Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: "Evil called: Can you make a meeting at 11?"

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  • insider outsider,

    Thanks Fletch - take your word for it. I thought the allegation of child throwing was there already and they picked it up and ran with it rather than creating it.

    nz • Since May 2007 • 142 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca,

    I'd be sure Labour's advisors are just as venal and evil and unscrupulous as Crosby/Textor, it's just that we don't know their names.

    Caught a comment on breakfast this morn on 95bfm. If I heard correctly Helen said they have always used a company called Insight. Has used the same company for years.

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report Reply

  • FletcherB,

    Well, I dont specifically know that Crosby Textor made it up..... but someone made it up.... and someone who was in a position to know it was false (the PM) decided to run with it... And the person that ran with it was taking advise from.....

    West Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 887 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    And just to set the cat among the pigeons, perhaps Clark should be giving Crosby and Textor a call. They can't FUBAR things any worse than the numpty who thought this was a good idea. (Going downhill at high speed -- not really the picture you want to put in people's minds, one might think.)

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • insider outsider,

    Interesting Craig. Compare and contrast with the much overhyped gangplank for Brash. Will depend on the poetic license of the journalists concerned I suppose.

    nz • Since May 2007 • 142 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Of course not. The point is not that it is the Standard who posted it, but that John Key fudged the answer when he was asked in November 2007, “Have you got any advisors round now that are seen in The Hollow Men?”.

    Wow. Kate asked the question twice. First time he dodged it by jumping on the other part of the question, about talking to the media. She asked him again whether he has "any other advisers from the 2005 election"

    And he squirms a bit and says:

    "I haven't read the book for such a long time I'm really not sure who he names. But from the top of my head, no, but I'd probably have to go back a check, it, them, one by one."

    Unless Hager's story is a complete fabrication, Key had been working with Crosby/Textor for a year, at his own initiative -- and he's lying in that interview.

    He can't complain about being called "slippery" now, I'm afraid.

    (At the same time, did The Standard really recall an interview with Kate on RDU from last November? Or did someone on the ninth floor slip them a little hinty-poo?)

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22754 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Caught a comment on breakfast this morn on 95bfm. If I heard correctly Helen said they have always used a company called Insight. Has used the same company for years.

    If you're referring to UMR Insight being the Labour Party's preferred pollsters then I guess it's fair to point out that Australian-owned UMR Research doesn't go out of its way to point out the New Zealand Labour Party among it's 'selected New Zealand client list'.

    I would, however, be very interested to know the extent and nature of the "corporate reputation" and "crisis communication" services UMR does, or does not, extend to its public sector/SOE clients. And how UMR manages any perceived conflict of interest between working for government departments/SOEs and political parties.

    Any thoughts, Mr Hager?

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Danyl Mclauchlan,

    At the same time, did The Standard really recall an interview with Kate on RDU from last November? Or did someone on the ninth floor slip them a little hinty-poo?

    I doubt they're quite that well connected. I assume the guys behind the Standard work in the Labour Party Research Unit so finding out stuff like this would be all in a days work.

    You do have to wonder why the Nats keep using the same market research company and then deny it - its not as if their record is all that great: C/T worked for NZ National and the UK Conservatives in 05, both of whom lost, then the Howard government in 07 who lost by a landslide.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 927 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    And can I just repeat for the record, my long-held view that NO pollster, PR shop or 'image consultancy' should be getting their velvet claws in the public purse, full stop. If we've got to accept them as a necessary evil, then there should be a prompt, full and very public disclosure of such spending that's not dependent on the bloody minded persistence of a hack.

    As for political parties, if they want to squander their resources on 'rebranding' and internal polling that's their affair. But they don't get de facto or de jure public funding to do so.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Don Christie,

    It seems to me that Labour party supporters at PAS are building themselves a narrative to explain their parties upcoming annihilation and the Cosby/Textor

    Maybe. Not for me though. I have just seen what these guys have done in the past and it disgusts me. No doubt Craig has an "on the other hand" waiting in the sidelines but in my experience of countless watching elections around the blocks for many years (sad but true) only Karl Rove comes close.

    And yes, I have heard Helen Clark called "smug" on numerous occasions recently which as has been pointed out hardly seems to describe her weaknesses accurately. It's just a convenient label to start throwing around.

    Note to The Standard..."Slipper" is equally useless.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1645 posts Report Reply

  • Don Christie,

    I assume the guys behind the Standard work in the Labour Party Research Unit

    Do you assume that because you know? Because if you are correct then I assume they have been very misleading about their connections. I think you should back up that claim.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1645 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    If you're referring to UMR Insight being the Labour Party's preferred pollsters then I guess it's fair to point out that Australian-owned UMR Research doesn't go out of its way to point out the New Zealand Labour Party among it's 'selected New Zealand client list'.

    I would, however, be very interested to know the extent and nature of the "corporate reputation" and "crisis communication" services UMR does, or does not, extend to its public sector/SOE clients. And how UMR manages any perceived conflict of interest between working for government departments/SOEs and political parties.

    The connection is that Mike Williams owned UMR Insight (marrket research) until 1994 and Insight Data (direct marketing) until 1997.

    I think Williams also provided the electoral database system the party uses -- chosen over a competing product from Lynn Prentice, who handles the IT side of The Standard.

    But the fact that UMR does Labour's internal polling has never been a secret, which is the issue here.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22754 posts Report Reply

  • George Darroch,

    Any thoughts, Mr Hager?

    Helen Clark and John Key could be getting their campaign advice from the devil, for all I care. The point of this, in my not so humble opinion, is that the major opposition party in NZ is engaging in an election strategy that relies on debating only the issues of its choosing, and keeping the public in the dark on everything else. That is the scandal.

    Yes, to some extent every party chooses their messages and issues. But am I naive in thinking that a party parading as the next Government owes us slightly more than we've been getting? What, for example, is their policy on ACC?

    WLG • Since Nov 2006 • 2264 posts Report Reply

  • Ian MacKay,

    Unless Hager's story is a complete fabrication, Key had been working with Crosby/Textor for a year, at his own initiative -- and he's lying in that interview.

    Thats it! The importance of this is that integrity is at stake. The debate has pursued all the red herrings (which are good fun) perhaps to cloud the issue above.

    Bleheim • Since Nov 2006 • 498 posts Report Reply

  • Danyl Mclauchlan,

    Do you assume that because you know? Because if you are correct then I assume they have been very misleading about their connections. I think you should back up that claim.

    I don't know that at all - but its an obvious mouth organ, far more so than David Farrar's site or any other political blog in New Zealand. And the people who contribute to it do seem to have endless amounts of time to research and write their virulently pro-government anti-National propaganda. It just seems to me to be the most plausible explanation.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 927 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    __It seems to me that Labour party supporters at PAS are building themselves a narrative to explain their parties upcoming annihilation and the Cosby/Textor revelations feed right into that, providing an excuse for the left that poor old Labour will only lose because of some sort of satanic, right-wing media sorcery.__

    Indeed. The only thing worse than having National sweep into power and do things I find distasteful is having Labour hacks complain about their precious Government being "stolen" from them for months or years afterwards.

    As I've said before, I expect a National-led government would be less to my taste, but not really that different. There's a fairly high degree of political consensus in this country -- although I think I was correct in feeling that was under threat from the people who clustered around Brash.

    In 2008, there are National MPs I think will be good value in government, and some I don't really look forward to having back.

    But I actually am surprised at the evasiveness over the use of C/T. Why not just tell the truth?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22754 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    No doubt Craig has an "on the other hand" waiting in the sidelines but in my experience of countless watching elections around the blocks for many years (sad but true) only Karl Rove comes close.

    Don: I very much doubt Karl Rove (or Crosby/Textor) was giving advice on the downlow to Hillary Clinton, but I think anyone who saw the now notorious "3 am" advert could be forgiven for thinking otherwise. But it's ever so slightly naive to think sewer-rat attack politics didn't exist B.R. (Before Rove)

    And I think it's giving Darths C&T way too much credit (as well as being seriously ahistorical) to hold them personally responsible for the every so slightly rat-bastard nature of Australian and British politics. :)

    I guess when it comes to retail politics, I'm a case study in hope eternally mugged by experience. But you can't even begin to change a toxic culture, if you're either unable or unwilling to lot at it straight on. All of it.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Stanley Pointen,

    Craig, I followed your link to the story about the Prime Minister opening the Queenstown Winter Festival. This seems to me to be an entirely legitimate undertaking for the Prime Minister. The festival is a major international tourist draw card. Prime Ministers have been involved in promoting New Zealand, both here and overseas, for years. There are politicians, on the other hand, who travel overseas to bad mouth our country.

    Auckland • Since May 2008 • 26 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Williams,

    The point of this, in my not so humble opinion, is that the major opposition party in NZ is engaging in an election strategy that relies on debating only the issues of its choosing, and keeping the public in the dark on everything else. That is the scandal.

    Precisely. Which is why I've been banging on about the absence of policy over and over and over again. I notice that Stephen Franks has eschewed any discussion of policy on his blog instead prefering to quote the positions of others (interestingly others who often have positions you'd expect from ACT, not from National).

    Sydney • Since Nov 2006 • 2273 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Williams,

    First Danyl said:

    __It seems to me that Labour party supporters at PAS are building themselves a narrative to explain their parties upcoming annihilation and the Cosby/Textor revelations feed right into that, providing an excuse for the left that poor old Labour will only lose because of some sort of satanic, right-wing media sorcery.__

    Then George said:

    __Indeed. The only thing worse than having National sweep into power and do things I find distasteful is having Labour hacks complain about their precious Government being "stolen" from them for months or years afterwards.__

    And now Russell:

    As I've said before, I expect a National-led government would be less to my taste, but not really that different. There's a fairly high degree of political consensus in this country -- although I think I was correct in feeling that was under threat from the people who clustered around Brash.

    Meh, Danyl's idle speculation seems to have crystalised into genuine knowledge at an alarming rate. How do you do that?

    Sydney • Since Nov 2006 • 2273 posts Report Reply

  • Rex Widerstrom,

    Evil? Doctor Evil, maybe. As much as Hager might want to prepare the way for blame-shifting after an electoral drubbing his thesis ignores two important points:

    First, Crosby Textor aren't that evil any more. They failed to save John Howard. They failed to get Michael Howard across the line. And their "small target" strategy for Boris Johnson overlooked the fact that his status as the "anti-Livingstone" was what appealed to his core supporters. Fortunately for Johnson he was an outspoken colourful character whose strong views were already well known - not something that can be said about Key.

    So a fairly blunt and nasty campaign worked in Australia in 2001. Let's not forget that had a boat load of refugees not co-operated by sinking on cue, the "strategy" would have been... well, what, exactly?

    Then it was warmed over for Michael Howard (you could almost see where "Michael" has been pasted over "John") and failed. And it's been failing since, as evidenced by the fact that the Liberals aren't in power anywhere in Australia and, what's more, don't look like ever being.

    They've definitely lost their lustre in Australia, where bipartisan firms like Government Relations Australia (GRA) and the Labor-leaning Hawker Britton are seen as better strategists.

    Second, that when Labour gets a pasting at the polls by the undeserving National Party it will be solely and completely the fault of Labour and, in particular, their behaviour during this past term. The level of hubris displayed by this government and in particular this Prime Minister has been nothing short of breathtaking. Not for nothing is she being compared to Muldoon. I even came across one lefty defending her behaviour in the same terms the other day - that "at least you know what she's thinking".

    Yes, but if the majority of people you claim to represent think otherwise, and you don't even try to win them over but instead force laws through, you're toast.

    To blame the work of "evil" consultants (I know you were exaggerting Russ, I suspect Hager and others believe the hype) is to give them credibility they don't deserve and to excuse those truly responsible.

    Perth, Western Australia • Since Nov 2006 • 157 posts Report Reply

  • George Darroch,

    idle speculation seems to have crystalised into genuine knowledge at an alarming rate. How do you do that?

    I'm being employed by Crosby Textor to repeat memes.

    When I made my comment, I was thinking about how much noise I heard about National's tactics at the 05 election (Exclusive Brethren, secret trusts) in the years afterwards. These were genuine issues, but after a certain point even people sympathetic to your arguments are tired of hearing them.

    WLG • Since Nov 2006 • 2264 posts Report Reply

  • Don Christie,

    saw the now notorious "3 am" advert could be forgiven for thinking

    Sorry Craig. How does that equate to claiming McCain fathered illegitimate black babies, doctoring photos of desperate refugees to make out they were drowning their babies or the FUD attacks on Gypsies or the outright lies and innuendo spread about Kerry? This is Rove and C/T all over. That's what I am talking about.

    Really, if that Clinton ad is the best "on the other hand" you have I think you simply prove my point.

    I find distasteful is having Labour hacks complain about their precious Government being "stolen" from them for months or years afterwards.

    Wasn't that the meme from National after the last election? Remember Brash "demanding" a snap election as soon as possible? Talk about corrosive.

    Otherwise, I think folks like Russell recognising that changes in Government colour occur in democracies is hardly earth shattering. But it can happen without either side resorting to bottom sucking.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1645 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    __As I've said before, I expect a National-led government would be less to my taste, but not really that different. There's a fairly high degree of political consensus in this country -- although I think I was correct in feeling that was under threat from the people who clustered around Brash.__

    Meh, Danyl's idle speculation seems to have crystalised into genuine knowledge at an alarming rate. How do you do that?

    Huh? I thought I was saying I don't expect the sky to fall if the government changes this year, and you seem to have me saying something different. Did I miss something?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22754 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Williams,

    When I made my comment, I was thinking about how much noise I heard about National's tactics at the 05 election (Exclusive Brethren, secret trusts) in the years afterwards. These were genuine issues, but after a certain point even people sympathetic to your arguments are tired of hearing them.

    I can understand that George. I do think the EBs are a group that well and truly overstepped any reasonable mark and I think Brash erred in his dealings with them. I'm wary of Crosby/Textor too. I do however, hope this election is fought on issues of relevance to today.

    Sydney • Since Nov 2006 • 2273 posts Report Reply

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