labour sources tell WOBH the reason that none of these donations were ever recorded was because they were literally “brown bagged”, the were “cash, usually in hundreds, in brown paper bags”.”

            • lprent

              In other words Cameron Slater is probably lying again. You do realise that he usually makes these things up?

              After all this was the clown who repeatedly and insistently stated with complete confidence and unrevealed solid evidence from his “contacts” that Rob Salmond was our author r0b because the first name was similar. Of course he was wrong, it was Anthony Robbins.

              I could cite you a pile of other lies of this “journalist” aka serial liar. However that one was always my favourite.

              • grumpy

                Let’s wait and see. He was a day ahead with the Liu letter being released.

                • lprent

                  Yes that was certainly interesting. I wonder if it was his phone buddy John Key or his parliamentary photographer Jason Ede who gave him the heads up?

                  I suppose that it could have been Jared Savage. But that is less likely as journos tend to be protective about their stories.

                  What it does point to is that the contents of a private letter that hadn’t been released somehow got out of Immigration before the OIA went through.

                  Perhaps you’d like to try explaining how that happened in your view?

                  • grumpy

                    OK, Liu gave it to Woodhouse at their meeting and then National tried clouding the waters with an OIA request. They knew what was there before they asked, in fact Liu had given them that and more.
                    The question is how much more – from titbits dropped here and there I would say a LOT more.

                    • lprent

                      I haven’t seen anything that indicates Liu gave Woodhouse anything. Perhaps you’d care to substantiate that allegation?

                    • grumpy

                      Nor have I, but you asked me my view. Certainly Woodhouse admits meeting Lui at his home. Timeline fits.

                • karol

                  And given that Labour/Cunliffe wasn’t sent notification of the OIA, released of the letter until a couple of hours before the release, that means Slater was sent it before Labour.

                  • lprent

                    Before Cunliffe. Labour didn’t have a direct interest in the OIA. The word I heard was that he was only sent notification about it 30 minutes before release. That in itself seems strange.

                • McFlock

                  I don’t expect Woodhouse knows a fucking thing about Labour, either.

            • framu

              which is so retarded that it raises questions about your intelligence if you believe it

              bags of undisclosed cash in brown paper bags? what are they? the mafia?

      • Cancerman 2.1.2

        They did an OIA search to protect their own arses and it turned up gold for them. Woodhouse wouldn’t have been digging if he was being attacked.

        • lprent

          That really isn’t the question. The real question is why did the Prime Ministers office request the Cunliffe letter from Immigration. They have no possible need to know about it and there are meant to be protections against that kind of personal political snooping even against the PM.

          It had nothing to do with Woodhouse, the current Minister of Immigration. It had nothing to do with previous governmental immigration interests of Cunliffe. It was purely done for political reasons 0 ones to do with smearing an opponent.

          • Cancerman

            What is the source that confirms the OIA request was specifically for the letter and not the whole file on Donghua Lui? What is the source that confirms the OIA request came from the PM office as opposed to Woodhouses? Further why does my second question matter? David Cunliffe or Labour should have requested the whole file as well to make sure they were clean as he was granted PR during there term. That what fuels the claims of imcompetence.

            • lprent

              That is the point. There doesn’t appear to have been an OIA request from the PM’s office nor any other reason why the PM’s office should have had that letter.

              You can’t request the whole file of everything about anyone or an entity in a OIA. That will get refused by the privacy watchdogs. You must provide a moderately specific request AND a good reason that it is in the public interest. Just saying I want it because I might find some dirt there isn’t good enough.

              Perhaps you should go and read the rules governing OIAs (they will be on the govt.nz sites somewhere (use google). It is clear you haven’t the faintest idea about what you are talking about.

              When you have some idea, come back and ask, and I’m sure people will point out the holes in your interpretations then.

              • Cancerman

                Woodhouse has stated that he told the PM of the letter after he had conducted the OIA request. Perhaps you can conduct an OIA request to find out what Woodhouses OIA request was for and whether it should have been granted? You’ll either going to find a legit OIA request or something you can make hay with.

                [lprent: Idiot. You didn’t look at the timeline did you.

                Have some time to look at the timeline that you were warned to do. Banned for a week after stupidly wasting my time and a week to run your finger over the Herald article. ]

            • McFlock

              Neither the PM nor Woodhouse’s offices needed to do an OIA request.

              Read the timeline again (I mean, you read the post to see if it answered your questions before you commented, right?).

              It also shows how the herald OIA requests were altered shortly after Woodhouse and Key’s office had seen the letter.

            • lprent

              What is the source that confirms the OIA request was specifically for the letter and not the whole file on Donghua Lui?

              The NZ Herald. I think that the link is in the post. They said that the first request was for the whole file. The second request after that was refused was specifically for the correspondence from MPs on behalf of Liu. That has a public interest component that would allow it to be released. The odd thing about that was that it was released in 2 days on the second request.

              What is the source that confirms the OIA request came from the PM office as opposed to Woodhouses?

              The PM’s office never sent an OIA request that I am aware of. In other words I think that they obtained that letter illegally.

              David Cunliffe or Labour should have requested the whole file as well to make sure they were clean as he was granted PR during there term. That what fuels the claims of imcompetence.

              1. There is no public interest, so they can’t ask for the whole file. Are you really so much of a moron as to think that the MP’s are granted rights to look at anything they feel like. Not even the PM can.
              2. Similarly Cunliffe cannot request access to every file he has been involved with over his many years as a MP and Minister. He has to be specific about what he can ask for. To do that he has to be able to remember a form letter that he signed for someone that he never met 11 years ago (and who in any case didn’t share a language with).

              You really do appear to be a dumb pillock with about as much ability to use your intelligence as a dead haddock. Why don’t you try reading my answers.

              I’m in moderation mode so I can’t be bothered looking at your second question. Get the sequence in your head, then ask me questions that have some grounding in the timeline.

              In the mean time I’m going to ignore any questions directed at me. Stop wasting my time (and check the policy about that).

            • NZ Femme

              According to The Herald timeline, on the same day – 8th May – The Herald’s Jared Savage put in his original OIA request to the Department of Immigration, Mr Woodhouse, Minister of Immigration, sent a request for the same. His given reason was that he had been questioned in Parliament and by Media about his meetings with Liu the previous month. I agree with you lprent; Woodhouse had no reason to request Liu’s immigration file dating back to 2002, when the questions he was asked in the media, and in the house were specific to his own meetings with Liu only a few weeks earlier. Further, Woodhouse would have had no dealings with Liu prior to 2008 himself, as that was the year he first entered parliament as a list MP.

              It seems to me, that the more likely scenario as to how and why Woodhouse came to learn about Cunliffe’s letter from 2003 was that:

              Woodhouse, as Immigration Minister, was told by his Department that an OIA request for Liu’s immigration file had been made by Savage. Savage’s recent tweets suggest that his request was for information on file between 2002-2005.
              The new “Guidance for the 2014 Election Period: State Servants, Political Parties, and Elections” – in particular, Section 2.4 – make it explicit that OIA requests which are, “particularly sensitive or potentially controversial” MUST be passed through to the relevant Minister for consultation. In this case, Woodhouse.

              I noticed Frank Mackasy has put in a number of OIA requests for the processes and correspondence between Woodhouse, his office and the immigration department, the PM’s office and the PM regarding the letter. Really, that’s the only way that we’ll know for sure how this was handled.

              It’s interesting to me, that the “No Surprises” provisions in the guidelines can be used by an incumbent Government as a political club on their opponents. It seems to be a major flaw.

              • lprent

                Ok. I thought that Woodhouse had just asked for an internal investigation because of the parliamentary questions to him as a minister (ie not an OIA). That he could do without going through the OIA.

                The timeline is going to be very interesting.

                I haven’t had time to keep up because of dealing with idiot trolls. Oh well Cancerman won’t waste more of my time for 2 week.

          • Ed

            I hadn’t realise the PMs office had asked. The DailyBlog (Bradbury) has a timeline that shows Woodhouse finding the letter (his staff probably had the whole file to go through) on 9 May, told Key 10/11 May, and Woodhouse (not his staff) giving Key a copy of the letter mid-late May. Interesting that an OIA request for the file was refused on privacy grounds, but a more specific request was granted.

            • lprent

              Sorry, maybe I confused the comment. I don’t think that the PMs office went through the correct channels. I think they just called a mate (possibly Woodhouse – but he is denying that) in the Immigration ministry and got at least the Cunliffe letter to Immigration about Liu. It was done without due process and almost certainly illegally.

              The OIA from the NZ Herald was done legally and with due process starting on the 8th of May, being refused on the 16th or June. They then requested a more specific request (MP’s letters with regard to Liu) and had a extremely rapid (and downright suspicious in my view) two day turn around.

              • freedom

                As far as the Nats are concerned the ‘story’ absolutely had to come out when Key was in the US, so maybe the first OIA wasn’t meant to be refused but as the application may have been poorly worded, some staffer, maybe one doing their job properly, refused the request and with the PM already having landed in the US the unquestionably suspicious haste that met the second application was miraculously forthcoming.

                Like many here, I know of simple OIA requests where people have waited weeks and weeks for replies before being rejected for the flimsiest of reasons, who have then had to wait weeks more when re-applying. A two day turnaround is as suspicious as it gets.

              • Ed

                I now see that Bradbury’s timeline was actually the Herald’s –
                which appears toshow that Woodhouse was lying about his actions as recently as yesterday. It seems that Woodhouse gave Key the letter in May. Whether that was legal or not I am not qualified to assess.

  3. karol 3

    FFS. Just listened to Guyon’s interview of Cunliffe. I am getting heartily sick of the way this
    minor issue is being spun and beatat up. Meanwhile John Key is not grilled in a similar way for his many and varied slippery and dodgy antics and mis-representations.

    The more this goes on, the more motivated I am to work for a change of government.

    Wake up Kiwis. Whatever remnants of democracy we had are being slowly stripped away by Team Key and their arse-licking media.

    …. what makes us stronger.

    • grumpy 3.1

      Don’t sell yourself short Karol, with all your involvement on this site I can’t see how you could be “more motivated to work for a change of government”.
      You must feel pretty let down.

    • srylands 3.2

      “I am getting heartily sick of the way this minor issue is being spun and beatat [sic] up. ”

      It is not a minor issue. It is a non-issue.

      But I am sure Judith felt the same way. “Oravida” was also a non-issue.

      But it is fun observing your sickening hypocrisy.

      • Colonial Viper 3.2.1

        You mean a Government Minister advocating for her husband’s private business should be a non-issue? Only in corrupt Tory world my friend, only in corrupt Tory world.

        • Tracey

          calling a documented mfat organised dinner a “private ” dinner, implying going to oradiva was a last minute decision to pop by and see a friend on the way to the airport, when it was part of a documented itinerary, and the cabinet manual holding her to “highest ethical standards”, is nothing to slylands.

          • srylands

            FFS it was a dinner. Who cares? Obviously not the public. Try stopping 50 people in the street and getting anyone to explain what on earth the attack on Judith was about. It was a lot of convoluted nonsense.

            Contrast that with twit Maurice who tried to interfere in a police investigation. Easy to understand. Obviously wrong.

            Your bizarre thought processes over Oravida are just as worrying as Craig’s moon landing thought processes.

            And it is “srylands” – why does the nasty Left need to act like children? It is like you have a political death wish.

            • bad12

              SSLands, ‘it’, in your case a fitting epithet, is what we say ‘it’ is, your little spiel in defending Judith Collins simply says that where the smoke is the fire is still to be revealed,

              Your explanation of Judith’s behavior, or should i have said lack of it, might have held a slight modicum of currency had Judith (a), been totally honest when questioned in the Parliament over the various changing aspects that were revealed with regards to her little expedition to China,

              And (b), had it not been for the fact that the whole sordid mess contorted by Collin’s lies when questioned, had at its heart a company that Her husband is a paid employee of,

              Please tho, keep defending Collin’s, the more you do so the more it would appear that there is more yet to be discovered about Her little sojourn to the home of the dragon…

            • Hayden

              You could show your hypothetical 50 people this:

              http://img.scoop.co.nz/media/pdfs/1405/020520141724330001.pdf (PDF)

              Particularly page 83 (85 in the PDF).


              Visit and tour of Oravida facilities


              To increase the profile of a successful importer and distributor of New Zealand products into China

            • Tracey

              Read the documents slylands, it was an mfat organised dinner for the minister of justice to which she asked for a chinese border official to be invited at a time her husbands company was having border control issues. She then lied about it, more than once. The minister of justice lied.

              Former tax lawyer and officer of the law society’s default position was to lie, more than once, having just lectured the chinese about corruption.

              That you dont get how that is wrong says more about you than how i spell your imaginary tag on a blog site says about me.

            • framu

              first time ive ever heard someone claiming that the publics opinion is the litmus test for illegality

              why did we spend all that time defining laws in the first place when we could have court by poll?

              really stupid srylands, really really stupid

              “why does the nasty Left need to act like children? ”

              might have something to do with your general levels of bullshit and hatred of those you deem less than you

              • srylands

                “first time ive ever heard someone claiming that the publics opinion is the litmus test for illegality”

                Are you seriously suggesting that Judith has acted unlawfully?

                • Tracey

                  I have never written that i think colins broke the law and dont agree with framus use of the word illegality

                  Do you believe that provided a cabinet minister does not break the law, they cannot be held to have done anything wrong in a given situation?

                  • grumpy

                    ….and now, for your interpretation of why Minister Rick Barker went 1800km out of his way to go on a river cruise dinner with Lui……..you do have an explanation – don’t you?

        • Cancerman

          So Cunliffe didn’t attend his wife’s legal firm opening and that wouldn’t be helpful for business?

          • Tracey

            Did he lie about it when asked? Did the firm donate to the Labour party before he went? Was he a cabinet minister or mp at the time? Was he minister for justice or something else? Did he fix a problem for them with the law society that was preventing them from doing business? Did the firm donate again after their problem disappeared after they all had dinner with someone from the law society handling the area of their problem? Had he just been lecturing about corruption?

    • srylands 3.3

      and BTW if you want to work for a change of government, and advance New Zealand, you could start thinking about the 2020 election, and what you might do to build a credible Opposition in the interim. Because that is what you are looking at.

      • Tracey 3.3.1

        is your wife going to vote Green again?

        • srylands

          Not sure. She is deeply attached to Transmission Gully being built, so perhaps not.

          I think she will probably vote Labour.

          Why do you ask?

          • bad12

            Hows your role of ‘sugar daddy” to the off-spring going SSLands, if i were you i would tell her to bite the bullet, face the real world, and find one that she aint a close relative of,

            Looks all too incestuous from where i sit….

          • Tracey

            just wondered if she discussed her Greeness with you, given the very low opinion you have of the Green party and its voters.

            • srylands

              I do have a low opinion of the Green Party, but not most of its Voters. The Party has a core support level of about 6-7%. There is a large subset who have no idea about the Green’s economic policies – I mean zero idea. They are not too interested in politics. They dislike politicians. But they think the Greens make the flowers grow so they vote for them. But they also look forward to driving on Transmission Gully on their way to work or wine tasting, and wouldn’t be seen dead on public transport. I think there are thousands of Green supporters in this category. I have met many of them. So I don’t have a low opinion of them. I think they are amusing.

              So I have no idea who my wife will vote for. But it won’t be ACT. Or National. Or KDC. So that leaves the Greens or Labour. I think the latter because I emailed her a link to the Greens economic and transport policies which seemed to get her attention. She wants the flowers to grow but she wants to drive her sports car on motorways.

              I hope that fills you in.

              • framu

                so its just poor people and those who use public transport that you hate?

                sorry – not hate. you find them “icky” dont you

                • infused

                  It’s just that public transport is shit. End of story.

                • srylands

                  Don’t be so stupid. When have I ever said that I hate people who use public transport? I use public transport frequently, and for many years I used it exclusively. However, given a choice I will take private transport.

                  I devote most of my time to raining living standards for the poor. It is Green policies, and the Green Party that are a serious threat to the poor. You simply don’t get that.

              • Tracey

                how many green voters do you hang with, all 6%? Well slightly under cos you dont hang with me and dont know what i do or dont know about green economic policy.

                I know they wanted to go down the same economic line as cameron and obama to ease the recession. I know you considered norman championing that as loonie

                • srylands

                  Well as it happens I “hang” with many Green voters because my wife drags me along to her arty social things and guess who turns up? Green voters by the dozen.

                  QE was introduced to combat deflation when interest rates approached zero. We didn’t have that problem. So yes his economic ideas are totally loony. I am hardly alone in coming to that conclusion am I? If he is ever in coalition with Labour he will find that his Cabinet colleagues think he is an economic loon too. What do you think Goff thinks of Green trade policy?

                  I am familiar with all three blocs of Green voters. One of those blocs will melt like ice in the sun once the Greens get to power. This bloc – many of them female in the 35 – 60 age group are prosperous. They have rental properties. Government does not affect them much because we already have a left wing government and relatively low taxes, and modest respect of markets. These people vote Green for altruistic reasons.

                  I assume that the Green Party is well aware of the demographics of their voters:

                  • the committed
                  • the young and confused
                  • the urban prosperous who like flowers

                  Only the first bloc will survive a Green Government in any numbers, and that is about 6%.

                  P.S. Sue Kedgely is the champion of the fickle prosperous Green block. She lives in Oriental Bay, owns several very expensive rental properties, and hosts parties with the beautiful ones. She doesn’t hang with poor people.

                  • Tracey

                    wow, do they wear “i vote green” so you can identify them or do you just launch into your own ideology to smoke them out? I am surprised she keeps taking you.

                    Of course i am just joking, everything you wrote is such jaundiced generalisation i know you made it up.

                    • srylands

                      I can identify them because they show up at Sue Kedgley’s parties.

                      Believe what you like.

  4. Graeme Stanley 4

    Why did Michael Woodhouse learn about the letter on May 9th?. Who was running the search and why?

    • karol 4.1

      Cunliffe spelled it out. Liu is supplying the Nats with the info. I assume it is the Nats black ops teams that are leading the searches, under the direction of their dear leader.

      • Weepu's beard 4.1.1

        This. The PM’s office will be leading Liu on with the idea his conviction will suddenly disappear.

      • alwyn 4.1.2

        Does Cunliffe, or you, have any evidence for this claim?
        We wouldn’t want it to be just an unsubstantiated rumour would we?
        Cunliffe isn’t like that evil man John Key who, according to contributors here is peddling unsubstantiated rumours is he?
        Mr Liu seems to be someone who is being treated like Owen Glenn. Take his money and then dump him.

        • karol

          I don’t think there’s an equivalence with Glenn – Labour was still government at the time of that case. And I think it was Glenn that turned on Labour – because they wouldn’t respond with favours?

          Labour dumped Liu? That’s a stretch. Liu seems to be more strongly linked to the Nats – his own choice, it would seem. Where is the evidence he was somehow taken on board, then “dumped” by Labour?

          • Tracey

            john key made it about labour. The donation was to new zealand first, supposedly in return for making glenn honorary consul to monaco. But winston didnt come through.

            Key made it about clark because she knew that winstons version was different to glenns version. This was when he famously told paul henry he would be honest and would answer questions that journalists even forgot to ask.

            He said he would hold his ministers to higher standards than clark, and would sack ministers, even if they hadnt broken the law.

            But that was in 2008 so it probably isnt relevant now

        • framu

          “according to contributors here is peddling unsubstantiated rumours is he?”

          no thats according to key himself – remember hes talked about all his secret info, his chats with cammy, and issued thinly veiled threats before.

          now we have him admitting he knew about the letter for weeks and that hes got all sorts of gossip and rumour up his sleeve

          do you think the PM behaving like hes head prefect at an all girls school is acceptable?

    • grumpy 4.2

      Because he was Minister of Immigration and was being attacked by Labour over National’s Liu connection. He needed to be certain his answers to questions in Parliament were accurate.

      He checked up on the details – exactly as Labour should have done.

      • karol 4.2.1

        Don’t tell me how I feel. You have no idea. I am just angry at the failure of democracy in this country, and that we are being dominated by a team of self-serving, ethically-challenged, financiers, speculators, corporate puppets and propaganda merchants.

        • grumpy

          “that we are being dominated by a team of self-serving, ethically-challenged, financiers, speculators, corporate puppets and propaganda merchants.”

          And then we have the National Party……

      • lprent 4.2.2

        So then someone in his office or ministry provided a copy of the letter to the PM. Without an OIA and almost certainly in violation of several parts of the privacy act. Perhaps you should explain why you think that was prudent behaviour?

        • grumpy

          I think the letter originally came from Liu himself, after all it was his letter.

          • lprent

            No it wasn’t. It was a letter from Cunliffes electorate office to Immigration. They usually aren’t copied to the agents or the person they are about. Certainly the letter showed no signs of being copied to either.

            Sure Liu could have remembered the visit his agent made and told someone that (presumably via translator). Probably Savage or someone from the NZH. Yes it could have been Woodhouse who has been leaking to the NZH. Unfortunately source protection for real journalists makes it hard to find out.

            But it would have taken an OIA to Immigration and privacy watchdog approval to legally get the letter into the public view. The OIA from the Herald would do that.

            However that doesn’t explain how the PM’s office legally got access to it, or how Cameron Slater has been hinting at it for weeks, and had sure knowledge of its contents the day before. I think that the PM or someone in his office has been planning this smear with Cam for weeks.

            I starting to get the feeling that you are trying to put words in my mouth. You know that I don’t tolerate that.

    • Anne 4.3

      @Graeme Stanley:

      Micheal Woodhouse went to visit Donaghue Liu at his apartment home sometime in April or very early in May of this year. Lo and behold… on the 9th of May, Woodhouse receieves a copy of the letter in question. I don’t know the source of the letter, but you can’t tell me there isn’t a strong link to that letter and the personal visit to Mt Liu’s home. I also remember Woodhouse being questioned about that visit a month or so ago, and it was written all over his face that he was being somewhat fickle with the truth!

      I’m reminded of that nursery rhyme about a crooked man who had a crooked smile. I’m sure some poet among us could come up with a parody about a crooked Chinaman and a crooked National government.


      • grumpy 4.3.1

        And this is illegal – how?

        • Anne

          You tell me? I don’t know. Never said anything about anything being illegal.

          For your edification: the meaning of crooked,

          not straight, not straight forward, bent, twisted, deformed, dishonest.

          A pretty good summing up of the National Party.

          • grumpy

            Sums up all politicials really…..”all politicians are bent but some are more bent than others”

            Except John Key, of course!

            • McFlock

              How did Fletcher get the job again?

              Key’s so bent he makes a corkscrew look like an arrow.

      • karol 4.3.2

        Interesting timing and Woodhouse evasion, Tracey Anne.

  5. Wreckingball 5

    What makes it worse is that Cunliffe is refusing to apologise over the blunder. Although he ‘may’ not have lied, he still didn’t make an accurate statement. He misled the public. For that, he should apologise.

    I’m sorry, the guy wants to be Prime Minister. He should apologise when he makes an error like this. Rather than trying to squirm his way out of it.

    He is not exactly winning the public confidence.

    • mickysavage 5.1

      Sorry the statement was completely and perfectly accurate. The letter did not advocate for Mr Liu, it only asked when a decision was being made. The fact that Cunliffe did not know about the letter makes his innocence in this matter even stronger.

      • grumpy 5.1.1

        And listed Liu’s business interests and strongly hinted at his value to the economy, of course it advocated – just enough to tell the officials someone was watching.
        Perhaps Cunliffe might want to release the official’s response and his reply to Liu. I am sure they will come out anyway…….

        • BM

          Yes, good point, that would be quite interesting.

          I wonder who has a copy of the reply?, I’d take a wild guess though and say it’s not Cunnliffe.

          • grumpy

            Well, Cunliffe probably has found it by now and knows that Liu has is and therefore so does National.
            You can see where this is heading……Key can either go for the kill or, far more effectively, wait and expose the total hypocrisy of the current Labour hysteria.

      • Mark F 5.1.2

        “Sorry the statement was completely and perfectly accurate”
        As was his statement when asked if he ever met the man was an emphatic “NO” (somewhat Winstonesque), when the first 4 words of the letter were “I have been approached….”! Pray tell how are those two statement mutually exclusive?

        • mickysavage

          There is no evidence Cunliffe met Liu. It is very likely the staff member only did. The letter contains a few typos, obviously Cunliffe only read it quickly. Got any proof that Cunliffe and Liu met? And even then so what? Cunliffe has probably met tens of thousands of people in the last decade.

          Now about Woodhouse’s statements, care to address these?

          • Mark F

            Call it semantics, call it whatever you will, but your man said “I have been approached…” that indicates that he had met him. At least that is what most people would take that to mean. If it wasn’t then different wording should be used. As to that being just a “typo” you have now set the bar very low for what can be used, by all, as an acceptable response.

            • One Anonymous Bloke

              You flatter yourself that you speak for “most people” – a facile conceit at best. You also flatter yourself that you understand the meaning of the word “approach”. I expect mendacity is clouding your ‘mind’ beyond simple stupidity too.

              We need better wingnuts.

            • freedom

              Mark F, when the office of an MP is approached ‘the MP is approached’. Cunliffe signed a letter in his role as MP.

              I do hope you are not in charge of anything requiring basic professional communication skills because the legal ramifications of how you might misrepresent yourself obviously need some rudimentary attention.

            • Delia

              Not me. An approach in my understanding can be a letter, a phone call, an email or meeting in person. There was never anything to this business, it was a National distraction as usual. We won’t hear anything more from National about it, as it has passed its use by date. Now I would be interested if John Key can show all those hundreds of thousands he said were donated to the Labour Party. So far no show.

              • freedom

                Yes Delia, “hundreds of thousands” is what the PM said and the “hundreds of thousands” is what the PM must deliver on.

                The media are already winding it down to mere “thousands” but it is going to be up to the blogs and to social media to keep the MSM honest on that very important comment from the PM.

                • Tracey

                  cunliffe has challenged key to put his proof on the table so the party and cunliffe can deal with it openly and honestly.

                • McFlock

                  He can’t deliver on proof of the donations, but all he promised were “rumours” of hundreds of thousands.

                  And his minions here are doing their damnedest to provide.

                  • grumpy

                    you hope…..

                    • McFlock

                      Nope. Don’t need to “hope”.

                      Key’s got no credibility. None. Whatever it takes, brighter future, who made the phone call, banks is honest….

                      If what he said about anything happened to coincide with reality, it would be one for the record books.

                      When a known liar equivocates by referring to “hearing rumours”, he’s fucking lying. Again.

        • Tracey

          You must find the current pm very frustrating, so many “misstatements” and so few apologies

          • Mark F

            Again you try and debate this issue by saying that the others do it too so that therefore it is OK. Debate this point without saying “But the others do it too!” As I said before schoolboy playground stuff.

            • Tracey

              again you hold those not in power to a higher standard than those exerting power. As i said before, no moral compass, no logic and no consistency.

              You seem new to this site, so you probably assume i am a labour supporter. You are wrong.

              I want leaders with integrity, with honesty, not with pr teams, and sleaze teams spending time and energy on things that relate only to their desires to hold power.

              This week a sad report was issued outlining serious problems in nz with domestic violence. This distracts from that.

              Your answer does actually answer my question. You are fine with ministers breaching the cabinet manual if they are on your team.

            • karol

              Short term memory? Be careful what you do with that petard.

              The whole issue began with revelations that some Nats seemed to be accepting cash for favours – intervening in a police investigation and immigration proceedings for Liu, after knowingly accepted donations from Liu.

              Nats response is to divert using the “LAbour did it, too” gambit… hence the whole smear campaign against Cunliffe. Except, it is a pretty weak equivalence.

              So, using your own logic, the real issue should be to stay focused on the alleged cash for favours from Liu to Nats, and generally the relationship between Liu and some Nat ministers. Trying to spin it as “Labour did it, too” would surely not be a line you would accept?

            • framu

              the PM is part of the issue whether you like it or not

      • Once was Pete 5.1.3

        When I read it I definitely see advocacy.

    • BM 5.2

      Cunnlife lacks the ability to take responsibility for any mistakes, his first natural response is to always shift blame.

      It’s a serious mental weakness with the man and one of the reasons he’s so disliked by the NZ public.

      I couldn’t believe it when he threw his wife under the bus after that leadership trust thing went pear shaped.

      • mickysavage 5.2.1

        So what do you think about Woodhouse’s “mistakes”? They seem far more serious than Cunliffe’s given that he was talking about things that happened over the past month.

        • BM

          I do realize that you’re trying to protect your man and the only option left is the Len Brown defense but I’m going to be honest it’s really not going to work.

          I get the feeling that the forgotten letter will be become the least of labours worries in the next few days/weeks.

        • Mark F

          So your defense of Cunnlife’s actions or lack of them is to say “What about some other person and what they may or may not have done?” Schoolboy playground stuff do i need to say more?

          • karol

            Oh, give it up. What part of micky’s post didn’t you understand? Weak attack on Cunliffe, and still you guys keep coming here and spinning it like a broken record. Are you all nano-bots?

          • Colonial Viper

            Actually it points to your hypocrisy – your willingness to overlook recent more significant offences, and instead drill back to a standard form letter form 11 years ago showing that an electorate MP was simply doing his job.

            • Mark F

              “Drill back to” So your man offers an absolute NO as an answer and is found to be perpetrating a terminological inexactitude. As I said earlier “Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by incompetence.”

              Nan-bots indeed!

              Karol please discuss the point and stop attacking the commentator, a common practice here!

              [lprent: You are not permitted to try to dictate the policies of this site. Read the policy to see what is unacceptable behaviour. It is our site, not yours. If I see you try it again you will be banned. ]

              • karol

                Actually, if you look back you will see I have discussed the point in my first comments. It was the rightwingers that started attacking me rather than discussing the points I made – calling me hypocritical & falsely representing my feelings. Then the righties do everything to avoid talking about the topic of the post, the Nats manipulations and weak attempt at a smear.

                I then found it was pointless actually discussing the realities of the issues, because there are some right wingers here doing everything to avoid answering to how Woodhouse, key and English tried to cover up their weak attempt at a smear campaign. And that smear was aimed at diverting from their own dealings with dodgy Liu.

                Why should I keep discussing it in good faith when the right wing spinners and diverters are out here in force, and not discussing the issues in good faith.

                • Mark F

                  Others might have, I didn’t, so please reply in kind.

                  [lprent: Just been looking at your comments. Don’t hector authors. Read our policy about demanding from them. Adding you to auto moderation until I see an improvement in behaviour towards them. ]

                  • karol

                    You didn’t raise any new points in your very weak comment. I have already addressed those things in several other comments. It was addressed and answered in micky’s post. I just got exasperated at further diversions.

                    Try making a more substantial point. Try addressing the post with somethign of substance.

          • Tracey

            Can you explain how woodhouse lying is less important than what you think cunliffe has done wrong, when woodhouse is a cabinet minister, in charge of assessing character of future migrants, and is bound by the cabinet manual to the “highest ethical standards”?

            Thanks in advance.

            • karol

              I see the righties have no answer to such questions, Tracey.

              I guess they have no defence for the actions of woodhouse.

              • Tracey

                they havent for two days because they dont mind the lack of honesty and integrity from their “team”.

                • Wreckingball

                  lprent: In the Liu post yesterday there were people continually diverting the post to Oravida-type issues. You didn’t pull them up.

                  [lprent: It depends what I “see” when moderating. I’m usually looking for patterns rather than actually reading the comments. Also remember that I deliberately don’t read comments like you do. I read the comments backwards in time and pattern hunt. I also do moderation scans in batches, and frequently don’t remember much from the last “batch”. I also notice new names more than old ones who have a track record of not screwing up and requiring my attention.

                  So if the Oravida issues were included with other information saying why it was relevant to the post or the comment they were replying to then I don’t “notice”. I will notice if someone repetitively keeps repeating the same lines because that is an astroturf pattern. I will also notice if someone keeps insisting that the other person is not talking about what they want to talk about because that is diversion.

                  When I spot a pattern, I’ll then go back and look at what else that person has been doing, and if the comments make sense in the context of the post or debate.

                  Remember that there are a hell of a lot of comments going through the system (literally thousands every few days right now), I like to write the odd post or comment myself when I’m not moderating or if I find something interesting. And I have other things to do.

                  So it isn’t a comprehensive sweep, stuff does get missed, and what I am doing is spotting repeated offenses by individuals and acting on only the egregious ones that I “see” as examples. But if you see something that you think needs my attention. Then point it it in a comment. Of course that carries a bit of risk. I get irritated about people wasting my time. ]

            • Wreckingball

              Nice deflection karol but it is not working. Deal with your own man’s issues, problems, and debacles before criticising others.

              [lprent: The post isn’t about that. It is specifically about John Key and his smear team. If you want to raise your own issues outside of the post, then you can do so in OpenMike. Otherwise don’t try to deliberately do diversion trolling. Eventually I get tired of it and start banning people. I’ll tolerate it when discussion drifts in a direction. I don’t tolerate fuckwits trying to astroturf discussions away from the post’s topics. Read the policy. ]

      • Tracey 5.2.2

        you mean like bennett answered questions in parliament about the national fundraising scheme, cabinet clubs, and then denied all knowledge of them on camera just a few weeks later? Her first response was to lie? Is that the kind of behaviour you mean?

        • Mark F

          Again, the other side did it so it’s OK. If that’s the ongoing quality of the debate here it is no wonder you are having trouble getting your message across to the punters.

          • karol

            It’s not about the other side did it so it’s OK. It’s that Cunliffe has done nothing wrong. His letter, and understandably not remembering it 11 years later is not a problem. he has not received funding from Liu. He merely write a form letter.

            It is no way equivalent to the attempted interventions by Williamson, and possibly also Woodhouse on Liu’s behalf, or the continued links between Liu and National. And it is in no way equivalent to the Nats bumbling attempt to smear CunliffE – now being exposed.

            You seem to have nothing to say on this… just keep repeating a one liner – ultimately used as a diversion for the substantive issues.

            To you have any answers re the behaviour of Woodhouse, etc? There are questions to answer.

            • Tracey

              imo, if cunliffe or labour have done wrong, they need to face the consequences. Mark and grumpy et al dont hold their team to account, hence a cabinet minister caught in a lie yesterday is irrelevant to them.

          • Tracey

            again you hold those not in power to a higher standard than those exerting power. As i said before, no moral compass, no logic and no consistency.

            You seem new to this site, so you probably assume i am a labour supporter. You are wrong.

            I want leaders with integrity, with honesty, not with pr teams, and sleaze teams spending time and energy on things that relate only to their desires to hold power.

            This week a sad report was issued outlining serious problems in nz with domestic violence. This distracts from that.

            Your answer does actually answer my question. You are fine with ministers breaching the cabinet manual if they are on your team

            Show some balls, tell us you are fine with it when the lying and fudging and less than highest ethical standards are done by this govt. I criticise it wgen any politician does it.

            • lprent

              This week a sad report was issued outlining serious problems in nz with domestic violence. This distracts from that.

              Yeah I know. There are several other stories that have come out over this week about real issues that National’s nonsense smearing has been covering up as well. However a political site needs to deal with the immediate political issues as well as the ones for policy shifts.

              • Tracey

                wasnt criticising the site. Just observing what gets buried this week

                Domestic violence(except that mr liu has been found guilty of this, altho not referred to by media), marine reserves opened for drilling, key agreeing with obamas plans for iraq,

      • Tracey 5.2.3

        you mean like when he asked john h key to put his evidence about donations on the table so labour and cunliffe can deal with it openly and honestly?

    • Tautoko Viper 5.3

      “I’m sorry, the guy wants to be Prime Minister. He should apologise when he makes an error like this. Rather than trying to squirm his way out of it.”

  6. grumpy 6

    National dropped the hint 5 weeks ago that it was unwise for Labour to keep the Liu attack going on National – they didn’t take the hint and inexplicably didn’t check up on their exposure.
    Now we have Barker going public and admitting even more damaging information and with further strong hints that Liu’s cash to Labour came in brown paper bags stuffed with cash, we can see why Labour are saying “we have no records”.
    Of course not, that’s the whole idea, but you can bet your boots Lui has.
    This was all great fun when Cunliffe was attacking National but Labour’s sheer hypocrisy is now the story.

    • Tracey 6.1

      if you are right, whoever knew about any donations and didnt declare them needs to be dealt with by the law.

      You seem to be saying national wanted labour to keep quiet about liu abd his donations to national and possible benefits he may have receivedand so warned them in some way?

      In the meantime what do you think of the latest cabinet minister to be caught lying? Appalled? Wanting such behaviour stopped or prepared to accept it cos the polls favour your team?

      • grumpy 6.1.1

        You forget that National properly declared all donations from Liu, Labour says they “have no trace”. Meantime we have river cruises, auctions of books and wine for 5 figure sums each and allegations of paper bags of cash.
        Maybe Labour needs to speak to Mike Williams?

        • karol

          It wasn’t the donations to National that were the main problem with Liu. It was what he expected in return, plus the intervention on his behalf by Williamson, and meetings with woodhouse, etc. Not to mention the current use of Liu’s or his agent’s knowledge to smear Cunliffe.

          As Cunliffe said in his RNZ interview today, the issue of Liu and funding to Labour is being investigated by the relevant sections of the wider Labour Party.

          Any donations to Labour under the Clark government had nothing to do with Cunliffe. There’s a major long bow been drawn and reported there.

          Cunliffe had nothing to do with handling the donations. It’s not the donations that is the issue, it’s about evidence (or lack of it) of favours received as a result of them.

          • grumpy

            Liu’s residency was approved by Labour the DAY BEFORE the election. Coincidence – much?

            • Tracey

              you must hate that collins met with a chines border official and then within a few weeks oravidas border problems were gone and oravida donated to national. Both are terrible and deserve to be dealt with in the strongest terms, yes?

            • lprent

              It is pretty obvious from the OIA files at FYI that wasn’t a sudden process. The application was pretty old and had been proceeding pretty slowly because there was so much in the file (even looking at the index takes a while to read). But I can’t see any impediments left towards it going through. It’d just never gotten up high enough in whoevers desk it was on.

              My bet is that Shane Jones in his usual rather sloppy style hadn’t pushed it for his mate and then did it in a hell of a hurry. After all even if Labour won, there was no guarantee that he’d be in immigration after a cabinet reshuffle.

              I was reading the PDFs from FYI last night.

              • grumpy

                That’s the best possible explanation I’ve heard so far from a Cunliffe supporter.

                • lprent

                  I’m not particularly a Cunliffe supporter. You should reread my posts at the time of the leadership change last year.

                  What I said was (paraphrasing as I can’t be bothered to look it up) that Cunliffe was the most competent to lead the NZLP out of the candidates. I also said that I didn’t have any time for Shane Jones because in my view he was sloppy, perpetually in hot water because he was sloppy, and didn’t demonstrate consistent competence.

                  I’d also point out that after the 2012 conference farce of trying to scapegoat Cunliffe for a non-existent coup that I’d be party voting Greens because they were displaying far more competence than the Labour caucus was.

                  Since I make up my mind about who I will be voting for mid-term. So you could say that at present I am technically a Green supporter and a Labour party member.

                  The Labour caucus and organisation has improved a hell of a lot since then. They’re in with a chance for my party vote in 2017.

                  • grumpy

                    Thanks for that, I can appreciate that.

                    …and – first rule of business – when something goes wrong, always blame the guy who is not there anymore – in this case Jones. Added bonus it that it is totally believable.

                  • karol

                    I think that there was a marked improvement from Cunliffe and the caucus evident yesterday. Storng performances from Cunliffe, onto the issue quickly, and fronting with strong support by key senior members of his caucus.

                    I still find them to be too centrist or even Nat-lite. But on his performances I find Cunliffe to be far more trustworthy than Key. Laila Harre even tweeted yesterday about Cunliffe being “straight up”.

                    The hypocisy is all with the Nats.

                    • realist

                      ” strong support by key senior members of his caucus”
                      By what possible measure was it strong support?

                      “But on his performances I find Cunliffe to be far more trustworthy than Key”
                      Really you choose Cunliffes word over Key, im going to have to have a lie down.. Clearly you would say that..But then who better to convince me than Laila (been involved in more parties than Bozo the Clown) Harre.

                      “The hypocisy is all with the Nats”
                      No, absolutely not.. The Nats are Hypocrites yes… you are trying to suggest Labour are not? Come on….

          • grumpy

            So, you would be very appoving that Banks refused to intervene for Dotcom?

            • karol

              Yes. I’m not approving of KDC, and certainly not of his attempts to buy favour with Banks.

              Banks, though, seemed like he was trying to make it possible to do favours for KDC when he asked for the donations to be split.

            • Tracey

              can you clarify that when you say banks refused to intervene for dotcom you mean not helping to get a bigger mattress or getting him off the charges he was facing?

        • Tracey

          for some reason you forgot to answer my question about the minister of immigration caught lying yesterday. Here it is for you again.

          In the meantime what do you think of the latest cabinet minister to be caught lying? Appalled? Wanting such behaviour stopped or prepared to accept it cos the polls favour your team?

          • grumpy

            Don’t recall any cabinet minister have been proved to have lied. You will need to be more specific.

            • freedom

              18 June: Immigration NZ release Mr Cunliffe’s Donghua Liu letter to the Herald
              June 19:

              • 2pm Mr Woodhouse denies telling Mr Key about the letters

              • 3pm Mr Woodhouse says officials from his office briefed Mr Key’s office on the letters.

              • 7pm Mr Woodhouse’s office says the minister himself told Mr Key’s office about the letters and his office also gave copies of the letters to Mr Key’s office.

              • Tracey

                oh dear, now grumpy has to explain it away without using any of the defences of cunliffe he has been criticising… And cunliffe is not a cabinet minister

                • freedom

                  grumpy must be under the weather, he normally doesn’t make such a silly mistake

                  get well soon grumpy
                  maybe a nice walk in the lovely sunshine would help

                  • Tracey

                    outside of slug sllick, convicted crminal’s word, they often lack links/sources.

                    Am still surprised how much grumpy supports slater since slater revealled the identity of a sexual assault victim to further his own ends

                  • grumpy

                    Nope, looks like the minister in question did the prudent thing and investigated further into the questions raised, received additional information and modified his responses to journalists accordingly.
                    Did what Cunliffe should have done, in short.

                    • lprent

                      Did what Cunliffe should have done, in short.

                      Surely you mean what Cunliffe did. You can’t do much until you get the information. In Cunliffes case it was on an old hard disk filed under the wrong name.

                    • Tracey

                      actually, his default position, his first thought, was to lie.

                      Your reply is funny though. Thanks.

                    • freedom

                      Woodhouse denies something
                      gets new info
                      changes his story
                      denies earlier stuff and says new story
                      but even then his new story is refuted by his staff

                      compared to Cunliffe
                      new info with simple explanation
                      ending in staff and Cunliffe all in agreement on the situation

                      So how is Woodhouse’s frantic jitterbugging on a hotplate similar to Cunliffe’s shifting of weight from one foot to the other before standing firm ?

    • ffloyd 6.2

      So how did national get there money delivered? Liu said the parties were given equal amounts. Has national declared their $300.000.00.Or was it passed under a table at one of their fundraisers???

      • karol 6.2.1

        Liu didn’t say he gave “equal amounts”

        Check the wording, it says he gave “equally to Governments of both colours”. Some wriggle room on the meaning of “equally” there.

  7. Hamish 7

    Armstrong’s latest scrawlings this morning is just taking the piss. Can Cunliffe be trusted? he asks.

    more to the point, can John Armstrong be trusted? Hell no!

  8. Mr Cookie Monster 8

    Does anyone know the answer?

    On RNZ & TVNZ, who is responsible for determining:
    1. the priority of the news
    2. the content
    3. consistency (i.e. comparison of one event with another)

    i.e. are there chief editors who oversea this on RNZ and/or TVNZ?

    I just would love to know who they are, as they are invisible to me.

    Suggestions where I can find this information out.


    I am genuinely trying to put my political bias’s aside when listening to the media, but I am too getting the impression certain interviewers tones and inflections do change considerably between the political parties.

    [lprent: Use google you lazy fool. ]

    • grumpy 8.1

      They used to have a couple of Labour party members but they left to stand as Labour candidates.

    • karol 8.2

      I don’t think it’s any one person’s responsibility. I recall lectures by James Curran when I was in the UK. He talked about how Thatcher manoeuvered to get tory-friendly editors in key positions. That done, it wasn’t necessary to dictate to the media, to ensure they were compliant with Tory policies.

      Bascially, the Tory friendly editors would be in tune with Tory values, and anticipate the Tory government line on any issue or event. Ditto down the line to the journalists selected. They are all then working in an environment where a whole raft of values and interpretations are the norm. When presenting news under pressure of the fast-turn-around media cycle, Tory values will out.

      • Colonial Viper 8.2.1

        The Tories know the importance of having the infrastructure and levers of society on their side.

      • phillip ure 8.2.2

        “..Bascially, the Tory friendly editors would be in tune with Tory values, and anticipate the Tory government line on any issue or event. Ditto down the line to the journalists selected. They are all then working in an environment where a whole raft of values and interpretations are the norm. When presenting news under pressure of the fast-turn-around media cycle, Tory values will out..”

        ..+ 1..

      • Karen 8.2.3

        +1 Karol
        It has been happening with the NZ media for some time. The NZ Herald has always been right wing but this week they surpassed themselves. Thursday’s edition was like a National Party propaganda piece.
        Allowing Mike Hoskings free reign to express his pro National Party ideas every night at 7pm on TVNZ is a disgrace, but when the Nats have control of the board then that will happen. We can thank Rogernomics for turning TVNZ into the beast it is today however, and Labour should have done a lot more in their last stint in office to turn it back into a public broadcaster. Commercial interests ensure little is spent on in depth investigation of stories.
        TV3 may still have John Campbell proving a modicum of balance to the rest of the news and current affairs teams, but it seems there is a campaign being started to turn his show into light entertainment.
        Guyon Espiner is a disgrace and, for me, Morning Report is no longer essential listening. The Sunday Star Times has Guyon’s brother Colin espousing his own right wing views.
        The only way to find out what is really going on is to do your own investigation, but most people aren’t sufficiently interested to do this so they accept what they are told by a biased media.
        I fear for the future of this country.

        • Davethebroken

          I find this so ironic. Right wingers find the Herald to be so socialist, while left wingers find it to be capitalist. They say of media, if both sides hate you, you’re doing a good job. I’m sorry but I simply can’t believe that the Herald does a good job.
          Personally I find the Herald left wing, Plunket is obviously right wing and John Campbell – well I can’t decide if he’s red, green, anti Govt (whoever is in Govt) or just driven by own ego too much

          • Clean_power

            I share your opinion, Davethebroken. One exception though, John Campbell, the one with a monumental ego, is as green as a frog. The TV3 man is a rabid Green supporter (in this fools opinion).

            [lprent: If you are going to state something as fact, then leave a link to support it. As far as I’m aware he has no party affiliations. I have amended your comment so that it doesn’t cause us legal issues. I won’t be so nice if I have to do it too often. ]

    • tc 8.3

      Both those SOEs have nat appointed boards who have reshaped management in order to exert influence, tvnz didnt have far to go and once they got plunket moved to zb the rest was easy at rnz.

      Hoskins and espiner are nat fan boys doing what they do best which isnt journalism, their egos crave a big stage with hoskins being somewhat unhinged at times.

      What you want to know is hidden behind these ranting puppetts, granny operates on the same basis especially all those unsigned editorials.

      Joyce and his contacts are doing fine work in controlling the message.

    • infused 8.4

      They show whatever is popular/in the news. Doesn’t matter what it is.

  9. Mr Cookie Monster 9

    Grumpy, that was so helpful I could just choke on a cookie. You have been taking lessons from the PM (diversion).

    Does anyone know i.e. are there chief editors who oversea this on RNZ and/or TVNZ? and who are they?

    • Tracey 9.2

      you dont know how to google but can post on a blog. Fascinating.

    • tc 9.3

      It works like this….

      You suggest a way that you want it done amidst a restructure in an industry thats very small and incest ridden.

      Everyone has to pay the bills so you do as told or be shown the door or get retired.

      as a colleague in oz said to me recently, journalism is a career with very few employers and no room for actual journalism unless you happen to be at the abc or sbs. This is why abbott is going at those 2 any way he can.

  10. Blue 10

    The incompetence of the Nats at running a smear campaign is just funny. Why go to all the trouble to time it for when John Key is overseas if he’s just going to open his mouth and put his foot in it anyway? No chance of keeping him clear of the muck-racking now.

    The experienced old hand Blinglish tries to stick to the script but unfortunately no one else is. Woodhouse can’t remember what he was supposed to say and has several goes at getting his lines right.

    And the employees of several media organisations have rather abruptly had a lightbulb moment and realised that they’ve been quite comprehensively had and should probably shut up and back away slowly before they embarrass themselves any further.

    There’s a circus missing a few clowns somewhere, that’s for sure.

    • realist 10.1

      Yeah they are really ineffectual at it arent they…. given that its only been headline leading for two days now… bloody amateur hour isnt it…

      • Tracey 10.1.1

        as opposed to the newspapers on the morning of the banks verdict not even giving it front three pages

      • karol 10.1.2

        That was addressed in the post. The tory-serving journos give the Nats a free ride, even when their little smear campaign is weak and Cunliffe turns the table on them. Cunlifffe came out showing true grit yeterday. If Cunliffe can stay strong in the face of the on-going biased media-supported atatcks against him, he’ll be one helluva PM.

        …. what makes us stronger.

        • grumpy

          Thought you voted Greens, shouldn’t you be saying that about Norman, or don’t you rate him. The way Labour is going Norman is the next Leader of the Opposition.

          • karol

            The current attacks on Cunliffe are aimed at destabalising the whole of the left. And of diverting from the real issues – ones The Greens are campaigning on strongly.

            PS:the issue is also about the bias of the media. I give major importance to the role of the media in a democracy. Our media is falling well short of what is needed for demcoracy to thrive.

            • grumpy

              Our media – fearlessly exposing graft and corruption wherever they find it!!!
              No complaints when it was Collins glass of milk or Banks refusing to use political influence for Dotcom though – eh?

              • Tracey

                did you think that collins should resign for misleading parliament and nzers and breaching the cabinet manual on maintaining the highest ethical standards? I dont recall your posts stating your position?

                • realist

                  Is anyone really suggesting that Cunliffe should resign other than a couple of sensationalistic journalists? Cunliffes mishandling of this episode exposes how he would manage things if he ever made his way into the PM job..

                  No real National supporter would want anyone else to take on the leadership prior the election now, and no Labour member would want to take on that role

                  • grumpy

                    Exactly, the great thing about this debacle is that it exposes Cunliffe’s hypocrisy. Hypocrisy is not a sacking offence but it does destroy Labour’s vote.

                  • karol

                    Cunliffe has handled this episode extremely well. He fronted it and provided honest answers. He took it to the Nat smear merchants and some of the MSM spin meisters.

                    The hypocrisy is all with the Nats.

                    • grumpy

                      Yep handled it extremely well, except at the start, the middle and we have yet to see the end.

                    • Davethebroken

                      Sorry he came across as a smug hypocrite. What I find the most disappointing from the whole episode isn’t the Nats, the media or DC. It’s the fact that his caucus hasn’t taken the opportunity to unite behind their leader and show that they can be seen as a cohesive Govt in waiting. Whatever their views, they should be out there supporting DC this close to an election. Get behind your man labour!

              • Hayden

                That it (Judith Collins) isn’t about a “glass of milk” has been pointed out to you at least once, with documentary evidence.

              • karol

                I have written many times on how the MSM predominantly leans in favour of the right and Key’s government. Other views get expressed in the MSM, but they tend to be marginalised one way or another – most of the time, but not always.

                Some stories get published because they boost circulation or readers. Others because they are nighly newswortthy and can’t be ignored.

                Banks was newsworthy being an MP and because the Dotcom saga is major news. Banks was not held to account for refusing to use political influence in favour of Dotcom – but because he sumitted a false electoral return. His reasons for doing that were so that he could possibly do favours for KDC in the future – except when KDC came calling, the issue was too hot for Banks to handle, given the role of the GCSB and the Key government in KDC’s arrest.

                Even after Banks was found guilty, the majority of journos wrote in support of him not being guilty.

                The Collins case was, and still is newsworthy, but there are issues also in play about the struggle for position as the next Nat leader.

        • realist

          turns the table? need a lazy susan at this rate .

          [lprent: Huh? The context for that is strange. You need to explain more so a moderator gets it as well as you. ]

        • ffloyd

          Key has been crowing about Cunliffe’s own goal but I think he might have just sunk one in his own net. One of his mantras has been the instability in the Labour caucus, but all this has done was to create the opportunity for DC to front on prime time TV flanked by Robertson and Parker to establish once and for all that there is no discontent. True or not he certainly looked in control, and I do believe they will pull together for the election.

  11. Mr Cookie Monster 11


    “Bascially, the Tory friendly editors would be in tune with Tory values, and anticipate the Tory government line on any issue or event. Ditto down the line to the journalists selected. They are all then working in an environment where a whole raft of values and interpretations are the norm. ”

    They did it this morning on one media outlet.

    i.e. take a positive event (which the national party had nothing to do with causing) then add one national party member interview supporting that event, and vooolaaaaa. You associate that event with the national party. Weak positive associations that overtime create a positive media bias for National (i.e. they are seen to be doing without doing)

    Does anyone know if there chief editors who oversea this on RNZ and/or TVNZ? and who are they?

  12. Mr Cookie Monster 12


    Peter Thompson is just the head for RNZ, he will appoint people to do the prioritization of the news etc. Just wondering who they are?

    Always good to put a name to a face (or position of influence).

    Who are these watchmen?

    Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

    Sorry I will stop asking now, odd how none of us know ehhhh?

    The Shadow Men are amongst us…….

  13. tsmithfield 13

    A one word answer to all the crying going on from the left:


    Why are Labour complaining about having the shit blow back in their faces when they have been attempting to push it around in the first place. Given Labour’s history of Gotcha politics starting with the H-fee debacle, why are the left complaining when they see National as exploiting similar opportunities to do the same back.

    Also, Labour has been shamelessly exploiting the Lui situation and exposing Lui to large amounts of negative publicity as a consequence. All this despite the apparent generosity of Lui to Labour in the past. Why complain if Lui decides to hit back by drip-feeding the extent of his generosity to Labour.

    If the left wants a scapegoat for their problems, then they need to look closer to home.

    • srylands 13.1

      Yes, in the mirror.

    • grumpy 13.2

      Shades of Owen Glenn.

    • Tracey 13.3

      helpfully, this episode has told us lots about the ethics, values of politicians and supporters of both labour and national. What we do with the information determines the future for our kids. Hilarious isnt it.

      National, with help from labour has managed one of its election goals, to make honesty and integrity irrelevant. I am not sure why that would make any person feel smug.

      • tinfoilhat 13.3.1

        “National, with help from labour has managed one of its election goals, to make honesty and integrity irrelevant. I am not sure why that would make any person feel smug.”

        That’s why I’m astonished that anyone who wants to see change in NZ would vote for either of those two parties there really is very little difference between them.

    • Colonial Viper 13.4

      Well I agree that at this stage of the election cycle (!!!) Labour need to be pushing gutsy, positive, hard left policy into the arena to give voters a real choice.

      Trying to play silly negative games is never going to work just out from an election. National have now fallen for that trap as well, idiots, and they will be punished.

  14. Mr Cookie Monster 14

    Karol, genuinely thanks for the “google is your friend” advice.

    Ive tried and come up wanting. The exec is easy to find (I am presuming they dont do the day to day…. as you said…

    Its a bit like OIAing on the internet.

    Back to my cookies…

    Oh TC

    “as a colleague in oz said to me recently, journalism is a career with very few employers and no room for actual journalism unless you happen to be at the abc or sbs. This is why abbott is going at those 2 any way he can.”

    You are on the money….

    Orwell Rolls In His Grave (http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/orwell-rolls-in-his-grave/)

    These commercial entities now vie with the government for control over our lives. They are not a healthy counterweight to government. Goebbels said that what you want in a media system – he meant the Nazi media system – is to present the ostensible diversity that conceals an actual uniformity.


  15. dimebag russell 15

    well there is karma and there is bullshit.
    this letter will be looking pretty bedraggled by the time of the election.
    not fit for bumff.
    an interesting diversion from which while it may not seem so at the moment Labour has emerged victorious and the tories or whatever they call themselves these days (?) have been drubbed and judged by the public.

    • grumpy 15.1

      The letter has done it’s dash already. We have now moved on to the reply from Immigration and Cunliffes response to Lui, oh, and the huge undeclared donations!

      • dimebag russell 15.1.1

        like where did john keys get $80,000,000 from.
        thats a lot of money.

        • grumpy

          More like “who were Cunliffe’s undeclared secret donors”?

          • tsmithfield

            Yes. The left love dishing out. But they sure don’t like it when it comes back the other way. What a bunch of sooks.

          • karol

            Which undeclared funds are these? Citations needed.

            Or are you just wildly speculating?

            • grumpy

              The ones that he returned.

              • karol

                Citations? Funds for what?

                • grumpy

                  Donors for his leadership campaign, have you been asleep?

                  • karol

                    Oh. Seriously? Are you wildly speculating about this?

                    Given Cunliffe or members of his campaign team would be more in the know about this, I think it’s highly unlikely.

                    • infused

                      Speculating about what? He returned the donations instead of making them public. Tells you right there.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      What, that the trustees honoured a confidentiality agreement? And you have the face to call others untrustworthy.

                      To paraphrase WB, when doing business with a Tory sonofabitch, get it in writing: his word ain’t worth shit with his ethics telling him how to fuck you on the deal.

                    • McFlock

                      even if you get it in writing, the tory might have signed it with his eyes close so he could later argue that he hadn’t read it…

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Looks like the Right Wing can’t fight an election on policy and leadership. So they have to tie Cunliffe down in this low level BS.

                      He should call it out for what it is – National avoiding the big picture issues of income, employment, poverty and environmental degradation, in order to play a game with a routine 11 year old form letter.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Dept of Internal Affairs holds two letters of support for Liu’s citizenship, written by National MPs

                    • McFlock

                      aye, pretty much CV.

                      Not that anyone will report it that way.
                      But that’s what campaign meetings are for, and why the left do better than tories on the hustings.

                    • McFlock

                      lol CV –

                      So the “letter of support” from Cunliffe was released within two days and turned out merely to be asking for a timeframe regarding the application, whereas the “letters of support” from tory ministers are withheld?

                      It’s not the bias that offends me, it’s the blatancy…

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Basically just insulting our intelligence.

                    • Tracey

                      grumpy will be along soon to explain why that is ok. Then we can all laugh again.

                      Machiavelli slylands sees nothing wrong in anything that he thinks will preserve his income.

                      They both have harsh judgments on beneficiaries
                      I take this opportunity to share how machiavelli ended up

                      “When evening comes, I return home and go into my study. On the threshold I strip off my muddy, sweaty, workday clothes, and put on the robes of court and palace, and in this graver dress I enter the antique courts of the ancients and am welcomed by them, and there I taste the food that alone is mine, and for which I was born. And there I make bold to speak to them and ask the motives of their actions, and they, in their humanity, reply to me. And for the space of four hours I forget the world, remember no vexation, fear poverty no more, tremble no more at death: I pass indeed into their world.”

              • freedom

                Do you mean the completely legal donations that because of the hysterical rantings of National and the Herald meant there was a manufactured event to react to, so in the most open and transparent manner David Cuniffe asked the donors to declare the donations but THE DONORS refused so Cunliffe returned the money

                what is your point again?

                • infused

                  If you believe that, you’re a fool.

                  That’s the whole reason for trusts.

                  • freedom

                    What part am i not meant to believe?

                    Are you sure you are not confused as to which trust you are attacking?
                    I am referring to the leadership fund raising trust Cunliffe had. You know, the one where there was absolutely no legal reason whatsoever for the trust to be declared as it was a private leadership fund and had no bearing on or relationship to Parliamentary funds.

                    If the trust issue was involving parliamentary/party funds then my views on that are on the record with the EDRNZ concept.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Nah, he means that every seedy allegation ever made about the National Party’s extensive use of trusts to hide donations has substance, and rather than see that as evidence that private donations must be purged from politics altogether, he thinks it’s all good.

                  • Tracey

                    you have been defending john keys lies that began the day he went into politics, but freedom is the fool. Good o Alice.

          • Tracey

            What was the charity event that shi, ceo of oravida gave 56,000 to, to play golf with john key? Could you give me the name so i can look at its details on the charity commission website?

            • Wreckingball

              What we can see here Ms Trace is that things go both ways. Labour is no better than National in terms of donations and so-called dirty dealings etc.

              People are looking for leadership and direction. Cunliffe is sinking faster that the Titanic and JK is sweetening up Obama.

              • Tracey

                the big difference is that you tacitly or otherwise accept it and will vote for the perpetuation of the behaviour because in some way you think it serves you.

                If we keep voting for people with lowest common denomiator standards we will keep being lied to and the real issues, for real people will be ignored.

  16. cricklewood 16

    I feel for David Cunliffe he has in all reality done nothing at all wrong but something does’t add up for me in this whole saga,

    Labour have been pushing the cash for favours for a while now specifically mentioning Mr Lui, I’m sure if David had known that he had been a past donor and had contact with a former minister the attacks will have been more circumspect to avert the risk of Labour looking hypocritical. Why didn’t someone give him a heads up?

    The story has run something like this… For weeks Mr Lui has been painted as a dodgy character buying favours from National ministers, Then it comes out that he has had involvement with previous Labour Govts in terms of fundraisers etc making Labour look hypocritical to a degree. But in theory passed off has from previous administration. Then the letter emerges, where the letter becomes problematic is not within the contents it’s the fact that it manages too associate David Cunliffe and thus tie him up with someone the party he leads has spent a considerable amount time criticizing as dodgy.

    It’s a helluva set up….

    • BM 16.1

      Grant Robertson.

      He set up Shearer and he’s done the same to Cunliffe.

      The guy reminds me of little finger from GOT.

      [lprent: Evidence? I don’t know of any, and as I said to Bomber yesterday, I’m far more likely to know about it than you are. ]

  17. dimebag russell 18

    look David Cunliffe is lapping this stuff up.
    every time he gets to strut his stuff he makes John Keys look like a scheming little nebbish mensch.

  18. shorts 19

    I feel Cunliffe and his staffers (and party) could have handled this better – there have been enough attacks and attempts at smears for his office to know they are up against a very ruthless opponent and a better resourced one, please stop stumbling and get on with your jobs of winning this election, many of us are relying on you to address the issues we feel are important!

    Saying that this is starting to look like an own goal by national, thankfully, so will be forgotten long before the public start to think about the election.

    I am rather disturbed that the letter in question contained a innocent “typo” and everyone seems so willing to overlook this simple mistake – sorry spelling a persons name wrong is the height of rudeness and should not happen in formal correspondence about said person to govt agencies, while not wanting to pile more shit on the staff member, it really is inexcusable and suggests a lax attitude at the time – one I hope isn’t found in David’s current office or any serving members

  19. dimebag russell 20

    what you feel is like what you had for breakfast.
    of no consequence.
    Labour has emerged from this victorious while national comes off as a gang of schoolkids doing nasty tricks and trying on the crosbytextorboageyhooton voodoo which in this case hasnt worked.
    John Keys is still a nebbish mensch.

  20. North 21

    Well you really know what you’re up against when you listen to Espiner interviewing Cunliffe on RNZ this morning:

    Cross-examination in the nature of hostile interrogation –

    The putting of Key’s dark claims of ‘more to come’ as if verified and indisputable fact –

    Flitting – “Well OK……..what about such and such then ?” – a peeved cabbage moth, unsatisfied –

    Betrayal of annoyance marked by some shoutiness at Cunliffe’s determination to be heard –

    The sourness of the pompous headmaster type angling for submission over elucidation –

    Espiner. Determined, with lashings of faux earnestness, to distinguish over inferiors perceived all around. Tending to lose it when he falls on his arse – miffed Tory tit takes over.

    Jesus…….what has become of RNZ – the flagship of current affairs radio ???

    Cunliffe satisfyingly present especially when his tone indicated he wasn’t having any of this shit.

  21. Chooky 22

    I think John Key and the Nacts are getting very sensitive to the accusations of a smear campaign ….because they know it could backfire on them badly

    …John (Edgar Hoover) Key with his top draw and bottom draws choke full of smear secrets from comrade Slater et al ….and illegitimate spying ….is not a very attractive proposition after- all to NZers !…and it has more than an element of truth to it!.

    This is a reason for Labour to go on the offensive and continue to hammer this smear campaign for all its worth and from every angle possible

  22. dimebag russell 23

    espiner is a little creep.
    anyway all dc has to do is to rile him up and epsiner will crack like a rotten little crab apple.
    hope this does not come under the category of pointless abuse.

    • weka 23.1

      ‘espiner is a little creep’ on its own would be pointless abuse (although pretty mild by ts standards). Following up with political strategy like you did generally voids the pointless abuse clause 😉

  23. Mr Oh Well 24

    Mr Grumpy (Oscar) and tsmithfield (Amazing Mumford) since your logic knows no bounds, could you please play a little game with me.

    Sorry I posted this before, but I think it is very very relevant as you don’t seem to be able to compare apples with apples and only seem to take small bites of one.Lets rate in terms of magnitude from 1-10 (i.e 1 very little concern…10 you gotta be kidding me)

    Lets play a Sesame Street Game

    One of these things is not like the others,
    One of these things just doesn’t belong,
    Can you tell which thing is not like the others
    By the time I finish my song?

    J Colins
    M. Williams
    J. Banks
    D. Cunliffe

    Did you guess which thing was not like the others?
    Did you guess which thing just doesn’t belong?
    If you guessed this one (4.) is not like the others,
    Then you’re absolutely…right!

    Confused kids, the media seem to be, they dont seem to be able to gauge the relative magnitudes nor point it out. Now its your turn Mr Grumpy (Oscar) and tsmithfield (Amazing Mumford)

    Maybe this will help kids (not saying that it is related to any of the above of course).


    Any situation where the actions taken in an official capacity could be seen to influence or be influenced by an individual’s private interests (e.g. company directorships, shareholdings, offers of employment)”.

    They usually fall into these categories:

    personal – e.g. an opportunity for an individual employee to gain advantage or benefit2;
    family – e.g. a pressure for an individual employee to assist or provide an advantage or benefit to their family or friends; and
    community – e.g. an opportunity or pressure for an employee to provide an advantage or benefit to a community or stakeholder group.

    • grumpy 24.1

      Definately off key (no pun intended). You just do not get it, this is not about conflict of interest, it’s about hypocrisy.
      Or of you will, idiots ranting about conflict of interest and corruption while doing the same thing with the same people – and then lying about it.

      • Puddleglum 24.1.1

        Hi grumpy,

        Could you please lead me through the reasoning behind your claim of Cunliffe’s hypocrisy?

        On the facts in the public domain, I just don’t see how you have come to that conclusion.

  24. swordfish 25

    Mr Johnathon Wedgewood Armstrong – Senior Herald Political Journalist and Courtier to the House of Key

    Double-Standards – Just One Example

    (1) Armstrong’s handling of the TRANZ RAIL Scandal

    In September 2008, John Key, newly-anointed Opposition leader 6 weeks out from an Election was caught out having (1) lied to both the public and to Parliament about his Tranz Rail shareholding and (2) abused his position as an MP for personal financial gain.

    Key’s family trust owned up to 100,000 shares in Tranz Rail when he (as National’s Associate Transport Spokesman) was openly questioning and criticising the government’s plan to buy that company and, indeed, was even meeting a rival bidder (Rail America) and pushing for that firm to buy the company. All the while, failing to reveal his shareholding. He bought another 50,000 Tranz Rail shares under his own name a couple of weeks before meeting Rail America (and publicly stating that he hoped “the interest shown by Rail America will be picked up by others”), still conspicuously failing to admit he was a shareholder. Just a few weeks later, Key sells his personal parcel of 50,000, making a massive profit in just 5 weeks. A day later, he intensely questions Cullen about the Tranz Rail deal at a select committee. At that hearing, Prebble declares his own conflict of interest, John Key says nothing. Two days later, his family trust sells its shares.

    In his now-infamous interview in late September 2008, Key told One News Deputy political Editor, Fran Mold, that he and his family owned “sometimes 25,000, sometimes 50,000” Tranz Rail shares. Only after Mold gave a broad hint that she knew he was lying did Key suddenly fess-up “Oh, look, actually maybe 100,000 from memory, yes.” So, a great deal more than he’d previously revealed.

    Two days after Mold’s interview and the resulting eruption of the Tranz Rail scandal, Armstrong massively downplays things in his lead Opinion-Piece Blemish far from the king-hit Labour hoped for (Sep 24 2008)

    “John Key’s once squeaky-clean image has been blemished…but his reputation is a long way from being irrevocably tarnished by Labour’s revelation…The story, which dates back to 2003, is too old and arcane for most voters to be bothered about.”

    Armstrong then makes a rather snide remark about “…the dogged digging of Labour’s taxpayer-funded Parliamentary research unit” (read: innocent Key’s reputation illegitimately attacked by dark forces you and I are paying for) before going on to suggest that “Once again, Labour is in danger of over-egging things…such is Labour’s desperation.”

    In his September 27 Herald article John Key’s week in the school of hard knocks, Armstrong criticises the way Key allowed himself to be caught off guard and his less-than-stellar TV interview performance, but ultimately ends up defending him: “Labour isn’t too fussy about what kind of information it uses to try to destroy voters’ confidence in Key…Since Helen Clark announced (the election date), Labour, like an underfed pit-bull terrier, has constantly been in Key’s face…National believes any long-term damage will be minimal…unlike Peters, Key confessed to making a mistake. The story quickly died. People will soon forget”.

    (2) Armstrong’s handling of the Current Imbroglio surrounding Cunliffe

    In Cunliffe’s resignation may be in order (June 18 2014), Armstrong interprets Cunliffe’s failure to recall signing a letter 1 years ago, shall we say, somewhat more harshly.

    He tells us “David Cunliffe is in deep political trouble. So deep that his resignation as Labour’s leader may now be very much in order…It now emerges that – contrary to the point-blank denials that Cunliffe gave to a press conference only yesterday – that he did assist (Liu)…At a minimum, the revelation…is a massive blow to the Labour leader’s personal credibility. How can anyone have any confidence in what he says from here on ?…(Cunliffe’s defence) does not wash. Either deliberately or through a lapse of memory, Cunliffe has been economical with the truth…the self-ravaging of his credibility…height of hypocrisy…the bigger question now is whether Cunliffe can lead Labour into the coming election campaign with this albatross reeking around his neck…Unless Cunliffe can come up with a very good explanation, the answer has to be ‘no’. After all Cunliffe…is also auditioning for the job of Prime Minister. And on that score, today’s events qualify as a fail – and by a wide margin.”

    [lprent: links would be nice for others to dig into. It also increases the ability to trigger debate on your quotes and thesis. ]

    • swordfish 25.1

      Should, of course, be “11 years ago” (not 1)

    • Tracey 25.2

      You know that’s different aye? The logic for it being different from what i can glean from intrepid right wingers like grumpy is that the nats are okay with lying and deceit and accept it as normal, so dont criticise it in others.and are better at covering up and managing their lies making them more suitable cabinet ministers..

      • grumpy 25.2.1

        No-one is happy with lying and deceit. It’s just that all Labour’s attacks have foundered. The only scalp in all this is Cunliffe’s in a spectacular own goal.

    • Puddleglum 25.3

      A very good comparative analysis swordfish.

      From these extracts, it’s hard to see how Armstrong can claim principled consistency in his treatment of these two issues.

  25. dimebag russell 26

    espys a fool.
    armstrongs a toad.
    neither of them can carry the load.

  26. Mr Oh Well 27

    Mr Swordfish you are soooo on the money as Id forgot all that (i.e. your post Double-Standards – Just One Example 25).

    If all true, then what the hell is going on in this country?

    Why does the so called balanced and professional media not point that one out.

    Even lines from John such as “mum and dad” investors are so unhinged it beggars belief when it is put into context of your post.

    This is Nationals asymmetric media-warfare par excellence. The thought police are out there, they have the funds and the lack of morality to do it. They are the special commandos.

    They don’t compare apples with apples do they.

    • Colonial Viper 27.1

      This is Nationals asymmetric media-warfare par excellence. The thought police are out there, they have the funds and the lack of morality to do it. They are the special commandos.


  27. Colonial Viper 28

    US Gallup Confidence Poll

    74% of Americans have confidence in the military.
    29% of Americans have confidence in the Presidency.
    7% of Americans have confidence in Congress.

    Pretty interesting eh.


  28. Draco T Bastard 29

    An abuse of the OIA

    So it turns out that Immigration released letters from David Cunliffe and Chris Carter in support of Donghua Liu, but kept letters from government MPs secret:

    Yeah, that would indicate someone in Immigration working to undermine Cunliffe while working to protect National. And I suspect this is just the tip of the iceberg and thus we need a full investigation which brings all the corrupt arseholes to justice.

  29. Vaughan Little 30

    Liu is one of the most common Chinese surnames. This is because during the 400 year Han Dynasty the imperial surname was Liu and many people took it up to look cool.

  30. chris73 31

    Smearing with the truth , who’d have thunk it?

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