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The meaning of dirty politics

Written By: - Date published: 10:00 am, January 7th, 2015 - 171 comments
Categories: blogs, Dirty Politics, spin - Tags: , ,

(Originally published at Boots Theory, but there were requests to cross-post it to The Standard. Suffice it to say your humble moderator will not be lenient on derailing, even if it totally proves her point.)

One of the strategies of the right in NZ politics has been to take any complaint levelled against them – of corruption, of malpractice, of conspiracy – and reduce it down until it’s meaningless.

An excellent recent example of this took place on the Open Mike post at the Standard, where political hacking, and thus Dirty Politics, was being discussed. Dirty Politics, to most people in the NZ political sphere, has a pretty specific, well-known meaning. It refers to the actions documented by Nicky Hager by a cast of unethical players on the right, who use smear, innuendo, ghostwritten blog posts and allegedly even blackmail to shut down political opponents and promote a far-right, conservative ideology.

The book didn’t have the killing-blow impact on the general election which many people thought it would. It hasn’t stopped people like Matthew Hooton and David Farrar being used as political commentators in the mainstream media – sometimes even being asked to comment onDirty Politics as though they have no stake in the game. It didn’t even claim the scalp of Judith Collins – that was another terribly revealing email – though it set the stage for it.

It’s still a powerful weapon for the left. As much as the right have tried to say “but the left do it too” – with their only example being one post which briefly appeared on The Standard in 2008 and was pulled precisely because it was an unethical move – their political machine has been damaged by the exposure. Cameron Slater is no longer a good conduit to get dirt into the mainstream. John Key cannot replace Jason Ede with another “blog liaison officer”. And they’ve relied on that two-track strategy for so long, into their third term (which is when the wheels start to fall off the masterplan anyway), that it could be impossible to build a completely new framework to control the political narrative.

What they can do is co-opt the idea of dirty politics and divorce it from any real meaning at all.

Thus you get Pete George – the derailing mastertroll ofNZ political blogging – leaving 20 comments on one post at The Standard which include contradictory assertions: that dirty politics isn’t serious because it’s what everyone does; that dirty politics is serious because it involves hacking, ergo Cameron Slater isn’t involved in dirty politics because he’s not a hacker; but also that people who tell Pete George to shut up and stop trolling are playing dirty politics.

When called on his behaviour, he complains that Nicky Hager “doesn’t get to control” how the phrase “dirty politics” is used.

I don’t think Pete George himself is a part of the Slater/Ede/Collins/Odgers dirty politics machine, but he’s a useful weathervane of how effective their strategy is: defining dirty politics as everything and nothing to render it powerless.

From being a significant piece of investigative journalism which shone a spotlight on the forces which are trying to turn NZ politics into a nasty, back-stabbing, big-money game, the aim is that “dirty politics” will enter our lexicon as just another way to say “people in a political debate calling each other names.” In the long run, it’s part of the strategy of turning people off politics so they don’t agitate, don’t organise, don’t vote.

How do we stop it? It’s a big project, turning around a well-resourced, widely-heard narrative. But we can be very clear in our meaning when we talk about dirty politics. We can keep pointing out when it happens and naming it for what it is. And with online platforms it’s much easier to get those messages out to a wider, less political audience.

And we don’t let the right de-fang Dirty Politics.

171 comments on “The meaning of dirty politics ”

  1. ghostwhowalksnz 1

    If anything, national is emboldened by the results of dirty politics.

    Nobody thinks that level9_beehive.govt.nz will be silent over the next few years

    • If anything, national is emboldened by the results of dirty politics

      It’s the same everywhere. The right discovered a while back that there are basically no consequences for violating democratic norms.

      Meanwhile, the left are sitting around waiting for a referee who doesn’t exist.

  2. One Anonymous Bloke 2

    A good way to ignore Petty George’s calculated dishonesty is to ignore Petty George altogether. His audience is tiny and his constituency doesn’t exist.

    It’s pretty easy to tell the difference between robust debate and the things the National Party employs Cameron Slater to do on its behalf.

    • I disagree. Ignoring trolls simply allows them to keep on trolling.

      And the Dirty Politics tactics clearly aren’t “pretty easy” to spot or they wouldn’t have been so horribly effective over the past six years. People’s careers have been damaged, journalists have printed stories made from whole cloth, and the political narratives of the right are taken as common sense.

      [Edited for typo]

      • One Anonymous Bloke 2.1.1

        I didn’t say the tactics are easy to spot, although Hager has certainly made it easier. I said the differences between Dirty Politics and robust debate are easy to spot. In this context, I think we need to keep emphasising the examples Hager provides evidence of, and any others that come to light.

        As for tr*lls, that’s a pretty compelling viewpoint. Good article, thanks.

      • travellerev 2.1.2

        Cutting the trolls and shills off is the way to go.

        • lprent

          Be careful what you ask for. I still vividly remember some “discussions” that you triggered and that I had to read. The twin towers tends to stand a lot higher in my memory these days than those damn buildings ever did.

          Mind you, I suspect I could say that of most commenters here – right?

    • weka 2.2

      “A good way to ignore Petty George’s calculated dishonesty is to ignore Petty George altogether. His audience is tiny and his constituency doesn’t exist.”

      How come you don’t ignore him then? Genuine question.

      • lprent 2.2.1

        OAB is a determined stirrer. It is often a bit like getting a accidental look into a mirror when I read their comments.

        Except over the years OAB has been steadily paring down the number of words required to perform their effect.


        • weka

          ha ha ha, yes. Sometimes the brevity is sufficient to render the comment meaning obscure. It’s the smart arse effect, wit taking precedence over communication. It’s a dilemma, because the smart arses are part of what makes the place fun.

  3. karol 3

    Excellent explanation of “Dirty Politics”, Stephanie.


    Dirty Politics, to most people in the NZ political sphere, has a pretty specific, well-known meaning. It refers to the actions documented by Nicky Hager by a cast of unethical players on the right, who use smear, innuendo, ghostwritten blog posts and allegedly even blackmail to shut down political opponents and promote a far-right, conservative ideology.
    And they’ve relied on that two-track strategy for so long, into their third term (which is when the wheels start to fall off the masterplan anyway), that it could be impossible to build a completely new framework to control the political narrative.

    And it is the well organised “two track” strategy that is specific to john key’s government in the NZ context. It is part of a politics of deception, that aims to divert and distract from the Key government’s damaging policies, and pones that more Kiwis would reject if they fully understood what the government is doing.

    You also nail the slipperiness of PG’s style of argument. It makes if difficult to moderate on TS, because he tends to stay within TS policies – at least on individual comments – it’s the total of the extended discussions in which he slides around, that causes many Standardistas to get frustrated.

    He also isn’t the only commenter here to be a bit slippery, but PG has refined it to a higher level of slipperiness.

  4. Skinny 4

    I’d like to see an informative documentary made, based on public perception of our politician’s. Fairly sure that the general public have a low opinion of them, casting an MP somewhere between a used car salesperson & a Realestate agent. I would guess the similarity is a self serving, get the deal done type person, prone to a bit of massaging of the facts along the way, which they see as not a problem.

    So for the rightwing spin doctors playing dirty it becomes easier to label politic’s as a dirty game, knowing in the back of people’s minds they are pre-conditioned to any skullduggery going on and this is viewed as normal.

    While I admire what Hager was trying to achieve, the timing was terrible and at least 6 months late. Would rather it was someone like Ian Wishart lobbing the grenades as in my opinion Hager is viewed as a left activist to many.

    • karol 4.1

      Fairly sure that the general public have a low opinion of them, casting an MP somewhere between a used car salesperson & a Realestate agent.

      That is factored into to Lusk dirty politics strategy as explained in Hager’s book. This style of politics is judged to put off more potentially left wing voters than right wing ones.

      • Skinny 4.1.1

        Finally get to read the book on Friday when I’m at the beach, got given as a gift prior to the election. I thought it would be a good read on holiday.

        • It might just make you angry!

          • Skinny

            Good point I didn’t really factor that, will think about the wisdom of your advice 🙂

            Ha ha in saying that an angry man is a title I enjoy. It puts the bosses on the back foot and makes them nervous if they are up to no good.

            Outside of work it doesn’t float, my partner has a great sense of humor.
            My favorite one liners of hers that make me laugh;

            “Shut up little man”

            “Silence you skinny little c**k sucker”

    • tricledrown 4.2

      Its easy for the Rugby Head right to frame Nicky Hager.
      Key and Cosby Tricksters Drug the Sheeples with very carefully engineered spin.
      Tell a lie enough times and people with believe it a compliant MSM pushing subtle messages across pop radio stations yellow editorials etc.
      While in the UK exactly the same tactics are being used by Cosby Trickier.
      They have backfired because their Media is taking them to task unravelling their BS.
      Our media are lemmings or sheep!

    • Murray Rawshark 4.3

      Wishart writes fiction. The only interviews he does are with the fairies in his garden and the voices in his head. I am still hoping that Dirty Politics will have a major effect.

    • North 4.4

      Pete is a vain man whom in stuffed-shirt fantasy sees himself a Father Of The ‘Proper’ Nation – in the style of a former prez of the Waikickamoocow Lions or Rotary or some such. Not unlike Garth of similar thermal parts.

      I have much respect for SR’s incisive assessments. I fear (with respect) that it’s a mistake to even mention Pete so as to have him understand that he matters. He’s a disingenuous coot.

      Someone recently suggested that his every contribution be acknowledged with an emoticon. Haven’t mastered that facility myself but I’m thinking the swirling eyes.

  5. AUDNZD 5

    You need to ban Peter George. Plain and simple.

    • lprent 5.1

      That is Stephanie’s general contention. However he has been carefully walking around the bounds of our current policies. Some of the debate on posts have had disruptions when the post comments degenerated into “all about me” threads.

      But you have to remember that I can cause exactly the same effect whenever I comment on kiwiblog or whaleoil regardless if the comment is on-topic or not. The post goes from whatever the topic is to being a rather pointless and rather unhelpful boring hatefest by the idiot dickheads I have banned for here for really stupidly trolling.

      It is a bit of an issue in the partisan world of blogs. I usually don’t commet on those blogs even when I have time purely because it is effectively a noisy act of pointless graffiti because of it.

      I’ve been observing and contemplating possible way of handling this. I certainly don’t like the effect on the comments sections. I think that PG’s views on what constitutes dirty politics are rather pathetic. It does seem that it consists of largely of his narcissistic opinion that it is dirty politics to have any disparaging opinions about Pete George, and/or his unsubstantiated assertion that the left blogs are like those mindless sockpuppets of politicians in the way that the major blogs on the right are.

      But he does interact with other commenters and he does (quietly) change his position over time in a very reluctant and conservative fashion. Traditionally on this site that has been the criteria for letting people stay commenting.

      I still haven’t seen a cogent reason to change the policy without destroying this site as a place where intelligent people can come argue their positions. This is a place to for expression opinions, sometimes even ones that are quite daft in my eyes (ie most of them that are not made by me). I still haven’t seen a good reason to drop that policy of toleration. It is after all subject to warnings from moderators when our toleration for post disruption is being exceeded, and even PG has learnt that you listen to those.

      • weka 5.1.1

        Perhaps warnings from moderators earlier, when he first gets to the ‘all about me’ stage, would help? Not an outright ban, but a clear indication of where he’s causing problems.

        There also seems to be a pretty clear point in any debate he is in, where he can’t debate anymore, and his comments become endless variations on ‘this is what I believe, I disagree with you, I have a right to be here, why do you have to be so rude’. Perhaps a moderator warning when he reaches that point would help him see he can actually step away from the argument if he doesn’t have anything more to say.

        I did find the recent round pretty interesting (as well as annoying), where lots of people called him on his politics, his claims and his behaviour, a kind of collective fisking. It tied up a couple of threads for a couple of days, but I see he hasn’t been back since.

        • The Al1en

          “but I see he hasn’t been back since.”

          No coincidence that coincided with the return to duty of lprent, I suspect.

        • lprent

          Perhaps warnings from moderators earlier, when he first gets to the ‘all about me’ stage, would help? Not an outright ban, but a clear indication of where he’s causing problems.

          I was thinking that some wholesale moves to OpenMike would be the best answer. I was planning on doing the tool for it during the break. However family stuff got in the way. I literally didn’t get the required time to do more than shift servers.

          Since then work, going into hospital yesterday for a false alarm, the irritating hot and humid Auckland weather (brain goes somnolent) have sucked away my evenings.

          I think I need to get an non-noisy aircond unit so that I can get the place cold enough to work in while also making it so that Lyn doesn’t complain about the noise and move the TV to the bedroom so it isn’t right next to me. Otherwise I’ll never get anything done.

          • weka

            Except OM was one of the places he derailed the other day. You could give him a thread of his own :twisted:, call it the echo chamber 😈

            Heat, noise, and TV, three killers of any creativity (and health!)

            edit, snap you two below!

            • The Al1en

              I’d call it The Beige Room as a word play play on a white room

              “a room from which all contaminants have been eliminated and in which temperature, humidity, and pressure are controlled: used for preventing infection, etc.”

            • One Anonymous Bloke

              Call it the white elephant birthplace, the last resort, the no-legged lemming, they’ll vie for supremacy over it.

              If there is to be a dustbin, call it “Pete George”, and then its purpose will be universally understood 😈

      • Sacha 5.1.2

        That’s a shame. Any thoughts on how to address Phil Ure’s increasingly abusive ranting lately?

      • dv 5.1.3

        Why not shift the ‘offending’ (e.g. pg pu) to its own post.
        Then those who want to be involved can with out disrupting the original post?

        • Sacha

          Great idea. Could call it “the stocks”.

          • phillip ure

            and you’d happily be a cackling-crone throwing fruit..

            ..wouldn’t you..?

            ..that after all is yr role here..

            isn’t it..?

            ..u and alan..sitting in a tree..


            • Sacha

              Yes Phil, I live for this. Not interested in discussing relevant things with others, just hanging on your every deranged nasty illogical bleat – and there are so many, festooned on every thread like the strangest fruits. You seem delighted with your life and it is a privilege to imbibe the radiant joy you bring here.

              • gee sacha..i wish u wd stop just lying all the time..

                ..u just come..and u just lie all the time..

                ..just lies..lies..lies..

                ..if you told me the time..i wd double-check..

                ..u r such a chronic liar..

                ..every word u say here is a total lie..

                ..go on..!..prove me wrong..!

                ..you can’t..!

                ..therefor u r just a liar..


                [Stephanie: This thread is pointless and irritating. Please take your personal beefs back to Open Mike.]

            • greywarshark

              I defended your right to have a comment earlier. But I do so with reservations. Are you unable to control your potty mouth? Do you have a condition that means you lack social control. Or do you want to swan through life creating arguments and pushing people with rude taunts?

              It is hard to put up with and spoils the thought process. Can you stop spreading rudeness around and stop taking pot shots at The Allen. You could develop a code that satisfies you and conveys your meaning well like Queen Victoria’s “I do not find that amusing”. In your own words, something like that. And then let it alone even if the other wants to bluster on. You can quietly read and laugh, without retaliating.

              Is there a good chance that you could do this or am I wasting my time. Then I will stop wasting yours trying to maintain the civility and value of the posts you grace with your presence. For now.

              [Stephanie: Please note moderator note to phil above.]

              • Sacha

                I’d me more than happy if a moderator deleted this entire thread – and other ones that add nothing to the discussion.

                • Once the comments are up and replied to I’m leery of deleting them just in case I throw off the whole page’s formatting.

                  • karol

                    I think that’s what Lynn was referring to on reid’s comment at 13. I moved a PG off topic thread from one of my posts a week or two ago – it messed up the formatting on open mike where I moved it to.

                    • lprent

                      Yes. I have a nested SQL query that does the job perfectly. It moves all child comments with it as well – which is a pain in SQL which isn’t exactly a recursive language. I have the front-end for it too.

                      The only thing that I have to finish is that it has to look at every comment coming in after that for some time and change replies to be on the correct post.

                  • mickysavage

                    Best to delete the words but leave some text so that the nestling is not affected.

      • Anne 5.1.4

        … sometimes even ones that are quite daft in my eyes (ie most of them that are not made by me).

        I thought as much. :mrgreen:

        • lprent

          Well blogs are always made up of a agreement of one. That there seems to be a consensus either means that we have the laminar flow of the ego-driven cult


          The more healthy disagreement of a turbulent or even a chaotic flow with a higher overall velocity.

          Politics to me often seems to operate a like a lot of the geophysics and stream dynamics I learnt a long time ago.

          • Murray Rawshark

            That would explain the inaccuracy of any predictions.

          • Anne

            Another way of putting it is a constantly changing mosaic eg. the atmosphere. The trick for the forecaster is to figure out what the twisting and twirling air patterns will do next and how that will affect the weather. Predicting political outcomes is as tricky as the weather. Sometimes you get it right, sometimes not.

  6. Ad 6

    Defeating the “Dirty Politics” culture won’t happen with recourse to ethics. The MSM are on balance happy to get stories all ways – and juicy process acquiring stories is largely all the better. MSM women’s magazines already run pages of essentially upskirt shots already.

    It won’t change if it’s left to opposition parties, the Speaker, or the Privacy Commissioner either. Everyone in opposition claims moral superiority, but once in power it’s pretty damn marginal.

    ‘Privacy’ as a “right” is a better route to political reform here than ‘ethics’. The upcoming review of the security services is as good a place to start as any. When people see more of their own lives pulled out for public view – for no discernible national security tradeoff – then there will be an urge to clean up.

    There’s three big reform roadblocks. The first is that the left now relies (often from necessity) on hacking and their own version of dirty politics to show what governments are doing. Some become troublesome heroes, others are jailed. A.Robins’ article just posted is case in point.

    The second is that privacy is now a very weak right, and getting weaker. Hard to defend a sliding scale rather than a principle.

    The third is the MSM (noted above) have no motivation. And TS can’t change this by themselves.

    Still, who would have thought that “inequality” would ring its theme throughout the world?

    • Colonial Viper 6.1

      first is that the left now relies (often from necessity) on hacking and their own version of dirty politics to show what governments are doing

      The way I look at it, whistleblowing is and always has been an act of conscience by an individual or small group of relatively powerless individuals against the power elite, and is no way a “version” of dirty politics.

      • Very good distinction, CV.

        • Colonial Viper

          Your post Stephanie is a vital reminder of how far up against the wall the 99% currently are, even as most of them don’t realise it.

          Mass consent is manufactured via propaganda disseminated by the MSM. Most people can be swayed that way.

          Then for those remaining activists who are troublesome and resistant to the above, the coercion/criminalisation which can be provided by the systems of surveillance is used.

      • Ad 6.1.2

        Care to define the difference between a “freedom fighter” and a “terrorist”, especially digitally?
        No point seeking reform unless one’s position is really defensible.

        • JanM

          As I’m sure you’re aware if you were around for the Vietnam war reporting and many subsequent and present conflicts, the difference in the use of those terms is mostly whether you’re on the side of the invading ‘cowboys’ or the defending ‘indians’

          • Ad

            My point exactly.

            The Deep State has failed to persuade the left that “national security” processes versus human rights (including ‘expression’, ‘privacy’, and ‘right not to be tortured’) have been worth the ethical trade.

            The left have yet to persuade the state, the MSM, or anyone but themselves that their version of ‘freedom of expression’ are those worth defending the most.

            Impasse. Inertia. “Minor historical quibble” is next.

            The left are on far stronger ground starting from privacy. My phone must be my freedom.

            • Coffee Connoisseur

              Thats only because the message hasn’t been put forward in the right context in my view. If done so the entire premise for Right wing policy is removed.

              • Ad

                Go on then, context-away.

                • Colonial Viper

                  Is it that difficult to articulate why a surveillance state apparatus is utterly incompatible to a democracy. Do we even remember what a “democracy” is any more?

                  The left have yet to persuade the state, the MSM, or anyone but themselves that their version of ‘freedom of expression’ are those worth defending the most.

                  Hell, the “Left” (whoever they are) can’t even convince the Labour caucus of this.

        • gsays

          in reply to ad
          Care to define the difference between a “freedom fighter” and a “terrorist”, especially digitally?

          a terrorist is someone who has a bomb but doesnt have an air force. ( ityped that with one finger)

  7. BevanJS 7

    [Hager] was told that focusing on negative campaigning favours the “right” ……. and guess what publishing his book did? … and presumably a continued focus will achieve …?

    • What is your proposed solution then? How are we supposed to change politics if we don’t discuss what’s wrong with it? The point of saying “everyone does it” is to make people believe change is impossible and that negative campaigning is normal.

      And I don’t accept that Hager’s book had much impact on the election, either for or against the left. The left didn’t present an image of a unified, stable government, and the right coasted on their record.

      Also, friendly word of warning: don’t tell authors what they should or shouldn’t post on, and learn to spell “Hager”.

      • BevanJS 7.1.1

        I certainly agree that ‘The left didn’t present an image of a unified, stable government, and the right coasted on their record.’ and maybe you’re right, it would have been the same without all the useless sound and fury from Hager’s book release, but for me that’s a stretch.

        • disturbed

          Bevan JS epitomises this subject clearly by turning issue subject around to make it seem irrelevant.

          “Hager] was told that focusing on negative campaigning favours the “right” ……. and guess what publishing his book did? … and presumably a continued focus will achieve”…….
          This is Bevan JS acting out a clear attempt to nobble the left consciously or not when we should be speaking out how our freedoms of expression are being trampled on by a gagged press as we see unfolding in Paris today with Islamic elements killing the free press there.

          Colonial Viper said it clearly;
          “Your post Stephanie is a vital reminder of how far up against the wall the 99% currently are, even as most of them don’t realise it.
          Mass consent is manufactured via propaganda disseminated by the MSM. Most people can be swayed that way.”

          Stephanie you also clearly defined the problem;
          “One of the strategies of the right in NZ politics has been to take any complaint levelled against them – of corruption, of malpractice, of conspiracy – and reduce it down until it’s meaningless.”

          This is Bevan’s intent here, is to reduce the issue down to show that if we concentrate on the MSM right wing elements we will help the right wing.

          Beware of these signals to all our freedom expression seeking souls.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 7.2

      Exposing grossly unethical and probably illegal behaviour by the government is “campaigning” now, is it?

      Oh look, a right winger with a false frame. Again. How relentlessly tiresome.

      • One had to expect them on this post, alas.

      • Ad 7.2.2

        Far better to launch a broad campaign, with a specific set of targets to achieve.

        The primary reason the framing is unstable is because the left is not yet clear what it wants to solve. This enables the media to play with and escalate that narrative instability.

        • BevanJS

          That’s about right. It’s not about being National Light, or Left wing, it needs to be along the lines of here’s our specific and believable goals and here’s the basics of the mechanism[s] we think will get NZ there. Leave “the other team” to their shambles.

        • Coffee Connoisseur


        • Tracey

          all of the left, some of the left

    • Murray Rawshark 7.3

      Hager was not campaigning. He was publishing a book which exposed the filthy nature of the FJK regime. Labour apparently believed that negative campaigning would favour NAct and hardly mentioned the foul acts of the regime. They could have framed it as fighting for clean and ethical politics, so that all the negative garbage would have come from NAct. They had no vision of how to do things in a more transparent and honest manner, and let NAct define the debate. Then they stood with NAct against Mana. Their incompetence is unforgivable.

  8. Foot Shooters 8

    The Standard bloggers have yet to realise that the only thing Dirty Politics did was give Cameron Slater four months of oxygen heading into the fifth.

    He has never had more publicity in his life.
    He has never had more fame in his life and the funniest thing –

    Dirty politics was the best thing that has EVER happened to him.

    But you know………fan those flames and make him even more powerful.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 8.1


      Get off your knees, dirt worshipper.

    • If you think the media coverage Cameron Slater got was good for Cameron Slater, you weren’t paying attention. The fact John Key rapidly and dishonestly downgraded his relationship with Slater – from “oh we talk all the time” to “no I haven’t heard from him in months, honest” – is evidence that being seen to be in contact with Slater is toxic. The two-track strategy relies on there being distance between the friendly, harmless politicians and the nasty attack bloggers.

      What National has managed to do is maintain the illusion – or at least insist – that the distance is there. Thanks to Nicky Hager exposing the actions of people like Jason Ede, we have plenty of evidence that it isn’t.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 8.2.1

        Cameron Slater’s personal fortunes are another red herring. Of course being so closely associated with the government is good for him.

        For the government, not so much.

      • Ad 8.2.2

        Agreed. As the start of a campaign it has had real effect.

        A question your post points to is why this has not been sustained, and therefore how can it best be sustained?

        • Colonial Viper

          The MSM is an integrated part of the Dirty Politics machine. We should just accept that they are not going to be brought around.

  9. venezia 9

    Yes – reducing points made in Dirty Politics down till they are meaningless has spread through the right wing commentators. I heard a panel chaired by Guyon Espiner on RadioNZ National a couple of days ago (a repeat?) going over the political milestones of 2014. Bill Ralston was one of the panel. He questioned whether Nicky Hager was in fact a journalist, saying that he should be considered “an author”. Espiner pointed out that a judge had stated that Cameron Slater was a journalist. So reductionism makes Hager less credible and Slater a professional journalist!!

    • North 9.1

      Ralston ? Ralston ? Ralston ? FFS ! “Billy-Boy” ? Who listens to ‘The Master Of The Switch Of The Franklin Road Xmas Lights’ ? Apart from said switch master and a few precious sycophants ? Pompous, self-important git he is……..(him and/or his paid by the Notional Party of course).

      Such notional class…….such notional erudition……..amazing what some snobs will do to get to go to a Parnell BBQ what ?

  10. Stickler 10

    That would be self-described BFF of Cathy Odgers, the Bill Ralston who spent his time with her in cafes shouting out “We are the one percent” at the passing peasants? (as told by him in the Listener)

    I think we can see where he is coming from. If he could get it accepted that Hager is not a journalist, he would not be entitled to protect his sources. As Slater apparently is by virtue of being described as a journalist.

  11. Miracle Worker 11

    If, as John Key said, ‘Dirty Politics’ is a “screaming left wing conspiracy theory”, then why did the Police raid Nicky Hager’s home looking for his source(s)?

    The judicial review Nicky Hager is seeking of the Police’s actions, and more importantly, the motivations behind them, will (I hope) be very revealing.

    I am glad he is publicly well supported and funded via donations, which in itself flies in the face of many right-wing commentators’ assertions that most people don’t care.

    Clearly they do care, and so they should.

    I also believe Hager’s case will test the independence of the judiciary, especially if the Police have something to hide in terms of any lack of independence from political influence.

    I suspect the right-wing rhetoric in terms of trying to talk this whole issue down has a lot to do with that.

    This is an extremely important case for New Zealand, historically.

    We are at a crossroads with this, especially if it can be proven that the Police were politically influenced.

    It goes to the heart of the systematic degradation of the integrity of our system of justice, which has arguably occurred more under John Key’s government than any other previous government.

    I await the outcome of Hager’s judicial review with great interest.

    • Ad 11.1

      The December 2014 Supreme Court decision on the validity of the DotCom raid warrants was IMHO more important – with Elias dissenting. In terms of rights of the public, that case would have had more public appeal, and more profile. But it has now sunk into the black pool of yesterday’s news.

      Hagar has already been effectively framed by the MSM, and I predict will struggle to gain further traction with the public or with the judiciary.

    • The Other Mike 11.2

      What you said Miracle Worker. Couldn’t agree more.


  12. Penny Bright 12

    What I suggest (again) – is focusing on what, in my considered opinion, is the root cause of the problem : the ‘out of control’ Office of the Prime Minister, whose role, in protecting John Key as LEADER of the NATIONAL PARTY, is not covered by statute, regulation, process or protocol.

    What also needs to happen, in my opinion, is that the Public Records Act 2005 must be fully implemented and enforced.

    If ‘full and accurate records’ were ‘created and maintained’. across ALL ‘Public Entities’ – and those public records were available for public scrutiny – as they ought to be, then, in my opinion, transparency in New Zealand would be transformed.

    The problem is – the lack of transparency starts at the top.

    The Cabinet Manual only focuses on the storage and disposal of Ministerial records – not their creation and maintenance.

    So – you get Ministerial meetings at the highest levels discussing matters of ‘State’, at which no minutes are taken and no one can (conveniently) remember the conversations?

    Full and thorough implementation and enforcement of the Public Records Act 2005

    Which political party is going to pick up THIS issue?

    We shall see ……

    Penny Bright

  13. reid 13


    There will be others again, many of them young or naive in the extreme, who actually believe Hager’s story. They have so little understanding of political processes in New Zealand or anywhere else that they think there was something new and especially sordid about Jason Ede acting as a conduit to bloggers, passing information, and discussing tactics designed to put National in a good light. Some won’t know about the methods used by the Labour government while Helen Clark was in office 1999-2008, when press releases and exaggerated criticism of opponents were filtered to “The Standard”, Labour’s electronic broadsheet. Nor will they know about the priming done by cabinet minister Ruth Dyson each morning of her email tree with sleaze that the government wanted to be widely disseminated. The Prime Minister knew all about it. I found out about it: some of Dyson’s stuff was inadvertently sent to me! Some journalists won’t know that throughout her career Helen Clark had a list of journalists she’d ring to exchange gossip. Sometimes she would only hint, other times she’d tell the person on the other end of the phone about what she planned to do to some on her own side who had incurred her wrath. Occasionally she’d plant an idea that the journalist would be encouraged to follow up, hopefully with devastating consequences. A few people in today’s press gallery were involved and are currently keeping their heads down. If John Key rang Cameron Slater in any capacity, what’s the difference? The Herald’s editor might like to tell us?

    All of this is called politics. Politics throughout time has been conducted in this manner. The telephone rather than emails used to be the chosen conduit. Earlier still, politicians and editors dined together, or went to country house parties at places like Cliveden to exchange gossip. I used the telephone myself to get my messages out to people. The only thing new since my day is that emails started being widely used from about 1996. The internet made the task of dissemination easier, and quicker, and the number of contacts spread exponentially. Blogs appeared. The intentions behind many of them are no different from what has always been happening. The argument advanced by breathless editorial writers that Jason Ede was doing something new reveals ignorance so great that one suspects ulterior motives.

    [Stephanie: Dumping huge blockquotes into comment threads is rude. Try adding an actual point. Perhaps you might like to explain why anyone should care what Michael Bassett has to say.]

    [lprent: I care. Looks like I have my post for tomorrow. The one where I say that I think Michael Bassett is just a lying cretin (as usual) who knows bugger all about how politics operates on the left these days.

    Since venomous arseholes like him and his crowd departed back in the early 90s and went to Act, most of that kind of arsehole behaviour also departed and went right with it. I have seen very little of it in the last 20 years.

    It certainly doesn’t operate around The Standard because I and everyone else here would have no hesitation in shoving the gonads of people trying to do messages on behalf of others down their throat. There is a reason why TS isn’t exactly loved around much of the Labour caucus or many of the political professionals. It is a rather dangerous place for them to try to play with. ]

  14. Shona 14

    As David Lange said Bassett was “always venomous”

  15. Michael 15

    Well written, Ms Rodgers. The Right are indeed emboldened by the success of their Dirty Politics activities and by the failure of “Dirty Politics” to wake New Zealanders up to political corruption. Therefore, Dirty Politics will continue. The issue now is whether the Left follows suit or tries to take the moral high ground. I think we should pursue the latter course by hghlighting every instance of Dirty Politics that takes place, especially its iterations in mainstream media. We shoud also name and shame the corporation who hire Dirty Politics operatives. The bloke who hired Jason Ede would do for starters.

  16. Miracle Worker 16

    With regard to those who compare Labour vs National in terms of which was worse at playing dirty politics:

    The most frustrating thing with people who argue about which is or was the lesser of two evils like this, is that they obviously believe in the necessity for evil in the first place.

    I strongly object to the use of my taxes to fund such conduct, regardless of who does it.

    I completely agree with Penny Bright on this subject.

    • Ad 16.1

      All you’re ever going to get is degrees of political hygiene, not purity.

      The left have not stated how much more hygiene should be enough – and enforced.

      • Murray Rawshark 16.1.1

        You aim for absolute purity and you might achieve 80%. Aim for only a little filth, say 10%, and you’ll get 20% purity. Even though I made the figures up, like 47.3% of all statistics, the principle is valid.

      • Colonial Rawshark 16.1.2

        All you’re ever going to get is degrees of political hygiene, not purity.

        So, a slight police state within a social liberal democracy.

  17. Ad 17

    We need to advance this debate within mere weeks.
    The full review of the surveillance operations will get going in the first half of this parliament.

    We are never going to change our Dirty Politics while the right (and the Deep State’s advice to the right) can accuse the left of only demanding freedom from surveillance when it suits them. The left are being portrayed as wanting freedom from surveillance only so that they have freedom to hack at will.

    Hackers and hacker-enablers (Hagar, Greenwald, Sowden, etc) are terrorists to the state and to multinationals (and often to citizens!), but heroes to the left. By and large.

    State agents (SIS, GCSB, Police Serious Crime, Customs, etc) appear to the left as terrorists but to the MSM, to most state politicians, and to the Deep State including our spy allies, they are Defending The Good Against Chaos, via the mechanised glamour-engines of James Bond and Hollywood. By and large.

    Two posts on TS today, very similar topics, but not yet getting a debate that gets us to “where do we take this?”

    Unless we can move beyond the futile “they wen’t being ethical” debate within Parliament, we will fast lose the ground Hagar forged back to the stale and unwinnable “security” meme.

    We need to head fast towards a common view of reasonable privacy: where the left’s agents (both marginalised and journalistic) as well as the right’s agents agree no-go zones and common conditionalities, beyond mere law changes.

    Maybe that’s a few years away. Maybe. But we need to start the big debate fast. Key probably can’t do the statesman’s role that this would require. Last time it took Justice Thomas to stand up. More need to.

    • Colonial Rawshark 17.1

      We are never going to change our Dirty Politics while the right (and the Deep State’s advice to the right) can accuse the left of only demanding freedom from surveillance when it suits them. The left are being portrayed as wanting freedom from surveillance only so that they have freedom to hack at will.

      Are any of these portrayals or accusations accurate? Why waste breath refuting them when that PR energy and effort should be put into communicating our message and our ideas, to ordinary Joe Public.

      Hackers and hacker-enablers (Hagar, Greenwald, Sowden, etc) are terrorists to the state and to multinationals (and often to citizens!), but heroes to the left. By and large.

      Let’s just face facts. Anyone who wants to dismantle the existing system of oligarchic high consumption capitalism is going to be slapped with the label “terrorist” (or whatever the pejorative of the era is). That’s the way it has always been in history.

      State agents (SIS, GCSB, Police Serious Crime, Customs, etc) appear to the left as terrorists but to the MSM, to most state politicians, and to the Deep State including our spy allies, they are Defending The Good Against Chaos.

      The power elite are highly privileged by the status quo system. Therefore, they view, fund and use their State Agents as defenders of that status quo system (and by extension their own elite privilege).

      You’re not going to change that.

      • Ad 17.1.1

        You are ridiculously defeatist.

        We are going to change it.

        The only question is how, and how fast.

        • Colonial Rawshark

          You are acting and talking as if we are in a functioning democracy, where the merit of arguments and the opinions of every day people count. Almost every comment on this post, including many of yours, shows this assumption to be utterly false.

          We can’t even convince our own bloody Labour Party to take a public stance on rolling back the security and surveillance state.

          Wake up.

      • Ad 17.1.2

        Not sure where I or Dirty Politics proposed to “dismantle the existing system of oligarchic high consumption capitalism”.

        It’s a little boring hearing about how the power elite are defended. We have humbled them many, many times in history.

    • gsays 17.2

      “We need to head fast towards a common view of reasonable privacy..”

      whenever i discuss privacy, with someone in favour (nothing to fear nothing to hide) of 5-eyes, state spying on citizens etc, i ask about putting cameras in their lounge and bedroom.
      depending on their response, (one friend was quite happy with in house cameras), we can then explore where that common view is.

      • Colonial Rawshark 17.2.1

        Greenwald also suggests asking people for their email password and internet banking login, as well as a key to their front door.

      • Ad 17.2.2

        Policy is what we are talking.

        That means not whether it suits one example, but overall fits the needs of the whole population.

        • Colonial Rawshark

          Policy is what we are talking.

          Official government policies are an inconvenience, at most, to these operations. They have their own policies, and their own secret interpretations of those policies. The FVEY systems we are party to have intruded deep into EU government systems, they’ve spied on then Senator Barack Obama, they’ve intercepted every single internet communication emanating out of NZ and coming into NZ, they’ve tapped Angela Merkel’s private phones and those of dozens of world leaders even those of “allies”.

          The equipment we host in NZ as part of the FVEY and Echelon systems will have helped in these activities.

          So what NZ public policies green lit all these activities? Which policies can stop our role in any or all of them?

          Of course, my point is, whatever is formulated as official “policy” is largely irrelevant.

      • RedLogix 17.2.3

        Different societies have quite different ideas about appropriate levels of privacy. Anyone who has tried living with any indigenous tribal peoples for more than 10 minutes will tell you that the almost complete lack of personal privacy was the most confounding thing.

        Privacy by itself is really neither here nor there. What does matter is an asymmetry of secrets – where the powerful are allowed total access to whatever they want, but the powerless are prohibited from knowing anything important.

        • Colonial Rawshark

          This is not a privacy fucking argument. We are now dealing with state and private sector organisations melded together with technologies and operational capabilities which have moved well beyond your and my and Ad’s primitive concepts of “privacy”.

          They want total information awareness about every aspect of every person’s life, communications and relationships in real time, every moment of the day, for whatever uses they see fit with zero oversight.

          FOR FUCKS SAKE. The power elite are establishing brick by brick, element by element, a turn key totalitarian state and here we are arguing about “Privacy” lol.

          PS RL, this comment not directed at you specifically but it seemed a pertinent point to insert it, in the discussion.

          • Ad

            Well, I haven’t tried to generate a concept of privacy yet. I’m not sure how this post was about a “power elite generating a turnkey totalitarian state”.

            Rather than tremble at the sublime scale of the integrated system of the world, let’s remind where this post is going: to name The Meaning of Dirty Politics. And then to advance a little beyond that.

            The advance would be to name a specific programme of reform, and then activate to achieve that. That doesn’t mean taking on the entire intelligence machinery.

            That does mean precisely forming a language that communicates both with the public and the MSM in a manner that resonates well. Clearly the framing of Dirty Politics in the MSM isn’t working.

            Baby steps. Hagar has made a magnificent start. We can and must continue those next steps.

          • disturbed

            10000% CR. +++++++

            Mind blowing frank revelling stuff Colonial Rawshark.

            More please as we are all so ignorant of these facts as Ad is sadly living in ignorant bliss also.

            We have been all dumbed down effectively by the establishment oligarchy.

    • Pete George 17.3

      but not yet getting a debate that gets us to “where do we take this?”

      How about less rehashing of dirty history and more promotion of a cleaner political future?

      I know that some MPs would like that, probably quite a few of them.

      Part of the cleansing requires highlighting and holding to account on any dirt as it occurs.

      But if you want positive change you have to act positively. Political wars (like any wars) tend to be destructive.

      • Ad 17.3.1

        The system never becomes cleaner until the corrupt are held to account and sufficient public and system disturbance is caused to change it. What you call “rehashing” most others would simply call “reform”.

        No, you don’t have to act positively. In fact, it’s rarely helpful in reform. Reformers don’t even have to propose an alternative. They simply need to generate sufficient outrage and enable that outrage to be redirected in the right way.

        • Pete George

          In a modern democracy like ours outrage, whether genuine or constructed, is more likely to entrench positions rather than initiate change or reform.

          I very much doubt we will see revolution in New Zealand in the foreseeable future. Therefore you either have to accept incremental reform as the norm or be stuck in futile outrage.

          • Ad

            Nope, I am not proposing any revolution. You know your history well enough to know a hundred examples where massive protests on the streets, or huge letter-writing campaigns with petitions, actually worked.

            No I don’t agree that incremental reform is the only alternative. And yes, anger directed into the right result is sometimes both necessary and appropriate.

            I’m not saying you’ll have liked some of the examples. But you know them well.

            • Pete George

              I can only think of one protest success since Key’s been Prime Minister. The campaigns have been largely been taken over by political parties and have subsequently become largely futile.

              Most are political rent-a-mob ‘protests’ and easily ignored by Government.

              The Great Barrier mining protest was a genuine people’s protest and worked. But real protests have been largely taken over by rent-a-mob.

              I don’t seen any chance of massive street protests over Dirty Politics. No sign even of small uprisings. So a different approach is needed to clean up politics. Politically polarising the issue is going to hinder more than help change.

              • b waghorn

                I personally hope keys political career will be “hung , drawn and quartered and it’s carcass burnt on a pile of well read DP copies “buy the end of the year. How’s that for polarising.

              • One Anonymous Bloke


                Sure it is. The Right don’t want to give up the behaviour. The Left doesn’t engage in it, and isn’t in government even if it wanted to. Only dishonest people like you claim otherwise.

              • ‘rent a mob’ – you are making wild assertions and deep insults with this claim – you don’t know who protests at all – you are just applying the beige filter to project your own position – that is dishonest imo

        • phillip ure

          reformers are ‘awkward’ people..

          ..and they help drive changes for the better..

          ..the timid pete georges of the world..

          ..are impediments to that/any positive change..

          ..with their constant fluttering of hands..

          ..and cries of:..’you can’t do that!’..

          • The Al1en

            Do you genuinely view yourself as a reformer helping drive change for the better?

            • phillip ure

              plse note that as an attempt to prevent disruption..and because i feel like it..

              ..i do not respond to comments from alan..

              • The Al1en

                No matter, won’t last long, and won’t stop me asking.

                As a ‘reformer’ who often gets told ‘you can’t do that’, do you think that an impediment to that/any positive change is because you mostly act like a bit of a man-child when disagreed with and resort to insults before running off with your tail between your legs pretending to ignore people rather than discuss issues like a normal unaffected adult?

                • but you aren’t a normal unaffected adult allen, you are a stalker with a wee bee in your bonnet. 🙂

                  • The Al1en

                    And the purpose of your post if it isn’t stalking or because you have a hornet in your hat is? 😆

                    And still with the hypocritical michael laws deliberate incorrect name spelling thing 😆 😀 😉

                    • just can’t stand bullies like you that’s all

                      and your michael laws stuff is laughable – shows you don’t know much but then we already knew that didn’t we 🙂

                    • The Al1en

                      Direct is best.

                      What do you think about michael laws and his ilk for deliberately misspelling Whanganui when they know it causes offence or is disrespectful?

                      Is it laughable that Maori, in general, find the deliberate and will full misspelling of their names disrespectful or offensive?

                    • admit it, you like michael laws because his last name is laws and you like laws, oh yes you do.

                    • The Al1en

                      Not that you have to answer the questions for me to know the answers, but feel free to at any time rise above your little game and join in.

                      The meaning of dirty politics

                      But fuck, why should I care, mars. It’s your reputation on record as being the double standards hypocrite. 😉
                      That can only hurt you in the long run, especially next time you’re crying over perceived outrageous slights.

                    • it is a sign of your hubris and ego that you think the parody of your fictitious internet username is somehow equivalent to the way a colonised indigenous people get treated – always all about you isn’t it allen

                    • The Al1en

                      Deliberate misrepresentation is deliberate misrepresentation, no matter who does it. After all, disrespect and causing offence for the sake of it transcends skin colour and nationalism.

                      And isn’t it really your hubris and ego that prevents you from accepting this rather basic fact and from writing out one of the acceptable examples I’ve presented you with?
                      That’s not only a double standard but pretty childish thinking.

                      Your hypocrisy stands marty, no matter how much you want to cry foul.

  18. Murray Rawshark 18

    I laugh at that vile Odgers thing. How useful a lawyer is to Russian mafia types and unethical vicious Chinese “entrepreneurs” is directly related to how much said lawyer keeps their mouth shut. By opening up about their methods, whether true or not, she showed that she’d got in way over her head. They wouldn’t have liked that. People like her cause trouble and I suspect she’s successfully made her own future far more difficult.
    The number of tears I will shed for her is less than one.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 18.1

      Bignoting wankers like Odgers are useful, not trustworthy. Any criminal who trusts her deserves to be eaten.

  19. Weepus beard 19

    Stephanie is a bit hot under the collar today.

    I like it, a lot!

  20. Stuart Munro 20

    I’m sorry but any post that asserts Pete George is useful is going to run into pretty heavy weather.

    • RedLogix 20.1

      Personally I’ve never had much problem with PG.

      As Lynn said above – in his own infinitesimal fashion – he does respond and shift his ideas over time.

      What most people perceive as ‘slippery’ is really just PG trying to avoid being dogmatic and looking for a middle ground. Most people here (or any other for that matter) want something more positional and clear.

      • Pete George 20.1.1

        Of course I shift my ideas over time. Don’t others here want to learn from debate?

        It seems that some in political forums have their ideas set in concrete but I find their lack of willingness to consider alternative facts and opinions is weird and frustrating. And I find it odd that others seem to see a willingness to adjust ideas to changing times and learning facts a problem.

        Much of New Zealand politics is trying to find ‘middle ground’. That’s why those on the entrenched hard left and hard right get annoyed and frustrated. With politics (and with me I guess).

        But middle ground itself shifts. Marriage equality is a good example. Civil unions became middle ground a decade ago. I thought it was a good balance – until I had discussions with people at a gay business group organised campaign meeting in 2011. I understood their point and became a strong support of marriage equality. And it became ‘middle ground’ in that it ended up being strongly supported in Parliament (and John Key’s influence in that deserves to be acknowledged).

        There’s other things I support that aren’t yet middle ground. I think we should separate from the monarchy. I accept it will be a while before that happens. I support reviewing cannabis law but don’t think it will happen this term unfortunately. I strongly support a change of flag and there’s a chance of achieving that soon. I hope others will shift their ideas on those issues over time.

        Does anyone here not learn and respond and shift their ideas over time?

        What in practical politics in New Zealand is ‘positional and clear’?

        That we will be taxed for sure. That there will be social welfare and healthcare for sure. But Governments have to find some sort of middle ground on all policies.

        • phillip ure

          “..Don’t others here want to learn from debate?..”

          this is yr pretension/conceit..that you have anything of any interest to say..

          ..that you have something to ‘teach’..

          ..(hint:..you don’t..)

          ..and the rest of yr comment is just yr usual rambling disingenuous bullshit..

          ..overlaid with a heavy dose of ‘poor me!’..

          ..i mean..do you even fool yrslf..?

          • Northshoredoc

            Oh Phil, you really shoul be directing that comment at yourself.

            • phillip ure

              haven’t you got meetings with glad-handing big pharma reps..their pockets stuffed with inducements/’new’ drugs to experiment with..

              ..to be getting on with..?

              ..and as an animal-eating/pill-pushing pot-reactionary ‘health’-person..

              ..you certainly do have a lot to ‘learn’..

              • Northshoredoc

                @pu ..no as I said before that does not happen in NZ.

                Although I do believe one of the staff has bought in some lovely scones for morning tea.

                • and i said before..yes it does..

                  ..and if the scones have cream and jam..?

                  ..that is clear evidence of ‘corruption’..

                  • northshoredoc

                    @PU I had no idea you were a health care professional……… where do you practice ?

                • Manuka AOR

                  @Northshoredoc: “that does not happen in NZ.”

                  ❓ ❓

                  ” Doctors and nurses accepted drug company-funded trips, meals and gifts worth almost $170,000 last year amid growing concern about the freebies’ potential to influence medical decisions.

                  “District health board gift registers obtained under the Official Information Act show health workers accepted 109 drug company “gifts”, including overseas trips flying business class.” Many more details at the link: http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/health/9933603/Growing-concern-over-medical-freebies

                  • Pfffft… 109 drug company gifts ……… wooped de do..how many health care professionals are there in NZ ?

                    I’ve still yet to see any evidence of big pharma in NZ corrupting prescribing practice of medical professionals…

                    • Sacha

                      Big pharma do not need to bribe practitioners in NZ, thanks to us letting them advertise directly to consumers unlike nearly everywhere else in the world.

                    • northshoredoc

                      @Sacha quite so…… although we have very little advertising of prescription medicines in NZ.

                      As I explained to Phillip with the advent of PHARMAC and formularies there is little point in the companies spending lots to advertise their products apart from the own vanity.

              • disturbed

                10000% PU. ++++++++
                “dirty Doctors” read the book as it is in NZ also for sure just follow the money trail.

        • lprent

          …but I find their lack of willingness to consider alternative facts and opinions is weird and frustrating.

          I generally find your inability to bring any substantiated facts or thought through opinions to the table that is so weird and frustrating.

          In your examples above for instance…

          I could never see any reason to criminalize and stigmatize homosexuals as far back as I can remember. I have also never heard anyone give a good explanation about why there should have been such proscriptions apart from some kind of stupid bigotry. Perhaps you could expound on why you ever thought there was a reason to not allow gay marriage? Moreover it was a relatively simple thing to do at any functional level.

          The monarchy I really couldn’t give a damn about. However I can see quite a lot of reasons for wanting to be extremely cautious about detaching from it. When you look at it from a legal angle the institution of a monarchical head of state is massively entwined throughout our legal and governmental systems. In a large part most of the checks and balances in our style and process of government are dependent on it. The job of detachment will require a major shift throughout most of the law.

          I won’t link these because I’m rushing to work. But I am sure that you will get the idea. What you always tend to point to is the current consensus as the weigh point of a standard. What you never seem to do is to have an actual informed opinion that has looked at the basic issues, nor examined your own prejudices.

          Consequently you come across as conservative and kind of stupid.

          • RedLogix

            I could never see any reason to criminalize and stigmatize homosexuals as far back as I can remember.

            Yeah but you’re special. 🙂

          • Pete George

            I could never see any reason to criminalize and stigmatize homosexuals as far back as I can remember.

            Me neither, but I don’t think that makes me special.

            Consequently you come across as conservative and kind of stupid.

            You seem to claim that anyone you disagree with is stupid. That seems very stupid to me.

        • Stuart Munro

          Your premise that the role of politicians is to compromise is not especially solid – whether left or right, people expect politicians to keep their promises as much or more than they expect that they compromise. I’d have considerably more time for the Key junta, for example, had their promise of 170 000 new jobs or a serious attempt to resolve the housing crisis been anything more than cynical window dressing.

          Sometimes governments do need to find middle ground – but just as often they must stand firm to prevent the erosion of important cultural properties, such as the decent society. The last few crops of NZ MPs have not excelled on the integrity parameter – but compromise was everywhere abundant.

  21. Gosman 21

    What is Matthew Hooton’s ‘stake in the game’ exactly? He seems to he quite upfront on any advocacy work he is doing on any subject he is discussing?

  22. Gosman 22

    What is the definition of ‘Dirty politics’ then?

  23. Gosman 23

    Matthew Horton is dirty politics is he? How so?

    Seems like your definition might just be people expressing opinions you disagree with.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 23.1

      How about passing personal details to criminals in the hope that it means “chop chop”? Is that right wing enough for you?

  24. Gosman 24

    That would be illegal so therefore I presume the Police are Looking in 5 this. Also Matthew Hooton regularly posts here. What did he state about these allegations. Considering he was very damning of John Key’s office over the Dirty politics saga it seems to be incongruous that he would do so if he was in fact guilty of much worse behaviour.

  25. MrSmith 25

    They do it for the money Stephanie.

    So how to make them look up, well simply hit them in the pocket, really, the only way to make the right look up and change what they are doing, is if it involves them losing their money, their reputations mean nothing if they have none, money that is. Were do they get their money? Well from the suckers&fools on the left of-course, who mostly are still praying some knight in shin…., or god or regulation will save them, take away the money by pointing out that by buying these products or services you are enabling the few, to screw you.

  26. reason 26

    Dirty Politics is now a Brand ………… or it should be.

    It’s a brand of nasty ugly corrupt dishonest misfits and their actions as revealed and detailed in Nicky Hagers book.

    Dirty politics is a national party pyramid scheme with John Key sitting atop of the whole stinking thing.

    The cast in the Dirty Politics book just need the Brand applied with a bit more heat … so they must always wear it.

    For instance did John Key really call a grieving mother a ‘feral bitch’ when he rang to commiserate with Slater over the abuse the oily one was copping for his infamous ‘dead feral’ post in relation to the womans deceased son ??? ……..

    Brands take a while to establish and grow ….. Hagers book is getting read by more and more people.

    The Dirty Politics Brand is as blue as blubber boy, key, farrar, collins and the rest of the creeps who make up the cast of sick characters in the book.

    Its a brand that is about truth ………….. horrible ugly revealing truth.

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