Grant Robertson

Looks like Winston’s, David’s and Grant’s nasty smears have backfired

Yesterday Winston Peters, Grant Robertson and David Cunliffe all accused Judith Collins of corruption without a shred of evidence to support their claims.

Now someone who was at the dinner has confirmed the minister’s account and their smears are in tatters.

A senior Beehive adviser has taken the unusual step of going public to back her minister, Judith Collins, over what took place at a dinner with Oravida executives and a senior Chinese Government official.

Margaret Malcolm was one of five guests at the dinner in Beijing which has embroiled Collins in allegations of corruption.

Malcolm, who travelled with Collins to China as her senior adviser, backed the minister’s claim that they did not discuss Oravida’s business over the dinner and that they talked mostly tourism.

“The dinner was very short and discussion was restricted due to some participants having limited English. The conversation centred around New Zealand as a tourist destination.”

She had not taken any notes in her capacity as adviser.

Like Collins, Malcolm also refused to name the Chinese official who Opposition MPs claim was in a position to help milk exporter Oravida overcome export issues following the botulism scare.

Collins has been under fire over allegations she used her ministerial position to benefit her husband’s business interests, though she told The Dominion Post last night that this was not true.

“[NZ First leader] Winston Peters . . . misled the media, he misled the public and actually there is no evidence of it and it’s utterly untrue.”

She had no influence over the $6000 received by Oravida from a pool of government funding for businesses which had been affected by the botulism scare, which turned out to be a false alarm.

Forty-one exporters had received advice and help from the Government relating to the incident and 39 of them received some form of payment, she said.¬† Read more »

Stephen Franks on the outrageous claims of corruption by the opposition and media

Stephen Franks provides a thoughtful response to the outrageous claims of opposition MPs under parliamentary privilege of corruption by Judith Collins.

I note that they dare not repeat those claims outside of the protection of parliamentary privilege.

Political journalists continue to give credibility to the Oravida beat-up. I’ve not heard anyone I know, outside the ‘beltway’ set,¬†who share their faux indignation. Perhaps aspects yet to be revealed will vindicate the accusers. But on what has been disclosed so far, those alleging corruption disgrace themselves.

We come from an era, widely regarded as our most incorruptible, when all manner of goods were marked with the Royal crest, and the words “By appointment to HM the Queen”. Approval as suppliers to the Crown was overtly advertised, for the benefit of the supplier. I recall no concern that it was a corrupt practice.

Nor is there any objective argument that Ms Collins advocacy for any dairy interests in China or elsewhere, has been inimical to the interests of New Zealand. The allegations of corruption are the single element most likely to reduce the barriers to corruption. When it is acceptable to equate such innocuous behaviour with corruption, we lose the capacity to distinguish, and ‘everybody does it’ becomes a more likely excuse for genuine corruption at¬†other levels

If there was some indication of covert payments then it might run. But most of us know that there is implicit personal endorsement, even if it is unwanted, in most engagements of powerful people.¬† Read more »

Cartoon of the Day

Credit:  SonovaMin

Credit: SonovaMin

Jones continues his jihad against Lotto, still conflicted, Cunliffe says nothing

Shane Jones continues his conflicted jihad against Lotto this morning, though he is veiling it as an attack on Countdown.

He is seriously conflicted out in this matter though with his missus working for SkyCity and SkyCity providing his week day accommodation.

If a glass of milk and a photo opportunity was grounds for resignation because one’s spouse is a director of a company then how much more inappropriate is it for someone to be lobbying against a director competitor of the employer of your spouse?

Labour MP Shane Jones is calling for an end to big Lotto jackpots after attacking supermarket giant Countdown for selling tickets at the checkout counter.

Jones said selling Lotto tickets at the checkout was like putting a poker machine at every counter but worse, because people could pay for the tickets with their credit cards.

“What do you buy? Weetbix, orange or a big fat Wednesday?” he asked.

He believed there should be an immediate review of the Gambling Act that should include a look at the size of the Lotto jackpot, because a $30 million or $40m jackpot was too high. ¬† Read more »

What does a straight bloke have to do to get selected for Labour?

Darien Fenton hears the news that Richard Hills was selected in Northcote

Darien Fenton hears the news that Richard Hills was selected in Northcote

Now before this post gets started I need to clarify that I am not homophobic as I am sure the left will claim. I was one of the biggest supporters of the marriage equality bill and don’t care one bit who someone chooses to sleep with or what sex they are. This post is simply about perceptions and plain facts, with no emotion or otherwise intended.

The past week has been interesting to say the least as Labour announced a few selections.

Ever since Damien O’Connor expressed his own frustration about the “gaggle of gays” Labour has been at pains to state how inclusive they are, while at the same time implementing exclusive rules like their Man Ban.

However with the march of their candidate announcements plus some recent replacements one really does now have to ask what it takes to get selected for Labour if you are a straight bloke.

Labour selected Tony Milne for Christchurch Central, he is a reasonable sort of a candidate, young, well meaning, earnest even, ¬†…and never had a real job. He is also gay.

Then Tamati Coffey was selected in Rotorua and Kelly Ellis in Whangarei.

Yesterday they announced the selection of Richard Hills as their Northcote candidate, pretty much extinguishing any chance of Darien Fenton remaining relevant inside Labour.¬† Read more »

Armstrong on Labour’s appalling strategy

John Armstrong provides some strategy advice for Labour.

It is sound but because Armstrong writes for the NZ Herald I suspect that Labour will have cloth ears to the message and instead label him a shill for corporate tory media interests, an accusation that is as daft as it sounds.

As the countdown to September’s general election becomes ever more frenetic, one thing is becoming increasingly obvious: those parties that stick to their knitting and produce fresh, even visionary, ideas and viable policies stand to be the big winners.

Voters are not of such a negative mood as to tolerate endless whining, cheap hits on opponents and petty point-scoring generally.

National worked this out long ago. The Greens have since worked it out and are now refocusing on fundamentals. Labour has had the most difficulty in shedding opposition for the sake of opposition, but is coming to the same realisation, with David Cunliffe now thrusting himself forward as the Apostle of Economic Intervention. And not before time – in a strategic sense, at least.

The exception to this requirement to accentuate the positive is New Zealand First whose function in domestic politics is to stress the negative and thus offer refuge to the angry and the alienated.

But even a politician of Winston Peters’ calibre is finding the going tough and – to borrow David Lange’s famous observation of Jim Bolger – succeeding in only stirring up apathy.

Outside of Wellington or political tragics all of the so-called scandals that Labour is investing enormous time and energy into have fallen flat with not a single dent in the polls for National’s constantly high ratings. ¬† Read more »

Groucho Marx’s Labour party

Groucho_Marx_on_Politics

This accurately sums up the state of the Labour party.

You can see the evidence of this in their ham-fisted attacks and smears on Judith Collins and now John Key. Aided by their pals in the compliant media, like Patrick Gower and Corin Dann they really are making a mockery of politics, their party and journalism.

The excuse making and justifications of Gower’s recent behaviour in Shanghai, by journalists like Russell Brown, just make that sort of scurrilous reporting available to all.

I look forward to Patrick Gower invading the office of Selwyn Pellett and rummaging his drawers, fridge and bookshelves looking for evidence of his cozy relationship with Labour and the unions. Of course that won’t happen.

Since the departure of Helen Clark the party has been stagnant, and now since the arrival of the entirely false and contrived David Cunliffe in freefall in the polls. The current state of the Labour party can be sheeted home entirely to the legacy of Helen Clark.¬† Read more »

Watkins on Cunliffe

Tracy Watkins writes about David Cunliffe and asks if it is at all possible that he can turn around the sinking ship that is Labour.

You could probably have cut the air with a knife at this morning’s Labour caucus after another poll showing the party on a slide toward defeat in September’s election.

The Herald-Digipoll has Labour on 29.5 per cent which simply confirms what every other poll has been telling the party since the start of the year.

Blame National leader John Key’s extraordinary popularity, blame the surge in economic confidence and belief that the country is on the right track, blame Labour leader David Cunliffe’s stumbles over trusts and party policy, blame the carry-over of mistrust toward Cunliffe from within his own caucus, or blame the fact that there is clearly an internal struggle within Labour over direction and strategy.

What it all adds up to is a party that is yet to put up a convincing case to voters that it is ready to govern or that there is any reason for a change from National.

Can David Cunliffe turn things around?¬† Read more »

And the Oscar goes to

by blokeintakapuna

…Grant Robertson with partners TV3 and TVNZ for Grant’s sanctimonious and faux moral outrage pantomime, with him dancing on a pin head effort with yesterday’s Question time.

Yes viewers, since only late 2008 it’s been a rapid rise for this Labour Party contestant to yesterday’s lofty heights, when all his intellect and blinding ability to avoid large white elephants came into play where he waltzed around the issue of his leaders secret trust, secret donors and the laundering of secret funds by secret financiers – to highlight and demonstrate the moral outrage about someone new to a city needing to travel because of two meetings – both in other parts of the city.

Viewers – He almost managed some spittle, the faux outrage was so realistic.

…and so this Labour Party high flyer asks – “Are you aware NZ, that two separate meetings were held in the same city. The same city NZ!. Attended by the same person, in the same city .on the same day! Yes, NZ that’s what you could expect with a National Party MP – attending meetings all over the place.”

Telefibbing Media can confidently report that a Labour Party MP would only go on overseas trips to warm, sunny places with lots of free food & clean air, where they can take their partners for a week or so and under very few extraordinary circumstances would more than one meeting be attended in any one day. And even then, Mr. Robertson assures us, it would be more of a talk fest with very little productivity indeed. ¬† Read more »

Before Whaleoil, there was The Letter

It’s good to have Prebble’s The Letter back. ¬†It contains little gems like

The Letter revealed that David Cunliffe was not the only Labour leadership contender to receive $1,500 from a prominent businessman.

The MP concerned has not outed himself.

Under parliament‚Äôs lax disclosure rules the statements did not need to be filed until 1 January and then follows three months when MPs can remember ‚Äúgifts‚ÄĚ or simply change their declaration.

The Registrar has ruled that MPs who are not trustees but simply beneficiaries of trusts need not disclose gifts at all.

The filings are not public until 1 July.

You would have to be arrogant and reckless to think that you do not have to disclose that your leadership primary was financed by big business.

Does that sound like someone we know?

It was really ground breaking in the mid-to-late 90′s to have someone provide this sort of ‘soft’ political information direct to the voters. ¬† Especially when you remember that TV and newspapers hadn’t quite gone on the downward slide – yet. Read more »