Fran O’Sullivan

The Amazing Contortions of the NZ Herald and other journalists

David Farrar points out the utter hypocrisy of the media:

This is the e-mail released by the PM’s Office. Obviously it has impacted Judith Collins, but if you read the whole thing you’ll see it backs something I have said consistently.

Cameron deals with a huge range of people, including Labour MPs, Green MPs, and almost every media organisation in NZ. The book only showed you his interactions with people associated with National, but this e-mail includes media contact with no less than four different journalists. One specific quote:

I am maintaining daily communications with Jared Savage at the Herald and he is passing information directly to me that the Herald can’t run and so are feeding me to run on the blog.

Now let me say again that what Cam says in an e-mail is his interpretation of events. I regard Jared Savage as an excellent investigative reporter. But the e-mail does lead to questions being asked. How is media giving Cam stories, different to a press secretary doing so?

Now again what Cam has written is his interpretation. It may not be the literal truth of what Jared was doing. But here’s the thing – you need to be consistent. If you accept everything in the e-mails written by Cam as the literal truth, then the NZ Herald was feeding stories to Whale Oil, which they could not run in their newspaper. If you do not accept those e-mails as the literal truth, then why would you accept the ones about interactions with people in National as the literal truth?

Is the Herald going to say that everything Cameron wrote about his dealings with us is incorrect, yet everything else is correct?

Will other media subject Herald reporters and editors to the same level of inquiry that they have subjected others named in the hacked e-mails to?

Read more »

Dear readers, you are all wrong, just ask Fran O’Sullivan

Fran O’Sullivan looks like she has drunk the Dotcom Koolaid this morning.

She thinks that all of you are wrong and there is nothing wrong with the antics of Kim Dotcom and his paid hangers on.

‘Are you Red-dee for a Rev-Oh – Loo- Shin? Are you Red-dee to take down the Government? Are you Red-dee to extradite John Key?” The thick Germanic accent bellowing out these words will be burned into the brain of anyone with a compulsive interest in New Zealand politics after Kim Dotcom’s latest video went viral.

So too, the imagery of Christchurch students chanting “F … John Key, F … John Key, F … John Key” to the rhythm of Dotcom’s baton.

It’s important not to take too seriously the howls of outrage over Dotcom’s latest political orchestration. Or, for that matter the students’ antics.

Wake up people.

There is an election on after all.

There should be contest. There should be passion.

Read more »

Let’s do ‘The Cunliffe’ again

With both Matthew Hooton and Fran O’Sullivan picking up a step tot eh right by The Cunliffe, it reminded me of the time less classic from The Rocky Horror Picture Show “The Time Warp”.

Of course it is apt with The Cunliffe also apologising for being a man.

I’ve renamed the song “The Cunliffe”


(Riff Raff) It’s astounding
Time is fleeting
Madness takes it’s toll…

(Magenta) Ahh…

(Riff Raff) But listen closely…

(Magenta) Not for very much longer…

(Riff Raff) I’ve got to keep control.
I remember doing The Cunliffe.
Drinking those moments when
The blackness would hit me.

(Riff Raff & Magenta) And the void would be calling.    Read more »

Fran on John

She’s in love I think

When the Prime Minister is on top of his game – as he was at yesterday’s post Budget luncheon – he is world-class.

John Key spoke without notes. He was completely fluent. No “ums” or “ahs” or stumbling Mr Average here. He was very much in the mode of a former top-flight international businessman. The guy who served on the board of the New York branch of the Federal Reserve. The persona that I prefer to the one that he has created to make him accessible to all New Zealanders.

He held the audience in his hand. Even the joke about his daughter Steffie being in the news again for “taking off another item of clothing” was delivered with sufficient panache to have the audience laughing with him rather than wincing.

Key has already launched the phony election campaign.

He did that in Parliament on Thursday afternoon when he slaughtered Labour leader David Cunliffe in a rambunctious speech designed to rally his troops, during which he compared the National-led Government’s record with Labour’s on well-chosen metrics ranging from house price inflation, interest rates, the number of Kiwis turning their backs on New Zealand to pursue their fortune in Australia – and more.


Nice to see the old media getting comfortable with Whaleoil adjectives.   Read more »

Fran O’Sullivan on the Budget

Fran O’Sullivan notes that Bill English’s sixth budget will be causing anguish and pain inside LAbour.

Finance Minister Bill English’s sixth Budget has taken the wind out of Labour’s electoral sails. Labour is rather miffed that English has announced a $500 million “children and families” package as the centrepiece of the pre-election Budget.

But Labour has no monopoly on social policies.

More importantly John Key is also a practiced exponent of games theory.

His opponents slag him off for making a pile in forex trading. But his skills at picking inflexion points are just as transferable to raw politics.

That’s why the Prime Minister still confounds his rivals. They expect him to adopt a fixed ideological position. Not steal what they believe is theirs.

Key talks about progressive policies with nary a blush.

English’s rhetoric is more restrained and managerial.

He doesn’t oversell his position. But the election is not a zero sum game.

Multiple players will engage.

That’s why Key and English have kept enough up their sleeves to fund new policies closer to the September 20 election.

Read more »

Fran O’Sullivan on the loss of Shane Jones

Fran O’Sullivan uses her column today to damn David Parker for a lack of courage. Oh sure she never actually says that but she alludes to it very cleverly.

Much has been made of the invitation that Foreign Minister Murray McCully made to Jones to be New Zealand’s first Economic Ambassador to the Pacific. The Labour MP certainly has the skill set to look at how best to balance New Zealand’s interests with that of the Pacific nations to better leverage resources such as fisheries either alongside or preferably with the involvement of other players like China and the United States.

The role is probably as big or small as he wants to make it.

But Labour will miss his courage and deeply grounded sense of reality. Who else will strongly make the case for a Labour-led Government to hold its ground and get openly behind the extractive industries and the jobs they bring? Who else will call time on the “BS” which holds Maoridom back from fulfilling its economic destiny and ensuring young people “get off their As” to work and take part in NZ society? (Hard to do as a Pakeha).   Read more »

Fran O’Sullivan on Kim Dotcom’s political foray

Fran O’Sullivan explores Kim Dotcom’s stable of bought politicians:

Kim Dotcom bought his New Zealand residency with a $10 million cheque; now he wants to buy off Hone Harawira to try to secure the balance of power at the September election.

That’s the most important development relating to the birth of the Internet Party.

It’s certainly not his pledge to bring internet equality to New Zealand. Who’s going fund that, Kim?

Nor the fact that Dotcom owns a signed copy of Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf. So what? Mere ownership doesn’t make him a Nazi sympathiser. (I own a Chinese tract signed by the disgraced Bo Xilai and that doesn’t make me a Communist either).

This issue will remain a red herring unless evidence is made public — not merely hinted at — that Dotcom is a closet Nazi and anti-Semitic to boot.

Until then there is no game-changer.  Read more »

Fran O’Sullivan on China, National and Labour nasty tactics

Fran O’Sullivan writes about John Key’s China triumph:

John Key has firmly put his personal stamp on the New Zealand-China relationship by forging a “trusted partner” status with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Xi heralded the co-operation between China and New Zealand as “pioneering and exemplary”, saying he believed Key’s tour would instil new vitality into the bilateral relationship.

The Chinese President not only made sure New Zealand media were present for all of his reassuring opening remarks at the onset of the two leaders’ bilateral meeting at the Great Hall of the People, but he also welcomed Key and his officials “as family” to a rare private dinner.

This is no mean feat, given Beijing’s barely disguised anger over the Fonterra botulism scare that last year resulted in scathing editorials in official news organs over the New Zealand Government’s perceived failure to rigorously police food safety standards.

Chinese consumers were justifiably angry over the Fonterra fiasco. It not only diminished their confidence in the safety of New Zealand infant formula but resulted in significant collateral damage to the smaller Kiwi exporters that had the foresight and wit (which Fonterra at that stage lacked) to manufacture New Zealand-branded infant formula for the Chinese market.

Key’s visit has drawn a line under that episode.

Which is why Labour and their flunkies in MFaT wanted to rain on the parade.

But the Opposition has been determined to try to ensure Key does not get to politically bank the positives from the deepening bilateral relationship.

This is a mistake, especially given Labour’s own groundbreaking role in forging bilateral ties with China.    Read more »

Fran O’Sullivan on Cunliffe and his trickiness

Fran O’Sullivan exposes David Cunliffe’s hypocrisy in her column today and the week from hell extends into the weekend.

David Cunliffe must be kicking himself he didn’t just fund his own way into the party’s top job.

The Cunliffe household – lawyer Karen Price and Opposition leader David – would pull in a combined income of at least $500,000 a year. Writing a campaign cheque for $20,000 to cover last year’s leadership campaign would not have stretched the family’s finances one iota.

Instead he had his campaign manager rattle the tin for him resulting in about $20,000 of anonymous donations being laundered through a secret trust.

Cunliffe has been battling the stench of hypocrisy since the use of a secret campaign trust to launder leadership campaign donations from five donors was disclosed.

It’s not surprising that wealthy businessmen such as Tony Gibbs and Selwyn Pellett tossed some of their chump change into Cunliffe’s leadership campaign trust.

He’s a known quantity. He’s personable. Many business people like him even if some are deeply wary about just what changes will occur under a Labour-led government because Cunliffe sometimes says one thing in public and something very different to them in private.

It’s all rather priceless.  Read more »

Fran O’Sullivan on Brown and Dotcom

Fran O’Sullivan compares Len Brown and Kim Dotcom.

Kim Dotcom and Len Brown are linked by several personal characteristics. Both are showmen. Both are prone to vanity. Both hate being out of the limelight.

In the personality world that drives mainstream media coverage these days, each of them is also a long-running news story.

Fran is much too polite to call them narcissists. I’ll go further and call them psychopaths.

Dotcom because the Court of Appeal found the police raid on his rented mansion was legal (but that the police giving the FBI the seized material was an unauthorised legal breach). The Herald‘s splash showing Dotcom (or his companies) had not paid a number of small creditors while he ostentatiously lived high on the hog did not help his reputation.

But his natural audacity and fighting spirit keep him centre-stage.

Which is good because when I start revealing the real secret life of Kim Dotcom in coming weeks he will be able to be held to account.  Read more »