Goff still can not admit he is wrong

August 4th, 2011 at 1:36 pm by David Farrar

Tracy Watkins at Stuff reports:

A fresh political row has broken out over Israeli spy allegations after Labour leader accused  head of misleading the public over what he knew about an investigation into the death of an Israeli citizen in the February 22 Christchurch earthquake.

Goff today disputed a notation by Tucker on a briefing note - released under the Official Information Act - which suggested the opposition leader had seen the briefing of the Israeli “spy” investigation.

Goff disputed the notation and accused Tucker of calling his credibility into question.

“In future, I will only meet with Warren Tucker or representatives of the SIS if there is someone independent in the room to keep a true and accurate record of what is discussed.”

Warren Tucker incidentally was appointed Director of the SIS by Helen Clark in 2006.

The notation he made on the briefing note that Goff has seen the briefing paper would have been made in March, when he met Goff. Back then there would have been no thought that this could become a public issue.

Tucker is a long serving intelligence professional. He would have done hundreds or thousands of briefings, and I doubt would be in the habit of being careless about his notations, or would forget to hand over a paper he had with him.

We now have an Opposition Leader who is so arrogant, and so unable to simply say “I stuffed up” (unlike the Prime Minister) he is now claiming the SIS Director is a liar, and incredibly has said he no longer trusts the SIS and will never meet with them again without witnesses. And this is the man who wants to become their Minister.

This fiasco was entirely avoidable by Goff. When it was first reported that Goff had been briefed, he could have checked quietly with the SIS before shooting his mouth off in public. but once he had publicly stated he had never been briefed and knew nothing of the Israeli issue, he has refused to concede he was wrong, and simply didn’t recall the briefing as he was in the midst of the Hughes scandal.

The public forgive MPs who say they made a mistake. Goff though has dig himself a hole and keeps digging.

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79 Responses to “Goff still can not admit he is wrong”

  1. SPC (5,472 comments) says:

    I guess this is an admission by Goff he does not expect to be a PM working with Tucker any time soon.

    But re-raising the ‘Israel related” issue is one way to reach beyond the left base to liberals on an international issue and has to be the political motivation. It also allows those who distrust government assurances on the issue to keep with that.

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  2. Inventory2 (10,161 comments) says:

    So who’s telling fibs; Dr Warren Tucker, Head of the SIS, or Phil Goff, Leader of the Opposition?

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  3. ben (2,412 comments) says:

    I’m sooooo voting Labour.

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  4. Elaycee (4,318 comments) says:

    Whale is over this issue like a rash and on his blog he asks some pertinent questions of Goff:

    “Why, if he was never briefed, did he ask a ques­tion about the Israeli tourists in the brief­ing he says he never had? and:

    If he wasn’t briefed and never asked the ques­tion, why then did the SIS note in their meet­ing min­utes that the issue was ‘discussed at length’?”

    Popcorn time….. :)

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  5. IHStewart (388 comments) says:

    “In future, I will only meet with Warren Tucker or representatives of the SIS if there is someone independent in the room to keep a true and accurate record of what is discussed.”

    I guess the Israelis could provide someone independent.

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  6. slightlyrighty (2,499 comments) says:

    Goff appears frightened to the point of incompetence about the possibility of appearing incompetent.

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  7. gravedodger (1,526 comments) says:

    Reminds me of hoary old anecdote where proud scots Mum watching her son on a parade ground says
    ” ooch look , my wee Geordie, the only one in step”

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  8. SPC (5,472 comments) says:

    Maybe Tucker read him the briefing and then Goff asked questions and then Tucker lied in writing that Goff has read the briefing himself … just saying …

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  9. Murray (8,838 comments) says:

    I guess if Phil becomes PM he’ll just have to disestablish the SIS.

    To be fair he was probably still sad about missing out on a photo-op with Osama to add to his Arafat one.

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  10. insider (1,021 comments) says:

    I seem to recall Goff being involved in the release of some briefing notes before. On that occassion he was absolutely convinced as to their veracity.

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  11. Murray (8,838 comments) says:

    You mean the ones that were suposed to remain confidential but the fact the labour could make political milage out of them made them “of national interest”?

    No, don’t recall that at all.

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  12. SPC (5,472 comments) says:

    How come Cameron Slater could ask for the info and the SIS hands it over, when they refused access to Fairfax earlier? (Dim-Post asks this)

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  13. flipper (3,754 comments) says:

    So, what will the MSM make of all this?
    Their credibility will be determined upon their actions.

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  14. Murray (8,838 comments) says:

    Because fairfax forgot to make an OIA request numb nuts.

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  15. Inventory2 (10,161 comments) says:

    Goff has handled this in an inept manner :-)

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  16. SPC (5,472 comments) says:

    Murray, as you don’t check stuff …

    The document was given to right wing blogger Whaleoil today by the SIS, which refused a Fairfax request several days ago for the briefing note to be released immediately.

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/5388471/SIS-mislead-public-Goff

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  17. Cunningham (827 comments) says:

    Is this the issue that puts the final nail in Goff’s coffin? I imagine this issue might snowball very quickly. It’s a pretty major accusation Goff has made. He is playing with fire.

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  18. Murray (8,838 comments) says:

    Indubitably.

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  19. Murray (8,838 comments) says:

    Maybe the SIS just don’t LIKE fairfax.

    Understandable.

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  20. SPC (5,472 comments) says:

    Cut Goff some slack, one way of proving his maturity is giving up the boy wonder tag to the Rimutaka MP, by adopting the bad memory of an older mentor MP.

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  21. Other_Andy (2,457 comments) says:

    @flipper

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10742938

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  22. Pete George (23,149 comments) says:

    SPC at 2:12 pm

    The document was given to right wing blogger Whaleoil today by the SIS, which refused a Fairfax request several days ago for the briefing note to be released immediately.

    There’s a lot of unanswered questions in that. Like when Whale applied, when Fairfax applied, if there are different types of applications, if applications were done correctly or not, if immediate” release is possible, normal or exceptional, how often “immediate” releases are done, how releases are prioritised etc etc.

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  23. Andrei (2,528 comments) says:

    The document was given to right wing blogger Whaleoil today by the SIS, which refused a Fairfax request several days ago for the briefing note to be released immediately.

    The keyword is immediately. See Mr Slater filled out the paper work i.e. an OIA request and worked through the process rather than demanding immediate gratification as Fairfax did.

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  24. Pete George (23,149 comments) says:

    He called on Mr Key and the SIS to release all the documentation about the investigation and to give a full and frank account of what happened.

    Can Key and the SIS do that? Goff must think they can.

    If they release everything will Goff believe it all? He already says he doesn’t believe what’s already been released.

    There’s very little Goff can gain by making an even bigger issue out of this, but maybe there’s nothing much more to lose either.

    Signs again that he’s really struggling in his role.

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  25. SPC (5,472 comments) says:

    If there is any paper work beyond the OIA request itself or is the process that at the other end – and are requests handled differently … .

    Imagine if a request for immediate release was denied and the process then ended and another request not asking for immediate release then resulted in a release made the next day.

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  26. ross (1,454 comments) says:

    > Tucker is a long serving intelligence professional…I doubt would be in the habit of being careless about his notations.

    As if you would know. Your opinion would no doubt change if Key was questioning the details of any briefing.

    But you’re right, this fiasco could’ve been avoided. If only Key had given Goff a full and frank briefing. Indeed, Key or Tucker could release all the relevant information about this matter…that would put this matter to rest.

    [DPF: Key does not brief the Opposition Leader. The Director does, and is required to by law. And I'd say giving the Opposition Leader a copy to read of one of the briefing papers constitutes a full briefing. The fact Goff can't recall it is another issue]

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  27. williamsheridan (63 comments) says:

    If Mr Tucker were of a mind to; I would think he would have a very good case for taking a personal grievance against Mr Goff, given that Mr Tucker has effectively been told that he has failed to meet provisions of his employment contract in terms of being an honest employee. Mr Goff has also unilaterally changed the employement conditions by insisting that Mr Tucker work under supervision.

    Mr Goff once again proves he is a Dick.

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  28. ross (1,454 comments) says:

    > Goff has handled this in an inept manner.

    Well, you would say that. Key didn’t handle the initial questions very well. He has also withheld info from the public regards the police investigation. He could release that information.

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  29. Andrei (2,528 comments) says:

    The matter is at rest Ross – it is and always was a big nothing.

    Silly Phil Goff has tried to use suspicion of Israel and Israeli intentions to rally his dwindling base.

    And it has blown up in his face.

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  30. ross (1,454 comments) says:

    williamsheridan, Goff is not Tucker’s employer, so I’m not sure about the latter having a case for personal grievance. And Goff is entitled to have an independent person take notes…indeed there is precedent for it.

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  31. beautox (433 comments) says:

    Goff has got to be a National mole. Really, if National *had* managed to get a mole to be leader of the opposition, they would act pretty much the way Phil does. Be a real shame when he resigns.

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  32. 3-coil (1,203 comments) says:

    You would think that with all the flat-out lying that Phil Goff does that he would at least be getting better at doing it.

    This shows that, like all liars, the tricky bit is remembering what fibs you’ve told. Under extreme stress (Dazza Hughes’ escapade with the the naked teenage boy at the time, and tanking in the polls now) Goff crumbles and shows his total incompetence – he is totaly unfit to entertain leadership of the country.

    I bet Goff won’t have the balls to answer either of Whaleoil’s simple questions.

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  33. RightNow (6,780 comments) says:

    ross, it’s not my birthday, but thanks for all your gifts anyway

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  34. dog_eat_dog (757 comments) says:

    Phil Goff must resign.

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  35. Elaycee (4,318 comments) says:

    If I recall the protocol correctly, the Director of the SIS usually gets the recipient of the briefing to initial the pages covering the subject matter.

    Now there’s a thought…

    I guess we’ll have to wait until 6pm when Whale releases some more info… :)

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  36. SHG (367 comments) says:

    @dog_eat_dog “Phil Goff must resign.”

    Hell no, Goff is the best thing to happen to National in decades.

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  37. williamsheridan (63 comments) says:

    You are technically correct Ross; but Mr Goff is a party to the agreement through legislative reporting requirements and arguably an agent of the employer …… the issue to me is not that Mr Goff is entitled to have someone take notes but rather the public accusations that Goff has made and the potential impact of this on Mr Tucker’s ability to perform his duties and his being taken to task by press release rather than in a consultative manner.

    Aside from any employment dispute, Mr Tucker is also entitled to take action against anyone publicly calling him a liar – as I judge Mr Goff to have done. “I was not shown that document. I never read that document. Warren Tucker is wrong,” Mr Goff has said in a written statement…. I reckon Goff is calling Tucker a liar and perhaps other right-minded people would take that view if it came through the legal process….. and given the paper trail and Tucker’s track record (even if Goff disputes the accuracy of the notations notations) I know who I would back to win the case.

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  38. lofty (1,304 comments) says:

    The price of popcorn is skyrocketing due the very high demand reducing country wide stocks.

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  39. Inventory2 (10,161 comments) says:

    And let’s not even begin to discuss the tragic death of a navalman in 1987, described b by the Coroner today as “avoidable”

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  40. lofty (1,304 comments) says:

    Yes IV2. lets also not mention that Goff “has blood on his hands” over the affair.

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  41. Nookin (3,142 comments) says:

    “If only Key had given Goff a full and frank briefing.”
    I have pasted the relevant section of the Act.
    It is not up to Key to brief Goff. If is up to Goff to attend briefings independantly of the government. This was a non-issue until the Southland Times article. Nothing happened so there would have been no reason for Key to mention it. Anyway, Goff was too busy reading NZs rich list to see where Key was listed. He would not have had time for parliamentary business.

    [4AAPolitical neutrality of New Zealand Security Intelligence Service
    (1)The Director must take all reasonable steps to ensure that—
    (a)The activities of the Security Intelligence Service are limited to those that are relevant to the discharge of its functions:
    (b)The Security Intelligence Service is kept free from any influence or consideration that is not relevant to its functions:
    (c)The Security Intelligence Service does not take any action for the purpose of furthering or harming the interests of any political party.
    (2)The Minister may not direct the Security Intelligence Service to institute the surveillance of any person or entity or any class of person or entity within New Zealand.
    (3)The Director must consult regularly with the Leader of the Opposition for the purpose of keeping him or her informed about matters relating to security.
    (4)Subsection (2) prevails over section 4(1).]

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  42. RF (1,318 comments) says:

    Goff has goofed again !!!! This time BIG TIME.

    In the good old days when gentlemen had integrity he would be handed a silver tray with a revolver on it and told to go into the next room to consider his future

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  43. Grizz (529 comments) says:

    It bothers me that the leader of the opposition could be this dumb. Either he has something concrete to prove he is right or he is otherwise digging a hole with his own spade (or the spade handed to him by his advisors). Right now he looks like the Peter de Villiers of the Labour Party.

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  44. Chris R (65 comments) says:

    Goff heads down the highway to utter failure at a quicker pace with every passing day. He is the most inept political leader this country has endured.

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  45. mikenmild (11,193 comments) says:

    I might get howled at, but I can only conclude that Goff does not believe he was briefed. It makes no sense for him to raise this again.

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  46. lofty (1,304 comments) says:

    From RF..”In the good old days when gentlemen had integrity he would be handed a silver tray with a revolver on it and told to go into the next room to consider his future”

    Heh

    Yes mikenmild,if he has early onset of dementia, he could well believe he was never briefed. Time will tell.

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  47. williamsheridan (63 comments) says:

    …. howls @mikenmild

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  48. Pete George (23,149 comments) says:

    Either he has something concrete to prove

    That’s the problem, this is something he can’t prove. What’s more likely, an imperfect memory or an imperfect routine official procedure?

    It’s not unknown for people to have imperfect memories, especialy people who must see screes of official documents all the time. To be certain you remember 100% that you haven’t seen one particuarly document several months ago is remarkable.

    mikenmild, he may believe he wasn’t briefed, but how can he be 100% certain? He should have said be believed he wasn’t briefed but may have been mistaken. Then it would have been over weeks ago.

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  49. RightNow (6,780 comments) says:

    mikenmild, while that probably is the case, a more astute politician would have helped the story to bed, rather than die in a ditch over it.

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  50. RF (1,318 comments) says:

    Mikenmild.. Did the famous quote “I see no ships” originate from Goff.

    That could explain his deranged state of mind.

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  51. Roflcopter (444 comments) says:

    This is Goff’s diversionary tactic, for now having blood on his hands Re: HMNZS Canterbury.

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  52. GPT1 (2,101 comments) says:

    This smacks of Clark’s handling of the speed run through Canterbury. A small issue where a hint of humility would have brought the matter to a close but out for political expediency the blame is shifted elsewhere. Clark’s was even more disgusting as it resulted in a number of police and drivers being prosecuted but the parallel of blaming officials and damn the consequences is there.

    Up to this point I have regarded Goff as a political opponent, a decent enough guy struggling with an impossible task of leading a factionalised Labour party that hasn’t grasped how it lost 1999.

    But this is disgraceful. It is dishonest and immoral. It’s bad enough blaming others when it might be there fault (I see he runs the “relied on advice” argument re the Canterbury) but to impunge the integrity of another person to cover ass is pathetic and shows a complete lack of fitness for office.

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  53. joe bloggs (126 comments) says:

    Up to this point I have regarded Goff as a political opponent, a decent enough guy
    That’s very generous of you.

    Goff’s dog-tucker

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  54. Pete George (23,149 comments) says:

    I don’t think this is like the Clark speeding at all. Sure Clark could have possibly handled the frenzy better, but ultimately she wasn’t driving and she wasn’t in charge of the cavalcade.

    Goff seems to be entirely responsible for getting himself into this hole, and he keeps digger deeper.

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  55. slightlyrighty (2,499 comments) says:

    Whale has posted the note from Tucker on the relevant paperwork……..

    If I were Phil, I’d stop digging.

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  56. kiwi in america (2,461 comments) says:

    Goff has forgotten the first rule of holes…. this strikes me as a wee bit of a dog whistle to his base. Lefties tend to be more anti-Israel and he’s hoping that less informed South Auckland Labour voters will react more negatively to the Israeli spy story and be more likely to blame Key than blame him. Key’s reasonably quick apology for his early dissembling on this issue let him off the media hook pretty quickly. For Goff to impugn the integrity of one of NZ’s most senior civil servants so blatantly and absolute that it has few precedents. Tucker could if he chose make life even more difficult for Goff – by threatening to sue! Knowing how much Cameron Slater is like a dog with a bone, I’m picking that Goff is in for more poll bleeding approbrium on this little hot potato.

    My Labour insiders who used to move in the highest of their circles despair of Goff and are just waiting for him to be axed post November – trouble is none of them can name a successor with the numbers, hence the fact that with blunder after blunder he’s still there. Sooner or later Labour may get to that Geoffrey Palmer point and have to do an 11th hour Mike Moore style change. If Labour polls at 27% or lower in the next slew of the larger reputable polls, look for some in the caucus to try to find a leader that can maybe spark Labour back to 30% at least to make 2014 remotely competitive. National’s abysmal 2002 showing made 2005 a huge ask for Brash and, as we know, he faltered at the last hurdle.

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  57. Inventory2 (10,161 comments) says:

    Grizz said

    Right now he looks like the Peter de Villiers of the Labour Party.

    Comment of the Day!

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  58. Graeme Edgeler (3,273 comments) says:

    he is now claiming the SIS Director is a liar, and incredibly has said he no longer trusts the SIS and will never meet with them again without witnesses. And this is the man who wants to become their Minister.

    It is difficult to think of a worse argument than this, DPF.

    Goff doesn’t want to be their minister, he wants to our minister in charge of them. This is like saying Rodney Hide shouldn’t be local government minister because he distrusts local government and believes them to be bloated and inefficient.

    Trusting your underlings shouldn’t be a pre-requiste for being a minister, we’d be far better off if all ministers were incredibly skeptical of those under them.

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  59. Inventory2 (10,161 comments) says:

    Cameron Salter is on Newstalk ZB with Larry Williams at 5.05pm; Goff is digging too big a hole for himself.

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  60. queenstfarmer (750 comments) says:

    Graeme, I think DPF’s meaning “become their Minister” is pretty clear.

    And do you not see any difference between say a politician’s distrust (dislike would be fairer) of certain institutions (councils, unions, etc), and publicly accusing the appointed, non-partisan head of the SIS of lying?

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  61. noskire (834 comments) says:

    I have to hand it to Goff, he must have some pretty big balls to publicly take on the head of a state spy agency – I hope he’s checking the brake cables on his Harley every morning.

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  62. trout (914 comments) says:

    Just listened to Larry Williams standing up to Barry Soper on 1ZB. Barry has had an attack of professional jealousy. That a mere blogger should get off his bum and make an OIA request that clarifies an issue that was considered to be front page news a short time ago is just unacceptable. And then Barry attacks the SIS for releasing the paper. Incredible.

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  63. tvb (4,229 comments) says:

    I thought this had died. But then releasing this to Slater has brought the whole issue up again. I do suspect Slater was given a tip to make the request. Now Goff is furiously slagging the SIS. This all has the ring of Winston Peters about it.

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  64. Andrei (2,528 comments) says:

    It’s death by a thousand cuts, not pretty to watch.

    Holy dogshit, though, has Goff lost his marbles? – that press release is freakin credibility suicide.

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  65. Elaycee (4,318 comments) says:

    @trout – I’m sure you’d be aware that Barry Soper is a Labour aligned hack of long standing and he hates the centre – right with a passion. This bias surfaces often during his ‘phone -in’s’ with NewstalkZB hosts – including Larry Williams.

    I suspect that professional jealousy on Soper’s part is behind his bleat complaining how Cameron Slater managed to obtain this info under the OIA, before Soper et al were able to…..

    Hah! :)

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  66. slightlyrighty (2,499 comments) says:

    One question though.

    How can Phil Goff have someone independant in the room to take notes during a meeting with the head of the SIS? The very nature of any information contained in briefing notes requires that any such third party be vetted by the SIS in the first place!

    Plonker……

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  67. slightlyrighty (2,499 comments) says:

    Phil is having a bad day.

    My contacts have confirmed that Phil Goff, as Defence minister, essentially ORDERED the NZ Navy to take delivery of HMNZS Canterbury, OVER THE OBJECTIONS of the navy at that time, due to safety concerns.

    Concerns that were tracigally verified with the death of Able Seaman Solomon on 2007. When people such as Solomons Parent’s say Goff has blood on his hands, they are serious.

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  68. RF (1,318 comments) says:

    Trout & Elaycee.. 100% correct. Soper is a left wing hack from way back. One of the Beast’s spawn.

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  69. flipper (3,754 comments) says:

    DPF…
    A very serious question.
    My understanding that briefings of the PM and LofOp are one on one. Third parties are NOT permitted.
    If this is true it means Goffie is declining all future briefings as prescribed by law.
    Comment?

    [DPF: I don't know. I guess at a minimum the third party would need a top secret security clearance]

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  70. SPC (5,472 comments) says:

    They’ll have to send some replacement instead …

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  71. Johnboy (15,390 comments) says:

    Warren Tucker and Goofie at the next briefing:

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  72. Dyannt (28 comments) says:

    “someone independent in the room to keep a true and accurate record of what is discussed.”

    I would assume that Warren Tucker would enjoy the same privilege.

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  73. Graeme Edgeler (3,273 comments) says:

    And do you not see any difference between say a politician’s distrust (dislike would be fairer) of certain institutions (councils, unions, etc), and publicly accusing the appointed, non-partisan head of the SIS of lying?

    Of course I see a difference. That is not the issue.

    Goff is accusing the head of the SIS (non-partisan etc.) of lying. In doing so, Goff himself may be lying. This is the issue.

    If Goff is lying about Tucker lying then Goff shouldn’t be minister of anything.
    If Goff is telling the truth, then he should go in and clean the place out, because it would be needed.

    Accusing the head of the SIS of lying only implies one shouldn’t be the SIS minister (or the minister of anything) if one is lying oneself. That is where the issue is: “who is lying?”. DPF’s assertion that the mere fact Goff has accused the head of the SIS of lying (irrespective of the accuracy of the claim) somehow precludes him from being their minister is wrong.

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  74. Pete George (23,149 comments) says:

    That is where the issue is: “who is lying?”.

    It’s likely that that will remain a matter on one man’s word against another man’s notes, unless there’s something else that could corroborate either.

    Even if Goff pushed the issue is there any chance he could take his case any further without an admission from Tucker? It’s high risk for him, but maybe he has little to lose.

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  75. ross (1,454 comments) says:

    > And then Barry attacks the SIS for releasing the paper. Incredible.

    Well, I imagine the SIS doesn’t normally release papers. I imagine they make up all sorts of excuses not to release official info. But now that they’ve released this paper, why not release the other relevant documents?

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  76. RKBee (1,344 comments) says:

    Go easy on Goff.. he has all the symptoms of Delusional Disorder.. he believes he’s right and that Labour will win this coming election under his leadership.. just agree with him.. then call the crises team.

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  77. RF (1,318 comments) says:

    Rather than the DPS following Goof it will be men in white coats

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  78. Daigotsu (451 comments) says:

    Fucking faggot Goff

    Why is the SIS briefing the leader of the opposition anyway? It can only harm NZ’s security to do so. Labour do enough damage to New Zealand’s position without being helped along by being given top secret documents. You think Nancy Pelosi gets briefed on what the CIA is up to? What a fucking laughing stock NZ is, fetishising this “accountability” bullshit by handing over secrets to the least accountable people in the counry (eg union-cowtowing Labour politicians who work against democracy in govt and out).

    The fact we have not suffered a terrorist attack is just a sign of how much of an afterthought we are to AlQaeda as much as anyone

    But really if Goff wants to match his reputation against the SIS that is his problem. The NZ public holds the SIS in high esteem as an agency of honest dedicated professionals. They don’t feel the same way about the Labour Party last time I checked (just what do the polls say again…?)

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  79. joana (1,983 comments) says:

    Slater’s vendetta against Goff is tedious and immature.

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