Did Parker tip off Hooton?

March 26th, 2011 at 9:32 am by David Farrar

I blogged yesterday how both Scoop and NBR have reports that Parker is planning a coup against Phil Goff.

Both media outlets quote Labour insiders, which means they have spoken to at least two separate people. It doesn’t mean that it is 100% certain a coup is on, but means that some people within Labour are saying there is one. Either Parker is planning a coup against Goff, or the rumour has been put out there by supporters of another leadership aspirant, to damage Parker (and Goff).

has claimed he doesn’t aspire to the leadership, but I’ve never heard an MP admit they do. Remember Winston saying he was happy to be the MP for Tauranga. I’ve seen three coups in my time in National, and they were all denied up to them occurring. If an MP truly wishes to make it clear they are not seeking the leadership, then their denial would take the form of a Shermanesque statement.

I have no special knowledge of whether a coup is on, beyond what Scoop and NBR have reported. I do have to say though that if Goff’s handling of the Hughes affair is not enough to get him rolled, I really don’t know what would be.

But there is one aspect to this that makes me very curious. Up until recently the only names seriously speculated about as leadership contenders were David Cunliffe and Shane Jones. Grant Robertson and Andrew Little are mooted as future leaders, but not current ones. So how did David Parker’s name come to the fore? And remember both Scoop and NBR say their Labour sources say that Parker will be the candidate, if there is a coup.

Well on the 11th of March, Matthew Hooton wrote in NBR (paywall):

Attention is turning within Labour to the question of Phil Goff’s successor. …

The overlooked candidate is David Parker, who has emerged as Labour’s genuine backroom intellectual and whose ambitions are now being made clear to selected media. …

As far as I can tell, this is the first time Parker’s name has been raised as a serious contender for the leadership. And the date is fascinating. It was two weeks ago. The Hughes incident was only known to Goff, King and Hughes at that stage.

Hooton makes it quite clear in his column, that he has been briefed by either Parker or someone close to Parker. And while you might wonder whether Hooton would have any relationship with Parker, the answer is he does. Off memory Hooton represented the interests of several major sectors or companies who wanted the ETS drafted a certain way, and Parker was the Minister in charge of the ETS.

So when Parker, or someone close to Parker, tipped Hooton off as a leadership contender, the Hughes affair was not a factor. In other words if there is a coup against Goff, the planning for it started before the Hughes affair – Goff’s handling of it will be a catalyst, rather than a cause.

Again I have no direct knowledge of if Parker is planning a coup. But when you consider someone obviously briefed Hooton several weeks ago, and that in the last 24 hours at least two Labour insiders have been putting Parker’s name out to Scoop and NBR, it does make you suspicious.

Adding to this is this article in the Dom Post by Tracy Watkins and Vernon Small:

The Labour Party is in turmoil, with senior figures questioning leader Phil Goff’s judgment over the Darren Hughes affair and a crucial frontbench meeting on Monday and Tuesday likely to discuss the issue. …

Yesterday he dismissed talk of a move on his leadership as “bullshit” and said he had received no criticism of his handling of the affair and expected none.

If Goff has received no criticism of his handling of the affair, then things are dire for him, as it means no one is telling him the truth. Worse, he comes across as arrogant in saying he expects none. By his own admission, his actions has been totally inconsistent with his previous statements and he has had to do a mea culpa.

But one of the party’s rising stars, who asked not to be named, said next week’s meeting was likely to crystallise how angry MPs were over Mr Goff’s handling of the issue and whether there was the will for a leadership challenge.

“It depends if people like Charles Chauvel, Shane Jones, David Parker and Trevor Mallard have the balls to say something.”

A rising star, is a term that can only apply to an MP or a very high profile candidate.

Sources said the appointment of Mt Albert MP David Shearer to the plum education job, after Mr Hughes was stood down, had only made the matter worse.

“How much consultation was there on that? There are already those in the 2008 intake who were brooding about being overlooked,” one source said.

Now that is definitely an unhappy MP being quoted.

Party president Andrew Little, who steps down on April 2 and is running for Parliament, is thought to be furious at not being told about the accusations against Mr Hughes, which he heard from reporters.

So he should be.

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30 Responses to “Did Parker tip off Hooton?”

  1. Michael (910 comments) says:

    The one thing for definite is Labour have imploded under Goff. If he is still leader by this time next week I will be surprised. Whoever replaces him will have to clean house this election or face the same problem next year, especially with Andrew Little in the caucus.

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  2. Gary2 (17 comments) says:

    It never ceases to amaze me how perceptions within Wellington can be so removed from reality outside it. If Parker and Labour MPs believe he is the person for the job, they really need to get out more. As a list MP only since 2005, Parker has not put his name forward for the Waitaki electorate (which evolved from his old Otago electorate) or for the certain Dunedin North electorate following Pete Hodgson’s departure this year.

    It remains to be seen if he will stand in any other electorate though that would be a surprise. Overall, his appeal does not stretch far outside parliamentary walls. His track record of being more interested in what goes on within those walls than outside them does not suggest he will be a leader who will be any more attractive to voters than Goff. In fact, Parker almost makes Goff look presidential in comparison!

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  3. Manolo (14,018 comments) says:

    How sad it is to watch the comrades stab each other, isn’t it?

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  4. BeaB (2,141 comments) says:

    Mallard must be going bonkers in his hospital bed. A cellphone is no substitute for face-to-face conspiracy.

    Hold on, perhaps that’s why this has all blown up this week even though it has been known about for more than a fortnight – BECAUSE Trev is off the scene and his absence gives room for plots to flourish.

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  5. Whafe (650 comments) says:

    Labour at present is a complete cluster fuck, Goff does not have the leadership qualities nor the skills to bring the ship back on an even keel.

    Is there actually anyone out there of which could put a strategy together to sort the Labour camp? I very much doubt it…. All that these pinko oxygen thieves stand for is coming home to roost… Pinko’s, suffer what you have indoctrinated into the population over the last decade…

    If in fact a coup is in the planning, it would need to be a 2 or 3 stage coup… A change of leadership now will do nothing at all…

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  6. Richard Hurst (868 comments) says:

    Parker as leader? No way.Unless Parker starts channeling the late Norm Kirk. Parker is hardly even known beyond the central and south of the South Island. That’s like suggesting Jim Sutton could have been labour leader. No, Phil is safe simply because there is no one else, Nats are still enjoying strong support in their first term and Labours long term plan has to be Andrew Little in 2014.

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  7. PaulL (6,035 comments) says:

    And that kind of analysis is what I come to kiwiblog for – actual insight into the political process and what must be going on into the scenes. Not in terms of inside knowledge, just in terms of understanding what must be going on. Good work.

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  8. mavxp (490 comments) says:

    Is Parker a stalking horse? Could it be someone else who has ambitions to roll Goff now, knowing they wont get a chance with Andrew Little just around the corner?

    The run-up to an election – even a losing one – can still be a big opportunity for a new leader to get some steam and if voter opinion is gained off National, cement their place as leader for the following election, sidelining Little. Lots of free publicity/ profile building from the media as a potential future PM, including an opportunity to go head to head with John Key in the TV debates. The earthquake is also an opportunity for Labour to sell a new future to the public. Of course we expect they will miss the train, but still from the point of view of an ambitious MP – now may actually be a good time to roll Goff and have a crack at the top job.

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  9. TripeWryter (716 comments) says:

    I agree with Gary2. There would have to be much profile-raising of David Parker outside of Wellington to make him appealing (if that’s possible) to voters.

    David Cunliffe — a nice man, but hardly representative of the workers and peasants.

    Charles Chauvel? Maryann St? Ruth Dyson? Trev? Lianne Dalziel?

    There is no credible leader-in-waiting in Labour. There is no seat-warmer even for Andrew Little, because there is no guarantee that the voters of New Plymouth will do the (for Labour) decent thing and elect him at the general election later this year.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if the ginga Chris Hipkins was Watkins’ and Small’s source for the grumbling. He’s supposed to be a rising star, isn’t he?

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  10. Pongo (374 comments) says:

    Parker ? seriously is that the best they can offer, outside of Wellington and policy wonks he has zero appeal much like the much feted Grant Robertson. Clark left labour in a terrible situation with her intakes and holding on to her loyal deadwood.
    I do find it quite outrageous that the number 2 at the UN is interferring in our domestic affairs if rumours are true.

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  11. Innocent bystander (163 comments) says:

    The simple fact is that Labour is an utterly ineffective opposition with a weak and indecisive leader. National’s performance in this term has not been stellar. A half decent opposition should have torn them to pieces. National has given the opposition every opportunity to land a punch but every time they look vulnerable Labour implodes (Chris Carter anyone?) and when they don’t implode National is “lucky” enough to have an earthquake or a pike river pop up to dominate the news.

    Goff doesn’t inspire people on his own side so how the hell is he going to inspire swing voters to think he is PM material? He was a capable cabinet minister but he is a good luitenant, not a leader. None of the replacement candidates have the charisma of John Key but that’s another of Labour’s mistakes – focussing on attacking the PM. The public genuinely like John Key. Labour should be focussing on attacking the weaker members of his cabinet, the clowns he is in coalition with and Bill English. If they don’t want to focus on personalities its not too hard to point out how the average person is worse off under this government (some of thats from the government simply being in charge at the wrong time and some of it is mismanagement).

    The alternatives to Goff are not great but Labour has to work with what it has. People can grow into the leadership role and they can prosper in NZ despite lacking charisma (Bolger? Clark?). The truth is that Labour is going nearwhere fast under Goff, they are not getting traction with the public and they can’t really do any worse under another leader. The maths of MMP means that they don’t need a huge change in popularity to have a sniff of being in Government (although that would require a complex coalition and for them to sort their shit out with the Maori Party – another Labour fail right there).

    I don’t think Parker would be that bad choice.

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  12. emmess (1,432 comments) says:

    I do find it quite outrageous that the number 2 at the UN is interferring in our domestic affairs if rumours are true.

    I demand a security council resolution before the UN starts meddling in our internal affairs.

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  13. Viking2 (11,541 comments) says:

    Or maybe someone is s**** stiring and Hooton is blowing bubbles in the bath.
    How could anyone, anyone at all get leadership of a disparate, desparate, disfunctional group of people that remains of what Helen left behind.
    Goff hasn’t a chance in hell no matter what he tries for their are so many groups with their own agenda in the Labour caucus.
    The best tonic for Labour is for Labour to be cleaned out. Not good for NZ for that would make the Nats. even worse than they are now but would allow for either Labour to fold completely or totally renew.

    I predicted sometime ago that Labour would fold and still think its the most likely senario.
    That means that when voting you will have a choice of National for the left or Act to take their place or a new party that may arise.
    Interesting times.

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  14. backster (2,183 comments) says:

    I recall Parker being involved in a Property Development in which the part he played was murky to say the least. His partners went broke. I would not have thought such people would be held in high regard at present especially in the South Island……..Remember this from the Herald 2006 after the shit hit the fan.

    David Parker has now quit from all his Cabinet posts following his shock resignation as Attorney-General last night.

    Mr Parker resigned yesterday as the Government’s chief legal officer after disclosures that he filed false returns to the Companies Office.

    And this morning it was announced that he was going from his other portfolios — transport and energy.

    Prime Minister Helen Clark said Mr Parker came to her this morning after talking with “a range of senior colleagues” and offered his resignation from Cabinet.

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  15. Fisiani (1,047 comments) says:

    Labour MP’s will do what is best for them and for Labour. Some Labour MP’s are in safe seats. They will be there in Dec. Some Labour MP’s are safe because of a high list position. List position is key to survival if you are a Labour MP. The more constituency seats that National win the more list positions will be available to Labour. For instance if Labour loses in a landslide both Rongotai and Wellington Central then Annette King and Grant Robertson will still get in on the list. Ian Lees-Galloway in Palmerston North however will be looking for job as he will be too far down the list. As this electoral truth sinks in watch for the scramble over the next few months as the list gets ranked. The party leader has a lot of power in determining the list order. I give you below the Labour list for 2008.

    Who will be gone from the 2011 list? Definitely 1. Helen Clark 2. Michael Cullen 7 Chris Carter 11 Winnie Laban 19 Darren Hughes 38 Judith Tizard

    Watch for the mad scramble as the likes of Grant Robertson seeks to escape the risk of position 46 in Wellington Central and Chris Hipkins (47) in the even more marginal Rimutaka fight for the electoral lifeboats.
    They will wonder why such 2008-2011 powerhouses (yeah right) as Parekura Horomia, Rajen Prasad,Raymond Huo,Mita Ririnui,Ashraf Choudry,Rick Barker and Damien O’Connor should get safe positions before them. Watch as the unions push to get the likes of Andrew Little and Darien Fenton et al much higher.

    If Goff stays who does he favour? If Goff is replaced by Parker who does he favour? Grant Robertson and Charles Chauvel have already mapped out the Rainbow Coalition plans to rig the Labour List for 2011. They need to replace closet Darren.This list ranking is more important to the interests of factional Labour then the result of election 2011 since it will determine who is around for 2014. This is the main impetus for discussion about Goff’s future. Look at the list below and at the 2011 candidate list in the left hand sidebar and the machinations become clear. The backroom backstabbing has begun.

    Labour Party List 2008
    1 CLARK, Helen Elizabeth
    2 CULLEN, Michael
    3 GOFF, Phil
    4 KING, Annette
    5 HOROMIA, Parekura
    6 HODGSON, Pete
    7 CARTER, Chris
    8 CUNLIFFE, David
    9 STREET, Maryan
    10 MAHUTA, Nanaia
    11 LABAN, Winnie
    12 PRASAD, Rajen
    13 DYSON, Ruth
    14 MALLARD, Trevor
    15 DALZIEL, Lianne
    16 JONES, Shane
    17 PARKER, David
    18 COSGROVE, Clayton
    19 HUGHES, Darren
    20 ARDERN, Jacinda
    21 HUO, Raymond
    22 MORONEY, Sue
    23 RIRINUI, Mita
    24 SIO, Su’a William
    25 MACKEY, Moana
    26 TWYFORD, Phil
    27 CHAUVEL, Charles
    28 BEAUMONT, Carol
    29 DAVIS, Kelvin Glen
    30 CHADWICK, Steve (Stephanie)
    31 CHOUDHARY, Ashraf
    32 PILLAY, Lynne
    33 FENTON, Darien
    34 BARKER, Rick
    35 SEPULONI, Carmel
    36 NASH, Stuart
    37 O’CONNOR, Damien
    38 TIZARD, Judith
    39 BURTON, Mark
    40 OKEROA, Mahara
    41 GALLAGHER, Martin
    42 HEREORA, David
    43 WALL, Louisa Hareruia
    44 SOPER, Lesley
    45 CURRAN, Clare
    46 ROBERTSON, Grant
    47 HIPKINS, Christopher John
    48 LEES-GALLOWAY, Iain
    49 BURNS, Brendon
    50 McCRACKEN, Hamish
    51 EBBORN-GILLESPIE, Erin
    52 MASON, Errol
    53 YOO, Chris
    54 BARTLEY, Josephine
    55 PRYDE, Don
    56 WOOD, Michael Philip
    57 SULTANA, Farida
    58 MACKENZIE, Denise
    59 BLANCHARD, Julian
    60 McDOUALL, Hamish
    61 RAHMAN, Anjum
    62 ZHU, Susan
    63 SUTTON, Kate
    64 ROBERTS, Conor
    65 TAWA, Koro

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  16. BeaB (2,141 comments) says:

    When you look at all their odious line-up, you just know whomever they pick it’s going to be good for National.
    If I had leadership ambitions, I’d be in now before Little gets his shoes under the table. It’s worth the chance.

    But you have to laugh. Parker – who? Cunliffe – Mr Charisma. Little – Mr Charisma. Shearer – Mr Charisma. The Gays. Please. And not a possibility at all among the women who just seem to sit there getting fatter.

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  17. niggly (831 comments) says:

    But one of the party’s rising stars, who asked not to be named, said next week’s meeting was likely to crystallise how angry MPs were over Mr Goff’s handling of the issue and whether there was the will for a leadership challenge.

    Hmm, “rising star” eh? Hmm, who else has opened the can and first criticised Goff a couple of years ago? Grant Robertson perhaps?

    As for Parker, his appeal to the wider public is not good, but as said last night he would be a useful “tool” for the H1 old guard (Street, Dyson, Roberston, Chavel etc) to use Parker as their “friendly face” to soften voter appeal. In other words he’d be a puppet that would have his strings pulled by these clowns.

    Notice how the “blokes” and previous leadership contenders aren’t being given a look in (Mallard, Jones etc).

    I hope this old guard rabble do promote Parker. It will only drive Labour further into the political wilderness with the voter!

    As for the timing of all this, how and who determines the Party List? Are Street and Dyson and co (& H1) in a desperate mad rush to take control to control the list to ensure they all survive the impending election rout?

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  18. Danyl Mclauchlan (1,070 comments) says:

    And that kind of analysis is what I come to kiwiblog for – actual insight into the political process and what must be going on into the scenes.

    Yes – this is the only place you can get a National Party activist piecing together the mystery of whether a Labour MP is leaking to another National Party activist.

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  19. david (2,561 comments) says:

    Has iPredict started offering stock on “Greens to be official Opposition” yet?

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  20. big bruv (14,116 comments) says:

    Hooten wrote some months ago that Labour need a fighter at a time like this, somebody who would get under the skin of the Nat’s.

    While Labour have no chance of winning the next election they do need to close the gaps and stop leaking votes to the Greens and Winston.

    This is the time for Mallard to take over, yes it might only be for six months but Labour need an attack dog at the helm.

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  21. Viking2 (11,541 comments) says:

    Sorry, Trev’s to busy keeping his bed warm and wondering when he will be able to get back on his bike.
    Reflection may encourage him to do just that. Get on his bike and get a new life out of politics.
    He could be The Rugby World Cup Greeter.

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  22. PaulL (6,035 comments) says:

    DIM: anyone in the MSM actually giving insight into what is going on. I found DPF’s analysis to be interesting. It may be right, it may be wrong, but it was food for thought. As opposed to many who are just breathlessly repeating the latest scandal, or producing placed information as part of some master campaign.

    The comment on list placings is also an interesting and very relevant one – a factional fight to preserve list placings makes a lot of sense, otherwise I was still struggling with why you’d want the leadership of Labour right now.

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  23. tvb (4,487 comments) says:

    Fran described Parker laughable as leader, but there is a John key lite about him. The Maori caucus is in open revolt and the one card Goff has is his experience seems faulty. He is stale old Labour. I think goff is gone, once people work out who gets what the coup will happen. Goff seems to have left Andrew Lyttle out of things as well. A very bad move.

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  24. gravedodger (1,567 comments) says:

    Why Parker, I think with the right makeup, voice coaching and a sepia photo or two he could be moulded into a reincarnation of the first Labour P M.
    Hang on what is the relevance of tha,t anyone who was there in 1935 is dead, senile or will have their vote cast for them by a Labour party “helper” from the rest home, nothing here, move along.
    Shutup Muzza, settle back into your reverie in Alzhiemers Valley.

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  25. DJP6-25 (1,389 comments) says:

    The best things in life are free.

    cheers

    David Prosser

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  26. Whafe (650 comments) says:

    Simple strategic business planning to have a succession plan in place… National is not perfect, but I can assure you that National would have a succession plan in place…

    This alone is one of the many core issues with the Pinko’s. Taking into account the vast majority have never had a job in a real company that was in place to make a profit, they wouldn’t know shit about strategy etc etc… Yes they could get advisers etc, but the advisers that would fit with the pinko train of thought would not be able to help them…

    Labour are more fucked than they were 2 weeks or 3 weeks ago….. The ship is sinking…..

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  27. magic bullet (776 comments) says:

    The shambles that Labour is in may lead to a much-needed shake up of the party, and more fresh faces. NZ doesn’t want the old faces of the Clark era, so this could end up being a good thing for Labour for 2014. Doesn’t bode too well for the next election though.

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  28. iMP (2,416 comments) says:

    It’s a mistake to consider NZ Labour will select a Goff-successor on the basis of electorate appeal. These issues -particularly within labour- are Wellington affairs and totally blinkered within internal Lab politics, relationships, factions and paybacks, just like the change of Aust PM. It’s actually very little to do with who might be the best candidate electorally (look at their List lineup).

    The big Q. for any plotter: is it to my advantage to go pre-election?

    A good campaign and stemming the inevitable Nov. rout, would get a Coup-roller a leap on any fellow leadership contenders and cement Lab leadership into 2012+. But they would have to achieve the perception the inevitable rout IS LESS than it would have been under Goff, a difficult thing to assure.

    There are huge advantages to a Coup-roller to sit back, prepare, let Goff die on the NOv. beach, and then achieve a clean leadership change in Dec. It’d be wanting to be on the shoulder of the front runner into the last 100 ms, not out front.

    Labour of course have been here before: 1990, Lange resigns, Palmer stabbed in back by Clarke & Co, then Moore, then Clarke. A multi-personality multi-stage leadership change in Lab., who are much messier at this than the Nats.

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  29. quinnjin (24 comments) says:

    “This alone is one of the many core issues with the Pinko’s. Taking into account the vast majority have never had a job in a real company that was in place to make a profit.”

    Gross and meaningless generalisation. Typical of the 2nd rate thinking of rabid right wingers. In fact the vast majority of NZ’ers are small business owners. And at least half of those who bother to vote actually voted left of centre.

    John Key on the other hand, has never worked in a real business that creates any kind of product what so ever. He trades in that which represents commodities, he has never worked in the real world economy.

    Him and his ilk have more in common with paper pushing bureaucrats than most New Zealanders.

    Also, Hooten is a f**ktard fundamentalist, right wing fascist, free market fairy follower, a B grade novelist worshipping ideologue moron who who equates award winning journalism with terrorism. ( He doesn’t like people like Nicky Haager who let the public know what the corrupt right wingers are up to, and what our armed forces are actually doing with our tax dollars, for instance, and claims this akin to being a member of Al Que’ida )

    Anyways, the sub standard analysis on this blog just really make me aware of what a bunch of dip shits national voters are, and make think I’ve got better things to do than read these inane comments, let alone reply to them…

    Nothing he says is of any relevance to anyone. he’s an idiot.

    I look forward to NZ’ers coming to their senses, labour right wing neo liberal plant idiots getting expunged, and a Labour Greens government in 2014, who will undo some of the damage this crap tory government has done. I’m sure it won’t be hard to out do this government abysmal, short sighted performance.

    Once the money men fascist leeches on real world productivity give up trying to punish New Zealand by divesting their capital etc, I fully expect the economy, as well as everything else, will improve.

    Nothing he says is of any relevance to anyone. he’s an idiot.

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  30. quinnjin (24 comments) says:

    “This alone is one of the many core issues with the Pinko’s. Taking into account the vast majority have never had a job in a real company that was in place to make a profit.”

    Gross and meaningless generalisation. Typical of the 2nd rate thinking of rabid right wingers. In fact the vast majority of NZ’ers are small business owners. And at least half of those who bother to vote actually voted left of centre.

    John Key on the other hand, has never worked in a real business that creates any kind of product what so ever. He trades in that which represents commodities, he has never worked in the real world economy.

    Him and his ilk have more in common with paper pushing bureaucrats than most New Zealanders.

    Also, Hooten is a f**ktard fundamentalist, right wing fascist, free market fairy follower, a B grade novelist worshipping ideologue moron who who equates award winning journalism with terrorism. ( He doesn’t like people like Nicky Haager who let the public know what the corrupt right wingers are up to, and what our armed forces are actually doing with our tax dollars, for instance, and claims this akin to being a member of Al Que’ida )

    Nothing he says is of any relevance to anyone. he’s an idiot.

    Anyways, the sub standard analysis on this blog just really make me aware of what a bunch of dip shits national voters are, and make think I’ve got better things to do than read these inane comments, let alone reply to them…

    I look forward to NZ’ers coming to their senses, labour right wing neo liberal plant idiots getting expunged, and a Labour Greens government in 2014, who will undo some of the damage this crap tory government has done. I’m sure it won’t be hard to out do this government abysmal, short sighted performance.

    Once the money men fascist leeches on real world productivity give up trying to punish New Zealand by divesting their capital etc, I fully expect the economy, as well as everything else, will improve.

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