John Ansell

The Pakeha Party: For a limited time only [EXCLUSIVE]

A week ago I introduced you to the idea that the Pakeha Party is a marketing scam.  You got to see the email exchange between David Ruck, the Pakeha Party marketing guy, and what he thought was a potential “buyer” of the Party.  A cool $100,000 was being asked for.

The blog ran a poll and at the time and 56% of you decided on the strength of what you had seen about the The Pakeha Party  back then, it was most likely a personal initiative by David Ruck to make money, and not a genuine political movement.

Here is convicted criminal David Ruck‘s latest attempt to get money from anyone that  hasn’t given up on the The Dream of a NZ where there is no Treaty of Waitangi:


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Comment of the Day

On yesterdays post about National screwing up the selling of the asset sales:

You’re right, Cam. This Mixed Ownership Model (dreadful term!) needs a carefully-crafted sales message that:

– is simple for the ordinary voter to understand in “household finance” terms;
– concentrates on positive justifications (including those you have listed);
– refuses to be drawn into the Opposition’s scatter-gun negatives; and
– can be relayed repetitively through the media and through paid advertising.

John Ansell is the only person that I know in this country who can be relied upon to create such a sales message. He’s known to be not easy for any client to live with. But for once can’t the National Party eat a bit of private humble pie and ask Ansell for some much-needed help?

Ansell’s campaign lives on

The Daily Mail

It looks like Lynton Crosby learned well in 2005 and has employed John Ansell’s “iwi-kiwi” idea in Boris Johnson’s campaign.

Guest Post – David Garrett

Decline and Fall? Part II

As the cliché has it, a week is a long time in politics. There may never have been – at least in New Zealand – a better example of that maxim than the week of 13 to 19 September 2010. I began the week giving a speech on “three strikes” to a Rotary Club in East Auckland on the Monday evening. The “three strikes” law had passed, and I was doing everything I could to communicate to voters that it was a major policy win for ACT. By the following Friday, I had resigned from the ACT caucus in disgrace, and was on the run in the South Island, trying to shield my children from the howling dogs in the media who were trying to find us.

The reason for my downfall has been written about ad nauseum – including by me – and there is little point going over old ground here. Suffice it to say if Rodney’s trip to Europe was the first large nail in ACT’s coffin, for those whose agenda was personal aggrandizement rather than the interests of the party, my downfall was a godsend.

To the best of my knowledge, my friend Roger Douglas never joined the “Hide brought Garrett into the party and therefore it’s all his fault” bandwagon, although he certainly would not have been unhappy that Rodney was once again having to endure a grilling from both the media and those in the Party who were determined that he should be replaced.


WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND - MAY 03: ACT MP Heather Roy talks to media after the first ACT Party Caucus Meeting on May 3, 2011 in Wellington (Image credit: Getty Images via @daylife)

Heather Roy however suddenly developed a serious case of amnesia about what had been discussed in my office in Albany when I disclosed the details of my sorry scam 27 years before. Following her own agenda, she was at the front of the “it’s all Hide’s fault” pack of baying hounds determined that my downfall would quickly be followed by Hide’s.

Following my resignation, I was largely out of the loop, but I record my everlasting gratitude to John Boscawen, who continued to extol my virtues and my achievement with “three strikes”, and was personally a great support to me and my family during the worst crisis of our lives. John Boscawen’s decision to leave politics immediately prior to the 2011 election was another mortal blow to the ACT Party. John is one of those rare people who no-one dislikes, but who also holds firmly to his principles, and is totally unafraid to stand out from the herd. I am very honoured to count him among my few true friends.

The real problem for Rodney following my departure was my replacement, Hilary Calvert, a long time ACT stalwart from Dunedin. From my limited acquaintance with her, Hilary is a delightful woman, but she quickly became known for a series of gaffes, and she provided even better sport for the left leaning media than I had been. More importantly, whereas with me the ACT caucus was firmly 3 -2 behind Rodney as leader, Hilary’s loyalties were soon revealed to be far less committed.

When the end came for Rodney seven months after her arrival, Hilary’s support for Don Brash over Rodney became decisive.

Don Brash – in many respects a most unlikely politician – had led National in 2005, and but for the debacle involving the Exclusive Brethren church, probably would have led National to victory in the election that year. There is certainly no doubt that his “Orewa” speeches about “one law for all” – another long time ACT policy – were directly responsible for the National Party virtually doubling their vote as compared with the previous election in 2002. The quite brilliant John Ansell billboards – the best of them the now legendary “Kiwi not iwi” series – reflected the concerns of middle New Zealand, and expressed in visual sound bites what Brash had articulated in much more detail in the speeches.

Following National’s defeat by a whisker in 2005, Brash was quickly replaced as leader by John Key, and Don largely disappeared off the political radar – although I do recall him not infrequently coming into the chamber and watching the proceedings from beside the Speaker’s chair, as all former MP’s are entitled to do. Clearly “the Don” was not finished with politics.

At one time, Brash was known among ACT insiders as “ACT’s tenth MP”. His sympathies were and clearly always had been in favour of the free market, limited government, a hard line on law and order, and no laws favouring one race of New Zealander over others – all key ACT policies. That notwithstanding, during February and March 2011, as it appeared more and more obvious that he would challenge Rodney for the leadership, no-one anywhere on the political spectrum could quite believe it. Political soufflés rarely rise twice – particularly in two different parties.

Two who did rise a second time were Brash – albeit fleetingly – and Peters.

Leaving aside differences in political principles and beliefs, the contrast between the wily, suave and teflon coated Peters and the bumbling Brash could not be more stark. That is the main reason no-one in ACT – or the media – initially took Brash seriously.

But by early 2011, ACT’s poll support was dismal, and major backers had deserted the Party. Brash promised that he would rejuvenate the Party’s fortunes – both in financial terms and in the polls. There is no doubt he truly believed that the 40% odd support National had gained in 2005 was down to him personally, and that were he to be leader, ACT’s support among voters would leap dramatically.


AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - APRIL 28: Dr Don Brash speaks to the media after ACT leader Rodney Hide resigned.

As the “Mr Magoo” like Brash managed one astonishing and unexpected triumph after another in his drive for the leadership of ACT, the tide against Hide became stronger and stronger. Hilary Calvert – whose vote in support of Hide was crucial – changed sides a number of times. Eventually, even the loyal and stalwart John Boscawen came to believe that Rodney ought to step down for the good of the Party.

I firmly believe Rodney Hide always had the good of the Party – and the country – paramount in his mind. Although he has been accused of “selling out for the baubles of office”, I am convinced that is not the case. As a recent interview with the reptilian Guyon Espiner makes clear, once Rodney saw the writing clearly on the wall, he did his best to assist Brash carry off his coup – although he did draw the line when Brash asked him where he should park his car before administering the coup de grace at ACT headquarters in Newmarket, before a phalanx of eager reporters and their cameras

I watched that press conference from a back room, and after it was over, saw Rodney take Brash into a private meeting with then Chief of Staff Peter Keenan to discuss the mechanics of the handover. I was astounded at Hide’s dignity and apparent good humour, when a lesser man would, at the very least, have simply walked off and left Brash to it.

And so Dr Don Brash – who joined ACT on the day of the coup which made him leader – took over the reins of the party, firmly convinced that in short order he would deliver not the 15% of the vote which he publicly claimed, but the 40% he truly believed would defect from National and follow him to ACT. The third four inch nail in the ACT coffin – the first two being Rodney’s disastrous trip, and my departure in disgrace – was nailed home.

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Word of the day – totsched

via Stephen Franks

How dissent is literally silenced and ignored instead of debated. We witnessed this just last week with the treatment of Lord Monckton. We have seen it in action with anything that Ian Wishart ever says and now we are seeing it with John Ansell.

The other trick is to quietly exclude certain people from the national discourse. It is best summed up by a German word: totschweigtaktik. To be totsched is to be subjected to death by silence: books, ideas, people that challenge the status quo are simply ignored.

In Quadrant last year, Shelley Gare wrote that those who are totsched find “their efforts left to expire soundlessly like a butterfly in a jar”. When Orwell wrote his 1938 classic Homage to Catalonia, which addressed Stalinist Russia’s involvement in the Spanish Civil War, the left-wing literati simply ignored it. By the time Orwell died in 1950, barely 1500 copies had been sold. As Gare traces, the same death by silence was used to ignore Australian writers such as Chris Kenny, who challenged the secret women’s business behind the Hindmarsh Island affair. It was used when author Kate Jennings aimed her fire at the sisterhood, postmodernism and women’s studies.

It’s used by those who tell us that climate change will destroy us all if we do not act immediately. The sceptics are being totsched. Opposing views? What opposing views? Governments have their own tactics. Those with poor ideas and even worse policies resort to something best described as the bipartisanship racket. Former prime minister Kevin Rudd called for bipartisanship on indigenous policies. In fact, Rudd sought supine obedience to the rollback of the NT intervention. If you disagreed, you were charged with politicising an issue. Just imagine if similar calls from those defending the status quo had managed to shut out the ideas from people such as Noel Pearson. The very last thing we want is bipartisanship when it is used so blatantly to stifle dissent and vest moral authority in one voice.


Word of the Day – Boscafication

John Ansell coined a term. It lacked a definition though.

bos·ca·fi cation

tr.v. bos·ca·fi cat·edbos··cat·ingbos·ca·fi·s·cates

1. A competent person thinking their competence includes political campaigning, when they are clearly not good at campaigning and should leave it to the professionals.: “A great effort was made through boscafication of the ACT party’s campaign.”
2. To render a campaign indistinct or dim; darken: The fog of boscafication rendered the message incomprehensible.

The ad Ansell wanted run

There is much being written about ACTs ads of the weekend with every whinger known to man complaining about the ad being racist. If you read the words of the ad, which I suspect many haven’t it isn’t racist.

Was the as wise, or smart? Hell no. For a start it was too wordy. As I blogged yesterday it had all the hallmarks of an advert that had been cut and pasted by a committee and then had every line debated as to syntax by extremely pedantic people.

The worst thing for creative people is to sit in hours long campaign meetings debating over the nuances of a single words. This is what has happened here. No wonder John Ansell has gone on a bender.

I’m not justifying or excusing Ansell’s action, I think they are silly and petulant. He should have just quietly departed and gone and done something else and left ACT to Boscawen’s war of attrition against Don Brash.

Don Brash made what could well be a politically fatal error after his coup and didn’t bullet a few people to set an example. Instead he wanted to show that he could be nice. Now some of the people he should have got rid of, like Chris Simmons are sitting on the campaign committee debating to death every message, every line and every tactic.

ACT has all the hallmarks of having an extremely tactical campaign planned, without an over-arching strategy and it all comes down to having a cumbersome campaign committee where the fundraisers is also the one in charge.

John Banks should be alert to the problems presented by that scenario, it cost him the mayoralty, and now ACT looks set to repeat that mistake. John Boscawen is a great fundraiser, however he is a tits campaign strategist and a worse advertising expert. The ad that ACT ran on Saturday doesn’t have any of the hallmarks of John Ansell but sure as hell looks like it was written and debated to death by John Boscawen. I have obtained the ad that John Ansell wanted to run, still with Boscawen’s lengthy, boring discourse but with a different headline.

maorification, John Ansell ad

It is still too wordy, it still smacks of John Boscawen’s excessive verbosity but delivers so much better what ACT was trying to say.

Political advertising should be simple. Unfortunately for ACT John Boscawen’s penchant is to use 5000 words when just 5 would suffice. ACT should have listened to the grizzled staffers like Brian Nicolle. Instead they have allowed the Wellington office staffers to knee-cap and now white-ant their campaign. This isn’t what Don Brash would have wanted, but it is what John Boscawen is delivering as he seeks to run an insurgency against the occupation of Brash.

ACT is toxic, it isn’t a party. That is Don Brash’s biggest error. Thinking ACT was a mature party with robust internal processes.It isn’t. It is full of petulant, decidedly average, political numpties. We know this because Brash was able to roll over the top of them inside a week.

Unless something drastic is done ACT will flounder around embarrassingly until their eventual death on November 26. Don Brash needs to follow his instincts and do something instead of prevaricating.

ACT's ad

ACT has published a new ad. Shamefully the DomPost refused to publish it though I can’t see why. Politics is a bout a contest of ideas not for newspapers to decide what can and can’t be said.

ACT ad

From my point of view, I think that this ad shows the undue influence of being designed and agreed by a committee of overly verbose men who rate their own pontification above those of the ordinary people.

I am interested in politics and I only read the whole ad because I forced myself to. It is yawningly boring and only the most sychophantic ACT member would have read the whole thing.

Politics is about simple messages and ACT now runs the risk of running the same boring long winded campaign they ran last time. When Don Brash goes with his gut instinct he is so much better than this. I think he may well have been over ruled by the committee, that contains the same people who took a simple resolution to the board by Don Brash to form a campaign committee and turned it into a 3 page epistle that ties everyone in knots. This ad is the result of that resolution.

I should think that after this add John Ansell should be looked in a back room, John Boscawen should concentrate on getting in the money and Chris Simmons should resign. Its a cock up and sends all the wrong the messages. Don Brash needs to seriously consider whether or not his campaign team are a team or a bunch of muppets who like the sound of their own voice.


John Ansell draws attention to Nick Smith’s hypocrisy over emissions trading and dubs it Nickpocrisy. I think that make a nice nickname for Nick Smith and so it is added to the Politicianary.