MEDIA WATCH: Audrey Young’s ‘John Armstrong’ moment


It was 18th June, 2014 when it became painfully apparent that John Armstrong had reached his expiry date.

The grandmaster of bitter and spiteful National Party journalism, John Armstrong, was once again being his usual vile self by declaring Cunliffe should resign for a supposed $100 000 bottle of wine that was gifted to the Labour Party.

The problem was the $100 000 bottle of wine never existed.

It marked Armstrong’s ‘Garth George’ moment where he had written enough crazy bullshit that no one believed him anymore and afterwards Armstrong left hilariously for TVNZ. Garth George was of course the Herald’s former crazy columnist who argued in 2006 that global warming couldn’t be true because God had promised Noah he wouldn’t flood the earth.

Sadly Audrey has hit her own Armstrong-George moment.

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Nothing sums up the slow sad decline of the NZ Herald quite like dear old Audrey Young and her latest column where she ties herself in knots trying to explain how National have a mathematical chance to still win the election.

I fucking kid you not…

Audrey Young: National is closer to power than latest poll might suggest

…shit must be pretty difficult in NZ Herald land when a poll showing that Labour are still an unprecedented 50% can be interpreted as the last days of the Ardern Government.

It’s like Matthew Hooton never left the Editorial team.

The NZ Herald of course is the official mouthpiece of the National Party and biographer of National Party leaders, and their focus on the homelessness lies of Woodhouse and the sad attempt to paint our border protection as a horrendous failure despite no community transmission means they are as fair and balanced as Fox News.

National can only win if NZ loses the war against the plague and the NZ Herald only wins when National wins so between now and the election expect them to become as shrill as Donald Trump.


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  1. Terrible and nasty wee rag that one. All it’s heralding is ignorance through propaganda.

    Totally controlled by the property industry which clearly has a hormonal response towards National. Can they just put the whole thing behind a paywall?

    I deleted The Herald from my bookmarks a long time ago.

    • Is that the Property”industry” that produces nothing, scavenges on pushing up prices and locking in commissions by agreement behind closed doors and advertises our properties overseas.

      We just don’t need that sort of ilk. The old word was bludgers and the meaning hasn’t changed
      The home seeking family’s enemy

  2. Nonsense. She plots a course that is perfectly reasonable.

    NZFirst out of parliament because they’re under 5%. I’m not a betting man but I’d put money on that.

    Greens out of parliament because they’re under 5%. They always poll better than they get at the election and this year it will be even worse because the expats that usually save their bacon will have been seduced by Jacinda.

    ACT on 3% and rising with Seymour’s electoral seat.

    National and Labour to fight over the centre. The swing away from Labour will continue to favour National because clusterfuck is the natural state of the COL and Labour will have no electoral allies left.

    That leaves the Maori Party as the wild card.

    • Nonsense is right. How can Audrey be impartial when her brother is a National party minister, tell me how!?
      Besides, you make assumption based on a hell of a lot of ifs.

      • You are so right bert. Keeping it in the family is a mafia pledge. But Martyn, leave out the ‘dear old Audrey’ ageism. She’s always been a simple Nat family member regardless of her age.

      • Siblings disagree about everything under the sun all the time. Provided great plotlines for innumerable books… even pops up in the bible.

        It’s still Labours election to lose… but a few weeks ago they were so far in the lead they didn’t even feel the need to front up and justify their decisions… remember that? I think with the calibre of team they’ve got they can still screw it up. Long live David Clark!

    • Orangebadman: like many of your ilk, you have no idea at all of what drives the Greens’ core. If you want to be a true masochist, forget NZF and try putting some of your sacred money on the exit of the Greens. You will lose, of course.

  3. The NZ Herald of course is the official mouthpiece of the National Party

    Tell me Martin how many National Party voters do you know? I used to be one but even back then I would never have touched the NZ Herald and along many other Righties that I know, hope every day that it will go bankrupt. It’s basically just tabloid gloss at best, when it’s not filled with articles savaging any hint of an idea that’s not Centre-Left. Perhaps it’s not far left enough for you, but that’s no reason to think it’s pro-National.

    Does that sound like we think it’s a National Party rag, filled with pro-Nat stuff? From my POV – at least from the NZ Herald coverage shown to me by breathless Labour-supporting neighbours – the Herald gave the daily Jacinda show all the glowing, positive coverage she could have wanted, as did TV1, TV3 and Stuff.

    What you’re actually seeing with Young’s article is their desperate attempt to now make a horse race out of this election so that the excitement draws in readers. It won’t work on either angle.

    • We’ll agree about the standard of journalism, and yeah some of that is about the commerical pressure they are under.

      But the gated community 50% are their paying readers, the commentators (especially the long established ones) are of the gated 50%, and so that and the fact that their commercial sponsors indicates a pro business (before worker) line.

      Sure their right wing bias is not that ideological, and our right is more the centrist line of the USA, buy your call that this is centre left is your loss of perspective given your time in the USA.

      NZME like Newshub, is also right wing because of the influence of its right wing radio staff. They allow the radio staff commentary in print (to amplify on the cheap), it’s against government when the left is in power and against Maori, the unemployed etc when the right is in power.

  4. Yeah the Herald is in decline but i don’t feel an ounce of sympathy.
    They stand for nothing except more of the same which is not working and Audrey is trying to stay relevant but after all these years can’t read the mood of the country when it doesn’t fit with her John Key halcyon days of the last government.
    The National party is not the only outfit than can poll over 45%. Boy does that stick in their craw.

  5. Disagree with you MB. I thought her piece was well reasoned, presenting a not too improbable possibility…. reasonable enough to prevent us being complacent.

  6. I’ve always wondered why Stuff competes with the Herald rag for the far right reader instead on promoting itself as an independent centre left voice box.
    You have to wonder about the competency of these people running our media when they throw away the opportunity to gain millions in donations to promote a balanced view.
    As soon as the Herald implodes Sinead will move Stiff even further right, and subsequently fold along with her new rag toy.

    • The poor can barely afford rent and power, let alone pay for on-line subscriptions. Some have such long work hours to meet payments they do not have the time spare.

      All of which expalins why commercial media goes right wing when there is growing inequality.

    • I liken this excerpt from Collins book to how National controls the written media…

      “This is one of a number of behind-the-scenes revelations she makes in the book. It’s the first insider account of the Key-led government, a nine-year period that was notorious for a stranglehold over political narrative.”
      Audrey Young was a massive fan of Key.

  7. What the idiots at The Herald don ‘t seem to realise is that by refusing to publish factual information and by churning out propaganda instead, they sabotage their own futures.

    I saw through their game nearly 20 years ago, when the Herald published a nonsense piece, written by the then US Ambassador, telling the masses that global warming was not happening and if it was it definitely wasn’t anything to do with CO2 emissions or fossil fuels. And when challenged the Herald refused to publish the facts.

    So when a representative phoned, offering free delivery for a month, I said, “No thanks, it’s not a newspaper but is a propaganda rag.”

  8. It’s incredible in regards to the tabloid NZ herald as to how many there are of the so-called journalists that post their biased towards National ‘opinion’.

    I would say there must be in the record of 16 so-called journalists eg Audrey Young, Mike Hosking(and wife), Barry Soper(and wife), and more names than I can recall.

    It shows John Key over-satuated the NZ herald with biased towards National ‘journalists’ to the point now that no-one can take the ‘herald’ seriously anymore. During his ‘witch-hunt’ of vanquishing out the more intelligent journalists from say the NZ herald and tv media John Key then put in the vacancies those ‘journalist’ and ‘wannabe National MP’s’ like Mike Hosking that have little or no intelligence but are like sheep for National i.e no questions asked and do as you are told.

  9. Words I use to describe the current National Party.

    1) Arrogant.
    2) Divisive.
    3) Entitled.
    4) Untrustworthy.
    5) Dishonest.
    6) Dangerous.
    7) Underhanded.

    The 2017 election outcome and the actions of National since have routinely offered compelling evidence of every aspect of the above list.

    I look at the 2017 election final result in a similar way to a sports league end of season playoff. Two teams could have come away with the win but ultimately there can only be one winner. Under normal circumstances you expect the losing team to go away and lick their wounds and look how they can do better next time. If you blame anyone it should only be yourselves. An introspective process. If they played their hand correctly, the Nats could have come out of that process a better political party. Unfortunately, their own arrogance has prevented that from occurring.

    In the lead up to the 2017 election, Steven Joyce and National arrogantly believed they could govern alone and had no need for NZF especially. The cut out the middle man and all their actions pertaining to that “strategy” displayed a high level of of arrogance. One of the funniest moments of 2017 was the farcical “victory” speech of Bill English. The speech was delayed as National scurried around reaching for the right collection of words to spout off on the stage. Bill comes out and throws both hands up in the air in celebratory style. They also had the victory balloons being released from the ceiling. Haha. Then the next level of farce got under way. Bill was totally unfamiliar with almost every word in his speech which had clearly been composed by “others”. The only narrative Bill was familiar with was “strong stable Government” that he kept incessantly spouting off 33 million times on the election trail. He spoke about National winning the election in a manner that 100% dismissed the fact it was actually an MMP election. National hadn’t won at all, in fact they had lost very badly. They had lost their support parties in the Maori and Wank off United Party. They now needed NZF to get back into Government. The very party they had used dirty politics skulduggery to try and wipe off the face of the earth. We and many others laughed hysterically when Bill congratulated Winston Peters for his election performance. The National Party wanted to sell the presumption of Victory to NZ and use that as leverage with NZF that they had an obligation to go with National because they got 10% more votes than Labour. That is not how MMP works. Everyone except National knew and understood that.

    Why National were sent packing.

    1) Arrogantly attempting to destroy NZF..again.
    2) The Maori Party being sent packing for propping up National.
    3) United Party being obliterated for propping up National.
    4) NZ finally waking up to the rock star economy being the biggest con of a generation.
    5) NZ saying no to dirty politics.
    6) NZ wanting an inclusive leader and a much better NZ for all kiwis…not just for the wealthy ones.
    7) Jacinda Ardern representing that change.
    8) NZ not trusting National.
    9) NZ rejecting arrogance.
    10) Winston Peters and NZF choosing Labour.

    The only number on that list National focused on was number 10. Their focus was shallow. Instead of understanding where they went wrong and why Peters chose Labour, they tried to sell the absolute bullshit that Labour offered NZF lollies that they were not prepared to offer. When you understand how desperate National was to retain power, you knew they would have sold their parents and grandparents to NZF if that helped them retain Government.

    At no stage since that election has National looked inward at how to be a better party and be better human beings. You can’t even believe simple statements they make. Amy Adams retires and falls over herself to claim her retirement is totally unrelated to Simon Bridges being leader. Yea right! She states she’s been in parliament long enough and now wants to spend time with family…how nice. Nek minute, Simon Bridges is booted off the stage and Amy Adams pops back up saying she won’t be retiring after all…..but of course that has nothing to do with Bridges being sent packing. Todd Muller made multiple visits to the area Amy Adams lives in the lead up to getting rid of Bridges. It was blatantly obvious that Muller had been conspiring with Brownlee and Adams for months. This reflected a long term hidden from view group plotting against Bridges. When asked about this very thing, Muller gave extra long pauses before answering the questions with a no. It was clear Muller knew how badly it would reflect on all concerned if he gave an honest answer. His long pauses was nothing more than him trying to work out if he could be caught out in a lie over the matter at a later point. Had someone seen them together etc? You just can’t believe a fucking word any Nat MP says.

    The Jamie-Lee Ross affair gave you a window into National Party politics especially in regard Chinese donations etc etc etc. National thought if they got rid of Ross, they would be getting rid of the evidence and be able to say the offender is no longer a National Party MP. That’s akin to 2 men robbing a bank together and then one of them saying we are no longer mates so the bank robbery doesn’t count.

    The diabolical crusade against Ardern over the farcical allegation that she knew about sexual abuse and covered it up highlighted many things. The NZ media was exposed as being hand in hand with the National Party in the crusade. All usual offenders involved including tag team partners Barry Soper and wife Heather D-A, along with the despicable Mike Hoskings and his equally vile wife. All claimed Ardern was guilty as guilty could be and set about undermining her and her position as NZ PM. No need for a trial. She’s guilty because the arrogant festering turd tag teams and Vance, O’Brien etc etc somehow knew best.

    All that comes out of National is negative. They have successfully undermined Ardern’s handling of the pandemic that if NZ had to go back into lockdown to save lives, there would be widespread protests etc and of course considerable death.

    Everything Ardern says is ridiculed and undermined by National and their ilk. We need to copy Australia they spouted….nek minute. NZ needs to open up a bubble with Australia immediately…nek minute. NZ needs to open up a bubble with China…nek minute the word China is replaced with further afield and international. We need to come out of level 4 now..we need to come out of level 3 now…we need to come out of level 2 now…..we need more compassion for people they spouted, they lobbied for that urgently…nek minute.

    The Nats are dangerous divisive parasites. they now believe they are back in the race. Not because Muller is the right man but because Bridges is gone. they arrogantly believe they are on the right track because the alternative is just to painful for them. National have no hope of winning in September.

    There are only 4 relevant questions.

    1) Will Labour gain enough support to govern alone.
    2) Will Labour need the Greens to form a Government?
    3) How badly will NZF do?
    4) How many days will National wait after the election loss before replacing Muller with John Key II…Christopher Luxon?

    • To answer question No 4 Jacindafan (who tends to take over these blogs with comments that are twleve times longer than the original story itself): They won’t replace him with Luxton. It would be silly because he will be the PM.
      Aaah hang on, sorry, crack open the bubbly. The election is in the bag for Jacinda. How could I forget!

      • Herman Shovel Ready,

        Apologies for blogging more than you’d prefer….on a blog.

        I don’t take over these blogs shit for brains. I contribute to about one in ten threads on average.

        Anyone who thinks Muller will ever be PM is delusional. His role is to stop the bleeding. He’s done that with the very thing he said he wouldn’t do. Opposing for the sake of opposition. He’s offered nothing positive at all, just a very deliberate campaign to undermine Ardern’s handling of Covid-19. That’s been enough to drag a few Nats out of their slumber. Muller has done that regardless of consequence and bereft of personal and professional integrity. It is beyond any doubt whatsoever that National’s only plan to get back into Government is by reducing the 93% approval rating Ardern had. New Zealanders won’t elect a Government based on that horseshit regardless of what a few desperate Nats and their trolls want to believe.

        As for Christopher Luxon, former CEO of ANZ. Do you honestly believe anyone in his then position would step down on the off chance he will become an MP for where ever? He will have been in high level talks with National for sometime strongly endorsed by John Key. Him being the leader of the Nats has been NZ Politics worst kept secret for the last 2 years.

        Labour are in caring for kiwi’s during a worldwide pandemic mode. National have been in desperate campaign mode for many many months. They offer absolutely nothing. Their “contributions” with all the time they have on their hands is to attack, undermine, misrepresent and reach for their usual dirty politics. Nick Smith ffs couldn’t come up with anything meaningful during a deadly pandemic other than to bitch and moan about the cost of a children’s playground in an attempt to distract the Government from more important matters.

        Ardern is the best orator NZ has seen since David Lange. It’s likely she’s the best ever. She will chew Muller up and spit him out during debates. National will be exposed yet again for their dirty politics during the campaign. All they have has clearly come straight from the sewer. Muller is an embarrassment. Not as bad as Bridges but what a poor barometer that is when it’s the best thing he has going for him.

        Muller may save a handful of Nat MP jobs but that’s his best possible result. National will get wiped out in September. Do you honestly think that will help him retain the Nat leadership role with Luxon standing next to him? If so, you need to dramatically dial back on your medication.

        If I was the NZ TAB and running a book on the election odds, I’d have the following.

        1) Labour winning the election and governing alone. $1.14
        2) Labour winning but needing the Greens to form a Government. $1.22
        3) Labour winning but needing NZF to govern $101
        4) National winning outright $501
        5) National winning but needing way more that ACT to govern. $101
        6) National successfully forming a coalition government $333.

      • Thank you @Jacindafan for your thoughtful well written and engaging analysis I for one enjoy reading your reviews. Btw The National Party is a pack of dirty disgusting lowlifes (Woodhouse is an absolute BAREFACED LIAR!!) People need to know the national party are latrine rodents of the worst kind and if they get in then NZers will be fucked.

  10. Saying that National don’t have “a mathematical chance to still win the election” is ridiculous

    My main issue with MMP is its random outcomes. ANYONE can win the election!

    National haven’t are only now starting their campaign and I’m sure a component of it will be leading with the Greens. They have a lot of ammunition:

    With the Greens in government:

    Plans for two marine reserves were stopped
    Water bottling plants were approved
    Several mining ventures on DoC land were approved
    A carbon credit system was implemented that resulted in the widespread planting of invasive pines
    A proposal to put cameras on commercial fishing boats was stopped

  11. Of course National have a mathematical chance of winning the election.
    So the Democrats for Social Credit, The Workers Party…etc. etc.
    They all have a mathematical chance of winning, but some have more than others.
    The words “mathematical chance” is just another journalistic cliche that has become so tiresome.
    Journalists used to be trained to avoid using cliches, if possible.
    Not now, it seems.

  12. Jon Stewart, selling a product on late night TV, mentioned the very profitable circuit of media-politics-money which gets ever further from reality, and how it kills a country. We, thankfully are a long way distant, even from Murdochian Oz.

    Good, sincere bloke. Yet he, like the rest of the demo-cratists in Yankland, are only up to ordinary commenters in Anglophone social democracies. The Yank Lefties feel their way around. And all those keen Yank minds about the details (trees rather than forests).

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