The only way I could have written about it sooner was if I was prescient. Unfortunately that is a talent I am yet to develop.
Before you accidentally defame someone Josie, it was Darren Hughes not Gareth Hughes.
And the story was broken by the media, not Slater.
In the first moment of downtime I've had since the election campaign I thought I'd go back through my files and check on these stories that apparently I hadn't been writing about over the past 8 years because of my abject failure as a journalist.
Government Minister's feeding information to Slater - wrote about it (still am in fact)
Threats made against Ministerial services employee Simon Pleasants - wrote about it
Judith Collins and Oravida - wrote (lots) about it
SIS release to Slater - wrote about it (got summonsed by the IGIS because of it)
Lusk's candidates college - wrote about it
Who was told what and when about the Donghua Liu dump - wrote about it
POAL links to Slater - wrote about it
I could go on but the point I'm trying to make is any suggestions this stuff wasn't written about is malarkey of the highest order. I'm not dissing Hager's book. It had some very valuable material in it and shone some light into some dark places. But a lot of its impact was that it collected events from over a period of five to six years and gathered them in one place. That gave it some real punch. The stories that I, and others, wrote happened individually and were (I suspect) passed over as being a bit beltway and of limited interest.
Judging by some of the opinions I've seen exhorted here I realise I'm unlikely to change your minds. But some of the views expressed are sweeping generalisations, if not factually inconsistent, and I thought it only fair I post a response.
I'm now going to have some time off and make a dent in the 18 days worth of overtime I racked up in the last 5 weeks. Enjoy the rest of the debate and best wishes to you all. (and that even includes those of you who see me as an evil tool of the corporate media and a manipulator of the public agenda)
It's always interesting to note the views of those who were not actually there to witness what happened.
Yesterday's caucus meeting was not run of the mill in any sense. Nor was it disciplined. Cunliffe's leadership and authority was being directly challenged before the meeting even happened. You could gauge it from the comments MPs were making to media on the way into Parliament, and from how MPs gave interviews to reporters on the way into the meeting despite their leader giving them a clear directive not to speak to reporters.
It is not over the top, nor inaccurate, to use the terms "disarray" or "divided" when the majority of the caucus has taken active steps to block the leader's desire to have a leadership contest before the end of the year.
Labour's caucus is divided. The gallery is reporting that fact. It's that simple. I know there are those on the left that are uncomfortable with the state Labour is in and are looking for people to blame. But I can assure you it's not the media's fault. The blame for Labour's predicament lies fundamentally within its own ranks.
I think I have the advantage over some of you in that I have had the opportunity to speak directly with Labour's MPs. It is not misleading to say the divisions are deep and the grievances are bitter.
it wasn't so much a case of Woodhouse doing his own OIA but the Minister collating information on the Donghua Liu case because of questions being asked in the house.
It's not uncommon for Ministers in such circumstances to request material on such matters so as to be prepared to provide answers at Question Time.
What's interesting is the material he got covered Cunliffe's letter and also Chris Carter's letter, but not material involving former assoc' immigration minister Damien O'Connor. We haven't, as yet, got an explanation for why it wasn't covered (you can guess Cunliffe's opinion I think)
With regard to OIA process there's a reasonably well established system that's in place (and I believe the Herald's David Fisher OIA'd it previously) for how the Beehive handles information requests, particularly those with political connotations. In essence they're flagged and Ministers are made aware of them. I'm informed the system currently in place is pretty much the same one the last Labour Government used.
Does it lend itself to being politically manipulated? Probably.
The confusing nature of her answers have been responsible for a large proportion of Parata’s problems. It once took myself and two other reporters a whole week and four interviews to determine exactly what the story was about teaching creationism in charter schools. All because she couldn’t be succinct or precise.
Last night’s effort on the Kohanga Reo inquiry was as equally frustrating. Listen and judge for yourself
I'm a cyclist. I bike to work more often than not and I really enjoy doing it. But, having said that, it's damn dangerous and I fully understand why many won't do it.
Commonsense, and this bikecam footage, suggests that I should reconsider.
I don’t know how we are supposed to judge the ‘merit’ of MPs, but the Green Party puts a lot of women in parliament. How do they do it?
I believe the Greens operate a 60-40 rule. MPs of either gender will constitute no more than 60 percent of the caucus and no fewer than 40%
From what I was told Labour sought clarification in mid-April, 2 weeks before its donations return was due. That was when they were told by the Electoral Commission that it counted as a donation and had to be declared as such.
Why they didn't seek that advice sooner is unclear. Tim Barnett was emphatic in his view that it was an honest mistake and there was no intent to deceive.
Below is the full statement that the Electoral Commission gave to me after I asked them about the matter:
The Labour Party’s 2012 donations return disclosed a bequest received by the party in 2012 that should have been disclosed to the Commission within 10 working days of its receipt.
Section 210C of the Electoral Act 1993 requires a party secretary to file a return with the Electoral Commission in respect of every donation, or series of donations from the same donor, in the preceding 12 months, that exceeds $30,000, within 10 working days of the donation being received by the party.
A party secretary commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding $40,000 who fails, without reasonable excuse, to comply with section 210C.
The Commission has enquired into this breach of the Electoral Act.
The Labour Party explained the donation was the first bequest received by the Labour Party for some years and the party secretary and his predecessor, under whose charge the bequest was received, were not aware until the party sought advice from the Commission on 19 April 2013 that a bequest is treated as a donation for the purposes of the Electoral Act.
The party has advised it has since changed its financial processes to provide for the management of bequests and has filed a section 210C return for a party donation exceeding $30,000.
The Commission does not intend to take any further action in this matter.
I think part of the angst/hostility on the part of cyclists is largely due to the fact that if there is an accident they either die or get seriously hurt. From personal experience I can say that having regular near misses on the commute does raise the blood pressure toa certain degree.
If they were infrequent it wouldn’t be so bad. But if you commute by bike you quickly discover near misses are far more common than you’d expect, or like.
The video below is just a sample of what I’ve experienced over the past 6 months.