Was Aaron Gilmore an inside political hit job?



On Face TV’s Citizen A programme this week National Party insider Matthew Hooton dropped a bombshell claiming former MP Aaron Gilmore’s fall from grace may have been facilitated from within.

As the host of Citizen-A I asked Matthew Hooton about Aaron Gilmore’s demise and eventual resignation from Parliament.

Hooton revealed some disturbing information. Here is a transcript of that section of the programme:

    MB: “Matthew – Was political mercenary Simon Lusk involved in talking Aaron down and did Cameron Slater help that along with the leaks?”

    HOOTON: “Yes and the other player in it was a guy called Jordan Williams who works with Stephen Franks”.

    MB: “Why did they move against him so quickly, why was he a problem”?

    HOOTON: “Because they don’t like him”.

    MB: “Really, because they just don’t like him? They hounded him out of Parliament?”

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    HOOTON: “Yes”.

    MB: “Why”?

    HOOTON: “They don’t like him and, and…”

    MB: “Did he deserve it”?

    HOOTON: “I think he probably deserved it”.

I probed further, asking Hooton: “Was it manufactured?”

Here’s his reply:

    HOOTON: “Um I think there was some good media management involved in this, um I think that it’s a step too far to say that the actual occasion was pre planned in advance, although some people have suggested that to me. I don’t know, we all behave badly, I behave disgracefully at times and what tends to happen is my friends tell me to pull my head in and order me a Taxi and send me home. I’ve done that for friends and we have a binge drinking culture in NZ for better or for worse and I would have thought if your friend was clearly drunk and can’t behave himself anymore just go and pay the bill and take them out of the restaurant”.

    MB: “But they didn’t”.

    HOOTON: “What seems to have happened was he was the one dealing with the waiter, which seemed unusual and then of course there didn’t seem to be an apology right there and then, there was a note given to the waiter the next morning and somehow within a few days that was known by the Dominion. I’ve got to applaud those who were advising Andrew Riches who is also a member of the National Party and has his political aspirations, for the way in which this was managed”.

Hooton’s revelation, if true, is deeply disturbing. It raises matters of public interest, concerns as to whether elements or factions within the governing National Party and government played a part in Aaron Gilmore’s demise.

It is commonly known, both Simon Lusk and Cameron Slater are well connected to the National Party – connected to some very powerful people in the Beehive – including ministers in the National-led Government’s cabinet.

If his account is correct the New Zealand public deserves to know whether cabinet ministers were involved in facilitating Gilmore’s exit from Parliament?

At this juncture, the public is left wondering:

  • Was political strategist Simon Lusk an advisor to Aaron Gilmore?
  • Did Aaron Gilmore end this relationship?
  • Do other National Party Mps and potential candidates have Lusk as an advisor?
  • Was Aaron Gilmore set up or taken advantage of in a way that facilitated his exit from Parliament?
  • Were information leaks provided to Truth editor Cameron Slater and if so by whom and for what purpose?
  • Was Jordan Williams (lobbyist and lawyer, with all access security pass to Parliament) involved in any way? Did he approach Gilmore over the past two weeks? If so, what was the nature and purpose of this contact?
  • Was further information withheld from the public relating to Aaron Gilmore?
  • Was Gilmore set up and destroyed by powerful National Party interests?
  • Why has the National Party hierarchy described Simon Lusk as “a very negative agenda for the party”?

Matthew Hooton’s revelations support a sense of unease over this whole affair. Throughout this saga things just didn’t feel right did they?

I wrote this unease off as a thinly veiled distraction from the ramming through of new GCSB laws which take us a goose step towards being a Police State, and, a great smoke screen to the corporate welfare for Sky City Casino.

But now I’m not so sure. After last night’s bombshell revelation on Citizen A by Matthew Hooton, I now am left to consider whether the sacking of Aaron Gilmore was an inside political hit job.

Reflecting back, I can’t pinpoint what triggered that unease first, the fact Aaron Gilmore’s lawyer ‘mate’ had photocopied the apology letter prior to dropping it off to the restaurant the morning after, or the fact that the mainstream media were being fed leaks via Cameron Slater’s blogging chum.

Or was it how information sort under the Official Information Act from a Government ministry was released within days when the usual practice takes almost one month at best.

The more I’ve poked around behind the scenes of this, the more questions seem to pop up.

In the heat of the moment last week, any of this level of reflection was totally missed by the media, so frenzied were they by Slater’s posts. Even the venerable Bryce Edwards was quick to defend the media’s desperation to get a new angle first.

Will we ever know what truly went on behind the scenes of this affair? Possibly not. But the public does have a right to know.

In the absence of answers, we are left to believe that the National Party’s right are so ambitious, they will eat their own.


  1. Totally agree that there was something very odd about a friend going to the media over something that would probably have only been a ripple in the daily doings of the hotel. And no journalist ever picked that up as far as I could see.

    • Indeed, Helen. The first question in my mind was, why did Ritchie ‘nark’ on a fellow National member (Gilmour)? Curses, I should have blogged it, and made more of it…

      • Ritchie does the right thing and Gilmore leaves in shame. Response: This is suspicious!

        In alternate land:

        Ritchie does nothing and Gilmore stays.
        Response: Ritchie just being a good National lackey! Gilmore, typical born to rule tory being protected by the party.

        Damned if you do…etc

  2. One thing’s for certain – Hooter knows.

    Whilst I can’t be bothered trawling back through “The Standard” comments, in typical Haughty Hooten ‘don’t you know who I am/mover and shaker/bragging’ fashion, he made a comment – to paraphrase: “wait until tomorrow” in response to another’s comment (indicating he knew exactly what was about to happen – i.e. the shit was really about to hit the fan)

    • Hah, yeah, all those “insiders” and “Hooters” is one of them, who know more than he will let us know. Strategists are behind it, and some were shooting Gilmore, because they want someone else on the list, before him.

      Interesting all this is, but Hooton will not tell too much, as it may tie him into rotten deals also.

  3. The fact he was pushed doesn’t change the fact he was thrust upon his own sword. Even if manufactured I think your primary instinct that this is an attempt to obscure other more relevant policy, is correct.
    What this does show is that there is a very high level of organisation within the national party who are willing to go to extraordinary lengths to maintain hegemony.

  4. Bomber, it might be an idea to see if Matthew wants to appear on a Citizen A special to discuss this issue.

    It’s noticeable that Matthew was quite candid in his admissions, which suggestions to me that he was none to pleased at what took place.

    As Ritches revealed Gilmore’s behaviour (one Nat ‘narking’ on another), Matthew is revealing the behaviour of other National Party operatives.

    There is much more to this story, and perhaps Matthew might wish to share it with us.

  5. Something else that caught my attention, was Matthew’s reference to private polling. His mention of National’s rolling with numbers starting with a “3” was mind-blowing.

    Not just that the numbers have plummetted so low…

    But that he publicly disclosed it.


    • He linked it specifically with Marriage Equality and said not to expect any socially progressive legislation for some years now. National’s hoping for support from the Conservatives, since Act is knackered and the Brethren are too obvious and won’t be running for seats anyway.

  6. I was looking forward to Aaron Gilmore’s utu. But he’s obviously got threatened into staying quiet

  7. It was my assessment from the start, that Gilmore was “assassinated” publicly by having commenters, insiders, Nat party members and media involved all geared to shoot him down.

    Of course we know Gilmore has a bit of an arrogant, self uppety attitude, is rather over the top on some matters, but hey, why did the Nats allow him to become MP on the waiting list? Surely many there were thinking and believing the same as Gilmore, that National is the sun shining out of any dirty arsehole.

    It is the glorified belief that they are superior, on top of it and know bets. And surely, Key did at first react very apologetically on Gilmores embarrassing comments to a waiter at the Hanmer Springs hotel. There was no sign that Key wanted to get rid of him, not at all.

    But when other “insiders” leaked text messages and so, then it became nasty. So what were their motivations? Maybe get themselves positioned further up on the party list? Maybe prepare other mates for careers?

    The publication of the emails that Gilmore and some others at MBIE exchanged made it very clear, this was no normal treatment of a difficult case. I never heard or was any other OIA request processed and responded on so swiftly. Now what about Steven Joyce, being minister for that department? Maybe he was happy to “assist”?

    The whole developments can tell only one story: Gilmore was shot down like an easy target, by some that had an interest in this to happen. Nats are dirty in politics, but they pretend they are not. Better wake up, dear public, Gilmore was morally and publicly “assassinated” by using cheap media tricks to do this.

    It makes you almost feel sorry for the guy.

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