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Why is Farrar smearing the superannuation shit?

Written By: - Date published: 7:59 am, September 1st, 2017 - 38 comments
Categories: blogs, David Farrar, national, nz first, same old national, winston peters - Tags: , , ,

A lot of politics and political blogging is all about the details and the people who don’t check them. This includes National’s pollster David Farrar who falsely asserted yesterday that “The letter Winston would have received seven times“. But also our own Bill who was much less explicit (fortunately for me) the day before in “Dear Winston“.

I thought it was unlikely at the time and did a brief search on the MSD website without finding an explanation. I was unable to find out what these letters are even called. Once you get that you can search google in NZ and get the first item for “msd annual circumstances letter” which explains it.

The explanation was provided from the MSD to Audrey Young at the Herald. Good to see that they still seek facts.

Some people have claimed that Peters would have received a letter every year for the past seven years asking him to confirm his relationship status.

But that in fact is not the case. The Ministry of Social development says that “annual circumstances letters” were sent to NZ superannuation clients: who do not have personal earnings and who receive the accommodation supplement, or the single living alone rate of NZ Super, or a disability allowance with a permanent medical condition.

“Any other NZ superannuitant is not routinely contacted to reconfirm their circumstances”.

So unless Winston Peters did not declare his income as a MP and party leader which seems unlikely, or that he claimed that he was living on his own, or that he has a disability allowance – he wouldn’t have gotten one of these letters for the last seven years.

Perhaps David Farrar should do something unlikely for a change and apoligize for this false fact defamation couched in the following weasel words.

A reader who is on NZ Superannuation has sent me a copy of the letter they receive every year from MSD confirming their arrangements. As you can see they explicitly state your relationship status and living situation.

The rogue MSD staffer who altered Mr Peters’ application form must also have intercepted these annual letters because surely someone who is a former Treasuer of New Zealand would have immediately noticed something is wrong if he had seen a letter from MSD asking him to confirm his relationship status and living situation, and incorrectly stating them as single and living alone.

This rogue MSD staffer has a lot to answer for. I think MSD should call in the Police to try and track his or her down.

Of course it is possible that Peters did receive these letters. In which case you have to wonder what excuse he has for not responding to them.

It could also be said that David Farrar is financial client of the National party because of the substantial levels of work that his polling company Curia gets from them. It could also be said that David Farrar uses his ‘private’ blog site in a plausible deniability mode to test memes for the National party. This has been obvious over the last decade that I have been operating this site.

Even without the insights of Dirty Politics about the linkages between the National party and its MPs and David Farrar, you could obviously see campaigns being tested in the comments sewer at Kiwiblog, then being exploited by the National party.

So my question for National is why in the hell are they obviously trying to really piss off their only viable coalition partner? Have National given up on trying to form the next government? Because Winston Peters looks rather pissed off with the political machinations of National and their privileged access into the MSD at present.

38 comments on “Why is Farrar smearing the superannuation shit? ”

  1. One Anonymous Bloke 1

    …is why in the hell are they obviously trying to really piss off their only viable coalition partner?

    Maybe they know something we don’t.

    Unless the answer is gross incompetence and stupidity (always a factor where National are concerned), perhaps they have good reason to believe they won’t be forming a government in three weeks and are getting their opposition hits in early.

  2. billmurray 2

    I would believe David Farrar over Winnie Peters any day of the week.
    I well remember the Winebox inquiry, enough said.

    • lprent 2.1

      Not really enough said. I suspect that your recollection is completely flawed and probably either biased or bigoted.

      See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Winebox_Inquiry

      Winston did a pretty good job of exposing some dodgy financial and tax avoidance/evasion pathways. That the commission and subsequent court dramas found that they were (probably) legal at the time has absolutely nothing to do with if it should have been raised politically. There were few other avenues for redressing the situation.

      After and even during the Winebox enquiry, the really dodgy loopholes were slammed shut fairly strongly as far as some of our neighbours were concerned. It still left the same styles of loopholes in overseas trusts which the government was forced to take action on after the the release of the Panama Papers.

      And I trust David Farrar about as much as I trust Winston Peters. They are both paid political operatives (one by parliamentary services and the other by the National party) and should be treated as such. At least parliament has some restraints on behaviour that David Farrar so clearly lacked when you read the contents of Dirty Politics.

    • dukeofurl 2.2

      The winebox inquiry found against Peters

      But later judicial rulings effectively exonerated him, especially in relation to criticism of him.
      The doddery old former Chief Justice likely had a bias against him.

    • Marcus Morris 2.3

      I too remember the Wine Box inquiry and cannot see the point of your argument. The nation never got a satisfactory answer to all the questions it raised. I occasionally hear Farrar on Jim Mora’s The Panel and cannot understand why this overt right wing blogger is even given air time. I have to say that I “come and go” on Winston Peters but to believe Farrar over him is not a notion I would subscribe to.

      • garibaldi 2.3.1

        Yes Marcus. I turn the panel off when he (or Boag or Franks or any other jerk) comes on. As for a comparison, it’s Winston by a country mile. At least you get a laugh or two out of Winston, you get nothing from Farrar’s droning.

    • D'Esterre 2.4

      Bill Murray: “I would believe David Farrar over Winnie Peters any day of the week.”

      Er…no. If you’re accepting of this taradiddle from Farrar, you don’t know how the Superannuation scheme works. I’ve been a pensioner for a number of years: neither I nor my partner has ever had one of those letters. I’m guessing that such letters are sent to people getting means-tested allowances and the like. Farrar is clutching at straws.

      “I well remember the Winebox inquiry, enough said.”

      At the time, I was one of many who closely followed the Winebox enquiry. Evidently, you didn’t pay enough attention to it. I recommend further reading on your part.

    • Yep, enough said – you’ve proven that you’re an ignoramus.

      Peter’s did us a massive favour highlighting the corruption that was part of our political make-up.

      Still, it’s a pity we didn’t delve deeper. Or that it needs to happen again.

    • reason 2.6

      For people who would like to know more than billmurray …


      ” Not only did they make massive profits from insider currency speculations, rigged property, finance and stock deals and the eventual purchase, extraction and sale of valuable state assets, but they also had a well devised plan to avoid paying large amounts of tax. Also in their possession was free and easy access to the funds of the largest bank in the country.” ….

      “to top it all off they had a system to avoid paying tax and rumour has it they also had secret accounts in places like Switzerland and the Cayman Islands to stash the loot. That was New Zealand in the 80’s for you.”

      More here …. http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/money/8515361/Money-trail-leads-home-to-New-Zealand

      which is all connected to this http://www.interest.co.nz/news/84833/michael-field-takes-look-new-offering-key-player-involved-famous-saga-nz-company-was

      New Zealand, right wingers , the NAct party …. and John Key are neck deep in it …. http://www.interest.co.nz/news/81311/documents-show-john-keys-personal-lawyer-successfully-lobbied-him-and-revenue-minister ….

      So the Wine Box is unfinished business …. as the rot exposed by it has spread and gotten worse ….

      Its an Artificial way to rob the revenue of Governments …. Falsely Justifying Austerity and Privatization ..

      “Panama Papers ‘whistleblower’ issues statement, hits out at NZ Prime Minister John Key over Cook Islands; Says income inequality one of the defining issues of our time” http://www.interest.co.nz/news/81460/panama-papers-whistleblower-issues-statement-hits-out-nz-prime-minister-john-key-says

  3. AsleepWhileWalking 3

    This attack could be on any beneficiary as it has all the usual features. The uninformed assumptions, judgement, scathing criticism…and the expectation that it’s acceptable to demand confidential documentation to disprove all of the above.

    The difference is DF just took on someone who can fight back.

  4. Carolyn_nth 4

    The fact that not all superannuitants get an annual reconfirmation of details letter, was becoming clear on TS comments: several regular commenters said they were receiving super and did not get the annual letters, and have never had one.

    RNZ News bulletin on Wednesday also reported the MSD statements about who did and didn’t get such letters.

    But the absolute worst journalist FAIL, goes to Tim Murphy of Newsroom – still trying to beat up the Peters’ super story as a major scandal about Peters. Murphy reported Farar’s missives (as quoted in Lynn’s post) as fact – at first. But I see it has now been updated with the correct facts from MSD – but it still doesn’t look like they are really reporting the full facts.

    The article by Murphy and Melanie Reid, dated 30th August begins:

    (This story has been updated after confirmation from the MSD of who is sent annual letters)

    Every year, certain groups of superannuitants are sent a form or a letter from the Government asking for confirmation of their relationship status and living situation.

    But that, and the reference to Peters “circumstances” in the quoted extract below, are the only references to the fact that not all superannuitants get the letters – unless I have mis-read something?

    The article then goes on to pretty much repeat what Farrar’s points saying Peters would have got one of those letters:

    It is, of course, possible that he did not receive one or all of them due to his circumstances, or clerical or postal error.

    If he did not receive them, there could be questions asked within MSD on their mail fail.

    The Change of Circumstances forms are to be completed if a change of relationship status or residential arrangements has occurred.

    But the other documents – letters sent in alternate years – are unambiguous, almost unmissably specific, in their questioning.

    A copy of the standard letter, published today by the Kiwiblog site run by National Party pollster David Farrar, says it offers “an opportunity to make sure your details are correct”.

    So the article is still a beat up on Peters. Very strange from an experienced journalist and editor like Tim Murphy – he just seems out to get Peters.

    • dukeofurl 4.1

      Its utu.

      There is widespread dislike of Peters in the senior media. Its reciprocal, he breaks the ‘golden rule’, openly criticizing the media when making statements.

      Peters will keep his defamation lawyers busy after the election

    • SARAH 4.2

      I have had the accommodation supplement with my super for the past 5 years, and this year for the first I got a letter to confirm nothing had changed in my circumstances. So even that premise from everyone is incorrect.

  5. Morrissey 5

    David Farrar is a guest on Jim Mora’s Panel this afternoon. Unfortunately for him, the other guest is not one of the usual patsies, but Golnaz Bassam-Tabar, who doesn’t suffer fools lightly.

    Listeners can expect more carnage like that inflicted yesterday by Ali Jones on the hapless Nevil “Breivik” Gibson. Poor old Breivik Gibson must have had flashbacks to the memorable occasion a decade or so ago, when Gordon MacLauchlan lost patience with him….

    Gibson was delivering an absurd homily, in his trademark ponderous croak, about the role of city councils—which Gibson asserted was merely to organize the picking up of rubbish and the maintenance of footpaths. “That’s RIDICULOUS, Nevil!” said MacLauchlan, and proceeded to school the doctrinaire dunderhead about the necessity for and the complexity of council functions, carefully established over generations, of public services like libraries, parks and festivals, as well as scores of other public amenities. Nevil Gibson simply did not have a coherent response to offer, and lapsed into a silence closely resembling stupidity.

  6. Sanctuary 6

    Jim Mora is doing his bit for the Nats, for pre-debate commentary on his panel yesterday he had NBR neolib Nevill Gibson, and for post debate analysis today he has none other than Farrar himself. With Jock Anderson earlier in the week, that’ll be Jim’s trifecta of pale, stale and male ageing right wing journos.

    • Carolyn_nth 6.1

      On Wed 30th August, Tim Murphy was also interviewed for the Panel. He used the opportunity to further put the boot into Peters.

      Murphy kept on about the need for Peters to come clean and make his super payback arrangements and details public. Murphy claimed that, although his super was his own business, it was now in the public arena so he needed to be totally transparent.

      Murphy seems to be on a vendetta here. 7 minute audio file is here.

      • Pete 6.1.1

        Murphy is in the public eye. Not only that, he is attacking a member of the New Zealand Parliament.

        I demand to see all his private records. I demand to see proof that his is not being paid money by someone to create mischief. I demand he hand over all his electronic devices so they can be checked. This is now in the public arena so he needs to be totally transparent.

        And to the notion of ‘just doing his job’? I am just doing my job to protect against corruption in New Zealand by checking you out. What? That’s the job of Government agencies?

        Well Tim Murphy, apparently MSD is a Government agency too and you clearly don’t trust them to do what they need to do in relation to Mr Peters.

        And I don’t trust the Police, the IRD, the GCSB, the SIS or even the RSA to do the checking on you. C’mon front up with all your financial records.

  7. Warren Doney 7

    I find it extremely doubtful that Winston would risk getting caught out over $60 a week, as I’m fairly sure he would have been getting his $51k+ parliamentary pension if he qualified for super. Anyone, left or right, beating it up looks disingenuous.

  8. Pete 8

    Why is Farrar smearing the superannuation shit? Because that is the current topic and Winston is a current target. The tactic of using bullshit is almost a daily one.

    Crafted misleading headlines and articles create a fuss and stir up the inevitable contributing cretins. They spew their bile and then go out into their civilised worlds and infect others.

    In the last couple of days in numerous places online many superannuitants have said they have never got the famous MSD letter that “Winston would have received seven times“.

    Why would Farrar apologise? All is fair in politics.

    Aside: He is likely to be one of those who goes to church, thinks he has a strong sense of ethics and propriety and demonstrates qualities of ‘a good man’ enough to get invited onto things like Radio New Zealand as some sort of ‘expert’ commentator.

    I think he is evil. His contributions, as shown by the one highlighted here, are malevolent and cancerous and on-going. Would Radio New Zealand get a gang leader convicted of drug crimes, family violence and sexual assault to be a regular guest? I personally see Farrar’s contribution to our society in the same light.

  9. Cinny 9

    Why is he smearing? Because it’s a DISTRACTION

  10. Carolyn_nth 10

    Why this smearing attempt of Peters from the right?

    Maybe the Nats considered NZF would choose to go with Labour not the Nats?

    Maybe the Nats would prefer to deal with a Shane Jones-led NZFirst – in the long term?

    Or maybe the rumours being spun at The Daily Blog (by Trotter and Curwen Rolinson) are true – that there is a bigger scandal about to hit the Nats. They are trying to distract from that?

  11. Brokenback 11

    Phase 3 of DirtytricksRus 2017.

    Possible Left -leaning Labour Front bench remove.

    Left-wing Leader of Green party remove.

    Anti- neo-lib NZFirst influence in coalition agreement , work in progress.

  12. bwaghorn 12

    thankyou for doing the digging and clearing that up , you should be a reporter ,god knows nz needs one

  13. weka 13

    I hate to be this person, but can I just point out that I’ve been saying this all week and arguing hard to push back against people on all sides making claims about what Peters did or didn’t do when they didn’t actually know.

    I’ve had a lot of experience with WINZ and there are two things here. One is what they’re mostly doing ( e.g. sending forms to married pensioners and those getting supplementary benefits) and the other is that WINZ routinely don’t apply routine.

    So you can’t extrapolate from one beneficiary’s similar situation to another, because for every ten people that get this form according to what WINZ say should be happening there will be one who doesn’t for whatever reason.

    This is in part because WINZ’s internal processes have been monkey-wrenched for decades, and because specifically in the past five years they’ve been trying to change how they handle updating people’s circumstances. Sometimes it works, sometimes it’s a mess, but from what I can tell there is no consistency over all benefits.

    Two things piss me off about this week. One is that the MSM should have researched and reported this before the story broke (Shub), or at least on Monday when they all had access to the story. As Carolyn points out above, eventually people on social media figured it out, but it takes too long. So we’ve had a week of messy, uniformed public debate that in the end is a waste of everyone’s time. Big fail by the MSM.

    The other, related, issue is that can we please stop making judgements about people based on assumptions? By all means speculate, but the whole Peters did or didn’t do this shit is pretty akin to David Shearer’s Painter on the Roof story. We think we have a right to look at a beneficiary and judge them from a place of ignorance because this is how we treat beneficiaries. But it’s not a right, it’s just plain wrong.

    • weka 13.1

      Just looking at the WINZ link,

      “You may be sent a Confirming your Circumstances form if you’re receiving:”

      Guess which is the critical word in that sentence?


      • +111


        IMO, we should just be paying everyone the same amount no matter if they’re married or not. It’s just too much time and effort that only achieves more stress on those already in a stressful situation.

        • weka

          After the election I’d really like to run a week of discussion on TS about how to transform welfare in NZ.

    • lprent 13.2

      Around here in 2013 (?) That was kind of presumption about benefits and beneficaries was exactly why David Shearer got his political belly ripped open and his entrails handed back to him.

      I have some ideas on who was advising him. But that was almost certainly when he lost a lot of support from the Labour activists both for him and the party. The safety net is there for a reason – to help people who are in dire traits or just victims of bad luck.

      They are exactly the people that cowardly idiot bullies like to target because they aren’t in a position to fight back. If they do then they are liable to get into worse circumstances. And that kind of morally bankrupt bully was exactly who David Shearer was obviously trying to attract.

      It revolted me, in all senses of the word. It still does whenever I see it appear in any political party or forum.

      The welfare system should be as clear and as efficient as the superannuation is with its lack of harassment and low compliance costs of a few percentage.

      It shouldn’t be like the many benefits that have massive costs either directly (>40%) or indirectly to what could be described as the welfare system victims.

      If people are illegally rorting the system, then just detect it, charge them and let the courts deal with it. Don’t try to make their lives more miserable with punitive and petty bullying.

      • weka 13.2.1

        I was pleasantly surprised at how much the left gave Labour and Shearer a hard time over that, it was a good sign.

        The Peters thing is interesting because he’s not an obvious weak target, and he’s a pensioner rather than one of the other beneficiaries, but some of the dynamics in this are the same.

        Unfortunately I am hearing more and more stories of bad things happening to pensioners, so I suspect that the terrible culture from the rest of WINZ is seeping through.

    • tracey 13.3

      If you hadn’t said ti weka i was coming to say that you have held this line since it broke. Murphy, it seems to me thought he had landed the mother of all scandals but when it became a damp squib he couldn’t muster the humility to stop. He has kept digging. Reminds me of Hosking and others

      • weka 13.3.1

        cheers tracey.

        Yes, Murphy has been pretty disappointing in this. Post up about it tomorrow I think.

  14. Janet 14

    I’ve been on Super 5 years, live with my partner ( who is still working) have never had a letter from ‘Integrity services’ or wotever they call themselves….
    My family in Te Anau tell me that people are so pissed off with Bill re Barclay they are going to vote for Winston….. Maybe that’s why they are doing this? Interesting that Peters hasn’t come back at Peter Hughes.

  15. Richard Christie 15

    Anyone remember Farrar and rwnj outrage against Hager and others because they used “stolen” information?

  16. Why is Farrar smearing the superannuation shit?

    Because that’s what right wingers do best.

    Smear shit.

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