Simon Lusk

How the media manipulate, the Drinnan case study


John Drinnan

John Drinnan asked me for an interview…since he and David Fisher seem to think trolling on Twitter is what decent journalists, trained and skilled should spend all day doing you can imagine I was reticent.

He sent through his questions and I and answered them…Here is my reply in full….once you have read that you can go see what John Drinnan did with it…you will note I warned him…publish it all or not at all, and that I would publish it anyway. Apparently there isn’t enough space online to have published in full…seriously that was his answer!

Tue, Oct 22, 2013 at 9:07 PM

From: Cam Slater

To: John Drinnan

I won’t post these questions to my blog until you’ve published them. I’ve taken the liberty of providing substantial as opposed to yes/no answers. Wouldn’t be much of an interview without it I guess. I would prefer them to be published in total or not at all. Thanks.

1. Regarding the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story – do you have more evidence against Brown to hand.

At the time I’m responding to your interview, yes. Not sure what the situation will be by the time your readers read my answers. More information keeps coming to me. The timeline spans from before his first marriage, his current one, at work, and various extra marital events in addition to Bevan Chuang. It is still my position he is not fit to be Mayor of Auckland. I knew of Bevan Chuang for a good two months, and even the day before I published I didn’t think it was a story worth publishing. Only when we had the undisputed and now verified affidavit did we make it public. This is why everything I know won’t all come out. Some of it is simply not relevant, because it is indeed just personal. But some of it may become pertinent to the public discussion surrounding Len Brown’s Mayoralty. They say that timing is everything, so one of my options is to see where Brown takes this, and just as it all looks like he’s safe and ready to start kissing babies again, I’ll publish the next story.   Read more »

Local Government Success Story – Simon Lusk

8717507Campaign manager and staunch fiscal conservative Simon Lusk managed to pull together a coalition of people to kick out incumbents on the dodgy Hawke’s Bay Regional Council.

The word from Hawkes Bay is that Simon ran a fearless campaign exposing the truth about the ratbag councillors who all got the arse card. No one is ever quite sure how Simon wins campaigns as he reckons publicity gets in the way of fishing and shooting, but some how there huge red signs across Hawkes Bay calling for change, there was a major tractor protest by growers calling for change, a sitting councillor was awarded New Zealand’s Dodgiest Local Body Politician, forty five iwi members spent two days getting the vote out and Simon’s mates all won.   Read more »

Knocking over ratbags, one at a time, kicking Murray Douglas in the goolies

Last week we took down dodgy sxting ratbad Paul Findlay. In the ensuing carnage I missed this article in the Hawkes Bay Today about the sunlight I have been shining on dodgy ratbag and winner of the Whaleoil NZ’s Dodgiest Local Body Politician award, Murray Douglas. Word is he has gone to ground after this attempt to retrieve the situation.

Hawke’s Bay Regional Council election candidate Murray Douglas is rejecting a blogger’s suggestion he is “New Zealand’s dodgiest local body politician”. The blog has been picked up by an opponent, Tom Belford, to use against Mr Douglas. Mr Douglas, an incumbent councillor, described Auckland blogger Cameron Slater’s comments on his past with the Dunedin City Council as “a very painful and personal attack”, which was deliberately synchronised with the distribution of voting papers last week. Mr Slater posted on his website newspaper articles dating back to 1999 tracking Mr Douglas’ departure from Dunedin where he was the city council’s chief executive.  Read more »

Master strategist with the common touch

There is an excellent article about Lynton Crosby in The Telegraph that explains why int he UK and here in New Zealand Labour goes out of its way to attack both Lynton Crosby as well as Mark Textor. Simply put it is because they are good, and way better than anything they can put up.

There is a dirty little secret at the heart of the “scandal” surrounding the Tories’ political strategist Lynton Crosby. But it’s not a conspiracy of silence at the heart of No 10, nor is it a tale of undue influence exercised over politicians to gain advantage for commercial clients. It’s the plain fact that Crosby is actually pretty good at his job.

Just look at how he defused the furore around the Government’s decision not to proceed with plain packaging for cigarettes. Crisply, clearly and definitively, he ruled out any suggestion he had exerted influence; he ruthlessly drew a line under the crisis. What a contrast with David Cameron, whose carefully constructed denials of conversations with Crosby reeked of evasion. No 10 are sticking to the line that the Prime Minister did not want to get into a frenzied scenario in which his every statement was met by journalists with another question. No doubt that was the main motivation, but another one will have been the view that this was another crisis that could be muddled through. The result? A growing sense that murky answers meant mucky business.

The first rule of crisis management is full disclosure. The truth may not set you free, but nothing less gives you a chance. The second rule is that if the facts are going to come out, get them out in one go – don’t let them be dragged from you. No 10 failed, and forced Crosby to give them a masterclass in effective communications,

Has the affair damaged the Australian strategist? Back-room operators are meant to have a low profile, leaving the public stage to their principals. Indeed, it is often said that if they become the story then they have to leave the show. A swift exit means a swift end to a story. This has prompted a change in political attacks. Opponents have calculated that if they can force an effective staffer or consultant out into the open then that person will, in the end, have to go.   Read more »

Drinnan on blogger remuneration

John Drinnan laboriously writes about bloggers and remuneration. Interesting that he didn’t bother to ring me for comment yet felt obliged to use my name to make some sort of point.

Canterbury University senior lecturer in journalism and new media Donald Matheson says bloggers risk being called hypocrites if they accuse professional media about lack of transparency while not declaring payments from other sources.

Really? …does Fran O’Sullivan declare all her other income at the bottom of every article she writes? Does Bernard Hickey? What about Russell Brown’s multiple sources of income. What a sanctimonious twat. Plenty of people in the media do multiple jobs and work on multiple contracts. They also take separate advertising revenue and perform consultancy work, not to mention the lucrative speaking circuit…why the focus on bloggers and what and how they earn money? Everyone else in the media gets paid somehow and no one digs into that.

The only people I need to declare my income to is IRD. Everyone else can get stuffed.   Read more »

Oh noes…I attack unions

David Fisher just loves to write about me, if he isn’t tweeting he is pouring over my blog. Today he gets a two-fer…two stories about me.

The second one is about my love for unions…on page 5.

A political strategist who has trained National Party MPs says the Ports of Auckland colluded with right wing bloggers to undermine industrial action against the Ports of Auckland.

The claim is in a leaked document written by controversial strategist Simon Lusk – and hotly denied by the publicly-owned port company.

The document was dated February 2012 – when the port strike was most heated – and is part of Mr Lusk’s strategy for the National Party.

It read: “The right currently controls the blogosphere, and the political journalists repeat much of what appears on blogs.

“The case in point is the way the Maritime Union have received huge negative publicity about their salaries, based on POAL (Ports of Auckland Limited) working with certain bloggers to control the story. Financial support for these bloggers will enable them to build their credibility and readership.”  Read more »

Apparently being a fiscal conservative is bad in the National party

A “senior party source”, lol Roger Bridge, has leaked documents to the Herald, The Nation and Fairfax in an attempt to try and get rid of me and Simon Lusk. He tells David Fisher on page 10 [snigger]

“As far as I am concerned, dealing to them is not about airing dirty National Party laundry, but disposing of a political nuisance.”

Oh dear, this is going to backfire spectacularly. I’ll bet Simon’s phone is ringing off the hook from donors after the Herald quoted this:

[A] paper written by Mr Lusk dated February 2012 and titled “Building A Conservative Fiscal Majority.” It begins: “This National government has been a disappointment to fiscal conservatives.

The wet wing of the National Party control the senior ranks of the party and cannot be easily replaced without losing an election. After National loses an election there will be a clean out.”

The purpose now, he said, was to plan ahead to “move the political centre to the right”. “New Zealand’s political market is exceptionally retarded. The first organised group to professionalise and fund politics properly will obtain prime mover advantage and control the market for sometime. This is a one-off opportunity to exploit the gap in the market and I am looking to exploit this gap.”  Read more »

The Triumvirate of Terror?

Andrea Vance has written an article about my mate Simon Lusk. Good on her for tenaciously following up where others fear to tread and actually getting an interview with Simon. It is currently upland game season so for her to have got an interview during that is some feat.

Simon Lusk is one of the most intriguing figures in politics. The arch political fixer shuns the limelight, rarely venturing from his home in Havelock North to Wellington. He maintains a strict silence about his clients – mostly wannabe National MPs.

He is said to charge $10,000 to manage an electorate election campaign, and his successes are believed to include National’s senior whip Louise Upston, and MPs Chris Tremain, Nicky Wagner and Sam Lotu-Iiga.

I’m not sure Simon discounts his fees that much.

Certainly, Labour are fixated on this Right-wing bogeyman. Last year, the party’s chief whip Chris Hipkins lodged 259 written questions of ministers, asking about their communication with Mr Lusk. According to political lore, he was behind Don Brash’s unseating of ACT leader Rodney Hide.  Read more »

Goodfellow and the new McCarthyism

National President Peter Goodfellow has succeeded in introducing into National one of the worst traits of American political thinking – McCarthyism.

Those unfortunate enough to sign up for Candidate’s Fodder, excuse me, Candidates College, have been subjected to a small inquisition.

One would think that pertinent questions asked of future candidates should be ones which disqualify people from holding political office like “Are you subject to any name suppression orders?” or “Have you been charged with any crimes, particularly those involving physical violence?”, “Are any of your companies currently facing charges in any jurisdiction worldwide?”. Surely those same questions should be applied to those who wish to seek office at Regional or Board level…after all they seek to represent the party…albeit outside of parliament.

Instead, the supposedly broadchurch National Party is seeking to exclude people based on political affiliation and/or friendships.

“Are you, or have you ever been affiliated to Simon Lusk?” or “What are your connections to Whaleoil?”, for example.

It’s all very McCarthyist as per the Drunken Tailgunner’s campaign to smoke out imaginary communists from the US State Department.

While ferreting out  future-focused fiscal conservatives who take advice from others than Goodfellow and his stooges might be seen as important, delegates at their conference should ask the questions:

  • Do we want homogenous candidates who slavishly follow the orders of the party president?
  • Do we want a caucus of economic centrists who live for the moment instead of thinking three, five or ten years down the line?
  • Should National descend into factional exclusion or should they accept that broadchurch parties need to tend to base as well as the centre?
  • Is it really so wise to exclude people who are superior campaigners in favour of those who like to stand on street corners and pester motorists with signs?

Or will delegates merely clap enthusiastically for the media, having paid hundreds of dollars to fill up seats in an auditorium?

Never going to make it to court?


Trevor Mallard and Andrew Little both claimed that this would never make it to court…they may of course be right, they could simply apologise and pay Judith Collin’s costs for defaming her:

Lawyers for Collins, Mallard and Little discussed the case’s future before Justice Geoffrey Venning in the High Court at Auckland today.

John Tizard, acting for Little and Mallard, applied to the Court for a stay of proceedings until a Privacy Commission report into the leaked email is complete.

Justice Venning declined the application, but agreed to schedule the next court date for November – two months after the report is due to be completed.

The judge noted the report’s findings would not necessarily affect the defamation proceedings, unless the parties agree to settle the case.

A trial date has been set for February next year, and it was expected to take between three and five days if it goes ahead.

Mallard bizzarely claimed that this was a victory for him and Andrew Little…the judge turned down their application…and this is a victory. He has been remonstrating with me on Twitter clearly forgetting that explaining is losing.

Strangely, Mallard also believes that the Privacy Commissioner’s report is going to help his case…I can;t fathom why a report issued long after he defamed Judith Collins is somehow going to exonerate him and Andrew Little for their ill-conceived, factually wrong defamation of Judith Collins. Mallard forgets too that he used parliamentary privilege to not only defame Judith Collins but also myself and Simon Lusk. He came close to repeating the defamation on Twitter.