Spinning, Spinning, Spinning: Are Matthew Hooton’s TPP musings personal or professional?



MATTHEW HOOTON runs a PR company, Exeltium. His clients include some of New Zealand’s largest companies. Joseph Stiglitz, is a winner of the Nobel Prize for Economics, and he recently told the readers of the New York Times, that the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is “an agreement to manage its members’ trade and investment relations – and to do so on behalf of each country’s most powerful business lobbies.” Do you think, perchance, these two events might be related?

In the fortnight since the deal was done in Atlanta, Hooton has been all over the media (social as well as mainstream) with his analysis of the TPP. The essence of what he’s been saying is that both the proponents and the opponents of the TPP are guilty of grossly over-selling its content. The free trade boosters claimed it would usher New Zealand into a land of milk and honey (or, at least, a land of milk powder and beef) while the fair traders claimed to see the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse galloping over every ridge.

The truth, argues Hooton, falls somewhere in between. Moreover, New Zealand’s chief negotiator, the wily Tim Groser, determined to preserve this country’s bipartisan approach to free trade issues, was at some pains to bring back an agreement that met (more or less) the Labour Party’s famous five TPP preconditions.

“What’s not to like?” is Hooton’s upbeat refrain. Groser’s deal is something both political parties can sign-up to with a clear conscience. In fact, adds Hooton, mischievously, if Labour had been smart, it would have claimed the whole thing as a triumph. “By standing firm on our five preconditions,” Andrew Little could have said, “Labour gave Groser no choice but to bring home the bacon. So, what’s everybody waiting for? Fire up the barbie!”

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Now, this is spin of a very superior sort: carefully crafted to calm people’s fears about the TPP, and convey a sense of cautious optimism about its content. The National Government comes out of it looking good – but also humble. Because, after all, it had to fashion a deal that Labour could live with. And Labour? Well, if the Left had only possessed a modicum of common-sense, it could have come out of this whole thing smelling of the finest red roses. That Little and his team have managed to cock things up so comprehensively is just … astonishing!

Seriously, this really sparkles.

So, why hasn’t the news media made a determined effort to discover whether this excellent line in pro-TPP spin is nothing more than Hooton’s personal thinking on the matter. Just his idle cogitations, which, as a good citizen, he feels duty-bound to share with the rest of New Zealand. Or, whether he’s actually acting on behalf of a client?

Because if, just for the sake of argument, I belonged to the New Zealand United States Council, a body committed to “fostering and developing a strong and mutually beneficial relationship between New Zealand and the United States.” And if, as an American member of the Council, I was a strong “advocate for the expansion of trade and economic links between the two countries including a comprehensive free trade agreement achieved either bilaterally or in the context of an expanded Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement.” Well, you know, I would feel like Exeltium, and Hooton, were really giving me great value for my money.

Not that I have any way of knowing who – if anyone – has contracted Hooton to sell the TPP to an apprehensive New Zealand electorate. But, if I were the editor of a major New Zealand newspaper, then I’m pretty damned sure I’d be asking one of my best reporters to find out.



  1. Exactly.

    Matthew has been quite targetted in his spin, focussing on two main issues since the TPP was signed

    1. withdrawal clause hasn’t changed since 2005; and
    2. nothing to worry about from Investor relations clause

    Now he is going all coy with his “surely little old me isn’t important enough to make a difference” line

    Now, if he turned his spinning and manipulation abilities to reform of the OIA, to match his, so far, faux outrage at its abuse, then he might be really important as opposed to using strategies and systems to make himself SEEM important. As one who has admitted abusing said system, he is well placed to suggest effective changes.

    • It stacked up perfectly well. The litigation you referred to has nothing whatsoever to do with any free trade deal and is a straight-forward judicial review case.

      • The three ‘examples’ you provided have nothing whatsoever to do with so-called “free” trade deals, either. (https://thedailyblog.co.nz/2015/10/17/keys-tppa-falsehoods-weve-never-ever-been-sued-up-date/#comment-308754 )

        Fact remains, Matthew that you’re posting comments on this issue far in excess of any other engagement you’ve made on this, or any other blog (as far as I’m aware).

        Something has motivated you to make considerable commentary that seem little more than ‘soothing noises’ on the TPPA.

        Which is remarkable, as I assume that you haven’t read it either. In short, you’re investing a lot of time and effort in something you haven’t seen.

        Your “political panel” commentary on Radio NZ’s “Nine to Noon” programme made some pertinent observations on the secrecy surrounding negotiations; http://www.radionz.co.nz/audio/player/201775188 (alt. link: http://podcast.radionz.co.nz/ntn/ntn-20151019-1106-political_commentators_matthew_hooton_and_stephen_mills-048.mp3)

        • Quite right Frank. How can Hooten possibly comment on something that hasn’t been released? He is either guessing or spinning on behalf of someone?

          • @Bert

            Too true. Another weirdy that Hooton likes to do is liken aspects of the TPPA with the Kyoto protocol. He hasn’t read the text of the TPPA so how would he know?

          • Yep – simple question Hooton – where did you get your TPPA Text from. Doesn’t need spin! Doesn’t need prevarication! Doesn’t need diversionary tactics.

            Cite your sources like Frank did!

            Otherwise, all you say is wind and piss. And if it walks like a swan, hoots like a swan, then it was probably a duck to begin with, but polished by someone in PR.

        • Yes. I know. And nor does the Lochniver litigation. Do you not understand that? What Key said was and is true. It was you who brought up the “link” between the two things that aren’t linked.

            • Exactly Words. What can we believe that comes from Keys mouth. Key puts himself about and is elected because he is “popular”, certainly not elected for his honesty or policy, yet we have his spin doctors and people like English and Joyce who are the real politicians behind the National party. All very very arrogant people.

          • Nothing informative to see here. Just some emotions being displayed.

            Hooton : you read like that kid at school that said *no it didn’t hurt*

            You sure your an expert at something

          • Nothing Mr Hooton ever writes or says publicly is uniquely personal. Sorry, Matthew, way too disingenuous.

            He doesn’t choose which side to get out of bed without first checking his signed copy of The Prince.

            These endless gotcha games are impressive, but ultimately cynical and distasteful.

          • Hoots, I read Franks analysis and I think it stacks up very well. Your nit-picking and hair-splitting doesn’t change a single damn thing in that we’re being sued by a Chinese firm and that it is only possible because we have a NZ-China FTA. Prior to that we’ve never been sued by China and your examples proved to be fallacious.

            As for your massaging and spin over the TPPA, it is risable.

                • Suing isn’t really China’s style, Thier more into to just banning imports. We should be judging China as a friend, not an allie.

                  The U.S is our very close allie yet some how we believe if WW3 brakes out they will ride to our rescue – idiots.

                  Corporations could sue New Zealand if we passe a law that cuts into the corporations profit.

                  Who’s the judge? A council made up of three corporate judges (not elected obviously).There’s no appeal. At least I think that’s inside TPP.

                  It just sounds so dumb. If a law cuts into profit, the loss if equalized by the goverment. If it raises profit, uh, nothing?

                  So I build both a coal factory and a solar energy plant and whichever way the laws swing, I sue the goverment and make a killing? It’s way to asymetrical and blatandly reduces democracies power.

                • You do know the difference between correlation and causation don’t you? Just because something happens after something else has occurred does not mean the two are related. It is like vaccinations and a child developing Autism. Following your logic because most cases of Autism occur after vaccinations have been given the vaccinations are the cause. Do you think that logic makes sense Frank?

                  • That argument would hold more water if there had never been a case of Autisim before people started vaccinating. Which of course is not the case.

                    Yes the fact that it didn’t happen before isn’t definitive but it is telling.

                • I have no idea but what does that have to do with anything? As far as I know, no Mongolian company has ever taken a judicial review against a NZ minister but either could. You have asserted a relationship between the FTA and the litigation but there is none.

                    • Well, Matthew, I followed the links and looked at your three examples as well. Frank is correct in that none of them relate to foreigners suing the NZ government.

                      He called you on those links and you failed.

                      Hedging with silly questions about “is you theory falsifiable” tells me you got caught out and can’t challenge Frank’s original position.

            • Where’s the nitpicking? It is a simple fact that the litigation has nothing whatsoever to do with the China FTA. A Chinese company which was the subject of a NZ minister’s decision under the OIO rules (or any other rules)?has always been able to have that decision judicially reviewed and would still be able to do so if we pulled out of the FTA.

                • Come on Frank, your logic suggests there’s no allowance for a change in strategy by the Chinese or any others.

                  Second the Chinese might become more bolshie around lawfare as they grow economically and in confidence.

                  Third the fact the Government took a largely political decision to appear balanced to the farming and keep NZ for white guys crowd, the Chinese have every right to seek a review.

                  For me the issue is that the government acting in the interests of the public majority ought not sign up to ISDS provisions, given this report on the Canadian experience under NAFTA:


                  On the issue of ISDS looking into the crystal ball, my comment #5 relating ISDS to limits on government action to mitigate climate change on this Andrew Geddis Pundit blog needs to be apprehended by any with concern for the NZ public interest and that of the World for that matter.

                  • Nafta shafted the world. It was a huge mistake and gave corporations many rights they use now to continue their rape and mineral grabs E T C . . . . .
                    TPPA will shaft us , as well, here in the Pacific and it must be stopped.
                    What is best for the NZ “public interest” is to get these greedy mega-corporations out of politics and stop their control of our govts. and legal systems. The chinese are not here because they are benevolent towards the NZ “public interest”. Their agendas are clear and obvious.
                    The Chinese govt. want and want and want and they will always want here in NZ because we have much to offer them. They are taking advantage and should be stopped before we have sold out our country to another country who have abused the Tibetans and have been horrific to the Dalai Lama and to their own work force. As I now watch the queen kiss their ass in ultra royal style.

                    The legal system is mostly disgusting; unfair; and set up to benefit the few while making most slaves and victims and criminals in prison when many should be let out. The law; controlled and bought governments; the prison systems, these “non-trade” GREEDY agreements ETC. all meant to benefit the few and bring havoc and injustice on the masses.
                    I trust most attorneys and most politicians and most ALL LOBBYISTS and all TPPA supporters about as much as I trust the fox that’s watching the hen house.

              • And under TPPA rules? Are your examples still valid?

                Once the FED spigot opens up on NZ, it will push our legal and financial systems to new highs.

                Arguing against this is like saying the U.S. Will pay down its rising 17 trillion debt.

                • @Hooton. How about some examples that

                  1)exclude investor state collusion or collusion in general.

                  2) promotes free markets and not monopoly rights

                  3)enables real wage growth

                  3) prevents NZ workers from competing with 2nd and 3rd world wages.

                  4) and allows Kiwi start ups to excersise creative freedoms instead of having to check with copy right holders. This one most applies to fan made fan pics, short films ect.

          • Pretending to be stupid, for the sake of kissing John Key’s ass, indicates that you have no integrity or pride in yourself. You are very well aware that he is a dishonest person – the whole country knows this, so you can cut the crap.

  2. Great analysis in particular the sparkly spin on the ‘whats there not to like?’

    How does Hooton sleep at night?

    What annoys me, is that it was so simple for Labour to come out and say NO to TPP in clear words but it is beyond them.

    Their is no redemption for the Natz but why does Labour have to follow them to the slaughter and insist on NatLite policy?

    Do Labour believe that TPP which they all know is a really crap deal for trade that nobody is allowed to see and much of the rest of the world does not agree with and is almost certainly going to cost jobs, increase health and open NZ up to international litigation is a good thing? And that’s the stuff we know, more concerning is the other 25 chapters not about trade that are still secret….

    The Natz gain from it, but what the hell does Labour get from being confused on the issue?

  3. So it all boils down to whether we believe Trotter or Hooton?

    I’m a fucking communist; how the hell am I going to believe Hooton?

    Chris may be too far to the right for my tastes but he generally does NOTt lie or even indulge in spin.

    And how do we know the Matthew Hooton posting here is actually the real Matthew Hooton, as sponsored by Radio New Zealand?

    I don’t go to right-wing blogs because I prefer not to stimulate my blood pressure. I know what I will find on those blogs and I don’t see the point in evangelizing the virtues of true socialism to the pagan hoards.

    Do you really think you can gain converts here, Mr Hooton?

  4. So it all boils down to whether we believe Trotter or Hooton?

    I’m a fucking communist; how the hell am I going to believe Hooton?

    Chris may be too far to the right for my tastes but he generally does NOT lie or even indulge in spin. Hooton is a professional spin doctor; that’s his job.

    And how do we know the Matthew Hooton posting here is actually the real Matthew Hooton, as sponsored by Radio New Zealand?

    I don’t go to right-wing blogs because I prefer not to stimulate my blood pressure unnecessarily. I know what I will find on those blogs and I don’t see the point in evangelizing the virtues of true socialism to the pagan hoards.

    Do you really think you can gain converts here, Mr Hooton?

  5. Was Hooten paid to provide Nicky Hagers address to people who wanted to do him harm ??????? …… or is that another example of his personal life?.

    hooten is a spinner who makes some nice noises while doing some horrible things …….

    An example would be his association and work for the Alcohol drug industry ……… and yet he pretends* to get all upset about domestic violence ( if he objects to domestic violence so much he would have nothing to do with the alcohol industry ).

    Read ” Dirty politics” to understand Hooten better is my advice ……..

    He is slightly cleaner than slater and Farrar on the dirt scale ………..

    • PR is about turd-polishing and Hooton is the turd-polisher pursuivant (a reference to Blackadder).

      Nothing to see here move on. Hooton was anti-Key for a while there, but has obviously been “pulled” back into line. The TPPA is an anti-democratic corporate trade deal, that will definitely remove NZ and Maori sovereignty.

      But Hoots obviously has read the whole TPPA text? Have you got the reference for where you read it? Or was it Wikileaks like the rest of us Hoots?

  6. Anyone remotely supporting John Key is now seen as also a bald faced liar like Key is.

    Remember who said “I don’t want to see you all tenants in your own land”?

    Yes it’s the best liar in the world, Shonkey himself.

  7. Hooten speaks like an authority and he is not.
    Hooten affirms support of TPPA thus showing his ignorance.
    We rarely listen to him at all because he seems so full of himself and needs to portray himself as someone very important and he is not.

    We do not learn a thing when we used to waste time listening to him.

    Why all the fuss about a journalist with his head buried deep in the Natz corner and so biased that he is laughable.

      • Hey Gosman, Hooton is a spin-meistering turd-polisher, and has as much credibility at this site, as you, a paid right-wing troll. Zip, zilch, niet, nada, null or zero. Why don’t you go and comment at whaleoil blog.

        You’ll be a superstar there, I’m sure. I say that as an innocent who has never been to WOB. But one day, I just might take some anti-nausea tablets and visit and see your contributions there.

        Go Gosman.

  8. “He doesn’t choose which side to get out of bed without first checking his signed copy of The Prince.”

    Oh dear. When I hear Matthew on the radio next I’m going to crack up.

  9. Personally , I take great heart in seeing ( Ugh ) and reading that hooten is over here stamping his flat little feet in faux hissy-ness at us . ( whom he might describe as the dejected, lost, echo chamber of the few human NZ/ Aotearoa voices left but are worrying none the less )
    Clearly,the Dark Siders have had the shits put up them if they’ve sent their pet snapping turtle into the fray. Destroying the MSM and threatening us with constant surveillance and deadening our brains with wall-to-wall rugby no longer doing the job?
    That gives me cause to believe that a movement is gaining momentum!
    I was talking to a cop on Saturday and as he was writing me out my ticket ( Sigh ) He was lamenting about the ” Tory criminals who’re running our country into the ground. ”
    Imagine the power ? If [we] could get the police AND farmer money over from the dodgy, con artist scum bags flat-out selling us out to their corporate pimps and dealers? Of course , that might mean Hooten et al would have to get jobs more suited to their emotional intelligence. Pity administering capital punishment procedures are no longer an employment option for such fellows.

    • ‘ Clearly,the Dark Siders have had the shits put up them if they’ve sent their pet snapping turtle into the fray.’

      I love it.

      As for the rest …smack on.

  10. Just a storm in a tiny teacup. Why give the inconsequential Mr Hooton any oxygen? Also, what has Chris Trotter ever done for Labour.

    • I think what Chris Trotter has done for Labour is pricked their conscience and …high lighted the often baldfaced double dealing that many among their caucus have been guilty of.

      And I think deep down he still believes there’s hope for Labour.

      He wouldn’t have devoted such in depth critical analysis if he didn’t care.

      He’s far too politically astute and experienced to be taken in – a seasoned veteran if you will.

      As for Hooten… always interesting but totally irrelevant.

      Sadly . Irrelevant because of his natural positioning amongst the neo liberal agenda.

      To which there is no redeeming features whatsoever that can be salvaged. None whatsoever.

      Which automatically renders his opinions redundant.

      Save that of being able at least to observe the thinking that guides the neo liberals…and , – as in a military sense he exposes much with which we can work with … much like a bigmouth during war that the military can exploit.

      That is where he becomes valuable to us.

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