The NBR Veuve Clicquot competition

August 25th, 2010 at 6:46 am by David Farrar

I am annoyed with the National Business Review. In fact more than annoyed – I am angry.

Readers will have seen my links to their 40th birthday competition. People had the chance to win their weight in and the competition was promoted on the basis of popular vote. Many bloggers got in behind ’s entry and she won the popular vote.

After the published deadline had passed, announced that the popular vote winner would not win the competition (which was strongly implied), but that the top ten most popular would go into a pool, and judges would then select their favourite of the top ten.

NBR has the legal right to change the terms and conditions. This is not a debate about legality. They said the winner would be announced within seven hours of the vote closing. They changed this in the final hours to announcing it a week later, allowing judges to decide on someone other than the popular vote winner.

I deplore what NBR has done. They have acted unethically. If they had made clear at the very beginning that the popular vote winner would not count for anything, and all you had to do was be in the top ten – then I (and others) would have acted very differently. They basically conned bloggers and other social media users into promoting their contest for them under false pretences.

Quite a few people are upset about this. I’ll link to some of these in a second. Some are calling for boycotts of NBR, cancelled subscriptions etc. I’m not going to go down that path. I doubt NBR cares too much about losing my potential subscription (especially as they kindly provide me with a complimentary copy anyway).

My message to the National Business Review is that you have lost something infinitely more valuable than my subscription. You have lost both my respect and my trust. That is hard to do, and even harder to undo.

Both NBR and Veuve Clicquot  are suffering brand damage from this. Already blog posts are climbing up the ladder in Google page ranks. And it has spread over Twitter, with one of the world’s most famous wine critics contacting Busted Blonde wanting details of what has happened.

Posts on this saga are:

As I said, I am angry. Not about the fact Busted Blonde did not win. I am angry that I was effectively conned into promoting their competition under false pretences. Now people may say, it is your own fault. They never stated explicitly that the popular vote winner would win – it was only strongly implied. And you are right – it is partly my own fault. I trusted National Business Review to act honourably. I was wrong, and have learnt a lesson.

UPDATE: I note that on Google NZ, a search for “Veuve Clicquot” already has this post higher ranked that the actual NBR competition.

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67 Responses to “The NBR Veuve Clicquot competition”

  1. expat (4,050 comments) says:

    Personally I don’t care and didn’t follow the comp but what a PR FAIL by Veuve Clicquot.

    Where’d they pick-up their PR monkey? The Pak’n’Save specials bin?

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  2. Clint Heine (1,571 comments) says:

    Now now David, I take offence that I amongst all of your mad friends could possibly be one of the most right people you know. That endorsement will bring many undesirables to my blog who will then flail me for being too soft cock :)

    What NBR did was pretty bad. They did it to drive traffic to their website to hype up their 40th birthday celebrations. They used the buzz from social networking to do their dirty work for them and instead it has ended up biting them in the ass.

    Lets turn the tables and everybody join the Facebook group and give the NBR and Veuve Clicquot a taste of their own social media medicine.

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  3. Inventory2 (10,341 comments) says:

    Well said Clint – right; gotta go; Rodney’s on Breakfast getting grilled by Paul Henry – without a drop of Veuve in sight!

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  4. Viking2 (11,471 comments) says:

    Yeh well temper temper, I just heard the cork popping on a new bottle, anybody want some.
    I’ll never drink the stuff again. Hell no, next time it will go down without swallowing!

    Pissheads don’t change their juice. And none of you will.

    Hahahaha.

    But you are right NBR just added another cockup.
    Only put right by donating a bottle of Verve to every right wing blogger.
    Shame for Farrar. ( not right wing enough. Happy now Clint.)

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  5. Russell Brown (405 comments) says:

    Yawn.

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  6. MikeNZ (3,234 comments) says:

    What’s the big deal, they are journalists aren’t they?
    I thought they were up there in the credibility stakes with lawyers and MP’s.

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  7. Whaleoil (767 comments) says:

    What does get you excited these day Russell? Mum announcing a new lamb chop recipes? Or perhaps you are waiting with baited breath for the 8th viewer of Media 7 to come out of the woodwork so you can change the show’s name.

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  8. Clint Heine (1,571 comments) says:

    Poor Russell. As a member of the Labour Party he is used to seeing lies and cheating on an every day basis. Either that or he is upset he didn’t get invited along with all the other journos to the champagne event :)

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  9. Auberon (873 comments) says:

    Bang on Whale – what a twerp!

    This was appalling by NBR. And they were warned. They’ve had a few days to know this was coming, but they stuck their head in the sand and in doing so have ruined their 40th birthday.

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  10. dad4justice (8,222 comments) says:

    Dirty tricks from the business folks is the norm.

    Are we keeping you awake Mr Brown. How is your Paris Hilton blog going. It’s called Wublic Dress I think?

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  11. petal (706 comments) says:

    Don’t drink anymore, but never drank that stuff. Don’t subscribe or read NBR on or offline. Leaves my retaliation options a bit limited. Only thing I can claim is a personal phone call from Bazza Coleman telling me to stop linking to his online content or face legal drama. That whole organisation has never “got” the Internet. They think they are better than gossip columnists because they write about business instead of affairs. They can’t even see there is no effective difference. Someone gets screwed somewhere, and they are using it to sell advertising. Helllooooo!!!! (<– gay man gossip columnist voice)

    Anyway.

    These blog posts aren't going to hit any bottom line. What is needed is a nice strong meme. Something like "NBR pissoff" (I claim no brilliance – please help and improve), that all blog users will from now on use to describe any situation where people get screwed over by the media to further its narrow own ends. Like stealing original work from bloggers without attribution. Or any other "NBR Pissoff" that comes to mind.

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  12. neil (26 comments) says:

    Wow..your surprised an organisation for capitalists, property developers, money traders acted ‘unethically’ and as cactus said used ‘obscure clauses’…Jeez you get a AA+ rating for naivety..

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  13. Russell Brown (405 comments) says:

    What does get you excited these day Russell? Mum announcing a new lamb chop recipes? Or perhaps you are waiting with baited breath for the 8th viewer of Media 7 to come out of the woodwork so you can change the show’s name.

    Oh how your worldly and sophisticated humour stings me. Or, rather, might do if I were still 12 years old.

    Look, the short version is this: you’re all having a hissy fit because you weren’t able to jack up the vote so your friend won a booze promotion.

    That’s it, really, isn’t it?

    [DPF: My God Russell. The dismal thing about your comment is you host a show on the media, and you are meant to be concerned about media ethics.

    I've drunk champagne with friends on many occassions, and will do so in future. I am well enough off, that I really do not mind paying for my share.

    I am pissed off because NBR have behaved badly. If you can't see that, then frankly I wonder if you are hosting the right show.

    Think if Netguide announced some popular choice website awards, and encouraged all the competitors to promote their entries, to win the popular vote. And then on the day the vote closes, they announce the popular vote winner will not win, but the top ten will go to a judging panel, who will decide a winner. That would be outrageous.

    It's not that having judges choose is better or worse than popular vote. It is about causing people to think it is one thing, when it is something else. People call it deception, and frankly I think it is a bad thing when a media outlet does it. You should do so also.]

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  14. Angus (536 comments) says:

    It’s refreshing to see that the vanguard of NZ’s “right” wing blogosphere understand what’s really important – Busted Blonde missing out on the free piss she was ENTITLED to !

    [DPF: You miss the point, despite me being explicit. I don't care that BB lost. I care that I was conned into promoting a contest under false pretences]

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  15. ben (2,380 comments) says:

    Ouch.

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  16. Say Goodbye to Hollywood (562 comments) says:

    Yes Russell, you are a big fucking yawn. But don’t give up your day job as I’m sure the odd 12 yr old out there still thinks you’re cool.

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  17. Russell Brown (405 comments) says:

    DPF: My God Russell. The dismal thing about your comment is you host a show on the media, and you are meant to be concerned about media ethics.

    Not that I really care, but wasn’t the idea that the winning entry would be the most clever and creative? Presumably they didn’t take into account that a vote might be organised behind a lame and unfunny entry. Seriously, this just looks daft.

    [DPF: They had weeks and weeks to make it clear the popular vote was advisory. They encouraged people to campaign for their favourite entry. They even boasted about the number of votes they got. They would not have got so much publicity if they had been honest at the outset, and made it clear that the top ten would all be contenders.

    Ask yourself the question - why did they not make that clear weeks ago? They would have no fuss at all if say two weeks ago they said "We intend to have the top ten entries go to a judging panel to select a winner". I can only conclude they chose not to, because they were conning people like me to promote their competition for them. As I said - I partly blame myself for trusting them]

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  18. Pete George (23,564 comments) says:

    The timing of a “heaps of booze” prize especially at the same time as a major debate on alcohol abuse was daft, the blog organised voting was adding daft to daft, and the management of the competition by NBR has been daftplus, so “Seriously, this just looks daft” seems apt, albeit understated.

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  19. YesWeDid (1,048 comments) says:

    DPF, I guess you don’t write for the NBR anymore then.

    I don’t think the NBR have done anything wrong here, the competition was to be judged for the most clever and creative entry, why would they need judges if it was just to be a ‘popular vote’?

    I think most organizations are aware of how easy it is to jack up the votes for an on-line competition and give themselves an out to prevent the result being subverted.

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  20. GPT1 (2,122 comments) says:

    I’d rather have a beer anyway.

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  21. Auberon (873 comments) says:

    Is Russell mature enough to accept that DPF and others have a valid point, and it’s not just a cabal of right wingers pissed off at missing out on a booze up?

    I think DPF’s Netguide analogy is a very good one. Do you, Russell?

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  22. Inventory2 (10,341 comments) says:

    It’s not just a cabal of right-wingers Auberon; even Will de Cleene has blogged a scathing post

    http://gonzofreakpower.blogspot.com/2010/08/bad-mana.html

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  23. Atheist1 (174 comments) says:

    OMG who cares??! Glad you right-wingers are focussing on the big issues!

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  24. Lambcut (18 comments) says:

    I intend to stick to my favourite champagne from now on, Vintage Cloudy Bay Pelorus. Like Busted Blonde, its style is generous and full-bodied, brimming with richly concentrated fruit and a creamy mousse.

    Compared to Vintage Cloudy Bay Pelorus, Veuve Clicquot is just ginger ale that thinks it knows the right people.

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  25. nadir (98 comments) says:

    My guess – NBR and their PR people are playing everyone. Stir up a ton of controversy, then announce “the people have spoken” and give the prize to the top voted entry anyway. Even if thats not what they initially intended its most likely what they’ll end up doing, and then they’ll claim to be PR wizards.

    Just watch…….

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  26. Russell Brown (405 comments) says:

    Is Russell mature enough to accept that DPF and others have a valid point, and it’s not just a cabal of right wingers pissed off at missing out on a booze up?

    I’m not sure the two are mutually exclusive. Clearly, it’s a mess, and the sponsor didn’t anticipate the vote being organised behind an entry it didn’t want to be associated with. But the mass hissy-fit is bizarre.

    I think DPF’s Netguide analogy is a very good one. Do you, Russell?

    Yes, but perhaps not in the way you think. This year, the Netguide “Best Blog” category went to, um, Stuff.co.nz — because Fairfax so relentlessly solicited the votes of its readers. It was was an inappropriate — and frankly, fucking stupid — result. It certainly had nothing to do with the criteria for the award.

    Anyway, rage on. Got work to do.

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  27. ben (2,380 comments) says:

    My opinion of Russell Brown is declining by the week at the moment. I thought he was one of the very rare smart Lefties like Trotter willing to offer up a principle and be consistent with it, even if that means occasionally disagreeing with his comrades. But no. Like the majority on the Left, plus the idiots at the Standard, what he’s really about is cheering whenever his opponents are hit. This thread being a nice example of that.

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  28. Whoops (136 comments) says:

    NBR? What’s that?

    Some sort of obscure, tiny circulation publication that has no relevance?

    Hang on, let me check…


    Ah yes. The 1990’s have just kindly phoned in. It seems NBR was relevant then.

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  29. Jimbob (641 comments) says:

    The content of the NBR has declined in reliability for a while now. They keep trying to say the same things in a different way implying some sort of superior knowledge. Their market analysis is deplorable. The competition con job is just confirms how their integrity is disappearing.

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  30. YesWeDid (1,048 comments) says:

    ‘My opinion of Russell Brown is declining by the week at the moment. I thought he was one of the very rare smart Lefties like Trotter willing to offer up a principle and be consistent with it, even if that means occasionally disagreeing with his comrades. But no. Like the majority on the Left, plus the idiots at the Standard, what he’s really about is cheering whenever his opponents are hit. This thread being a nice example of that.’

    This is just getting ridiculous, FFS its a competition to win your weight in booze! No one is dying, it’s not going to change the way the world is run, God people get some perspective.

    Just in case you haven’t noticed you are being laughed at over at the Dim-Post.

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  31. k.jones (210 comments) says:

    » “And there is already a Facebook group of people declaring they will never drink Veuve Clicquot again.”

    holy shit. What will you vacant vicious rich swine do ???? – i guess Krug’s Ok at a pinch…

    Organise a march !- No – a krug/pelourus drinkers guerialla squad deep in the remueras. Oaccassionally, messages could be sent requesting more kahurangi blue and quince jelly…

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  32. Lambcut (18 comments) says:

    And you won’t be invited to that party k.jones. You’ll be racing about in your Skoda, wearing your animal rights aware petroleum based vinyl shoes, drinking RTD’s and quoting Uncle Joe.

    Socialism is such a success. You should drink have a drink of Tuis!

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  33. MikeG (425 comments) says:

    I am annoyed with the National Party. In fact more than annoyed – I am angry.

    Readers will know of their winning of the last General Election. People had the chance to win their government of choice and the competition was promoted on the basis of democracy.

    After the election date had passed, National announced that democracy would not be maintained, but that legislation would be rushed through under urgency and in some cases Councils disbanded and the National Cabinet would then select their favourite top councillors.

    National has the legal right to use urgency. This is not a debate about legality. They said they would be democratic. They changed this after winning the election, disallowing the voters to have their say at Select Committees.

    I deplore what National has done. They have acted unethically. If they had made clear at the very beginning that democratic process would not count for anything, and all you had to do was be in the top ten list of friends of the National Caucus– then I (and others) would have acted very differently. They basically conned voters and other media users into voting for them under false pretences.

    Quite a few people are upset about this. Some are calling for boycotts of National, cancelled subscriptions etc. I’m not going to go down that path. I doubt National cares too much about losing my potential subscription (especially as they kindly provide me with a complimentary pamphets anyway).

    My message to the National is that you have lost something infinitely more valuable than my subscription. You have lost both my respect and my trust. That is hard to do, and even harder to undo.

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  34. eszett (2,408 comments) says:

    So, a corporation decides to put it’s own interests above ethical behavior.

    And the right wing is surprised and outraged!

    Waves of anger are rippling through the right wing blogosphere. Threats of boycotts of the products of the corporation are echoing through the internet.

    What did this corporation do?

    Outsource jobs from NZ to some low wage country?
    Import cheap goods that were manufactured by child labor?
    Neglect safety standards and cause massive environmental pollution threatening wildlife and the livelihood of thousands?

    Eh, no. It changed the rules of a competition to win some champagne.

    You folks are pure comedy!

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  35. k.jones (210 comments) says:

    Kind of a “touche moment” Lambcut, but not really. Although as uncle joe (and Ms Raynd) have said on various occassions – “its nice knowing there’s us and then there’s them”. Petulant “champagne gate” antics highlight a in 50 ft glorious way why we rule. (exceptions made for any tories who support Phoenix FC naturally)

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  36. eszett (2,408 comments) says:

    Most likely this is a marketing plot by NPR and Veuve Clicquot.

    In order to piss the right wing off, the lefties will now massively subscribe to the NPR and buy Veuve Clicquot in crates.
    The right wing will soon forget what it was all about and forget to cancel their subscriptions and continue to buy Veuve Clicquot.

    It’s all a conspiracy to gain market share and increase profits.

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  37. Lambcut (18 comments) says:

    And, there you are k.jones, quoting Uncle Joe. 20,000,000 dead notwithstanding. Pol Pot is probably good for a few juicy one liners too. Just for the record, Ayn Rand ninny though she may have been, never killed anybody.

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  38. k.jones (210 comments) says:

    Lamcut – too awesome – Id like to cut you up and eat you! (get it?)

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  39. the deity formerly known as nigel6888 (852 comments) says:

    so Wussell was so bored by another example of a media company misleading its audience and rigging a competition that he had to come on here three times to tell us how tiresome us little folks are.

    such ennui!

    The facts are that NBR deliberately encouraged people to believe that there competition involved a popular vote

    NBR took advantage of social media to drive their advertising campaign, and only when the competition was over did they suddenly decide that actually they weren’t going to abide by their inferred process.

    This ladies and gentlemen is a technicality argument. I don’t think it has done NBR any good at all

    So happy 40th birthday to the weasly shits from NBR. Your brand is in excellent hands.

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  40. Lambcut (18 comments) says:

    And, succulent I am too k.jones; succulent.

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  41. tom hunter (4,843 comments) says:

    Just in case you haven’t noticed you are being laughed at over at the Dim-Post.

    Well some are laughing. Others are just ANGRY, ANGRY, ANGRY:

    ….demonstrates in spades the right’s thin skinned and paranoid passive aggressive behaviour – conduct agressive, relentless, no holds barred character assassinations of thier opponents real and imagined……

    It’s Sanctuary…as usual.

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  42. Whoops (136 comments) says:

    Qu’ils mangent de la Lion Red.

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  43. willnz (7 comments) says:

    The Lotteries Commission has just announced new rules for Division 1 wins:

    “The Lotteries Commission would like to see Lotto return to a millionaire-making game, and as such we have now implemented new structure for First Division prizes where there is more than one holder of a First Division ticket.

    Effective 31 August 2010, if you get all six drawn numbers on a single line on your Lotto ticket, you will be entered in to the First Division Draw for that week. Our team of expert judges will then contact each of those in the draw and ask why they think they should win.

    A winner will be chosen by the judges and announced live on the draw the following Saturday. Judges’ decisions are final.”

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  44. Gosman (324 comments) says:

    I don’t want to blow my own trumpet here, (okay I lie yes I do!), but I did mention this on the thread you started last Friday.

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  45. eszett (2,408 comments) says:

    tom hunter (1,146) Says:
    August 25th, 2010 at 11:08 am

    Just in case you haven’t noticed you are being laughed at over at the Dim-Post.

    Well some are laughing. Others are just ANGRY, ANGRY, ANGRY:

    Yes, those laughing are in fact laughing at those who are ANGRY, ANGRY, ANGRY.

    If something the right wing is good at it is being ANGRY!

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  46. k.jones (210 comments) says:

    Lambchop – now that we cant drink our usual (re; protest) what should i drink to accompany you? (nb – thinking parship/spuds in goose fat, artichoke root, fresh peas)

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  47. Kris K (3,570 comments) says:

    MikeG 10:31 am,

    I am annoyed with the National Party. In fact more than annoyed – I am angry.

    Readers will know of their winning of the last General Election. People had the chance to win their government of choice and the competition was promoted on the basis of democracy.

    After the election date had passed, National announced that democracy would not be maintained, but that legislation would be rushed through under urgency and in some cases Councils disbanded and the National Cabinet would then select their favourite top councillors.

    [...]

    My message to the National is that you have lost something infinitely more valuable than my subscription. You have lost both my respect and my trust. That is hard to do, and even harder to undo.

    Very well said (and great paraphrasing) – and you’re certainly not alone in your disgust of National in their selling out of those who put them into power.

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  48. tom hunter (4,843 comments) says:

    ….demonstrates in spades the right’s thin skinned and paranoid passive aggressive behaviour – conduct agressive, relentless, no holds barred character assassinations of thier opponents real and imagined……

    From the Oxford American Dictionary:

    Irony – esp. Dramatic or Tragic Irony
    literary technique, originally used in Greek tragedy, by which the full significance of a character’s words or actions are clear to the audience or reader although unknown to the character.

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  49. Kris K (3,570 comments) says:

    eszett (666 – how appropriate) 11:30 am,

    If something the right wing is good at it is being ANGRY!

    So I guess you Left-footers don’t get “angry” when you are deceived?
    I guess that makes sense – you’re all so good at self-deception.

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  50. Lambcut (18 comments) says:

    Name calling is just silly k.jones. You are being silly, and “NB you are thinking…”? What’s that about? There is no evidence from this exchange that you do any thinking at all. Best you leave that to me and mine.

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  51. eszett (2,408 comments) says:

    # Kris K (2,901) Says:
    August 25th, 2010 at 11:45 am

    eszett (666 – how appropriate) 11:30 am,

    If something the right wing is good at it is being ANGRY!

    So I guess you Left-footers don’t get “angry” when you are deceived?
    I guess that makes sense – you’re all so good at self-deception.

    lol, I was waiting for you to comment on that.
    I wouldn’t know, you are the expert when it comes to self-deception and delusions.

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  52. eszett (2,408 comments) says:

    eszett (667) Says:

    667 – The neighbour of the beast!

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  53. eszett (2,408 comments) says:

    Very well said (and great paraphrasing) – and you’re certainly not alone in your disgust of National in their selling out of those who put them into power.

    Talking about self-deception and delusions.

    I guess that’s why National has still an approval rating above 50%. More than actually voted for them.

    Then again, making sense was never your strong points, Kris.

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  54. Lambcut (18 comments) says:

    I have just now, consulted with Busted Blonde. She advises that she is going to auction NBR/Veuve Clicquot’s disingenuous token to her as the popular winner of the competition, on Trademe . For those of you who haven’t caught up, NBR/VC have offered her a consolation magnum of Clicquot’s distasteful brew. All proceeds will of course go to charity.

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  55. k.jones (210 comments) says:

    lambchop – yes, you’re right. No more sillyness.

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  56. Kris K (3,570 comments) says:

    eszett 12:05 pm,

    I guess that’s why National has still an approval rating above 50%. More than actually voted for them.

    Then again, making sense was never your strong points, Kris.

    The greater than 50% is probably made up largely of all the Labour voters, who have come across to National in the realisation that they are just another left-wing party who will continue with the implementation of socialist policy.

    Key is little more than Helen Clark in drag.

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  57. RRM (9,924 comments) says:

    OUTRAGE AS WEALTHY POWER ELITE “CHEATED” OUT OF FREE PREMIUM CHAMPAGNE

    My heart bleeds. Truly it is tough at the top.

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  58. Gosman (324 comments) says:

    Steady on there old chap. Power elite is a pretty strong term to use doncha think?

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  59. eszett (2,408 comments) says:

    The greater than 50% is probably made up largely of all the Labour voters, who have come across to National in the realisation that they are just another left-wing party who will continue with the implementation of socialist policy.

    lol, not sure if you are serious here or just kidding.
    Either way, it is pretty funny.

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  60. backster (2,172 comments) says:

    Well I wouldn’t want to0 share a Lotto Ticket with any in their Administration. Maybe the C.E.O.’s wife will be judged the winner.

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  61. Pete George (23,564 comments) says:

    I must have missed the bit when the “online community” chose a single approach.

    The competition promoted a public vote and out of 16,000 responses, the online community chose “Busted Blonde” to win the prize.

    Bloggers react to Whale Oil’s NBR boycott

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  62. Luc Hansen (4,573 comments) says:

    Some thoughts:

    1. Unbelievable tantrum over something so insignificant.

    2. Is attempting to rort a competition ethical?

    3. Whoever trusted the NBR rag anyway? (OK, maybe Roger Kerr and a very few others)

    4. I can’t believe I’ve wasted anytime at all on this non-event! Suckered again…

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  63. Clint Heine (1,571 comments) says:

    What some people forget was that Busted Blonde was going to donate proceeds to charity and was set to make a tidy sum for th charity. This isn’t just a selfish grab for some free plonk – which in all honesty most of us working bloggers are quite easily able to afford.

    Russell Brown is only jealous as it seems through all his hard work for the left he can’t afford anything more bubbly than soda stream :) Get busy with the fizzy, poor Russ!

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  64. BLiP (24 comments) says:

    Hit ‘em where it hurts.

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