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.