Saturday 30 August 2014

DIRT ALERT! - Are The Greens And Labour About To Become The Targets Of A Major Negative Advertising Campaign?

Deja Vu All Over Again? Are we about to see a repeat of the 2005 negative advertising campaign  launched in secret against the Greens and Labour?
WE’VE SEEN IT ALL BEFORE. In 2005 pamphlets began appearing all over New Zealand attacking Labour and the Greens. For a couple of days both the parties targeted and the news media were flummoxed. Who was behind such an obviously extensive and costly campaign? No one knew – until former members of the Exclusive Brethren Church recognised some of the names of the pamphlets’ authorising agents and put two and two together.
The exposure of the Exclusive Brethren Church’s role in printing and distributing the pamphlets, followed by the shock revelation that the National Party leader, Dr Don Brash, had been made aware that such campaign was in the offing, contributed significantly to National’s 2005 election defeat.
Could history be repeating itself?
Yesterday evening (Thursday, 28 August 2014) I received an e-mail from a sender styling himself “Charlie Taylor” advising me that “a group of concerned citizens just like you are paying for billboards like this”.
Exactly who “Charlie Taylor” is I have no idea, but the lengthy e-mail send out in his name is clearly intended to inflict maximum damage on both the Greens and, by association, Labour.
If I was a betting man, however, I would hazard a reasonable wager that Don Brash’s superb propagandist, John Ansell, was in some way involved. There is something in the cheeky tone of these designs that recalls Ansell’s immensely powerful Iwi/Kiwi billboards of 2005.
This, for example:

The other reason I have for speculating that Mr Ansell might be involved is that some of the text of the e-mail bears a striking similarity to the accusations levelled at the Greens co-leader, Russel Norman, by Mr Ansell when he was interviewed on Radio New Zealand’s Morning Report recently. In the course of that interview, Mr Norman was branded a communist in language very similar to that used in this excerpt from the e-mail:
“Will you be happy to learn that your Labour party vote has helped ex-Aussie Communist Russel Norman achieve his ambition of becoming Mr Cunliffe’s finance minister?
“Will you think it a hoot when, thanks to you, ex-McGillicuddy Serious and Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis candidate Metiria Turei joins Red Russ as ‘Joint’ Deputy Prime Minister?”
Nor is this the worst thing the author/s of the e-mail have to say about the Greens. Apparently, they are responsible for the deaths of 50 million Third World children:
“Green thinking has a long and black track record of sounding heart-warmingly plausible, but wreaking death and destruction when unleashed in the real world, on real people.
“In the 60s, the hysteria over Rachel Carson’s green bible Silent Spring led to the banning of the mosquito-killing chemical DDT.
“Which led to 50 million people dying of malaria.
“Every day, more children die painful deaths because the Greens continue to deny them the treatment that would save their lives – a treatment that science has long since proven safe.”
All good inflammatory stuff! But the real sting (and true target) of the e-mail comes in its tail. The message the “Group of Concerned Kiwis” who sign-off this distribe really want you to take away with you is: “To stop the Greens, you must stop Labour.”
“You may think National and Labour are two sides of the same coin. And usually that would be fair comment.
But with the Greens now guaranteed to be 30% or more of a Labour government, the economic danger signs just got a whole lot redder.”
Better, one assumes, to stick with the blues.
Whoever Charlie Taylor turns out to be, his group of “concerned citizens” is almost certain to fall foul of the Electoral Commission.
For a start, the designs feature absolutely nothing in the way of an authorising statement. Without the true name and residential address of the person responsible for authorising these political messages, any billboards, pamphlets, stickers and/or posters that may appear between now and 20 September are almost certain to be in breach of the legislation regulating political communications during a General Election campaign.
They will also discover that any and all “concerned citizens” wishing to participate in the cut and thrust of the General Election must first register themselves with the Electoral Commission and undertake to keep their expenditure within the legislatively sanctioned limits.
The revelation of such identifying details would, naturally, facilitate the full disclosure of who is behind this proposed negative advertising campaign.
In the wake of Nicky Hager’s book Dirty Politics, I do not imagine that the National Party will relish answering questions about the provenance of yet another example of, well, dirty politics. And if, as happened in 2005, incontrovertible evidence emerges that John Key or his party were forewarned of these “Concerned Kiwis’” campaigning intentions, then National’s chances of holding onto power will take yet another hit.


Thanks to the information passed to Bowalley Road by "Idiot/Savant" of the No Right Turn blogsite it is now possible to identify at least some of the persons involved in this latest example of attack politics. What follows is my response to Idiot/Savant's timely assistance:

Well done and thank you, Idiot/Savant!

I can now reveal more about the e-mail from "Charlie Taylor".

It was sent to a person called John Third.

Following up this detail, I discovered that a John Lawrence Third is the sole director of a registered private company called Guinness Gallagher Corporate Advisory Ltd, based in Wellington.

I acquired Mr Third's telephone number, called him, but, receiving no answer, left a message for him to call me back. He hasn't.*

I did not include this information in the posting above because I didn't want to involve a potentially "innocent civilian" in a breaking political story.

Idiot/Savant's research has, however, obviated the need for me to talk to Mr Third because looking at the latest entry on the Elections New Zealand's Register of Promoters whose name do I see in the column headed "Name of the person authorised to make the application where the promoter is not an individual" but that of John L Third - the very same person to whom "Charlie Taylor's" e-mail was sent.

How did it come to me? I have no idea. Perhaps Mr Third's name was just the first of dozens on a mass e-mail distribution list among which my own - for some unfathomable reason - was included.

Whatever the explanation, we now know that the campaign is real, and that it is being run under the collective identity of "The Opinion Partnership" among whose members are Mr Third and Owen Jennings - former head of Federated Farmers, former Act Party MP (1996-2002) and currently the joint owner (with Mr Third) of the registered private company Ideal Energy Holdings Ltd.

We await further developments.

*  I have since spoken to Mr Third who confirmed to me that he and Owen Jennings are, indeed, among the persons calling themselves "The Opinion Partnership". Mr Third also informed me that his company, Guinness Gallagher Corporate Advisory Ltd, has done consultancy work for both the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank.


Propaganda supremo, John Ansell, confirms his involvement in The Opinion Partnership. For more information refer to the commentary thread of this posting.
This essay was originally posted on The Daily Blog of Friday, 29 August 2014.


Idiot/Savant said...

The register of third parties is here:

The last two entries would be the obvious suspects.

Idiot/Savant said...

And to update: one of the billboards has a promoter statement for the Opinion Partnership. So its Owen Jennings and Federated Farmers.

Chris Trotter said...

Well done and thank you, Idiot/ Savant!

I can now reveal more about the e-mail from "Charlie Taylor".

It was sent to a person called John Third.

Following up this detail I discovered that a John Lawrence Third is a director of a registered private company called Guinness Gallagher Corporate Advisory Ltd, based in Wellington.

I acquired Mr Third's telephone number, called him, and, receiving no answer, left a message for him to call me
back. He hasn't.

I did not include this information in the posting above because I didn't want to involve a potentially "innocent civilian" in a breaking political story.

Idiot/Savant's research has, however, obviated the need for me to talk to Mr Third because, looking at the latest entry on the Elections New Zealand's Register of Promoters, whose name do I see in the column headed "Name of the person authorised to make the application where the promoter is not an individual" but that of John L Third - the very same person to whom "Charlie Taylor's" e-mail was sent.

How did it come to me? I have no idea. Perhaps Mr Third's name was just the first of dozens on a mass e-mail distribution list among which my own - for some unfathomable reason - was included.

Whatever the explanation, we now know that the campaign is real, and that it is being run under the collective identity of "The Opinion Partnership" among whose members are Mr Third and Owen Jennings - former head of Federated Farmers, former Act Party MP (1996-2002) and currently the joint owner (with Mr Third) of the registered private company Ideal Energy Holdings Ltd.

We await further developments.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

I'm in 2 minds over the ability to buy elections. Obviously spending money must have an effect, but as you pointed out it can lead to a backlash against the spendees :-)? It'd be interesting to see how much the Koch Brothers money influences U.S. elections would it not? I do believe there was somewhat of a backlash against them.

TeWhareWhero said...

Excellent work.

I heard that comment by Ansell about Russell Norman and I was astonished that Susie Ferguson didn't pick him up on it at the time. Maybe she was like me and too gob smacked.

Max Coyle said...

Surely Federated Farmers will deny all knowledge of this campaign?

Anonymous said...

My own views aside, Norman was involved with a Leninist-Marxist party in Australia. Turei was indeed a McGillicuddy Serious Party candidate and also for the Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party. If that sort of MP gets too much sway over a Labour Govt then it is indeed negative. My own views aside Fed Farmers would indeed have good reason to do what it takes to prevent it. They would be stupid not to do what they can to block the Greens!

Guerilla Surgeon said...

Went to the whale oil site – posted quite a reasonable comment pointing out inconsistencies in the oily whale is attitude towards stealing emails – i.e he doesn't like his stolen, but is quite happy to go to the Labour Party website and steal their stuff. Pretty much instantly modded. I don't think I'll bother going back. It's just a mutual masturbation society. I left that comment after my first one disappeared – be interesting to see how long that lasts :-).

Guerilla Surgeon said...

Less than 10 minutes. Man needs a day job :-).

John Ansell said...

Chris, well spotted.

A big, bold campaign is required and justified to counterbalance the hundreds of thousands of dollars of free advertising being provided by the media to Nicky Hager’s attempt to gull the gullible into believing that the right play dirtier than the left.

As someone who has been involved in three ad campaigns for Labour, one for National and two for ACT, as you know, compared with Labour (they who stole the 2005 election then retrospectively legislated their theft), National are the gentlemen of the political spectrum – they just don’t have a Dotcom hacking their every conversation or a Hager receiving the stolen property and writing shock, horror stories about them.

And no, the Labour means Greens campaign is not being done for National or any other party.

I, for one, am disillusioned by all the right wing offerings at the moment. I left Key’s office when it became obvious to me that his motivation was self and party before country. I left ACT twice because they refused to grasp the nettles necessary for victory. And I don’t like the Conservatives’ intolerance of gays and such (though I do like Craig’s policy of a binding referendum on race-based seats).

So I don’t know who I’m going to vote for. But I shudder at the potential destructiveness of a Cunliffe cabinet that’s 30% Green.

And that’s what Labour means Greens is all about, Chris: to jolt what we call “the tradies and the ladies” awake to the frightening new political reality on the left: that a Cunliffe government is still very possible, and that it would be hugely damaging to the New Zealand way of life through no particular fault of Labour’s.

On current polling, Cunliffe is going to have no choice but to appoint five to seven Green cabinet ministers, some of them to very senior and influential positions.

(And, God help us, possibly even some of the Hone Harawiras, Annette Sykeses, Laila Harres and John Mintos from the even loonier left.)

I think you’ll find the main driver of the campaign, John Third, will be as open and honest about it as I’m being. He doesn’t mind if I talk about it, since we’ve got nothing to hide.

[continued in next comment]

John Ansell said...

This is just a bunch of concerned Kiwis, none motivated by any party connections as far as I know, wishing to inform our countrymen and women of the true nature (no pun intended) of the not-so-cuddly Greens.
In the contest of ideas, I think you’ll agree, that’s perfectly legitimate.

To expand on those two target markets:

The “tradies” were brought up to believe in the class struggle. But they also believe Labour’s been taken over by what one of them colourfully referred to in my local the other day as “the feminazis and pillow-biters”.

In their socially conservative eyes, by comparison with the latter, a guy like John Key represents the voice of sanity.
But their tribalism runs deep and they could vote either way.
Especially if, in the Kiwi tradition of fairness, they reckon “it’s time we gave the other lot a go”.

We’re going to ask them not to – by showing them what that would mean for them, their family, and their country.

We’re going to boldly apprise them of the fact that, while they weren’t looking – distracted by the media beatup over Hager the Horrible’s book – the left just got a whole lot lefter and redder (the Greens being nothing if not deepest red).

These sparkies and plumbers and builders are practical blokes who cut to the chase and come with very large dollops of common sense. They spend their days solving problems calmly and rationally. Then they go hunting and fishing.

And if there’s one group they can’t abide, it’s those knee-jerk enviro-panickers and exaggerators from the Green party who want to ban all forms of fun, for reasons which they haven’t properly thought through.

The “ladies” are the ladies of the Remuera Garden Circle and the like who believe it would be nice to have the planet represented in the corridors of power. They’d rather be out weeding their gardens than inside studying the communist infiltration of Greenpeace, so still believe the Greens are who they say they are.

They’ll be shocked to learn the truth, and we plan to do the shocking: informing them that the Greens’ love for the environment comes a very poor second to their desire to kneecap capitalism and put people last.

So far I’ve done about fifteen billboards which you’ll be seeing over the next three weeks. Any questions, just ask and I’ll do my best to answer in full.

Tom said...

"hugely damaging to the New Zealand way of life"

Given that the recent direction of the "NZ way of life" (urban sprawl, car-dependence, rampant consumerism, short-term thinking, increasing inequality, a reliance on dumb commodity exports) is hugely damaging to the environment and society, I really don't have a problem with that.

John Ansell said...

Tom I imagine you and your fellow greenies would have been marching in the streets against the Industrial Revolution.

As you may have noticed, this series of innovations by our ingenious species has doubled life expectancy and massively increased human prosperity in every conceivable way over the last 200 years.

A lot of people like you who can't join the dots join the Greens. You are why we need a Labour means Greens campaign.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

John, no doubt you are content to plunder the earth and pollute it, because no doubt you are rich enough to shield yourself from the externalities. Some of us aren't – perhaps by your lights we should strive to be so, but eventually the crap will pour into your backyard as well :-). And while the Greens aren't perfect, they seem to be the only ones that have any regard for this at all. So plus one for Tom.

Anonymous said...

Geez Tom, a reliance on commodity exports is damaging to NZ? I can't believe I read that.

Victor said...


"I'm in 2 minds over the ability to buy elections."

For my part, I'm reminded of the once celebrated verse of 1920s UK writer, Humbert Wolfe:

"You cannot hope
to bribe or twist,
thank God! the
British journalist.
But, seeing what
the man will do
unbribed, there's
no occasion to."

And here's the rub: National and its pals don't need to bribe the media in order to ensure that issues are appropriately framed.

Where assumptions, prejudices and interests are all aligned and shared, money becomes of only marginal relevance to media coverage.

However, such coverage can be significantly more effective when buttressed by expenditure on "on message" posters and other eye-catching foldirolls.

markus said...

Dear oh dear: "The Tradies and the Ladies".

I fear John may have got his demographics and target markets hopelessly confused as he and his chums attempt to extract a winning strategy from a few slim shavings of the electoral vote.

I'm not at all sure that "The ladies of the Remuera Garden Circle and the like" are Green voters. I suspect John premises this on the widespread misconception that the Greens' core electoral base is among the wealthy. It's actually far more complex than that - they do well in some high, low and middle income areas and poorly in others.

If we take his specific exemplar of Remuera - the fact is: the Greens only took an average share of the Party Vote in the Epsom Electorate as a whole at the last election and, what's more, they did particularly poorly in Remuera itself (as they do in most affluent East Auckland suburbs).

Still, far be it from me to get upset if the uber-Right want to put enormous effort into futile campaigns at election time.

Anonymous said...

In other words, if this was Star Wars, we're up to The Empire Strikes Back.

This has to be the election with the most dollars thrown at it out of any.

Max said...

John Ansell's school of politics: counter allegations of dirty politics by engaging in even more dirty politics. I see he learned his craft at Her Majesty's Royal Academy for Muppetry, majoring in Applied Fuckwitticism.

Anonymous said...

Representative democracy was a way for a group to get their ideas heard when they could not all leave their fields.
But the Greens don't represent greens. The party system means certain groups can take control and therefore usurp the choices of others.
I won't vote for the Greens but for different reasons to John Ansell.

Anonymous said...

The thing is linking labour with the Greens as dirt is the Greens fault. The Greens have earned their reputation.

Anonymous said...

Weird. A "Labour Means Greens" campaign is likely to make me vote for them. Because they are the only ones left with integrity.

Big deal, Norman was involved in a Communist party and Metiria was involved in a bit of silliness. They're still the only two leaders left with some shred of honesty and integrity.

Tell me, Johnny, did you stand up and speak out against the "pillow-biters" comment? No? Then you have no bloody place in making your comments about the Conservatives' intolerance of anyone not cishet.

Please John, take your bigotry and piss off.

Oh and John, a bit of free advice from 2008. IT'S FEWER. FEWER BUREAUCRATS. I guess you needed more teachers.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

Good points Victor. I suspect you're not wrong.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

Just a couple of things – is Ansell related to Colin King Ansell? Or is it too much like introducing Hitler into the debate :-)? Just curious.
I think I might pop back to the whale oil blog every so often and point out a few of their inconsistencies. Some idiot just posted typical "Maoris was always fighting wars." – Forgetting that his ancestors fought almost a war a year in the nineteenth century :-). I'll see how I go.

pat said...

as a "tradie" my observation for John is that the demographic that appears to support the Greens in the greatest proportion are the young of both sexes....there may be hope for us all yet as they will be voting in elections long after we are gone...or does John believe that through extensive and expensive propaganda campaigns their ability to reason will desert them?

John Ansell said...

Always a pleasure receiving lefties' mindless abuse.

Yes Markus, surprise, surprise, I realise that most of the good ladies of Remuera don't vote Green.

But a significant number of women do toss up between National and the Greens.

These nature-loving ladies would rather vote Green than ACT, for example, let alone Labour.

The Greens, to them, are not a party of the left, but the party of Mother Earth.

Well, we've got news for them. We believe we can persuade many to change their minds once they see the evidence that environmentalism is just a good-natured, beautifully-groomed Trojan Horse for the Green Party's real agenda of destroying capitalism.

The people we want to talk to are those who are tossing up between voting for a party of the left (Labour or the Greens) and a party of the right (National, Conservative or ACT).

It's about changing the vote count of the two big blocs, not shuffling the shares within the blocs.

We want to inform them that a Labour/Green government is going to be 30% Green, that the Greens will be redder than the Reds, and that Green Means STOP economic growth.

Where do you think the Greens would have stood in 1800 on the issue of whether or not to forge ahead with the Industrial Revolution - the cause of the single greatest advance in life expectancy and prosperity in human history?


I rest my case.

John Ansell said...

Guerilla Surgeon: assuming I was rich (which I'm anything but, having walked away from several high-paying political jobs on principle), why would I want to pollute the planet?

Have you noticed which suburbs' home are the dirty ones and which are the clean ones?

Ever done any travelling?

Notice the same difference between the rich capitalist countries and the (universally poor and dysfunctional) communist countries?

Any idea why? Something to do with incentives perhaps?

You're not the only person the Greens have fooled into thinking they care more about the environment than everyone else does.

It's nonsense.

The Greens have a place in our political system as environmental watchdogs. But the role of a watchdog is to bark at the first sign of anything new. In other words, to panic.

It's not to think about the best way to balance the risk and rewards for 4.5 million people.

The very last place you want a bunch of barking mad watchdogs is at the cabinet table. The big table is for grownups, and the Greens do not think like grownups. They've shown throughout their history that they can't join the dots between cause and effect.

And the effect of that has been catastrophic. The Greens mean well, but their stupidity combined with their flair for publicity has killed more people than Pol Pot, Adolf Hitler, Mao and Stalin put together.

John Ansell said...

Dear Max: what Slater does is dirty, but legal. (Just like your insult to me. :-))

What Hager's hacker (Dotcom, if his hint to Wayne Tempero is any guide) did - and Hager was only too happy to profit from by receiving the stolen goods and publishing it - was dirty, but illegal.

You do understand the difference between legal and illegal, don't you, Max?

All politics is robust, be it in Parliament or the workplace or the local netball club AGM.

As in a rugby match, the nature of competition means that people are tempted to play to the letter of the law, and sometimes go beyond to gain an advantage over their rivals.

I don't have any time for dishonesty, but pointing out opponents' weaknesses is what we hire our politicians to do under our adversarial system.

(I wish they'd just attack their policies in a contest of ideas, but there we are.)

What's especially dirty with the Dirty Politics book - really just a sneaky eavesdrop on the workings of a typical political party - is the suggestion that only National plays dirty.

I'm no apologist for National these days, but this is a bit rich when Labour did the dirtiest thing any New Zealand government has ever done - stealing the 2005 election by deliberately spending more on (highly effective) advertising in the final week than it was allowed to, then changing the law afterwards to make its theft legal.

You're right that the "Labour means Greens" campaign is timed to provide a counterbalance to the hundreds of thousands of dollars of free advertising provided by the media to the Labour/Green campaign by the relentless focus on this non-event of a book.

But our campaign was scheduled anyway, as the danger of a 30% Green Labour government exists, regardless of the current focus on National, and the focus on the Greens and the potential effect on the New Zealand way of life of them finally getting their hands of some significant levers of power has been nil.

Given that New Zealand journalists are overwhelmingly left-wing, and that they're not likely to give as much time or space to a right-wing attack campaign as a left-wing one, how else is a right-wing campaign to reach its audience than by spending its supporters' money?

What's wrong with that?

Terry Creighton said...

Hi John, enjoying your engagement but don't really understand the core of your argument. Are you saying that "Warmer Healthier Homes' (a Green Party policy picked up and run with by the previous national Government) was destructive of Capitalism? That campaigning on water quality and the degraded ecological condition of many of our rivers and other waterways is destructive of capitalism? That wanting to move toward user pays on pollution (carbon taxes) is destructive of capitalism? That a focus on sustainability is destructive of capitalism? That Green technology, sustainable enegry and producer responsibility for whole of life cycle product impacts is all destructive of capitalism? Your view of Green politics seems poor and your version of capitalism seems rather weak-kneed if you don't think it can evolve and maintain its dynamism if asked to adapt and incorporate a broader spectrum of goals than just making money.

Guerilla Surgeon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Guerilla Surgeon said...

Just a bit of news. I find I have been blocked by the whale oil blog. I think I probably regard this as a badge of honour. Obviously he doesn't want any comments that disagree with his and his sycophants' point of view. And I thought my comments were very mild compared to what I say sometimes here :-).LOL.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

Yes John, I have travelled, and I certainly have noticed the difference in cleanliness between those countries like Britain which has pretty much lost all its industry, and China which still has a lot of it left. But I don't think it's due to Chinese communism, because their system is pretty much capitalist – just the government is Communist. And perhaps you should put that question to those people in America who can't drink their groundwater, because of fracking – all those people in California who can't get water because there's open slather on pumping for irrigation.
As for being rich – you must be comparatively speaking, otherwise you wouldn't make that stupid crack about people living in poor suburbs. Just goes to show your arrogance. I didn't actually say you were rich, just rich enough to insulated yourself from the externalities. No doubt you live in one of those nice leafy suburbs you're always blagging on about.
I don't see any difference at all between what Hager did and what the oily whale did. What you are saying is – if someone leaves their back door open it's okay to go inside their house and steal all their stuff. Funny attitude for a capitalist I would have thought :-).

Owen said...

Hi Chris and company,

Owen Jennings here. Federated Farmers are not involved in this 'Labour means Greens' campaign in any way at all. It is 20 years since I was involved there. I am no longer a member as I am not farming.

I am part of a group concerned that Labour is going to have to concede senior Cabinet positions and key policy positions to a group who are extreme socialists and we would like voters to understand that.

The media are able to point out, very rightly the strong positions held by National's possible partners. We are simply helping the media do their job. Currently they are tied up with stuff that most of think is boring and dated. We enjoy the contest of ideas and dont enjoy slagging off individuals in a vitriolic way.

We hope to stimulate debate and have voters recognise that Green politics are not as pleasant and innocent as they are mostly made out to be.

Victor said...

Gracious heavens!

There I was, thinking of voting Green but now I learn that I'm just a fellow traveling "useful idiot" in a plot to impose revolutionary socialism on this fair land.


How could I have been so naive?

Maybe (before it's too late!)we should fill up the bullrings with every cyclist, sandal-wearer, organic gardener, lentil-eater, excessively enthusiastic recycler and bearded person we can find.

Maybe tiki-wearing Pakeha should also be taken out (sorry: I meant "taken into protective custody")as well as "clever" Maori women with law degrees and red-headed Australian immigrants.

Small problem though: we don't have any bullrings!

No doubt we can blame that last point on Comrade Kedgley and other animal rights extremists who invaded the so-called Greens a few decades back as part of their neo-Maoist conspiracy.

They think long term these commies!

But once you see the links, it all fits together!

John Ansell said...

Terry Creighton said (sorry I've just seen your comment): "Are you saying that 'Warmer Healthier Homes' (a Green Party policy picked up and run with by the previous national Government) was destructive of Capitalism?"

John: I never said it was destructive of capitalism, and the dreadful right wing National Party recognised and supported it.

Terry: "That campaigning on water quality and the degraded ecological condition of many of our rivers and other waterways is destructive of capitalism?"

John: Campaigning on it is one thing. Doing something about it is quite different. The private sector capitalists that actually own the means to do something about it have done an enormous amount.

They've built and paid from their private funds some 45,000 km of fencing, and a further $25 million of research into the means to reduce leaching into waterways. The Greens’ approach is to put the farmers' tax rate up, so they have less money to do these things.

Terry: "That wanting to move toward user pays on pollution (carbon taxes) is destructive of capitalism?"

John: Again, at the superficial level this seems sensible. But we know that doing this will not have any real effect on the pollution. On the other hand, it will have a real negative effect on the cost of every bowl of cereal for every child living in poverty.

Poverty is the greatest polluter, Terry. Just look in any developing country anywhere in the world.

We're better to build our funds to address the cause, rather than inject proven failed Marxist-Leninist state control into the mix.

Terry: "That a focus on sustainability is destructive of capitalism?"

John: Sustainability is the basis of capitalisim. No one who has paid a lot of money for their farm or business is going to manage it in a way that destroys that investment.

But having state bureaucrats meddling in every aspect of the business is certainly not sustainable.

Terry: "That Green technology, sustainable energy and producer responsibility for whole of life cycle product impacts is all destructive of capitalism?"

They just don’t stack up, Terry. A Spanish economist proved that 2.3 jobs are extinguished for every green job created.

The best forms of sustainable energy are opposed by the Greens. Those they support, like wind, are three times the price of existing electricity supply. The last state-controlled electricity station built was producing at eight times the cost.

Capitalism uses the market to inform when new plant is needed, and what cost it needs to deliver at. The Greens would dictate this by State control. That approach failed spectacularly in the Soviet Union and it would fail spectacularly here.

Capitalism is far from perfect. As Churchill said about democracy, it’s the worst system except for all the others.

Jigsaw said...

Personally I can't wait for a campaign reminding people that if they vote for Labour they get the Greens and all the instability that will result. The idea that everyone but the saintly Greens are plundering and polluting the planet is about as crazy as the Green's policies. Recall what a paradise and how polluted was east Germany? Remember the Greens-they were the people who wanted untreated timber in houses, they were the ones who thought it a great idea to grow crops for fuel-until is resulted in hunger. They are the party of unintended consequences and we would as a country find out the hard way.

Kat said...

"Comments which are defamatory, vituperative, snide or hurtful will be removed, and the commentators responsible permanently banned".

Hello.....are you there Chris?

aj said...

"Where do you think the Greens would have stood in 1800 on the issue of whether or not to forge ahead with the Industrial Revolution - the cause of the single greatest advance in life expectancy and prosperity in human history. I rest my case"

If thats you case, it's the weakest argument I've ever heard against Green politics.
It's one thing to totally embrace all development when there is no concept of future damage to ecosystems, but to charge on like a blind elephant come what may when the evidence that we are using the planet in an unsustainable manner shows a complete failure of rational thinking, and disregards for future generations.

Victor said...


"Recall what a paradise and how polluted was east Germany?"

How on earth can a defunct economy known for its obsessive lignite extraction, fetishitic industrialism and total disregard for the environment constitute part of the case AGAINST the Greens?

Do you really believe that Russel Norman is Eric Honecker come back to life or are you just being silly?

Grant Hay said...

@ J Ansell 31 August 2014 20:46
"And the effect of that has been catastrophic. The Greens mean well, but their stupidity combined with their flair for publicity has killed more people than Pol Pot, Adolf Hitler, Mao and Stalin put together."

We have a winner! This would be the most insane sentence I have read on the internet in a very long time and the competition has been fierce.

Anonymous said...

What I find is that many Green supporters, even young people working for Greenpeace, are gullible dupes who can actually be reached with challenges backed up with facts, as people like John Ansell do.

None of them have ever heard of Patrick Moore or Bjorn Lomborg; and I always suggest to them that it is not a good sign when a movement is so desperately anxious to dissuade you from actually reading anything "heretical". This is how medieval theocracies work.

In contrast, Martin Luther was an early representative of the Reformation/enlightenment tradition of "letting people publish, letting people read, and letting the truth become manifest".

There is not a good track record anywhere in history for movements and regimes that want to stop you reading heretical stuff for whatever claimed reason.

Owen said...

Victor - East Germany is absolutely relevant. The point we make is that socialist dominated governments despite heroic claims of being near perfect invariably oversee the most degraded environments. The Greens are clearly heavily into state domination, higher taxes, removal of private property rights and bloated bureaucracy all the elements present in East Germany.

Chris Trotter said...

The only problem with your statement, Owen, is that it is utterly and completely wrong.

To equate the New Zealand Greens with the Socialist Unity Party of the GDR is absurd.

The Greens are staunch upholders of the democratic rights of New Zealanders - and I defy you to produce the slightest probative evidence which suggests otherwise.

The Right's inability to distinguish the totalitarian pretensions of Stalinism from an environmentalist party's determination to more effectively regulate the exploitation of our natural environment (a goal supported by over 70 percent of voters) is not only astonishing - it is deeply troubling.

Owen said...

C'mon Mr Trotter, The Opinion is disappointed with your blog post. As we said when we returned your call we have respect for you, have been regular readers and criticise the Dompost for discontinuing your contributions. While you have made no secret of your advocacy for the left you have done so in a reasoned way that contributes to the contest of ideas that is the hallmark of proper Politics. However if we were marking your effort, on the Opinion, we would have to score you "could do better" I did respond to your call but you were not picking up. I called you again at the first opportunity Saturday morning. The Opinion Partnership was from the beginning in the public domain and registered with the Electoral Commission as your Helen Clarke legislated. Nothing "secret". We have not broken the law, such as using stolen emails. "Dirty politics" - you are joking?? We are appalled by the one-sided scrutiny currently being applied by mainstream media. There is nocomparison with the campaign we have created and the antics of Hager/Slater haters, law-breakers,character assassins. We feel you are being uncharacteristically hysterical.

We will continue to point out to voters that a Labour government by implication means 30% of the cabinet positions will be held by the Green party. It is a matter of public record that Russel Norman is demanding to be Minister of Finance and that their party also believe they should hold the deputy Prime Ministership. We can find no record of Russel Norman disavowing his Marxist/Leninist views nor Metiria Turei distancing herself from the idiocy of the McGillacuddy Serious Party and Aoteoroa Legalise Cannabis Party, both of which she was a candidate for. If mainstream media will not analyse in any depth the position taken by the Green party we will. Voters should know the role Greens have played here and around the world and the negative effect their deeply socialist policies can have. There is not a single case whwew anyone can point to where socialist regimes have led to improved environmental outcomes. We have both worked in post-Soviet countries around the world and can assure you that poverty is the worst polluter and socialist regime's have economically collapsed worldwide causing extreme poverty. Environmentalism and Socialist response regimes are an Oxymoron. That emails were sent from a disused computor because the sender's normal computor holds sensitive personal and commercial material and with hackers now able and determined to break into and publish any person's private business with impunity and no apparent public opprobrium, it was deemed to be a more responsible way to circulate material. While we respect your professionalism and experience as a serious writer/journalist we would have thought you might focus on the content rather than seek to attack the messenger. John Third and Owen Jennings

John Ansell said...

Guerilla Surgeon: certainly not related to Colin King Ansell. He's racist. I'm anti-racist.

Chris Trotter said...

To: Owen (or is it John?)

This posting was written on the basis of an e-mail sent to a person called John Third.

I had no idea who John Third was or why his e-mail had come to me.

I did a little digging and believed I had enough to put something up on the blog.

When I was in a position to take John Third's call I took it and, after adding his information to that already supplied to me by Idiot/Savant from No Right Turn, updated the posting accordingly.

John Ansell then confirmed his involvement. Again, the posting was updated.

Throughout I have behaved as courteously and professionally as I know how.

You should not, however, be surprised if people, recalling the Exclusive Brethren's anti-Green campaign of 2005, respond robustly to claims that the NZ Greens are no better than the East-German communists.

That sort of reds-under-the-bed argument deserves all the scorn it quite rightly receives.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

"This would be the most insane sentence I have read on the internet in a very long time and the competition has been fierce."
I have to agree with that. I can't see what all the fuss is about the Greens, they are very middle-class. Their left-wing seems to have been marginalised. They're also a damn site more democratic than most political parties I think.
The idea that they are just communists in drag is ludicrous :-). It says nothing for the intellectual capacity of anyone making those statements in fact.
Another statement that makes me worry about intellectual capacity on the right is

"certainly not related to Colin King Ansell. He's racist. I'm anti-racist."

You don't inherit bigoted opinions through bloodlines necessarily :-). Though I noticed John, that you only said you weren't racist - not extremely right-wing :-).
The whole idea of Communist countries being extremely polluted is a strawman anyway. One major reason that modern democracies aren't polluted is the fact that much of their industry has gone.
To China – which is fairly heavily polluted, but – is a guided economy, will which could probably make an executive decision to reduce pollution, rather than wait around for businesses to do it. Not saying it's right mind.
But still, intellectual argument is all very well and I quite enjoy it, but I don't kid myself I'm changing any minds here. Logic doesn't work on true believers :-).

Victor said...


I'm glad you acknowlege that the former DDR is irrelevant to this debate.

So, of course, should be the rest of the Soviet Block and other onetime Soviet-friendly socialist countries.

The whole Soviet model was posited on humanity's collective conquest of nature, Marx-Leninism being (inter alia) a malign form of early twentieth century modernism.

Urbanism, gigantism and production fetishism were part of its core being. No wonder that dictatorial regimes devoted to this creed created ecological catastrophes on a vast scale.

In contrast, environmentalists seek to work with nature rather than against it. And, by the way, many of their number played a significant role in the undermining of the Pax Sovietica during the 1980s.

Like you, I have extensive knowledge of Eastern and Central Europe, most of it dating back to the Communist epoch. I saw for myself how hyper-extractive, reckless pro-growth-at-all-costs policies helped degrade environments.

But I also saw how Social Market economies, such as that of the then West Germany, managed to turn back the polluting tide through sensible, people-friendly, democratically-engendered, environmental policies. And, of course, none of this was achieved without regulation.

Meanwhile, I frankly don't care what ideological high jinks various prominent Greens may have got up to when young. I freely admit to having been a 14 year old Tory, a 15 year old Trotskyite and a 16 year old Anarchist. In comparison, McGillacuddy seems rather tame, don't you think?

Victor said...


I'm sorry to have misread your post.

A second look reveals that you think the former DDR really IS relevant to a discussion of environmentalism in New Zealand.

My misreading was based on the obvious misconception that I was dealing with someone incapable of posing such an absurd argument.

My apologies for under-estimating you. I won't do so again.

Owen said...

Ah Chris, always the final arbiter on such matters as whether there is any comparison between East Germany and the Greens. If comparison is wrong and you say it is wrong it must be wrong. No need for a debate?

I went to East Germany before the wall came down more than once. I have been back since. You can label their economy any way you like but it was fundamentally a socialist model. It certainly wasn't at the other end of the spectrum. The same policy principles of big, intrusive government, debilitating regulation, high taxes, picking winners that the Green party advocates. I have also traveled to other countries where various brands of socialism reigned. I am quite partial to the environmental Kuznets curve. It has a lot of supporting evidence. Poor socialist countries simply cannot afford to maintain a clean environment.

Jigsaw said...

The Greens are quite simply the biggest bunch of people totally unsuited to have any political power at all. Of course they will become authoritarian as their polices bite -they will become the very epitome of the end justifying the means as they attempt to balance their extreme spending with a contraction in business activity that will result from their policies. We cannot now have a Labour government without the Greens-the very people who have been white-anting Labour from the left these many years. As a country we simply can't afford to experience with these watermelon people.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

Watermelon people????? Wha?

Guerilla Surgeon said...

Jigsaw, the whole idea of the Greens having political power is rather silly. Not in the way you mean though. If labour gets enough votes to form a government the Greens will bargain hard about what they want, but Labour will definitely not give them everything they want. The Greens have not been immoderate in the past. As I remember it, they were quite sensible in cooperating with previous Labour governments even if they were not actually in them. You do get your knickers in a twist about stuff. Without any good reason it seems to me.

Victor said...

Owen, Owen

This is getting tedious as well as silly.

The environment was a mess in East Germany because the Communist Party wasn't interested in the environment.

But it WAS interested in mining lignite and it succeeded thereat, thus further degrading the said environment.

So an obvious moral is that we need to look after the environment and think a bit more carefully about the desirability of lignite mining.

Jigsaw said...

GS- The Greens have stated openly that they expect to get 5-7 of the cabinet posts and why would they not? Have you not noticed how much many in Labour loathe the Greens and with good reason as they are eating out the left of Labour all the time.
Why do you think that so much of the what is coming off National is not going to Labour or the Greens but to the minor parties-people are just very afraid that the Greens will have a great deal of power in a Labour/Greens government which I believe if it happens will in fact not go the whole term but will end in infighting.

Victor said...


I agree with you that people are scared of the Greens.

The question remains, though, as to whether these fears are justified.

There's nothing much in their policies that would harm our economy and much therein that would be economically beneficial(e.g. an emphasis on smart technology and sustainability, along with a commitment to the integrity of Brand New Zealand).

The party's leadership, meanwhile, is professional, personable and apparently responsible, both fiscally and otherwise, although as yet untested in high office.

They are also excellent parliamentarians and steeped in the consensual and democratic traditions of this and other Anglophone countries.

Not only are they not "Dancing Cossacks". They even seem (mercifully) to have given up on Morris Dancing.

But, of course, it's useful for an intellectually bankrupt and ethically tainted government and its supporters to pretend that these intelligent, responsible and (as politicians go) rather pleasant people constitute some sort of threat to the mighty if crumbling edifice of Western Civilization.

And there will always be gullible souls who will believe these prophets of doom. Apparently, you're one of them.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

The main thing I have against the Greens is their lack of regard for science and the promotion of quack medicines. But even this seems to be changing – their policy on quackery seems to have been moderated somewhat according to their spokesman. I must confess they're looking more and more attractive to me, given the Internet / Mana thing and the fact that they seem to be relatively untainted by scandal. In the past I've avoided them for various reasons, one being that I could never vote for someone who thought that possum peppering was a thing :-). But she's gone anyway so hopefully the rest have come to their senses. And I would just like to say yet again – what they want and what they say they will get politically, and what they will actually end up with could easily be 2 different things, one could say probably :-). And since when has any major party given away something really important to a minor one. I suppose you might argue for Winston's foreign affairs, but it's not nearly as powerful a ministry as finance. Be interesting to see if they actually get environment though :-).

Jigsaw said...

You see Victor-I could say the same thing about your being gullible but that's just the sort of ad hominem argument that GS uses. The Greens are scary and of course their policies of huge taxes and much increased welfare to say nothing of their anti-business stance would hurt the country. Thing is it's not going to be the same as last time(should they form part of a Labour/Greens/someoneelse) government). They will be a much bigger part. On current polling they will have some 21 MPs to labour's perhaps 34 and they would have far more power. YOU may be of the opinion that they are pleasant people but having been harangued on the street by one of their MPs for daring to protest against their policies I don't share you opinion.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

Okay jigsaw, let's ignore ad hominem for the moment and look at your facts – vague though they are.
Huge taxes? They have proposed modest tax increases for those on large incomes.
Much increased welfare? I suspect if it was that much increased people would be asking where the money is to come from. There haven't been huge cries of show is the money yet, so I suspect it has been costed reasonably well.
I wouldn't mind quite so much if you provided some figures for your rather exaggerated claims, but this is just scaremongering. You always use emotive language to describe the Greens rather than attempting to give us facts.
Harangued on the street? God 's lucky you never crossed Muldoon :-).

Jigsaw said...

GS - You should try the bribeometre on the Taxpayers Union website but I suspect that you stick pretty close to left journalists. Its not just the billions they want to throw at problems but the way in which they do it that will be the worst problem. Couple that with depressed business activity and its an experiement most New Zealanders (thankfully) have no wish to try. You also ignore their previous unworkable ideas. I would love to have been in the position to heckle Muldoon-the great socialist- but never was near him. Did heckle Mabel Howard as a teenager but back then politicians had street corner meetings no the staged events as they do today. You really shouldn't believe all that the Greens say......

Jigsaw said...

GS - Actually the bribometre shows that the Greens' promises so far total $4.906 billion or $2,893.03 per household. No doubt you will dispute this -fine but quote your sources as well. I suspect you will also say that the 'rich pricks' will be taxed more to cover that but mostly that would just give extra work to those who would look for ways around such high taxes.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

Actually jigsaw I got most of my stuff from the "lamestream media". And while many journalists may be a bit left-wing, most of their bosses aren't, and that's reflected in the content of most news sources. Why the hell I would want to go to the taxpayers union – a hotbed of right wingnuts – I fail to see. They never let facts get in the way of a good argument. I must've agree with you about politicians and meetings though, there far too stage-managed these days with little room for dissent. Just like the whale oil blog :-).

Victor said...


I acknowledge my last line was ad hominem and apologise.

I do think you're gullible and accept you think the same of me.

But I'm still looking for a shred of evidence that the Greens will take us on the the Autobahn all the way to the DDR.

And, by the way, thanks for not mentioning North Korea. It must have been tempting.

Jigsaw said...

GS and Victor-Even if you think that the taxpayers union is a right wing hotbed of misinformation the costing of the Greens promises at $4.9 Billion can't be all that far out and even if it is how about Labour at around the same-all for the same things?
I doubt it-and that means that they will together be substantially more, unless they spend the total they will have to compromise which should be fun.
Of course we all think we are right-part of the human condition
after all. Having been a socialist in my dark, distant and foolish past perhaps gives me an additional think?

Victor said...


Infometrics' review of the fiscal impact of Green Party Policies states that these policies should lead to "moderately higher operating balances, lower debt and higher net worth outcomes than forcast in the BEFU".

You can find this document on the web. As you would expect, it's filled with sensible caveats. But most of them suggest there might be a slightly better fiscal outcome than that stated above.

May I add that I don't think the Socialist Unity Party in East Germany or the CPSU ever commissioned an independent review of this type. Nor am I sure that the New Zealand Labour Party ever did so in its glory days but I'm open to correction on that point.