EXCLUSIVE: National’s Ohariu candidate admits contact by Simon Lusk

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brett hudson - simon lusk - ohariu candidate - national

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Wellington, NZ, 31  August – At a meet-the-candidates public meeting in the Rongotai Electorate, National’s Ohariu candidate, Brett Hudson, confirmed that he had been approached by “a mate”, who passed on a message from  National Party operative, Simon Lusk.

Simon Lusk is a far right-wing apparatchik who runs a private, self-styled “candidates school” for potential National Party candidates. Amongst those National MPs linked to Lusk are Taupo MP Louise Upston, Maungakiekie MP Sam Lotu-Iiga, Napier MP Chris Tremain, Rodney MP Mark Mitchell and former list MP Aaron Gilmore. Disgraced Minister, Judith Collins, is also an  associate of  Simon Lusk.

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The media reported that some National Party insiders were so concerned by Lusk’s activities  that they leaked documents to the media in 2012, and the following year. At least one senior Minister, Michael Woodhouse, discussed his growing unease with National’s president, Peter Goodfellow .

Brett Hudson

On Sunday, this blogger put a direct question to National’s Ohariu candidate, Brett Hudson, enquiring  if he has had any recent contact with Simon Lusk; Lusk’s so-called “college for candidates”; Cameron Slater, or any of their associates.

Hudson confirmed that he had been approached, explaining that he had been offered Simon Lusk’s services through a third party,

“I have [had an] indirect approach. Someone else had said that, that gentleman had said if your mate wants to get involved, let me know. And I turned it down.”

When I enquired who that “someone else” had been, Hudson refused to disclose the name.

“I’m not going to name who it was, it’s not relevant to this situation.”

Hudson insisted,

“They just said, I’ve had a message from this guy Lusk, who sez if your mate is interested let me know. Tell him to get in touch.”

Hudson stated categorically that the un-named person who approached him was not National Party parliamentary staffer, Jason Ede.

When questioned further, Hudson stated,

“I’ve no contact with Slater or Lusk. I have no intention to never, nor would ever consider entering their scheme.

So I made my own message, which I think it was Facebook, I can’t recall exactly, just went to Lusk, and don’t want to participate.”

Upon further questioning, Hudson confirmed that he contacted Lusk directly to decline the offer,

“It was just a message to say I’m not interested… so I’m not involved, I’ve had no conversations.”

When I asked when this exchange took place, Hudson was vague, and said,

“I can’t recall, last year probably. Or even… probably… could’ve been late 2012. I don’t know. Honestly, ‘cos I’ve no intention of being involved.”

I asked when he was selected as a candidate and Hudson replied,

“End of April this year.”

I asked,

“End of April this year? So why would he have contacted you… in 2012?”

Hudson replied,

“Because if he wanted people to join his college, which as I understand it, and I don’t know, but it would be a paid for thing, then maybe he was touting for business, I don’t know.”

Hudson was emphatic when he denied all involvement with Lusk;

“And also I think the message was, if your mate was interested then he could contact me. And I said I’m not interested.”

Despite repeated enquiries,  he refused to name who the “mate” was who acted as a go-between him and Lusk.

Interestingly, Hudson joined Facebook on 5 May 2011, so why would Lusk have offered his services through a so-called third party, rather than FB messaging Hudson directly?

Especially when Brett Hudson is one of  Simon Lusk’s FB friends;

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Lusk - Hudson facebook friends

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Lusk does not appear on Brett Hudson’s FB friends list.

If Hudson was approached by a “third party”, there are two well-known associates of Simon Lusk who appear on Brett Hudson’s Facebook Friends list; right-wing lawyer Jordan Williams, and blogger, David Farrar;

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jordan williams -facebook - simon lusk - Brett hudson - ohariu

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david farrar -facebook - simon lusk - Brett hudson - ohariu

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Chris Finlayson

At another public meeting in Rongotai, on the same day, National’s Treaty Negotiations Minister and Attornery General, Chris Finlayson was also asked what dealings, if any, he had had with Simon Lusk or Cameron Slater.

At this point, as I put the question to Finlayson, National Party supporters attempted to shout me down. Nearly all middle-aged men and women, their behaviour was mob-like, reminding me of the “F**k John Key” Youtube video we have seen recently,  and attempted to stop me from questioning the Minister.  They took particular exception to a hand-held voice-recorder in my hand. One particularly observant older National supporter yelled, with a hint of panic,

“He’s got a recorder! He’s got a recorder!”

I turned to the greying-haired lady and responded,

“Why yes, so it is.”

The chair of the meeting felt the need to address the matter and called for a voice “vote” on whether or not I should record Finlayson’s response to my question. The loud vocal braying from the National Party supporters would have done a village mob proud, with one National supporter sitting directly behind me adding,

“Sit down! Not relevant!”

At the Chair’s request, I turned my recorder off and said,

“But I will put the question, as it’s an important election issue.”

Minister Finlayson responded (with far more grace than his supporters, I might add). The following notes were jotted contemporaneously,

“No, [I] haven’t been contacted by them. I haven’t read the book. But all I know is I think they called me a tosser who tried to speak latin.”

I thanked the minister, sat down,  and turned to the National Party supporter seated behind me,

“Are you a National or Conservative Party (he had cheered and clapped for several comments made by the Conservative candidate) supporter?”

Doesn’t matter, irrelevent,” he replied.

“Well, it is relevent. You’ve expressed strong views and I’d like to know where you’re coming from.”

“No, irrelevent, just like your question to Chris,” he said.

I replied, “it can’t be ‘irrelevent’, because it’s a major election issue.”

“Well,” he said with some smugness, “we’ll have to agree to disagree then, won’t we?”

I replied,

“Really? That didn’t stop you from trying to shut me down, did it?”

At the conclusion of the public question and answer session, I approached Chris Finlayson and introduced myself. I asked if he would go on record, to answer my question. The Minister seemed quite happy to do so, and added an interesting ‘aside’.

I asked,

“So you’ve never had no contact or anything with Simon Lusk or  Cameron Slater, say in the last year or so?”

Finlayson replied, without any hesitation,

“I’ve never had contact with them.”

He added,

“I suggest you ask the same question of Stuart Nash, the Labour candidate in Napier.”

When I asked why I should ask Nash that question, Finlayson refused to say why, and instead repeated that I should put the question to him.

Accordingly, I have put the question to  Stuart Nash via  Facebook messaging,

Kia ora Stuart,

I’m putting together a story for the Daily Blog, regarding Simon Lusk and Cameron Slater, and your name has come up in discussions with certain people. Can you confirm what dealings you have had with Simon Lusk (or his intermediary) , and what services he has offered you for your election campaign? Have you paid any money for any services he might offer, or has any amount been agreed on? Furthermore, what was the nature of the agreement and did it refer to the Mana-Internet Party? Also, are you aware of other Labour candidates who are currently in contact with Simon Lusk (or his intermediary, or Cameron Slater). I look forward to your responses on these questions, to shed some light on matters that have arisen.

The message was seen at 1.46am on 1 September, but no reply has been forthcoming.

Mr Nash, if you wish to reply and address the question, the opportunity is still open.

It is the contention of this blogger that Cameron Slater and his dealings are a matter of intense public interest. People who are putting themselves up for election to Parliament should have nothing to hide when it comes to disclosing what contacts they have had with controversial public figures and matters of considerable public interest.

I will continue to ask these questions, and noisy supporters of National (or Labour) would be well advised that attempting to shout down the truth does not serve their interests.

 

 


 

References

NZ Herald: National Party had high-level concerns over member’s influence

NZ Herald: National turns on hard right advisor

Fairfax media:  Seriously happy to upset the status quo

TVNZ News:  National Party selects Ohariu candidate

Facebook: Simon Lusk FB Page – Friends

NZ Parliament: Chris Finlayson

Previous related blogposts

Power Struggle in the National Party?!

David Farrar – Challenging Slater for Sultan of Sleaze?

National MP admits collusion with bosses to set up strike-breaking law!!

Other blogs

The Paepae: Simon Lusk in the headlines again!


 

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20 september 2014 VOTE

Above image acknowledgment: Francis Owen/Lurch Left Memes

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14 COMMENTS

  1. Well done Frank. Keep asking the questions. The behaviour described in Dirty Politics is not ok, whether it involves National or Labour.

  2. I also note in the picture above that Kelvin Davis is a friend of Lusk. If true? Hummmmm!
    And Nash? I would like to see an update if you get a response from him.
    It is these small things that worries me about the Labour Party.
    I can’t trust Labour yet!

  3. Good on you Frank. It takes a lot of courage to stand up and ask those sorts of questions in a potentially hostile environment. You are doing the work paid journalists should be doing.

    Given that they aren’t, I think you are showing just how respected bloggers can easily step into a journalist’s shoes, get the story, and have it published for thousands to read.

    You have stepped into a brave new world.

  4. I noticed Kelvin Davis being friended by Lusk as well.

    That’s dangerous company our Kelvin keeps.

    Good job Frank. And very disappointed at the hectoring you got from those feral geriatrics. And people wonder where the young learnt to burn effigies of an unpopular PM??

  5. Good work on your behalf Frank. Thank you.

    I was somewhat surprised to see Kelvin Davis is marked as one of Simon Lusk’s Facebook “friends”! Bit disturbing.

    WTF is going on there?

  6. Perhaps I have missed something here, but why was National’s Ohariu candidate campaigning in Rongotai? Doesn’t National have a candidate there?

  7. To be honest, I am surprised that the left can’t see the ‘black ops’ currently being practised by the right for what it is.

    Yes, I know Simon Lusk as he lives in the Bay. We have actually worked on a project of mutual interest – the battle to get a degree of transparency at the HB Regional Council with regards to the Ruataniwha Water Storage Scheme. Simon was actually working with MPs from Labour, the Greens, a number of local Nats and a couple of ACT people, as this is very much a cross-party local issue.

    Simon is not working on my election campaign, I have never paid him for any services, and there is no agreement re Mana-Internet.

    I am also very disappointed that people are trying to link Kelvin’s campaign to Lusk. I am a huge supporter of Kel and think he is a great candidate and is a fantastic MP who will continue to make a very valuable contribution to Labour, his electorate and NZ. I am 100% supportive of him going incredibly hard to win his seat.

    Also be aware that the Nats are playing ‘divide and rule’ politics with candidates like Kel and I when they link our names to Lusk and Whaleoil.

    Joyce in particular, Key in the past and now Finlayson, have all linked my name to such rubbish. Whaledump, however, has come out and said that he has nothing on me – which I always knew.

    This is about trying (unsuccessfully) to discredit a candidate who has the chance to win back a seat for Labour currently held by the Nats. Pretty obvious and rather crude I would have thought.

    If we allow their lies to become truths then they have won that battle. Personally, I couldn’t care less what Finlayson, Joyce or Key say about me, but it does surprise me when Labour people start believing their rhetoric, because it means that their lines are beginning to get cut-through.

    Please be assured, that I would not be standing in Napier for Labour, I would not have run a 3 year campaign to win this seat and the right to represent Labour in parliament, and I wouldn’t be putting a bunch of very good volunteers through hell if I wasn’t Labour to the core.

    I hope this answers your questions.

  8. Good work again Frank

    We do not want dirty politics no matter whose side is involved

    Open clear honest and transparent government is all we ask for

    If your dirty you have no place in politics

    That is the message

    Vote clean vote green 🙂

  9. All starting to sound a bit like Sun Szu’s art of war – the spy and counter spy section. Mix in a little divide and conquer from Imperial Rome as well…..

    Just so long as our politicos keep their noses clean…..that is all.

    And from here on in despite Keys whitewash attempt with an ‘inquiry’ …

    They’d bloody well better.

  10. If i see NAsh at any of his street corner meetings here in Napier, ill ask him myself Frank.

    Dead keen to find out the answer to this, as well as if he was the one who was ‘furious’ at Cunliffe for having three days off.

    • Matthew, we have held over 120 street corner meetings so far and we are holding another 12 this weekend, however, this is the last weekend we are holding them before the election. So stop making trouble on this blog and put your money where your mouth is and turn up. As always, the meeting times and locations are all advertised in the double page spread of the Napier mail.

      • I feel a little disappointed that your response has not been properly acknowledged- i think its a good response- kudos to you.
        🙂

Comments are closed.