Cunliffe’s catastrophes

June 19th, 2014 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff has counted up Cunliffe’s catastrophes, or gaffes. There’s eight in 10 months which suggests it is the only consistent thing about Labour. They are:

  1. Denying he knew Liu or had ever advocated for him, the day before a letter reveals he did exactly that
  2. Attacked John Key for living in a leafy suburb, while living on the most expensive road in Herne Bay
  3. Setting up a secret trust for his leadership campaign
  4. A misleading speech on the best start policy which falsely claimed 25,000 people would get a payment they wouldn’t
  5. Claiming his grandfather won a medal when it was his great uncle
  6. Breaking electoral law by tweeting on BE-Day for people to vote for the Labour candidate
  7. Posting Grant Robertson’s leadership candidacy statement as his own
  8. A CV which had several “mistakes” in it

Stuff are also running a poll on people’s favourite gaffe. Herne Bay leads with 37%, then the secret trust on 22% and Dong Liu on 19%.

One might add on his statement today as a 9th gaffe. The Herald reports:

Labour leader has issued a veiled warning to his caucus against any move against him, saying he has the support of Labour Party members and affiliates and any who break ranks could be viewed as scabs – workers who break a strike by crossing the picket line.

That’s really going to impress MPs such as Andrew Little – a lifelong unionist. Calling someone a scab is one of the worst insults in the Labour movement, and implying anyone who thinks Cunliffe is not performing well enough as Labour Leader is a scab will go down like cold sick with them.

I understand that two different Labour MPs have confirmed Grant Robertson has the numbers to roll Cunliffe. In fact Grant has had them for a few weeks. But the issue is whether Grant wants the leadership now, or to take it after the election. His preference is to wait, rather than do a Mike Moore. But as his colleagues consider how many of them are set to lose their seats – his hand may be forced.

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66 Responses to “Cunliffe’s catastrophes”

  1. davidp (3,580 comments) says:

    If this were a Disney film then Cunliffe would be animated as a cow, with his caucus animated as a pack of hungry piranhas.

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  2. dishy (245 comments) says:

    I would add this to the list: When asked on the telly last night why we should trust him, all he could say was that he works hard for his constituents. He should have seen a question like that coming, and learned the difference between being honest and being industrious.

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  3. RF (1,380 comments) says:

    Might I suggest a 10th gaffe. Using Judge Judith as his representative here on Kiwibog. She has blown her cover and no further use to him.

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  4. Harriet (4,848 comments) says:

    “……Calling someone a scab is one of the worst insults in the Labour movement, and implying anyone who thinks Cunliffe is not performing well enough as Labour Leader is a scab will go down like cold sick with them…….”

    It’s not a warning from Cunliffe about being rolled……..it’s a warning from Cunliffe about what he’ll say and do after he’s been rolled.

    The Rudd playbook.

    btw. the aussie union bosses call people scabs if they even THINK of talking about HISTORY within the union/labor – maybe THAT’s the warning from Cunnliffe – “I know shit!!”

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  5. redqueen (555 comments) says:

    I’ll need to pop into the supermarket tonight and get more popcorn!

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  6. Redbaiter (8,528 comments) says:

    Grant Robertson as next leader???

    He’s not so gaffe free himself.

    Remember “Alf’s not here tonight”

    Might as well just pack it in and amalgamate with National.

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  7. thedavincimode (6,691 comments) says:

    the most expensive road in Herne Bay

    If not the country.

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  8. fernglas (145 comments) says:

    As a subset of the property in Herne Bay, what about him banging on about Key’s wealth when his annual family income (leader of the opposition plus partner in boutique law firm acting for corporates) must only be dollar or two, if any, south of a million?

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  9. G152 (299 comments) says:

    Those chooks are roosting.
    Goneliffe threatening his ‘buddies’
    Polls finding unprecedented depths..
    A bottle of Cab.sav will add to the entertainment

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  10. coge (187 comments) says:

    Kind of a repeat of the Gillard catastrophe, Rudd was ‘pressed’ into service by MP’s facing unemployment. Including a large swathe of Julia’s sisterhood.

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  11. iMP (2,364 comments) says:

    John Key, prime minister AND Leader of the Opposition. Landing the blows a LoOpp should.

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  12. Zebulon (93 comments) says:

    I see they’re talking abut replacing him with Grant Robertson. He will not rescue the party either. Something is mortally wrong with Labour’s leadership selection process. They must be wanting to spend another term or two in opposition.

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  13. infused (654 comments) says:

    The Standard went in to full panic mode yesterday. So many posts and threads.

    Love it.

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  14. Chuck Bird (4,847 comments) says:

    “Using Judge Judith as his representative here on Kiwibog.”

    You mean the same Judith who think David Bain should get $2 million compo? I wonder if Labour plan on giving Bain the compo thanks to the taxpayers.

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  15. Komata (1,175 comments) says:

    zebulon

    But, but, ‘THE WORKERS’ we’re doing absolutely EVERYTHING for the ‘WORKER’S’ (even living in ‘Two Million dollar’ houses and indulging in ‘capitalist’ activities’ ; and no, we’re NOT being hypocritical, just ‘creating ‘capital’ for ‘the cause’).

    (The fact that we have never actually worked a day in our lives, have absolutely no engagement or empathy with them and live like ‘Rich Pricks’ is of course totally irrelevant; WE say so, therefore it IS correct)

    BTW: In respect of their attitude to ‘The Worker’s’ and use of ‘Wealth’, has anyone else noticed the striking similarities between the activities of the NZLP leadership and those of North Korea, Soviet Russia and the PRC? Perhaps there is a common theme…?

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  16. JC (948 comments) says:

    But Robertson is badly tainted as well because he’s been even worse than Cunliffe in attacking J Collins over links to Chinese and alleging corruption.

    Like Cunny he also needed to do due diligence to avoid embarrassment.

    Of course if there’s no trail to follow then Helen and co were burying links and donations from even their own caucus.

    JC

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  17. tvb (4,360 comments) says:

    The election is 3 months tomorrow. Robertson will not save Labour but the situation looks like minimising the losses. Rudd left the ALP a viable alternative. The way things are now it looks like every male list MP ( because of the female quota rules) will lose their seat except for David Parker who is Deputy.

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  18. Fentex (936 comments) says:

    In the past I’ve thought people who cannot win should be rolled at the first opportunity, even if it only contributes to appearances of disorganization that lose more votes, because effective leaders shouldn’t be scared of losing so much it prevents them from taking charge when they are right to do so, for the lost battle is not the war best fought with better leaders.

    But Labour having apparently erred in panic with dumping Shearer in favour of Cunliffe will likely be a little gun shy now.

    Robertson is badly tainted as well because he’s been even worse than Cunliffe in attacking J Collins over links to Chinese and alleging corruption.

    Only if Robertson has skeletons that will make a hypocrite of him. If he hasn’t then hammering the corruption angle remains solid politics, even useful for him internally if it is a sword he can hold over his own sides head if need be.

    As long as his personal armour is unblemished.

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  19. jp_1983 (207 comments) says:

    Just heard on ZB, the Caucus Whips are doing the numbers on Cunliffe

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  20. Huevon (220 comments) says:

    Robertson’s big advantage is that he will be an “authentic” leader for the Labour party. He is an urbanised, university “educated”, homosexual bureaucrat and so can honestly represent the the 20-25% odd of the electorate that readily identify with him. It would be a huge contrast from the “working man” charade by Cunliffe and his plainly phony “smoko rooms”, “yer mate yer”, “oh fukin A” comments.

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  21. Alan (1,087 comments) says:

    The problem with Grant waiting is two-fold. One a really bad defeat will cause some of his own supporters to lose their seats, second who knows what will happen in the future. In the UK David Milliband waited, then found his moment had passed. The crown doesn’t fall to you, it’s got to be taken.

    If he moves now, he’s blameless for the certain defeat. If he gets them up to 30% he can claim credit for saving seats and giving them a base to build from; a change of leader could be the difference between people like Kelvin Davis being an MP or not. Defeat now doesn’t taint him, he gets another go in 2017 regardless.

    It also gives him a chance to control the labour rankings and reward his supporters with list positions.

    Rudd led Labor to a certain defeat in Australia, but he mitigated the scale of it, it would have been much worse under Julia.

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  22. thedavincimode (6,691 comments) says:

    Actually, Stuff have left one off the list. Anyone remember this?

    I’ve got John Key’s number and he knows it.

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  23. wreck1080 (3,881 comments) says:

    John Key says more dirt is to come.

    Although, I don’t like that kind of approach as it seems nasty.

    Just let the dirt flow, don’t make joyful predictions about it.

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  24. Odakyu-sen (597 comments) says:

    The range of choice that the parties present to the voter is like the range of steering lock on a car.

    At the moment, given National and Labour, the voter only has the choice of turning the steering wheel about 3 degrees either way. Hopefully, with the Conservatives presenting a solid range of policies, the voter will gain the choice of many more degrees to the right. And if the Greens can offer plausible policies, the voter will gain many more degrees to the left.

    It’s hard to steer New Zealand when the steering wheel moves so little either way.

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  25. freethinker (688 comments) says:

    As much as I believe the Current Labour party is totally unfit to become a government the absence of a strong opposition with credible alternative policies is bad for democracy albeit what passes for democracy in many western countries is in reality an elected dictatorship were the power of appointment by a PM grants the PM power beyond that voters find acceptable if only they understood the ramifications.

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  26. ROJ (115 comments) says:

    Its not whether Robertson is the best to front the party.

    Its whether there is a viable party to front.

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  27. PaulL (5,965 comments) says:

    @Odakyu-sen: alternatively, it’s easy to maintain a steady middle of the road course with all the elections decided in the centre. What makes you think the wheel needs swinging so drastically?

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  28. ROJ (115 comments) says:

    I’m (slightly) worried about the demise of Labour in sonewhat the centre of our political spectrum.

    To be sure that Government is held to account, we need a functioning Opposition.

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  29. Chuck Bird (4,847 comments) says:

    “Just heard on ZB, the Caucus Whips are doing the numbers on Cunliffe”

    If Robertson is the new leader it could be interesting. Family First is have a Family Forum on 4 July. They have invited John Key, David Cunliffe, Winston Peters and Colin Craig. Only Cunliffe has not confirmed. I wonder if Robertson would come and if so if he would bring his wife.

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  30. Barnsley Bill (983 comments) says:

    Mike Williams was quoted this morning as saying if there were cash donations they never reached head office.
    Arse covering set to level 10

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  31. Odakyu-sen (597 comments) says:

    Good point, PaulL,

    But it’s nice to have the freedom to choose (even if most people opt for the middle of the road).

    Still, if there’s something nasty coming straight at you on the political highway, it’s nice to be able to swerve around it (even if you only get your hands on the wheel once every three years).

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  32. polemic (460 comments) says:

    Dear Faithful Comrades,

    This is a warning if I here of any of you in the caucus that are not prepared to back me then you will be executed at dawn. I have done the numbers and I know who you are and the action will be swift.

    Long Live the Republic – Your “Current” Supreme Leader Kim Jong Cunners

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  33. RightNow (6,986 comments) says:

    Cunliffe said Key’s comments were “an attempt by the government to discredit Labour”.

    “The only way to change a government that is undertaking this kind of smear campaign is to get behind Labour and get a change,” Cunliffe said.

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/10175979/New-donations-rumours-as-Labour-support-plunges

    Wow, that’s going to go down like a cup of cold sick. The leader of the nasty party says they don’t do smear campaigns. Hilarious. When caught out telling lies, blame John Key and tell another lie.

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  34. greenjacket (459 comments) says:

    I feel sorry for Cunliffe, because the problem isn’t just him but because his party is so utterly incompetent. Consider the attempted Oravida attack. A normal political party before making this would (a) ask the parliamentary library for all media on Oravida, Liu and his wife; (b) had OIAs to relevant government departments on Oravida, Liu and his wife; and (c) check the Labour Party for any connections/donations from Oravida, Liu and his wife. This is just basic political research. You don’t make an attack on the opposing party without first doing basic research. Incredibly, the Labour Party didn’t do this.
    I am just continually amazed at how completely amateurish the Labour Party has become.

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  35. Richard Hurst (841 comments) says:

    No one is going to move on Cunliffe’s leadership before the election- you don’t volunteer to be captain when the ship has already hit the rocks and is sinking, you make for the life boats. Various Labour list MP’s will right now be busy securing employment for after the election mostly in Unions, quango’s, charitable organisations, Community Trusts, academic posts and if they’re really desperate: teaching etc.

    Yes a number of Labour list MP’s will be missing their $150,000 plus pay-packets after this year’s election but those still young enough will be anticipating a return once Cunliffe quietly resigns post 2014 and John Key looks forward to retirement from politics 3 years from now after what will be 9 years of being PM.

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  36. wreck1080 (3,881 comments) says:

    @greenjacket:”I am just continually amazed at how completely amateurish the Labour Party has become”

    I’m not amazed.

    Labour reject candidates that don’t fit the right gender/sexual preference/race/union.

    Instead of just selecting the most qualified persons.

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  37. DJP6-25 (1,376 comments) says:

    Not so good for Labour then. Definitely good for NZ though.

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  38. Paulus (2,607 comments) says:

    Question – Following the Election will Robertson have the support of Helen Kelly, because that is what matters, not what his Caucus and Rainbow followers want. It is still well believed in Parliamentary circles that he has been behind two leadership destabilisations along with his camp followers. Clark, Simpson, and their coterie trained him well in subversion.
    After the Party changes it is the Unions that matter not the Caucus.
    It would not surprise me to see Kelly drafted in – she does not have to be an MP remember, with Little as her Parliamentary Deputy.

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  39. deckboy (18 comments) says:

    If Labour replace Cunliffe after the election with Robertson, they will be in opposition for a long time. The Country had enough homosexual shenanigans under Helen Clark and would not stand for a homosexual PM and a male “first lady” representing us Internationally.

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  40. David Garrett (7,110 comments) says:

    DPF: You say Robertson’s hand could be “forced”…surely no-one can MAKE him do a Mike Moore?? And I agree with everyone else that it would be senseless for him to take over now and take a fall he doesn’t need to take..

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  41. mikenmild (11,247 comments) says:

    Homophobia gets upticks, it seems.

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  42. Komata (1,175 comments) says:

    Very, very very frustrating, and almost an ‘own goal’.

    IF radio red’s 1200 report is to be believed, then Messers. Key and English have presented two differing views as to when the ‘Cunnliffe / Liu’ letter was known about.

    Not quite handing the opposition an ‘out’ (and RR is already gleefully trumpeting it) but the timing is appalling. Surely this could have been coordinated?

    Not good at all…

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  43. flipper (3,979 comments) says:

    Komata (1,052 comments) says:

    June 19th, 2014 at 12:09 pm

    Very, very very frustrating, and almost an ‘own goal’
    *****

    Nitty picking at best…. BUT…

    Remind me…how big is red radio’s listening audience? Is it 8 or 10% ?

    Anyway….what does it matter if JK in New York says something slightly different to WE in Wellington?

    One imagines that as soon as the Liu shit hit the M Williamson fan, Liu’s file would have been checked by someone who would report to the Minister.

    But it all goes back to throwing mud….

    Does anyone remember the wonderful Giles cartoon… ‘Well, Al threw a little paste at Bill, so Bill threw some back, and it hi Pete, who threw some at Al and Bill…….”

    Lesson? Throw shit…or paste. :-)

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  44. flipper (3,979 comments) says:

    greenjacket (383 comments) says:

    June 19th, 2014 at 11:17 am

    *****

    But you forget…

    They believe they have a divine right to rule…and that National is as legitimate as Oliver Cromwell…. :-)

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  45. Komata (1,175 comments) says:

    Flipper

    Yes, I DO remember the Giles cartoon. An absolute classic (but then Giles always was wonderful and exceedingly accurate; would that Tom Scott et al would follow his example)

    The Cromwell comparison is great, although I suspect that Charles I would somewhat disagree. Charles II of course wouldn’t.

    (Not sure about Charles III though;- time will tell, when and if mummy allows him to) . . .

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  46. goldnkiwi (1,276 comments) says:

    Re the Leadership provisions regarding Labour’s leadership available from tomorrow. Couldn’t a leadership search be a good way of electioneering? Plenty of press interest etc everyone is going to be politicking anyway.

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  47. ShawnLH (4,600 comments) says:

    Robertson is not Labour’s answer. I saw him this morning on Breakfast (TV1) and he was appallingly bad. He sounded every bit as false as Cunliffe.

    Labour is done for this election.

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  48. Simon (697 comments) says:

    From captain mumble fuck to captain cluster fuck.

    The man should have his own tv show.

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  49. Nukuleka (307 comments) says:

    I can’t wait for Robertson to topple Cunliffe- Grant and Alf, New Zild’s very own answer to Barack and Michelle.

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  50. David Garrett (7,110 comments) says:

    Have we established as fact yet that the shady Mr Liu was never “a constituent” of Cunliffe’s??

    What the latest on the money trail vis a vis Liu and Cunliffe??

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  51. OneTrack (3,020 comments) says:

    ROJ – “To be sure that Government is held to account, we need a functioning Opposition.”

    But the Labour “opposition” haven’t been holding the government to account, for the last six years. They have been focussing on what lefties apparently live for, and that is to dig dirt and throw it around, and try and get themselves into power. Was there any considered critical analysis of the governments policies over those years – no there wasnt. They would make vague. generalisations anout something being “bad” and then they would usually talk about repealing the policy when they got in.

    The classic was probably the glass of milk saga – what the hell were they trying to prove. To me, it proved they have nothing else.

    No, Labour just focussed on the their tribe is better than the other tribe, gotcha politics.

    The real “Opposition” over most of that period has been the Greens.

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  52. OneTrack (3,020 comments) says:

    tdvm – ”
    Actually, Stuff have left one off the list. Anyone remember this?

    I’ve got John Key’s number and he knows it.

    There is another one. He was going to fix the banks, or Google (cant remember which), by calling them into his office and giving them the hard word, like some sort of mafia don.

    “Well, we can do this the easy way or the hard way…”

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  53. thedavincimode (6,691 comments) says:

    OneTrack

    Was it something to do with the Pike River owners? The prospect of a stern dressing down from cunners was going to release bucket loads of cash – even though he didn’t have a leg to stand on??

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  54. OneTrack (3,020 comments) says:

    tvdm – Yes, you might be right about it being Pike River. All I really remember was thinking , “oh my god, what an idiot”.

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  55. igm (1,413 comments) says:

    Tojo Cunliffe’s theme: “Ya Can’t Touch Me I’m Part of the Union”.

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  56. Yogibear (361 comments) says:

    The difference between the Mike Moore situation and where this sorry lot find themselves is Moore got to be Prime Minister, with the associated lift he got in terms of his chances with the World Trade Organisation.

    There is no upside for any aspiring leader in this sorry mess.

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  57. Yogibear (361 comments) says:

    My other observation – which will be really fun to watch, is seeing the potential for the left to turn on themselves.

    Labour is clearly in damage control now until after the election and the question must be – where is it easiest to get the votes to minimise the damage?

    Any hint of a deal in electorates like TTT must surely be goneburger now with the party throwing its full weight into electorates that they think they might have a chance of winning.

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  58. publicwatchdog (2,516 comments) says:

    I’m not clear on how Cunliffes letter asking for a processing timeframe equals ‘advocacy’ for Bill Liu for which Cunliffe should resign? Looks like a bit of a ‘beat up’ to me. Far more importantly, in my view, is why NZ PM John Key still has confidence in his Minister of Justice Judith Collins when her ‘Organised Crime & Anti-Corruption Legislation Bill’ – which would entrench a domestic anti-corruption legislative framework in place – hasn’t even been introduced into the House? Still waiting for mainstream media to give this the public attention it deserves – given that NZ is perceived to be the least corrupt country in the word and all that CRAP? Penny Bright

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  59. PaulL (5,965 comments) says:

    We’re also missing the “we’re going to shut down Facebook” gaffe. That was pretty special too.

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  60. Pete George (23,474 comments) says:

    A value has been put on the rumour:

    And it will get worse for Labour when the rumoured $300k issue emerges.

    Meanwhile heralding tomorrow’s news:

    Tim Murphy:

    Donghua Liu: more details in @nzherald tomorrow on the Labour minister and the chartered boat trip up the Yangtze River.

    Will the avalanche of backliuash have Grant Robertson saying “bugger” or quietly congratulating himself?

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  61. Yogibear (361 comments) says:

    Penny – you’ve clearly never been a diligent employee of a government (if you had you’d have a stronger grasp of the issue of “cross-subsidisation” and the fact your non-payment of rates simply increases the price everyone else has to pay).

    The Cunliffe letter is classic passive-aggressive political pressure, which any immigration official would take very seriously if it came across their desk.

    1: The Letterhead

    2: In identifying the constituent is concerned, Cunliffe himself is implicitly echoing that concern.

    3: The comments around the value of Liu’s business are a clear indication that the MP thinks this is a highly valued applicant.

    4: Then the platitude “i know you guys are busy”, followed by the “but”.

    Any official who had the slightest understanding of how the game is played would read this letter as:

    1:Shit just got political on you public servants.
    2: This is an important donor, whoops, I mean “man”.
    3: Hurry the fuck up and make the right decision (which I do not need to spell out for you idiots)

    Its advocacy in my book and to think otherwise is just naive.

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  62. greenjacket (459 comments) says:

    Penny – instead of commenting on this blog, how about you work so you can pay off your rates.

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  63. big bruv (13,718 comments) says:

    Penny

    Let me see if I have this right. You are only interested in fighting “corruption” if it is a right winger in your sights, or if it means you can weasel out of paying a bill?

    Would that be right?

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  64. Yogibear (361 comments) says:

    Loving the photo in the Herald at the moment.

    Cunliffe looks like a younger, less gin addled Muldoon, and Parker in the background looks like he’s meditating and trying to create a positive aura.

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  65. publicwatchdog (2,516 comments) says:

    I’m focused on the BIG stuff. How can NZ be ‘perceived’ to be the least corrupt country in the world – when NZ has yet to RATIFY the UN Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) – we can’t because CORRUPT (in my considered opinion) Minister of Justice Judith Collins has yet to introduce her ‘Organised Crime & Anti-Corruption Legislation Bill’ – despite having promised Transparency International NZ in writing (7 August 2013) that this Bill would be introduced in 2013? How useless is Judith Collins as Minister of Justice? How useless is PM John
    Key defending yet another indefensible Minister? Penny Bright

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  66. pejhay (28 comments) says:

    Penny, as a qualified rich prick, I’d like to offer to pay your rates for you…
    All I need is your rates account number, and your credit card details. I’ll do it for you…

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