Why Mark Mitchell’s run at leadership is a scam & is this Tracy Watkin’s worst political column of all time?


Mark Mitchell loves war so much he fought as a mercenary 

If you read the mainstream media journalists of NZ covering the National Party leadership race, it’s almost as if Dirty Politics never happened and the way the media are allowing themselves to be manipulated would be embarrassing if it weren’t so dangerous.

The same power block that leaked Todd Barclay’s text messages that damaged Bill English, leaked the Winston Super overpayment that damaged National’s chance of negotiating with NZ First, leaked the destabilising news Bill English faced challenges before this years conference and took out Chris Bishop with the Snapchat allegations.

These power blocks existed before these events and no mainstream media political journalist seems to have the intellectual curiosity to start probing these links.

In my opinion, Mark Mitchell’s attempt at leadership is a scam, and this column by Tracy Watkin’s is possibly the worst political column of all time.

In my opinion, Mark Mitchell is not some bloody hero cop who got stabbed, he is a vicious right wing zealot who if allowed anywhere near power would be an utter disaster for us.

It’s not just that a former mercenary shouldn’t ever be allowed to become the Minister of Defence, it’s not just that such a pro war apologist has no place in the Ministry of Defence, and it’s not just the insanity of a mercenary being asked to have an opinion on ISIS, it’s that Mark Mitchell was part of something far more dangerous.

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He was part of Simon Lusk’s and Cameron Slater’s attack plan to radicalise the National Party

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.

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 .

National Party insiders were terrified when they discovered that Lusk and Slater were planning a take over of the National Party using MPs like Mark Mitchell to create a new hard right Government.

This connection with Slater & Lusk went deeper than first thought in 2012 when it turned out that Lusk & Slater had helped Mark win Rodney after smearing other candidates  in 2011…

Disclosures disgust defeated candidate

National Party member Brent Robinson says he is disappointed and upset about what he calls an “atrocious” smear campaign during the Rodney candidate selection in 2011, as outlined in Nicky Hager’s Dirty Politics.

And although speaking out will do the party no favours, he hopes it will see politics cleaned up.

Mr Robinson was one of five hopefuls for the Rodney selection in 2011, eventually won by Mark Mitchell, who went on to become MP.

Dirty Politics, based on emails stolen from Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater, appears to show Mr Slater collaborating with political strategist Simon Lusk to push for Mr Mitchell.

Emails between Mr Slater and Mr Lusk appear to show they wanted him to win, and discussed payments from him; Mr Mitchell has emphatically denied ever paying either of them.

Whale Oil attacked Mr Robinson for his “cult” religious beliefs that could poison the party, and accused him of stacking the branch with members of his local church.

Blog posts then turned on candidate Scott Simpson, calling him “negative”, “too old”, and “not particularly likeable”. Mr Simpson eventually left to stand in, and win, the Coromandel seat. Mr Robinson said the accusations were “absolute rubbish”.

…and what did the Deputy Chair say about the way Mark won Rodney?

“Believe me it was not fair and it was not robust. It was a conspiracy, the nastiest behaviour I’ve seen. It was a nightmare,” said Mrs Ferguson, whose favoured candidate Brent Robinson was the subject of heavy criticism from Whale Oil.

…David Fisher looks into this in 2014

That was early 2012. In Dirty Politics, it is alleged that during the previous election, Slater was working with political adviser Simon Lusk to swing a National Party candidate selection to pick his man.

That was the Rodney electorate and his man was Mark Mitchell, the former dog handler turned private guard who enjoyed enthusiastic backing from Slater through his Whale Oil blog which highlighted only the negative aspects of his opponents.

Lusk and Slater wanted to step up their ‘Candidates’ College’, at which they charged political aspirants for lessons on how to win in politics. They had a vision for the future. In February 2012, a document written by Simon Lusk charted out a plan to entrench the right-of-centre ‘Fiscal Conservatives’ for years to come. It involved “taking over the public service” and the “blackballing of current National MPs”.

A month later, National Party board minutes show they saw the danger coming.

The minutes record “a disturbing conversation … with Simon Lusk that highlighted his motivations and a very negative agenda for the party”. His agenda posed a “serious risk to the party” and “light needs to be shed on these issues with key influencers within the party”.

…so a radical right wing mercenary with deep links to Judith Collin’s favourite attack dogs Slater & Lusk (who helped him win the Rodney candidacy) and who have a long term plan to use him to implement a radical right wing agenda has thrown his hat in the ring.


I believe the long term plan is for Mark to stand down from National in the year of the next election, suddenly become the Leader of the Conservative Party and Judith will allow him to run in Rodney unopposed thus bringing in a sub 5% vote using an electorate seat. He is running now to build profile, watch for him to run a very socially conservative platform to appeal to the Christian vote.

The ability for mainstream media journalists to ignore that Mark was a member of the Lusk/Slater Candidate Academy, to ignore that Slater & Lusk had plans so dangerous that National freaked out when they heard about them, to ignore he was a mercenary and to ignore that Slater and Lusk helped him win his candidacy are remarkable omissions from supposedly intelligent political journalists.


  1. the press in New Zealand is as weak as piss. full of little dweebs who have never done a days work i n their life and will do anything for a story unless it is against the will and wishes of their right wing masters.

    • R.P. MCMURPHY – agree with everything except ‘will do anything for a story” – I think it’s more a case of media too lazy and complacent to do anything but sit around waiting for the next corporate, government or marketing right wing press release to pop into their in box and repeat it verbatim.

      The new wave of pointless media is the spinoff types that are faux centre liberal sites but actually are mostly there to fill in advertising and promotion for their business backers and advertisers, mostly developers and marketing promoters with journo’s who themselves are mostly interested in their own self promotion.

  2. Nice piece Martyn. Every political journo should have a copy of Dirty Politics within their reach at all times. The chapter on Mitchell was one of the most disturbing (only trumped by the one on Katherine Rich’s attack on Professor Doug Selman, the anti-liquor professor). The names Mitchell, Lusk, Williams et al should ring alarm bells.

  3. New Zealand mainstream political journalism doesn’t rise above the level of average sports reporting, which is about as high as New Zealand journalism rises

      • Rosielee: “Nah. The sports reporting is better.”

        I think you’re probably right. I seldom read anything to do with sports, but on the rare occasions when I have, it’s illuminating to notice how much classier the reportage is, when compared to mainstream political journalism here.

  4. Cock challenged muppets like that bastard have control over OUR lives. Think about that for an extended period of time?
    He’s certainly dressed to bail out.

  5. Only Natz would have a mercenary on its team! Says a lot about the culture there. And whoever supports Mitchell should hang their heads in shame.

    Not blessed with a pool of talent, the only Natz contender that comes across as a sensible prospect for leader in my opinion is Amy Adams. She seems the only one who is intelligent, reasonably fair and level headed. The best out of a rotten box of apples. But still Natz all the same.

    And now the $11b hole man Steven Joyce has joined the circus! Give me strength!

    • You are right about the circus and lack of talent. They are all awful but also think Amy Adams could be just as dangerous posing as a centralist but actually just a drip who will just be a public face to the biggest backstabbers in the National party.

  6. Great post +1000 – scary prospect.

    Mark Mitchell is even scarier, with less morals and more dangerous than Judith Collins (is that even possible) , and that itself is truely scary!

  7. I had the impression Slater and Lusk had been hired to offer advice on helping Nash set out on his own, which turned into a major non event, as did their attempts when hired by an ever so mysterious individual with deep pockets (and long term consent issues with the council) to get Bayden Barber in as Mayor this last election in the Hawkes Bay…again, massive fail, despite the 100 electioneering signs..
    My sense is they only ever work for politicians that fit into their overall plan.
    And they appear to have a few clients who should be demanding a refund.
    Heres hoping Mitchell becomes another disappointed customer.


  8. I saw the interview of Mark Mitchell on Checkpoint recently. Jeezus … Who among the Natz caucus would vote for someone like him? Charisma-free, with, it appears, as much intelligence as a wet pillowslip.

  9. Mitchell is a modern day Muldoon and has extensive connections including the NZ Police.

    Be afraid , very afraid if this man gets authority.

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