Friday, September 12, 2014

DIRTY POLITICS - PART 2: When hired hounds of National Government mauled Opposition Leader, Phil Goff


When hired hounds of National Government mauled Opposition Leader, Phil Goff.

Phil Goff’s memory lapse in 2011 was minor but there were serious issues involved. The Prime Minister John Key had abused his position as Minister in charge of the Security Intelligence Service (SIS) to embarrass another politician only months before election.

The thinking behind National Party’s two-track approach was to strenuously protect the party leader’s friendly and approachable image (Dr Jekyll) while relying on other people for a continuous barrage of attacks and negative campaigning (Mr Hyde).

Do you want such person to be your PM for another 3 years?

Hearing from horse's mouth got a new meaning: Cameron  Slater's Whale Oil blog site had a privilege of getting information direct from Beehive and other confidential sources, not available to all.

The adage, “hearing from a horse’s mouth” took another meaning when day after day, people were wondering, including yours truly, how come Whale Oil blog site seems to be saying as if it had ear to the horse’s mouth? In fact that was the case, where Judith Collins, her office, Prime Minister’s office and hangers-on drip-fed the blogger with “inside’ and perhaps confidential information that others were not privy to.

And bestowed with the benefit of an ear to the horse’s mouth, Whale Oil blog site was National Party’s attack dog, among others. In doing so, and with an ear to Beehive, it glossed over and became a very well-read blog, which even Ministers read to get inside information. At the same time, John Key’s clean and smiling image remained untarnished.

The Dr Jekyll face of John Key projected him as the smiling and well-liked Prime Minister, while a darker side of Mr Hyde hired and fed information to hound dogs and mongrels, masquerading as independent bloggers and media, who were out protecting National, but attacking their opponents, especially Labour Party. 

Phil Goff, Opposition Leader in 2011 was a victim of “gang-attack” by National’s mongrels in the case of the “Israeli backpacker” episode, where information was drip fed to a blogger to discredit Phil Goff. I thought this only happened in Third World fledgling democracies. But it happened here in a “clean” New Zealand. Are Kiwis naïve enough to give the same people an opportunity to further their nest for the next three years?

Two track approach of National party stipulated that on one hand they were to maintain a clean ans untarnished image of a nice and smiling John Key, while on the side, National fed and nurtured hounds and hunting dogs, in form of bloggers, to attack, bite and maul political opponents.
An utu or revenge by National Party is well illustrated when John Key was visiting President Obama in USA and the massacre in Oslo took place. Key took this opportunity to score political mileage and blame Islamic terrorist for global terrorism. But this was not the case, a far-right local racist had committed this terrorism. It was embarrassing for Key to have shot off his mouth without knowing the facts.  Goff, as Opposition Leader took this opportunity to rub it on Key, advising him responsibilities of his position, and lecturing him of knowing his facts before saying anything.

Phil Goff, Opposition Leader in 2011, who was targeted by the pack of dogs in form of bloggers who tried to discredit him and have him removed as Opposition  Leader. While he has a lapdog, the hounds from the Prime Minister's kennels were unleashed on him to have him removed from the position.
National Party and its hired hands found a good opportunity to get even with Goff when an Israeli backpacker, who was on suspicion of spying, was killed in Christchurch earthquake in February 2011. Apparently, Security Intelligence Service (SIS) had briefed Goff, who could not recall, but later admitted his mistake, and agreed he was briefed. Hound dogs pounced on Goff with Slater calling “Goff needs to go” after accessing information from SIS under Official Information Act (OIA). This type of meeting notes are not generally accessible to public, or within that short time. Slater sent a request to SIS Director Warren Tucker, asking for copies of briefing notes and details of any acknowledgements that Goff had read them.

With well-rehearsed information on what to ask by somebody in SIS or PM’s office and about which Slater already appeared to have advance knowledge, this information was received within a week. Regular users of OIA know that to get a reply within 20 days is almost impossible. It is strange how Slater got his in quarter of that time. Coincidence? It was also intriguing that such information was not normally privy to public, but it was clear somebody in the know overruled the usual practise and declassified the information on the day it was requested by Slater. Coincidence?

Armed with this information that Goff was briefed by SIS, National, hired bloggers and John Key himself, got on the bandwagon to discredit Goff. The team of bloggers, PR and communications people, including Aaron Bhatnagar, Whale Oil, David Farrar, Matthew Hooton, and with links to Newstalk ZB, had a field day in running down Goff. This was on information questionably obtained with the sanction of key (pun intended) players in PM’s Office, taking unfair advantage of their positions to wage a bad publicity campaign on political opponent- the Opposition Leader.

It is worth stepping back and considering what happened. Goff’s memory lapse was minor but there were serious issues involved. The Prime Minister had abused his position as Minister in charge of the SIS to embarrass another politician only months before election. Person who liaised with Slater over SIS papers is Jason Ede from Prime Minister John Key’s office.

Jason Ede: Black Ops man in Beehive- in Prime Minister's Office.

The question that goes begging is, do we Kiwis deserve the same leaders and government for another three years? Does crime pay? Why should it pay in this case where the hounds of a smiling John Key, were out mauling Goff, while Key also joined in as a respectable , smiling Prime Minister, taking advantage of inappropriately (illegally? unethically? ) acquired information.
People have to make a choice whether they want this type of dirt in their next government.


[Disclaimer: All information in the above article is either direct quotations or interpretations from Nicky Hager’s book, Dirty Politics]

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