John Armstrong

Bizarre rant from Armstrong on Iraq deployment

I’m getting a bit sick of John Armstrong and his prognostications on defence matters.

New Zealand’s 100-plus contingent of military training specialists plus support personnel have barely arrived in Iraq. Yet the folly of this military (mis)adventure is already rapidly becoming apparent.

Last week’s fall of the city of Ramadi after Iraqi forces capitulated to Islamic State fighters, despite heavily outnumbering their enemy, has shifted the front-line in this sectarian struggle worryingly close to Taji, the huge military camp within which the New Zealanders are based alongside Australian counterparts.

Unless the Isis (Islamic State) advance is halted, the New Zealand Government is going to be faced with a major dilemma at some point in the not-too-distant future: pull the training team out of Iraq and lose face, plus earn black marks from the Americans and the Australians; or stick it out for the sake of good form and loyalty to allies and gamble on things not deteriorating with the risks this brings, including the possibility of casualties.

National’s predicament was neatly summed up by New Zealand First MP and former Army officer Ron Mark in an entry on his Facebook page last Friday.

“Latest update from the US on Isis. Taji is only 91km from Ramadi. The same distance I drive from Carterton to Wellington to attend Parliament. Isis could be in artillery range of our troops in 30 minutes.” He added a question for Mr Key: “What’s our plan, John?”

I’m not sure listening to a former truck mechanic on military matters is wise.  Read more »

Is Audrey Young still embarrassed?

Audrey Young professed that she felt embarrassed by the Prime Minister, when she really should be embarrassed by working for the NZ Herald.

John Armstrong has also provided some more embarrassment for Audrey Young, he has declared that ponytail-gate is over.

Anyone under the impression that John Key had it coming to him in Parliament yesterday – and deservedly so – must be sorely disappointed by what happened. Or rather did not happen.

Those angered by the Prime Minister’s pestering of Auckland waitress Amanda Bailey may well feel they have been short-changed by Opposition parties who yesterday opted not to stretch Key on the parliamentary rack in what was the first opportunity since his return from overseas.

It is not uncommon for predictions that some trouble-struck minister or MP is going to suffer the latter-day equivalent of being hung, drawn and quartered once his or her problem hits the parliamentary fan to turn out to be totally misplaced. All the ingredients for a major stoush may be present, only for things to fall flat in the House.

That was the case yesterday. But it was no accident. The Opposition parties seemed to be going through the motions – when they could be bothered to put any kind of heat on the Prime Minister which, at most, was only lukewarm.

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Key refuses to release embargoed speech to media – media not trusted to spin it the right way

Golly.  Look how surly John Armstrong was yesterday

It is not common for the Prime Minister’s office to refuse to supply the news media with embargoed copies of a statement or speech containing a major announcement.

However, requests by media organisations for an early copy of John Key’s speech to Parliament confirming that New Zealand will be sending military personnel to Iraq to train local troops were rebuffed.

Rather than enabling them to have news stories ready to go the moment the embargo was lifted, the media – like everyone else – would have to wait until the Prime Minister spoke in the House.

In adopting such an approach, Key was seeking to go over the heads of the media and talk directly to New Zealanders about the reasons why such a deployment is necessary without his rationale being analysed and criticised before the public had actually heard that rationale.

You have to love the entitlement:  “Key was seeking to go over the heads of the media and talk directly to New Zealanders”.

The anger is palpable.   Read more »

John Armstrong actually gets it

Labour remain deluded about John Key.

They think if they just keep on saying he is not who he claims to be the New Zealand public will listen.

Put to one side reform of the Resource Management Act. Ignore the Reserve Bank’s warning that the Auckland housing “bubble” is about to burst. Stop trying to picture the Greens without Russel Norman. Don’t fret about the safety of our soldiers when they eventually head for Iraq.   Read more »

Facts don’t matter to the media

One of the smartest men alive, Thomas Sowell, has an opinion piece at Townhall.com about how the media, and some politicians create then win from promoting a mob mentality, often without any facts at all, or in many cases just making stuff up.

He discusses the recent cases of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown and Eric Garner, plus the older case of Rodney King. All case that were portrayed wrongly by the media, and then pounced upon by politicians or commentators like Al Sharpton in order to promote their own race based agenda. Before everyone gets all uppity, you might not be aware that Thomas Sowell is black.

He even points out the inconsistencies (probably deliberate) of the media.

Incidentally, did you know that, during this same period when riots, looting and arson have been raging, a black policeman in Alabama shot and killed an unarmed white teenager — and was cleared by a grand jury? Probably not, if you depend on the mainstream media for your news.

Sowell concludes:

The media do not merely ignore facts, they suppress facts. Millions of people saw the videotape of the beating of Rodney King. But they saw only a fraction of that tape because the media left out the rest, which showed Rodney King — another huge man — resisting arrest and refusing to be handcuffed, so that he could be searched.

Television viewers did not get to see the other black men in the same vehicle that Rodney King was driving recklessly. Those other black men were not beaten. And the grand jury got to see the whole video, after which they acquitted the police — and the media then published the jurors’ home addresses.

Such media retribution against people they don’t like is part of a growing lynch mob mentality. The black witnesses in Missouri, whose testimony confirmed what the police officer said, expressed fears for their own safety for telling what the physical evidence showed was the truth.    Read more »

I’ve got bad news for Bryce Edwards

Bryce Edwards must have hit the crack pipe before writing his last woeful column of the year.

Apparently National had a horror year…or so the headline screams.

Yes, John Key’s National Government won a spectacular third term victory. And yesterday the Herald gave the reasons that National can be positive about its achievements – see the editorial, Govt comes out on top in colourful year.

And nearly every political journalist has awarded John Key the title of Politician of the Year – see, for example, Patrick Gower’s Politician of the Year.

But, it was still an incredibly torrid year for National, and even the PM pointed to the election campaign as one of his low moments of the year – see TV3’s Key found campaign ‘a low-light’ for 2014.

Tracy Watkins also stresses that it’s been a terrible year for the National Government: ‘His government was assaulted on every front with scandal, trouble and controversy. Ministers resigned, his coalition allies ended the year diminished, and he ended the year looking evasive and tarnished by his links to dirty tricks and shock jock blogger WhaleOil’ – see: One clear winner, plenty of dashed hopes.

Not only did the election campaign take its toll, but as I pointed out recently in another column, The downfall of John Key, the challenges and allegations of Dirty Politics were really starting to bite after the election. See also, A year of (neverending) Dirty Politics.

Even Matthew Hooton thinks the Government has suffered, especially since their election victory, and he details National’s incredibly arrogant behaviour since the election, pointing to the main offenders: John Key, Christopher Finlayson, and Gerry Brownlee – see: For John Key: summer of reflection please (paywalled).

Likewise, Duncan Garner says that although Key deserves to be the ‘politician of the year’, ‘The first few months of the new regime have been largely underwhelming. Not telling the truth about his contact with attack blogger WhaleOil hurt the prime minister. It was a royal stuff-up and he admits this privately’ – see: Key my politician of the year, but now for the third-term blues. Garner believes the Key’s reputation is on the decline: ‘It’s happening for Key, slowly. His jokes don’t seem as funny. He looks more haunted and hunted these days’.

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Winners are grinners, thanks John

John Armstrong tries to have a dig while at the same time declaring me a winner of the year…ah and there is yet another cartoon about me.

He will be the next target of Giovanni Tiso’s Stalinist inspired online bullying.

Winners: Andrew Little; Paula Bennett; Cameron Slater. Has Labour’s luck finally changed? Little nearly did not make it back into Parliament following Labour’s dreadful election. His victory in the party’s subsequent leadership contest could hardly have been slimmer. But he has taken on the cloak of leadership with gusto. Labour finally has a game-changer. National would be foolish to still believe otherwise.

Bennett got the jobs she wanted in the Cabinet reshuffle. Now positioned as deputy leader-in-waiting as a minimum – and could go even higher when Key eventually departs.

Slater got slam-dunked by Dirty Politics; his influence within the corridors of power has consequently diminished. Outside, it has grown exponentially. Bad publicity is good news for Whale Oil.

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Cosy media relationships on the left are just fine, obviously

ertert

 

Armstrong and Trevett with Annie the de facto Labour Leader.

So texting the PM is bad, but drinking with a deputy leader OK.

Will Bradbury and Prentice publish this photo like they do with the Hosking/Key photo as proof of collusion between journos and pollies?  Don’t hold your breath.

Wasn’t it john Armstrong who was sanctimoniously reprimanding John Key for texting me?

Oh… yes… it… was.

John on John, and why I am poison

6a00d83451d75d69e2014e86353a75970d-320wiAs you all know, I was quite frustrated with Key over the way he handled Judith Collins’ career.  As I knew, and we all know now, she’s not done a single thing that she should step down for.  Key wisely returned her Honourable title the instant the report came out.

But strangely, in a parallel universe, when I’m over my little spat, the fact I TXTed Key to tell him Phil Goff had leaked the SIS report to colleagues and media has been picked up by opposition and media alike to drive a wedge in.

This is their thinking:   Goff breaking the law and leaking a report is ok.   The PM receiving a TXT from “a blogger” identifying the leak is not.

Armstrong joins the NZ Herald scrum to take me down, but is happy to let Key take all the collateral damage at the same time.

The Prime Minister’s week of absolute, undiluted hell reached its climax in the mind-boggling revelation that he remained in seemingly cordial contact with the very person who has been a root cause of the aggravation he is now enduring – Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater.

In conversing with Slater – the second most-despised figure in New Zealand politics after Kim Dotcom – Key has compromised his assurance that he had no knowledge of the dirty tricks operation. Read more »

Ever wondered why I want Kim Dotcom gone? I’ll tell you…

Everyone know I want Kim Dotcom gone…and this is why;

In conversing with Slater – the second most-despised figure in New Zealand politics after Kim Dotcom – Key has compromised his assurance that he had no knowledge of the dirty tricks operation.

See, there is no way ever that I’d want to come second to anyone, let along a fat German crook.

John Armstrong has just hurled an appalling insult at me…surely after 155 mentions in parliament, wall to wall coverage in all media and a vilification campaign across the political spectrum I must be the MOST despised figure in NZ politics.

But seriously Armstrong has a hard on for me, it is probably more a fit of rage that I am more effective and influential in politics than he is.

Watching journalists, normally the guardians of free speech and freedom of association are all out there demanding that no one talks to me…they of course all still do…especially when they want a story they know I can get them.

It is a long, long list of journalists…are they suggesting that they will stop talking to me too…or is it just the Prime Minister who shouldn’t speak to me?   Read more »