Marie Shroff

Waikato Times slammed for front page fiction [UPDATED]


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.

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Clifton on ACC Leaks

The Listener

Jane Clifton writes about the ACC leaks and Judith Collins. Clifton wonders why the opprobrium for the leaker when in fact they should be hailed:

Ordinarily, leaks of information from government agencies are held to be a good thing – by pretty much everyone except the Government, which is typically embarrassed by them. In fact, the embarrassment of governments has become a positive incentive for those privy to useful information to tell all early and often. We greet whistle-blowers as heroes, and declare, “Sunlight’s the best disinfectant”, and “What have they got to hide?” – a far cry from the patrician days when Rob Muldoon tutted that folk shouldn’t worry about secret economic and fiscal data because voters “wouldn’t know a deficit if they tripped over one”.

Since 1982’s Official Information Act, we have come to expect that unless there is some drastic menace or injury to be feared from information coming out, then out it must come, if someone asks for it. So, it has been a horrible, almost cultural shock to realise that recent weeks’ leaks from ACC and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade have not been the usual wholesome exposé of information we need to know but a vicious form of warfare in murky ­sectorial wars.

The ACC is a veritable water feature of leaks, as who knows how many different agendas are at play. But it’s hard to overlook the probability that a lot of the leakage is not wholesomely motivated, but aimed at putting various parties’ pots on covertly. Privacy Commissioner Marie Shroff is excavating the murk, and one can only wish her luck.

It has to be said quickly that the leaking of documents in which former ACC Minister Nick Smith made improper intercessions in the case of his friend and National Party colleague Bronwyn Pullar was by any measure a righteous act. That he had to resign over it showed just how badly we deserved to know about those letters.

Sunlight is the best disinfectant..and now we all know about the Pullar/Boag standover schtick. New Zealand politics is all the better for it.

Collins set to sue Labour MPs and Media outlet

NZ Herald

Judith Collins isn’t going to take Mallard’s lies lying down. Hse has announced that she is looking at suing him plus another MP as well as a media outlet. I think she should also look at suing Eddie at The Standard for the defamatory post they put up yesterday to sync with Mallard’s, Robertson’s and Little’s attack again me, Simon Lusk and Judith Collins in the house.

ACC Minister Judith Collins is planning legal action against two Labour Party politicians and a media outlet for alleged defamation.

It follows confirmation the Privacy Commission will investigate the email Ms Collins received from former National Party president Michelle Boag which helped end her colleague Nick Smith’s ministerial career.

Ms Collins told Radio Live this morning she was to see a lawyer this morning, regarding legal action for allegedly defamatory comments made outside the House by two Labour Party politicians, and also one media outlet.

She would not name who the MPs or the media outlet are.

Ms Collins denied the move was a ploy to close down debate on the issue, rather she takes her reputation “seriously” and would not allow herself to be defamed.

Confirmation that Privacy Commissioner Marie Shroff will investigate the email’s trail from Ms Boag to an eventual report in the Herald on Sundaycame as Labour claimed Ms Collins, National Party operative Simon Lusk and right-wing blogger Cameron Slater all played a part in the leak.

The Standard’s post is defamatory against me, and also Simon Lusk. I am considering my options. Trevor Mallard has a history of lying and making shit up, this time I feel he is going to regret it. He should just leave parliament. There will be no mercy from me.

Whaleoil Redux 2011 – The Labour party website story

In June I released the details of several months of investigation into the Labour party website which was left wide open with no security.

I started by releasing the minutes of a meeting of Labour North. In those minutes it revealed that Labour planned to use the resources of parliamentary services to campaign, and the attendence of an ALP strategist to assist.

Then I released an email that Labour party General Secretary Chris Flatt sent to members once they realised what was about to happen to them. They were in full damage control mode. They spun and  lied from the get go. I already had and still have all their data. There was no system vulnerability and no hacking. It had taken me several months of analysis to be ready for this week and I was going to make them lie and prove they lied.

I posted several videos during this story, usually to lead into the next stage.

But I was under attack from the leftwing, sho started the smears almost immediately. I reminded them of their own words about Wikileaks, not that they cared. It seems that it was more important to smear the messenger rather than wonder at the parlous state of Labour’s information security.

Then it got serious. The Labour party threatened me. It is ironic now given the amount of posts they have written about John Key and Bradley Ambrose. Even more ironic as I did nothing illegal.

I responded to Chris Flatt in typical Whale fashion:

Dear Chris

In response to your letter of 12 June 2011, I will show the same compassion to private individuals as Labour showed when using The Hollowmen.

The exception will be that I will do it in full public view not hiding behind the privilege of parliament.

Then I started to drip feed information about Labour’s credit card donations. This information was in the clear for anyone with mild interest to gather up. I was pretty interested and so I did. Initially I was sceptical that these were production system transaction but then as I scanned through them I found the proof I needed.

Cactus Kate had donated to the Labour party as a result of a sledge on Trevor Mallard. But the real result was that I now had all of Labour’s credit cards transactions taken from their website.

Just to mix it up I released the information I had gathered about ALP consultant Sandy Rippingale. Trevor Mallard had run a massive, defamatory attack on political consultants int eh preceding week and yet we now had evidence that Labour too used consultants. The leaks form the website were proving what many already knew, that Labour lies, cheats and does everything that they accuse others of doing.

Labour and their proxies try to blame me for the information being made public. I tell people to complain to the Privacy Commissioner. Labour said they were going to yet for some reason I haven’t heard a squeak out of them in more than 6 months.

Donors to the Labour Party have every right to be angry, but not with me.  The Labour Party failed in their duty of care to protect your information, not me.  If anything I have done a great service to highlight the Labour Party’s inadequacies in their security of information.

I would advise all Labour Party members to complain to the Privacy Commissioner Marie Shroff for a full investigation, and to ensure the Labour Party has appropriate systems in place to protect any information you provide in the future.

I am now openly mocking Labour. It is hard not to when they blatantly lie about simple details.

What I can tell you is that Labour continues to tell lies. They claim they are contacting more than 18,000 donors. There aren’t that many, there are only 452. Labour can’t be trusted to keep your data secure and they certainly can’t be trusted to tell the truth.

One thing Labour have failed to understand is that I have known about and planned this story fro a couple of months. I float teasers to see how they react. They have choices, they can tell the truth or they can lie. I predict to my friends and confidants who have helped me with this information (none are in political parties) that they will lie. I have war-gamed each possibly issue. So far Labour is proving me right, they are liying and I am showing them they have.

I post another teaser video:

I have to admit this now but I was having fun, but mostly that was because of the way the Labour party were reacting.

Suddenly though Labour and their proxies, including John Pagani start getting into the media accusing me of hacking and other illegal behaviour. I let it run for a couple of days then I post the video of how I did it. Again their lies are exposed for all to see. Every step of the way Labour has lied about salient details and every step of the way I have proved their lies. As I said I war-gamed every aspect of this story so that I could predict how they would react and so I could be prepared for their attacks. They wrongly thought I couldn’t prove how I did it because they took down the sites. I had kept telling people from the get go that I had been in there for months. That I had prepared and one of my preparations was a video to show how I did it:

Labour says they are appealing to the Privacy Commissioner. Funny thing is I haven’t heard a word from them. Is this another Labour lie?

Malcolm Harbrow has a go at The Standard and he isn’t happy about it either.

Then Greg Presland, the third rate flea lawyer from West Auckland, craps his pants and emails me. I publish his email as it is my policy to publish all correspondence of this type. He stupidly insists that I publish his email in it’s entirety including his email address, phone numbers and website.

Then I show how labour had left passwords in the clear in the code of their website. Passwords to their credit card processing provider. Once again Labour has lied to people, once again I knew they would and prove it.

Labour again writes to me, this time they are begging. They make demands of me and I respond with my own set of demands.

It all started with the “Let’s Not” campaign website, now I am using that site to openly mock Labour:

One of the things that has never adequately been answered nor investigated is the use of parliamentary staffers to process financial transactions. We already had seen that labour planned to use Parliamentary Services resources in campaigning and the leaks from their website showed that parliamentary staffers were active in processing financial transactions. This is one of the reasons why I constantly call for the opening up of parliamentary services to the Official Information Act.

The story is by now not only mainstream in New Zealand but it has also gone global. Labour have had two weeks of embarrassment, lies and subterfuge as they try to weasel out the predicament they are in. So far none of their attacks on me have any merit or substance. But I am not finished yet with them.

The information contained on their site showed collusion with the NZEI, Sue Moroney and the Labour party. Labour had harvested more than 18,000 email addresses and personal details from an NZEI petition to the government. They kept those details and stored them on an unsecure server.

I published an email from the NZEI to those 18,000 where they lie about the connection between Labour and the NZEI. Unfortunately for Paul Goulter I also have an email from Chris Flatt to those same people outlining a slightly different story.

LAbour and the NZEI then concoct a story for the media but again instead of telling the truth they lie. Again I prove the lie. They are all slow learners. The damage is now running into its second week.

The supporter database software, logs and email trails show that Labour is tracking where its emails end up. They have spent nearly two weeks moaning about privacy and yet they track emails just like Blue State Digital do.

Labour are now starting to feel heat from mainstream media sick of their lies. They are now full out lying about where they got the NZEI mails from. Labour now stand accused of the very thing they were pointing the finger at me for.

Then Phil Goff lied. Not a subtle lie, an outright full blown false-hood. Again I prove he has lied. Labour keeps giving the story legs by lying. Each time they do I produce documents to prove it. I am now simply reacting to each of their lies, drip feeding the truth.

Phil Goff has decided then to continue to lie, to tell even bigger whoppers, but then I guess at this stage he was being closely managed by parliaments biggest liar of all, Trevor Mallard.

All along I have followed my own rules. I never ask a question unless I already know the answer. Labour still haven’t worked that out. I continue to be gob-smacked that they haven’t conducted an audit of just exactly what I have.

The NZEI claimed that they were non-political but on their website they have documents that outline attacks against National MPs. It makes their excuses for the harvested emails rather hollow.

The final chapter in the whole Labour website saga was when a couple of hackers around the country contacted me to tell me that Labour affiliates were recruiting someone to have a go at my website. It never happened.

With this story I outlined fully exactly how I obtained the data, at every step I published documents or proof to show how labour, Phil Goff and the NZEI lied about various aspects of the scandal. At the very least though I showed that Labour were lackadaisical about internet security, treated the privacy of their donors, members and contacts with the flimsiest of security and that if they couldn’t run a website then they surely couldn’t be trusted to run the country. I ahd also proved that when in a corner Phil Goff will lie. This would come back to haunt him in coming months.

Did Cullen teach NZ Post their dirty tricks?

NZ Post has been found to have made a “large scale breach of privacy”:

A New Zealand Post survey that collected personal data to rent out to marketing companies has been damned as a “systematic, large-scale breach” of privacy principles.

The criticisms are made in two reports carried out for Privacy Commissioner Marie Shroff after concerned members of the public contacted her about the 2009 survey. The reports are to be published this week – just as this year’s NZ Post survey starts arriving in 800,000 letterboxes and 125,000 email inboxes.

The 2009 survey asked participants 57 multi-choice questions, ranging from their names, addresses, preferred petrol station and favourite magazine to their mortgage rate, credit card limit and partner’s income.

It also offered participants the chance to win cash, home entertainment and travel vouchers worth thousands of dollars if they completed the survey.

Once collected, the names and addressees of participants were rented out to “trusted, contracted commercial partners”, both in New Zealand and overseas.

The information was also used, along with other data, to help compile a NZ Post marketing device called Genius, which promises to help clients “gain deeper insights and understanding into your customers, particularly around wealth, life stage and lifestyle”.

It includes colour-coded maps classifying the population into 36 segments such as “cream of the crop”, “work boots and boiler suits”, “on the bread line”, “Pacific blend” and “meat and three veg”.

Gee, sounds just like Labour and their harvesting of details from a petition presented to parliament, I wonder if NZ Post got their idea for a massive breach of peoples privacy from Michael Cullen the Chair of NZ Post. Labour is as Labour does.

There is very little difference in the methods. Take data from one source, harvest all the details and then use the details to market another entity. If NZ Post has breached then surely labour has too. Looks like Marie Shroff needs to conduct another investigation.

Perhaps she could also ask if any of the data Labour has collected has ended up in Labour’s version of Genius, called ETRAC. Word has it that this system might also have been bought and paid for with Parliamentary Services funding and there may well be some explaining to do about what it is used for, where it is currently located and who operates it.


Why won't Len tell us the truth?

Jonathan Marshall has been following up his complaint to the Ombudsmen after the Manukau City Council refused to release details of the now infamous Volare dinner, as required by the counicl’s own regulation and also as required by law under the LGOIMA.

Len Brown tells us in his extensive television ad campaign that he will open the books of the new city. That promise rings very hollow indeed when we read of his and his Chief Executive’s attempts to cover up a $810.00 council funded dinner.

Secret details of an $810 dinner Manukau mayor Len Brown charged to his council credit card are unlikely to be revealed before this weekend’s local body election, the Ombudsman says.

The south Auckland mayor, who is predicted to win the top job of the new Auckland Council on Saturday, came under intense scrutiny earlier this year after refusing to say who he took to a September 2009 dinner, costing $810.

Brown was asked by a number of media outlets who he took to the dinner, which took place in the same week as his birthday. He refused all requests.

In what was possibly the most memorable part of this year’s local body election campaign, Brown gave an emotional and passionate address to his council colleagues about the dinner. He punched his head and chest and said he would “never” reveal who attended.

“Will I give you the names? Never. I want to tell you that, I feel so intensely strong about this.”

He will open the books on the new city but actively work to prevent his old books ever being released. Dishonest is the word that immediately springs to mind.

The evening was held at south Auckland’s Volare Italian restaurant and featured Australian-based professional tenor Geoffrey Knight, aged in his forties.

Brown told Breakfast co-host Paul Henry the dinner was “a totally appropriate occasion. It was fundraiser in support of a young singing artist in our community…a fundraiser for one of our excellent young musical talents.”

So he will open the books and believes that transparency is a “not a perfect thing“. Looks like the truth isn’t a perfect thing either. Bottom line is Len Brown has never told the truth about that dinner, and when cornered he went all slappy onus.

The worst aspect of all this is the active obfuscation by a paid employee of the City Council, a paid employee who was recompensed handsomely, got a massive payout for just doing his job (or not in this case) and even had a park named after him. Leigh Auton has constantly run interference on behalf of Len Brown throughout this and we can certainly expect these sorts of tactics from Len Brown to continue i, god forbid, he wins the mayoralty.

This week commissioner Marie Shroff asked a set of questions of Manukau City Council about the dinner.

She wanted to know “whether the attendees knew they were accompanying Brown in his capacity as mayor” and “did they know the dinner was being charged to his mayoral credit card”.

Two simple questions, eight people to ask, and two of them were Len Brown and his missus. Eight people, required to say yes or no, twice. It should take all of a couple of hours to sort out. Why no answer? The only supposition can be corruption. Why won’t they answer these two simple questions.

Leigh Auton fought like hell to keep his massive 6 figure payout secret, now he is still fighting like hell to keep details required by law and council rules for a $810 dinner secret.

One must presume that this is a secret that could very well seriously affect Brown’s credibility for them all to die in the ditch defending it.

It is a travesty that Len Brown, his Labour backers and city officials can’t be trusted to tell us the truth, or to follow the law. What will be more of a travesty is Len Brown bringing these appallingly low standards of personal integrity to  the new City.