Greg Presland

Hey Clint! Will you start bashing the Greens now you work for Cunners?

Clint Smith aka James Henderson aka Steve Pierson, a blogger at The Standard and former green staffer has cut and run, poached by David Cunliffe to work for Labour.

Labour has had its own ”Hey Clint!” moment.

Leader David Cunliffe’s chief of staff Matt McCarten has confirmed the party has recruited the Green Party’s political and media adviser, Clint Smith, to beef up selling its economic message.

Smith, who had earlier worked for Labour before going across to the Greens, shot to prominence when, during a television interview, MP Gareth Hughes turned to him with a ”Hey Clint!” to check if the party was happy its power policy had put a dent in the Mighty River Power sale.  Read more »

Trotter on Cunliffe’s lack of voice

Chris Trotter has gone from writing off Labour to pleading that someone, anyone, helps David Cunliffe find his political voice.

The political voice he uses now is different depending on the audience he is speaking ot. On radio he lowers his voice and appears conciliatory, yet promising or saying nothing. It is literally boring. You can hear that he has dropped what there is of his chin onto his chest and is looking down as he speaks…nodding at the phone as he speaks…close your eyes next time he is on radio and remove all distraction and see if I am right.

His stand up voice is smug and smarmy, he again drops his chin, but not as much and talks down, imperiously to journalists, but usually over their heads to someone else, though there is no one else there. Again his body language is all skew whiff, nodding when he should b shaking his head, shaking his head when he should be nodding, and he has this disastrous quirk where he tilts his head on its side in an attempt to make his mouth seems straight but only serves to give the impression he is sneaky and lying….which he probably is.

His final voice is the his Avondale market voice which is a toffs version of bro-speak, interspersed with little snippets of Maori to impress the natives. It is as fake as his CV.

So which voice is it that Trotter wants to hear?

DAVID CUNLIFFE’s biggest problem is his voice. Not his actual voice, which is fine, but his political voice: the way he is heard by the voting public. It’s a problem because the one he’s using at the moment isn’t working. It doesn’t ring true. And until it does he’s not going to be able to engage with the people he needs to make him Prime Minister.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that Cunliffe is a fake. One-on-one, eyeball-to-eyeball, in small groups, he can be utterly transfixing. In the discussions I’ve had recently about the Labour leader’s “voice” problem, this ability to inspire has been attested to over and over again. And I know it’s true because I’ve felt it myself. When Cunliffe fixes his eyes on you and speaks about the things that matter – both to him and to you – he can be utterly compelling.

Unfortunately, all that communicative power and authority is lost whenever Cunliffe is required to address a hostile and/or sceptical audience – most particularly the news media. At these moments he becomes the political equivalent of Iron Man. In the blink of an eye the high-tech suit of armour snaps shut around the vulnerable person inside and his communication, while factual and fluent, loses all colour, all life. It becomes, in a word, robotic.  Read more »

Remember this?

David Cunliffe reckons he cannot tell a lie.

And yet the evidence in that video says otherwise…and recent weeks have shown us more evidence that he can actually tell lies…lots of them.

Real estate deals for donors, misleads journalists when asked.

His secret trust administered by a blogger by the name of Greg Presland, set up to launder donations and hide donors.

Claims Taranaki is in the doldrums when it is in fact the fastest growing area of NZ.  Read more »

Hide on Cunliffe and his secret trusts

Rodney Hide writes what he thinks Matt McCarten’s memo to David Cunliffe should look like.

Memo to: David Cunliffe, Leader of the Opposition

From: Matt McCarten, Chief of Staff

From now on you do nothing, say nothing, think nothing. Not until you run it past me. Better yet, just do, say and think what I tell you. That saves time and minimises risk.

What part of your political brain thought it a good idea to run donations through a secret trust?

No. Forget I even asked. I don’t want to know.

Secret trusts? Anonymous donations? Big business? US bagman? That’s how we attack Tories. Now they are attacking us. Just be thankful they suck at it. Imagine if Trevor Mallard, the duck, was doing you over.

Did you not notice passing laws stopping this carry-on? We made it so political parties can’t hide donors behind trusts. We changed Standing Orders so MPs must declare gifts and donations. You were in Cabinet. It was a Big Deal.

Oh, I know our law never contemplated a leadership primary but the spirit is clear. That’s what you broke. National can hit you with this from now until the election.

You look sleazy. You look tricky. You look like a hypocrite.  Read more »

Watkins on the Cunliffe schemozzle

Tracy Watkins has an opinion piece today about “The Enigma of Cunliffe“.

The great enigma about David Cunliffe has always been how someone so smart managed to make so many enemies among his own colleagues.

He is by many accounts a caring boss and doesn’t take himself so seriously that he can’t laugh at himself.

The schemozzle surrounding the Labour leader in recent days probably helps explain the unease of those among his colleagues who opposed his leadership bid.  Cunliffe’s biggest critics have always complained about a lack of self awareness as his potentially fatal flaw.

That is what causes him to swing from a caricature of himself as a gun-slinging troubleshooter to working class hero, who forgets along the way that he also lives in one of Auckland’s swankiest suburbs, Herne Bay.

It may also be what lies at the root of his failure to realise the lack of transparency around donations to his leadership campaign and declaration of financial interests was a grenade waiting to go off.  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 »

Herald and Bryce Edwards manufacturing news again

Bryce Edwards is always one of the first to climb into me…on almost anything, like most sanctimonious commentators he should perhaps remove the log from his own eyes.

Here he was two nights ago begging for bloggers to write hit pieces against the National party.

So there wasn’t any copy for him to use on his chosen topic so he went out and begged for it…to create the impression that there was over confidence and arrogance amongst National. He had nothing..and so begged for copy. And so his dutiful obedient left wing followers all piled in to help him with his column.



Bryce Edwards was then able to announce his column yesterday..which was on guess what?    Read more »

Sheesh, it’s not like I’m laundering donations for politicians

I see the media are on a witch-hunt to find out who talks to me or sends me information.

Cabinet Minister Paula Bennett is denying she’s passed information to political bloggers, but won’t release communication records from her office.

Newstalk ZB sought the records after the Prime Minister admitted last month he’d had contact with bloggers including, Whaleoil’s Cameron Slater.

Social Development Minister Paula Bennett is adamant she’s not passed on any information.

However she’s turned down an Official Information Act request covering such communications not because the information doesn’t exist, but because checking the records would involve too much work.

Ms Bennett says she hasn’t passed on any information, but isn’t making the same assurance about her staff.

“Well I’m confident that I haven’t but I’m not sure what every staff member does every day.

“It’s just so irrelevant to be honest.”  Read more »

Forget the PhD course, Cunliffe needs to re-do Politics 101

Claire Trevett from The Herald give David Cunliffe a little politics 101 refresher:

Labour leader David Cunliffe has joined the elite group to earn a PhD for proving the thesis that what is right in law is often wrong in politics.

Given the numbers who had trod his path before, it is surprising he needed it. Cunliffe appeared to have skipped the first paper in the PhD, on the question of: “What would I be saying if my opponent did this?”

If it was political folly for a Labour MP to set up a secret trust in the first place, it is equal folly to start off by trying to defend it and take three days to realise that he could not get away with it. That should have been obvious from day one.

Ahhh but it wasn’t and that is the problem.

On Sunday, he tried to brush questions from the Herald off as irrelevant because it was “historical” and, even if he had used a trust, “there’s nothing illegal about trusts”. The next day, after confirming the trust existed, he said they were “common practice” in politics, apparently oblivious that Labour changed the law in 2007 to prevent their use in elections.

On Tuesday, he buckled and revealed the names of three donors who had agreed to be named. A further two would not be named, and their donations will be returned to them. He said it was a lapse in judgment but done with the noble aims of respecting the donors’ wishes for secrecy and keeping Cunliffe at arm’s length from it all. Cunliffe claimed the latter aim was achieved – he had not known the identity of the donors. He also admitted at least one of them had approached him directly to offer a donation, but claimed he had referred that person on to the trustee, Greg Presland, so had not known for certain whether the donation ended up being made.  Read more »

Cunliffe caught hiding another trust, and relies on legal advice from bloggers

Patrick Gower kicked David Cunliffe hard in the cods last night, revealing that David Cunliffe has another secret trust, one he has just now decided to discover and declare to on parliaments pecuniary interests register.

What is it with these working class heroes that they forget hundreds of thousands of dollars stashed in secret trusts and offshore bank accounts?

3 News can reveal Labour Party leader David Cunliffe failed to declare a financial trust, as MPs are required to do with investments.

He initially tried to keep the trust off the official record – but was forced to make a late change.

“I’m the beneficiary of the Bozzie Family Trust and a bare trust called ICSL which does savings and investments,” he says.

A check of the latest register of MP’s Pecuniary Interests shows only one of these two was actually declared on time – The Bozzie Trust, which owns his house.

He left out the ICSL trust and was forced to correct the register by making a late declaration posted on the website.

“He needs to be upfront and clear about when he found this trust, why he forgot about it. These are just basic facts that he should tell the public,” says Prime Minister John Key.    Read more »