The week that was

Written By: - Date published: 9:32 am, November 30th, 2014 - 55 comments
Categories: john key, national, uncategorized - Tags: ,

Labour leadership Andrew Little

What a week …

Andrew Little settled down into the job of being the leader of the Labour Party very well.  His media interviews have been sharp and concise.  He is confident yet respectful in his dealings with the media and I expect that coverage of him will continue to be positive.

His reorganisation of the Labour Caucus has to date started very promisingly.  He clearly wants to move the Caucus away from bad habits.  And suddenly there is a sense of confidence and optimism that has been lacking.

His performances in the house have been exceptionally good, way better than I thought he would be.  His #cutthecrap moment is one of those moments which although brief can define a political career.  And he is being well positioned as an alternative to Key.  His no nonsense passion mixed with a personality that is not ego driven is a combination that I think will resonate well with ordinary New Zealanders once they tire of the Merchant Banker from a state house Crosby Textor creation that is the current Prime Minister.

Success in politics depends a great deal on luck and being in the right place at the right time.  The past two months have shown that Andrew has an abundant supply of luck.  He has gone from just making it into Parliament to Labour leader at a time when the Government is floundering and the opposition is starting to perform.  And he could be the next Prime Minister.  The next three years will be very interesting.

John Key’s week was as bad as Little’s was good.  Clearly there is a lot more that has happened which if it becomes public will further embarrass National but it seems that third term rot has set in very early on.

It is as if an important cog in Key’s office has been removed.  Suddenly Key seems very vulnerable and mistake prone.

Frank Macskasy has prepared a very helpful timeline on the past week’s events which can be described briefly in this way:

  • On Sunday Key publicly apologised to Slater for releasing the email which caused Collins’s downfall.  As Redlogix noted it appeared that Key had been forced by Slater to do this and why the Prime Minister should have to demean himself by publicly apologising to Slater is frankly weird.
  • On Monday they exchanged texts.
  • On Tuesday Key denied to reporters  having had recent contact with Slater.  Also Collins’ chance to shine after her redemption in the Chisholm Report was taken away from her by the Government’s decision to minimise the effect of the Gwyn report by dumping the Chisholm report at the same time.
  • On Wednesday in answer to Labour questions in the house Key denies recent contact with Slater but is then forced to return to the house and correct his answer.  Claims that he had misheard the question because of noise in the house appear to be patently untrue.

Since then the overwhelming media conclusion is that Key has lied.  And normally supportive writers such as the Heralds’s John Armstrong and Fran O’Sullivan have been scathing about Key’s performance.

It appears the information may have leaked out because Slater told Josh Foreman about the texts.  Slater has been on something of a jihad against Foreman ever since.  If anyone should be blamed however it is Slater himself.  And the question that has to be asked is did Slater intend the news of the Key texts to become public?  After all giving this information to someone who describes himself as being “slightly left” was always going to be risky.

But you have to question why National has not inoculated Key from Slater.  And you have to wonder what the next Slater inspired episode of chaos and mayhem will bring for National.

55 comments on “The week that was”

  1. adam 1

    Kinda agree there Mickey, but the Countering Terrorist Fighters Legislation Bill. Got rammed through the submission stage this week, and whilst it’s nice to see a operational opposition. The reality is, this is still a government who does what it wants – even when the PM is on the ropes.

  2. Sable 2

    New Zealand politics look increasingly like a bizarre circus, its no wonder people are switching off to the message.

  3. tc 3

    More of the same from little is required and all opposition MP’s need to get better at de powering the MSM loaded spin questions as Andrew has.

    Forget the MSM they’ve written their cursory bad boy pieces so it’ll be back to sycophancy ASAP.

    Does slater have something on key or is he simply out on his own and going a tad rogue.

    Mickey as a lawyer has Johnny boy taken another risk in admitting he knows who raw shark is, given the police actions over Hagar, or did I miss him weaselling his way out of that one with one of his ‘what I ackshully meant….’ responses.

    • Sabine 3.1

      the opposition MP’s have to start working together. No point in each working in isolation.
      Time for solidarity, against a corrupt regime and for a healthy and happy nation.

  4. Hanswurst 4

    I’m slightly bemused by one pair of conflicting details in the unfolding of this; reading “The Standard” and a couple of other sources over the past week left me under the impression that there were fairly strong indications that Forman’s “Slightly Left” was a sock puppet for Slater to some degree anyway, yet this article seems fairly firm in the assumption that they are unconnected. Has new information emerged?

  5. weka 5

    What’s the source that Forman leaked the txts?

    • mickysavage 5.1

      My reading is that Forman is alleged to have leaked news of the texts rather than the texts themselves. R0b’s post (http://www.nzherald.co.nz/fran-osullivan/news/article.cfm?a_id=13&objectid=11366082) has a screenshot of the discussion Slater had with (presumably) Forman.

      • Huginn 5.1.1

        Slater says that Key deletes all the messages between Slater & Key on Key’s phone, but Slater archives all the messages on Slater’s phone.

        If this is true, then Key’s fucked.

        • David H 5.1.1.1

          But you still need to get Slater to release said texts

          • Huginn 5.1.1.1.1

            He has already released texts that have had Key rushing back to offer a correction.

            If Slater was telling the truth and Key has deleted his own recrods, then Slater will be the only one who knows exactly what was said and when.

            This means, for example, that if Slater releases something damaging, then Key can’t come back with context. He won’t be able to dispute accuracy, or authenticity.

            There may be many damaging fragments to harvest from weeks, or maybe even months of messaging, but Key has no way to reliably anticipate the next blow.

  6. Colonial Rawshark 6

    As Redlogix noted it appeared that Key had been forced by Slater to do this and why the Prime Minister should have to demean himself by publicly apologising to Slater is frankly weird.

    If undue personal leverage is being applied against our PM, that is be definition a matter of national security and our security services should be all over it.

    • KJS0ne 6.1

      ‘Should’ being the operative word. The fact that the Prime Minister has had to demean himself to apologize to such a grotesque personality over something Slater does himself all the time, goes along way, in my mind in proving that Slater has enough dirt on Key and Co. to sink the ship. Thus they’re not only afraid to cut him loose, but that they feel the need to keep him placated by public apologies from the head of state. I can see no other reason they would maintain the toxic relationship, the Nats are not stupid.

      • Hanswurst 6.1.1

        the Nats are not stupid.

        The idea that they have allowed themselves to be beholden to a loose cannon like Mr. Slater would, if correct, suggest otherwise.

        • KJS0ne 6.1.1.1

          Wit aside foolish might be a better fit, people can be intelligent and foolish, the two are not mutually exclusive. They summoned a demon to do their dirty work and were foolish to think they could control the situation indefinitely. They didn’t see this coming, but they’re not maintaining the relationship because they’re stupid enough to believe they can get away with it.

    • Sabine 6.2

      smokescreen and mirrors. While these boys supposedly slingling mud at each other, the nation does not know about the Countering Terrorist Fighters Legislation Bill, and any other piece of legislation.

      this is their MO, throw a mini scandal out there, the bubbleheads scream Lookit, shiney object in unison, and the rest of the nation is counting the pennies that have to make the end of the pay cycle.

      the opposition has to work together, and they have to start now.

      Essentially, so Key likes Slater…booofucknhoo, ignore it. Raise hell about the bill or law, or sell off, or dropping milk prices, or fucked up decile ranking, or what ever is the madness du jour.

      The media wants to talk slater, the oppostion should laugh and simply state that Slater is the problem of the Prime Minister John Key, not theirs. – deprive the media of oxygen.

    • Tracey 6.3

      extortion of a PM is absolutely SIS stuff…

  7. Anne 7

    On Sunday Key publicly apologised to Slater for releasing the email which caused Collins’s downfall. As Redlogix noted it appeared that Key had been forced by Slater to do this…

    Further evidence he was lying about having had no contact with Slater.

    I strongly suspect the reason Key has continued to have contact with Slater is because Slater has evidence that would blow open Key’s claim he knew nothing about the Ede/Slater/Goff/Tucker affair.

    • KJS0ne 7.1

      Was thinking the exact same thing. Good minds…

    • Paul 7.2

      That’s the logical explanation

    • Clemgeopin 7.3

      Not just the Ede/Slater/Goff/Tucker affair. May be some other stuff too. Who knows!

    • Treetop 7.4

      Discussion over what Tucker/9th floor did to Goff and Slater being the messenger would have happened in three years between Slater and Key, (until it is proven or disproven what Key knew, Key can deny any discussion). The thing is that Key and Slater thought they had got away with what Tucker/9th floor did to Goff, UNTIL Hager’s book raised the issue.

      Slater makes the complaint to police about emails being stolen which exposed what was done to Goff by Slater?

      Hager’s computer is seized not to establish who the hacker is, but to see if Key is implicated in any emails that the hacker stole from Slater. Slater’s computer needs to be forensically examined to establish what Key and Slater discussed over the Goff situation.

      Key got away with being questioned in the Gwyn report because the IGIS cannot investigate her minister. From the time that Gwyn carried out her investigation it was inappropriate for Key to have ANY discussion with Slater over the Goff situation.

      I am not stupid enough to think that Hager does not have his theories and he would be holding back stuff because he would want some proof before he spoke publicly.

      • Anne 7.4.1

        Interesting hypothesis Treetop. It’s implausible to believe that after what went down over the Goff/Tucker affair and the involvement of Slater, that there has been no ‘discussion’ on the matter between Slater/Key/Ede and company in the past three years. We also know that Key destroys his text messages but Slater keeps his. Of course there’s damaging evidence in Slater’s possession and of course Key knows it.

        I agree, Hager will have more information but whether he will ever release it is another matter.

    • Olwyn 7.5

      I don’t think it’s just that. It might be true that Slater has something over Key, but it might also be that Key is betting on his popularity trumping any demands that he play by the rules. Key seems far more interested in changing or diluting democratic safeguards than appearing to obey them.

      His popularity seems to rest largely on the belief that he is down with Wall St, and that so long as he is leader, property values will keep going up. Given that bugger all else is happening in New Zealand, a lot of middle class people are thus willing to turn a blind eye to his contempt for democratic safe-guards. Which is just how he likes it. To give up on Slater is to agree that the rules matter. To agree that the rules matter is to give up ground he wants to retain.

      • Anne 7.5.1

        I agree it’s not just that, and I agree Key is betting on his popularity trumping any demands he play by the rules.

        But his continuing popularity rested on the belief that the two track/dirty politics game would never be revealed. Nobody (including Key) ever imagined that someone would have hacked Slater’s computer and helped him/herself to the compelling evidence. At present Key is running a dangerous political game where he’s trying to have it both ways. I don’t believe that ultimately he’s going to win and I base that on the precedent set by the Watergate scandal. There are some amazing similarities between the two cases.

        • Olwyn 7.5.1.1

          I so hope you are right Anne, that he is not going to win. Now that the two-track game has been revealed, the default seems to be “well people just don’t care about that sort of thing,” and he can point to the election as proof. The danger is, if he continues to get away with it, he will end up with the license to whatever he pleases, sneering away at all who disagree.

        • Treetop 7.5.1.2

          Key (the then SIS minister) was overseas when Tucker declassified information which was wrong (that Tucker briefed Goff about the passports). Ede wrote a blog for Slater using defammatory information. The new SIS boss around August 2011 did a search for info which could prove that Goff was briefed, NO info was found.

          An OIA can only be done on declassified information.

          Key seems to think that when false information is released through the ninth floor by the SIS Director and then used to smear the character of Goff that this is not dirty tricks.

          Tucker needs to explain to the public why he declassified the Goff file and who he consulted e.g. IGIS and why he (Tucker) did not correct his false allegation made against Goff being briefed. If it it found that De Joux or Ede mentioned Key sanctioning OIA request to Tucker, Key did know. Tucker, Ede, De Joux will keep their gobs shut incase they land Key in it.

          Goff has been found to be vindicated, this cannot be said about Key.

          Strong links with the Moyle inquiry. I have some thinking to do about releasing a shortened version. I will not use the Standard for obvious reasons. The Standard is civilised.

          I also need to read the Gwyn report, even though it is a white wash.

          • Anne 7.5.1.2.1

            Strong links with the Moyle inquiry

            Certainly in the sense that Colin Moyle was the victim of a set-up as was Goff. The difference is the police (at least an officer or two) leaked the story to the Muldoon government. This time it was the SIS (at least the director) who did the leaking or the equivalent thereof.

            The awful part of the Moyle case for me was coming by the knowledge 20 years after the event… there had been a hoax phone call to Moyle which was why he ended up in a seedy part of Wellington and was subsequently picked up by the police. From personal experience of them and knowledge of their political shenanigans (which involved numerous hoaxes carried out on senior political figures as well as others), I believe I know the identities of the two individuals who were most likely responsible for that call. One of them actually had the gall to stand for selection in Moyle’s vacated seat (Mangere) which David Lange won. It bothered me for years that I might have been in a position to help Moyle clear his name if only the hoax phone call aspect had been made public years sooner.

            • Treetop 7.5.1.2.1.1

              In September 1995 the cop involved in the June 17 1975 incident stood in my home and told me that he thought there was a mole in the police. It took LC 19 years to finally face me. I dated him for the first 6 months of 1976, I was 16 years old. I met him at the police barracks in Tasman St. Most of 10 policing came up to the kitchen staff side of the barracks after the finish of their shift at 2 am 1 January 1976.

              LC could be dead for all I know. I last saw him in December 2003 when in the south island. I told him to go and talk to a psychologist because of what he said.

              An inquiry is long overdue into the police not being held to account.

    • Tracey 7.6

      They have manage to bury three things this week

      1. Counter terrorism knee jerk
      2. Imaginary surplus officially dissolved
      3. Groser says TPP to be signed early next year

      • adam 7.6.1

        Yeap business as usual for the Tory scum. Thanks Tracey, I’m sure we’ll find out other things they pulled, or tried to pull in this last week.

        Look i’m not bagging Little – I saying, if this national government is criminal, then – their boat is not a row boat, but a speedboat, and they smuggled the cocaine ashore already. And you can’t bust a criminal, if he’s not carrying.

  8. Karen 8

    I have been very impressed by Andrew Little’s performance so far. I thought he would be the best choice as leader because of his organising and strategy abilities, but did not expect him to perform particularly well in the house, but IMO he has been exceptionally good in the house (and in media interviews). He really has hit the ground running, and this augers well for the future.

    My feeling is that he has been carefully watching and waiting over the past few years, and is well equiped to counter the attacks that will be coming from the right-wingers.

    I also think he has been thinking about various ways to make NZ a fairer place to live. In a ‘NZLawyer’ interview he talks about how courts should be able to return legislation parliament that does not comply with the Human Rights Bill. A very interesting idea.
    http://www.nzlawyermagazine.co.nz/news/exclusive-interview-new-labour-leader-talks-all-things-law-194352.aspx

    • Jenny Kirk 8.1

      I totally agree with you, Karen.
      And I’m also now wondering whether Little’s question to ShonKey “why don’t you just cut the crap” has put ShonKey’s lies really out into the public arena and has now allowed journalists to see this for themselves. We all know ShonKey has been lying for years, but this hasn’t penetrated into the public mind.
      Sometimes it takes someone to really spell out plainly and bluntly what is going on, before others see it for themselves.

      • Atiawa 8.1.1

        and he was clever to not demand Keys resignation, instead telling him to man up and apologise and get this sordid unstatesman like behaviour out of the way so that parliament can concentrate on the important role of governing.
        Key would never resign over this issue, nor would the public expect him too. But an apology is a completely different matter and Little is not seen as over zealous.

        • ankerawshark 8.1.1.1

          Atiawa @ 8.1.1 Couldn’t agree more. Calling for Key to resign, less effective than man up and apologize for the smear campaign. Puts the heat on Key as he can’t do that and he just digs himself in deeper.

          Cut the crap was brilliant too. Treating JK like a adolescent, bullshiting idiot who nobody is fooled by.

          I am so impressed with Andrew L.

      • Anne 8.1.2

        Helen Clark is purported to have said (saw reference to it in a newspaper I think) either just before or just after the 2008 election: John Key tells lies. It pricked up my ears at the time because Helen would never say something like that without good cause.

  9. Clemgeopin 9

    A very shameful, strange and surreptitious episode in the history of New Zealand, like the Watergate episode of Nixon, who too claimed he was honorable and not a liar!

  10. Tracey 10

    and note the ones who are silent post election…

    Hairdo
    Maori Party

    UF says in its vision that integrity between govt and the peole is a goal… REALLT

    • Clemgeopin 10.1

      If Dunne, Seymour or the two Maori party MPs have any integrity, guts or honour, they should immediately disassociate themselves from Key. Will they? Any chance of that?

      • b waghorn 10.1.1

        Not much chance.
        If the Maori party didn’t walk after keys ‘settled peacefully’ comments they have shown they have no spine.

      • David H 10.1.2

        Dung is too busy Troughing it.
        Seeless is bought and paid for.
        The Maori Party are irrelevent.

  11. TheContrarian 11

    Little was awesome this last week. If he keeps it up then my party vote is his to have.

  12. felix 12

    Yep Little has exceeded all expectations.

    Worth mentioning that he deserves praise for keeping Robertson in the high profile role of finance. Anything less that that (or Dep. Leader) would be going against the expressed wishes of many party and caucus members, so that’s an act of good faith there.

    Some say National have tossed Little an easy catch in his first week, but that’s rubbish. The Nats have had many, many shit weeks over the last six years and no Labour leader has managed to capitalise on them like Little has.

    If he continues as he’s begun, Labour is on the way back.

  13. Whateva next? 14

    Have to say, Little has been exactly as I expected to be, possessing high integrity over the need to ingratiate himself, his authenticity shines through like a beacon in the house.

  14. Inky 15

    The mystery to me is what compelled Key to take the almighty risk of lying and denying contact with Slater if there was nothing dodgy about the texts they exchanged?

    Going by what was released, there was nothing in them that would have hurt him, that were worth the risk of lying about and being caught out over, as happened.

    Which suggests to me there must have been other, damaging texts that haven’t been disclosed. Otherwise, the lie was pointless; he had nothing to gain by lying about innocuous texts.

    Doing what he did just doesn’t make sense. And as Judge Judy likes to say, if it doesn’t make sense, it’s a lie.

    • Zolan 15.1

      Going on past form, I don’t think additional complications are needed to explain it.

      He simply needed to hold enough “high ground” at that moment, tactically, to diminish opposition effectiveness.
      Although it became an embarrassment later, there is no footage of the exchange in parliament that might have occurred had he answered truthfully. The counterfactual implied by the facts exists only in the imaginations of a few politics wonks, invisible to the public at large .. A win for Key.
      The revelation and revision of the untruth did add an unwelcome new gaffe/scandal, but it appears trivial in isolation, which is how many will perceive it.

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