From B-Rabbit to B-ugger off. The rise and fall of Metiria Turei

metiria-turei-green-coleader-gettyimages-683224106

When Metiria Turei spoke of how when she was a solo mum she lied to her Work and Income case worker about how many people she was flatting with, and so, what her accommodation costs actually were I thought ‘risky move’. However the move ended up being genius for a couple of reasons.

The first was that there was a ground swell of support behind Turei from those who have been on benefits and those who sympathise for lower income families. It also gave us the incredibly popular #IamMetiria hashtag. The second was that it’s difficult to criticise someone who is looking to get some extra money to feed their kids…without looking like a bit of a cock and so what you saw was very few attacks from the right about her statement. Also it it very unlikely that anyone in parliament has not fudged some government department somewhere, at sometime, to their own ends and help them financially. Whether it was a student allowance, or a business write off, or a cash job, or a family benefit most, if not all of NZ adults, will have done something…so if you’re going to throw stones at Metiria you better be ‘sinless’

In her inadvertent honesty, Metira Turei had pulled off a ‘B-Rabbit’ moment. You remember B-Rabbit, he is Eminem’s character in the movie 8 Mile. In the movie rappers come together to battle, freestyling lyrics that cut down their opponent to size, mock them, and leave them a (proverbial) bloody mess on the floor. Well in the films finale, B-Rabbit flips the table and mocks himself viciously (NSFW).

I know everything he’s ’bout to say against me
I am white, I am a fucking bum
I do live in a trailer with my mom
My boy Future is an Uncle Tom
I do got a dumb friend named Cheddar Bob
Who shoots himself in his leg with his own gun
I did get jumped by all six of you chumps
And Wink did fuck my girl
I’m still standing here screaming, “Fuck the Free World!”
Don’t ever try to judge me, dude
You don’t know what the fuck I’ve been through

B-Rabbit, 8 Mile

At the end of the battle, B-Rabbit’s opponent has nothing left to throw at him and bows out of the competition in silence.

With the admission of benefit fraud Metiria Turei has put her ugly, uncomfortable truth on the table and left nothing for her opponents to throw at her.

I am interested to know whether the admission was a planned event, or an off the cuff statement which landed well with the public. If it was planned then that person needs a pay rise, if it was an off the cuff statement then Turei, and the Greens, hit that one thing that every politician aspires to, a grassroots movement, with a catchy slogan and a viral element.

However, as they say, a week is a long time in politics.

The feeling I get is that perhaps the ‘B-Rabbit’ moment was unplanned, yet very successful so, after it came out that she had committed electoral fraud, maybe Turei thought speaking openly and honestly about falsifying an address she was living at, to vote in an electorate she wasn’t entitled to, would add to the grassroots viral movement. It did not.

Falsifying ones address for the sake of voting in an electorate you are not entitled to is serious and very few people will have done it or at the very least, will have done it to add a vote to a specific candidate. Maybe people have moved and not updated their details etc…but Turei has admitted she did it to specifically vote for someone she was not entitled to. It was a calculated move to defraud the electoral system.

It’s also something that every politician can now put in their cannon and fire it at Turei without fear of reprisal.

We now hear that tonight the Greens are in turmoil with the resignation of two MPs who insisted that Turei resign over these two stories combined. I suspect if the latter had not come out there would have been no insistence by some for Turei to bugger off.

So where to from here?

If there are more Green MPs that insist on Turei resigning, then there will be significant issues for the Greens heading into the next six weeks…not ‘not getting into parliament‘ issues…but, along with the rise and rise of Jacinda Adern, the ‘dropping from 15% to 9%‘ kind of issues.

Voters do not like a sense of trouble in the camp close to an election, just ask Colin Craig, so if this story is not quashed very, very quickly it will be very, very bad for the Greens. How bad only time will tell.

Questions for the media to ask Colin Craig

Dear NZ Media,

After my post yesterday about Colin Craig and his booklet being ‘spammed’ across NZ, I’ve noticed talkback lines lighting up today with people asking, “why did we get a Colin Craig pamphlet when we have a ‘no junk mail’ sticker on our letter box?” A question that I answered yesterday in some detail including the possibility that Mr. Craig may face a financial penalty for said pamphlet going into those letterboxes, but to recap for those who missed it.

  1. Colin Craig pamphlet arrived in my letterbox
  2. I questioned on Facebook if anyone else received it, and in the conversation it came up that it was being put into ‘no junk mail’ letterboxes
  3. I wrote a blog piece on this happening to me and passed on information about the Marketing Association‘s Mailbox Help, which is a group set up to investigate this kind of occurrence where I was told they had many complaints the length of the country.
  4. Soon after my post was uploaded, a reader gave me information that explained that Reach Media had given instructions to it’s delivery people to ‘include all no circ letterboxes’
  5. I contacted Reach Media and was informed it was booked as a ‘Government piece’ which can legally be placed in letter boxes with ‘no junk mail’ stickers
  6. Reach Media admitted when they took the booking, categorising it as ‘Government piece’ they didn’t know what the item was
  7. The individual I spoke to at Reach Media acknowledged, knowing the product now, that it wasn’t eligible to be a ‘Government piece’.

I heard an interview with Mr. Craig today with the host asking him why he was sending junk mail to all of New Zealand, an interview that unfortunately didn’t ask the pertinent questions that Mr. Craig should be answering about his pamphlet, so as an…ahem…international award winning producer, writer and broadcaster 😉 I’d like to offer my services as set up producer to member of the media who interviews Mr. Craig about this, by offering you the following questions to ask on behalf of the rest of New Zealand.

  1. Why is your pamphlet being put in letter boxes with ‘no junk mail’ stickers on them?
  2. Who decided to categorise this pamphlet as a ‘Government piece’ at Reach Media giving your pamphlet the ability to get around the ‘no junk mail’ rule?
  3. Do you consider that this pamphlet, that is authorized by you and your wife, is correctly categorised as a ‘Government piece’?
  4. Are you aware that a watchdog group in the Marketing Association is getting complaints from up and down the country about your pamphlet?
  5. Are you aware that you could be in breach of local bylaws by having this pamphlet delivered to letter boxes with ‘no junk mail’ stickers on them, bylaws that in some regions can carry a fine of up to $20,000?
  6. Are you aware that along with a fine, if investigated and found to be in breach, you may need to offer a formal public apology?
  7. Would you like to offer that apology now?

You’re welcome to the questions, you don’t need to credit me, but if Duncan or Larry or Mike or Guyon or Sean or anyone get a chance to ask the questions of Mr. Craig then we, the public of New Zealand, would appreciate it.

Colin Craig, at risk of a $20,000 fine for ‘spamming’ NZ with his ‘Dirty Politics’ booklet

I put on my Facebook page yesterday that I had received a copy of Colin Craig’s ‘Dirty Politics’ booklet in my letterbox and asked people of Dunedin if I was lucky enough to be singled out (a little paranoid I know) or if anyone else received it as well.

Colin Craig FBI was more than a little surprised to find out that not only did I, and others from Dunedin receive it, but also people in Winton, Tauranga, Auckland, Gisborne, Kaitaia, Timaru, Christchurch, Hastings, Napier and Mangawhai get the glossy 12 pager. Since that Facebook post I have had confirmed to me by a source that in fact it’s gone or going to every household in New Zealand. That’s 1.8 million residences.

Someone mentioned in a comment that they had received a copy of the booklet even though they have a ‘no circulars’ sticker on their letterbox, which reminded me that we have a ‘no junk mail’ on ours. So with a little research I found out that it is an offence to deliver unsolicited mail to a letterbox that has a notification on it informing that they don’t want any. The Marketing Association has a sector called  Mailbox Help designed to sort out situations like this, they work alongside groups like NZ Post. If you’re interested you can get hold of Mailbox Help for whatever reason you want on 0800 111 081.

I spoke with Mailbox Help and they informed me that they have had complaints about Colin Craig’s booklet from Kaitaia to Dunedin. I asked what happens next and they said that it was likely that they would be undertaking a ‘severe investigation’ as there had been so many complaints. If after the investigation it’s decided that Mr. Craig has committed an offence he could be fined up to $20,000 and made to either retract his deliveries or stop them all together. In layman’s terms if this timeline was to happen it’s likely that Colin Craig may face a financial penalty then have to issue a public apology to, what can only be described as, spamming the whole of New Zealand.

The above may make people smirk, but there is also a much more serious element to the delivery of these booklets and it’s two fold. The first is that Mr. Craig is claiming defamation against Cameron Slater, John Stringer and Jordan Williams. Defamation is a jury trial but with sending out this booklet to, what would appear to be, the whole of New Zealand Mr. Craig has made it impossible for a jury to be formed that has not been influenced by himself for his own gain. Secondly, there has been counter-claims by the three accused that this booklet is defamatory and that they potentially, as a group or individually, may take legal action against Mr. Craig themselves. If indeed this 12 page booklet contains inaccuracies attributed to anyone of the three then surely Colin Craig has now opened himself up to a significant legal action. I also note that the Conservative Party and Newstalk ZB have taken down links to the booklet, so maybe one can assert that they are asking the same questions about it as well?

Finally I just want to touch on a post I wrote a couple of days ago asking if Colin Craig was an innocent victim here, or maybe had narcissistic tendencies. I don’t know, and am not qualified to make that conclusion definitively however i just want you to think now about what has happened over the last few days.

A man who has never won a political position but spent (if you include the booklet) several million dollars trying to do so, who is always 100% assured of his success and who believes that what is happening to him personally is of vital importance to all of NZ as shown in his press conference of July 29th…

Either the dirty politics brigade is telling the truth or I am. The New Zealand public need certainty about the truth of these claims. This is about who is honest. Is Colin Craig telling the truth or is it the Dirty Politics Brigade. Let the courts judge this matter so we know whom to trust.

…has made accusations that he has been personally wronged.

So what is a narcissistic? According to PsychCentral.com some of the characteristics of someone with Narcissistic Personality Disorder are…

  • a grandiose sense of self-importance
  • an overwhelming need for admiration
  • belief they are of primary importance in everybody’s life

I’ve stated that I don’t have the qualifications, nor the desire, to diagnose anybody with any disorder, but seeing as Colin Craig is such a believer in binding referendum lets let the public decide.

UPDATE 1.30pm

To the original point of this post, that Mr. Craig has sent his booklet to letter boxes that have ‘no junk mail’ stickers on them. I have just received a copy of the delivery instructions by Reach Media to its workers who actually put the booklets into the letterboxes.

CCRaig distribution

As you can see clearly it states that for the COLIN CRAIG VS DIRTY POLITICS delivery the deliverer is to ‘include‘ the ‘no circs‘ letterboxes.

Speaking with Reach Media they claim that the reason they have delivered it to ‘no circ‘ letter boxes was that it was booked in as a “government piece” although they also concede they didn’t know what the delivery was when it was booked. When asked if they thought in hindsight if it was a ‘government piece’ the gentleman on the phone, who claimed he took the original booking, agreed it was not.

UPDATE 2.45pm

NZ Post have been in touch to make clear they are not responsible for fining people who breach the rules around junk mail so I want to retract a former heading of this post which claimed that NZ Post was potentially going to fine Colin Craig,  however the fine is still very much a possibility. For example, as stated in the North Shore City Bylaw, Section 5 Offence to Deposit Unaddressed Unsolicited Material, 4.95 Depositing unaddressed, unsolicited material “Every person who breaches this bylaw may be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding $20,000.” There are similar bylaws for different parts of the country with fines of various amounts.

Colin Craig…innocent victim or narcissistic manipulator?

So it all came out yesterday that, after several threats of legal action against numerous figures during his short public career, Colin Craig will finally be taking someone to court…or so he says.

Yesterday Mr. Craig released a booklet which claims to expose the ‘dirty politics’ and ‘hidden agenda’ of what appears to be the world against Colin and I, for one, am excited to see this get to a courtroom because it will answer once and for all if Mr. Craig is a innocent victim, or a narcissist of the highest order.

Mr Craig seems utterly sure that this legal action is an open-and-shut case. One thing I can say for sure is that Mr. Craig often claims certainty when speaking publicly but it’s not always the case.

Have a listen to this audio from The Slightly Correct Political Show in 2011 and hear his absolute confidence in how he knows he will win Rodney.

Mr. Craig cites expert advice in the form of polling, and explains that his win is a slam dunk. On election night 2011 Mr Craig lost to Mark Mitchell (National) by more than 12,200 votes. Mr. Craig always claims absolute knowledge of how things are going to turn out…but the truth is often far different. I have to say that it is my honest held belief that the way he is speaking now about this latest legal case sounds eerily similar to how he was speaking about his upcoming win in 2011, and that raises alarm bells for me.

I have knowledge of some of the texts that some are claiming Mr. Craig sent to his former Press Secretary, Rachel MacGregor, and if this goes to trial, then phone records will need to be presented in courts and if the texts are traceable to Mr. Craig (or indeed any of the ‘evidence’ that the accused say they have) it will be the shortest trial in history. The other question is if Mr. Craig has a case and the accusations made against him are malicious and false…then what?

“Defamation in New Zealand is governed by the Defamation Act 1992 and an established body of case law. It is an area of law that is designed to protect a person’s reputation against unjustifiable attack. Providing such protection requires a fine balance between the protection of reputation and the freedom of expression as contained in Section 14 of the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990.” What that basically means is that is a person’s reputation is damaged by lies, then defamation may well have happened but I guess my question would be what reputation is Colin Craig trying to protect? Is it the reputation for questioning the moon landing? Is it the reputation for stating on Radiolive that the current political figure he most admires is Vladimir Putin? Is it the litigious reputation that Colin Craig has threatened to pull out on more than one occasion? What reputation is he protecting and what reputation has been besmirched should these accusations prove false?

It is my honest held belief that this will not see the inside of the courtroom, it seems unlikely to me, that Mr. Craig will put himself and his marriage through the potential of not getting the win in the courtroom which will justify everything that the three accused have said about him. He has too much to lose should he not get a resounding win. Also Mr. Craig has published an interview with Mr. X in his booklet, if this goes to court Mr. Craig will be forced to reveal who Mr. X is as there as claims in that interview that some of the accused have already called slander and Mr. Craig does not have the same protection in court to keep a source anonymous as a journalist has. No matter if he is innocent of these claims or not, his life will be turned upside down by court proceedings and, although many of us question his decisions sometimes, even he would be smart enough to see that this is a no-win outcome for him.

“Yes to Colin…and mmmaybe to Winston” says Mr. Key

John Key will signal in a speech in few minutes that if the people of NZ want to continue with the status quo he’s happy to oblige. Mr Key will say that “given the right electoral circumstances, his preference would be to continue working with the current three partners to the Government, which are ACT, the Māori Party and United Future.”

Mr. Key also sees a scenario where the Conservatives could be an option even though he’ll acknowledge that they have “policy differences” it doesn’t mean they also couldn’t find some common ground.

Unsurprisingly the Prime Minister will rule out Labour, The Greens and Mana as potential coalition partners however with regards to NZ First there is the hint of a slight softening. Mr Key will say that a “relationship was very unlikely” but ultimately he will not rule out the possibility entirely prior to the election.

See the full speech from JohnKey.co.nz below

Prime Minister John Key today set out his decision on which parties National will consider working with following this year’s General Election.

“MMP makes it likely that every election will be a tight contest,” Mr Key says.

“That means it’s also likely that following the election we will need to work collaboratively with other parties to form a stable Government.

“First and foremost, National will be campaigning hard for every party vote it can win, because that puts us in the best position to continue the positive policy direction New Zealand is on.

“Put simply, the higher National’s party vote, the more options we have.

“I know that post the 2014 election, National will almost certainly need to work constructively with other political parties to form a stable Government.

“Since November 2008, we have shown that we can lead a stable Government with other political parties involved, even when those parties have different outlooks and policies.

“Looking ahead, it is most likely that the nature of these working relationships will be via Confidence and Supply Agreements, as these have worked well in the past two Parliamentary terms.

“In the end it is the public who largely determine the make-up of the Government by voting in parties to Parliament,” says Mr Key.

Mr Key says that given the right electoral circumstances, his preference would be to continue working with the current three partners to the Government, which are ACT, the Māori Party and United Future.

“I believe there is also a scenario where it would be possible to add the Conservative Party to this group.

“While National has of course had differences with ACT, the Māori Party and United Future, together our four parties have formed a stable and successful Government since late 2008,” Mr Key says.

“We also have policy differences with the Conservative Party, however it is likely that there would be enough common ground to work with them in Government.”

In terms of other parliamentary parties, Mr Key ruled out working with Labour, the Greens and Mana on the basis that there is insufficient common ground to achieve a stable and successful working relationship.

“These parties represent a far left wing agenda that we do not believe is good for New Zealand,” says Mr Key.

With regard to New Zealand First, Mr Key said that he believed a post-election working relationship was very unlikely; however he would not rule the possibility out ahead of the election.

“In 2008 we ruled them out because we were unable to reconcile some of their statements on the Glenn donation matter. Six years has passed and, should New Zealand First be returned to Parliament, we would not rule out a discussion after the election.”

Colin Craig on Radiolive

Colin Craig just spent an hour on Radiolive with Wallace Chapman. It was very entertaining and it was great to hear Craig’s comments and interactions with the listeners.

It is an interesting time in the media as they are all over the Conservative Party story and links to National. I wonder, as did a caller to Chapman post Craig leaving the studio, if the media has nothing better to do at the moment so look for stories where there is none.

The Conservative Party could definitely be there or thereabouts after the next election and indeed could become a coalition partner to prop up a third term National Government, but the confident talk of “We’ll definitely be there” needs to be taken with a pinch of salt. There was internal polling at the last election that had Craig and the Conservatives convinced they’d win Rodney in a landslide which they ended up losing by more than 12,000 votes. I don’t say this to say they won’t be there, just as a reminder that polls ‘aint always accurate. Poll results go both ways as well, just ask Winston Peters.

On the topic of Winston Peters, having done talkback and talk radio for close to a decade I have to say that the supporters of Colin Craig, their angle on the world, and the repetitive themes that come from them do remind me a lot of NZ First supporters. I wonder if the Conservatives will go head to head with NZ First for these votes which could lead to a few scenarios.

  1. NZ First losing all it’s share and it disappears again.
  2. NZ First takes voters away from the Conservatives once Winston starts the ‘Foreshore and Seabed’, ‘Immigrants are evil’, ‘Everybody is against the elderly’ campaign which is sure to come.
  3. Or will they spread the potential vote too thin, and end up keeping each other out of politics by splitting the vote.
  4. Or I guess you have to ask for fairness, will the both get in…which would make for fun political observing in 2014/15 as Craig could try to out-Winston Winston!

One of the messages I enjoy from Colin Craig is that he wants to be, and thinks all politicians should be, representative of their constituents. I agree. The problem the Conservatives are going to face is who their constituents actually are.

Here are a couple of examples from today’s hour on Radiolive

These are the constituents that Colin Craig and the Conservative will be representing. I don’t know about you, but if I were in politics I don’t think I’d want ‘Michael’ to be my spokesperson, or writing my bumper stickers but if we did they’d be something like…

  • “We don’t believe in Aotearoa – Vote Conservative”
  • “We believe in Equal Rights for all (especially those of us with current privilege) – Vote Conservative”
  • “We want to smack our kids – Vote Conservative”

Or maybe Esther would be a better way to go…

  • “We used to live in harmony, except those of us who didn’t and had things like our language and practices oppressed – Vote Conservative”
  • “All that land we took off you, that you got back, well you should now agree to give it to everyone and let bygones be bygones – Vote Conservative”

I wonder if the Conservatives are setting themselves up to be a far right alternative to ACT. This is of course a valid voting block with an audience large enough to get the Conservatives into parliament.

I have spent some time at Conservative HQ, I actually offered to help them with their message, but it was plain to see then, as it is now, that as long as they can get across the 5% threshold appealing to the group of NZers that would adhere to the above thoughts then they’d get in, and of course there is a market for those thoughts.

So we shall now see if the media continues the narrative of Colin Craig being the next king maker, or if next month they will be back to Winston and the Maori Party then in 12 months we’ll all know if they were correct or not.

Colin Craig ready to jump into bed with John Key…who’s ‘too gay’ now?

12 months ago the Conservative party sent a newsletter out to residents of John Key’s Helensville electorate citing a local’s opinion that John Key was ‘too gay for Helensville’.

Colin_Craig_pamphlets

The political posturing around the Conservatives and National at the moment is interesting but it seems that while Mr. Craig may endorse the view that Mr. Key to too gay for Helensville, it’s now obvious that Craig is just gay enough to jump in bed with the Prime Minister.

We all know how MMP works and if the Nats ‘get into bed’ with the Conservatives it’s the start of a new era of ‘any partner for power’.

John Key has described himself as ‘fiscally conservative and socially liberal’ in an interview I did with him a few years ago and went on to say that if you keep the purse strings tight you can then spend in areas of social need. Whilst I think his record is not quite as ‘generous’ as that you have to say that in the areas that National has been socially liberal like the ‘anti-smacking’ law and marriage equality there is deep division with the Conservatives.

Whilst this would not normally be a problem between parties who focus is things like the economy and ‘jobs for New Zealanders’ this is not the case with the Conservatives. Turning over the anti-smacking law is Colin Craig’s number one objective in politics. Opposing marriage equality is also right up there so whilst there is a lot of generous spirit at the moment and acknowledging that ‘we need to work together’ you have to remember that for the Conservatives it comes back to a couple of big social policies, that they disagree with National on, and those policies are what the Conservatives are built on…they are their core beliefs.

I was at Conservatives HQ in the last few months and suggested to Colin Craig’s press secretary that he’d have much more a chance at the next election is he moved publicly away from these kinds of conversations, there was a wide eyed look of shock to that suggestion and I was told in no uncertain terms ‘but that’s Colin’s passion‘.’Okay, but who is here to counter Colin’s passion for political balance or even just another perspective, for example who is on the board who supported Sue Bradford’s law reform?‘ The answer was ‘No one‘.

I have no issues with people who oppose either of those social policies, that’s your right as a citizen and voter, however when they are ‘your passion’ and you are being touted as the person who will hold up the next politically right Government it is likely a concern to some.

The one other issue about the Conservatives is that should Mr. Craig get elected to a seat in Auckland I wonder if the question will be asked, “is this the first parliamentary seat that has been purchased outright in NZ politics?”

Colin Craig is a wealthy businessman which I congratulate him on, his success in the world of business is admirable, the success has given him access to vast sums of money. He has spent millions of his own money on his campaigns and protest marches to this point. The only reason there is a Conservative Party is Craig’s own personal $1.6 million donation at the last election…then there is the ‘March for Democracy’ ($400,000) and his Mayoralty campaign. If it wasn’t for Colin Craig’s personal wealth, there would be no Conservative Party, no TV interviews, no chance of winning a seat. I wonder how many will be uncomfortable with the idea that should he be elected, Craig’s wealth has been the main reason he is now in politics as without the wealth, no one would have had the chance to vote for him.

If we are potentially in a new era of ‘any political partner so long as we stay in power’ I wonder what the voter will do? Will the voter support that view and just to keep their party in charge they will open the door to anybody else to make up the numbers, or will the vote decide that it’s safer not to allow these one policy ponies in with unknown consequences.

The art of the political ‘flip flop’

We all know what it is about, we know all politicians do it, I’m pondering if in the next election cycle will our media serve us in demonstrating which politicians and political parties are flip-flopping for what some would say is political expedience.

A couple of examples that I have come across recently.

The much publicised flip-flop by Prime Minister John Key on Winston Peters

Key in 2008

“It’s a matter of political principle. We just do not find NZ First acceptable”
“Mr Peters will be unacceptable as a minister in a government led by me.”

Key in 2011

“I want to lead a positive aspirational government and I don’t believe a Winston Peters government does that.”
“If Peters is the balance of power it will be a Phil Goff-led Labour Government.”

Key in 2013

“I think partly it reflects that the country doesn’t want to see Labour and the Greens in office. And so if it means having to deal with New Zealand First – a lot of our supporters would prefer to see that situation.”

And here is a less known, perhaps unknown flip-flop I cam across in my archives.

We interviewed Colin Craig from the Conservatives in 2008 and when asked about Gay Marriage he said the following

Yet this year I think it is safe to say that the Conservatives have made it quite clear that they oppose ‘Gay Marriage’ and have spoken with pride (‘scuse the pun) about being the only party ‘arguing against it‘.

From the Conservative website

Conservative Press Release

Seems the Conservatives are no longer ‘uncomfortable’ with making this a focus

The US media is brilliant at showing politicians changing their position for political expedience. The Daily Show makes a living off showing these clips back to back on a nightly basis.

I only hope that somewhere in the media in the lead up to next years election we will see clarity and long memories from our media to demonstrate these inconsistencies in our politicians and give us a fair look at who we are voting for.