Maurice Williamson

Which MP will be the next to shake down John Key?

The Northland by-election has caused something of a permanent problem for John Key, not just a short-term headache.

If Winston doesn’t win there is nothing to stop him having a go in another by-election, and he has shown that just about any seat, no matter how big a national majority, is in play.

This means Key is in a very difficult position.

He cannot high handedly give Cabinet ministers the arse like he did to Kate Wilkinson or Phil Heatley, or sack them like he did with Maurice Williamson and Judith Collins, or demote them like he did with Chester Borrows and Craig Foss.   Read more »

Lenny No Mates

Len Brown has no mates, despite his protestations.

Auckland Mayor Len Brown has lost the backing of key members of his campaign team, who are turning their attention to other left-leaning candidates at next year’s local body elections.

The Herald has learned of a meeting last month where key campaign and mayoral advisers delivered the “blunt message” to Mr Brown that he has no chance of winning and should step down.

Mr Brown was told he would receive no financial backing, political support or volunteers to erect billboards and deliver pamphlets for a campaign where his sex life would be centre stage.    Read more »

Another Herald journo judged by his peers to have lied

On November 7 last year David Fisher ran a shabby hit piece against Customs and also Maurice Williamson about OIA processes inside the department.

Despite complaints to the NZ Herald they refused to withdraw the article even though factual errors had been pointed out to them. Shayne Currie the editor fought the complaints vociferously.

Customs persisted and complained to the Press Council.

The Press Council has found that David Fisher essentially made stuff up, in effect he lied in his article.

Wide concerns among the media and the public have led the Ombudsman to launch an investigation into Official Information Act practices in the public sector.
The Herald may have been entitled to form the view that departmental rules and guidelines, including requirements for consultation, do open the way to political influence and interference in information releases.
But the documents provided to the Herald, and referred to in the article, do not grant the minister the freedom to change whatever is released.
Therefore the part-sentence included in the article is factually incorrect and the Council upholds the complaint on that basis.

Press Council members considering the complaint were Sir John Hansen, Chris Darlow, Tim Beaglehole, Liz Brown, Jenny Farrell, Sandy Gill, Marie Shroff, Vernon Small, Mark Stevens and Stephen Stewart.
John Roughan took no part in the consideration of this complaint.

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Oh bugger… so many lies

At the weekend it was revealed Mr Key and Botany MP Jami-Lee Ross had dined at the home of controversial Chinese businessman Donghua Liu in August 2013, which led to a $25,000 donation to Mr Ross’ election campaign.

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Mr Key’s office last year said there was “no record” of who attended fundraising dinners with the Prime Minister, and that he “recalls seeing Mr Liu at various functions, including a dinner as part of a National Party fundraiser” – but the fact it was at Liu’s home wasn’t disclosed.

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Liu later became an embarrassment for the Government, the property developer’s dealings with minister Maurice Williamson leading to his resignation, and has since been in court facing domestic violence charges.

The dinner was one of the National Party’s controversial ‘Cabinet Club’ fundraising events, in which donors get access to high-ranking MPs and ministers. Mr Key says the party is “under no obligation” to make the details of those meetings public.

“We’re not going to get into a situation where we say where we went to dinner, and whether I had the chicken or the fish. We’re just not going to be doing that – no other political party does, no one’s required to do that,” he says. Read more »

National reprises Father Ted: “It was just resting in the account”

National and in particular Jami-Lee Ross and John Key have been busted in a donation saga.

And the best they can come up with is a version of the Father Ted defence…”the money was just resting in my account”.

As Father Dougal MacQuire says…”a good long rest”.

Electoral returns out next week will confirm that a National Party MP received $25,000 from a controversial businessman after Prime Minister John Key had a private dinner with him – at the man’s home.

The PM has always maintained that he met Donghua Liu at a National Party fundraiser but would never say where. Today, the Weekend Herald can reveal that the fundraiser was actually a private dinner at Mr Liu’s $4.75 million home in Remuera, where a smiling Mr Key and Jami-Lee Ross, the MP for Botany, were photographed alongside Mr Liu and his young family.

Afterwards, Mr Liu donated $25,000 that same month to Mr Ross’ election campaign. But the following year, Mr Liu became a political embarrassment for the Government after a Herald investigation revealed the impact of the property developer’s links to the National Party.

Maurice Williamson was forced to resign as a minister when the Herald revealed he had called police after Mr Liu was arrested on domestic violence charges and told them Mr Liu was a big investor in New Zealand.

Mr Key said then that Mr Williamson had “crossed the line”.

Shortly after the election, Mr Ross refunded the large donation from Mr Liu’s company – 15 months after it was given. Mr Ross has since disclosed the donation in candidate returns for the 2014 election due to be released by the Electoral Commission next week.

Mr Liu is upset that Mr Ross refunded the $25,000 cheque, which he regarded as a “slap in the face”.

The 53-year-old pleaded guilty to the domestic violence charges in April last year, but was in the Auckland District Court this week seeking to withdraw those admissions. He was successful and the case is likely to now head to trial.

Outside court, he told the Herald he gave $25,000 to Mr Ross through the “Botany Cabinet Club” and “subsequently this amount was refunded”.

“It was very strange. The refund was sent to my lawyer, I wasn’t told about it in person.”

Read more »

No signs of bitterness – 100% commitment

Here are two National MPs that have every reason to be surly, negative and showing that they are feeling on the outside.

The opposite is true:  lots of energy, sharp witted, and roaring to go.

I have to say, a waste of talent.  And to think Mike Sabin was favoured by John Key.  sigh

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Guess who won Massey University’s Quote of the Year competition?

Massey University held its usual Quote of the Year competition recently, and one of my quotes from the election campaign and Dirty Politics was a finalist.

The finalist quotes were:

I’m sorry for being a man. (David Cunliffe’s unusual apology at Labour’s domestic violence policy launch at a Women’s Refuge forum)

We think it’s, um, pretty legal. (Steven Joyce asked by reporters about the use of a song for the National election campaign that sounded very similar to one by Eminen)

You work in news you puffed up little shit!…When will you glove puppets of Cameron Slater just piss off? (Internet Party press secretary Pam Corkery at a campaign event, when the media kept asking for an interview with Kim Dotcom)

It was all steam and no hangi. (Te Tai Tokerau MP Kelvin Davis describing Internet-Mana after it failed to deliver on the hype on election day)

He could probably survive shooting little kittens in his garden with a shotgun. (Kim Dotcom on how little impact Dirty Politics had on Prime Minister John Key’s approval ratings.

I play politics like Fijians play rugby. My role is smashing your face into the ground. (Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater after Nicky Hager’s book Dirty Politics was released)

I did not have textual relations with that blogger. (Spoof of John Key’s initial denial that he had received texts from Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater tweeted by Lloyd Burr of RadioLive)

It terrifies me how much of our economy is stuck inside a dairy cow. (Comedian Te Radar talking to farmers at Fieldays)

Get past the breath-taking PR snow job. (Former CERA communications adviser Tina Nixon describing the press conference to announce the resignation of chief executive Roger Sutton after a sexual harassment complaint)

No more beersies for you. (Tagline in this year’s Health Promotion Agency advertising campaign to reduce harmful alcohol consumption.)

Guess which quote has won.   Read more »

Will John Key hold himself to the same standards he held Maurice Williamson to?

Whale Oil Blogger Cameron Slater Portrait Session

The other day in parliament John Key stated that when he spoke to me it wasn’t in his capacity as Prime Minister.

This is interesting because one of the reasons he sacked Maurice Williamson was because of the fact that he was a minister and that you are ALWAYS a minister.

It didn’t matter to him then that Maurice Williamson wrote his letters or made his phone calls in his capacity as a local MP.

Not one bit.  Read more »

A house divided, and a house that will fall

quote-a-house-divided-against-itself-cannot-stand-abraham-lincoln-112610

Labour’s leadership contender says Labour’s house is divided.

Well duh!

We’ve known that since Helen Clark departed, and so have the voters. It doesn’t take a rocket scientists to see it.

Labour’s acting leader David Parker has confirmed that he will be entering a bid for the Party leadership.

Announcing his bid in Auckland this afternoon, Mr Parker said he will restore the party’s focus, passion and drive so it can become a unifying force for New Zealanders.

He said he had been approached by New Zealanders “from all walks of life” in the past 10 days asking him to stand.

“In less than two years the New Zealand Labour Party will mark its centenary – its 100th birthday.

“I am simply not prepared to let this milestone become a tombstone.

“A tombstone for a once great party that once did great things for New Zealand.”

If successful in his bid, Mr Parker said he would review all of Labour’s policies.

“We lost badly and I get it.”

Mr Parker said Labour needed to get its house in order.

“History teaches us a house divided against itself cannot stand.

“All of us claim to be able to unite the caucus and the party.

“From unity comes strength. Unity also brings confidence – and success.

“I believe I am that leader.”

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Labour interfering in Police operations

Labour are meddling in Police operations, with temporary leader David Parker suggesting all sorts of things.

Wasn’t it just a few months ago they were demanding the resignation of Maurice Williamson for meddling in Police operations?

Labour’s acting leader David Parker says he believes Nicky Hager has a journalist’s right to protect his sources and questioned whether a 10 hour search of Mr Hager’s home amounted to intimidation of the media.

Mr Parker said while he respected the independence of the police, it was crucial journalists were not forced to reveal their sources and Police needed to tread carefully to ensure those rights are not breached. The Evidence Act gives journalists rights to protect information that may reveal their sources.

“While we respect the Police’s independence we are concerned that an arm of the state appears to be being used against Mr Hager while nothing appears to be being done about the wrongdoing he exposed. A 10-hour search of their family home would be harrowing for anyone.

“Nicky Hager was doing that the fourth estate ought to do and police need to take care to protect his rights and to avoid the appearance of intimidating the media.”

Read more »