The Dim-Post

June 14, 2013


Filed under: blogging — danylmc @ 8:29 am

National’s new comms strategy is very smart. Normally if a party has a minor story about someone in an opposing party – like the half-wit Labour MPs in the Sky City corporate box – they shop it around the press gallery or raise it in Parliament, but often-as-not the story just dies or ends up in a side-bar.

But if National gives it to DPF who publishes it as a rumour on his blog then suddenly the press gallery are competing with each other to track down the story behind the rumour! And when they do it’s a big scoop that they’ve uncovered through the awesome power of journalism, not a trivial political attack.

June 12, 2013

General observation

Filed under: intelligence — danylmc @ 8:30 am

Government surveillance scandals are when people who spend their lives in a constant state of hysteria about the all-powerful PC nanny state shrug their shoulders and ask what the big deal is.

June 11, 2013

Get ready to pinch the hell out of the bridge of your nose

Filed under: general idiocy — danylmc @ 2:02 pm

Chris Trotter muses on Peter Dunne’s downfall.

These extraordinary events have the shape and feel of a very old and tragic tale. The bones of the story may be found in the mythology of every culture, but I first encountered it in the legends of King Arthur and the Round Table. There it is called the tale of Merlin and Vivien.

It gets so much worse.

June 10, 2013

What does Peters have?

Filed under: intelligence,Politics — danylmc @ 2:39 pm

Bryce Edwards asks on Twitter:

Does any really believe that Winston Peters has copies of the Dunne/Vance emails? I think he’s probably bluffing on this one.

It’s hard to imagine how Peters could get his hands on these. Peter Dunne is hardly going to pass them on. If Andrea Vance had a senior Minister leaking her sensitive documents she’s hardly going to destroy his career by betraying him to Peters for no apparent gain. If any of the Ministerial Services IT staff had accessed Dunne’s email account it would show up in the audit trail and they’d lose their jobs.

But we do know that Dunne passed on 44 ‘edited’ emails to David Henry, and that Winston Peters seems to know a great deal about what’s been happening inside the Henry inquiry. He knew they’d interviewed Dunne, that they didn’t do so under oath, and that he wasn’t releasing his records. So my guess is that Peters has the emails that were handed over to the Henry inquiry. If that’s the case then Dunne was very wise not to hand over the rest of his correspondence.

June 8, 2013

Wow, did I get that wrong

Filed under: Politics — danylmc @ 10:47 am

I was really sure the Kitteridge report into the GCSB was a strategic leak by the Prime Minister’s office, and so it would never be properly investigated. It wasn’t, so it was, and the leak came from one of the PM’s coalition partners and senior Ministers leaking against his own government’s media plan, for no apparent reason other than that he liked and wanted to impress the journalist he leaked it to.

Dunne gave a tortured, rambling confession in his press conference while insisting that he didn’t actually leak the document. He just considered leaking it and talked about it with the journalist who the documents were leaked to, and arranged to meet her on the day they were leaked and disappeared from his office during the time he’d arranged to meet with her, but didn’t meet with her, but can’t say where he was.

This pretty silly position could be about a few things, but I wonder if his standing with Key is part of it. Dunne appears to have mislead the Prime Minister, who asked if he leaked the report and received a denial. Maybe Dunne wants to maintain the fiction that he didn’t lie to Key and that he’s resigning on some bizarre point of principle about the privacy of his emails.  Did Dunne have some informal exit agreement stitched up with National – a knighthood, a few lucrative directorships, a nice high commisioner role somewhere in Europe – which he thinks he can cling on to?

Update: Deleted the comments thread before Andrea reads it and sues me.

June 6, 2013

Hello darkness my old friend

Filed under: media,Politics — danylmc @ 12:55 pm

Via The Herald:

Journalist Rachel Smalley, the host of TV3’s political programme The Nation, has been called on to apologise to Education Minister Hekia Parata over questions she asked during an interview.

In an interview on May 25, Ms Smalley asked Ms Parata, “How Maori are you?” and, “Are you a bitch to work for?” – the latter in relation to the resignation of staff in Ms Parata’s ministerial office.

There’s a nebulous, shifting zone around Hekia Parata, in which she is (a) not a very good Minister, (b) trying to implement poor policy in her portfolio that she might not necessarily agree with, charter schools, say, and (c) a Maori Woman who is very self-confident and successful. Smalley’s questions here seem more like she’s being held accountable for point (c), instead of points (a) or (b). The high staff turn-over in Parata’s office is a legitimate question: it’s a cost to the taxpayer; but you don’t hear interviewers asking, say, Murray McCully if he’s a dickhead, or a cock. He is, but he’s still a senior Minister – just like Parata – and you have to respect that.

June 4, 2013

Transitional problems

Filed under: Politics — danylmc @ 1:46 pm

Via Scoop, Labour’s press release on the launch of their campaign to win the Ikaroa-Rawhiti by-election:

Labour launches Ikaroa-Rawhiti campaign

Labour Leader David Shearer has launched Labour’s Ikaroa-Rawhiti by-election campaign with a promise that the party will use the next four weeks to honour the legacy of Parekura Horomia, and retain the seat he held for 14 years.

Labour’s candidate Meka Whaitiri today held her official campaign launch at Kohupatiki Marae near Hastings. David Shearer was joined at the launch by Rino Tirikatene and Louisa Wall from Labour’s Maori caucus and a number of other MPs.

“Labour will campaign relentlessly to once again earn the trust of the people of Ikaroa-Rawhiti. We will organise, mobilise and terrorise our political opponents.


“Let the games begin,” says David Shearer.

In possibly-not-unrelated news, Labour are in the process of hiring a new Senior Press Secretary.

June 2, 2013


Filed under: Politics — danylmc @ 11:53 am

I don’t blog about the Greens much now that my wife works for them. If I make fun of them then things will become very difficult for me very quickly and if I’m nice about them I’d just look like a shill, on top of which my wild guesses might look like they’re informed by insider knowledge.  But I honestly don’t know anything about the strategy behind Russel Norman’s Key-bashing speech at the party’s AGM today. Via Isaac Davison at the Herald:

Green Party co-leader Russel Norman has made a sharp personal attack on Prime Minister John Key, all but shutting the door on working with National after the next election.

Key described Labour and the Greens as the “devil-beast”; Norman hit back at his party’s annual conference yesterday by labelling Key “corrosive” and “extremely divisive”, repeatedly comparing him to former Prime Minister Robert Muldoon.

“Next time you see John Key smiling, remember he’s not smiling because he likes you, he’s smiling because he’s giving favours to his mates while undermining your democracy,” he told an audience of around 120 people in Christchurch.

The Greens have previously avoided personality politics. Asked whether his speech signalled a new approach, Norman said: “It’s important to put a line in the sand about what’s happening to our constitution and our democracy.”

After the speech, he would not rule out working with National if it gained a third term – but his tone of contempt for the National-led Government’s “attacks on democracy” and “dodgy deals” made it clear that this would be unlikely.

“It is hard to see how that will work out well,” he said.

. . . And the best part of not knowing anything about something is that you can blog about it.

Part of Norman’s speech is just standard opposition stuff. Lots of people on the left think that National has taken a rather sinister and anti-democratic turn, and opposition leaders are supposed to articulate these sorts of concerns and present them to the wider public. That’s the job.

The other element is the personal attack on Key. I think there’s some real-politik here. Key’s been attacking the Greens very vigorously: his research probably tells him that voters in the center are apprehensive about them. And if a party just lies back and takes that kind of abuse without responding it makes them look weak in the eyes of the voters. People don’t vote for weak.

When the leaders of two parties who aren’t trying to attract one another’s voters attack each other in public like this it often works out well for both of them. In this case Key gets to scare voters in the center off defecting to Labour while the Greens try to peel away left-wing Labour voters who are dissatisfied with the current leadership (according to current polling that’s almost all of them).

It’s a really bad situation for Labour to be in, but Labour have spent the last couple of weeks telling everyone who’d listen that they’d prefer to form a coalition with New Zealand First and lock the Greens out of government again, so I doubt Norman gives a damn about whether he’s making life harder for Labour.

June 1, 2013

The wolf and the lion

Filed under: Politics — danylmc @ 1:18 pm

It must be frustrating for John Key and his senior strategists. Here they are, the most popular government in modern New Zealand history successfully implementing a strong right-wing agenda: sacking thousands of public servants, selling off assets, lowering tax for the rich, trusts and corporations, introducing charter schools, gutting environmental protections . . . the list goes on. And how does his party repay him? Well, according to the leaked strategy papers written  by National activist – and alleged WhaleOil co-blogger – Simon Lusk they form a faction inside National, complain about how bitterly disappointed they are in his government, call him a ‘wet’ and plot a post-election coup to depose all of Key’s political allies.

MPs and senior-staffers get sent this sort of stuff all the time. Evn so, Lusk’s advice is unusually terrible: during a period in which Labour and the Greens are pulling National back towards the centre, Lusk feels the party should tack to the extreme far-right, an area currently occupied by ACT, who fluctuate between 0.0 and 0.2% in the polls.

National’s leadership seems to have grown tired of this back-seat strategising: prompted, presumably, by Andrea Vance’s interview with Lusk last weekend they’ve leaked these documents to the media, and an extremely well-prepared John Key spoke on Lusk and his role in the party to Richard Harman on The Nation this morning. This’ll make life a bit trickier for Judith Collins who is perceived to be Lusk’s patron within the party and who can now be accused of being a ‘tea-party’ candidate, and so that’s a win for Steven Joyce, and something of a declaration of Key’s post-leadership vision of the National Party when he steps down.


May 31, 2013

Parental responsibilty

Filed under: general idiocy — danylmc @ 8:53 am

Every now and then I hear someone in my liberal, left-wing enclave (either real-life or online) wonder at National’s enduring popularity in the polls and question as to why anyone still supports them. Well, the Al Nisbet cartoons and the widespread public support for them are a pretty awesome explanation.


There’s a large – mostly white, predominantly male, generally older – section of the population for whom unemployment, child poverty, Maori and Pacific educational under-achievement and poverty related diseases simply don’t exist as problems. To them the real issue facing the country is welfare-bludging and the vast unproductive class of brown people living lives of lavish indolence, drinking and smoking and gambling in their taxpayer funded homes crowded with expensive consumer electronics. When you think like that, the idea of spending more money to feed the already spoiled children of welfare-bludgers is simply risible. Hence Nisbet’s cartoons and all the online comments and vox-pops agreeing that the state shouldn’t provide breakfasts for poor children because ‘parental responsibility’ and that Nisbet’s cartoons ‘represent a reality’.

Speaking of reality. According to the latest MSD benefit fact sheets (which tell us, incidentally, that the majority of welfare beneficiaries are Pakeha) there are about 2000 people recieving an Invalid’s benefit who are caring for dependent children aged under six years.

Let’s be conservative and assume that there are that many again caring for children between six and twelve and that they’re caring for 1.5 children each and you have 3000 primary school children right there who are growing up in poverty while being cared for by a person suffering from a physical and/or mental illness.

I think it’s safe to assume that these children are over-represented in the cohort of kids who are turning up to school without food. We keep hearing that the solution to this problem is ‘parental responsibility’, not state (or corporate) welfare. But it’s not the fault of these children they were born to parents with depression or schizophrenia or a painful skeletal-muscular disorder that requires that parent to remain heavily medicated. And those parents can’t just magically stop suffering from chronic diseases that compromise their ability to care for their children. Most parents love their kids – if they would they could.

There’s no actual proof that Nisbet’s bludgers exist. The children enumerated in the MSD Benefit fact sheets do exist – but this is where the idiocy of welfare-bludger rhetoric has bought us. People literally want children growing up in conditions of terrible poverty to go hungry because of their commitment to a race-based political fantasy.

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