Michael Bassett is one of the smartest men in New Zealand politics.
Reading the New Zealand Herald and watching Parliament this week, one could be forgiven for thinking that the 2014 election hadnât yet taken place. Left-leaning editorial writers and opposition parliamentarians have been busy re-hashing stories that grabbed them during the election campaign as though the voters hadnât yet passed judgment. Itâs worth reminding these people; an election occurred on 20 September, and they lost. The people have spoken. Voters told them that they had weighed up Nicky Hagerâs âDirty Politicsâ amongst other things and decided his book was either irrelevant to the current state of things, or was a pile of crap. âDirty Politicsâ is a corpse, and thereâs little sense now trying to resurrect it.
Why would these journalists and lefties, too many of whom are one and the same, want to revive Hager? A few, I guess, want something to keep bashing National with. They are angry at the election outcome. I keep being surprised at how many people believed until the numbers went up that a left coalition was still on the cards. Others possibly believe in St Nicky, and admire his chutzpah in using stolen emails for pecuniary gain. That, they seem to think, is âinvestigative journalismâ at its finest.
It wasn’t and it will eventually be revealed for the large criminal political conspiracy that it was. Then the media will have a choice to make, and watching them make that choice will be delicious.
There will be others again, many of them young or naĂŻve in the extreme, who actually believe Hagerâs story. They have so little understanding of political processes in New Zealand or anywhere else that they think there was something new and especially sordid about Jason Ede acting as a conduit to bloggers, passing information, and discussing tactics designed to put National in a good light. Some wonât know about the methods used by the Labour government while Helen Clark was in office 1999-2008, when press releases and exaggerated criticism of opponents were filtered to âThe Standardâ, Labourâs electronic broadsheet. Nor will they know about the priming done by cabinet minister Ruth Dyson each morning of her email tree with sleaze that the government wanted to be widely disseminated. The Prime Minister knew all about it. I found out about it: some of Dysonâs stuff was inadvertently sent to me! Some journalists wonât know that throughout her career Helen Clark had a list of journalists sheâd ring to exchange gossip. Sometimes she would only hint, other times sheâd tell the person on the other end of the phone about what she planned to do to some on her own side who had incurred her wrath. Occasionally sheâd plant an idea that the journalist would be encouraged to follow up, hopefully with devastating consequences. A few people in todayâs press gallery were involved and are currently keeping their heads down. If John Key rang Cameron Slater in any capacity, whatâs the difference? The Heraldâs editor might like to tell us?