Fran O’Sullivan

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 »

If Whaleoil isn’t “Media”, then it is definitely “New Media”

Screen Shot 2014-02-15 at 10.18.19 am

I hope the judge at the High Court hearing Cam Slater’s appeal on “is he a journalist and is his blog part of the media”, considers Fran O’Sullivan a credible expert witness.

As the weeks pass, the Plaintiff’s insistence that Cameron Slater serve up his sources because he isn’t due the protection under the law as a journalist is proving to be nothing more than a wishful dream.  At least in the eyes of other journalists.

But, the only thing that matters is the legal opinion of the Judge.

Close observers will have noted the February 11th court appearance was cancelled as it was deemed unnecessary.  The meeting was to be held in chambers to discuss if a case should be heard.  The judge dispensed with that meeting altogether, and called for a full hearing, which is now scheduled for the 6th of May.

In the mean time, Whaleoil will just pretend we are already part of “Media”, and continue our kind of journalism by relentlessly following the stories, wherever they may lead.

Fran O’Sullivan gets right up Kim Dotcom

Fran O’Sullivan has a brilliant column in the NZ Herald this morning excoriating Kim Dotcom.

Her column does rather raise an interesting question though…why are the Herald columnists (Glucina and O’Sullivan) the ones writing about Dotcom? Why not their “decent journalists, trained and skilled”?

Lawyer: “Are you the Fran O’Sullivan that tweets about Kim Dotcom? We’ve been wondering in here.”

I’ve tweeted only a handful of times about this would-be political Svengali who has yet to mesmerise enough New Zealanders to pose a real election threat to John Key’s Government.

But I found it rather amusing that the lawyers for this rather thin-skinned German national were monitoring his Twitter feed.

Surely a celebrity with 350,000 followers isn’t going to get upset over some minor pin-pricking of his ego? Or is Dotcom so wedded to his carefully crafted PR image and fawning reports of his activities that he can’t stand even some slight questioning of his motives?

Everything…EVERYTHING…about Kim Dotcom is a charade, a shell game or a hall of mirrors. He does not like the truth and seeks to suppress the truth using high paid lawyers…or more accurately lawyers with a large and growing WIP bill (Work In Progress) that remains unpaid. The partners meeting for the end of financial year could be interesting. The partners who opposed taking on Dotcom as a client will be both nervous and happy. Nervous because the new jetski, Range Rover or beach house is at risk and happy that they were right.  Read more »

Giving dole to work-shy Kiwis in Australia is not a priority

Fran O’Sullivan reckons the Australian/Kiwi marriage is a bit rocky at the moment.

Tony Abbott’s acclamation of John Key as a “not just a brother but a soulmate” resonated with an 800-strong turnout in Sydney yesterday for what was to all intents an Australasian business love-in.

It is a marked commentary on just how much New Zealand’s reputation has strengthened within Australian elites that their Prime Minister could openly praise Key’s prime ministership by saying, “I know many of you would like him here,” and not raise even one voice in faint protest.

“He is a truly exemplarly leader for his country – his inspiration and example is welcome on this side of the Tasman …” and so it went on.

But realpolitik Aussie-style meant that New Zealand media-driven expectations – that the Abbott Government should in fairness lighten the blanket restrictions preventing many Kiwis from accessing Australian social security, or that it should intervene in the market to push Australian supermarket chains into reversing their decisions to block New Zealand producers from supplying product for their home brands – were bound to be met with disappointment.

The headline might say our relationship is rocky but it’s not rocky at all, read the Australian Financial  Review or have a chat with any business leader and their only wish is that Key would replace Abbott, it’s been a consistent theme for quite a while.  Read more »

Fran O’Sullivan on Two-Face Cunliife

Fran O’Sullivan writes at the Herald about Two-Face Cunliffe.

Cunliffe also uses an essential duality – which has been accurately pin-pointed as “talking out of both sides of his mouth” – to try to assuage middle-class and politically adept New Zealanders that he doesn’t really mean all the tosh he threw as bait to Labour’s bedrock base to garner voting support during his leadership campaign.

What fascinates and frustrates is that it is difficult to work out which side of Cunliffe’s mouth will triumph if he ends up this time next year as Prime Minister.

Will it be the crusading politician who wants to bring down bloated plutocrats, raise the underclass up and cut the ground out from under particular corporates through legislative intervention?

Or will it be the more considered politician – an experienced former cabinet minister who is prepared to take advice and feedback from affected players instead of ramming decisions down their throats with a damn the consequences mentality?  Read more »

Fran O’Sullivan – Call in the Auditor-General

Fran O’Sullivan adds another of the cuts in Len Brown’s long and slow death by a 1000 cuts.

Auditor-General Lyn Provost is the right person to take inquiries into Len Brown’s relationship with the SkyCity hotels and casino operator to the obvious next stage.

The mayor of Auckland has attempted to brazen his way through the embarrassing detritus exposed by the EY (Ernst & Young) report into some of the implications of his two-year affair with Bevan Chuang.

But that report, emasculated as it was after legal negotiations between Brown’s lawyer and the Auckland Council’s QC, has put new material on the table which must now be investigated by the Auditor-General herself.

It was fundamentally inappropriate for Brown to take the three freebies and accept five upgrades from the SkyCity and SkyCity Grand hotels in Auckland.

Particularly, as the Auckland Council had to take a position on the Government’s controversial “pokies for convention centre swap” and the mayor – who had previously railed against problem gambling – let his principles melt away.   Read more »

Fran O’Sullivan on Len Brown being above the rules

Fran O’Sullivan from the NZ Herald doesn’t hold back as she discusses Len Brown’s propensity to fail to abide by the rules.

If he had any skerrick of honour left, Len Brown would by now have tendered his resignation as mayor to the people of Auckland.

It is absolutely clear that Brown has obtained multiple private benefits by virtue of his position as Mayor of Auckland.

It’s now time for Auditor-General Lyn Provost to open up a much wider inquiry to satisfy Aucklanders – and New Zealanders at large – just where Brown’s abuse of his position stopped.

Brown is hopelessly compromised by the Ernst & Young (EY) report, finally released after lengthy “negotiations” between the mayor’s office and Auckland Council chief executive Doug McKay on just what would be made public from the review into the possible use of council resources during the mayor’s two-year affair with Bevan Chuang.  Read more »