MEDIA WATCH: Much of the coverage of Winston’s case is more spurious clickbait & less political analysis


It’s not easy being a political journalist today.

The relentless demand for copy and clicks is exhausting and in splintered news rooms with few mentors, a lot of what passes as political journalism gets lost as junk commentary that accentuates the pointless while eliminating the serious.

I really feel that way with a lot of the Winston coverage of his legal case against those he suspects of leaking his superannuation overpayment just before the election.

Put aside the juicy new details, counter claims and glib court antics, what is actually at stake here is bloody serious.

Winston had personal private details from the State leaked to politically damage him in the run up to the 2017 election.

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The purpose was to paint Winston out as a hypocrite and deal him a political body blow.

This information was sourced within the State and was weaponised by sycophantic Wellington bureaucrats who breathlessly informed their political masters of information that would wound a political opponent at a crucial moment.

That is what this legal case is about, not Winston’s ego, not his private living arrangements, not his rudeness to some front line staff member, not who knew what when – this case is far more important than those distractions.

It cuts to the heart of our democracy.

The Public Service crow that they are not politicised, but that’s just bullshit! Of course they are politicised! They have been since the 30 year neoliberal cultural, economic and political revolution occurred and after 9 years of National Party appointments they are total right wing acolytes.

To pretend they aren’t political is to pretend that the Pope isn’t Catholic.

Not only is the public service grotesquely right wing, they cave into any nonsense National demand, so what point is there in their so called neutrality?

State Housing stood shoulder to shoulder with National over their appalling state house meth hysteria.

WINZ didn’t stop  the draconian welfare reforms.

Oranga Tamariki’s racist uplift programme was developed and designed by the neoliberal public service using big data fantasies.

The Public Service is woefully political and their draconian neoliberal service entrenched philosophically, what we saw here with the leaking of Winston’s Super overpayment was that Public Service becoming overtly political, the exact same way the SIS became overtly political when they conspired with the PMs Office to smear Phil Goff in the lead up to the 2011 election.

Nu Zilinders are a famously laid back volk, and we don’t get into a fuss about silly things like separation of Executive powers, obscene abuses of power or coups. Our infamous casualness is however less a relaxed and cheeky attitude to life and more a half-arsedness made malignant by a low horizon imagination.

Winston’s case matters and if there is any hope for this Government implementing transformative change in a possible second term, then a vast purge of the Public Service needs to be the first issue of their 100 day plan in 2020.


  1. Yes Martyn all our state agencies need to be broomed out there are far too many unsuited judgmental people working in these jobs. This include the NZ Police, WINZ, ACC, MSD, OT(cyfs) to name a few and when we see these organisations after being caught out not doing their job properly and saying they are going to change. I would like to know how they are going to change when they have the same old people working there with the same old attitudes.

  2. Both pull the benefit and tolley need to be sacked they breached Winstones privacy and they have done this to others and they have got away with it and frankly it is not good enough. We saw a dropping of standards , moral and principles when pull the benefit was in charge of these govt departments these departments now need to be detoxed they are poisonous like these two women.

  3. Well said Michelle. Sadly though, the big broom will not sweep these organisations clean because those who run them and their political masters believe in their own self-righteous moralistic narrative as well as their bullying cultures which weed out the good and cater for the lowest common denominator. Just look at the conduct of the OT staff in the hospital room of the petrified young mother and her new-born baby. When I was a kid I felt safe because monsters were characters only in some story books. Now I know that they are for real and as in the story books they pick on the marginalised and oppressed.

  4. Youngsuffrajet “…monsters were characters only in some story books. Now I know that they are for real and as in the story books they pick on the marginalised and oppressed.” Well said – and well done on picking that up sooner than I did, I think !

    But there are good kind people out there – I have a mental list of them, and I keep meaning to print it out and put it on a wall; if it was a ‘grown-up’ who called three news outlets trying to dirty Peters, then they are very sick, and they are skincrawlingly repulsive – which is why I’ve been hoping it was one of idiotic younger Nats – the one’s in Whale Oil’s orbit were totally pathetic and childish.

  5. On the joke that we call msm, all i seem to be hearing is why is Winston wasting our money, was his partner with him at the interview, etc. etc.? Not one of these people who like to call themselves journalists, seems vaguely interested in the fact that this bunch of slime balls had colluded to broadcast a private citizen’s confidential information to the country, for what they thought was political gain.

  6. G.A.P. Really ? I rarely listen to or watch MSM, so I didn’t know this. I well recall the weekend this surfaced, and being astonished that Peters had been dobbed to the media 3x for what was patently a routine WINZ cock-up, and that the salivating senior Nats were so out of touch that they didn’t know this. Only last week did somebody tell me that of course they would have known, but here was a devil-sent opportunity for Nats to try to drag down Winston Peters.

    The suggestion that Winston Peters would deliberately try and defraud WINZ is too absurd to waste time on.

    That the media lapped it up and publicised it is of course deplorable, which is why they’ll be focusing on extraneous stuff now, to avoid accepting what low-lifes they themselves are. Sleazy goss has always been their oxygen, but they used to be more circumspect about what they did with it.

    I personally hope that Peters gets a whopping big payout. The fact remains that there will now always be nitwits who think that Peters tried something shady, and regardless of who did phone the media, there will always be people believing that it was Paula Bennett, but I doubt that will worry Bennett – it may even help the silly woman feel more powerful.

    The leak won’t have come from WINZ – they’re a weak bunch who try and get other people to do their leaks for them.

    The depressingly grubby thing is that the list of MP’s privy to this info are all senior ones: English, Joyce, Tolley, and of course the monstrous loud vulgar and odious Bennett. Shipley used to be the most repugnant female politician… then along came Paula… but Paula actually accurately epitomises exactly what constitutes a Nat female.

  7. Snow White, i do the odd scan through, voice of americu (rnz nat) in the morning and what ever they are calling radio live these days in the afternoon. Purely for research purposes you understand.

    • G.A.P I’ve occasionally turned TV One on – purely for research purposes – and then comes a commercial with some manic individual, and my research shows that I can turn it off within 3 secs. When I used to watch for the news, I’d try and last until the first commercial break, figuring that anything after that wouldn’t be important, then I realised that anything before that often wasn’t important either.

      Some of the women in particular are like school girls who have been told to read with more expression, and have an impressive capacity to make trivia sound like an eruption of Mt Etna, which could alarm deaf or elderly viewers. Used to listen to Morning Report, and sometimes to the concert programme, then someone changes the station and so I give up again. I’ve assumed that talk back is for the mentally unwell and unemployed tradies – who are the biggest gossips in the world and can be quite funny – and rather nice.

  8. A state service that passes on individual, personal information to Ministers cannot be called “neutral”. Not at all

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