Vernon Small

Vernon is still baffled, this time over John Key’s support for Dear ex-Leader

Vernon is still baffled, this time over John Key’s support for Dear ex-Leader, Helen Clark.

Contrast Little’s stance with Prime Minister John Key’s enthusiastic championing of Clark, his former rival, as the next United Nations chief.

There are no signs the straw poll overnight will contain any better news for Clark, who has languished down the league tables so far.

But Key has been unstinting in his efforts, leading US Vice-President Joe Biden to joke he thought she must be Key’s sister.

There must have been times when Key felt like telling her the game is up, especially now a couple of countries with veto powers have been tipped among her “discourage” votes. But he has steadfastly insisted in public that the call to quit is hers, not his, to make.   Read more »

Something is amiss when you burn off your fanbois

Vernon Small goes through life with red tinted glasses, but he is perplexed over Andrew Little’s bizarre rejection of Helen Clark’s sage advice.

Even if things should fall apart, it seems the centre cannot hold Labour leader Andrew Little’s interest.

In a strangely intense rejection of Helen Clark’s suggestion that parties on the left must “command the centre ground” to win elections, Little dismissed the idea as “meaningless” and “a pretty hollow view”.

Strange, because it is truism. Winning power requires 50 per cent plus one of the voters – and Mr 50 and Mrs 51 are by definition in the centre.

Perhaps Little was trying to say something more subtle – that the centre can be owned by someone else (not John Key surely? Maybe Winston Peters?) without embracing defeat.   Read more »

What about respect for my privacy, Vernon?

Vernon Small has written an opinion piece at Fairfax, complaining about Westpac allegedly breaching Nicky Hager’s privacy.

The revelation Westpac handed over author Nicky Hager’s bank records to the police – without so much as a by-your-leave from the courts – should send a shiver down the spine.

It ought, too, to be a wake-up call to any other corporates out there who think their customers’ records are fair game for any authority figure that comes knocking.

They are not.

Kudos to the likes of Spark, Vodafone, Air New Zealand, Jetstar and TradeMe for recognising that – and refusing a similar request from the police.

In the case of Hager’s records – sought when the police were trying to find who hacked blogger Cameron Slater’s computer (providing the material for Hager’s book Dirty Politics) – there is more at stake than simply tracking down a potential criminal.

As the Media Freedom Committee’s Joanna Norris has pointed out, there was no suggestion Hager had committed a serious crime.

The main investigation was aimed at a third party, the self-named Rawshark. It would be bad enough if the police had come seeking the records of a member of the public but it is more chilling still when it is a journalist, who relies on being able to keep his or her sources confidential and who will on occasions interact with people “of interest to the police”.

But that should not be an excuse to access their bank, phone and travel records willy-nilly.

Read more »

The delusions of small parties and the stupidty of the media

Vernon Small is the latest mainstream “journalist” chasing shadows and inventing scenarios to try to explain the collapse of the Conservative party.

Apparently there is a cabal of Nats working to destroy the Conservative party.

Bear in mind too the forces arrayed against him. It is not Labour or the Greens who are dismantling his party and his reputation, but an inside job aided and abetted by a cabal of the usual National suspects – whether sanctioned or not.

It’s not clear National wants to kill him off politically, but there are sound reasons why they might.

If he thrives against the odds and looks set to win more than 5 per cent in 2017 – and become an important support partner for National – he becomes a toxic target for the Opposition. They will use him as ammunition to attack a National-led Government in the same way National used Kim Dotcom and the Internet Party to scare centrist voters off Labour.

On the other hand, if he again falls shy of the 5 per cent threshold he weakens National’s chance of winning with about half his vote effectively crossing the aisle.

Read more »

Who is Andrew Little? – Can Andrew Little Compete with John Key?

Labour have been confident that they finally have a leader that can compete with John Key.

They were stoked when he said “cut the crap”. They liked his no nonsense, straight talking style, not realising that he would have to actually compete in likability stakes with John Key, as well as competence stakes.

Little’s first head to head confrontation, yesterday’s state of the nation speeches, did not go well for Little.

He ducked and weaved and delivered a speech that was pedestrian at best, and “very flat” or “Even if his delivery and presence at the podium still needs a lot of work” according to whichever left wing pundit you choose to follow.

Whats worse is todays usually reliable Dominion Post has a headline “Key trumps Little on speech day”.

The even more reliable Vernon Small had to point out the obvious, a big win for John Key.

The battle of the speeches has delivered a clear victory to Prime Minister John Key, who set out headline-grabbing plans to revamp social housing, including a potentially unpopular sell-down of thousands of state owned houses.    Read more »

Another pinko journalist doesn’t get the message about Andrew Little

What do you mean I need a media person?

What do you mean I need a media person?

Over the last few weeks we have looked closely at Andrew Little, and his speaking style.

As usual the left have said I am critical because he is Labour leader, not because it is an honestly held belief that he is dead set useless.

He hems and haws and bobs and weaves and can’t deliver a decent speech. He is wooden, loses his voice, and gets shouty.  Read more »

How thick are Labour?

Andrew Little has fed a story to their embedded gallery journalist Vernon Small about the requirements for a new chief press secretary.

Expect to see Labour leader Andrew Little in a good light on the 6pm television news – or questions to be asked at the top of his media unit.

Little is advertising for a new chief press secretary to head the party’s media and communications strategy, and the successful applicant is expected to ensure Little appears “in a positive story on the 6pm news at least twice a week”.

Other key targets put emphasis on social media, including 100,000 “likes” for the party’s Facebook page, up from about 38,000 now, and 40,000 “likes” for Little’s Facebook page by the 2017 election. It currently boasts 10,422 “likes”.

Little’s new spin doctor will also be expected to increase Labour’s email contact list to 200,000 by the 2017 general election, from about 87,000 now.

How dumb is that?

This just shows that Labour has learned nothing from the past 6 years. For two elections now they have touted their fantastic ground game, their dominance of social media and even rolled in David Talbot to advise them on this stuff…all to no avail and with results the reverse of what was predicted. How he could even bill Labour for such a losing strategy is beyond me.

What these chumps have not realised is that Facebook likes does NOT equal votes. Slacktivism or Clicktivism is called that for a reason…useless big talking internet warriors who don’t translate the click of their mouse into actions on the ground.    Read more »

Waikato Times slammed for front page fiction [UPDATED]

Bvgm2dKCYAAJVlt-630x441

The Waikato Times has been slammed by the Press Council for their front page fiction about Young Nats burning Nicky Hager’s Dirty Politics, a story gathered by their “news” team from the Facebook page of a NZ First activist.

The Press Council recognises that social media are a frequent source of information that can be checked and developed into stories capable of meeting the standards of accuracy, fairness and balance expected by readers of a reliable newspaper.

In this case the Council does not believe the newspaper had sufficient corroboration of the claim on Facebook. The Times’ additional source, a student who would not be named, claimed to have seen Mr Letcher with more than 200 books. If that statement were true, it does not establish that Mr Letcher intended to burn them.

The Facebook posting as reported by the Times, said, “So apparently the CNI Young Nats (and presumably the NZ Young Nats) are buying up copies of Nicky Hager’s # Dirty Politics….and burning them.” The word “apparently” should be noted. It suggests the information was at best hearsay, at worst an assumption by a person associated with a rival political party.

The Times called it “rumour” but its report also claimed to have confirmed part of the rumour. It is therefore difficult to accept the Regional Editor’s response that the paper was merely reporting an allegation. Its confidence in its own source and its decision to splash the book burning allegation across its front page would have given the story credibility in the minds of some readers.

While Mr Letcher’s denial was also reported prominently, this does not redeem the report. Newspapers need to be careful when dealing with rumour that is denied. A false accusation can easily be made for the purpose of forcing a political opponent to deny it publicly. That indeed is said to be a device of “dirty politics”. Newspapers should take care to ensure they are not unwitting instruments of it.

The Waikato Times could not substantiate this rumour to a standard that meets the Press Council’s principles of accuracy and fairness. Mr Letcher’s complaint is upheld.

Read more »

Vernon Small didn’t get the memo about Andrew “Who?” Little

Fairfax’s Vernon Small obviously missed out on the memo about what a great speech Andrew “Who?” Little gave today.

He will probably be getting a summons via text from Andrew Little to come in for a please explain meeting.

No tubs were thumped, no visions conjured and one sacred Labour cow was only slightly wounded in the making of Andrew Little’s first big public speech.

Read more »

Labour’s leadership contest, no one cares, members included

No one cares about Labour’s leadership contest.

Not even Vernon Small, a long time Labour embedded journalist….he could just muster 324 words in talking about the pending result of the contest.

Labour will announce its new leader tomorrow, with Andrew Little likely to hold a clear lead on first preferences but the candidates themselves tipping a close result.

The party’s constitution gives 40 per cent of the say to the 32 MPs, 40 per cent to the membership and 20 per cent to affiliated unions.

The votes are cast in a preferential system that sees the lowest ranked candidate drop out and their second preferences redistributed until someone tops 50 per cent.

The votes of rank and file members are the big unknown.

Of the four candidates, Little got a jump start thanks to his background as a former union leader, and is expected to pick up at least 15 of the the 20 per cent allocated to unions with Robertson winning 3 or 4 per cent.

Little himself yesterday said he expected strong support from unions. “I would say 70-80 per cent is a possibility.”

But Robertson’s power base is in the caucus, where he has firm backing of about 12 of the 32.   Read more »