Carrick Graham and Slater Jnr’s PR attack blog smear campaign inches towards court – with Katherine Rich attached

Former National Party MP, chief executive officer of the NZ Food and Grocery Council Inc industry lobby group Katherine Rich is innocent until proven guilty of the charge that she ‘procured’ defamatory statements to be published against health researchers carrying out public education and advocacy regarding the bad health effects of fatty and sugary foods and beverages. (pic: Tim Hales, Fairfax)

I mentioned in an earlier post, Most Defamed Man Ever Jordan Williams to appeal ruling, that NZ Food and Grocery Council Inc lobby group head, former National Party MP and bright young hopeful Katherine Rich, had been ‘joined’ to a defamation action against dirty PR operator Carrick Graham and his glove puppet Cameron Slater.

This arose from revelations in Nicky Hager’s book Dirty Politics that the NZFGC Inc. had employed/contracted Carrick Graham’s dirty PR one man band to attack several health researchers though blog posts ghostwritten by Graham but published by Slater Jnr on his hate blog as if he were the author.

Hager’s book also showed that, just as Jordan Williams apparently did in his campaign against Colin Craig, Carrick Graham then added more insults and derogatory statements in the hate blog’s comment stream using pseudonyms (‘Naylor’ and ‘Lion King’ in Graham’s case). To me, that thoroughly dishonest practice indicates bad faith and an ill-will motivation. In my eyes, such subterfuge defeats an ‘honest opinion’ defence. (Oh, did I mention I also think it’s sleazy?)

How Nicky Hager described Katherine Rich’s role

Obviously, Ms Rich and the sugary fatty food and beverage merchants her lobby group represents were unhappy about their hidden role being exposed by Nicky Hager and Whaledump through Slater’s [allegedly] hacked emails and Facebook message interchanges with Carrick Graham – and even more so being attached to the resulting defamation action. Predictably, they hired expensive lawyers to try to extract themselves from the action.

It didn’t work. Twice so far. Continue reading →

Why is Matthew Hooton SO UPSET at efforts to increase voter turnout? (AUDIO)

A younger Matthew Hooton. I reckon this guy would have APPLAUDED greater participation in democracy — unlike today’s grumpy grizzler. But I could be wrong.

Here’s some commentary from PR professional Matthew Hooton, owner of the ‘Exceltium’ PR agency*, on how he sees efforts by New Zealand’s Electoral Commission to increase voter turnout.

“I think the way the Electoral Commission has behaved, taking upon itself (despite having no statutory basis) to try and massively increase the turnout to try and attract these “Missing Million” — this left-leaning Missing Million, who usually don’t vote. I think that might win it for her [Labour Party Opposition Leader Jacinda Ardern].
I think that we may have a bizarre situation that by the time the next Leaders’ debate occurs on Wednesday night – which I think by all accounts Jacinda Ardern will be throughly discredited in by Bill English – by that time, we might find that half of all voters have voted, as planned for by the Electoral Commission.
And what we know from the research is that Missing Million that the Electoral Commission is deliberately targeting – they are overwhelmingly likely to be Labour and Green voters.
So it might be that Jacinda Ardern, despite all this, becomes the Prime Minister – thanks to the unlawful (in terms of not having a statutory basis) intervention of the Electoral Commission.” — Matthew Hooton, NBR Radio 15 September 2017

And here’s an audio file, courtesy of the National Business Review, of Matthew actually saying it:

MP3 file


Two observations: (1) Matthew appears quite wound up about the idea that people who “usually don’t vote” are ‘left-leaning’ — claiming the ‘Missing Million’ are “overwhelmingly likely to be Labour and Green voters”.
(2) Wow, he’s actually portraying the Electoral Commission’s campaign to encourage voter turnout as “unlawful intervention”.

I’m not going to say much more about this, except to express my puzzled disappointment that such a widely publicised political commentator would let himself get so carried away by partisan politics that he would lose the plot like this.
And also, to an certain extent, to ask why such a mature and respected media outlet as The National Business Review would let its platform be used to launch such a bizarre attack. For it seems absurd and undignified to attack the Electoral Commission in this way.

As a commenter on Twitter said, and I agree completely:

If the Electoral Commission makes any progress with increasing the turnout then they should be lauded for a job well done. – @nachomadmess

Quite right. Who could disagree? Well, Matthew Hooton could, it seems.

– P

* At least two Exceltium employees are involved in campaign work in the 2017 New Zealand General Election.
Matthew’s apprentice commentator Ben Thomas disclosed once each on two of the platforms on which he appears (TV3’s The Nation and The Spinoff’s ‘Gone By Lunchtime’ podcast) that he was “doing a little bit of work for the ACT Party before the election”.
Exceltium PR consultant Brooke van Veldon is in fact an ACT Party candidate for Parliament – number 3 on the Party list, requiring around 3% of the Party Vote in the election to become an MP. Most pre-Election polls show ACT at around 0.6% support, so it seems chances are Brooke will be a PR consultant a little longer.

‘Dirty Politics’ – two worthwhile retrospectives & some new developments

Who’s that? Oh, hello Matthew.

The Spinoff website recently carried two worthwhile retrospective articles looking at the impact of Nicky Hager’s book Dirty Politics. Read them if you’re interested via the links below.

First, ‘Sunlight did what sunlight does: Nicky Hager on Dirty Politics, three years on’ (link to The Spinoff here) which includes a good number of points with which I agree, including this about political operative David Farrar:

Nicky Hager’s point here is entirely correct. David Farrar is a cynical & calculating political operative. Media should treat him like one.

Hager also refers to Jordan Williams, and to the shadowy PR attack machine, ‘NZ Taxpayers Union Inc’ he fronts for David Farrar. Lazy or credulous news media workers treat this enterprise as if it were genuinely representative of something other than demeaning its principals’ political and commercial opponents, in classic Dirty Politics brigade style:  Continue reading →

About Matthew Hooton’s declared loyalties

Like part of the furniture, Matthew Hooton is a fixture on Radio NZ.

I’ve discussed Matthew Hooton a few times here at The Paepae. My views of his ‘service’ to political commentary in New Zealand have hardened lately.

I find Matthew a personally very engaging, even charming man. There can be few smoother and more persuasive spin doctors in the slippery ‘opinion-shaping’ game in New Zealand – especially when he is trying to recruit one to act as a proxy.

There’s a type, the PR agency types that go into ‘government relations’. They’re all good at greasing up people. I met a bunch when I worked in the press gallery. Matthew is the equal of any of them.

I have been struck at, for instance, Radio NZ’s codependent embrace of Hooton (which shrieks ‘Who will I be if you leave me?’). But there’s also his frequent, near-ubiquious presence on cosy commentary couches such as those on TV current affairs shows only political tragics like me watch. But at another level, having myself briefly basked in the warm glow of one of his charm offensives, I can understand it. He makes people feel like they’re ‘savvy’ – and he is available … don’t underestimate the value of that noble attribute to a hard-pressed producer of a current affairs programme. (I know that from my days producing Paul Holmes.)

Matthew does slip up at times — see Govt’s mischievous pet monkey flings own dung at zookeeper. (Matthew Hooton disgraces himself. Again.) and Frankly, I can’t see how ‘bomber’ Matthew Hooton can survive as a political commentator [UPDATED] and Matthew Hooton regrets (cough) using ‘that particular word’. Of course he does.

In what can no longer be seen as just a testament to the ‘thinness’ of political commentary in New Zealand, the right wing Energizer® bunny just keeps going, and going and going. For some reason, despite the (obvious?) conflicts of interest, and Hooton’s openly declared political allegiances and voting intentions (see below) he’s still in demand.  Continue reading →

On the ‘NZ Taxpayers Union Inc’ PR attack machine

Following some discussion on Twitter about this astroturf political attack machine’s activities, I’ve been asked for these. They’re public documents available on the Register of Incorporated Societies

Curious about the source of this attack group’s finances, I looked at its public filings…

Funnily enough, I hear there have been moves towards changing the status of the ‘NZ Taxpayers Union Inc’ PR attack machine — from an Incorporated Society, moving to a Limited Liability company structure with a Company Constitution and a Trust Deed.
Continue reading →

Jordan Williams is still a lawyer

New Yorker

A quick follow-up. Earlier, I had wondered aloud whether New Zealand’s most defamed man, part-time propagandist and bad boyfriend Jordan Williams would still be ‘good to go’ as a lawyer, by New Zealand Law Society standards. I noted his practising certificate was due to expire on June 30.

Published on the NZ Law Society’s website as part of the public register of lawyers. (Click to visit the page at,nz)

And it seems it’s been renewed (right). This despite Judge Sarah Katz’s blistering assessments of Williams’s actions:

…among other things, repeatedly breaking confidentiality undertakings he made to a woman with whom he was ‘romantically involved’ (and to her lawyer); launching a campaign to remove a political party leader using untrue statements, leaks, and providing ghostwritten material to a notorious PR attack blog; issuing untrue denials of his actions, etc. (See my earlier post ‘About that Jordan Williams damages award…‘ for a summary.)

A friend told me the process of renewing a Lawyer’s Practising Certificate is pretty much a rubber-stamp thing, rather than involving assessments of ‘fit and proper’ person. Yeah, I thought it was pretty automatic. But I had wondered if Judge Katz’s let’s face it, pretty adverse findings might have had an impact.

The Law Society is, naturally, fairly protective of the income-producing capacity of its members — somewhat like a real trade union, in contrast to the transparent astroturf group dubbed ‘Taxpayers Union’ which Williams fronts for god-knows-which special interest groups.

Sugar-laden food and beverage manufacturers are on the roster, I suspect, given some of the positions the TPU propaganda team seems to have adopted in recent months. (Somewhat Carrick Graham-esque issues? But that’s just a fat-free theory.)

Anyway, that’s happened. Jordan Williams is still a lawyer.

– P

Michael Hayden on James Comey

Former CIA boss Michael Hayden talking on BBC Newsday about what an honest, careful, note-taking, honourable and honest opponent James Comey is, in his experience.

Archived here in case BBC audio fails to play. MP3 file

“Michael Hayden on James Comey” by BBC Newsday 8 June 2017 prior to his appearance before the US Congress on Donald Trump’s obstruction of probes into Russia influencing the 2016 US Presidential election.

– P

PS Here’s Comey’s statement for the record, released the day before. (PDF 109kb)

Phishing season is open

Wow, this phishing season is really stepping up – three attempts today and it’s only early afternoon.

I hadn’t seen this ‘You have remaining funds in your account, [target email address]’ one before, but I got two of them today.

Coincidentally, I received them about the same time as I had two calls on my cellphone from Caller ID  ‘+00 1 00’.

I answered the first call and was subjected to a faint but clear stream of what sounded like a female Asian woman speaking in a language I didn’t recognise. She didn’t respond to anything I said, and there was ringing signal in the background like a call waiting to be merged. I hung up. I just ignored a second call which came in with the same Caller ID.

Those calls may have nothing to do with the phishing emails. I don’t know.

Naturally, I didn’t respond to this. You shouldn’t either if you receive it. Ridiculous.

The third phishing email I got (today) purports to be from the ANZ bank. (Similar to this one ‘Another day, another phish‘ earlier in the week, and sent to the same email address as that.

Fake fake fake. They really are scumbags doing this.

In this case,the ‘Start’ button would take to you
https:// redirect.businessresultsrevolution [dot] com/ <DON’T CLICK THIS. And the sender address, far from being anything to do with ANZ Bank is a human-sounding address at

It makes you wonder if any selection process is engaged to identify targets. Probably not.

ANZ Bank, to its credit, has published a warning on its website …

Click to read the warning page at ANZ bank website (the real one!)

– P

Teach a man to phish

I’m still not taking these personally.

This is clearly fake…(i.e. Not really from Apple. Looking behind the sender, the address is and the link goes to a domain using a Twitter URL shortener. Very unApple-like.)

Oh gee, really? Will these phish attacks never end?

Again, you’re in for a hard time if you actually click on these things, but hey, it’s a numbers game for these deceitful guys, whatever they’re actually after.

I listened to Susan Glasser’s Global Politico podcast with John Podesta (Clinton campaign manager whose gmail was hacked after a very sophisticated phish) this week and it was interesting to hear his take on the whole thing. He doesn’t blame the assistant who clicked on the link, nor the technical expert she consulted who said it was OK to do so.

Podesta: You know, look, there’s a long, complicated story about that. I had assistants that had access to the link. One of them checked what—one of them saw this question, changed the password, asked our cybersecurity expert. He inadvertently told her to click on it, and she did. So, I don’t blame them. I mean, it was, you know, a fast-moving campaign. It’s easy to say, oh, if you’ve already done this and that and the other thing—I think we’re—I’m, you know, I’ve been around for a while. I’m fairly careful. I don’t just go click on random links, and—but, you know, if—I’m sure that if I had gotten the advice to go ahead and click on it, I probably would have done it, too, so you know, it is what it is. And people make mistakes. And if you look—if you think about it, the Bundestag has been hacked, you know, the Norwegian defense department has been hacked, the White House was hacked by the Russians, and the State Department’s been hacked. It’s like, I think you can’t come back and blame the victim for this. This was a crime; it was painful. You know, I thought I was, you know, had a relatively secure profile. It turned out I didn’t, but a lot of other people have fallen prey to fairly sophisticated hackers that are operating under Russian intelligence. In this case, most likely, from the GRU, but it’s Russian military intelligence. It’s pretty sophisticated, so they did this. So, it is what it is. I can’t really beat myself up or beat my team up over that. I just have to move on, and you know, they committed a crime. I was a victim of the crime.

“It was painful” sounds like an understatement!

I’ve been thinking about what I leave accessible online lately. I try to keep it light and tight, and to download things off the server, (or encrypt tightly and protect what’s left up there). But none of us is immune. And if you read this Motherboard article referred to by John Gruber, Russian Hackers Are Using Google’s Own Infrastructure to Hack Gmail Users  you too might start to see gmail might just be a bad place to be, despite their wonderful security (these days) and legal teams protecting your privacy etc etc.

Anyway, take care.

– P

Life consists of …

Life consists of what a man is thinking of all day.

Life consists of what a man is thinking of all day – Ralph Waldo Emerson

So guard your mind.

– P

Sorry, I didn’t adequately note who I pinched that image from. If you know, please tell me and I’ll credit it.

Another day, another phish

As if we need this stuff floating around. Remember: Don’t click!

These things look pretty sophisticated. Some people will be fooled.

I’m still not taking this personally.

– P

Phishing attacks – be careful out there

I got this by email tonight:

FAKE. If you get one, do NOT ‘Click Here’. It’s not really from Apple.

You can’t be too careful. The ‘Click Here’ link goes off to a php page citing Ottawa, and the sender, far from being Apple, shows up as a local (i.e. email address – probably hacked.

Drop me a line if you’re a security researcher and you want a copy of the full email with headers etc.

I don’t take this stuff personally – just like I don’t take the threats and abusive stuff that’s directed my way by obviously upset, frustrated people who appear to have a capacity to dish it out which isn’t matched by their ability to take it.

– P

The defamation case that never was

Colin Craig cross examining Cameron Slater during their Auckland High Court defamation proceedings.

Prompted by a reported comment in court yesterday where dirty PR attack blogger Cameron Slater claimed to be “…by profession a journalist; I was simply doing my job” I had a wry chuckle at how far Slater Jnr has come from ‘Peter, FFS, I’m not a journalist, I’m a partisan blogger, when will you fucking understand that?‘… and then took a quick fossick through my Dirty Politics archive.

I came across a 2014 article (below) featuring MP Mark Mitchell which mentioned the ‘job’ Slater and his puppet master Simon Lusk did for him. It’s all in Nicky Hager’s book, Dirty Politics. But the ‘job’ they did wasn’t journalism. In fact, the ‘job’ they did for Mitchell reminded me of this:

Norovirus – by profession a micro-organism; simply doing its job infecting people and giving them the shits.

The article in question provided a platform for Mark Mitchell to make bold statements via his local paper, the Rodney Times, which in turn made its own bold prediction in the first paragraph: “Mark Mitchell is likely to take legal action over Nicky Hager’s book Dirty Politics“.

Oh really? “…a defamation case” no less. … “likely to”? Continue reading →

US Senate adopts Signal, HTTPS a year after trying to kill encryption

In today’s dose of irony …

pic: mailchimp

After some attempts to backdoor encryption, led by Senators Dianne Feinstein (CA) and Richard Burr (NC), who are also the top ranking members of the Senate Intelligence Committee, the Senate staff has been approved to use the Signal messenger. Signal is currently considered by most experts as the most secure way to communicate due to its open source nature, use of end-to-end encryption, and self-destructing messages.

US Senate Adopts Signal, HTTPS A Year After Trying To Kill Encryption

via @Tomshardware

High Noon for duelling banjos Slater & Craig

Snowflake Cameron Slater and team do ‘walkies’ to court for news media. Video grab: Chris McKeen/Fairfax NZ

One way or another Cameron Slater is going to have to get used to not having Colin Craig as a meal ticket/bogeyman to scare funds out of his cult members.

It’s been awful watching Slater, his deputy dog Pete Belt, and wife Juana Atkins milk the outrage and paranoia they have foamed up among the branded cap wearers who read their dreadful website. They’ve rabbited on to their readers about nasty ‘bullying’ Colin Craig trying to ‘silence’ their ‘truth-telling’ website … (excuse me, I need to find a spittoon) … while repeatedly raising ‘defence’ funds from them.

Sure, we all love begging bowl kitty, but the repeated use of ‘Oh noes, we need your money because we are sooo intimidated by nasty Colin Craig who wants to [sob] shut us down and take the food off our table’ (or words to that effect) gave me the heebie-jeebies after a while.
Likewise the peddling of their own victimhood, laced with attacks on Craig, like this from January referring to “Colin deep pockets Craig” and “vexatious Colin Craig”:

I guess nobody ever went broke overestimating the gullibility of readers of the Slater PR attack blog

Why, if they didn’t have Colin Craig to rally around as a fund-raising theme, they’d have to invent him.

Juana Atkins clutches victimhood and simultaneously threatens Craig with public exposure of “every juicy and sordid detail”. I don’t know about you, but I find that… troubling.

Of course, I could  be completely misunderstanding this whole situation. It could be Juana is right and Colin Craig is really determined to dedicate his life and his fortune to smashing the innocent truth-telling angels over at Whaleoil into the ground for no reason whatsoever except angry ‘vexatiousness’. All they did at the Slater family hate blog was ‘tell the truth’. And now, to defend themselves the Slaters have to expose ‘every sordid detail’. Sure. Could be. Maybe. Is that how you read that?

Continue reading →