National Party Congress breakout: How to Deal with a Scandal

This weekend many hundreds of National Party delegates have descended on Wellington for the party’s pre-election congress. Apart from sounding slightly rude, this gathering is designed to pump the troops before the cut and thrust of this year’s, undoubtedly, turgid election campaign. MyThinks was lucky enough to stumble on a random lanyard outside the Michael Fowler Centre and we were able to gain access to a presentation from Sir Linton Crosby an unnamed public relations consultant on how the party might deal with any morally questionable issues that might arise ahead of the election.

Good afternoon cobbers. I’m not one to mess about with gratuitous platitudes. Thanks for coming and let’s get stuck into it. Good to see you here Todd. Better late than never.

So you’re all here today, so many, many of you, to find out how we might deal with any scandals and such like that might pop up between now and the election. I mean, we are all conservative Tories here, aren’t we? We’ve all, at some point in our lives, destroyed someone less fortunate than ourselves? I know I have. So it’s important that you have a suitable war-chest to dive into when this inevitably happens. 

So here we go with a bunch of things you can do if you’re ever caught a bit short in the ethics department. 

Number 1 – Deny, deny deny: As soon as a journalist asks you a tricky question just deny. A good word to use is refute. Say something like, “I absolutely refute the alleged allegations against me.” It’s important that you don’t use the word deny because it rhymes with lie and you don’t want the journalist to pop up a day or two later with a transcript of the recording you were denying.

Number 2 – Memory loss: if you are certain the events actually happened and you know for a fact there is a paper trail or some kind of proof, then it’s important that you have some of the sudden memory loss associated with a severe brain injury. You might say, “Look… I’m a very busy politician looking after all of those people who are less fortunate than me, you know, helping them up and so on. I can’t be expected to recall every little detail of my life.” Then if the paper trail does appear at some point you have a bit of wriggle room.

Number 3 – Absolutely no comment: this is a great strategy to use when there you would rather not say anything. Phrases like, “I’m unable to comment on an ongoing police investigation” work particularly well if you are the subject of an ongoing police investigation.

Number 4 – It’s not illegal: Sometimes, when something is illegal, it’s a good idea to get a lawyer or someone with an important sounding name (like Professor such-and-such, for example) to get out into the media and question whether something is technically illegal. This is a great strategy to create reasonable doubt, especially when there is a clip of your former leader admitting that exact activity is illegal. Two people saying different things. Which one is right? We will never know.

Number 5 – Under the bus: If you’ve tried all the above, then try getting rid of someone. You know, this week Todd fell on his sword for the good of the party. It was important that he go because he was causing damage. But what could he have done? Todd might have sacked one of his office staff by saying he received bad advice. I mean look at Jason Ede and WhaleOil… they were dumped three years ago during Dirty Politics and where are they now? Who can say?

Number 5 – Distraction: Also known as the “But Look at What Labour is Doing” defence. Get one of your blogger friends to post something along the lines of what you did wasn’t that bad quickly followed by some retweets of someone moaning about something the Labour Party has done (even if the thing the Labour Party did was totally legal and absolutely fine). Then “leak” some details to one of your journalist mates. Hopefully they run with it.

Well… that’s about all from me today. You know, the media, especially the billionaire media, can be your best friend, but sometimes that doesn’t work out. If you’re in a continued spot of bother, under siege and all else has failed, fall back on number 1 – Deny, deny, deny. Remember… it’s not a scandal until you’re drowning in Da-Nile.

Thanks very much.


Todd Barclay, Bill English and the OUTRAGE that is the Labour Party

This week has been an interesting week in New Zealand politics. Here at MyThinks we thought we would ask our alt-right correspondent Richard Sevenhouses to pen a few words on his thoughts. Over to you Dick.

This week started out fine. I was enjoying chardonnay under a reddening sky on the deck of one of my beach homes. Then suddenly Clutha-Southland MP and everyone’s favourite twelve-year-old Todd Barclay got into a bit of strife after it emerged he’d left his phone on the table next to an electorate worker accidentally on purpose.

Now, yes he has denied this for a year or so, and yes, the Prime Minister has known about it for just as long and yes, the PM confirmed he had made a statement to police saying Barclay had told him there was a recording after initially saying he couldn’t remember and yes, Barclay then confirmed Bill English’s story that he had told English there was a recording when he’d been denying it all along.

This issue got all the political editors frothing at the mouth but at the end of the day the only people who care about this are those political junkies in the Aro Valley beltway and a couple of far-left Twitters. Nobody else, particularly me and my old mate Hosking, give a flying hooha about this. If you go up to the man on the street and ask him whether he cares about honest Bill English being a liar they’ll tell you they don’t. I’d stake my high-rise investment apartments on it.

Then we have the absolute horror of the Labour Party bringing in a bunch of slaves to work in a call centre doing their dirty work. This is absolutely outrageous. If I was one of those interns and I’d been flown halfway around the world for free and given the opportunity to have a unique cultural experience for free and then been given the chance to gain valuable life and work experience for free, I’d be absolutely gutted as well.

The Labour Party should be ashamed of themselves for not only creating this mess in the first place but having the audacity to own up to it and start dealing with the problem straight away.

Why not sweep it under the carpet for a year and hope no-one finds out? That’s what a real political organisation would do.

Goodbye and enjoy your weekend.

Queen’s Birthday honours list – the full details

Here at the New Zealand Herald we are committed to quality journalism trawled from the finest celebrity twitter feeds. As we all know, there are many, many wonderful New Zealanders who work tirelessly for those less fortunate members of our society. If you want to see their names you can just scroll down to the bottom of the page. If, like us, you want to celebrate all the new knights and dames and other people who’ve been part of our editor’s inner circle for the past decade or so, then start from the top. 

Knight Grand Companions of the British Empire

The Right Honourable Sir John Key – for services to Iminim: the former National Party leader and Prime Minister of New Zealand continues a long-held tradition of former National Party leaders who’ve received a Knighthood for leaving the party to give someone else a turn at going for a Knighthood.

Dame Companions of the British Empire

Dame Julie Christie – for services to reality television: the queen of New Zealand’s reality television industry has been made a dame by the Queen of the British Empire. She reports being thrilled and humbled by the honour adding she is the greatest thing ever to happen to the DCBE.

Other Honours

There wasn’t really much else to report this year. Former Alliance Party boss Jim Anderton got an award, but he’s from the other side so we’re not going to say too much about that. There were loads of people who worked with kids and the poor but we ran out column inches because of a Bachelor recap special we thought would generate more clicks.

See you at New Year.

Have YOU ever heard of The The?

I have been, recently, thinking back to the first concert I ever went to as a 19-year-old. Held in the Wellington Town Hall it blew my mind. Originally the plan involved us heading to the capital to attend an All Black’s test at Athletic Park. A friend suggested we also head to the concert because it happened to be occurring later that evening. And so a life-long love with Matt Johnson and The The was created.

As an aside, I find the majority of people I speak to about The The have either never heard of them or absolutely adore them. There appears to be no in-between.

Last month The The released their first new music in a long, long time. First it was released only in the UK in a run of 2000 (old skool vinals) singles. The likes of me currently living in South Canterbury had no chance. Thanks to Spotify (and, I imagine, the massive demand from fans), the song is now online. Yesterday it reached its algorithmic tendrils out towards me suggesting I might want to listen. Indeed I did. It’s a beautiful song – I said so much in a tweet.

As another aside, Twitter really does fill you with awe and wonder when you get a like from your favourite band.

This new music from The The has led to the UK Guardian to feature the band in their 10 of the Best series. Have a squizz.

With that in mind, I thought I would do my own “10 of the best.” This isn’t countdown from lowest to highest – they are all first equal. I have ordered them by year of release.

1. Giant

Time has removed much of the concert from my memory banks. This song remains. A 10 minute epic near the end of Soul Mining turned into a half hour encore (probably 15 minutes max).

1. This is the Day

“You didn’t wake up this morning because you didn’t go to bed. You were watching the whites of your eyes turn red.” Imagine just standing at the bathroom mirror for the entire night wondering about your life. Matt Johnson lyrics never disappoint – and that’s just the opening of this song about a hard life being touched with just a hint of optimism.

1. Perfect

The melody belies the message in this song about the most perfect English day.

1. Heartland

This is the 51st state of the USA – indeed. As we move into a world of Trump and May (?), who can forget the 1980s when Regan and Thatcher were having a similar love in?

1. Sweet Bird of Truth

Another song with the live performance etched into my memory. A song of a solder heading to certain doom in yet another futile ware. This also makes the list because it rocks.

1. The Beat(en) Generation

I was listening to this yesterday and again I can’t help thinking how Matt so cunningly hides dark messages within a perfectly constructed 3 minute pop song. “The beaten generation. Reared on a diet of prejudice and misinformation.” Sound like current UK times much?

1. Armageddon Days (are here again)

A song about religious conflict written years before 9/11, Bush, Blair, Iraq or Afghanistan. So very prophetic.

1. Slow Emotion Replay

This one makes the list because it’s all groove. Harmonica, Johnny Marr guitar and lyrics about life. What more could you want?

1. I saw the Light

When The The released an album of Hank Williams covers I had to find out who Hank Williams was. This was before Google. It took ages.

1. We Can’t Stop What’s Coming

This new song makes its way into this list because it is so lovely. A tribute to his late brother Andy, responsible for much of the artwork on early albums and singles (some of which was banned). A gorgeous and glorious re-entry.

Enjoy and share. In these days of Spotify and Apple Music and whatever the one Jay-Z set up is called and nobody ever uses, word of mouth is just as important as algorithmic tendrils.

Boon x