Trotter flays Mallard

Chris Trotter is likely to join Sir Peter Leitch in being described as a class traitor after today’s post where he flays Trevor Mallard for his inept attack on Bryce Edwards.

THE OTHER event also involved the Internet. Indeed, that’s where it happened – on the Labour Party blogsite, “Red Alert”. In a posting headed“Bill English Funds Bryce Edwards”, the Labour caucus’s chief election strategist, Trevor Mallard, launched a vicious attack on the young University of Otago academic, Dr Bryce Edwards, for his, at times, highly critical assessments of the Labour Opposition’s performance.

The Bill English reference stemmed from Mr Mallard’s contention that, since Dr Edwards’ “NZ Politics Daily” (a compilation of political stories carried that day in the New Zealand media) is partly sponsored by the National Party’s polling agency, Curia Market Research, it is indirectly subsidised by the state (via Parliamentary Services) and, therefore, by the Minister of Finance, Bill English.

The gob-smacking absurdity of this claim (another sponsor of Dr Edward’s compilation is the PSA union!) was only matched by the Labour MP’s accompanying insults. According to Mr Mallard, Dr Edwards is “one of the few remaining supporters of the Alliance”, who is being “bank-rolled” to provide “political commentary which mainly attacks Labour and the Greens from the looney left.”

Rounding off his attack, Mr Mallard declared: “The guy makes Margaret Mutu look like a well-balanced academic.”

It is difficult to know where to begin with this outburst.

It was a bizarre attack , one which Clare Curran followed up on Twitter on Saturday night flinging dirt and more accusations at me amongst a host of others.

That it was made by the caucus’s chief strategist raises a whole host of questions about the nature of the election campaign Labour is intending to run.

Does Phil Goff sanction this stuff? We can only hope that he does notendorse the sort of crude ad hominem arguments featured in Mr Mallard’s posting. We must hope, too, that Labour’s appeal to the electorate is fuelled by emotions considerably less disreputable than the petty spitefulness and partisan hostility which it displays.

Needless to say, Mr Mallard’s outburst did not go unnoticed by Labour’s opponents – or its friends. The blogosphere was soon buzzing with negative commentary and, like the You-Tube clip from the “Mech Suite”, the posting’s audience began to expand. Within days, the number of people in receipt of Mr Mallard’s “wisdom” had grown exponentially.

Is Phil Goff really in command of the troops? I suspect not. Trotter then talks about tone:

ALL ELECTIONS have a “tone”: a mode of address to the voting public which (largely unconsciously) “cues” their response to the competing parties.

If we compare and contrast the tone of the You-Tube clip of the PM’s visit to the “Mech Suite”, with the tone of Mr Mallard’s “Red Alert” posting, picking the election result becomes a cinch.

Sometimes, little things generate big consequences.

I’m just waiting for Trotter’s post to be labelled part of the wider #bryceedwardsconspiracy.


Do you want:

  • ad-free access?
  • access to our very popular daily crossword?
  • access to Incite Politics magazine articles?

Silver subscriptions and above go in the draw to win a $500 prize to be drawn at the end of March.

Not yet one of our awesome subscribers? Click Here and join us.

As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story.  And when he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet.   Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet, and as a result he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist that takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him.  But you can’t ignore him.