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What was Winston thinking?

Written By: - Date published: 11:52 am, February 15th, 2020 - 120 comments
Categories: blogs, Dirty Politics, national, nz first, paula bennett, same old national, uncategorized, winston peters - Tags: ,

I have never been a big fan of NZ First.  Occasionally they come out with good ideas.  Most of the time they resemble a bunch of swaggering wide boys. 

They have held back the Government from following really progressive action on poverty reduction.  But they have been relatively good on a number of issues, and have allowed the Government to enact pretty strong policies on climate change. 

Winston has that ability to attract attention, sometimes for the wrong reasons.

And his default response to crises is to attack.  Which often makes things worse.

Recent issues surrounding the NZ First foundation has resulted in classic Winston response.  Through the NZ Foundation the party appears to have engaged in a scheme that, while on the face of it is legal, defeats and usurps the role of disclosure requirements for electoral donations.

Apparently while sitting at a cafe a NZ First supporter managed to get a photo and video of former NZ First president Lester Gray meeting Stuff reporter Matt Shand and RNZ reporter Guyon Espiner​ in Tauranga.

Of itself the photo and video are rather ho hum.  Two reporters talking to someone, so what?  The context makes the photo look unpremeditated and opportunistic.

But it is the use of the photo that has attracted so much attention.  Because it formed part of a post of the post Whaleoil site BFD. (Link to post, click at your peril).

It seems that BFD is backing NZ First.  It makes you wonder if Simon Lusk is shilling for NZ First, protestations to the contrary.

And this is classic dirty politics.  Using essentially the same operative to out the identity of someone and then smear them.

Unfortunately it has allowed National to do something the hypocrisy level of which is off the chart, and that is attempt to occupy the moral high ground in relation to dirty politics.

Just listen to this Radio NZ interview with Paula Bennett to get the gist of this.

She had the temerity to say that the “stalking” was pretty chilling but added this:

[T]hen releasing them to a website linked to Whaleoil and then getting out the story in the narrative they want it to be is incredibly dangerous for the way we work in this country together”.

She was then asked if National ever resorted to dirty politics and came out with this pearler:

No not that I am aware of not at all at any time. It’s just not the way we do business, it is not something that we do. “

Comedic Gold.

Paula seems to have a short memory:

National invented Dirty Politics, polished it up and weaponised it, supported it, bankrolled it and relied on it.  For Paula to claim otherwise is absurd.

She might also have forgotten about the Tea Pot Tapes, where police were used to intimidate media organisations to hand over a tape of John Key and John Banks talking.  Or her own effort in outing the details of two beneficiaries struggling to make ends meet and not promising to never do the same in the future.  Media intimidation and doxing those who oppose National is business as usual.

This is not the only jaw dropping example of hypocrisy that National has engaged in.  Complaining about NZ First’s donor hiding when it has its own SFO investigated example is also bizarre.  They really have no shame.

But I hope Winston and NZ First stop walking down the Dirty Politics road.  Our democracy deserves higher standards than to sink back into that sort of behaviour.

120 comments on “What was Winston thinking? ”

  1. Sacha 1

    I guess we may spot Lusk's malign fingerprints if there are attacks on candidates opposing Winston First ones in selected electorates like Northland. Or cosying up more to the animal-shooting fraternity.

    • Peter 1.1

      So watch for attacks on candidates opposing Winston First ones in selected electorates like Northland?

      Some of those opposing Winston First have been attacking the intelligence of Northlanders for years so scummy stuff will be no surprise. At least in the upcoming round Maggie Barry won't be inflicted on the region.

  2. Sacha 2

    Journalist reminds us of past connections between that party and Slater:

  3. Rob 3

    Post started well, but just ends up all about National, which sums up most posts on here. Be nice to hear how these behaviours actually make Labour Party members feel.

    However I assume in this political age of 'ends justifying means' etc, a lot of passing statements such as 'broad church' , 'hold your nose', 'lie back and think of England' , 'at least we have friends as national don't' will be made as its pretty obvious most political animals don't care who they partner with or what concessions or poor behaviours are made just as long as they are in Govt.

    • Cricklewood 3.1

      Mickey specializes in pointing out what the Nats are and aren't doing… does get a bit tiresome im sure hes got better things to post about.

      • mickysavage 3.1.1

        There is just so much to write about …

        I agree I would prefer to write about something else but Bridges offers so much material!

        • Wensleydale

          You're doing good work, Mickey. Someone's got to keep an eye on the disingenuous stoats in the Nasty Party and their nefarious shenanigans never cease to entertain. That Paula Bennett quote is hilariously shameless. It's like she's suffering from early-onset Alzheimer's.

  4. The BFD is made up of ex-Whaleoil people and Whaleoil had switched allegiance to NZ First after Cameron Slater's patrons in the National Party made him the scapegoat for the Dirty Politics operation (unsurprisingly, John Key and Judith Collins offered the most ruthless examples of disavowing him).

    I didn't see anything odd about that, because (with the honourable exception of Tracy Martin) NZ First is just as dodgy as National is. It's no surprise to find out NZ First has been playing fast and loose with the law or that it's engaging in a dirty politics campaign. Anybody wanting a government of the left to continue should vote Labour or Green, not NZ First.

  5. Adrian 5

    Can you blame Winston? Hardly anybody else has had to put up with as much underhanded shit flung at him mostly from one direction. Yes he may have deserved some of it but not with the level of duplicity and virilance evident.

    I admire him as a political survivor but I wouldn't vote for him. And say what you like about spreading money around the provinces but it is about bloody time.

    And just maybe he had a case about unfettered immigration which has left a legacy of homelessness and mad house price inflation, all of which he warned about.

    • He had a point about unfettered immigration. Unfortunately for us, as far as he was concerned the point was how to gain support via dog-whistling to the country's racists. You'll notice how much attention he's devoted to curbing immigration since his party became part of the government in 2017 – from memory, it's something like 0, and immigration is still way too high. I expect he'll suddenly re-discover what a terrible problem Indian and Chinese people are around the time the election campaign starts.

      • RedLogix 5.1.1

        You'll notice how much attention he's devoted to curbing immigration since his party became part of the government in 2017

        That's because any talk of restricting immigration is now considered xenophobic at best, and probably racist. The only fig leaf between where we are now and totally open borders is the points system, and as much of the rest of the world develops and educates, even this will become increasingly irrelevant.

        A recent Gallup poll found that around 10% of the world's population, that is 750m people would migrate if they could. The preferred destinations being almost exclusively North America and Europe but some 9m adults indicating that New Zealand would be their preferred choice.

        Given that any discussion about restricting immigration is now verbotten, and the demonstrated demand … exactly what do you imagine the outcome will be?

        • McFlock

          A thriving and prosperous nation.

          The "demonstrated demand" fallacy has seen many a boutique and restaurant close within a year: it doesn't predict the numbers of people who actually walk in the door.

        • Josh

          Given that any discussion about restricting immigration is now verbotten, and the demonstrated demand … exactly what do you imagine the outcome will be?

          Oh for heavens sake, hundreds of millions of people have wanted to migrate to the rich parts of the world for decades……but countries like NZ and Australia aren't exactly been flooded, let alone with tens of millions. Flipping hysteria on your part.

          I'd love to live in Hawaii and would move there if I could…..doesn't mean I will just rock up there and expect to be allowed to stay.

          The fact is, as " the rest of the world develops and educates", particularly the former, they are more likely, not less likely to stay in their original countries.

          • RedLogix

            I provided a link to a reputable polling organisation that provides credible data to support my contention. You on the other hand have merely huffed and puffed.

            • Josh

              Hey mate, no one is disputing the result of the poll. But simply because 10% of the world's population would migrate if they could, does not mean that they will suddenly rock up on your door step.

              Its been that way for a very long time, i.e. poor people wanting to move to rich countries. Yet in NZ we only have around 10,000 overstayers. A lot, but nothing worth panicking over, in the way you obviously are.

              Employ some logical thinking man!

              • RedLogix

                An effectively open border policy would enable these people to migrate. 9m adults plus say 4m children would bump NZ's population to 20m.

                If you are going to advocate for reducing immigration controls, then pretending that won't have an impact isn't very logical either.

                • Josh

                  Who is advocating for 'reducing immigration controls' or 'open borders'? Where did I say that?

                  You made a stupid hysterical statement….just admit it and back off when you know you are losing.

                  The good thing is 90% of the world's population seem to be happy where they are. That figure will only increase as developing countries develop their economies and infrastructure.

                  • RedLogix

                    This short thread started with Adrian noting "And just maybe he (Winston) had a case about unfettered immigration ". Then PM states "He had a point about unfettered immigration." That sets the context.

                    Of course many on the left do routinely advocate for more immigration by implying that controls of any kind are discriminatory at best, racist at worst. They never call it 'open borders' but their argument effectively takes them there. McFlock's response to my question, as to what would be the consequence of 'open borders' is an enthusiastic "thriving and prosperous nation", clearly endorsing the notion without actually naming or owning it.

                    Then you jump in attacking my position and clearly positioning yourself against me. Of course you don't utter the words 'reducing immigration controls' or 'open borders' but your comments so far are consistent with these concepts.

                    I've interacted with probably several thousand people here over the years; I've seen what you are doing here over and again, attack, divert, strawman, and above all keep yourself a small target so that you can never be pinned down to anything you actually believe. It all looks very impressive, much mental kung fu and drama, but in the end means little because it's all mostly predictable and uninteresting. It’s a game not a conversation.

                    All you have is ideology and approved messaging; there is nothing of you in this conversation.

        • Psycho Milt

          Given that any discussion about restricting immigration is now verbotten, and the demonstrated demand … exactly what do you imagine the outcome will be?

          As with gender identity enthusiasts supposedly having made discussion about allowing men into women-only spaces verboten, discussion about restricting immigration isn't really verboten, it's just vigorously opposed by an extremist fringe who'll publicly vilify anyone who does discuss it. In both cases, the overwhelming majority of the population aren't fooled by the bullshit, ie most people know that the words man and woman have meanings, and most people know that unrestricted immigration isn't a good idea.

          I'd like the outcome to be that the government will adopt evidence-based policy rather than being cowed by a bunch of woke loudmouths, but it remains to be seen how big an ask that is.

          • RedLogix

            most people know that the words man and woman have meanings, and most people know that unrestricted immigration isn't a good idea.

            So what you're really saying is that you're a vile misogynist racist cracker devil

            You and I have been around blogs long enough that we've learned to deal with the personal attacks and bs (and I'm still embarrassed by a certain episode from a few years back) … but most people are not. Most people quickly self-censor to make it go away.

            • Psycho Milt

              Oh, they self-censor alright, but they don't change their views. I doubt that the woke loudmouths have any effect on how people vote.

              I don't claim any moral superiority over people who self-censor, because effectively I'm doing it too – I don't post contentious stuff under my real name because I don't want my name associated with the abusive responses, so I'm just as cowardly as the rest.

        • swordfish

          Only sporadic Opinion Polling on Immigration over recent years in New Zealand … not quite the live-wire issue it is in the UK … but it'd be true to say that the weight of public opinion here has been towards greater restriction / tighter controls (albeit not emphatically so):

          Around 7 or 8 Polls conducted on the issue over last decade … here are 2 examples:

          Eg (1). NZ Election Study (2017)

          What should happen to the number of |immigrants allowed into NZ?

          Reduced … 49%

          Same as Now … 33%

          Increased … 12%

          DK … 6%

          Eg (2): Colmar Brunton (May 2014):

          Do you think the Government should place more controls on immigration to reduce pressure on the housing market?

          Yes … 57%

          No … 33%

          DK … 11%

  6. Well done Simon for ruling out doing a deal with the corrupt old raisin,

    I wonder if Jacinda is regretting her flip flop and now backing the dodgy party.

    • Chris T 6.1

      For all her faults (which tbf weren't that many) Clark would have temporarily stood him down from his portfolios (especially racing) nearly a week ago.

      Ardern is in danger of looking weak.

      • Grantoc 6.1.1

        She does look weak.

        It looks like Winston's in charge; and, a bit like Trump, doing what he likes; to hell with Labour.

        • mickysavage

          It is not tear the coalition apart material. It is quite naff. A party activist takes a photo and BFD posts it. I don't see that it is sufficient to justify putting the country into turmoil for the next few months.

          • Grantoc

            The problem is Micky that because of the parties involved (Peters, BFD, journalists), this is all grist to National's and Act's mill.

            It'll be exploited by them for all its worth for as long as they can.

            Unless Jacinda shows some real leadership apropro the situation and Peters in particular; she runs a very high risk of being contaminated by association with Peter's and NZ First's 'dirty politics' strategy.

            And this hardly fits with her earlier comments about running a kind and above board election campaign.

            Its also made more complicated because Labour and NZ First very probably need each other if Labour is to form the next government.

            • Muttonbird

              Jacinda Ardern doesn't run NZ First's election campaign.

              • Grantoc

                Thats irrelevant.

                She runs the government of which Peters is her deputy PM and acting PM when she is absent.

                There is also a cabinet manual that requires that the PM act if there is even a hint of unethical behavour amongst her cabinet members. Peters, a cabinet member, and NZ First have behaved unethically.

                • mickysavage

                  Cabinet manual applies to ministers not political parties. Winston did not take the photo himself and is walking back the claim that the party took the photo. I still don't see the coalition breaking problem here.

                • A legal opinion here is that the cabinet manual does apply to a coalition partner party acting unethically or disreputably, just not as rigorously as when acting as a minister or deputy prime minister.

              • Jimmy

                By her inaction, it doesn't appear that she leads this coalition government either. IMO Helen Clark would have acted differently.

  7. Chris T 7

    Good post turns gradually into whataboutism.

    Kind of should have expected it.

    • mickysavage 7.1

      Que? I am acknowledging both parties are in the wrong. But National’s hypocrisy takes it to a new level.

      • Dead right, MS. It's kind of like a career criminal complaining that the teenagers next door nicked his bike off the porch.

      • Chris T 7.1.2

        My point was kind of why bring up the Nat's in the post in the first place given the title, unless it was just to downplay and divert from NZF's actions.

        I appreciate the nats have done dodgy things, as have Labour, but why can't we just talk about the party in the shit for once without turning it into a…… but this party did this ,…… ending

        • McFlock

          Because a new instance of breathtaking hypocrisy is just as newsworthy as a new instance of dirty politics.

          • Chris T

            All good

            We must not actually talk about the topic.

            • McFlock

              You're the one saying we shouldn't talk about things. The post talks about both things. I've commented about NZ1's behaviour by itself, more than once. The nat's hypocrisy is also comment-worthy.

              But the next time the nats do something contemptible, I look forward to your amazing focus being applied to that and only that. Probably won't be too long.

        • Muttonbird

          But National Party pollster, blogging front man and canary-in-the-mine, David Farrar, was insistent the major villain in the splitting of donations scandal was not the National Party, not the Labour Party and not even the New Zealand First Party.

          According to Farrar it is the Green Party which is the most deserving of criticism!

          Why? Because they haven’t complained like they used with Jong Kee.

          • Sacha

            Desperate chump. Wonder if his polling is showing up what a difficult target the Greens are on this integrity stuff? Wrecks the ‘everyone does it’ story.

        • mickysavage

          why bring up the Nat's in the post in the first place given the title, unless it was just to downplay and divert from NZF's actions

          Because their hypocrisy in denying they were involved in dirty politics is like something that Donald Trump would say on a particularly extreme day?

          • Chris T

            I haven't denied they were, because they were. But that was years ago.

            I am just saying it seems a bit diverting to mention them in a post pretending to be critical of Winston

            • McFlock

              You might not be denying it, but Bennett was denying it just yesterday. Which is the second point of the post.

              • Chris T


                I am not Bennett and this has nothing to do with a post pretending to be critical of Winston

                • McFlock

                  Very slowly, for the cheap seats: It seems to be a post about two things: NZ1's relationship with the dp crowd, and national's hypocritical reaction to that relationship.

                  Posts can cover more than one topic, or cover the intersections between multiple topics. If the added complexity confuses you, just take your time and ask for help with the bigger words.

                  • Chris T

                    That is cool and everything is sweet, but the article was titled.

                    "What was Winston thinking?"

                    and not

                    "What was Winston thinking and by the way National years ago?"

                    • Muttonbird

                      Years ago dark? The SFO case against National Party donors is yet to be heard!

                      The National Party is still in the thick of it and I suspect they are mostly annoyed that someone else is using their proxy, Cameron Slater, for political gain after they were forced to abandon him…

                    • McFlock

                      the article was titled.

                      “What was Winston thinking?”

                      Uncut Gems had remarkably little to do with minerology. Better call a waaaambulance about that one, too.

                    • Chris T

                      And they will be found guilty or not guilty, and found to have whatever connections to the National Party, but this has zero to do with an article about Winston.

                      And why do you keep typing "dark"?

                      Admittedly it is nighttime

                    • Alan M []

                      I agree with you Chris.

                      About 40 lines on NZF.

                      45 lines on National.

                      I was expecting a probable critique and analysis and some speculation or insights into Peters' actions, and how that relates to Ardern / Labour…

                      More than half the article listing yet again things that National did and how terrible that was.

                      Absolutely seen as diversion.

                      Not impressed I am.

                    • mickysavage []

                      Then cancel your subscription.

                      It is not a diversion. The headline, picture and top text is all about what was Winston thinking. The lower part, which I believe is also a valid topic of conversation is how hypocritical National has been about the issue because it is just as bad if not worse.

                      As for how it affects Ardern well it does not really. This was rank opportunistic and rather old fashioned attack politics.

                      Context and perspective is needed. Way worse things happened during dirty politics. This is not an end the coalition sort of event.

                    • Alan M []



                    • Muttonbird

                      Would you prefer TMAB?

                    • Chris T

                      Would prefer to know what the **** your on about, but assume it is something diverting from the current govt issues with their coalition partners.

                      If not I apologise

          • Chris T

            Especially given Winston seems to be in bed with Whaleoil of all sites

  8. Doogs 8

    Well Mickey I did make the mistake of clicking on your link to the BFD. Eewwww . . .! Bilge water. The little I read of it seemed largely to be dangerous, bigoted, sanctimonious, right wing arseholery. A worthy successor to the beef hooked bad man. It needs monitoring. I’ll remember to hold my nose next time . . . If there is one.

  9. McFlock 9

    Regarding Winston, there's been a nagging feeling of familiarity dogging me the last week or so, and I think I know what it is. And it has nothing to do with dirty politics.

    Over the years I've known a few guys who were onto a good thing and just fucked it up in a stupid way – fiddling a timesheet for extra pay, drink driving when a license is essential for their job, fucking around behind a successful partner's back. The sort of thing where you just look at them and go "you risked all this for … that?"

    The Winston/BFD thing gives me the same feeling.

    • Sacha 9.1

      Be interesting to know which childhood voices he is hearing telling him he is just not good enough.

  10. Time to remind people that the WhaleOil clobbering machine was essentially for sale to the highest bidder – don't like some people who are doing science on sugary drinks? accuse them of horrible personal malfeasance by just making stuff up. Want to run for a National party nomination? we'll character assassinate your opponents …. etc etc

    They had (and likely still have) a bunch of gullible followers who will amplify whatever you throw at them, whether it's true or not. They were scum for hire.

    So I'm not surprised that WailoilJr is supporting the NZ First Foundation and going after their opponents, after all one thing we've found out over the past week or so they have racing money to burn (at $15k a pop)

  11. Well I have had a good laugh. You all seem to have swallowed National's bait. They are desperate to draw attention away from their own coming court case. Winston's scalp is required ahead of this coming election as he had the temerity to choose Labour and "that girl"over National, and drew attention to doings in Departments under Paula Bennett, hence her current vitriol.

    Charles Dickens must have met a character like Espiner, as he created Uriah Heep. The ubiquitous false humility of Heep which Espiner displays, is at odds with his writing which is full of inferences and innuendo, smearing Winston Peters, using every opportunity to do so, while being full of false "humility" in crying "I am not saying anyone has broken the law".. Also Guyon has been seen in interesting company, and seems upset by photographs proving this.

    Name me one thing Guyon Espiner has done to improve NZ apart from learning Te Reo. He has always supported John Key and all his lackeys and followers. That has been confirmed with his articles in concert with Simon Bridges' statement "We will not work with NZ First" "We do not trust Winston Peters"

    All of this points to dirty politics by National and their supporters and those accusing Winston need to remember what went before linked to National. Outright conniving, bare faced lies, use of blog sites to destroy people and the some dodgy fund raising and the resulting court cases.

    Micky we are in for a torrid pre-election climate, caused by…… ???? same old crew with a few ring ins.

    • bwaghorn 11.1

      Yip history repeating itself . 2008 national ruled him out then smeared shit all over the place it worked then itll likely work again .

      • Muttonbird 11.1.1

        But there are some very important differences between 2008 and 2020:

        Simon Bridges in opposition is not John Key in opposition and never will be.

        Jacinda Ardern has 30 points on her opposite for PPM. Helen Clark was trailing her opposite by 2 points at the same time.

        In 2008 the Nats were 50.3% averaged for the 12 months before the GE according to Colmar Brunton, while Labour were 35.1%.

        Right now the Nats are 46% and Labour 41% according to the same pollster and NZF is at 3%. On the same date in 2008 Colmar Brunton had National at 53%, Labour at 34% and NZF at 1.7%.

        In reality there are huge differences between now and 2008. It's not useful to assume the same rules apply.

  12. I'll leave it to Micky and The BFD to try to swing this into an anti-National issue.

    But this current furore is about something more important – trying to threaten and intimidate journalists for investigating the donation practices of a political party, and the use of an attack blog by NZ First (yes, I know National did it, but that's two terms ago history).

    From Kiwiblog on The mute PM

    to covertly photograph journalists to try and intimidate them and their sources.”

    The taking of the photos is just a small part of the problem.

    The photos were then handed on to The BFD, which has been acting as a shill for NZ First (and running an agenda of trying to undermine Bridges and drive a division in National).

    The nature of the original post using the photos was threatening towards the journalists – implicating them in illegal activities that were the subject of a complaint to the police.

    Threatening legal repercussions is not new to Peters, he has used lawyers, police complaints and legal actions for years to try to shut up and intimidate critics.

    Legal threats and actions were also used by Cameron Slater via Whale Oil and via the courts. They contributed to his crashing and burning, but his associates at The BFD sem to have learned nothing and are trying the same legal intimidation tactics.

    On Friday SB/Juna Atkins/Slater’s wife took some ownership of the photos and attacks on journalists investigating the NZ First Foundation.

    And yesterday ‘Xavier Theodore Reginald Ordinary’ ramped up his attacks and threats.

    He confirmed that NZ First supplied him with the photos:

    NZ First supporters in Tauranga would’ve been on the lookout for proof of those two reporters meeting Lester Gray. They got lucky. Anyone would’ve done the same if under attack.

    That’s nonsense, but confirms the connection.

    I’m outraged that they’ve accused Cameron Slater of publishing the photos, when it was my article. I’ve got hurty feelings now.

    I think he is probably right, Slater may not have published the photos. But he looks like a long time associate of Slater (and user of Slater for a lot of the WO dirty politics).

    But Atkins is obviously involved. And ironically Slater did his first (under his name and not via SB) post himself when this blew up on he BFD and NZ First on Friday, unfortunate timing for him perhaps.

    If that is the case then any defamation action against Guyon Espiner and Radio New Zealand is likely to go badly for them. Now that would be something to get upset about instead of crying like a baby over a few photos.

    More legal threats against journalists, this time defamation (you’d think that Slater’s disasters would have taught them something, perhaps it did, but it hasn’t stopped the use of legal threats).

    Corporal Jones was dead right when he said they don’t like it up ’em.

    It was a ‘tough’ post, but when it’s about hypocrisy that’s really funny. Slater was a big cry baby when things blew up on him. Mr Ordinary may find out that getting too close to the dirty action himself may backfire on him. I expect journalists will be doing some investigating.

    • Yes Pete, it turns out that NZ First is nearly as dodgy as the National Party, which not only ran a dirty politics operation out of the PM's office but also twice managed to get cops to carry out raids on journalists. But only "nearly" as dodgy, because NZ First is yet to reach the heights of the National Party dodginess mentioned above.

      And yet you turn up here quoting a National Party spin doctor on the subject. Are you imagining anyone's going to take you seriously?

  13. Climaction 13

    What’s Jacinda thinking? Allowing this man near the levers of power

  14. Dot 14

    Yes Patricia you expressed many of my thoughts too.

    As a great fan of RNZ Radio I like to know what our journalists are doing, following a disaffected NZ First member like a troll for the National Party is worthy of outing,

    Like you I am impressed with Guyon's Te Reo ability, he would be better teaching Te Reo in junior school.

    Many of us have a strong view abut where NZ First got some of its donation tactics from.

  15. Adrian 15

    Why did Winston react like this instead of rolling over and ignoring it? For the last quite a few elections hundreds of thousands of dollars has been spent by the Nats on attempting to smear him. He has had a gutsful and I don't blame him. Anybody attacking WP is supporting the nasty Nats.

    • McFlock 15.1

      The nats are shit to everyone.

      But there are so many options other than dirty politics and hiring bots to say identical messages of support. The other options are just as effective and won't blow up in your face.

      So sure, it all comes back to funding.

      If you must copy the nats' hidden bribe donation model (my opinion – why else would you need to hide large donor IDs), stick to paying out the interest on investments, not this "loans" BS. In the long run, you don't get it to blow up in your face.

      Winston and the upper echelons could have "loaned" their own cash for the Northland campaign.

      So you get fiddly with the cash and possibly have an issue with the electoral act – say "we look forward to clarifying the rules". If you have a leaker, work to ID them but then own that work – use the "disgruntled former party official" line. Don't pay some scoundrel to do scoundrelly things. That will be discovered. Only massive fools pay money for that.

      This is amateur-hour bullshit from winston. I also think it's contrary to all his previous record – he's always been a trench fighter, but AFAIK he's previously been above this level of corruption. Baubles are one thing, this is another level.

  16. Whippet 16

    You’re all neatly talking around the main point here.
    Loathe Cameron Slater all you like but your coalition partner after everything that has happened in history, now has him running lines and making plays for them.
    All the while he owes a huge debt to a lawyer who only takes on work Winston Peters tells him he can.
    Cameron Slater therefore how works for the coalition of left parties. And by defending Winston Peters you’re condoning every bit of Slater’s current and past behaviour! LOLOL

  17. stigie 17

    You can ask yourself this as well Adrian, why did Winston Raymond Peters file papers in the High Court just before the 2017 election against National MPs and then goes into good faith bargaining (Winston's words) with Bill English knowing full well he was going with Labour.

    When the Coalition was finally formed, he served those papers to the National MPs for illegally leaking his Super details.

    Bargaining in good faith from Winston Peters my arse !~

    • McFlock 17.1

      Which isn't the same as leaking his personal details in the first place. One is dirty politics, one is hard politics. There's a difference. It's not like the nats offered NZ1 the better deal, anyway.

      • stigie 17.1.1

        Going with Labour, Winston knew he could control the young Jacinda Ardern anyway, Makes sense !~

        • McFlock

          Only "makes sense" to a jerk.

          Ardern is controllable in the same way Peters could be bought off by a few baubles and forget about the nats' treatment of him. i.e. it's a conceit invented by fools so they can get to sleep at night.

          I look forward to Bridges getting all shouty in the leaders' debates this election (if he's still around, of course). Ardern will eat him alive.

    • Graeme 17.2

      Just a guess here, but I'd say one of Winston's conditions for putting National in government in 2017 was the head of the leaker / leakers on a plate. National would have known the papers were filed, but hadn't been served, they'd have contacts in the court. National refused and ended up out of government.

      Another view is that it was all a set up by Winston.

      Pick your rat. But nothing has been proven either way.

      • McFlock 17.2.1

        ISTR news reports after the election that the nats had offered more posts but fewer policy concessions, while Labour offered fewer posts but more policy. I.e. nats offered baubles, Labour offered partnership.

        It would have been interesting if it had been the other way around.

        edit: the thing I loved in the trial [edit: was it a “trial”? The court case to find the leaker, which turned out to probably be the department] was Tolley confessing she’d leaked like a damned seive. Hilarious.

  18. Ad 18

    Winston should just retire.

    He's now just a profoundly negative person.

  19. One of Ardern's risks is getting dragged into the mire, and she seems to have been caught out here.

    Hayley Holt (TVNZ Breakfast): Yes, you’ve also been sort of very diplomatic, should I say, or short on questions around NZ First flip flopping over their involvement in covertly taking photographs of journalists who are working on this story. Do you think you could have asked Winston Peters for a full explanation?

    Jacinda Ardern: Oh actually on that, I’ve only been asked about that this morning. It’s the first time I’ve been asked questions on it.

    Source: https://thespinoff.co.nz/politics/17-02-2020/damage-control-jacinda-ardern-faces-torrent-of-winston-related-questions/

    But on Friday:

    The Prime Minister is refusing to comment on her deputy's involvement with covertly taken photographs of journalists investigating his party, despite promising a positive election campaign.

    A spokesman said it was a matter for NZ First on Thursday night and again on Friday morning. The prime minister refused to answer direct questions put to her at an event in Hamilton.


    • I don't think this is coalition ending stuff (John Key didn't stand himself down when connected to Whale Oil by Dirty Politics in 2014), yet.

      But it is credibility eroding stuff, and is reducing the chances of the current coalition surviving the election.

      • Incognito 19.1.1

        There are considerable efforts to spread this meme.

        Some people are quick to opine that taking these photos and writing a negative blog are equivalent to National’s Dirty Politics. I think this equivalence is manufactured and far-fetched; the intent and scale are nowhere National’s DP. If anything, it was a reaction to DP rather than initiation. However, it is interesting to see how it is being used against the Government as a whole. Though one cannot escape the impression that it involves the same agents and one only has to ask the question: who benefits?

        • Pete George

          "There are considerable efforts to spread this meme."

          Yeah, journalists tend to get a bit more motivated when they're attacked and threatened when doing their job of holding politicians to account.

          "Though one cannot escape the impression that it involves the same agents…"

          Slater, Lusk, WO, BFD?

          "…and one only has to ask the question: who benefits?"

          Certainly not the Government when it gets exposed. Don't you think Peters was nuts to go anywhere near that lot? He must have known the risks, perhaps he was relying on defenders to shut down and discussion on it. Remarkably it has been going on for three years now.

          • Incognito

            Yeah, journalists tend to get a bit more motivated when they’re attacked and threatened when doing their job of holding politicians to account.

            Whoa! In that case, they should go to Police immediately. Perhaps “intimidated” is the word you were looking for?

            The only name I know of that is involved is the BFD.

            Don’t you think Peters was nuts to go anywhere near that lot? He must have known the risks, perhaps he was relying on defenders to shut down and discussion on it. Remarkably it has been going on for three years now.

            If you say it often enough, you’ll start seeing things in a completely different way. So many assumptions, so much speculation, such a rich fantasy and imagination. Stand down that man immediately!

    • Incognito 19.2

      Seems to me that you’re one of those who are trying to drag Jacinda Ardern into the mire.

      BTW, talking of legal opinion, what’s the legal status of the Cabinet Manual?

      • Pete George 19.2.1

        Do you think that journalists asking Ardern questions are dragging her into the mire?

        Do you think she shouldn't be asked questions about it? And that the issue shouldn't be discussed?

        That just after announcing that she wanted to run a decent election campaign her deputy prime minister is found to be connected to people and a blog site that are the pits as far as decent politics goes must be very embarrassing for Ardern. How she handles it is important.

        I think that trying to diss reporting and discussion on this could itself be seen as a dirty WO/BFD style tactic.

        • Incognito

          I think that trying to diss reporting and discussion on this could itself be seen as a dirty WO/BFD style tactic.

          Careful, Pete, I don’t take well to being accused of being a DP operative.

          Journalists are supposed to ask questions but they do this with a story in mind. The narrative needs to suit the story. If there’s no story, they will make one up. Later, they may have to retract some made up BS.

          You are not a journalist by any stretch yet you are following and cultivating the same story and narrative. In other words, you seem to have made up your mind to a large degree.

          How strong is the evidence that Winston Peters had a direct hand in this? So far, what line has he crossed? Saying that it ‘looks bad’ is not good enough; the burden of proof has to be much higher than that, IMO. The PM cannot and should not act on hearsay.

          • Pete George

            I haven't made up my mind, I'm following the issue with interest.

            Actually, I'm fairly sure some of what I have done qualifies as journalism – especially in holding to account and exposing what Slater did on WO and what has been done on The BFD – I used to get hammered on Kiwiblog for bringing it up there, they seem to have changed their stance quite a bit now.

            "How strong is the evidence that Winston Peters had a direct hand in this?"

            He has denied taking the photos and video, but it's fairly obvious it wouldn't have been him. However he did admit "we" took them. And alternately a party member took them.

            But he implied that (and hasn't denied that) someone (quite possibly not him personally) passed the photos and video on to whoever wrote the BFD post, and has not contested culpability or responsibility. In fact he said it was "to prove that was the sort of behaviour going on" (investigations by journalists).

            So his hand in this, while not necessarily direct, looks to be uncontested.

            • Incognito

              IIRC, it was a “supporter” who allegedly took the photos.

              If Peters has indeed been involved the question has to be to what extent. I still don’t know what line he’s supposed to have crossed yet people demanding action from the PM.

              According to your legal source (on Twitter), the PM is meant to throw out the baby with the bathwater to keep the place hygienic, yes?

              Journalism is not what it used to be …

              • I think that throwing Peters out of Cabinet (he's not exactly a political baby) isn't justified at this stage.

                But I think that condemning a party using a dirty blog to attack and threaten journalists deserves much more than has come from the Prime Minister so far.

                Ardern has looked weak and impotent over this. That's not good for the current Government.

                • Sacha

                  Ardern has looked weak and impotent over this.

                  Maybe you are judging her against a style of leadership that her opponents value more? Though good luck to Bridges or Seymour convincing anyone they are 'tough guys'.

                  • I don't value the leadership of Bridges, nor the direction he seems to be trying to take National.

                    Seymour is more mixed, I don't agree with some of what he does but I think did a very good job with the Choice bill and deserves a lot of credit for that.

                    You should be comparing Ardern's weak and impotent to 'tough guy' Winston here, but seem to want to avoid that

                    • Sacha

                      Didn't think of it (gasp) but yes Winston and his blokes are classics of that style of leadership.

                • Incognito

                  At least you haven’t lost sense of reality; Peters can stay on in Cabinet for now.

                  It is not the PM’s job to condemn a party [NZF] using a dirty blog to attack and threaten journalists.

                  Ardern has looked weak and impotent over this. That’s not good for the current Government.

                  In other words, the PM should grow a pair and become more masculine?

                  Brand-Ardern is the opposite of what you and others demand from her. If she were to listen to you and give (cave) in, her brand would be shot to pieces in an instant. You seem to think that the only or primary target is Winston Peter and/or NZF. It is not. This is why I challenged you about the meme, which you got all pissy about. The mission is clear: take down this Government at all cost and with whatever means possible. Please keep up.

                  • I haven't demanded anything of Ardern. Unlike Helen Clark (widely regarded as a strong leader, feminine without balls) who demanded Government action over the RNZ concert program.

                    "The mission is clear: take down this Government at all cost and with whatever means possible. "

                    Who do you think is trying to do this? The media?

                    The way he's going it's more likely to be Winston, but you seem to be losing sight of that, if not effectively defending him as some sort of victim.

                    • Incognito

                      Not sure what the direction of your comments here is then; maybe you were just expressing concern without directly demanding action and show of leadership? If only Jacinda Ardern were as much a leader as Helen Clark was!! FFS, this is 2020.

                      The media is like an unthinking dog with a bone; they simply follow scents and dog whistles without knowing what they are doing – they are instinctively driven by instant rewards and a little pat.

                      Winston might be the lever to topple this Government. That is the Main Prize, IMO. Since when have the BFD cesspit community supported this Government? Since never.

                      Unlike you, I prefer to avoid simple binary and reductionist thinking. Thus, to you, it may seem I am defending some sort of an innocent victim.

        • Psycho Milt

          I think that trying to diss reporting and discussion on this could itself be seen as a dirty WO/BFD style tactic.

          Of course you do, Pete. You were never able to grasp what Dirty Politics was about and have spent six years mistaking it for any political actions you consider unethical. Your lack of comprehension isn't everyone else's problem.

          • Climaction

            and yet dirty politics is only dirty politics when national does it? not a key player in this supposedly new type of government.

            Maybe you don't understand that dirty politics refers to the method, not the offender? it seems that it's your lack of comprehension has now become poor pete's problem

            • Sacha

              Laundering scuttlebutt to the public through dodgy bloggers was the heart of #dirtypolitics – so whoever has been doing that for Winston First is guilty of it.

              Of course the Nats went one better by having a paid operative in the PM's office doing it but the tactic is as harmful to democracy this time, yes.

              No surprise that people here are joining the dots.

              • Climaction

                it's been almost a whole election cycle, at which point will the national party not be worse than everyone at everything or better at the bad stuff?

                that this government, all parties included, still holds itself to be at the mercy of the previous national government, gives the moral room for winston and nzf to operate in this manner.

                • It's been a whole electoral cycle, and now National is better known for data theft, dodgy donations and arse-kissing the CCP than for Dirty Politics, sure. I don't think that's much of a recommendation though, and the Dirty Politics episode is very relevant to the current NZF story.

                • Sacha

                  at which point will the national party not be worse than everyone

                  Long may they be the low water mark of organised and sustained dodgy political behaviour. Though Winnie is certainly competing strongly.

          • Pete George

            Your lack of comprehension of the difference between Dirty Politics and dirty politics is not my problem.

            You even seem unaware of when you practice the latter yourself. Throwing mud at people to divert from issues is usually petty, but it's a common form of dirt in politics.

            You haven't said whether you think what Peters/NZ First/The BFD has done here is excusable or not. Effectively you seem to be defending it.

            • Psycho Milt

              Your comment specifically referred to the main player in Dirty Politics. It's not everyone else's fault if you conflate things.

              I have commented on this subject but maybe you didn't see it. In short: no surprise to me that NZF is as dodgy as National is. My advice is to not vote for either of those parties.

              • "Your comment specifically referred to the main player in Dirty Politics."

                Who six years later are still involved in dirty politics, although the current 'main player' may have switched more from from enabler to doer. The previous main player seems to be just now trying a bit of a comeback, he emerged from his self imposed exile over the last few days.

                Are you aware that that's who NZ First or their agents have been using to do their dirty politics? It's a bit difficult not to conflate them, that's what most of the current furore is about.

                • Incognito

                  What “dirty work” are you referring to, Pete? How long is your itemised list?

                • Are you aware that that's who NZ First or their agents have been using to do their dirty politics? It's a bit difficult not to conflate them, that's what most of the current furore is about.

                  You've successfully commented yourself round in a circle. Yes, I am aware who's involved in this, which is why your attempt to claim

                  I think that trying to diss reporting and discussion on this could itself be seen as a dirty WO/BFD style tactic

                  got the response it did.

      • veutoviper 19.2.2

        Why don't you check out what the legal status is and let us all know?

        You could start here – https://dpmc.govt.nz/our-business-units/cabinet-office/supporting-work-cabinet/cabinet-manual

        If you have any questions, the Cabinet Office is usually really helpful and can be contacted via the following:

        Phone: +64 4 830 5010
        Email: cabinetoffice@dpmc.govt

        • Pete George

          I have already posted this from someone with much more expertise than me.

          The thread is interesting.

          As confidence is the lifeblood, the Cabinet Manual rightly signals that behavioural expectations apply to all the hats a minister wears. Failures while wearing any those hats might corrode collegial confidence.

          But that, imv, does not mean the same degree of interest and interrogation applies to each of those hats. Each of those hats carries a different relationship with ministerial office and collective responsibility/confidence.

          In other words, PM/colleagues have an active and strong interest in all actions of a minister in their executive capacity — Cabinet is designed to ensure ministers always account to their colleagues for such conduct on an ongoing basis. Exec action of one min is action of all.

          Conduct in party political and personal capacities — while still of collegial interest — have a different quality. They are relevant in the negative sense of the risk they erode collegial (and public) confidence. Thus, there’s probably a degree of proportionality that applies.

          A PM’s role of hygiene-keeper is therefore more variegated and nuanced, depending on the particular hat. Of course, the PM has an interest in all domains but what might be expected of them will depend on the impugned hat and alleged failing or misconduct.

          So, I think PM on the radio this morning got it partly wrong and party right.

          But he may be just trying to spread a meme.

          • Incognito

            Quite subjective, in other words. At the end of the day, it is the PM’s call.

            • Robert Guyton

              That's what Key relied upon. What a snakey rascal he was and Pete, wise-up, your blind-spot is showing!

              • Ardern is doing similar, both Key and now her have contributed to weakened prime Ministerial integrity. Maybe it's your blind spot that's exposed.

                • Incognito

                  And there it is: Ardern is as bad as Key. For a self-confessed open-minded person your judgement seems a little off. If you look in your blind spot, you’ll see a mountain of memes following you and whispering sweet little memandi in your ear.

                  • Robert Guyton

                    Ardern, Key

                    Ardern, Key,


                    ARDERN, key

                    Ardern, Ardern,

                    ARDERN, ARDERN


                    'k, Pete?

                  • "Ardern is as bad as Key"

                    Your words, not mine. Is that what you think? I don't. Maybe you could dial back on the baseless assumptions.

                    • Robert Guyton


                      Let John go





                    • Incognito

                      I didn’t use quotation marks, did I? This means I used my own words to paraphrase you. I apologise if I got it wrong, Pete.

                      Let me quote you verbatim:

                      Ardern is doing similar, both Key and now her have contributed to weakened prime Ministerial integrity.

                      If I had to paraphrase this, I’d say … Ardern is as bad as Key. Oops, there I did it again 🙁

        • Incognito

          AFAIK, it has no legal status (i.e. jurisprudence) as such yet it is waved around as the definitive authoritative document to guide the conduct of Government.

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