The battle of the five political midgets

Written By: - Date published: 8:01 am, February 20th, 2018 - 102 comments
Categories: Dirty Politics, national, same old national, Steven Joyce - Tags:

Two further candidates for National’s leadership have been announced.

Yesterday Mark Mitchell said he wanted the top job. He botched the announcement though and showed some difficulty counting to two. For his sake I hope it is not reflective of his current support.

He has a dubious past. He worked providing some sort of security services in Iraq. Make of that what you will. And he has rather strong links to Cameron Slater and Simon Lusk which he now wants us all to forget.

David Fisher said this about Mitchell in 2014:

That was early 2012. In Dirty Politics, it is alleged that during the previous election, Slater was working with political adviser Simon Lusk to swing a National Party candidate selection to pick his man.

That was the Rodney electorate and his man was Mark Mitchell, the former dog handler turned private guard who enjoyed enthusiastic backing from Slater through his Whale Oil blog which highlighted only the negative aspects of his opponents.

Lusk and Slater wanted to step up their ‘Candidates’ College’, at which they charged political aspirants for lessons on how to win in politics. They had a vision for the future. In February 2012, a document written by Simon Lusk charted out a plan to entrench the right-of-centre ‘Fiscal Conservatives’ for years to come. It involved “taking over the public service” and the “blackballing of current National MPs”.

A month later, National Party board minutes show they saw the danger coming.

The minutes record “a disturbing conversation … with Simon Lusk that highlighted his motivations and a very negative agenda for the party”. His agenda posed a “serious risk to the party” and “light needs to be shed on these issues with key influencers within the party”.

And then this morning Steven “$11.7 billion hole” Joyce announced his candidacy for the top spot. He is still utterly convinced that he is right about this claim even though no economist of any repute has backed him up.  He reckons that unnamed public servants have been told to cut back on spending. This is despite Crown income trending upward. He has never let reality get in the way of his political rhetoric in the past and clearly is not going to change.

To be frank I am really underwhelmed with the candidates. They are all varying levels of meh. It is no wonder that Joyce and Mitchell have thrown their hats into the ring. They have probably been utterly underwhelmed by the performances of Adams and Bridges and terrified, at least on the part of Joyce, by the prospect of Collins becoming leader.

National’s reputation as a united disciplined party is going to take a battering over the next week.  And the winner may in the future regret that they succeeded.

102 comments on “The battle of the five political midgets”

  1. Draken 1

    If anything, at least it will be spectacular circus.

  2. Cinny 2

    Listening to the news and laughing loudly, Miss 13 asks… why are you laughing mum?

    steven joyce wants to be PM…. who? she asks…… Mr Dildo, I reply…. OK that’s really funny mum… most kids know joyce as Mr Dildo.

  3. One Anonymous Bloke 3

    The names of the five dwarfs:

    Hubris, Violence, Vanity, Malice and Grasping.

    Joyce, Mitchell, Bridges, Collins and Adams.

    How many of them will Ardern see off before the Nats find the sixth: a new leader who’s electable, and appeals to someone outside the caucus room.

    • greywarshark 3.1

      OAB
      Sadly i am sure that there will be support for each orc outside the caucus room.
      You cleverly identified the deadly sins that all National supporters have; at least one or two of them.

      orc
      ɔːk/ noun: orc; plural noun: orcs
      (in fantasy literature and games) a member of an imaginary race of human-like creatures, characterized as ugly, warlike, and malevolent

    • mickysavage 3.2

      Good comment I might plaigarise this with adjustments …

    • Hornet 3.3

      It took Labour four leaders (Goff, Shearer, Cunliffe and Little – Dopey, Bashful, Sleezy and Grumpy) and 9 years before they found the right leader. I have no particular confidence National will do any better.

  4. paul andersen 4

    vying to be made captain of the titanic

      • greywarshark 4.1.1

        Curious me had to look up the Latin quote in the link OAB.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fluctuat_nec_mergitur
        Fluctuat nec mergitur is a Latin phrase meaning “(She) is tossed by the waves but doesn’t sink”. The motto has been used since at least 1358 by the city of Paris. It can be literally translated as follows:

        That’s the quote from the onlooker on the ground. I think that if the motto is good enough for Paris it should be good enough for New Zealand; forget about the Nats – they are just an externality in our Great Leap Forward.

  5. Barfly 5

    I love your title

    “The battle of the five political midgets “

  6. Keepcalmcarryon 6

    Comedy gold from Hosking in the Herald, he’s backing the guy he let away with the 11.7 billion dollar lie during the debates because “ his brain is enormous”.
    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11997966

  7. Kat 7

    You can’t help laughing 🙂

  8. Carolyn_Nth 8

    Interesting post by Trotter.

    I don’t always agree with him, but in this case, he has specific numbers of the support for Adams and Collins in caucus. So, someone leaked to journos, who leaked to Trotter.

    Given the thrust of the post, I’d say that an Adams supporter had a hand in some of the leaks. So, are they getting a bit desperate?

    It does look like it’s down to the wire, and horse trading is in the beginning stages.

    IN THE RACE FOR OPPOSITION LEADER, the numbers are solidifying around Amy Adams. A consensus is forming among the journalists of the Parliamentary Press Gallery that Adams, with 20 votes, is at least 2 or 3 votes ahead of her nearest rival, Simon Bridges. The moment Adams assures the National Party Board that she has no intention of dispensing with the services of National’s chief strategist, Steven Joyce, her lead will advance by at least 4 votes. At that point, Adams will be only 4 or 5 votes shy of the 29 votes she needs to become Leader of the Opposition. If Mark Mitchell can be enticed into Adams’ camp (with the offer of the Deputy’s spot, perhaps?) then it will require only 1 further defection from either Team Bridges or Team Collins for the game to be over.

    A victory for Adams will not sit well with the National Party rank-and-file who, pretty obviously, favour Judith Collins for the role of Opposition leader. Moreover, the longer the race continues, the more pressure Collins’ rank-and-file supporters will be able to apply to their local and/or List MPs to give her their support.

    And Trotter’s UPDATE after Joyce joined the contest.

    UPDATE: This morning (20/2/18) Steven Joyce further complicated National’s leadership contest by announcing his own candidacy for the top job. Clearly, the contest is now set to run until Tuesday 27 February. Team Collins will, therefore, re-double its efforts to mobilise the National Party rank-and-file in her support. Also stepping-up their effort will be National’s Board. It is now absolutely imperative that the two front-runners – Amy Adams and Simon Bridges – strike a deal. With Labour at its highest poll-rating in 15 years, the last thing National needs is a divided Opposition caucus.

    • Brian Tregaskin 8.1

      Has Chris Trotter changed sides from the left to the right —post election ? Im confused?

      • SimonSays 8.1.1

        Trotter changed from left side to right years ago. Nothing but a washed up fat suck-up sell-out to the capitalist elites.

  9. Pete 9

    Rejoice, rejoice, Hosking has found another haven to crawl up.

    Of all politicians in recent years Joyce is the master of saying stuff in serious tones and deliberate manner to sound convincing while saying nothing.

    Questioners wanting a soundbite or clipped headlines have what they want and are off. The superficiality of the responses is thicker than their own veneer so they are sated, and they are too thick to notice or care.

    Enter Mike Hosking. A match made in heaven, two protozoa looking for a home.

    • AB 9.1

      Stephen Joyce reminds me of the photocopier machine salesmen who used to pester us in the 1980’s. A superficially plausible explanation for absolutely everything, but the machines were useless crap.

      • Michelle 9.1.1

        Its called spin AB

        • AB 9.1.1.1

          Yeah – well I thought that comparing neoliberal ideology to a 1980’s photocopier machine might be a metaphor worth extending:
          – it does only one thing, over and over, under all circumstances
          – it breaks down, jams, and spews out unintelligible gibberish
          – for a brief moment in time it seemed like the thing we all really needed, until we got one and realised it just wasted time and money and made us less efficient and stupidly dependent
          – it was mostly sold by cheery chaps with shiny foreheads, ill-fitting suits and a good line in empty bonhomie who drove cars far more expensive than we could ever contemplate buying for ourselves

    • greywarshark 9.2

      Hosking and Joyce could become a toxic organism in conjunction with favourable factors, as is blue-green algae which is out of control because all the conditions it likes have combined.
      http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/sudbury/climate-change-blue-green-algae-1.4314568

  10. dv 10

    In a weird development, it seems that Bill English will decide the next leader of the National Party , as he is the only Nat NOT in the the leadership race.

  11. AsleepWhileWalking 11

    Why don’t they elect co-leaders?

  12. Enough is Enough 12

    Don’t underestimate the Nats.

    We all laughed at Key when he became opposition leader. When he became PM we thought it wouldn’t last a year. Then what happened….

    To dismiss them as midgets is idiotic.

    • Booker 12.1

      I think it’s more the stupidity of NZers who vote for them – they’re still midgets, but the sheeple who vote for them are the dangerous ones

    • Kat 12.2

      Just like the Nats dismissed Jacinda Ardern as “stardust”. You have a point, and they are squirming and frothing at the mouth with her success. But the current line up is no where in Key’s league. The next “Key” is yet to be helicoptered in.

      • rawsharkyeshe 12.2.1

        Beware Mitchell .. he was similarly helicoptered in. Nasty piece of work made his fortune paying other people to kill people in the Middle East. It’s called mercenary, but murder is more accurate. Herald keeps calling it ‘security consultancy’. We must keep calling it exactly what it is. Murder for money, that’s Mark Mitchell.

      • Enough is Enough 12.2.2

        “the current line up is no where in Key’s league”

        Who here ever thought Key was a good MP or PM.

        Go back and read the Standard in the 2007-2010 archives. He was a joke (according to the posts and comments at that time)

        • Kat 12.2.2.1

          Enough is Enough, I meant not to infer that “I” was at all impressed with Key. That should be enough of an explanation.

        • greywarshark 12.2.2.2

          I fail to see your point/s E is E. It appears you are in a scratchy mood and want to dissect each comment as it comes your way – something is going to be wrong according to your fine judgment.

          There are many things that the Gnats thought good about Key, and the public thought good about Key. That so many did think he was ‘good’ was a win for him and the Gnats. He is a standard for them by which other Gnats will be measured. The climate at present is steamy and the gnats are biting. If you can’t understand what we are talking about, perhaps you should stay on the sidelines and just watch.

    • savenz 12.3

      Yep they have something that Labour seem to be lacking, strategy, a whole lot of advisors who are total believers and a clear agenda.

      The TPPA situation shows Labour have still not shed their shackles to Rogernomics and unpopular policies and think that a charismatic leader will save them, which is unlikely given its not the first time, Labour have betrayed what they stood for if they go ahead and sign it.

  13. nzsage 13

    Please, please Joyce or Collins.

    Two thoroughly dislikable individuals that will ensure a Labour led government for the foreseeable future.

  14. JohnSelway 14

    Joyce? Really? I’d say him and Collins are least electable of the whole bunch

  15. rhinocrates 15

    Here is the full text of Joyce’s announcement of his candidacy:

    Oh freddled gruntbuggly,
    Thy micturations are to me
    As plurdled gabbleblotchits on a lurgid bee.
    Groop, I implore thee, my foonting turlingdromes,
    And hooptiously drangle me with crinkly bindlewurdles,
    Or I will rend thee in the gobberwarts
    With my blurglecruncheon, see if I don’t!

    • Kat 15.1

      “Are you all sitting comftybold two square on your botty? Then I’ll begin …”

    • patricia bremner 15.2

      I thought of Jabowocky. Joyce doth “Gyre and Gimble in the Wabes”.

      What a hoot to see their veneer of sophistication and management skills peeling off.

    • ianmac 15.3

      Hey rhino! That makes better sense than Joyce’s splurge with Guyon this morning.

    • Turlingdromes with gobberwarts !! Best descriptor of all time for gnats front row — Thank you Rhino !

      • greywarshark 15.4.1

        “And hooptiously drangle me with crinkly bindlewurdles,”.
        Don’t know what it is but I feel a strange fascination to take part in this ritual.

  16. cleangreen 16

    Today’s news that the $11.7 billion Dollar maniac Steven Joyce has now entered the race for the top job for the National Party has really made this Political Party look so desperate now

    Joyce even has Mike Hoskings coming out to support him!!!!!!@#$%^&*()_+.

    This as we see in today’s latest Colman Brunton political poll shows Labour at a new high as the most preferred party at a whopping 48% popularity.

    The old tired national Party are again slipping down their greasy pole now down to 43% .

    So we see a collapse of the national Party really coming home to roost after they sold most of the country’s assets to offshore investors.

    So their work was done; – and there is no further use for them at all now.

    So “good riddance to bad rubbish” as National slips under the waves,

    Hooray for freedom from National economic. bondage.

  17. The National party disarray…

    Monty Python’s Flying Circus – Main Theme – YouTube
    you tube▶ 0:33

  18. Keepcalmcarryon 18

    Now is the time while National is distracted with infighting to ram through a bunch of hard left policies under urgency. Good for the goose etc

  19. Carolyn_Nth 19

    Following Mark Mitchell’s announcement that he is a candidate, the Dirty Politics (Hager) website has posted the chapter of the book online for free, that deals with Mark Mitchell, Lusk and Slater:

    https://dirtypoliticsnz.files.wordpress.com/2018/02/dirty-politics_p55-67.pdf

    https://dirtypoliticsnz.com

    • Ed 19.1

      Some excerpts

      “Mitchell, their selection candidate, was paying big money for this dirty campaigning, and was well aware of what he was buying.”

      “presumably was caught up in the siege – he had gone to make money in the midst of a bloody civil war – but his job was not as a hostage negotiator and the words ‘top’, ‘international’ and ‘eight years’ only compounded the exagger- ation of his role. He was a private security contractor, that dubious by-product of the Iraq occupation.”

      “Without Lusk and Slater’s vigorous and covert negative campaigning, it is unlikely that Mitchell would have won the seat. ”

    • I need a very long shower after re-reading that. Thanks to Nicky making it available. Filthy nasty people.

      And Mitchell just now on Prime news at 5 30 .. turning his killing into a heroic act of survival from marauding Iraqi ‘insurgents’. What a moron. The only reason his life was in danger was because he chose to be there in an illegal war as a cold and cruel business decision. He is truly trying to lipstick on a pig.

      • Carolyn_Nth 19.2.1

        Also, interesting the mention of something about to be dragged up from Mitchell’s past – that was about Feb 2011.

        Later in the year, November, and article mentions a fraud case against Agility logistics, the company he worked for – actually it was “Threat Management Group”, a subsidiary of Agility LogisticsI linked to a Stuff article about that last night.

        It says:

        The next call was from the Kuwait global logistics firm supplying food to the military forces in Iraq.

        Agility Logistics was being targeted by Al Qaeda and the militia, and many staff were killed. They wanted Mitchell to improve security.

        “Security was being subcontracted and I discovered fairly early on that when the heat was on, our people weren’t a priority. One week, we lost 32 staff.”

        So the company set up subsidiary Threat Management Group to take security in-house. As CEO and shareholder, Mitchell grew the company from eight staff to about 500 in the first year.

        More about Agility logistics here.

        In his maiden speech, Mitchell said this about it:

        In 2005 I was approached and asked to establish a security programme for a company that was providing food and life support to the coalition in Iraq.

        Seen as a legitimate target by Al Qaeda as they were supporting the Government, employees of the company were being attacked and killed.

        The security programme I put in place was successful and soon I was being approached by Governments, including the United States, Japan and Australia to assist with logistics’ and protective support in high threat and difficult environments.

        In November 2011, a news article mentions a fraud case against Agility Logistics:

        National candidate Mark Mitchell has resigned his executive role with a military logistics group whose subsidiary is accused of defrauding the American military of US$8.5 billion ($11.24b) in regard to a contract to supply food to US troops in Iraq.

        The Orewa man was chief security officer of Kuwait-based Agility Logistics, part of a multinational group of companies.

        Mitchell says his part of Agility had little to do with the US arm that is denying and fighting the fraud charges. “That’s a totally separate company that’s based out of the US,” he said yesterday.

        NY Times said this about the case in 2008.

        The roster includes an American company, Agility Logistics, whose name has surfaced in a federal inquiry into improper pricing in Iraq. The company has denied wrongdoing.

        Agility Logistics, formerly called Public Warehousing Company, is widely known as a colossus in the business of delivering food and other supplies to troops in Iraq.

        As reported in December by The Wall Street Journal, the company is at the center of an investigation into improper pricing and other issues involving several companies and contracting offices in Iraq and Kuwait. The company strenuously denies that it has done anything wrong.

        Surprisingly, though, the new report lists Agility as having received $183 million in 23 security contracts from the Defense Department. On Tuesday, a spokesman for the company said that he could not confirm the figures, but that the contracts had probably been won by a wholly owned subsidiary, Threat Management Group, that specializes in security, rather than by Agility.

        The US Dept of Justice dropped the case in 2012.

        Agility, which was the largest supplier to the US Army in the Middle East during the war in Iraq, pleaded not guilty in August to charges it defrauded the US government over multi-billion-dollar supply contracts.

        “This is the second time DoJ has sought to dismiss an indictment it brought against an Agility affiliate, the other being Agility DGS Holdings Inc announced back in 2 April 2011,” the statement added.

        Agility, which was the largest supplier to the US Army in the Middle East during the war in Iraq, pleaded not guilty in August to charges it defrauded the US government over multi-billion-dollar supply contracts.

        “This is the second time DoJ has sought to dismiss an indictment it brought against an Agility affiliate, the other being Agility DGS Holdings Inc announced back in 2 April 2011,” the statement added.

        But, in 2014, the UK Independent said the US Government were still pursuing a case against Agility and had blacklisted it.

        US authorities are still pursuing Agility in the courts, and has put the firm on their “Excluded Party List System”, a blacklist of firms excluded from government contracts. Agility deny any wrongdoing.

        As Mitchell did say, it’s a big global company. I am confused if Agility and Threat Management group is a US or Kuwait company.

        • rawsharkyeshe 19.2.1.1

          Super sleuthing Carolyn Nth. There must be so much dirt yet to come out. I’ll keep looking with you – we deserve better in our parliamentarians.

          • Carolyn_Nth 19.2.1.1.1

            Thanks. I’ll be interested to see what you come up with.

            Of course, it is possible it was all legal, in that way that all kinds of dodgy war mongering, and/or profiteering from wars, goes on without breaking any laws.

        • patricia bremner 19.2.1.2

          And this man thinks he is ethical and moral?

          He is the complete opposite surely.

      • Ed 19.2.2

        Mitchell was the insurgent.
        The Iraqis were in their own country.

        Wonder how NZ will cope with the prospect of a mercenary , who won’t answer the question if he killed people in Iraq.

        I wonder.

  20. Ant 20

    Bill” We have to stem the Jacinda effect.”
    Steven: “ I have a dead cat here, – I’ll chuck it on the table”
    Bill: “Don’t you think people will want to know how you got it?”
    Steven: “Not really, the cat’s the diversion.”
    Bill: “But what if people ask me what I think of it?”
    Steven: “Simply keep a straight face and look thoughtful. Then create a cat of your own, – announce that Labour is raising taxes.”
    Bill: “Neat politics!”

  21. joe90 21

    Righto, Bungle it is.

    “Mark Mitchell is ridiculous. He’s Bungle from Rainbow.” – Mikey Havoc @95bFM— Finlay Macdonald (@MacFinlay) February 19, 2018

  22. bwaghorn 22

    i find joyce likable on the tv , can’t stand the rest , he’d be best of a bad bunch for nz ,
    collins leader mitchell deputy leader is a scary thought.

    • Ed 22.1

      We’d be at war with Iran and North Korea without a second’s thought.
      And we would need to hire lots of security consultants and expert hostage negotiatiors to help us.

    • I remember an interview between Joyce and Robertson whereby Joyce’s true colours showed. The man was belligerent, continually spoke over both the interviewer and Robertson , constantly giggled loudly in an inane, high pitched tone and offered nothing of substance but his vain attempts to cover the fact he had no answers bar deflection by derision.

      Its no wonder he had a dildo thrown at him. And if he was our PM, … you would not want to admit to being a New Zealander overseas… you would call yourself an Aussie , an English person , an Eskimo , a used car salesman – anything but a New Zealander !

  23. Ad 23

    In labour we went through nine very long years of humiliating defeats, incoherent caucuses, rapid leadership changes which consistently weakened the party not strengthened it, and a very close thing to finishing third in the 2017 and receding to third party status like every other Social Democrat party in the known universe …

    … so I have no specific tart-tasting joy watching the National Party go through the same thing for a few days.

    Try me again when we’ve had three good Labour-led governments in a row and I’ll start to cheer up.

    • BM 23.1

      How’re labours going to do this Peters taking over from Ardern thing?

      I see serious danger and risk, what’s the backup plan? because the disease-riddled old coot could shit all through the nest?

      • Ed 23.1.1

        Unnecessarily unpleasant, even for you.

        • Muttonbird 23.1.1.1

          It’s really starting to dawn on the Nats what a mess they’ve made of things and they are responding the only way they know how, by lashing out. Only downhill from here I afraid.

        • cleangreen 23.1.1.2

          Ed,
          100%

          BM specialises in being ‘unpleasant.’

      • WILD KATIPO 23.1.2

        BM the modern boy.

        I suppose you would say Holyoake was a disease ridden old coot, or Muldoon or Fraser or Savage as well…

        You seem to forget most of those guys were considered seniors ,… have you been reading to many glossy magazine expounding the eye pleasing and exclusiveness of youth only being capable?

        Would you say also that Winston Churchill who drank whiskey and perpetually smoked cigars was also a ‘disease ridden old coot’ ?… I would hardly think Churchill would tolerate a wimp like John Key as any sort of leader of substance, – and nor would Winston Peters… perhaps thats the REAL issue here,…

      • AB 23.1.3

        Winston will take over with his characteristic charm, moderation and good humour. You’re confusing him with Don Brash.

        • cleangreen 23.1.3.1

          Ha ha ha brilliant AB.

          You are so right, Winston is a very charming man, one of the best I have ever met.

  24. Thinkerr 24

    My dream team:

    Leader – Judith Collins
    Deputy – Amy Adams
    Finance – Stephen Joyce
    Election Campaign – Simon Bridges & Mark Mitchell

    While they’re infighting, it will give the left time to build.

  25. Sacha 25

    Fran O’Sullivan gushes for Joyce as dear leader, Collins as loyal deputy and Adams as finance munster: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=11998489

    • Carolyn_Nth 25.1

      An alternate universe, where Joyce is apparently seen as an able operator.

      • Sacha 25.1.1

        Yep. And we wonder why businesses like Fletchers struggle when that’s the quality of commentary they have to draw upon.

      • cleangreen 25.1.2

        Yes Carolyn,

        It was last called “planet key”

        Planet Joyce doesn’t have the same ring or logical end game.

        Joyce will get ‘dirty Gerry’ to do his ‘dirty work’ as usual.

        • Graeme 25.1.2.1

          Joyce knows where the bodies, and other smelly things, are buried.

          HIs tilt at National leader looks like a defensive move promoted by politicians, party members / officals and business interests who would rather some things remained unseen. I’m expecting some rather odiferous remnants to surface as we go forward.

          There’s also a sizeable faction within the National party and caucus who want his head on a pike. A casual browse of the sewer seems to put the Collins faction in that group, so any speculation putting Joyce and Collins in the same leadership are probably in the realms of diversionary fantasy.

    • Muttonbird 25.2

      Love the way she says Joyce and co must listen to the messages the business sector sent them on “the housing gap” (if that’s not a sanitised description I don’t know what is). Here’s a clue Fran, it wasn’t the fucking business sector which changed the government – it was ordinary struggling people.

      What arrogance.

    • AB 25.3

      Fran does the inane, gushy thing when she gets too close to the scent of power and money. Wrote similarly embarrassing twaddle about Key.

  26. Pete 26

    Steven Joyce, Skycity convention centre, Fletchers.

    Next thing I’ll be hearing about how Oravida have special guests and special events at the casino.

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