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Welcome to The Standard

Written By: - Date published: 10:13 am, June 6th, 2015 - 87 comments
Categories: The Standard - Tags: ,

Welcome to any new readers checking out this blog today as a result of the “dirty politics” segment on The Nation. (Update: For those that didn’t see The Nation, there is a summary in The Herald.)(Update:  The Nation story is here).

This blog started in August 2007. Our About page really needs updating, but basically The Standard is a bunch of people who write on the same blog. There is no central organisation, there often isn’t agreement. We come from a variety of backgrounds and have many political affiliations, some support Labour, some The Greens, some Mana (and some no party at all). The administration (and most of the operating costs) of the blog is all the work of lprent (Lynn Prentice). Although it is a lie often told about us this is NOT a Labour Party blog, and there is no control from Labour – the way we have disagreed on, disagreed with, and attacked various Labour leaders should be proof enough of that. Almost every current author is someone who started out commenting on the site, and drifted in to writing. We are the loosest possible collective, a group of lefties / progressives who care, and write, and respect each other’s opinions even when we disagree. There’s a list of currently active authors at the end of the post.

Thanks to Nicky Hager’s book Dirty Politics we all now know that the National Party have been running a sustained dirty tricks campaign, largely through attack blogs such as Whaleoil and Kiwiblog. One of the things that John Key frequently repeated during the dirty politics saga was that “Labour does it too”, and that left wing blogs such as The Standard were engaged in dirty politics too. Those were pretty desperate lies. There’s no point in phrasing a reply when another blogger, Danyl McLaughlan at The Dim-Post (who incidentally thinks we’re all nuts!) has already replied so effectively:

John Key did a media stand-up yesterday about Dirty Politics in which he mentioned the words ‘left-wing conspiracy theorist’ about twenty times, and insisted that everything in the book is a lie, and that the real dirty politics comes from the left.

From a communications point-of-view that’s a sensible approach. His audience is not the journalists at the stand-up, but rather the television viewers who haven’t read the book and who will see excerpts of the statement and be reassured by the PMs words.

But some of the reporters listening to the PM have read the book. And when Key insists that the real dirty politics comes from the left, I think, or hope, that they’ll reflect that no one on the left is publishing the addresses of journalists online in the hope that someone assaults or murders them in revenge for writing about tax-havens, which is what Cathy Odgers, Cameron Slater David Farrar and Matthew Hooton discuss on page 91. Also, no one on the left is going around brothels trying to find out whether journalists have visited them, so they can be blackmailed, which is what Cameron Slater, the Justice Minister’s close friend, and long-term collaborator with the Prime Minister’s office is up to. No one on the left runs smear campaigns against attempted rape victims, or publishes graphic affidavits describing their political enemies having sex. There’s no one comparable to Slater on the left of politics, or blogging. He is a phenomenon unique to the National Party.  Key can insist that this is all just a lie, just a conspiracy story, but people who read the book know that this is simply documentation from Slater’s emails and that the Prime Minister is lying to their faces.

There’s no way The Standard has ever had (or ever wanted to have) the inclination or the contacts needed to play the dirty politics game. But that doesn’t stop real dirty politics players such as Cameron Slater, David Farrar and Matthew Hooton from obsessing about this blog, to the extent of trying to snoop around our internal discussions or even attempt to have the blog “hacked” (if The Nation didn’t cover this you can read about it on Scoop). These people really really need to find a better hobby.

Anyway, welcome to The Standard. It’s just a blog. Stay and chat a while…

About 70 people have written for The Standard over the years. For the record, here’s a list of those who are currently active (have written at least once this year). Those who write under their own names or are well known are: Mike Smith, lprent (Lynn Prentice), Helen Kelly, Bryan Gould, Mandy Hager, Stephanie Rodgers, mickysavage (Greg Presland), Anthony Robins (r0b), Ben Clark. Those who prefer to write under partial names or pseudonyms are Tracey, Bill, te reo putake, Bunji, BLiP, KJT, RedLogix, Natwatch and stargazer (sincere apologies to anyone I have missed!).

87 comments on “Welcome to The Standard ”

  1. Somewhere in Dunedin, a sad old man is beigely furious about being left off the list of obsessives. Expect a post about it on YawnNZ in 3,2,1 …

    For mine, I’d like to thank all my fellow authors and the many, many commenters here who take the time and put such effort into making The Standard NZ’s leading left political blog. As anybody who reads the site regularly will know, the authors roster is diverse, the views cover the entire spectrum of left political views and only a minority of us are LP activists and even we’ve been critical on occasion of the party’s errors and missteps. This is not a Labour Party blog.

    If anybody ever successfully hacks the site, I think they’ll find the pseudo-anonymous authors are actually just a cross section of NZ society; people who think we can and must do better as a nation and are prepared to take some time to write about how that can happen. To the best of my knowledge, there are no MP’s, parliamentary staffers or NZLP officials posting here. Nobody gets paid to blog, we aren’t commissioned to push views or destroy our opponents. It is entirely a voluntary organisation and extremely open about what we do.

    I’m really proud to be part of the collective. I’m even prouder to be challenged and educated every day by commenters who see things differently from me and aren’t afraid to have their say. Even the regularly trolls have their ‘stopped clock’ moments. The real strength of the Standard is it’s diversity and the honesty of the opinions expressed on the blog.

    We’re a lot different from Whale Oil. We can’t be bought because we’re free.

  2. tracey 2

    I endorse everything that TRP and r0b have written.

  3. Ant 3

    Sane, inclusive and democratic. I always include TS in my daily reading. Keep up the good work!

  4. Raf 4

    VERY interesting item on The Nation! Can anyone speculate on the possible ramifications?

    • r0b 4.1

      mickysavage might be able to comment on the legal issues if he sees this discussion. A cynic would say that the ramifications are few, because the police will take no action – I hope cynics are proved wrong. At the very least the information is out there, it keeps the tactics of the political right in the spotlight.

    • tracey 4.2

      the police, to my knowledge have not raided Slater’s home or office to retrieve documents or technology. They therefore won’t find anything cos that horse has long since bolted.

    • linda 4.3

      i wonder if the ird are after slater yet he obviously still getting money for stories and mathew blomfeild has bankrupted slater

      • lprent 4.3.1

        Not quite bankrupted yet. I hear that Cameron Slater managed to cough up $10k in assorted cash for court ordered costs to Matthew Blomfield. However that was just for the High Court appeal where Cameron lost his ability to shield his sources.

        Of course that is just the first court costs.

        Just before that he paid about $9.1k to Ben R’s account. It’d be really interesting to find out where he is getting his income from.

        I am sure that the IRD would be as well if they haven’t been subverted by John Key and his mates.

  5. red-blooded 5

    I certainly don’t always agree with what I read here, but I do trust that the people writing for the blog (and most of the people commenting) have genuine motivations and an independent viewpoint. I always think it’s interesting when two authors are blogging on the same issue but see it differently. They’ve worked independently from each other and don’t attack each other; they just argue their respective points of view.

    Just for the record I’d like to thank the people who make the commitment to keep the site active. Good on you all (and especially you, Lynn).

    • RedLogix 5.1

      As a long, long term supporter, commenter, some-time author and moderator at this blog I really appreciate you saying this red-b.

      Over the years we’ve had many regulars from the ‘other-side’ of the political spectrum and as long as they’ve played by the rules in good faith with genuine motivations – they’ve always been welcome. Well yes they face a head-wind and get argued with, sometimes it gets heated – but that is core to the debate culture we have here.

      If there is one thing I am absolutely certain of is that Lynn Prentice is far too curmudgeonly to be kow-towing or taking orders from any political hierarchy or party ‘ghost-writers’. Anyone who has been here more than a few months would know this.

      • r0b 5.1.1

        Argh! Missed you in the roll call. Your last post December 2014 is close enough so adding, sorry!

      • lprent 5.1.2

        Same for everyone else who authors here. A more opinionated group who can sort of cooperate would hard to imagine. Especially when they have no other motive than wanting to be heard.

    • tracey 5.2

      Cheers RB

  6. Colonial Rawshark 7

    Very thoughtful post, Anthony.

  7. NZSage 8

    Class r0b… well done!

    Great piece of opportunist marketing! I like it!

  8. coaster 9

    thank you to the authors, moderators and organisors of the standard. We are lucky to live in a country that we can voice our views, even though it does feel the ability is under attack at present.

    nz is a great country with great people, we are not a corporation whos well being can be measured on a balance sheet.

    keep up the good work everyon.

    • cogito 9.1

      “nz is a great country with great people”

      but with a sadly failing democracy.

  9. finbar 10

    What a horrid dog of a blog must be Whale oil,as it corrupts those lesser heeled, to proffer alms of reward to do their biding,a biding that they are capable of doing themselves,but rather not.Microscopic Watergate,or monster.Serious illegal government party condoned spying and invasion of human rights.No need to seek the governments agent her name is Collins,who seems to think her abuse of her Parliamentary position is play ground mischief as she laughs and dares say so what.

  10. Clemgeopin 11

    I am not an author, but a fairly frequent commenter here. I am an ardent supporter of the Labour party and Andrew Little. Personally I like the policies of the Labour party which I think is the very best party, being moderate, fair and overall excellent for all the people and the country.

    However, I have not always voted for Labour. In the past I have voted for Labour once under Helen Clark, National twice (once for Bolger, and once for Key in 2008, but both times I regretted my decision within a year as a huge mistake that I had made), have voted for Alliance once and at the last election I switched my vote a week before the election from Labour to Mana (IMP) because I did not like the way all the parties suddenly ganged up against that party and Hone towards the end, with the help of some blogs and the MSM.

    I have now decided to be fully loyal to the non-extreme social, economic and environmental principles and policies of the Labour party, the workers and their welfare, the families and their well being, the children and their care, and the less privileged people in society for their fairness and genuine equality of opportunity. Like Labour, I also want to support the small businesses and entrepreneurs, who are the risk takers, job creators and who, along with their employees and a progressive Labour led government can be transformed to be the real engines of our economic prosperity, growth, exports, progress and societal happiness. In my opinion, Labour party is the best party that will help us achieve this goal.

    Also, in my opinion, the National party and the ACT party are dangerous parties because, in spite of their denials, they primarily work for the welfare of the corporates and the wealthy, while copying a few social policies of Labour for some cunning political expediency. National and Key are a fraud who have succeeded so far by spins, lies, propaganda and their despicable dirty politics run from the PM’s own office and personnel as revealed in that ‘Dirty Politics’ book by Nicky Hager last year. Hopefully, they will get found out by the people little by little, and not be able to continuously smile, fool and blatantly trick most of the people all of the time as they have been able to do so far.

    • Anne 11.1

      Nothing more to say Clemgeopin. You’ve said it all! Thanks for saving us the time and effort. 🙂

      As a long time supporter of the L.P. I considered voting Mana for the same reason. The vitriol against them by so-called professional journalists was so degrading to witness. What it boiled down to was… pure, puerile and prejudiced “racism”.

      In the end I couldn’t bring myself NOT to vote Labour.

      • Clemgeopin 11.1.1

        Thanks Anne. I just re-read my comment and yours, and yes, I do agree with you!
        Cheers! Have a great day.

    • Clemgeopin 11.2

      Correction :

      In the past I have voted for Labour once under Helen Clark (2005) and once under Goff (2011).

      [In 2017 (or I suspect, earlier), my vote will definitely be for Labour under Mr Andrew Little. He will be a fair dincum great PM. Trust me on that. I have seen enough politics and politicians to be confident of what I am talking about.
      Don’t ever trust Key, English, Joyce, Parata or Bridges. In my opinion, they are dodgy blatant bull shitters working for the wealthy and the foreign interests]

      • felix 11.2.1

        Purely out of an obsessive compulsion on my part, how did you vote in 2002 and 1999? I figure one of them must be your Alliance vote…

        • Clemgeopin

          OK, here :

          1996 ; National (Bolger)
          1999 : I think it was ‘most’ probably Alliance (Anderton), but not sure if it might have been Labour (Helen), though!)
          2002 : Alliance (Jim Anderton)
          2005 : Labour ( Helen )
          2008 : National (Key)
          2011 : Labour (Goff)
          2014 : Mana (IMP)

          Why did you ask? [Did you want to guess how old I am?!!. Have a guess and tell me what my age is!]

          P.S : Having voted for all sorts of parties and policies, now I know for SURE that Labour is the BEST of the lot overall for New Zealand. No doubt about it in my mind!

          • felix

            Haha sorry I really didn’t mean to be nosey. I just noticed a gap in the list and it was either ask you, or turn around three times anti-clockwise and poke myself in the eye.

            I don’t want to guess your age though. A gentleman never asks.

    • Northshoreguynz 11.3

      Thanks Clem, very well put. In total agreement.

  11. Ovid 12

    I should think that if this was a Labour controlled site, it would have been leaked ages ago.

  12. Priory of Sion 13

    Well it wouldn’t surprise me if the Labour Party did hire people to write on this site, and it wouldn’t surprise me if the ‘same people’ that wrote for this site, wrote for Kiwiblog!

    If people weren’t ‘hired’ to write on these sites, no-one would write on them, it’s day to day crap! Lets face it!

    [lprent: No-one has ever been paid to write for this site. ]

    • tracey 13.1


      (haven’t used that antiquated thingy in a while).

      How much are you getting?

    • mickysavage 13.2

      Gee I wish you were right. I wish the authors were paid to write for this site. I take it you have no idea about what you are talking about?

      • tracey 13.2.1

        Slater’s lines can’t have been issued yet

          • tracey

            Took him all day to work out his framing. I wonder how many of the “Barter” arrangements had to be called in to help…

            laywers/PR in exchange for prior hatchet jobs done by Slater for their clients?

            I don’t intend commenting about this, but as part of my not commenting I am going to make a long comment.

            I wonder who wrote that message that Slater signed his name to?

            • felix

              “I don’t intend commenting about this, except in a one-way style where I can’t be questioned directly. Otherwise I may well contradict myself, lose my shit, or just generally come across as the dishonest freak that I am”.

          • tracey

            I know of someone, pleaded guilty to an offence. The lawyer asked for a letter of remorse. The first attempt was given back with a “really?!? you want me to give this to a judge?”

            The second was just as bad.

            The third was written by someone else for the defendant!

            • weka

              Interesting. How does literacy affect that? Or lesser ability to express oneself in writing?

              • tracey

                This is a highly literate person who worked in public expression type occupation. It was much more about their complete inability to feel empathy and not shift blame anywhere but oneself.

                Reading “Slater’s” statement made me think of it for those two reasons.

          • adam

            The reason I dislike Tory scum Slater, is he immediately went after Ben, and his disability.

            Your a low life dog Slater, a harpy, bereft of reason and morals. A godless parasite, whose fatuous behaviour is destructive. You’re someone who is willing to believe your own lies, and then lies again.

            May God have Mercy on your soul.

      • Priory of Sion 13.2.2

        The first time I ever read Kiwiblog, it took me about 10 minutes to realise it was the same idiot writing all the posts (under different pseudonyms)!

        Some poor loser has got a fucking sad job that’s for sure!!!

        With this site when I see Penny Bright, I always think Jeez she’s a lone wolf……amongst a huge farce!!!

        • Charles

          That’s the problem with allocating ten minutes for important jobs, it’s the eleventh minute that brings revelation. Besides, I can assure you that everyone here is a figment of my imagination and, at best, my imagination is a small farce.

        • One Anonymous Bloke

          As the saying goes, I think you see about as far as the nose on your face, although it may come to pass that your nose will grow long enough to encompass your vision.

        • linda

          nats just don’t understand why some of us spend 100s hours writing on blogs putting up hordering, door knocking, protesting, running stalls, delivering leaflets doing petitions signing up new voters all unpaid ,and for be-leaf that this country can and must be better than the current me me selfish society that has developed

    • b waghorn 13.3

      All the commenters get payed too just email you’re bank details to my cousin in Nigeria and the cheque will be posted immediately.

      • Priory of Sion 13.3.1

        That’s a little snarky waghorn, did I rub you up the wrong way?

        Don’t get too ruffled, people might figure you out!

        Remember PEOPLE ARE WATCHING!!!!

      • Priory of Sion 13.3.2

        If you put one more post under me, it will look obvious!

        Be careful!

        Ok now, I’m out of here, gotta go!

        Have a really nice day!

        See ya next time!


        [lprent: Stay away. You are clearly a rather stupid troll. ]

    • The entire phenomenon of blogging has completely escaped you, my little anti-Semitic-conspiracy-theorist friend.

  13. Visubversaviper 14

    I had a lot of fun winding up some kid at work who was rambling on about “the Left do it too” and how “that Presland guy who blogs as Mickysavage” works for the Labour Party. I asked if his gullibility and his inability to use Google inhibited his ability to do his job. He looked at me blankly and I told him to go and Google “that Presland guy” and then come back and repeat what he just said. He is still keeping well clear of me!

  14. The Fairy Godmother 15

    This is a great site that I discovered at the end of last year. I look at it every day. It gives welcome alternative viewpoints. Yes I have commented a few times. I use a pseudonym mainly because I have commented on the difficulties a family member had in finding a job and that might embarrass her and also I am employed and want to stay that way. Also I guess in these times which are starting to turn fascist it pays to be a bit careful. Anyway thanks Lprent and the team for a great site.

    • Sable 15.1

      +1 Especially the Fascist comment. I wonder if we will ever see a proper democracy again in this country. Can but hope.

  15. Mike the Savage One 16

    The truth will never die, and it will come out and prevail in the end.

    Having been on TS on and off, I can assure all readers that here you get at least honest, open discussion and some very valuable information that the mainstream media fail to report on.

    This morning I watched the Nation, and I only found proved what I had suspected all along, re Cameron Slater and his mercenary Whaleoil “blog”.

    He and our PM have done blogs in this country a great disservice, by discrediting them in general.
    That is why only some blogs are not worth reading, e.g Whaleoil.

    But many here will fee reassured, to keep discussing and addressing what really matters, it cannot be money and power, as that tends to corrupt.

    Thanks to TS authors, the whole team, and the many commenters (apart from the usual trolls) for the work you are doing.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 16.1

      Of the disservices the besmirched, corrupt Prime Minister and his mouthpiece perform, disservice to blogging is the least of them.

  16. MateyMay 17

    although I check in here most days I haven’t commented here for quite some time but wanted to give big-ups to all here for the fine work that you do!
    Also wanted to comment on Slater’s statement, which is about the creepiest, shadiest piece of gaslighting c**p I’ve read in quite some time. Starting off with a condescending qualifier (“Ben is an extremely talented young man”. He’s young, you guys! He doesn’t know what he’s doing!) before going on to attack the subject’s credibility – complete with inferences to mental health issues – is such a transparently passive-aggressive move that it makes me think that slater actually wrote this tripe himself, because any PR worth their salary would at least try to be subtle. The reference to Rachinger’s supposed “personal problems” also reads as a thinly-veiled threat – as the same guy who’s been known to sniff around brothels for info, Slater is clearly not above thirstily dragging whatever he can into the fight.
    Slater’s documented history of being the opposite of a stand-up guy (the “tough-guy” persona being largely self-perpetuated) also undermines his claims of simply being a kindly mentor…lol who is believing this? The evidence is on the table and homeboy Cam is looking desperate as hell.

    • Spot on. So, in summary, a powerful older man takes an interest in a vulnerable younger man and builds a relationship that involves immoral behaviour and regular gifts of money. I’m sure there’s a name for that sort of thing.

  17. millsy 18

    The Standard: Politically correct, in a politically incorrect fashion.

    • ropata 18.1

      lol +1
      if you can get past the insults and general uncouth behaviour there is actually some intelligent discussion to be found here 🙂

  18. Lloyd 19

    The Standard is middle-of-the-road, where are the left-wing conspiracy blogs?

  19. Policy Parrot 20

    I see John’s “Keyboard warriors” are up to their old tricks again.

    Its both appalling, sad and maddening at the same time to see what is essentially a huge fraud being perpetrated by the government against its legitimate critics, and the mainstream media’s/pundits inability/unwillingness to expose it for exactly what it is.

    Too often the Key line is bought hook, line and sinker in order to avoid getting offside with the establishment, and in addition government schills (Henry, Plunkett, Hoskings, Smith) broadcast unbalanced anti-Labour propaganda from all the relevant media, and have it received as fact.

    This isn’t to say that Labour needs to get its house in order, which it does, but the continual propaganda war to prevent a threat rising up, is approaching persecution. I kid? How many people that you might know casually outside of politics has expressed a pro-Labour value or statement to you recently?

    • b waghorn 20.1

      You missed the odious little twerp Gower .

      • tc 20.1.1

        Garner, christie, wood etc etc it’s a team game with the spinsters like hoots and boag on the field performing their role also.

    • weka 20.2

      “This isn’t to say that Labour needs to get its house in order, which it does, but the continual propaganda war to prevent a threat rising up, is approaching persecution.”

      It was pretty interesting the other day to watch a few people here in complete denial of how much targeted abuse happens and how much fear that has generated resulting in people having to be careful about what they say or just not saying anything at all.

  20. Marksman33 21

    Just briefly I also would like to add my thanks to LPrent and the contributors of The Standard, I have been reading TS since about 2010 and have seen a few writers come and go. I don’t comment very often unless I am really riled up or things are happening up here that I feel I can help the debate with some clarity, that others further south may not have. Sabin case in point.
    Mostly I don’t comment much because you guys and gals are so much more eloquent than I could ever be. I didn’t go to uni, I left school and got an apprenticeship, which is what most did back in the 70s, and most of my politics comes from a union background working in the printing industry here and abroad.
    Over the years I have slowly been weaning myself off MSM, first TV news, then the local ACT sympathizer rag, then with much disgust The Herald last year ( man that was tough, still is, as I have read the Herald all my life ) so all I am left with to keep me up to date with the goings on in NZ and the world is RNZ, The Standard, and bits and pieces off the web. I tune in to TS most every day and I am proud of you all for your commitment to the left cause, my God I know it feels like we are fighting a rearguard action constantly, but surely, things must change for the better some day soon and when it does we can all take satisfaction that the TS collective had a great hand to play in that.
    All the best.

    • Molly 21.1

      +100. The Standard, it’s authors and it’s regular commenters keep me sane… 😀

      Thanks to you all.

    • weka 21.2

      Great comment Marksman (and on the basis of that, I hope you comment more, that’s as good as anything that gets said here). I know what you mean about the Herald. For me it was the Listener, grew up with it, watched the slow creep of change, eventually couldn’t stomach it any more.

      • Jenny Kirk 21.2.1

        + 100 Marksman, Molly and Weka – I, too, grew up on the Listener – a great rag in its day and couldn’t believe it as it slowly sunk into dregsville. Its years now since I last subscribed to it, and even more years since I’ve picked it up at the supermarket to glance through. I’m really thankful to have discovered The Standard – you all provide an alternative morning read !

  21. Most of my up to date political information comes from this site. It would be good to have a “Standard ” badge so that when we are at certain meetings we would be able to recognize each other.
    And like Molly it helps to keep me from” going up the wall”.

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