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Sparks fly with yet more shocking right wing nuttery…

By   /  June 11, 2013  /  9 Comments

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the likes of Karl du Fresne denounce Radio NZ as a left-wing organisation; journalists are branded “leftist”; and media pundits feel the need to defend journos from being labelled as “left wing partisans” – whilst at the same time openly partisan, right-wing columnists like John Armstrong and Fran O’sullivan are (mostly) unchallenged as they spread their pro-National messages.

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malcomx newspapers

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It’s a funny old world we live in…

On the one hand,  the likes of Karl du Fresne  denounce Radio NZ as a left-wing organisation;  journalists are branded “leftist”; and  media pundits  feel the need to defend journos from being labelled as “left wing partisans” – whilst at the same time openly partisan, right-wing columnists like John Armstrong and  Fran O’sullivan are (mostly) unchallenged as  they spread their pro-National messages.

Armstrong’s recent column was nothing more or less than an unpaid Party political broadcast (for National, in case there was any doubt),

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Get-tough Greens preparing for battle

Acknowledgment: NZ Herald -Get-tough Greens preparing for battle

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Out of 31 paragraphs, Armstrong dripped political diarrhoea from nearly every one. Even the Greens’ democratic process took a hammering,

“So much for democracy. Not that too many at the conference seemed to mind. By all accounts, the motion to streamline the party’s antiquated remit system easily obtained the required 75 per cent backing to effect a change to the party’s standing orders.”

Pardon moi?! WTF?!

The Greens “easily obtained the required 75 per cent backing to effect a change to the party’s standing orders” – and Armstrong still derides the process with a curt “So much for democracy”? He thinks that a  75% acceptance of a remit isn’t democractic?!

I think if the Nats had won 75% of the vote in 2011, Armstrong would be spinning a completely different story. He would’ve wet his incontinence-knickers at such a result.

It’s fairly self-evident that  Armstrong’s pro-National leanings have clouded his judgement to such a degree that he no longer recognises when his diatribes are  bizarre, biased – and quite frankly – bullshit. He isn’t the Herald’s “chief political commentator” – he’s National’s media-liaison/spin doctor.

It’s a wonder that his salary isn’t paid directly by National Party Head Office.

Armstrong also commented,

“National Party-aligned bloggers were not the only people asking in the wake of that attack who was being Muldoonist now.”

Well, actually, Mr Armstrong, not many people were asking that. Only you and your pals, the National Party-aligned bloggers.

Perhaps Mr Armstrong and the National Party-aligned bloggers should be a little less thin-skinned. If John Key can throw muck at Russell Norman and the Greens, I’m sure that our smile-and-wave Dear Leader John Key can take a few jibes thrown back at him. Or is the Prime Minister so weakened by constant criticism from the media, public, and Left that he desperately needs shielding from those Big Bad Bolshie Greens?!

Oh, the poor wee flower.

This next bit by Armstrong illustrates the desperation of the Right wing and their venal, lapdog journos,

Norman appeared to offer further evidence of that later in the week when he rounded on the chairman of the Electricity Authority, Brent Layton.”

“Rounded”?!

Good lord, did Russell actually bite that poor man, Brent Layton?! Russell by name, Russell by breed?!

Whatever did Layton do to deserve such a “rounding”?!

Oh yeah. This,

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Power authority head attacks Greens-Labour electricity plan

Acknowledgment: NBR -Power authority head attacks Greens-Labour electricity plan

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Aside from the curious situation of a State sector CEO making political comments which are outside his purview, it seems clear that far from being the innocent injured party in an unprovoked political attack – Russell Norman was responding to an under-handed, well-planned, partisan assault on the Greens and Labour from Mr Layton himself.

As Norman said – and with considerable truth, I might add,

“Dr Layton’s extraordinary foray into political debate is nothing more than a National Party-appointed civil servant who has failed to do his job and is now trying to protect his patch.”

Perhaps if Layton can’t stand the political heat, he should stick to his role as a civil servant running a government department. Being a well paid civil servant for the Electricity Authority, he should be over-seeing lower power prices for all New Zealanders – but instead has  done the bidding of powercos and stood by as electricity prices continue their inexorable climb.

After the 2014 election, this may not be a problem for Mr Layton. He will no doubt be “persuaded” to seek employment elsewhere.

So basically, what we have with Armstrong’s “column” is National Party propaganda spin with a bit of Green-bashing thrown in . Simon Lusk, Cameron Slater, and David Farrar  couldn’t have organised it better. (Or, maybe they did?)

The only question that remains to be answered: why is the NZ Herald paying John Armstrong’s salary?

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9 Comments

  1. Todd Ross says:

    We will see a fluff piece from Armstrong pretty soon to counter this perception of bias. The history of his writing shows this as the norm, It will be barbed, inaccurate & loaded with tokenism, to suit a distorted view that greens are ‘far left’ & national are ‘centre’. What’s more fascinating to me, is what seems to be a very selective approach to allowing debate on certain pieces, clear government propaganda pieces through their website, usually avoid commentary. PISSES ME OFF!

  2. fambo says:

    Karl du Fresne is trying to escape the world in Masterton. But let’s not denigrate Masterton which recently saw community protests against police treatment of youth and a larger turnout at an education protest (in terms of percentage of population) than anything in Wellington has managed in recent times.

  3. Andrew Nichols says:

    Wasn’t Layton a National Party official in Auckland and if so – why was he not made to declare this?

  4. Rob says:

    Is that the same Brent Layton who in the 80s worked for a ChCh
    stockbroking firm that didn’t survive the 87 crash and then
    went on to be a National Party appointee as chairman of
    one of the failed health boards in the 90s?
    Just asking

    • Tim says:

      Yes – remember that “Class of ’87” ? Many have done the rounds a second time – or is it a 3rd time. Opposed to welfare – unless of course its corporate welfare!

  5. Rob, Andrew – please kick me.

    I should have investigated that angle myself. Ye gods, I’m slipping…

  6. Jane says:

    Good piece Frank. Another crisp piece of worthy journalism which might well be accompanied by a song for Du Fresne and company.

    “But where are the clowns?
    Quick, send in the clowns.
    Don’t bother, they’re here.”

  7. More on Layton;

    He also says he would not implement the Labour-Greens’ NZ Power proposal because it would contravene the requirements of the regulator’s legislation “to promote competition in, reliable supply by, and the efficient operation of the electricity industry for the long term benefit of consumers”.

    Asked whether he would be able to serve on the Electricity Authority if a Labour-Green government were elected, Dr Layton said: “I personally wouldn’t.”

    But he was coy under questioning about whether the paper was a direct rebuttal of the NZ Power central buyer policy promoted by the Labour and Green parties.

    On central buyer proposals, he said similar policies had been examined four times in the last 25 years and found wanting in terms of what would be of long term benefit to consumers.

    He asserts that consumers could expect household reductions of around $200 in their annual power bills if current approaches to encouraging retail market competition are pursued.

    Source: http://money.msn.co.nz/businessnews/national/8669990/electricity-regulator-responds-to-critics

    It seems that what we have here is a highly politicised civil servant. (According to Simon Lusk’s agenda, no doubt.)

    I would expect his letter of resignation on the Prime Minister’s desk the day after the election.

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