A couple of people asked me on twitter why I thought the David Cunliffe/Lui letter story came from the Nats instead of just being good hard reporting by the Herald journalist. I have a couple of reasons, but one of them is this comment on my blog from yesterday from a guy who helps Cameron Slater co-write WhaleOil:
Within 24 hours the poll are going to be the least of David Cunliffes problems.
Keep an eye on the herald website, we are about to see pledge card theft relegated to second place as the biggest labour funding scandal.
So sure: maybe the Herald shares its exclusive scoops with Slater et al. Or maybe a bunch of Labour MPs decided to backstab their own leader and tip off Slater, who kept quiet about it because he’s such a circumspect guy. But I’m gonna use Occam’s razor here. Slater is part of National’s comms; his web-site is also co-written by a guy in the PM’s office and the simplest explanation is that the PM’s office was behind this and that’s how the guys at WhaleOil knew about it.
I think Occam’s razor is also useful here in solving the mystery of whether Cunliffe deliberately lied about knowing Liu or whether he just forgot about the letter he sent ELEVEN YEARS AGO. He forgot – which is totally reasonable – but Liu has been a major political story for months now, and there have been questions ‘swirling’ around his association with Labour for almost a week. They needed to know about this. To be honest it’s not that unreasonable for Cunliffe’s staff to fail to turn up an electorate letter written when he was a backbencher eleven years ago. But the reality is that National did turn it up and that comes down to deeper issues of strategic acumen and superior organisation coupled with superior media management, which are valid reasons for the Nats to win the election and Labour to lose.