Thursday, September 25, 2014

Dirty politics continues as usual

Two of the central allegations of Nicky Hager's Dirty Politics were that the National Party was using a "two track" strategy of using "independent" bloggers such as Cameron Slater and David Farrar to deniably smear its opponents and intimidate its critics while keeping John Key's hands clean, and that it exercised a two tier system of access to official information, whereby it was withheld from critics but provided freely to its friends (including those deniable attack bloggers) to scoop or discredit the former.

We had a great example of the former before the election. Anne Tolley released an anti-gang strategy, but the numbers in it were deeply dubious. When sociologist Jarrod Gilbert pointed this out, he was repeatedly smeared by Farrar in an effort to silence him.

And now we have an example of the second. Because it turned out the Minister's figures were wrong. And news of this was leaked to Farrar early, so he could premptively apologise and forestall criticism.

In other words, despite a book detailing National's dirty tactics, they're still using them. And they'll keep doing it until voters start punishing them for it.

(Someone is looking into this, but no doubt they'll be told that the Minister was wearign her "MP" hat, even though she was providing official information which she does not legally hold or have access to in that role).