- 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: simon lusk, whaleoil
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. “
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.