Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Lets twist again (like we did last Summer)

And we're back. Sorry for the absence of postings last week but the sudden appearance of Nicky Hager's The Hollow Men led to a lot of activity, including meetings in underground carparks. There is a lot about the Exclusive Brethren that needs to be made more inclusive. Yes, dear reader, the Fundy Post shall be following the money and you will read it here first.

But first, the Maxim Institute. As Russell Brown points out on today's Hard News, there is a lot more to The Hollow Men than the Exclusive Brethren and that bunch who wanted a fair tax for racehorses. If you really want to find some hollow men, look no further than 49 Cape Horn Road, Hillsborough, Auckland.

After I had exposed his crony Bruce Logan as a plagiarist, that noisome little prick Greg Fleming said I was obsessed with the Maxim Institute. He said this on National Radio and he went on to accuse me of plagiarism, a defamation which he may still regret. At times, I may have seemed somewhat focused on Mr Fleming and his mates; but then I knew that Mr Logan was not the only fraud at Maxim. I knew the entire organisation was bogus. I couldn't prove it, at least not without betraying a source of information.

Nicky Hager has now shown what many others long suspected: that Maxim is nothing more than a large, stinking pile of horse manure. It not just the cod social science that Maxim spouted in its pompous submissions to Parliament and its endless 'reports' and 'studies; it is not just the fake awards that Maxim always crows about; it is not just the pretensions of erudition and learning. As Mr Hager has shown, Maxim perpetrated a massive fraud on the people of New Zealand.

For the benefit of those who may not have reading at the time, Maxim set up a website called NZ Votes before last year's general election. Surprisingly, it is still there. As the introductory blurb says:

nzvotes.org is a community service provided by Maxim Institute to help make it easier for New Zealanders to be well-informed when they cast their votes.

The site is non-profit, and non-partisan. All political content on this site is the view of the parties, candidates, and guest columnists, in their own words.

As Mr Hager has now shown, this was all a load of bollocks. I opined at the time that NZVotes was designed to bring home the Fundy vote to National, to stop the God-fearing from thinking about voting for Christian Heritage, Destiny or United Future and give their votes to Don. Christian Heritage's then leader Ewan McQueen (a man for whom I have some sympathy) later complained that his party's votes were taken away by Maxim. What Mr Hager demonstrates, with the benefit of emails, is that National were in on the joke all along.

Of course, NZ Votes was not just a website; it was more a way of life. Maxim commissioned a bunch of fundies to produce a DVD which was circulated to churches; its thinly-veiled message was that, under MMP, a vote for a Christian party is a wasted vote, because those parties would be unlikely to get past the five percent threshold. Meanwhile, glamourous single mother Sandra Paterson (whatever happened to her?) was giving the same message to readers of the NZ Herald. At the same time, Amanda McGrail, Maxim's resident faux-redhead, was organising a network of contacts in the churches "to keep your congregations and constituents up to date on the social/political issues in a timely and relevant way."

Maxim went on the road as well, with a series of "political forums," where candidates were asked the "burning questions." The questions were almost guaranteed to be about burning homosexualists and loose women, because Maxim had decided that the election issues were to be 'moral' ones. The NZ Votes website was slewed towards demanding answers from candidates about conscience issues and apparently the political forums were managed in much the same way. Some friends of mine attended one in South Auckland that began with a prayer, before lurching into questions about gays. Apparently, candidates had to pay Maxim for the privilege of this onslaught.

Maxim did not want just the fundies for National; it yearned for the ex-pat votes as well. Hager mentions some advice given to National by Maxim that their research showed ex-pats be more than likely to be conservative. National made the mistake of believing research from Maxim: no doubt one of the pin-striped sexless dweebs who work at Cape Horn Road had heard that ex-pats in London all go to Church on Sunday.

Anyway, I could go on; and I will later. But for the mean time, I will mention just two matters arising from Hager's revealations. First, the people who really got fooled again are the ones in the pews: Maxim manipulated their hopes and fears to grab their votes, just as the neo-cons did in America. Second, as I have said many times before, this work was done with our money: the Maxim Institute is a charity and so benefits from generous tax breaks. Of course, Maxim will continue to claim that it is "an independent research and public policy think tank" but we all know now what it is really about.


Anonymous said...

You are right to argue that Maxim is not a charity. It closely resembles a PR consultancy

They take a "brief" from their anonymous clients, plus donations, to promote the opinions of their clients - often dressed up as research. Under the previous chief, these opinions were often promulgated through plagiarism from other sources as you discovered. (Plagiarism is the easiest way to express an argument you either don't understand or don't agree with personally.)

The National Party of Don Brash soon became just like Maxim Institute. Would I be exaggerating to say it was a case of dollars for policy - certainly emails from the wealthy donors to Brash would suggest it. The thin policy looked very Business Round Table.

As is common in the politics of greed, Don Brash proved to be an erratic messiah for the fundamentalists and tycoons. He destroyed his own credibility, plus all that of all his staunch advocates.

On the other hand, the National Party has now really seen the light! John Key is now big on inclusiveness, diversity, recognition of indigenous Maori - in fact by the time he had written his speech he must have known that Wayne Mapp's "PC Eradicator" role would have to be scrapped. Otherwise Key ran the risk of being eradicated himself!

I suppose the rank and file of the National Party will have no problems with the huge paradigm shift. Just like the English poeple in the 1600s or so, who switched back and forward from Church of England and Roman Catholicism!

ACT will be ACT again, rather than providing advice and love to the National Party from its highest levels. Come ashore Rodney.

Anonymous said...

I'm a little bewildered by the canonisation of Bill English, though. Come on. He was a Shipley Health Minister and Treasurer, and has been a Maxim Institute cheer-leader when it came to the Maxim Institute education policy booklets.

So how safe is he, really?

Craig Y.

Anonymous said...

I'm a little bewildered by the canonisation of Bill English, though. Come on. He was a Shipley Health Minister and Treasurer, and has been a Maxim Institute cheer-leader when it came to the Maxim Institute education policy booklets.

So how safe is he, really?

Craig Y.

Anonymous said...


I think we may yet get HOLLOW MEN II from Nicky Hager.

Read this:


It seems like Nicky Hager has plenty more e-mails if Brash attempts to extract himself.

Memo: Don Brash .. When you find yourself in a deep hole .. stop digging!

Other possibilities:

(a) Could Hager sue Brash for defamation - he has been called a liar over matters that Hager is able to rebut?

(b) Someone should be negotiating with Hager for movie rights. Someone give Peter Jackson a shout.
Sex, Politics, Austentatious wealth, Back Stapping, Conniving, Spin Doctoring ..

Of course John Key launch has been butchered by threat of a physical coup in Fiji. I guess that is more newsworthy than National changing leaders every couple of years or so.

Meanwhile Wishart languishes with his limp tale of David Benson-Pope. I see he has a "Xmas edition" out now, over and above December. I wonder if he has a "New Year" edition in the can. What's his problem - falling sales?

Anonymous said...

Newsflash .. Brash retired within the last hour.

Time to celebrate folks.

I wonder what the fundys really thought of him in the finish?

Free condoms women 16 to 35?
Diane Foreman?
Denials of Hager book, challenged by further emails?

In fact Paul it would be fun to produce a complete list of all the things that Brash did or said that were actually anti-fundy?

Anonymous said...

Yes, complete with a Vicky Pollard voice clip of the Yeah But/No But
variety. Better yet, splice it together with something completely different, to make it seem vague and disjointed.

I'll be doing one on the Incredible Rotating Don's stance on civil unions, shortly.

Craig Y.

Anonymous said...

Can I also say two words here?
Judith. Collins.
And here's another two.
Still. There.

Craig Y.