The Judith Collins Chisholm inquiry: Who was actually on trial?


Papakura National MP Judith Collins. Photo: Mark Mitchell, NZ Herald. Digital effects Peter Aranyi.

Reinstating Judith Collins to his cabinet this week, NZ Prime Minister John Key deployed a dogs-balls-obvious talking point that the Papakura MP had been “completely cleared” … “through an independent inquiry”. Here’s a clip:

Spot the talking point: “completely”. MP3 file

Watch a video of him saying it when he announced his cabinet reshuffle in NZ Herald political editor Audrey Young’s report: Judith Collins’ return to Cabinet: John Key had no choice but to reinstate ‘the Crusher’. (Note Audrey’s opinion: “…it would have been grossly unfair of the Prime Minister not to reinstate her.”)

Leave aside Audrey’s benign view for the moment. Mr Key’s remarks strike me as a case of spin and a slippery attempt to rewrite history. Maybe I’m being unfair. I think his (former? current? do we care?) texting/Threema buddy Cameron Slater trotted out the same sort of bald-statement-in-defiance-of-the-facts about another of my local National MPs who resigned in disgrace over an ethical lapse, Pansy Wong. Slater also probably thinks Maurice Williamson – who resigned from Cabinet (but not as an MP) over his improper interference in a police inquiry – has been unjustly treated too.

We’ve had a real run of bad luck with our National MPs out here in East Auckland, haven’t we? At least Jami-Lee Ross (National, Botany) seems like a nice bloke. I guess time will tell.
While we’re waiting, there are some interesting things we can discuss from evidence placed before the “independent inquiry” to which Mr Key referred… Continue reading →

The escape of exnzpat, Part 31

Strange New Worlds


Mia sat.  She waited for a sign but no sign came.  She heard only the occasional distant, angry honking of cars in the gathered mêlée somewhere ahead of her.  Her eyes dropped as if she were about to cry, and she called to her sister in the Shadow Lands for guidance.  A few minutes more and with her sister still not arrived, Mia knew that true change had come to her.  But not to her directly.  The world revolving about her had changed.  Shifted and unglued from the path she had known all these years, the world had unexpectedly gone off-center.  It spun crookedly now like an unbalanced top ready to fall.  The impact of it all, of this new order of things, meant the nuances of her magic unwelcome and out of kilter with the aether of the new world.  This had happened only once before.  The day she had killed Simon; things had unglued like this, but in time, she had found her way forward.  Her own powers she relearned.  Regardless of becoming Magus Supreme, the universe and all it contained waited for no one – not Simon, not Mia, nor the one who was now coming… Continue reading →

State agency abusing its powers?

This doesn’t happen every day.
(Update – Transcript of Speaker’s ruling: Maritime NZ Referred to Privileges Committee [PDF 56kb] – Parliament today.)

NZ Parliament – Standing Order 410 (x)

NZ Parliament – Standing Order 410 (x)

I remember the last time this Standing Order was breached. TVNZ was held to have taken action to ‘disadvantage’ its employee Ian Fraser in response to his testimony to a select commmittee.

This new case appears to be an allegation (with substance, judging by the Speaker’s ruling/referral) that a state agency has acted inappropriately against a private sector person in response to her testimony to the Regulations Review Committee — not a select committee to be trifled with at the best of times. Even less so the Privileges Committee.

It will be interesting to follow this case. I’ll keep an eye on this.
– P

Something to remember when you next see some finely “balanced” political reporting

Nice seeing behind the veil for a moment, isn’t? I can tell you from my time covering politics, sometimes it’s like that y’all.

Spot the tourist. John Key is greeted at Baghdad airport by New Zealand ambassador to Iraq James Monroe (in suit). MIKE SCOTT/FAIRFAX NZ.

Spot the tourist. John Key is greeted at Baghdad airport by New Zealand ambassador to Iraq James Monroe (in suit).

Like others I watched the near total buy-in, adoption and regurgitation of NZDF talking points about the NZ Prime Minister’s recent “top secret mission” (um, trip) to “keep his promise” to “visit the troops” in Iraq.

With all due respect to the PM and the hand picked, sworn-to-secrecy political editors who accompanied him on the excursion, the coverage seemed gushy and credulous to me. What came out, mainly, were macho images of John Key — in military garb, dark glasses and a baseball cap. Redolent of George W Bush in a flight suit and ‘Mission Accomplished’. So, hollywood, and “OMG, flights delayed by sandstorms! And fog!” Jetstar, anyone?

In ’embedded’ situations like this, the media is totally reliant on their defence force hosts and billets … and that almost inevitably colours coverage. That seems unavoidable.

Sadly, we’ve been snowed and misled by NZDF spin doctors before.

Radio NZ’s Mediawatch didn’t miss the significance. Their analysis is well worth listening to.

MP3 file


Nor did Mediawatch miss the juxtaposition of last week’s cynical PR exercise with the conclusion of another effort to shabbily manipulate media coverage of military operations – the settlement of the defamation case journalist Jon Stephenson took against NZDF when they called him a liar.

I remember being saddened observing former TVNZ reporter Chris Wright flacking hard for the military’s indefensible and petulant case at the court hearing. Ghastly. At the time it struck me as a prime example of Upton Sinclair’s axiom:

“It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.” — Upton Sinclair.

MP3 file

BSA finds Hosking, Seven Sharp “unfair”, but accuracy standard does not apply and anyway, within audience expectations

Following up on my earlier posts: The road to Mike Hosking, vilifier of young women and Hey RaboDirect, if Mike Hosking’s selling you, I’m not buying, the Broadcasting Standards Authority has today released its decision on several formal complaints about Mike Hosking’s awful, slanted, nasty attack on a young woman who complained about Prime Minister John Key’s repeated harassment at her workplace.

The Authority found Hosking and TVNZ were unfair in their treatment of their target.

Highlights are presented here, and the full decision; my original complaint; TVNZ’s response; and my referral to the BSA are available as PDFs below.

Broadly, I think Mike Hosking has been emboldened by TVNZ’s slack-arse indulgence of their prince, and previous BSA findings amounting to “Aw, Mike’s just a guy with opinions, and you know what? The Bill of Rights Act protects his freedom of speech to spout them, so sorrynotsorry”.  The fig leaf of “within audience expectations” is trotted out now and then, too. Well, no.

I was glad to see the BSA recognise and speak to the ‘extreme’ power imbalance inherent in Hosking’s rants from his state broadcaster pulpit; acknowledging TVNZ’s role as a ‘powerful broadcaster giving this apologist a ‘platform’ to treat people this way.

This was my first formal complaint to a broadcaster about breaching a broadcasting standard. Hosking, in his enthusiasm to loyally defuse an embarrassing situation for his beloved Party leader, crossed the line, in my view – partly confirmed by the BSA. If you read the decisions at the BSA site, you’ll see it’s actually quite rare for complaints to be upheld.

I will be interested to see what TVNZ’s response to this decision is. I would expect them to broadcast the decision, followed by apology, and for the video clip of his unfair attack to be retracted from the TVNZ website. But I’m not holding my breath. I note the Broadcasting Standards Authority declined to issue an order. Why, I do not understand.

– P


Mike Hosking on TVNZ’s Seven Sharp, brought to you by RaboDirect – unfair and inaccurate. But the BSA says the accuracy standard does not apply, and focus groups show Hosking’s audience actually expects him to be inaccurate.

highlight para11-14_BSA-Aranyi_et_al

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Broadcasting Standards Authority decision PDF 1MB

My referral to the BSA (including original complaint to TVNZ and TVNZ’s response) PDF 750KB

[Update: see this comment from TVNZ]


Getting news from Twitter

Too good to let slip past …

Click to read on Twitter

Click to read on Twitter

*laughs* *cries* Thanks @jessokfine

– P

On accepting refugees

Can I recommend you read this from Andrea Vance, no stranger to racism and xenophobia from our fellow Kiwis …

Click to read at

Read Andrea Vance’s article ‘Nevermind the comments, here’s the Syrians‘ at

– P

Archived here as a PDF.

“Only human”

I’m the New Zealand-born son of refugees.
My parents fled violence and oppression in their home country, leaving almost everything behind.
Dislocated by war and fascism, they met in Wellington.

If Europe’s borders had been closed to them; if New Zealand hadn’t accepted them as refugees, I wouldn’t exist. My kids wouldn’t be here.

So the cold hardheartedness with which some Kiwis appear to regard today’s refugees streaming out of war zones chills me.

That’s what’s on my mind as I watch and listen to ‘Human’ by Christina Perri. Identification.
For other humans.

– P

Slippery Mike Hosking


“an outstanding journalist”? Oops, but Mike Hosking says he’s NOT a journalist.

I’ve been refraining for the most part from entering into any debate and discussion about Mike Hosking being incisively declared a stooge of the National Party and consistent defender/sycophant of John Key by Winston Peters – see Winston Peters: Mike Hosking’s Pollyanna world lets us all down (which, coincidentally included a euphemism for arse kissing I honestly did not understand till someone explained it to me.)

I am, after all, still waiting for the Broadcasting Standards Authority’s determination on my and other people’s formal complaints about Hosking using his state TV pulpit to attack and demean a victim of the Prime Minister’s repeated harassment. (See Following through on a complaint to TVNZ RE Mike Hosking’s lack of fairness.)

But there have been some developments.

First, challenged by Winston Peters about failing to adhere to journalistic standards, Hosking used his NewstalkZB breakfast show to deny he is a journalist — “That’s not true, never has been,” he said.

Which, speaking as a producer for that same NewstalkZB radio show for five years – when it was the Paul Holmes breakfast – surprised me. I’m certain I was hired for that role primarily for my journalism skills and experience i.e. to produce a news show — and I’m pretty sure, despite the imaginative soap operas and soliloquies that Holmes frequently performed, that our listeners tuned in at least to be “informed and entertained” with up to the minute news and current affairs.

I can also tell you our ‘competition’ for newsmakers and interview subjects the whole time I was at NewstalkZB  was Morning  Report. It was a news show.

In so casually discarding any obligation to journalistic standards Hosking (who let’s face it, became ‘a name’ via his stint as a host and interviewer at Morning Report) is being altogether too slippery and convenient. Personally, I don’t buy it.

It reminds me of this exchange with another slippery Party stooge who didn’t like being pressed to observe basic journalistic standards: Continue reading →

Analysing Slater Jnr’s attack blog ghostwriters, including Carrick Graham

This very interesting talk by Douglas Bagnall shows how he analysed writing style patterns to (plausibly) identify dirty PR man Carrick Graham (the ‘yellow triangle’) making intensive, hidden contributions to Slater Jnr’s PR attack blog …

Remember many of these commercially-driven ghostwritten posts carry the byline “By Cameron Slater”. That’s more evidence (not ‘proof’ – see Bagnall’s disclaimers in the talk) that Slater Jnr is a liar, in my opinion, and that Graham is a deceitful PR operator.

Oh no. Is Michelle Boag ALSO ‘defaming’ Cameron Slater and his commercial attack website?


“the outrageous claim” says RadioLIVE. (click to enlarge)

Yesterday Auckland-based newstalk station RadioLIVE did its best to quickly smother a small (metaphorical) explosion which briefly endangered its carefully-cultivated and maintained state of peace with political and commercial attack blogger Cameron Slater.

As part of the station’s political coverage, during the Michael Laws, oops, Sean Plunket morning show, it hosts a regular political panel discussion featuring former Party presidents Mike Williams (Labour) and Michelle Boag (National). Yesterday, discussing a matter of vital national and political importance, the Ashley Madison hack, the conversation drifted into a discussion of loathesome and corrupt [alleged] activities by local websites.

Ms Boag offered her testimony that ‘a particular blogger’ (quickly identified as Cameron Slater) accepts money through an intermediary (almost as quickly identified as Carrick ‘sugar daddy’ Graham) to affect ‘coverage’ of people on the whaleoil PR attack blog: so much money to be mentioned, so much money to stop the mentions.

At first blush, Sean Plunket seemed excited about that idea, spluttering to Ms Boag that such an arrangement was “tantamount to a kind of formalised blackmail … like a protection racket” and gushing, “You can hijack my show with information like that any time you please”.
Listen: Continue reading →

Being critical

In the last week, I’ve traded insults with a slippery propagandist – someone who regular readers might suppose is a bête noire of mine. Certainly, his dirty politics and dirty PR activities have attracted some of my criticism.

I called him a ‘proven liar’ who ‘talks big up from nothing’, and said he and his team are ‘reality challenged’ and ‘white trash’. He called me a ‘fool’, ‘lazy’, an ‘ex-hack’*1, criticised one of my friends and said we only focus on conspiracies.

Yeah – same old same old. Neither of us is sobbing into our pillows, I’m sure.

But this morning I read an article by someone whom I admire, Quinn Norton, which opens with …

For the better part of a year, I have embarked on a terrifying social experiment: Being kind on the internet.
I stopped getting in fights on the net, and tried to practice gentleness and kindness with people I found here. I didn’t defend myself, rally the troops, or pick sides. Instead, in the ever-growing Mexican stand-off of social media, I decided to put my gun down first.

It’s worth reading in full. (Honestly, it is very, very good. I recommend you read it.)

Good on her.

As I said last time I was confronted with the idea that my strident criticism of dishonest behaviour might not be A Universally Good Thing (see: ‘Biggest lesson learned in ten years of blogging …‘), ultimately I think it’s a case of ‘horses for courses’.

At the risk of descending into a suckhole of naval-gazing, I do try to consider the impact of my criticism – and not just on my ‘targets‘, but also (and I think this is the point I get from Quinn’s article) also on my own mindset, demeanour and spirit. (I’m deliberately not using the word ‘soul’ but it could fit, right?) Also: to use Quinn’s phrase, I ‘never internet angry’…

‘My rule is this: never internet angry. If you are angry, internet later.’ — Quinn Norton

For new readers of The Paepae (welcome!) an important recurring theme here is the idea: ‘Choose your enemies carefully because you will become like them‘ — see: ‘The Paradox of Animosity‘ which asks the question:

If we agree (you and I) that bitterness of spirit is a dangerous and toxic thing, how do we keep a clear vision, maintain our standards (which implies rejecting some actions and behaviours as, at least, ‘inappropriate’) … without slipping into the slimy pool of ill-will?

Glancing at those ‘insults’ I cited in the opening paragraph, it may be hard to distinguish which of the ‘combatants’ flung which. That terrible ditty: ‘Never argue with an idiot. People watching might not be able to tell the difference’ springs to mind. Rats.

But, in the face of aggressive deceit and malfeasance and actions driven by a sinister Hidden Agenda™ (yeah, I’m talking about the dirty politics crew, Slater Jnr et al) what’s a bloke/observer with an attention span to do? Look away?

Or live like this?:

Well, it’s a balance, sure. I muck it up sometimes, but I think I’m doing that. Being selective.

– P
*1 aside from any jokes resembling ‘You can take the hack our of the newsroom, but you can’t take the newsroom out of the hack’, this is literally untrue – I still work as a journo.

Update: This article, ‘On criticism as a form of living‘ by my co-conspirator Giovanni Tiso is worth a read too.

Ah I see. The QC failed to ask the police inspector ‘the right question’ about ‘the right surveillance’. Riiiight.

From Top cop cleared over perjury accusation in Dotcom case (NZ Herald)

click to read at NZ Herald

click to read at NZ Herald

Honestly, I have two teenagers who wriggle in exactly the same way as this. Unless you ask them precisely the right questions — movable goalposts, to be sure — you may not get anywhere near “the truth”. Even then, they’re fully capable of rewriting history, airbrushing out the inconvenient bits. So …

I don’t know Grant Wormald, he seems like a nice man. But I saw video of his extremely uncomfortable squirming/withholding performance under cross examination when he didn’t really want to admit to the presence of members of “another government agency” at discussions about the Kim Dotcom raid. That “agency” turned out to be the GCSB and their involvement turned out to be illegal (oops!) … but it was no crime because they “didn’t mean to” break the law. No criminal intent.

Now this. “Oh, that pesky, intrusive, nit-picking lawyer – when he asked me about ‘surveillance’ I thought he was asking about visual surveillance, your honour, not the communications surveillance I was getting daily reports about from the GCSB about on the encrypted smartphone* they gave me so my communications with them weren’t … intercepted.” (paraphrase)

Good grief, they think we’re stupid.

– P

* Yeah apparently

Here’s a copy of the IPCA report (PDF 441KB)

Oh. A certain Food & Grocery Council member will be HATING this graphic.

Very effective imagery.

Click to view more at  'The Renegade Pharmacist'

Click to view more at ‘The Renegade Pharmacist’

Reminds me of Paris Hilton’s [attributed] reference to Diet Coke as ‘Fat People’s Coke’ because she observed so many fat people drinking it. Ouch.

I wonder if the sugary drink people are on the phone now to their attack dog Carrick Graham? Who will he smear next for truth (cough) justice (splutter) and the BAT way?

Read “Diet Coke Exposed: What Happens One Hour After Drinking Diet Coke, Coke Zero Or Any Other Similar Diet Soda” at the Renegade Pharmacist.

For balance, here’s a recent Food & Grocery Council missive, writing off those concerned about sugary drinks’ impact on obesity as “idealogically blinkered”– “Fizzy tax won’t solve NZ’s obesity problem” which contains this tortured logic:

In Australia there has already been a 10% tax on sugary drinks in the form of GST, but has that made any difference to consumption? No.

Oh dear.

– P

h/t NZ Herald

Is Colin Craig ‘defaming’ Cameron Slater and his commercial attack website?


Colin Craig’s self-published response to being the target of Cameron Slater’s probably commercially-driven smear campaign.

So, Colin Craig is pushing back against the protracted Dirty Politics-esque smear campaign that Cameron Slater and some of his muppets carried out against him, presumably on behalf of shadowy ‘clients’.

Slater Jnr may deny it (he is, after all a proven liar who “talks big up from nothing”),  or he may say his ‘clients’  were, like Mark Hotchin, “paying for the strategy, not paying for the [attack] posts” … or he may be doing it as a hobby. Right.

When Craig released this 12 page booklet (PDF 3MB) at a press conference on Friday I had thought the design was obviously intended for wider circulation — but the idea that it would be distributed as a commercial letterbox drop did not occur to me. Full marks for thinking big.

The booklet itself is worth a read. Some of it is more instantly plausible than other bits, but anyone familiar with Simon Lusk’s puppetry and use of his sleazy pet Slater Jnr to unfairly and histrionically smear targets for money would recognise plenty.

Jordan Williams in the Luigi Wewege ‘love rat’ role I found very easy to believe, possibly because of my previously expressed (negative) estimation of that low-rent young man’s morals and attitudes towards women. An “attack dossier” shown to people at secret private meetings accusing Colin Craig of sexual harassment sounds right up Jordan’s alley, if you’ll pardon the expression. But it might all be a misunderstanding, eh? I think I read a quote where Williams said he had nothing to fear from Colin Craig’s lawsuit. Hmm.

Is Colin Craig entitled to defend his reputation?

Some uncharitable people treat Colin Craig as if he has no right to be taken seriously just because he’s a fringe politician. Yeah, he’s a flake, with an awkward manner and some anachronistic attitudes, but I think he’s got the right to defend his reputation from attack — especially from such nasty, unbalanced vitriolic attacks — and a Hidden Agenda™.
Continue reading →