Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Maxim-ising the vote

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  • Kris W,

    Well, I'm not sure, _"what exactly...Sean Plunket mean to say when he signed off his first, slightly tetchy, interview with John Key"_

    But I was even more puzzled by Mr Key's mention of his 'values' speech, and the emphasis given when he said, "which I've written myself".

    I really don't know whether to believe him or not, but I certainly enjoyed the sound of (mutual) surprise in his voice!

    Perhaps he developed a personal love for crafting rhetoric during his 'Greenspan' years in NY? - A bottle of Emerson's for the first to prove he didn't write today's speech.

    Cook Strait • Since Nov 2006 • 7 posts Report Reply

  • James Doleman,

    "And while I'm not going to comment on a book I haven't read (and won't for a long time, if at all"

    Do you also put your fingers in your ears and chant "na, na, na" when anyone mentions it?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 13 posts Report Reply

  • Don Christie,

    They won, you lost, eat that.

    I have happilly eaten it. So has the Government, from what I read. Given the $250 million shortfall in Eden park funding surely it would have been remiss of them *not* to look at alternatives, and quickly.

    As an Auckland ratepayer it is now your turn, through your elected reps on the ARC to do some eating of your own and start coughing up the $250million the rest of the country was keen to donate to plan A but have little interest in donating to Eden Park.

    Please show me where I have asserted the ARC is dominated by right wingers? I have absolutely no idea whatsoever how that authority is balanced, nor do I care. My belief is that politics across the spectrum (Green to ACT) has skuppered the plan, not one political side. There were also lots of people with genuine concerns, as is normal for projects such as the one proposed.

    In fact, councillors seem these days to delight in picking such nonsensical labels for themselves I have a huge amount of trouble deciding what their beliefs are at a glance. "Sensible ratepayers", "Independent Jobsworth", "Citizens for Jolly Decent Things" and so on and one very rarely gets to hear about a coherent platform the various groupings adhere to. Bit of a scam, really.

    Possibly one reason so few people bother voting.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1616 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Honiss,

    Found this rather interesting political obituary for DB in yesterdays Australian. http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,20867,20825340-7583,00.html

    Who would have know what greatness we had in our midst, what fools we all are ;-)

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Out of multiple reviews into complaints against Shandwick only one tangible thing stuck. Rennie posed the question: was it unethical of Shandwick to label Native Forest Action members "extremists" in correspondence to newspapers on its client's behalf. The Public Relations Institute, in an appallingly gutless decision decided it was and gave Shandwick a ticking off, despite ...

    Woah! I think one of the whiffier aspects of the Shandwick campaign was that the letters to the editor were written to order by Shandwick employees, but signed by local residents. Maybe that's not a formal breach of ethics, but it's bloody duplicitous in my view.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 19019 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Beard,

    we should have a measure of care for the people living around Eden Park because, they're like y'know, humans and all...

    Yep, but there are a whole lot of humans who live quite happily in noisier, shadier environments than Eden Park could ever be, and who don't feel like spoiling the fun for everyone else.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1039 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Hmmm ... went and refreshed my memory of the Shandwick complaint:

    Hager's response:

    http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO0105/S00067.htm

    Shandwick's response:

    http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO0105/S00065.htm

    I think we can agree that the whole thing was a mess on the part of PRINZ, especially if, as Hager maintains, three quarters of his complaint was legalled out on a technicality and couldn't be presented.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 19019 posts Report Reply

  • Nick Bryant,

    Hi Russell,

    I struggled with whether to put in some sort of disclaimer when I posted but decided against because my effort was really to provide background to Hager writing the book. Since you raise it, when it comes to Shandwick's work for Timberlands I can only vouch for any detail (all of it from memory) prior to the two year period (about 97-99) upon which Hager based most of his book. My father sold the business in 1997 but Shandwick had the Timberlands account since 1993 (I think). So what was done on the account post 97 is something I can't really shed light on.

    Cheers,

    Nick

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    I look forward to any such "speculation" being critically tested and examined by the very media outlets who I think it's fair comment to say haven't done so this far. Being a muckraker with an agenda is one thing - and not a class without precedent or honour in the history of journalism - but let's see if the 'mainstream media' is going to treat Hager's work with the same critical acuity they'd apply to a politician.

    Woah! I want some of the drugs that Craig is on. He put 'critical acuity' and 'mainstream media' in the same sentence!

    Personally I think the 'smoking gun' email is sufficiently backed up by the email to the deputy chair of the BRT to indicate to me that Brash was/is lying. I'm sure that some parts of the book will be torn down over time, but I don't think anyone in the 'mainstream media' is buying the "my resignation now has nothing to do with this book which is full of lies". They're just trying to catch him admitting it, and see if they can tag Key with it.

    It's a silly game, but it keeps us all occupied on this blog when we should be doing more useful things, so it's not surprising the media is playing it as well.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6217 posts Report Reply

  • Joel Zwartz,

    Nick Bryant: Whoah! You've clearly got an axe (chainsaw?) to grind about Hager's treatment of Shandwick. Two things:

    1) PRINZ did not find that Hager's claims in the book were incorrect, rather that their actions didn't breach industry codes. This says more about the weakness of PRINZ, and the strength of Shandwick's lawyers, than anything else. Given their legal resources, wouldn't you expect to have heard about actions against Mr Hager if he had made stuff up?

    2) I agree that as a result of the book Secrets and Lies highlighting Shipley's involvement, Timberlands became a political football. However, Hager can't be held blamed (as you seem to do) for the freshly elected Labour Government's decision to decline the proposed beech scheme and wind up Timberlands. The book was about Shandwick and Timberlands' actions during the protests against the unarguably unsustainable cutover of Rimu forests.

    Welly • Since Nov 2006 • 4 posts Report Reply

  • Nick Bryant,

    While we're posting interesting links, here's one that I hadn't seen until last week when I was recalling that whole sorry saga. I have no links whatsover with the author, who appears to be a former TWC employee or similar.

    http://homepages.caverock.net.nz/~bj/beech/papers/secrets.htm

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Found this rather interesting political obituary for DB in yesterdays Australian.
    Who would have know what greatness we had in our midst, what fools we all are ;-)

    James Allan feels no need to actually verify what he says. Take this:

    While Labour's been in government, New Zealand's growth has not matched Australia's, to say nothing of Ireland's or Singapore's.

    Er, no. I think you'll find that for at least part of that time, New Zealand's GDP growth didn't just match that of Australia, it outstripped it.

    ...we can expect more Labour election wins, and a continued inflow of talented young Kiwis.

    Oh really? According to this Treasury report ...

    http://www.treasury.govt.nz/mei/feb06/default.asp

    ... the number of PLT departures slowed down last year and has never reached anything like the high point it reached in 2000, after climbing through the 1990s.

    Departures to Australia fell sharply from 2000 and have been flat ever since. Here's the graph:

    http://www.treasury.govt.nz/mei/feb06/images/fig10.gif

    Allan, a Canadian who taught law at Otago and is now in Queensland, is a noted Treaty revisionist who was strongly in favour of the Orewa strategy. He also seems a bit of a jerk.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 19019 posts Report Reply

  • Ben Thomas,

    Hager also cites me in 'The Hollow Men'; in the chapter on the media's uncritical acceptance of National’s sloganeering. The date and title, and the one (yes, one) word he quotes from the column are correct. That’s about it.

    He quotes the one word (“striking”) from an NBR column in August 2005 to support his contention that “mostly, though, the media commentary was not interested in the accuracy or integrity” of National’s billboard campaign, only its cleverness.
    That column did refer in passing to National’s “striking billboard campaign” (at the end of a list of factors influencing the polls), and also mentioned “National’s slick propaganda”. But the column was about neither.
    Earlier passages were in fact devoted to the contradictions between National’s immigration policy and Brash’s public pronouncements on the issue (I would modestly suggest these passages were concerned with the ‘accuracy’ and ‘integrity’ of that week’s policy launch. The billboards were of course, by mid August, old news).

    Self-indulgent excerpt from the column follows:

    [National’s]

    new immigration policy promises a four-year "probation" for new New Zealanders and a doubled stand-down period for accessing benefits.

    As much as National leader Don Brash tried to distance himself from what he called the "crude prejudice" of New Zealand First, his conflation of Chinese students - "those who insist on their right to spit in the street" - and African refugees - "those who demand the right to practise female circumcision" - bespoke an appeal to prejudice in the policy's announcement, if not its design. It is, after all, hard to imagine anyone being deported for spitting.

    This obscured the fact National's policy actually liberalised entry for certain categories of migrants.

    Hager is not a fraud, as Michael Bassett would have it. The material, as usual, is sound – but the conclusions he draws from it can be wanting, and there’s evidence of some sloppiness in his secondary research (by which I mean the example above and the misattribution of Russell’s column).

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 20 posts Report Reply

  • Nick Bryant,

    Hi Joel, I don't disagree at all, I definitely do have an axe to grind. My family was largely spared mention in Secrets and Lies, but I suspect there are people named in this book going through a pretty gut-wrenching experience; most of them people who are far less cynical, clinical and machievellian than Hager asserts by presenting a carefully selected bundle of "evidence" to back his thesis of the day. Such is Hager's extremely narrow view of the world and its inhabitants, and his cleverness at spruiking his thrice-yearly tales (he's a damn good publicist, I'll grant him that), that good people do get hurt by him - people who often don't have the time or resources to take legal action against him. I think he'd be as tricky a litigant as he is a writer.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    James Dolman wrote:
    Do you also put your fingers in your ears and chant "na, na, na" when anyone mentions it?

    No, James, but I suspect you don't get the serious point behind Sudney Smith's tart witticism, "I never read a book before reviewing it; it prejudices a man so."

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12052 posts Report Reply

  • Kent Parker,

    Found this rather interesting political obituary for DB in yesterdays Australian. http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,20867,20825340-7583,00.html

    a quote from said text:
    "Perhaps, though, he'd (Brash) simply had enough of the political spotlight. Certainly he intends to stay on past the next election and will almost certainly be the next finance minister should National win."

    Shows how credible conclusions/assumptions drawn in this article actually are.

    Hawkes Bay • Since Nov 2006 • 36 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Hager is not a fraud, as Michael Bassett would have it. The material, as usual, is sound – but the conclusions he draws from it can be wanting, and there’s evidence of some sloppiness in his secondary research (by which I mean the example above and the misattribution of Russell’s column).

    That's pretty much what I think.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 19019 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Kyle Matthews wrote:
    Woah! I want some of the drugs that Craig is on. He put 'critical acuity' and 'mainstream media' in the same sentence!

    *sigh* Well, if you're a manic-depressive with high blood pressure and tediously regular migraines you may well be. (Some Swiss drug company is doing very well out of me, thanks.)

    While I have my criticisms of the MSM I tend to credit them more to laziness, lack of resources and experience, or the simple possibility that the real problem with hack is that they're also human beings rather than co-option into some vast left- or right-wing conspiracy. In a perverse way, I wish I had the temperament to buy into the conspirasist view of politics, just as I wish my faith could setting into the comforting grip of religious fundamentalism. It must be so nice to be on the side of the righteous, with the rest of the word either infidels or heretics. Lack of certainty is such a bitch.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12052 posts Report Reply

  • Manakura,

    My favouite bit from the article in The Australian:

    To start, the liberal press and the Labour Party immediately condemned him as a racist - this despite the fact his second wife of 15 years was Chinese.

    Thats fantastic 'logic' there... roughly the same as concluding that all men who hate women but have wives are not misogynists?

    Perhaps even better is this quote about Orewa speech on the Treaty and all other prononcements on race:

    It was this sort of brave, speak-truth-to-power fearlessness - a quality only likely from a non-politician's politician who was past retirement age and never really schooled in the dangers of offending vested interests

    However what Allan leaves out is that it seems from documentary evidence in Hager's book Brash and his team didn't actually believe in what they were saying.

    Glad to see James Allan, who is certainly a Tiriti o Waitangi revisionist of the worst kind, has found his spiritual home in Australia, possibly the most vile place in the Western world in terms of how the treat indigenous populations. I have heard stories from the people over there that would make your toes curl.

    Whaingāroa • Since Nov 2006 • 133 posts Report Reply

  • Manakura,

    Sorry this is way of topic but goddam its about time:

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/section/story.cfm?c_id=3&ObjectID=10412818

    Whaingāroa • Since Nov 2006 • 133 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler,

    Speaking of mistakes in The Hollow Men, I finally got my copy today and yet to even get to the first chapter come across this (sorry if someone else has already mentioned it):

    Acknowledgments
    ...Steven Price for legal advice, Anna Rogers as editor, Anna Rogers as Editor, Peter Dorn...

    Kinda funny - is the rest of it this error-ridden =)

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3011 posts Report Reply

  • Manakura,

    Is anyone else noticing a pattern in posts of people who have managed to get themselves a copy of the book?

    Also the late ed. of One news tonight ran a story on how illegal milling of native rakai is getting so bad that DoC have installed CCS cameras in the few remaining natuve stands left. That must've been expensive, maybe someone should invoice Nicky Hager?

    Whaingāroa • Since Nov 2006 • 133 posts Report Reply

  • Nick Bryant,

    Morning Manakura, I saw that and couldn't help but chuckle; unintended consequences and all that.

    Have a good one.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Young,

    Getting things belatedly back on topic, can I gauge the
    response to scuttlebut from the Beltway that came my
    way when I bumped into my friend the Tory Faghag* coming
    out of Unity with her copy of THM recently?

    "Oooh Craig. Did you hear the rumours? CIS is about to
    eat the Maxim Institute."
    "Wouldn't it get stuck in its throat?"
    "No, seriously. There's a lot of corporate sock cons that
    want to rationalise their revenue streams on just one
    organisation..."
    "Hmm. Makes sense. Do you have anything concrete to
    feed me on it."
    "I gather it's at the discussion stage, but..."
    "Tell you what, I'll float the balloon, and clearly mark it as 'rumour and hearsay.' Get back to me if you do have anything more definite. Thanks, [TFH]. I owe you on that."

    Craig Y.

    *TFH lives in Epsom, detests Richard Worthless, and voted ACT because she was pissed off at the Nats for their sockconnery last term.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 377 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    Woah! I want some of the drugs that Craig is on. He put 'critical acuity' and 'mainstream media' in the same sentence!

    Just to back up myself here. The front cover of today's Otago Daily Times:

    http://www.odt.co.nz/article.php?refid=2006,11,29,1,00102,5ca41c08cde67f6781bf069ba8fe2be3&sect=0

    Or on stuff:

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/stuff/0,2106,3881855a10,00.html

    Yes, we have icebergs off the coast, and people have been flying out to see them. And we have a world famous sheep, who hasn't been shorn in the past two-and-a-half years.

    "Oh yes!" I hear you cry. Put those two things together! Fly the sheep out to an iceberg, and de-wool him on an iceberg! And then put it on the front page of the ODT (formerly Qantas Media Daily Paper of the year).

    The iceberg apparently cracked and a major chunk broke off and collapsed into the sea, but unfortunately not the bit the damn sheep and the other morons that flew out there were on.

    I eagerly await the next time a volcano erupts in New Zealand and they take the damn thing up there, at least we'll get some roast out of it.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6217 posts Report Reply

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