John Armstrong

Armstrong gives the Green taliban a lashing

new-zealand-green-taliban-logo3

John Armstrong has given the Green Taliban a good strong lashing int eh NZ Herald today.

Not so long ago, any Green MP who suggested sipping camomile tea or some other herbal concoction to ward off the horrific Ebola virus would surely have been deemed by his or her colleagues to be guilty – but only of being eccentric.

There used to be a lot of it about. Who can forget the senior party official who marked the opening session of one Green Party conference by lighting a large candle in recognition of any spirits that might have been present or invoke any that delegates wished to be present. (Sadly, the candle had to be extinguished soon after this mind-boggling seance. It fell foul of more earthly and more mundane forces – namely health and safety regulations.)

No such hippy-derived mysticism is allowed to penetrate the almost corporate-like atmosphere of Green gatherings these days. The high level of professionalism and discipline now operating within the party organisation was evident in the damage control that swiftly swung into action on Thursday following Steffan Browning’s crackpot suggestion that the World Health Organisation start treating Ebola patients with homeopathic remedies.

Steffan Browning confirmed to us all that the Green Taliban is as has always been suspected, batsh*t crazy and dangerous.   Read more »

Armstrong on Labour’s little shop of horrors

John Armstrong examines why it is that Labour is so out of touch.

Is brand “Labour” depreciating so rapidly in electoral value that the party’s long-term future is now in serious jeopardy? This week’s hostilities both outside and inside the Labour caucus weren’t just about the post-election future of David Cunliffe or, to be exact, the lack thereof.

It was another exchange of volleys from Labour’s parliamentary wing fired in the direction of the wider party’s left faction, who take very strong exception to the caucus pressuring Cunliffe to give up the leadership.

But Labour’s really serious underlying problems run a lot deeper than that. A decade or so ago, Labour was still seemingly indestructible. Over preceding years, Labour regularly suffered from mass desertion by voters and was consequently written off, only to recover Phoenix-like within a relatively short period of time, such was the two-party monopoly under a first-past-the-post electoral system.

Labour’s present parlous state is unprecedented, however. Much has been made of last Saturday’s capture by the party of a paltry 24.7 per cent of the party vote as being Labour’s worst result since 1922.

Indeed, that is the case. But it’s only half the story. In 1922, Labour was a new political movement on the way up, not a tiring one with distinct signs of being on the way down.

Labour have forgotten their brand.

Josie Pagani regularly points out that Labour used to support the working voter.

article-2295194-18C0EFD7000005DC-459_634x410

 

Now it seems they support the luvvies, the indigent and the criminal classes.

Labour ever more resembles a classic 1950s-style department store selling a broad range of general merchandise, but not stocking the specialist goods its declining number of customers actually want to buy.

In trying to satisfy everyone, the store is pleasing no one. Shoppers are instead getting what they want from smaller, more flexible competitors enjoying a deregulated market.

To make matters worse, the store’s staff keep ordering outdated or hard-to-sell items liked by only a few very elderly browsers and people from ethnic groups. Meanwhile, faulty market research has the store’s management targeting a clientele which no longer exists.

Yet, another far more modern department store across the road is raking in the cash like never before. That is because John Key and National know what their market likes. Labour believes in supplying goods that its customers ought to like for their own good – and is then surprised when they reject them.

Read more »

John Armstrong’s ‘Moment of Struth’ column was dead right

John Armstrong, I thought, had his moments during the campaign, losing the plot several times and abandoning his normally objective view of politics.

Let’s reprise his column of September 17, just three days before the election where he predicted there would be a back lash against Kim Dotcom and the left wing who embraced and invested in his conspiracy theories.

Hell hath no fury like a voter who feels he or she has been treated like a fool.

The political left was already paying a heavy price at this election for displaying the characteristics which leave voters stone cold – namely disunity, political incompetence and not a little arrogance.

The left may now pay an even bigger price on Saturday thanks to Kim Dotcom’s Moment of Truth evaporating into a Moment of Struth – as in “struth, was that all he had to reveal” after months of squashing much else far more worthy of debate out of the political picture.

So robust was Dotcom’s evidence of prime ministerial untruths supposed to be that it would sink John Key faster than the Bismarck. Instead it is Dotcom who is now facing a backlash for failing to deliver.

So far, that backlash is confined to media who have been strung along for months. Voters may be more tolerant – but only up to a point. They take objection to being hoodwinked.

Read more »

Another past it journo has a whinge-fest

John Armstrong is channelling his inner Fran today and whipped out a massive whinge-fest.

Armstrong’s opinion piece gives us a clear picture of how out of touch the press gallery is and also how poorly managed they are, tweet driven group think at it’s worse.

Armstrong is still confused that very few people care about Nicky Hager and there seems to be no discomfort that the emails were stolen but thinks that an email with no connection to a National staffer will damage National, sometime, somewhere with someone in the future at a time undefined…seriously they publish this rubbish. Voters seem more annoyed at journalists than politicians at hijacking our democracy for a German driven vendetta, using stolen goods.

Worse still is not one single journalist has even researched the term “chop, chop”, a term my parents used a lot when I was growing up as have many Kiwi parents. Anyone who has worked in Hong Kong or British territories around the world knows about “chop, chop”…except journalists. Anyone who has been in the armed forces knows what “chop chop” means. Once again the journalists have taken the lazy way out and repeated what Nicky Hager described.

In fact “chop chop” simply means hurry up…in other words Nicky Hager would get the hurry up.

Chop chop” is a phrase rooted in Cantonese. It spread through Chinese workers at sea. It was adopted by English seamen. “Chop chop” refers to “hurry, hurry” and means something should be done now, advance and without any delay. The word “chopsticks” likely originates from this root.     

Read more »

This election, same as the last

The songs says:

“History never repeats
I tell myself before I go to sleep
Don’t say the words you might regret
I’ve lost before you know I can’t forget”

But it actually does when it comes to New Zealand elections.   Read more »

The three biggest lies of Hager’s book

These are the three biggest lies of the Hager book.

They cannot go with out calling them out.

The first big lie is that the PM’s department “hacked” the Labour party website. This is a lie and one repeated by the NZ Herald and John Armstrong this morning.

Hager’s allegations are many and varied. They are extremely serious. But one stands out. The allegation that one of John Key’s minions hacked into the Labour Party’s database is – to put it bluntly – the modern-day equivalent of the 1972 burglary of the Democratic Party’s national committee headquarters in the Watergate complex in Washington.

And everyone knows whose head rolled at the end of that saga.

This is a lie. The Labour party website is extremely well documented, by me at the time. The website was open to the world and anyone could access it. It was not ever hacked. Furthermore it was not the PM’s department that alerted me to the openness of the Labour party website…I had two sources, neither of which are from the PM’s department.

The second big lie is that PM and/or the PM’s office told me about Phil Goff’s briefing from the SIS. They did not.   Read more »

Armstrong on Joyce and Cunliffe

John Armstrong critiques Steven Joyce’s virtuoso performance in the house where he rinsed Cunliffe.

Joyce took the first call in Wednesday afternoon’s general debate — long a platform for Parliament’s better orators — to parody Labour’s under-the-weather David Cunliffe in a fashion that was as clever as it was cruel as it was funny.

Within the space of a five-minute speech, Joyce had revealed another weapon in his armoury — the ability to cut an opponent down by sheer wit — and thereby further enhanced his credentials as the frontrunner for National’s leadership when Key finally moves on.

There was, however, another interesting outcome from his contribution — its impact on those sitting opposite him.

Cunliffe was not in the chamber. But those Labour MPs who were initially tried to ignore what was a virtuoso performance. But their barely suppressed smiles gave the game away.

If any group of people could do with a bit of a laugh it is Cunliffe’s colleagues.They have watched in increasing despair as their leader of just 10 months has virtually self-destructed and taken the party’s support down with him from the mid-30s to the mid-20s in percentage terms. Cunliffe is now very much marooned in a malaise from which it is almost impossible for a Leader of the Opposition to drag himself or herself out.

You can do nothing right. Every opinion poll just brings even more bad news. No one takes you seriously. You become the target of every cheap joke and jibe. The media spit on what remains of your dignity. The public write you off. In short, you are deemed to be terminal. You then wait for the firing squad — the knock on the door from a delegation of your MPs who have determined your use-by date has long passed and your ability to resuscitate your party’s flagging support is seen as likely as a squadron of pigs gliding past the Beehive.

Read more »

John Armstrong is the next Herald journo to turn on Dotcom

It appears only David “Tainted” Fisher is still sticking by his master.  Whereas before the Herald appear to have been collective fans of Herr Dotcom, which then turned to a cautious silence, the accumulated public lash back has built to a crescendo where being seen to be in Kim Dotcom’s camp is no longer a career boost.

John Campbell and David Fisher are now lone voices in the face of a farce that is quickly spinning out of control.

Armstrong is over it too

The time has come for Kim Dotcom to put up or shut up, for this intelligent, canny but highly manipulative individual to front with his yet-to-be-made public disclosures which he boasts will blow John Key out of the water – and though Dotcom does not say it directly, presumably bring a rapid end to Key’s days as Prime Minister.

Dotcom must now prove far beyond any reasonable doubt that Key has lied repeatedly when challenged as to when exactly he became aware or was made aware of the former Megaupload mogul’s existence.

Time for word games are over.  Armstrong doesn’t just want to smoking gun, he wants the corpse as well as video taped footage.

Key will stand or fall on the strength of Dotcom’s case. The time has come for the country to hear it and appraise it. The time has come for Dotcom to cut the babble and prove Key is the one talking nonsense when he insists that until the eve of the police raid on Dotcom’s Coatesville mansion he did not know of Dotcom, let alone that Dotcom was living in his Helensville electorate, or that Dotcom was the subject of a FBI investigation even though the intelligence agencies for which Key has ministerial responsibility had known for at least 15 months before the raid that was the case.

If the Prime Minister has not been telling the truth, then, as Dotcom and his supporters argue, it is a matter of paramount importance even if what they are arguing about could hardly be more trivial.

It follows that New Zealanders are surely entitled to know whether or not Key’s word is devoid of trustworthiness. And they should be told today. Not tomorrow. Not next week. And most surely not when it is most politically advantageous for the Internet Mana leadership – Dotcom, Laila Harre and Hone Harawira.

Actually, I think John is a little over dramatic.  John Key will not fall.  Assuming that sufficient hard information exists about John Key knowing about Dotcom before he has publicly stated he did, how many National voters will consider this enough of a reason to walk away from a booming economy, a don’t-rock-the-boat stewardship of our lives, and being one of the most liked people in politics?   Read more »

Armstrong on Mallard’s moa delusion

John Armstrong muses about the rationale behind Trevor Mallard’s moa media stunt.

Trevor Mallard’s mind-boggling suggestion to harness science to bring the moa back to life will likely end up being much-a-dodo about nothing.

And won’t David Cunliffe be relieved. Trying to breathe life of its own into his faltering leadership, Cunliffe had recently promised that Labour henceforth would be focusing on “the things that matter”.

Mallard may have misunderstood his leader, but it is unlikely that the “matter” Cunliffe was referring to was recovered DNA from moa egg shells.

Along with his front-bench colleagues, Cunliffe had to grin through gritted teeth as they were lampooned mercilessly by Government MPs for much of Parliament’s afternoon hour-long question-time and beyond.

Never one to look a gift moa in the mouth, National’s Steven Joyce kicked off the mass ribbing by manipulating his forearm and hand to resemble the neck and head of a moa and then waved the ensemble at arriving Labour MPs — a pantomime act so polished that Joyce must have devoted all but a few moments of his lunchtime to perfecting it.

The subsequent deluge of puns and wisecracks became progressively more lame from thereon — with one exception. When Winston Peters got to his feet, National backbencher Scott Simpson interjected: “A live moa!”.

Trevor Mallard must have done this on purpose. To cause a day of distraction for Labour, unfortunately it also distracted from anything positive that DAvid Cunliffe had to say about anything and ended up sidetracking the leader.  Read more »

Clinging to wreckage

John Armstrong wrote yesterday in the Herald about David Cunliffe’s dreadful week:

When it comes to casting aspersions, few insults are as venomous, vicious or more driven by utter contempt than accusing someone of being a “scab”.

That is particularly the case on the left of the political spectrum where the battles of old between capital and labour provided the source of the term to describe those who broke rank from the union and who were then ostracised forever.

A workforce which is now largely non-unionised has made such name-calling far more infrequent, and at times sound rather dated.

But there was nothing quaint about the leader of the Labour Party this week insinuating colleagues who did not give him their full support were scabs.

It was astonishing. It implied treachery in the extreme. What the outburst really revealed was someone looking for scapegoats for his own self-inflicted woes.

David Cunliffe actually stopped one step short of uttering the word “scab” during his appearance on Campbell Live on Wednesday evening. But he noted that in the Labour movement “there are words we use for strike breakers”. He meant one word. And you did not have to be Einstein to work out what that word was.

Likewise those MPs in Cunliffe’s sights who must be furious at being labelled in such derogatory fashion.

David Cunliffe called more than two thirds of his caucus scabs…it won’t be a surprise if they continue to white ant him right up until the election.

In fact, Cunliffe spent much of the week trying to play the victim following the embarrassing revelation that he had helped Donghua Liu with his application for New Zealand residency, having just 24 hours earlier denied any such advocacy on behalf of the controversial Chinese businessman.

Cunliffe countered that National had set him up, having known for weeks about the letter he had written back in 2003 to immigration authorities on Liu’s behalf.

It is true National was well aware of the letter, but only because it had conducted a document trawl to find out more about Liu after he proved to be of major nuisance.

John Key says he did nothing with the letter as it did not seem particularly germane to anything at the time.

That is difficult to accept. The letter would have looked like a gift from God – especially as its contents cut right across Cunliffe’s “crony capitalism” campaign.

If Cunliffe was stitched up, he compounded things with his denials of any contact with Liu.

Read more »