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Speaker: The Hollow Men: Initial Impressions

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  • Russell Brown,

    1. the Exclusive Bretheren connection didn't help the nats at the last election. I thought it was a bloody stupid decision to risk being tainted by an association with people who are so obviously nutters, and so it proved to be.

    Well, it seems clear that people inside the party thought so too. But they were over-ruled by a leadership that saw the money.

    I gather - well, Richard Griffin said - that Richard Long left because he couldn't convince Brash to stop playing with these people. And Brash's decision to meet with them again this year, without telling his caucus, raised some serious questions about his loyalty to his own colleagues.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18711 posts Report Reply

  • andrew llewellyn,

    I had dinner deeep in Brash country on Friday night.

    Once the topic was finally & nervously broached it was interesting to hear the differing reactions from the hosts.

    He: "Damned shame, a hell of a nice guy, has been stiffed by the unscrupulous (named a prominent Nat insider)."

    She: "Lying, cheating, scumbag." (a reference to the affair allegations, not the Hager book, of which they knew little, aside from being aware that it is fiction of course.)

    Since Nov 2006 • 2073 posts Report Reply

  • Clarke,

    larryq wrote:

    2. NZ is such a small place. It's naive to think that such things can be kept hidden.

    Entirely true. So one wonders at the weapons-grade stupidity of the National Party strategists who thought that attacking Labour over corruption and credibility was somehow going to work when Brash's mis-steps were hanging over them.

    Seriously, did these people not have the faintest clue that an insider was funneling information to Nicky Hager over a long period of time? If Hager was being sent e-mails in electronic form, the record will be there as clear as day in the National Party e-mail server logs. Or do they not check the security of their own systems?

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 78 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    The sweetness: Got my copy. Whitcoulls, St Lukes. Looked like there were about 10 left.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8316 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    That wouldn't explain how Hager was able to get copies of Nationals internal polling results, schedules, minutes of meetings, and interoffice memos, let alone the emails between Keenan, Long and Sinclair.

    If I understand DPF and his commenters today, Brash has a national.org.nz address which he doesn't necessarily read, and this may be the one to which certain emails were sent.

    So perhaps the compromise is not at Parliament, but at National Party HQ.

    If Hager was being sent e-mails in electronic form, the record will be there as clear as day in the National Party e-mail server logs.

    There are more ways to get the goodies than cracking an email server.

    Perhaps someone lost their laptop, or perhaps they *cough* left it in a conference room last night, goodness how careless of me, I do hope no union sympathisers were on the hotel cleaning staff.

    I should think a capable person could obtain all they wished if they had access to a laptop overnight. And given the prevalence of insecure wireless networks... hmm, has anybody sniffed around National Party HQ for insecure wifi?

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2936 posts Report Reply

  • larryq,

    Clarke Wrote:

    weapons-grade stupidity of the National Party strategists who thought that attacking Labour over corruption and credibility was somehow going to work when Brash's mis-steps were hanging over them.

    That's the wonderful thing about politicians (of all persuasions), they are such habitual risk takers that there will always be great copy for journalists and plenty of gossip for Wellingtonians. However, the pledge card thing was such a obvious rort that the labour party needed to be hamered for it. At least brash did the right thing.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 24 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    John Key's just run the same line as Bassett on Checkpoint: the emails were stolen and there was no such email from the Brethren. Doesn't make much sense, but it seems to be working for them.

    Shame Mary Wilson didn't have the wit to ask him if, well, the Brash emails were "stolen" and no one from the party would have given Hager any such thing, where did all the other documents he cites come from?

    Call me crazy, but it seems a reasonable question.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18711 posts Report Reply

  • simon g,

    She also asked him what he stood for. He didn't seem to know. I don't think he's a secret neo-con/Ayn Rand-er/Bible-basher, or any of those scary sects. I just get the impression he doesn't really have any underlying philosophy at all.

    When did he join National? Did he do anything political before then?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 718 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    Russell, and cite he does...I count 376 references to emails in the endnotes, out of 977 total citations. Some are obviously the same emails, and my count rough (45 pages of endnotes leads to eyes blurring).

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8316 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler,

    I've been trying to buy this for days now, but no-one seems to have any left at the time I'm around ... but onto other issues ... the current evidence we have that the emails were "stolen" is that (presumably) Hager's legal advisors have told him he was caught by the injunction.

    They're probably in a better position to know than just about anyone else - if they think they're covered it means they think they're stolen - who am I to disagree?

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 2996 posts Report Reply

  • Nick Kearney,

    Why doesn't someone ask Hickmott (the Brethren sender of the email) if he actually sent it. Is that too obvious?

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 68 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    I just get the impression he doesn't really have any underlying philosophy at all.

    Good. That would be a return to the practical, pragmatic, maintain the status quo view that informed the National Party of old. The traditional National Party line has never been much more than keeping the socialists out.

    *since the Labour Party aren't really socialists any more, this explains why the Nats can't keep it together. The etre has left their raison.*

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2936 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    A Brethren with email??? He must be the mole.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8316 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Why doesn't someone ask Hickmott (the Brethren sender of the email) if he actually sent it. Is that too obvious?

    You never know. When it broke, National wasn't even going to admit to meeting them, but then the EB blew it by saying so at their press conference.

    Anyway, got the book this evening, reading it now. It's fascinating so far.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18711 posts Report Reply

  • Nick Kearney,

    Another thought - if he did send it, and if it's not forged, which is pretty ridiculous theory, then receipt would have been almost instantaneous: a few minutes at worst. So it would have been received on the server at National Party Head Office (it was sent to national.org.nz, not parliament.govt.nz) at about 3:17pm on Tuesday 24 May. Surely it is no too difficult to establish who was at National HO at that time/date and who could have had access to the server. Unless, that is, the email was 'intercepted'.

    If it was forwarded from there to Steven Joyce, from someone other than Don Brash, then where is the evidence showing at what time/date it was forwarded and why isn't Joyce saying what date/time he received it?

    If Joyce can tell Brash when he received it (if it was forwarded) then it seems to me that there is a very small window of time between 3:17pm on 24 May and the time Joyce received it in which to inculpate someone.

    Or, am I too simplistic? Or are the answers too embarrassing?

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 68 posts Report Reply

  • Kent Parker,

    Nick, I don't think the Nats are going to bother too much doing a post mortem. They are probably all glad that the Brash era is over, especially now with the invigorated line up they've got.

    The emails only exist because Brash was a neophyte, needed coaching and was obviously vulnerable to manipulation, and certain parties took advantage of this. Those, I think are the factors most embarrassing to Brash and the Nats.

    It will be interesting to see what they do with the old gentleman.

    Hawkes Bay • Since Nov 2006 • 36 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    He'll retire to a life fitting an ex-almost-PM.

    I finally get a quip made on kiwiblog about me! My name is referred to in the book. But it's a different me, some inner circle Nat. No, I'm no whistle blower. Hope I didn't get the real me in trouble by being 'off message' all this time ;-)

    Hard News gets a mention as a primary source - p209, see endnotes. I can't actually find the primary in your archives, or indeed any article titled 'Right and wrong'. Was this in the dreaded medium of printed material that I've been indulging in enjoying the retroness of for the last few hours? Those printed archives which will no doubt be lost in the digital future, whilst the digitally published will form the part of the Google cache that will fit into the thumb drives of 20 years from now. Only data archaeologists will be interested in such arcana as print.

    That is the kind of footprint Brash was making in his obsessive use of email to document every stupid thing he has done. It could be one of the most famous stupid things ever done with a computer. If only they had a political 'Darwin Awards'.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8316 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Hard News gets a mention as a primary source - p209, see endnotes. I can't actually find the primary in your archives, or indeed any article titled 'Right and wrong'. Was this in the dreaded medium of printed material that I've been indulging in enjoying the retroness of for the last few hours?

    The citation is correct as to content, wrong on title and date of the blog post. It was a lengthy post on Aug 26, 2005, called 'The Odds'.

    http://publicaddress.net/default,2461.sm

    I was passing on notice from a reader of an editorial in the Pohutukawa Coast Times that I figured was straight out of the Maxim Institute's dodgy "voter education campaign" aimed at driving votes to National. (It was.)

    I actually skipped forward to the main part about Maxim in the book to see whether I'd been right about collusion with National on its "one stop shop for voters offering objective information and not pushing any political agenda."

    Yup. Thought so ...

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18711 posts Report Reply

  • Mark Easterbrook,

    A Brethren with email??? He must be the mole.

    This is the funny thing with the EB, in my experience. They avoid communications technology like it's Satan's own, yet they'll happily get others to use it for them.

    A few years ago, my employer had a large EB-owned business as a client. They would take documents to the firm next door, ask them to fax them to us, and in turn we'd fax stuff back for the EB to collect.

    They would also ask us to research stuff online for them - anything of use to them would be printed out as a hard copy for them to read.

    I guess you can't sup with the devil, but it's okay to sup with those who sup with the devil?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 244 posts Report Reply

  • Mark Thomas,

    He'll retire to a life fitting an ex-almost-PM

    What, travelling the world raising awareness of climate change? fantastic!

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 315 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    the current evidence we have that the emails were "stolen" is that (presumably) Hager's legal advisors have told him he was caught by the injunction.

    They're probably in a better position to know than just about anyone else - if they think they're covered it means they think they're stolen - who am I to disagree?

    I'm no lawyer, but any employee of parliamentary services, or the national party, who printed out and took away, or possibly even forwarded onto elsewhere, the emails and other materials, is probably looking at 'theft as an employee' or something.

    So yes, the emails were stolen from the national party or parliament, and given (eventually) to Nicky Hager. So if they were leaked in this way, by employees, then the injunction did apply to the book.

    I would presume some of the materials were leaked by their owners - probably MPs - but if any were leaked by employees to whom the emails were not sent, then that's enough to have prevented the book being published.

    Another thought - if he did send it, and if it's not forged, which is pretty ridiculous theory, then receipt would have been almost instantaneous: a few minutes at worst. So it would have been received on the server at National Party Head Office (it was sent to national.org.nz, not parliament.govt.nz) at about 3:17pm on Tuesday 24 May. Surely it is no too difficult to establish who was at National HO at that time/date and who could have had access to the server. Unless, that is, the email was 'intercepted'.

    This stuff would have been leaked at someone's leisure. They'd have printed it out after work, forwarded it on and then deleted the log, copied the email files to a CD or memory stick. This isn't some spectacular hack or hurried theft like the movies. Nicky Hager has no reason to lie - six different people have provided him with this information, they'll have taken information they have legal access to and passed it onto him. This is people who got pretty pissed at what was going on in the national party and saw, for whatever reason, and opportunity to make that public. They'll have met Nicky over a coffee and given him a folder or a CD. Completely untraceable from the computer.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6162 posts Report Reply

  • Conor Roberts,

    Hmmm, all this talk about '6 National insiders' feeding the emails to Hager - followed by strenuous denials from the Party.

    Who noticed Mr English had, by all media reports, 6 people backing him for leadership. Hmmmmmmmm.

    I've always thought they must have come from disgruntled ex English staffers or supporters.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 55 posts Report Reply

  • Kent Parker,

    Kyle,

    I'm no lawyer, but any employee of parliamentary services, or the national party, who printed out and took away, or possibly even forwarded onto elsewhere, the emails and other materials, is probably looking at 'theft as an employee' or something.

    I'm no lawyer either, but I do understand that material can be stolen for the purpose of 'whistle-blowing' in which case it has to be relevant to public service, and has to be of a nature that justifies it being made public. I also believe that the whistle blowers do have to have some close connection with the blowee/target/hapless victim such as be an employee or such. If Hager's book were taken to court a judge is likely to agree that it is in the best interests of the public to know the contents.

    I believe the book is a godsend for Key. It has enabled Brash to mar himself, totally, suddenly and completely. Some form of self-inflicted fatality was probably what Key was waiting for. Now that it has happened he has simply had to step up to the podium, which he (and the media) hav been preparing him for and take over.

    There would be many in National who support the existence of this book. It ends, without question, an embarrassing and unconstructive era for the Nats and it is now the beginning of the end of the Labour govt. It will be interesting to see the next set of polls. I'm figuring that, so long as Key provides no unwelcome surprises that National will be polling well ahead of Labour from now to the election.

    Hawkes Bay • Since Nov 2006 • 36 posts Report Reply

  • Kent Parker,

    This blog really needs to be optimized for Mozilla!!

    Hawkes Bay • Since Nov 2006 • 36 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    I'm no lawyer either, but I do understand that material can be stolen for the purpose of 'whistle-blowing' in which case it has to be relevant to public service, and has to be of a nature that justifies it being made public. I also believe that the whistle blowers do have to have some close connection with the blowee/target/hapless victim such as be an employee or such. If Hager's book were taken to court a judge is likely to agree that it is in the best interests of the public to know the contents.

    Yes, I noted the whisteblower legislation. However, I can't imagine that the court order would override this legislation, as parliament is sovereign. So while there might be some whistleblown material in the book, I would presume that some was literally stolen (as an employee) and leaked to Hager, or to someone else who gave it to him.

    There would be many in National who support the existence of this book. It ends, without question, an embarrassing and unconstructive era for the Nats and it is now the beginning of the end of the Labour govt. It will be interesting to see the next set of polls. I'm figuring that, so long as Key provides no unwelcome surprises that National will be polling well ahead of Labour from now to the election.

    I'm sure there's lots in national that support this book, but they've just lost the leader who took them from almost dead, to leading at the polls. I'm not sure I've heard a good explanation as to how he was able to do that, and yet how he was so bad for the party, from people who attack the Brash region.

    I mean I didn't like him at all, but I'm a long way away from National's target audience. Everyone however seems to be laying the credit for their resurgence with him, and then they're happy he gets dumped, book or no.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6162 posts Report Reply

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