Andrea Vance lances the New Conservative pus of David Moffett


There are a few New Zealand journalists and broadcasters who are so skilled, insightful and intelligent  that you simply don’t want to be on the receiving end of a beat down from them. John Campbell, Kim Hill, Guyon Espiner, Mihingarangi Forbes are all in that league, but the one you never want to cross is Andrea Vance.

I have an enormous amount of respect for Vance, her journalism is some of the most critical and powerful in the country, but her take down of New Conservative pus pimp, David Mofffett is so excruciating you actually wince and turn your head in pain at her devastating critique of the alt right her in latest column.

The New Conservatives and Moffett are ‘alt-right’ in that they are willing to use hateful language to manipulate public anger…

Moffett, 71, burst onto the political scene late last year, raging on Twitter at “traitorous” Jacinda Ardern, and calling German Chancellor Angela Merkel “a thoroughly detestable excuse for a human being.” He’s been trolling both sides of the discourse – baiting ACT leader David Seymour and left wing blogger Martyn Bradbury. His profile – he is a former Sport England, NZ Rugby, NRL and Welsh Rugby Union boss – saw his insults generate headlines here and in Britain.

He is primarily concerned with migration, climate change and gender politics. They are all touchstones of the populist right-wing movement sweeping the Western world, a backlash to political establishment thinking.

…and Vance’s painful demolition of Moffett highlights how utterly meaningless much of their argument is…

To back up his opinions, Moffett reaches for conspiracy theories he’s read on the internet. He struggles to articulate them, or convincingly defend them.

“Recently, Australia had an agreement with the United States to take some of the people on Manus Island – unfortunately, when they got to America they found out that there weren’t all these free hand outs and they wanted to go back,” he says. “They’ve got their foot into America and they don’t want to be there because it is too tough. These people – in a lot of the cases – are not genuine refugees.”

Moffett is unsure where he sourced this example. In fact, it has been reported that almost three quarters of the refugees were rejected by the US, apparently because they were born in Muslim countries. 

“Well, it’s been in the news,” he says. “Perhaps, if the mainstream media was to report some of this stuff, they would see … you’ll find it in an Australian newspaper somewhere.”

…”you’ll find them in an Australian newspaper somewhere”, has got to be one of my favourite quotes in an interview where Moffett manages to make himself sound more stupid every time he opens his mouth…

Earlier, Moffett had told me he first learned of the migration pact on Sky News Australia.

“You need to understand Sky, Murdoch, have moved left in the last six months. They used to have this programme called The Outsiders and they used to have some really good presenters on there. They sacked one of them – he made a little error but it wasn’t of a sackable offence. And then they continued to move to the left.”

He is referring to Ross Cameron, a former Liberal MP, dumped by Sky in November after he said: “If you go to the Disneyland in Shanghai on any typical morning of the week you’ll see 20,000 black-haired, slanty-eyed, yellow-skinned Chinese desperate to get into Disneyland.”

…the man is a moron of such extraordinary levels, but he just keeps going…

Moffett’s opinions on environmental policy are contradictory and seem to be at odds with the New Conservatives official position on climate change, which includes policy on reducing emissions.

“It is the biggest scam ever visited on the human population,” he says.

“Give one single example of a prediction of all the scientists that has come true on climate change. By 2014, there should have been no ice left on the planet and we would never see snow again …”

Who claimed this? “I haven’t come here with all that sort of stuff prepared. What was the name of that ex-politician?”

Al Gore? “Al Gore, yeah. 2002 he was predicting all this stuff … I’m not going to take what they say to me as gospel. I’m going to do my own investigations and make my own mind up.”

Gore once erroneously attributed predictions about Arctic summer sea ice to scientists, and for the last four years his comments have been recited by human-caused climate change deniers as evidence of a conspiracy.

“I don’t believe what half of science is telling me … they have actually cottoned on to the fact that they can get themselves a very well paid job for life,” Moffett says.

…he doesn’t believe half of what science is telling him, so what does he believe…

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Moffett is using his platform as a lightning rod for those frustrations. In less than 300 characters, he might appear to be a torchbearer for right wing populism in New Zealand. But, ask him to flesh out his ideas, and he is ill-prepared, his ideology both thin and confused: at one point he claims to be “a centrist”.

He finishes up our interview with a senseless rant about paedophiles infiltrating the gay and lesbian community and schools, which seems to be his own riff on a conspiracy theory circulating on the white-supremacist fringes of the internet. Later, he sends me a YouTube video to explain the theory. 

…what an embarrassing interview that utterly discredits him, and as Vance points out, he has a tiny social media following so should we take his ignorance seriously?

I am hoping that New Zealanders are smarter than this, but I also fear that a cultural backlash to the woke may propel the New Conservatives into a position of power.

We saw what a woke backlash did with Trump and Brexit and I am not convinced it can’t happen here. Watching so many people spew uninformed bullshit on social media tells me we are ripe for this kind of political ignorance. While the woke use social media to continue to alienate the working classes and the poor with social justice arguments far removed from the existential realities of poverty, pedlars of lies like Moffett can manipulate those frustrations to devastating levels.

We will see if it is all bullshit on February 2nd when they stage their hateful little yellow vest fascism protests.



  1. The man can’t be to bad, after all he was involved in wugby, and we all know that these minority groups have been getting a bit uppity lately.(sarc) Unfortunately Martyn i do not share your belief in the natural goodness of nu zilders. As you say February 2nd will give us some indication, but probably not a clear one.

    • Andrew: “He’s correct about the Manus Island ‘refugees’ (illegal immigrants)”

      Indeed. And it would scarcely be surprising, that some of those resettled want to return to Manus Island. Setting aside the welfare issues adduced by Moffett, such people will be institutionalised, as the ABC article points out. Moreover, relocating from the tropics to the US must be a huge disruption for them, just on the basis of the change of environment: they’ve become acclimatised to the tropics, after all.

      I was a bit surprised that Vance didn’t do that small but important piece of fact-checking for herself. It rather undermines her credibility as a journalist, thereby calling into question the validity of her assessment of the rest of Moffett’s views.

      Although, let’s not forget that, at the time of the 2016 presidential election, our journalists (Vance included, no doubt) abandoned all pretence at analysis in favour of variations on “Ooh, isn’t Trump AWFUL!”. This despite many of us contacting them and imploring them to take a more nuanced view of what was happening in the US. So. Come election day, the result completely blindsided them – and, of course, a goodish chunk of the population here, who said plaintively “Where the hell did that come from?” No, not the Russians….

      I read her piece. The entire tone was negative; conservatives are as entitled to their opinions as anybody else, but my impression was that Vance wasn’t going to cut him any slack at all. Though to be sure, he didn’t seem to be well-prepared for the interview. Yet he ought to have expected a grilling from a journalist such as Vance, given his views. And hers.

      “…. a senseless rant about paedophiles infiltrating the gay and lesbian community and schools, which seems to be his own riff on a conspiracy theory circulating on the white-supremacist fringes of the internet.”

      Hmm…. characterising something of this sort as a “conspiracy theory” is a bit of a dismissive approach on the part of a journalist. I’ve also read something similar somewhere, though not in the white-supremacist area: I don’t visit that part of the internet. I’d prefer that she debunk his claims by recourse to statistics, court reports and the like. If she can’t do that, then she’d do better to say that his claims are unproven, rather than using the epithet “conspiracy theory”.

  2. It doesn’t look good for the New Zealand Rugby Union that someone like Moffett as chosen as its CEO. It makes you wonder what the culture of the union is like.

    Apart from that, I see yellow hi viz vests as an expression of health & safety fascism, already noticeable for their ubiquitousness

  3. I thought the column was okay. By the standards of mainstream columnists probably reasonably strong, but it only really managed to state the obvious facts about Moffett. Which just goes to show how wimp arsed her colleagues are

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