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The politics of nastiness

Written By: - Date published: 8:45 am, February 11th, 2014 - 162 comments
Categories: election 2014, john key, Judith Collins, national, Politics - Tags:

Is this election year going to be the most vicious in recent history?

There’s always a bit of argy-bargy in politics, and sometimes it’s personal.  Despite the best of intentions, it’s impossible for people’s families and backgrounds to never be part of the conversation, because often they themselves bring it up – whether it’s John Key growing up in a state house or David Cunliffe being the son of a country minister, Holly Walker talking about her own experiences of motherhood, Darien Fenton speaking publicly about her past struggle with addiction, the personal story is everywhere in politics.  And sometimes this means it gets turned into a weapon by the other side (whichever side you’re on.)

But there’s surely a line between personal attacks which can maybe be excused by the political argument behind them, and, well, just plain calling someone an idiot, or a “sensitive wee sausage”.

And I don’t know why the National Party have decided to cross that line, multiple times, in the past week.  I really don’t know why John Key would cross it today after the Mean-Girls-style attack on Metiria Turei backfired, getting her pride of place on Campbell Live having a nice chat about how normal and inoffensive she is.

The first assumption is desperation.  Are National seeing bad internal polling?  Have they run out of policy ideas?

The second is more Machiavellian.  Is there some cunning long game in play?  Is it the political equivalent of a Guy Ritchie film where all the seemingly random threads will tie together in an astounding knockdown conclusion?

I honestly don’t know.  So let’s hash it out in the comments!

162 comments on “The politics of nastiness”

  1. Chooky 1

    i think NACT and their monied Neo Lib backers are desperate….the plans may have been hatched behind the scenes ….but it is uncoordinated arson fire lighting…..ie .dont have an end game in mind except to win

    …..and it is counterproductive because it is showing them up for what they really are….MEAN SPIRITED and DESPERATE

    …previous National Party Leaders /politicians would never have stooped to this

    ….eg Holyoak( positively statesman like), Muldoon ( could be bitchy and mean but never organised pack dog personal attacks behind the scenes) Jenny Shipley ( I dont think so…too much of a decent feminist herself),Bolger would not have stooped to this( too much respect for his wife and other women)

    • MaxFletcher 1.1

      “Muldoon ( could be bitchy and mean but never organised pack dog personal attacks behind the scenes)”

      Remember the Moyle affair? That was pretty damn nasty

      • Tim 1.1.1

        The Moyle Affair – quite possibly the start of it all in NZ but I agree with Chooky in the respect that some of those old Nats would never have stooped – Holyoake, Bolger, McKinnon even, and others. Which is why I have no hesitation in throwing back a bit of shit at Finlayson from time to time – sauce for the goose, source for the gander and all that. Which is also why I have no hesitation in repeating the BoQ remarks I hear from what’s best described as his ‘demographic’. I only wish they’d tell him to his face. (Perhaps some do as he laughs all the way to the bank in preparation for his impending solitude)

      • Chooky 1.1.2

        @ MaxFletcher forgot about that ….yes agreed….it was brutal and unforgivable ….Moyle was an exceptionally good Minister of Agriculture and was put down/out by Muldoon playing the homophobia legality card

        …..Muldoon was also savage to Rowling calling him a “mouse” i think….Rowling could have of course retaliated by calling Muldoon a “fat gin swilling rat” instead of battling on taking the high ground…and looking more and more like what Muldoon was calling him

        ….I guess the difference between Muldoon and Key’s NACT is that Muldoon always did his own dirty work…it was not orchestrated pack dog bullying

  2. Bunji 2

    Of course sometimes the personal story is forced out, when, for example, a tabloid says – we’re going to run a story on your addiction of 40 years ago, do you want to write it or shall we? …

    The question is – who tipped them off?

    • Stephanie Rodgers 2.1

      That’s very troubling, Bunji. As OAB commented below, Darien did handle the story very well if that’s the case.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 2.1.1

        I don’t think it’s especially troubling; I think it’s pretty desperate, akshully, and Fenton’s response showed how weak it was too.

        And of course anyone can light fires, and the Tories still have Kim and John’s trials coming up 😈

        • phillip ure 2.1.1.1

          re fenton:..

          ..that was not the first time fenton has mentioned her previous addiction..

          ..i knew about it..because i had read about it before..

          ..phillip ure..

  3. Anne 3

    John Key’s top drawer is wide open and the scandal sheets contained therein are being carefully disseminated one by one. Interesting NAct seems to be concentrating on woman Opposition MPs but that maybe for starters. Perhaps they regard the women as being easy meat because they are women, so they are getting them ‘out of the way’ early.

    I have it on good authority that the reason Darien Fenton went public over her former heroin addiction (40 years ago note) was because she became aware that the Herald already had the details and were going to publish them. Now I wonder who was the selected harbinger of that bit of information to the Herald. I can’t think who it might have been – can you? (sarc)

    • One Anonymous Bloke 3.1

      That’s interesting. Assuming the rumour is true, Fenton turned it around very well. The other people on The Right Honourable John Key, Prime Minister’s hate list take note.

    • JK 3.2

      Anne – while you’re on here – can you throw any light into what went on between the Ozzies and Helen Clark re the social welfare cuts to NZers living/working in Oz. David C has said he wasn’t in Cabinet at that time and someone else mentioned that Helen was coerced into the so-called “deal”. Do you have any other info ? ?

      And back to Stephanie – I think ShonKey is trying things out …. seeing how much of the shit he (and his women colleagues) throws at Opposition MPs will be swallowed whole by other NZers and at what level, other NZers will puke about it.

      Also – the more he throws, maybe the more we’ll all get used to it, and ACCEPT it ! ? ! ? My thoughts anyway ……

      • Anne 3.2.1

        No JK I have no knowledge of that deal but if David C wasn’t yet in Clark’s Cabinet then it must have occurred during the early part of her PMship when John Howard was Aussie PM. She would have done all she could behind closed doors but with a right wing conservative like Howard – who was doing it for political points anyway – she was doomed to failure.

        • Tracey 3.2.1.1

          To answer the key supporters on here yesterday… how much influence do they think nat mps outside cabinet have impacted nat implementation in the last 5 years

        • PapaMike 3.2.1.2

          I always understood that Helen and John Howard got on very well, outside the public eye.

        • lprent 3.2.1.3

          It was 2001. David C had been in parliament for two years. Form memory he didn’t hit cabinet even as an associate until after the 2002 election. In 2001 he’d have still been finding out how select committees operated.

      • wtl 3.2.2

        I remember reading an article about the deal some time ago but cannot remember where it was. What I do remember is that the racist Howard government wanted to discriminate between NZ citizens born in NZ and NZ citizens born outside NZ (in terms of giving them rights in Australia). As the Clark-led Labour government rightly realized that such discrimination was incompatible with the actual concept of NZ citizenship, a compromise brokered were all NZers were given Special Category Visas that allowed them to work in Australia but not receive other benefits.

      • SHG (not Colonial Viper) 3.2.3

        someone else mentioned that Helen was coerced into the so-called “deal”

        Coerced? It was a simple cost-benefit decision. Australia was paying a billion dollars a year in welfare to NZ immigrants and being reimbursed only a small fraction of that (in 2000 it was 130 million). Moreover the combination of Australia’s strict immigration policies, NZ’s relaxed immigration policies, and Australia’s open border with NZ meant that would-be immigrants to Australia – particularly from Pacific Island nations and Hong Kong in the time around the Chinese handover – would be denied Australian entry and then simply move to NZ and use NZ residency to enter Australia.

        The Howard Government asked the Clark Government to do two things: reimburse Australia more for the welfare it was paying to NZers in Australia, and tighten up NZ’s immigration policies to try and prevent immigrants using NZ as a backdoor into Australia.

        The Clark Government rejected the Australian request for increased reimbursement, and it rejected the idea of changing NZ immigration laws. So the Howard Government said “well we can’t afford to keep doing this” and made NZ immigrants to Australia on Special Category (444) Visas ineligible for just about all welfare payments while retaining the right to enter and work in Australia freely.

        • One Anonymous Bloke 3.2.3.1

          Yesterday the line from this spinner was “This is a mess of Labour’s making”.

          Today it’s all about John Howard whipping up bigotry over the amount the Aussies were paying in welfare to NZers by the end of the 1990s, after nine years of National governments.

          In previous remarks, the spinner has all but admitted that it would have liked to see NZ cede sovereignty over immigration policy to John Howard.

          So we can see where the spinner’s sympathies lie.

          • SHG (not Colonial Viper) 3.2.3.1.1

            “This is a mess of Labour’s making”.

            It is. Clark could have compromised but instead decided that supporting NZ citizens in Australia was money that didn’t need to be spent and that tightening up NZ immigration might disrupt the steady flow of potential Labour voters moving to South Auckland.

            • One Anonymous Bloke 3.2.3.1.1.1

              Thank you for making my point for me. I was trying to be subtle, but I was implying that your sympathies lie attached like barnacles to the bottom of the bigot barrel, and there you go confirming it. Again.

            • ghostwhowalksnz 3.2.3.1.1.2

              Well if the ‘steady flow’ of potential voters were going on to Australia , that wouldnt help Labour in South Auckland ( or anywhere, we have MMP remember)

              What a total load of tosh you write. Pacific island immigration was heavily restricted by 2000.

    • joe90 3.3

      This prick has made numerous references over at the sewer to Darien’s past.

    • Tracey 3.4

      Are you referring to info received from the secret service being in his top drawer? I recall him mentioning his top drawer but cant recall the context.

      • Anne 3.4.1

        He talked about having been sent all sorts of stories and other bits of information (I paraphrase) and he kept them in his top drawer because… grin, grin:

        You never know when they might become of interest.

        They would have originated from a variety of sources and we can only speculate who they might have been.

    • SHG (not Colonial Viper) 3.5

      That Darien Fenton is a former heroin addict is common knowledge and has been for, well, ever. No-one cares. There was no story to “break”. It was just a handy tie-in for the paper to capitalise on the Hoffman overdose story.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 3.5.1

        Three possibilities there then.

        1. Bunji and Anne’s source(s) is/are mistaken.

        2. You are mistaken.

        3. You are spinning like a top, as usual.

        • SHG (not Colonial Viper) 3.5.1.1

          Well 2 seconds of Googling spits out magazine articles and media posts about Darien Fenton’s heroin addiction and methadone treatment all the way back to 2006, so anyone acting surprised about her addiction must have been living under a rock for the past decade.

          • One Anonymous Bloke 3.5.1.1.1

            Did you read Bunji’s comment? Or Anne’s?

            Let’s run through them together, shall we? The rumour is that Fenton received notice from The Herald that they were running the story with or without her. She controlled the message.

            Marty Mars’ reference to putting out fires is apt.

            “There is a proper season for making attacks with fire, and special days for starting a conflagration.”

            So there’s that too. Oh, and you running around with a scoop and a shovel saying “nothing to see here, no dirty tricks, move along…”

        • Anne 3.5.1.2

          Source impeccable.

          • karol 3.5.1.2.1

            When I saw the Fenton story online a couple of days ago, I assumed she was front footing something that the NActs were going to use against Fenton.

          • One Anonymous Bloke 3.5.1.2.2

            No such thing as a single impeccable source. Three or more is usually pretty good though, so long as they’re being fed separately.

          • phillip ure 3.5.1.2.3

            @ anne..

            ..given the provn long history of fenton banging on about her past addiction..

            ..it wd seem yr ‘impeccable source’ is full of it..

            ..eh..?

            ..where is the/any surprise/scandal here..?

            ..what possible threat cd the herald present to fenton..?

            ..and then fenton went to the herald with her story..?

            ..and that all hangs together for you..?

            ..really..?

            ..phillip ure..

  4. mickysavage 4

    This year I expect the names Simon Lusk, Jason Ede and a particular gentleman who goes by the name of Policy Parrot will pop up in relation to the dissemation of various sorts of “information” …

  5. shorts 5

    the use of putdowns actually appeals to many (voters) – this is why National MPs do it… this is why Whaleoil has an audience… its lazy and puerile yet works a treat

    Us kiwis love a good putdown, for some reason (insecurity?) – I very much doubt this applies across all the ethnic groups here but Europeans definitely do – be it sledging at cricket or whatever happens on a rugby field…. our comedians do little else in their pursuit of laughs etc etc etc.

    The question is, is it an effective vote catching tool – I doubt it but it sure captures headlines

    Needless to say there are much more intelligent means to debate and debase your opponents but those don’t capture mainstream kiwis in quite the same manner – refer our anti intellectualism

    • One Anonymous Bloke 5.1

      There’s a big difference between making people laugh – a quite legitimate debating technique if you ask me – and using cherry picked personal details as political leverage.

      • shorts 5.1.1

        I totally agree – one requires skill the other a very nasty streak (being a bully and coward helps)

        • One Anonymous Bloke 5.1.1.1

          Bullies need two things: an audience, and their victim’s assistance. They get both often enough that it becomes learned behaviour, and is often rewarded, but we all know what happens when the intended victim doesn’t play along.

    • Jan 5.2

      I agree, shorts. There are a significant number of people in this country who have quite low emotional IQs, and who really get off on this nastiness. Neoliberals will be more inclined towards it because empathy to others is anathema to the philosophy they live by anyway

  6. phil 6

    I have been in a political election where manure was thrown by the encumbent politician and that person got the boot by the voters. Here’s hoping.

  7. Ad 7

    It’s partly Labour’s fault.
    – Labour’s policies are not (yet) sufficiently bold to hold the centre of media discourse
    – Len Brown opened the personal up himself
    – David Cunliffe is not (yet) multi-dimensional and appears not to have a common touch, despite a great and undersold back story

    The above are solvable in time, with sound media management. But we are running out of time in 2014.

    Whereas the Greens have two resonant words running well in the MSM: “rivers” and “drilling”.
    They also play a better defensive game when it’s on – witness Turei getting shot at the knife-fight, and coming back with a lit bomb.

    Lange or Muldoon would not have stood for being called “stupid” yesterday; they would have their own tough/resonant/cutting comeback.

    • Tracey 7.1

      Labour has been v quiet with comebacks. Not matching nasty but making a pithy policy related statement.

      • Ad 7.1.1

        You mean “losing”

        If DC doesn’t have comebacks, hire staff who can.

        You think John Stewart writes the whole show every night?

        • Tracey 7.1.1.1

          Sorry????

        • weka 7.1.1.2

          Obviously. You think Cunliffe hasn’t hired any staff? Do you think the drink him under the table comment was Cunliffe’s or his advisors’?

          Mostly my comment was to point out that we can’t expect every leader to be Muldoon or Lange. The other issue here is Labour’s tardiness at getting messages and responses out, although they seem better than they used to.

          • Ad 7.1.1.2.1

            The staff Cunliffe has hired are not working.

            “Drink him under the table” is hard to credit it’s so bad.

            He sure ain’t Muldoon or Lange, so he better start being Cunliffe in a manner that’s smarter and funnier and sharper than Key and Collins and Tolley and the lot of them. He’s not there to be polite or calm: he’s there to beat his political opponents.

            Even Shane Jones’ one-liners are better right now.

            For the organisational effort to get Cunliffe into where he is now, a whole lot of people expected better than this. He and his staff – particularly now with Wendy gone – seriously need to improve.

            • weka 7.1.1.2.1.1

              Good points.

            • Chooky 7.1.1.2.1.2

              Ad….why dont you offer your services?…i find what you have to say quite to the point as to what is going wrong with Labour’s campaign…

              …..to my way of thinking this Labour Party needs to come out fighting…it still seems to be a party of entitlement hoping things will fall into its lap

              ….it needs to get out the Gorilla and the Guerilla ( could also enlist some on the left social media sites to help….all that rough raw talent put behind the offensive)

    • weka 7.2

      “Lange or Muldoon would not have stood for being called “stupid” yesterday; they would have their own tough/resonant/cutting comeback.”

      Right, but does that mean Cunliffe should even if its not in his nature? Some people have that capacity, others don’t. I agree Labour need to up their game here, but the question is how.

      • Tracey 7.2.1

        I wasnt in cabinet in 2001. John is running the show.

        • weka 7.2.1.1

          I think you missed my point Tracey. If Cunliffe doesn’t have the kind of brain or personality to do that, then what? Although reading the bit today about being able to drink Key under the table, I’m not sure if this is about Cunliffe or the Labour strategic team/advisors.

          • SHG (not Colonial Viper) 7.2.1.1.1

            The “I could drink John Key under the table” retort was cringeworthy.

            • Tracey 7.2.1.1.1.1

              Can you point me to your derision of keys comment about beating cunliffe at pong.

              Tia

              • c’mon tracey..!

                ..cunnliffes’ dick-waving/i can drink more than you boast..

                ..sucked and blew on every level..

                ..if someone advised him to try that peurile out-macho-ing..

                ..they should be fired..

                ..and i watched/commented on parl q-time today..

                ..and my reading was that cunnliffe handled that interaction with key perfectly..

                ..cunnliffe was leaning in..and flustering key..with facts/probing questions..

                ..(norman used the same tactic..similarly effectively..)

                ..and key was serially insulting/trying to bait cunnliffe..

                ..as i said..

                ..cunnliffe handled it perfectly..

                ..so..where did that drinking brain-fart come from..?

                ..an adviser..?

                ..phillip ure..

          • Tracey 7.2.1.1.2

            My reply was to ad

      • McFlock 7.2.2

        pleasenofish pleasenofish pleasenofish pleasenofish pleasenofish pleasenofish 🙂

        That’s what happens when people try to go out of their character to satisfy the chattering hordes.

    • BM 7.3

      Whereas the Greens have two resonant words running well in the MSM: “rivers” and “drilling”.
      They also play a better defensive game when it’s on – witness Turei getting shot at the knife-fight, and coming back with a lit bomb.

      The greens seem to have Campbell live in their back pocket.
      Not sure if John Campbell is a paid up green party member but from little bits of his show I’ve seen it seems to look like it, if I remember correctly he did admit to being a Alliance party member.

      Unlike the greens,Labour’s lack of friends in the media really is causing the party issues.

      • Tracey 7.3.1

        John key is running the whole shooting match and couldnt get a concession from a right wing ally who wants him at g20. That makes key cheap and impotent.

        If he cant get anything from the budgie smuggler his golf and g20 appearances are just him being used not advancing nz.

        • BM 7.3.1.1

          Why would Abbot give Key a concession.?
          There’s nothing but lose in this for Abbot.

          • Chooky 7.3.1.1.1

            Key is not fighting hard enough for ordinary New Zealanders ?…why?.

            …Is it true that Australian companies have been lined up to construct the New NACT Motorways?…..

            …are there bigger NACT cronyist monied interests at play here?

            …Labour should axe these motorways!

            • BM 7.3.1.1.1.1

              Key is not fighting hard enough for ordinary New Zealanders

              What’s the definition of an ordinary New Zealander?

              Is it true that Australian companies have been lined up to construct the New NACT Motorways?

              No idea, but if they were involved I’d say it would be more in a project management sort of way.
              I some how doubt vast numbers of Ockers are about to jump the ditch and build the motorways instead of kiwi workers.

              • Chooky

                “ordinary New Zealander”….those small NZ businesses supplying Australian supermarkets

                Transmission Gully …Fletchers Construction ….changed now to Australian Construction Company?

              • Tracey

                No idea. .. and yet you are certain key had nothing to persuade abbott. I dont know the intricacies but you asset you do.

              • Tracey

                Why would you doubt that? Why would you doubt an ozzie owned company wld take taxpayer money and take the profit back to ozzie?

          • Tracey 7.3.1.1.2

            Why would a g20 nation give us anything?

        • PapaMike 7.3.1.2

          You are assuming the John Key will be the New Zealand representative at the G20 talks.
          With David Cunliffe as PM it will be his role.

      • Ad 7.3.2

        You are getting to the source of the problem: poor direction and messaging from the opposition leaders’ office.

    • Stephanie Rodgers 7.4

      I have to disagree on Len Brown opening up the personal side himself. In the strictest terms of being the person who had the affair, certainly he played a role, but the public scandal side of things was orchestrated and initiated by the likes of Cameron Slater. And I think he could find a way to create scandal around Suzy Cato if he wanted to.

      • Ad 7.4.1

        Whaleoil was not the cause of the story – Brown was – and the Pope himself would have had difficulty turning it into a mere distraction from the “purity” of policy discussions.
        It was going to come out somewhere at great speed and volume – his fault.

        Far more troubling today is Wendy Brandon resigning from David Cunliffe’s office, from a stress-related illness.

        It links to your post in that it’s another calculus of the human cost of being a politician or indeed managing them. It is a deeply dehumanising sport.

        And I would reluctantly admit it bus the absolute historical model of being a good politician and a dignified human being at the same time, is Jeanette Fitzsimmons. Class.

        • tinfoilhat 7.4.1.1

          “And I would reluctantly admit it bus the absolute historical model of being a good politician and a dignified human being at the same time, is Jeanette Fitzsimmons. Class.”

          Agreed ..and you can add Rod Donald to that list as well.

        • Stephanie Rodgers 7.4.1.2

          I still have to disagree. Nobody lives a blameless life, and people like Cameron Slater will always be able to find, if not manufacture, a scandal. This is unfortunately especially true given the way he is sometimes treated as a credible source by people in the NZ media.

      • toad 7.4.2

        Slater will be fair spewing that he missed out on the Fenton story.

        • BM 7.4.2.1

          I thought it was fairly common knowledge.

          Also I don’t think whale oil would put the boot into Fenton about her heroin addiction, people who fight their demons and win deserve praise not derision.

          He’d put the boot in about her union and political views though.

      • ghostwhowalksnz 7.4.3

        Dont forget the puppeteer behind Slater and Brewer is John Banks

        A bit like Lyndon Johnson , after he went to the White House as Vice President and later President, he still ran politics back in Texas

  8. Pasupial 8

    Nact only have KiddyWhacker Craig as a possible coalition partner with the probable; demise of Untied History, and; the remnants of the MP going back home to Labour once Turia leaves parliament. Sure, there’s NZF, but Winston is going to want Key’s scalp as part of his price – and he might even get it too.

    Given all that, in their position I’d be trying to paint the opposition MPs as a bunch of kooks myself. Any dirt that might stick to the Reds or DevilBeasts will be slung in the coming months. But the compost heap that they’ve been building in Key’s drawers will eventually be exhausted. And the thing with digging through manure is that you soon come to stink of shit yourself.

    The question is; should the left retaliate in kind? Or, given the heavily biased media environment; should they stick to dotting all the i-s and crossing the t-s on their policies, so as to minimise opportunities for creative misinterpretations?

    • Clemgeopin 8.1

      It would be a BIG mistake for Labour to retaliate by resorting to Key’s gutter style of personal attacks and derogatory words.

      The way to win the election is..
      [1] Laughing off Nat’s nasty comments by taking the high ground or by ignoring their nastiness or by witty low key retorts. Don’t poke the nasty snakes. Stun them by superior tactics.
      [2] Attack their pro-wealthy and anti-worker, anti-common folk policies.
      [3] Keep the focus/debate on serious issues such as the asset sales, GCSB, housing, poverty, unemployment, price gauging by the corporates, education, health etc.
      [4] Periodically keep making high profile announcements of bold new social, economic and environmental policies.
      [5] Find ways of giving lots of publicity of the Labour party policies so that every voter or as many as possible, are aware of them.

      In other words, don’t sweat the small stuff. Leave that to Key and his nasty crew.

      • Chooky 8.1.1

        +100 Clemgeopin

        …use every NACT attack by demanding a right of reply in the media

        …..and then use that media space to turn around the attack on its tail
        …. as well as hitting the media with another very attractive Election Policy
        ….all the time stressing how NACT is rorting ordinary NZers

  9. Northshoreguynz 9

    I’ve always been a believe in the cock-up theory of history. Very rarely are things as orchestrated as they seem to be. The Nats are flailing around, slinging mud hoping some of it sticks.

  10. Tracey 10

    It cant be down to polling cos the polls are ok for them so far. Have they become worried labour will launch a john key is a liar campaign. So to negate the impact they are doing it first to neutralise?

    Perhaps they think its enough to keep their current base. Afterall the supporters of key on here leap on cunliffe but ex use key every time. This suggests the name calling and meaness appeals to john key supporters.

    • Colonial Viper 10.1

      National’s internal polling is likely to be quite a bit more intricate and regular than the media polls. If there is trouble out there, they will spot it and understand it well before it appears anywhere else.

  11. It seems to be politics 101 really – fire lots of arrows and see which ones draw blood – meanwhile your opponents are fighting fires, you get to set the agenda of the narrative and if they try the same tactic back halfheartedly, then you can call a foul and say that’s not fair. Hone has shown how to combat it and that is to front foot it and push it back into their faces as Met also did. I don’t think cunliffe saying he could drink key under the table is the best way to go – very goffy, very catch up – he’d be better to laugh at key and keep laughing – key will crack with that strategy imo.

    • Bill 11.1

      I thought it was Key saying he could drink Cunliffe under the table. I’ll assume I missed something – Cunliffe’s reaction. Depressing.

      Totally agree that Hone seems to be very good in responding to bullshit. Metiria did well recently too, although I initially doubted her reaction.

      Dismissively laughing the fuckers out of the discourse while hammering on about serious matters would be my broad game plan.

        • BM 11.1.1.1

          I reckon Cunliffe would be puking his ring out after a couple of bottles.
          My money would be definitely on Key.

          Having said that though Cunliffe, would certainly get a lift in cred if he did challenge Key to a drinking competition.

          Maybe seven sharp could organize something.?

          • fender 11.1.1.1.1

            I reckon you should get yourself a crate of absinthe , take it round to Keys party pad, skull the lot, then take a dip in his swimming pool together.

            • rhinocrates 11.1.1.1.1.1

              Or just compare dicks behind the bike sheds? God, this is so pathetic.

              Mind you, bankster that he his, Key should challenge David Cunliffe to a coke-snorting contest.

              Points would be awarded not only for the number of lines, but the denominations of the rolled-up notes used.

              • fender

                Yes, some days more than others Bowel Motion really confirms his name is appropriate, and proves overwhelmingly that it also describes where his thoughts originate.

                Key looks like he could do a line the length of the country in one go, greedy bankster prick! He’s looking rather pale lately; too many pub-toilet pick-me-ups?!

              • rhinocrates

                There could even be a live commentary, with Rat-Boy Gower. “Look at the skill at which John Key has rolled that hundred-dollar note! Yes, his red braces are shining in an homage to the classic films, Wall Street and American Psycho, and he his bending over the mirror with five lines laid out before him… but wait, it seems that he has been entranced by the mirror. The struggle surely ensues – will it be the reflection or the coke that triumphs?”

                • fender

                  With Hekia standing nearby repeating over and over: “see I told you he’s just like a rock-star.”

                  • rhinocrates

                    Next he’ll wear leather pants and drive a Rolls Royce into the swimming pool… with an EPIC guitar solo!

                    Oh God, I’m getting my decades confused.

                    Well, I guess that what happens when even the experts say that you have a “rock star economy” crossed with the 80s.

                    Keith Moon for PM!

            • PapaMike 11.1.1.1.1.2

              Hasn’t Davids’ party pad got a pool also ?

              • fender

                Couldn’t tell you the answer to that Papa.

                However I’m not sure David would welcome a visit from a creep like BM, whereas Key would probably welcome BM (birds of a feather) especially once he sees BM brought a crate of absinthe.

            • Tim 11.1.1.1.1.3

              Personally, I’d give ’em a load of Methadone and let them flail around whilst RadioLive & ZB News bulletins broadcast full tit in the background.

          • Tracey 11.1.1.1.2

            If you believe any of that, god help us all

          • McFlock 11.1.1.1.3

            I love the way tories are always trying to bring the opposition down to their own level, rather than raising their own game into actually having policies they can defend.

  12. Craig Y 12

    As far as I’m concerned, I’m going to ignore these personality musical chairs games and focus on substantive policy developments and questions. The rest of us should do the same.

  13. Tracey 13

    Interesting picture to run with article when everyone knows key joyce and other selective men run nationals strategy.

  14. Sosoo 14

    The idea is to position National as the dominant party and Labour as the crybaby complaining to the teacher. This appeals to the authoritarian followers who vote for National and makes Labour look weak.

    Labour needs to attack National on the basis of character. Collins is an obvious target. Ridicule is the best response. No bully can stand being made to look ridiculous.

    • rhinocrates 14.1

      People say that satire and art are ineffectual, but when you see the death lists dictators draw up, satirists and artists are always high up. Collins is certainly ripe for ridicule, as her whole persona is based on being “serious” and can’t respond cleverly by playing along as it would undermine that (when Key has played on being “relakshed”). Somehow, I think that “The Lighter Side of Judith Collins” articles in Granny and The Woman’s Weekly which will come when Key seems weak still won’t seem very convincing.

      • Colonial Viper 14.1.1

        Absolutely, art (performance or otherwise) appeals to the unconscious, and communicates subversive messages that rationalism simply cannot. Poets, playwrights, artists etc usually end up in labour camps or simply disappeared (physically or economically).

  15. rhinocrates 15

    It’s long been known that the major parties at least have their own “nuclear deterrents” that they’ve always held in reserve (perhaps with the exception of the Moyle affair, back in the days). It’s interesting that the Nats are opening their silos now.

    Darien Fenton certainly turned it around well, as did Meteria Turei with the fairly minor “castle” and “designer jacket” jabs. Thankfully some of these people are media-savvy, which gives me hope after Gaffe and Mumblefuck.

    Expect more attempts at blackmail, expect Whalecum and the Penguin to go into overdrive, expect Hoots to spin fast enough to power the country if someone connected him to a generator, start hunting for David Cunliffe’s birth certificate and drop hints about how he’s rumoured to eat deep-fried babyburgers in a particularly lazy fashion.

    I’m no fan of Len Brown, but what he’s had to endure is not a one-off. In military terminology, it’s not tactics (local, one-off) or even strategy (towards the greater goal), it’s doctrine (this is how we do it).

    … and expect that fool Mike Williams to say “I agree with Matthew.”

  16. Ben 16

    A man who calls his main political opponent an ‘idiot’, is a stupid idiot!

  17. Crunchtime 17

    The KeyNats are getting really nasty because they are desperate.

    Cunliffe hit the right note with his recent Facebook update, I think…

    “All week the National Party trolls have claimed I was somehow responsible for law changes in Australia in 2001. Actually I’d never been appointed a Minister or Member of Cabinet then…”

    https://www.facebook.com/david.cunliffe.labour

    • rhinocrates 17.1

      Well done! This guy knows the art of the soundbite.

      • Crunchtime 17.1.1

        I hope Mr Cunliffe continues with liberal use of the T word for the Nats, even if it would automatically put him into moderation on The Standard… Hahahahahaha.

  18. McFlock 18

    Fenton is targeted MP number three or four this year? Pretty obvious the nactoids aren’t expecting too much in the way of “economic recovery”.

    These are opening salvos. The nats are plugging them out to see what works with the nation, and as soon as they find a nerve they’ll jump on it every chance they get. On the flipside, as long as the opposition don’t overreact it just looks more and more like petty noise and bullying bluster.

    It’s quite obvious that, having failed at policy and outcomes, the nactoids are just working through a filing cabinet that more reputable legions of darkness would have simply used for blackmail.

    Expect a couple of juicy numbers on cunliffe and norman and one or two other senior mps to be held for the campaign itself. Though the nactoids are dumb enough to fire everything without priority, you never know.

  19. captain hook 19

    he is not an idiot, he is a cretinous imbecile!
    He cant remember where he was in 1981 and now hooton has manufactured claims that donkeyohtay has always harbored the ambition to have four terms of office just like jacka.
    give usa ll abreak will ya.
    he is a carpetbagger and and its starting to wear very thin.

    • rhinocrates 19.1

      captain hook, you have just insulted idiots, cretinous imbeciles, donkeys and carpetbaggers. I suggest that you apologise 🙂

  20. Blue 20

    It’s nothing new. John Key has always had a nasty streak that he is usually somewhat careful about displaying in the public eye, preferring to push the ‘nice guy’ image.

    The nasty side usually comes out when Key is under pressure or thinks it won’t get back to the public. In this case I would say it was due to pressure.

    Key is rolling over and letting Abbott walk all over him and he is basically not even trying to pretend otherwise. He has given up on rights for NZers in Australia and rights for NZ suppliers exporting to Australia, putting it all in the ‘too hard’ basket.

    It’s a bad look politically and when called out on it, he snapped and said something stupid. This is great for the left, we need more of these moments.

    • rhinocrates 20.1

      The nasty side usually comes out when Key is under pressure or thinks it won’t get back to the public. In this case I would say it was due to pressure.

      People have often noted this. Key often professes to be “relakshed”*, but there’s a nasty streak in him that is in fact his essential character and it often comes out in parliament. I don’t think that it’s due to pressure – that’s the real Key. He hates us, pressure only makes his mask slip. We need to keep emphasising his essential contempt, not find the odd scandal or two that can be shrugged off as slip-ups or misinterpretations – a mistake that fool** Willliams made a couple of elections ago.

      *Speech idiosyncrasies are cool if you’re cool, like Humphrey Bogart, Sean Connery or Claudius… not if you’re some banal Wall Street Bankster.

      **actually, “that fool” should be his first name.

  21. Freda McGaw 21

    I fear it is a right-wing plan to bring all politicians into disrepute – doesn’t matter if you bring your own side into bad odour, so long as there’s a growing public perception that all politicians are awful. Then less people vote – and we all know that this favours the right (more left-wing voters stay home). Hope I’m wrong.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 21.1

      I think you’re right, Freda: mistrust of government helps the right more than the left. It’s right there in their rhetoric – “small enough to drown in the bathtub”.

      • Crunchtime 21.1.1

        True – I think this is part of the plan. The Nats will be over the moon if they can successfully discourage even MORE people to not vote than the 800,000 who stayed away from the polls last general election. I can just see them setting a goal of a round million for themselves.

        Vastly more people who get so disgusted and demoralised that they disengage and don’t vote are potential Labour/Green/Mana/Democrat etc voters.

      • rhinocrates 21.1.2

        Exactly… going back to Abraham Lincoln, government is of the people, by the people, for the people. Once it’s seen as separate from the people and as an enemy, then democracy is breaking down – and that it exactly what the right want.

  22. Rodel 22

    Young potential voters I talk to say they prefer Cunliffe to Key because he can do the cut and thrust without sneering. I think its called dignity.

  23. tinfoilhat 23

    I don’t think there’s anything odd regarding Darien’s article, her past is pretty common knowledge and i believe she just wanted to make some salient points about dealing with addiction after the death of Phillip Hoffman, if anyone was trying to blackmail her she’d be more than a match for them.

    • Anne 23.1

      The Herald were planning to run a tabloid style story on her former addiction – an attempt to taint her in election year. She jumped in first with the real story. End of story tinfoilhat.

      • phillip ure 23.1.1

        @ anne..as i notd above..

        ..that is complete bullshit..

        ..anyone paying attention wd already know fentons’ back-story..

        ..there is/was no ‘scandal’ to tell..

        ..yr ‘impeccable source’ is blowing it out his/her arse..

        ..phillip ure..

        • Anne 23.1.1.1

          Would you prefer the expression “the horses mouth” instead of “impeccable source”?

          I don’t know who or what you thought I was replying/referring to philip ure but it was a reply to a comment by OAB which read in part:

          Three possibilities there then.

          1. Bunji and Anne’s source(s) is/are mistaken…

          I hit reply but it ended up being pushed further down the page by other comments.

          Nothing to do with who did or didn’t know about Darien’s history.

          Apology?

    • Tracey 23.2

      Common knowledge to whom? The general public probably knew nothing of it. I didnt

  24. ghostwhowalksnz 24

    Labour would have kept its powder dry on National MPs till this election year.

    I imagine its part of the reason some of those with promising political futures have decided to leave
    unexpectedly.
    Tremain ??
    Nash would have been very assidous in knowing what was going on back in Napier

  25. rhinocrates 25

    The nats based their early campaigns on ashpirashuns. I use that word with the deliberate misspelling not to mock Key’s speech impediment, but to mock his moral impediment. Ashpirahuns are greed-driven fantasies, but aspirations are a desire and ambition to really be more than you were “supposed” to be in both a material and moral sense. One is shiny and glittering but hollow and the other is hard to achieve, but real and solid. One is to be praised and supported by any means, the other is to be mocked and condemned – guess which.

    People who have aspirations should be supported by the Labour Party.

    People who have ashpirashuns should learn better for the good of themselves and us all.

  26. The one chance Nat’s have of winning the next election is for Labour and the Greens to fall out publicly.They will do everything to make this possible .Just watch how Key and his creeps try to”inform” the public how dangerous a Green /Labour government would be. In fact already its the most often heard quote from Nat members to swing voters. I have one rank Tory continuously telling me just how dangerous it would be, Keep an eye on this Lefties . Its amazing what people believe if they are told enough times and Crosby /Textor will certainly make sure that message is told.

  27. natwest 27

    Judging by the comments, Mr Key is viewedhere as an absolute blazing success along with the economy.

    So attack the man that is so popular as leader (poll after poll), because that is all the left has.

    Same old, same old – no policies, no direction – just gutter politics from the past.

    Keep it up, it’s failed the left every time – as it will this year.

    • Tracey 27.1

      Reading is a skill.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 27.2

      No recently announced single buyer for electricity, then? No building program? No government-backed insurance? No Charter schools Quislings gone by lunchtime? No TTPA unless the text is subject to public debate then? No food in schools? No response to climate change? No National’s Standards corruption gone by lunchtime?

      Or option two: you’re just another partisan hack throwing your temper. Yeah, that sounds more likely. Whatever it is that has you so upset, there’ll be another one along tomorrow 😀

  28. RedBaronCv 28

    Are they attacking women MP’s but focusing on those who are spokespeople for the welfare areas in the hope that it’s going to slow them down from commenting on issues that have adversely affected women and young people?
    The Nacts probably don’t have a lot of female vote to lose but I imagine they don’t want these sorts of issues being front footed to them.It’s an area where they are hugely vulnerable. For instance the latest education announcement probably translated as, “more over paid blokes arriving at the school to tell me how to do my job” .Cluster schools of excellence “now the kids can’t walk home from school and it’s an extra half hour to get them there in the morning”.
    The Family court reforms will also be biting them, and DV and welfare bashing and jobless young people.

  29. BrucetheMoose 29

    As far as standard of character goes, Key would have to be the worst politician in NZ history. He is disrespectful, deceitful, unethical, vindictive and severely lacks empathy for others. In essence, he is a narcissistic nutter. Every decent minded Kiwi, National supporter or not, should make it a duty to get rid of this vile individual. New Zealand deserves infinitely better.

  30. Yossarian 30

    Perhaps Keys is a weasel in a cunning cat disguise.

    As for the renewed outbreak of Nationals being Nationals and trying to smear others, its just normal service at a tad higher intensity that will no doubt increase the closer to the election we get.
    I dont buy the conspiracy “Operation Smear” option, that would imply cognitive thought from a bunch of arseholes, whos main weapon of choice seems to be to try and appeal to the wolf whistle, lowest common denominator in people.

    Cunliffe & Co best course of action is to just smile, shrug their shoulders and try not to react as just end up in verbal mud wrestling competiton of the Party Keys framing. Deflection, dis information, is what they want to occur as they wont have to attempt real politique.
    Labour need to focus on policy, policy, policy and also hold to account, the record of the NeoNationals Muppets in Gvt.

    Second thoughts Keys as a weasel? Thats not fair on weasels, for they must have feelings, well more than that balding, fascist wannabe, self promoting git.

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