Skip to content

John Armstrong buys into Labour spin?


invisible hit counter


Adam has just read John Armstrong’s article on the ‘neutron bomb’ in today’s NZ Herald. He is disappointed in the tone and content.

The article is headlined ‘Grist to the mill for Clark’ and starts:-

History repeats – but not quite. John Key has been blindsided by something from his past. It has happened at the exact same stage of the election campaign that Don Brash came a cropper in 2005 – nine days out from polling day when voters are firming up their choices.

The repercussions for Key are unlikely to be anywhere near as serious, however.

Well excuse me, but according to the OED the definition of blindsided is, in this context:-

taken unawares

Hardly, given that Key had spoken previously to the Herald on this issue. Adam assumes that Key and National will have expected another attempt by Labour to raise this issue. So why write as if this is all a surprise?

Armstrong writes:-

The charge that National’s current leader has misled the public over the dates when he was working as a foreign exchange dealer for Elders Merchant Finance in the 1980s is nowhere near in the same league. (referring here to Don Brash and the Exclusive Brethren)

Well actually that is not quite what Labour sought to imply as this snide and palpable smear by Pete Hodgson makes clear:-

Labour minister and campaign strategist Pete Hodgson was more forthcoming: “Either [the Herald] have been misled or the Serious Fraud Office has been misled – I don’t know. If the SFO has been willingly misled, issues of perjury arise, but I’m a veterinarian, not a lawyer.”

Hodgson seeks not only to smear Key here – accusing him by implication if not directly of perjury, but to denigrate the SFO and accuse the then SFO head – Charles Sturt of colluding with a 27 year old forex dealer, what a crock and the media have not called Hodgson or Labour on this.

Sturt is then quoted:-

Former head of the Serious Fraud Office Charles Sturt, who interviewed Mr Key about the transactions told Radio New Zealand this morning the National party leader was never involved.

“John Key was simply one of scores of innocent people interviewed by the SFO in this investigation.”

There was “not a scintilla of evidence” linking him to anything untoward, Mr Sturt said.

Sturt is categoric that Key was not involved. So Hodgson in his grubby little way attempted to smear Key and Sturt. Labour seem to have a real thing about the SFO, just what are they afraid of?

Armstrong does not deal with that smear or it’s demonstrated falsity, no.

But to go back to Armstrong, who a bit later in his article writes:-

However, the discrepancy over the dates when Key said he had left Elders and when he did leave does offer further grist to Labour’s efforts to paint him as “Slippery John” – someone whose story varies according to circumstances.

It gives Helen Clark fresh ammunition to fire in the two televised leaders’ debates in the final week of the campaign.

Adam does not understand this.

Frequently for business reasons, Adam updates his CV. Recently, he noticed that there was a discrepancy of some 6 months, concerning a period some 4/5 years ago as to when he finished a role, between versions. Without getting his former employers to check HR records Adam is unsure at this time which is the definitive date, but in reality it does not really matter. In the same way John Key made an error over dates from 20 years ago, so what.

Helen Clark seems to have recall problems from dates far more recent than that, when it comes to Peters and Glenn. Why do the media not call her to account on that.

Why not focus on the attempt to smear Key and the demonstrable mendacity of Hodgson, why focus on a silly error over dates.

John Armstrong writes in his concluding paragraphs:-

As many, if not more people will see Key’s confusion over the dates as a simple memory lapse as will consider it an attempt to conceal the truth.

Conceal what truth? Given that there is no evidence that Key was involved in wrongdoing, there is no truth to conceal.

Yet by using that phrase, Armstrong will have created in some readers’ minds the perception that Key has something to hide. That is not good enough, as in effect Armstrong is reinforcing the Labour spin.

Labour has to weigh up whether arguing Key has failed to be straight with the public might instead backfire on the party, given Williams was obviously digging for dirt.

How can they argue Key was not straight with the public, he made a mistake over dates from 20 years ago. So what! Yet again the media seem to be buying into the spin from Labour.

Why are the media not asking questions about why the party campaigning on trust is the one with all the sleaze, the dodgy coalition partners, the breaches of the EFA?

  1. adamsmith1922 permalink*
    30/10/2008 16:25


    That is interesting, I will have to listen to the podcast and perhaps link to it


  2. 30/10/2008 16:19

    John Armstrong has just said on the panel on National Radio that this has backfired on Labour.


  3. adamsmith1922 permalink*
    30/10/2008 12:17

    The media are lapping up the Labour spin. Why Clark persists with the fiction of the Herald as a Tory rah!

    TVNZ News keeps running the Key story as if there is some truth to it, though in the latest iteration there is some questioning over Mike Williams involvement, but they are still not asking hard questions of Labour


  4. monkey boy permalink
    30/10/2008 12:03

    John Hamstrung of The Herald once more moonlights as Labour PR parrot-wannabee, and we are suprised , …. because…??
    checkout ‘John Hamstrung’ labels on Monkeys with Typewriters – This dude has a distinguished history of this kind of thing.


  5. Buggerlugs permalink
    30/10/2008 12:02

    I used tio have a lot of respect for Armstrong, but can’t be bothered reading him these days…he’s not a bellwether for the electorate, that’s for sure…


  6. bobux permalink
    30/10/2008 11:35

    The teasers on the Herald website implied there was serious substance to the story. When it saw the light of day, not only was there no fire, there wasn’t any smoke either.

    Rereading the Armstrong piece, I wonder if it was written when the Herald believed there was actual evidence of wrongdoing on Key’s part. Then hastily updated when the complete lack of substance became clear. The ‘blindsided’ into makes no sense when you read the following para, let alone the rest of the article.

    The DomPost described now someone has been anonymously stuffing old Equitcorp documents into a reporter’s mailbox in an attempt to smear Key. That is the real story – who has engineered the smear, and whose money has been spent on it.


Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: