22. A Fair TV3 Interview. Behind the Scenes of the Colin Craig Catastrophe (05 July 2015)

This is the fuller TV3 news interview of today’s 6pm bulletin (Sunday 5 Jul 2015 5:28 p.m.) re some of the issues surrounding the Conservative Party catastrophe; my stepping down as Chair last Thursday (2/7) to ease tensions, dignify the Board, retain its neutrality; and Colin’s non-existent future with the party. Click the link.

http://www.3news.co.nz/nznews/john-stringer-off-conservatives-board-2015070517#axzz3eznFy06k

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21. Audit of the Craig Campaign. Behind the Scenes of the Colin Craig Catastrophe (05 July 2015)

In September last year I tabled a report to the Conservative Party Board on why I felt we had failed to meet the 5% MMP threshold.  As one of the few political operatives on the Board (almost 30 years in politics, both professionally and as a volunteer, here and in London, ironically also with the “Conservative Party” but of Thatcher and Major), I felt this was my duty. I was surprised that I was the only one who did so out of eleven, including the Leader who just kept spinning it as a “fantastic result.”

There were other reports: one from ex-MP Larry Baldock before he was sacked from the Board and Party by Colin Craig; and one from within the PR sector by a man called David Walden whom I met twice at party HQ, and whom CC hired to run the advertising campaign. All three opinions were severely critical, particularly Mr Walden’s synopsis.  We three really, are the only political experience to have commented on the 2014 Conservative Party campaign. My report here has never been released to the membership or published anywhere.

It took the Board five months to finally get to even discuss the campaign (a fact alone, that will indicate to perceptive readers, just how frustrating and toxic the Board had become, like wading through thick porridge.  CC simply delayed and obfuscated, afraid of fair criticism on the Board of how he conducted the campaign).

It is now ten months since the election; ALL 13 members of the original Board/s have resigned (11+2), including the Leader Colin Craig who has also been suspended from the Party (27/6 at 1.40pm). Publishing my thoughts below on why we failed in 2014 are therefore historic and don’t breach any confidentiality agreements from within the Board. Legal advice conforms for me, that all went out the window when CC resigned on 19 June, anyway.

So, in the interests of fair debate, transparency, informing members, and freedom of speech, I publish here for the first time, my opinion on WHY we failed as we did 1.1% short of the all-important 5% threshold in 2014. I always welcome debate (it is critical in a Westminster democracy, we have institutionalised it in “Her Majesty’s Loyal OPPOSITION”). This report was ignored and was not even discussed. All we had was about a 5 minute chat amongst three Board members and Colin at a Board meeting.

The back two pages were co-authored with Tio Faulkner, who has worked with Tony Abbot in Australia.  But of course, his advice was also ignored and dismissed by CC as was mine, the Board’s, Larry Baldock’s and David Walden’s among many others.  I hope party members find this instructive, and comforting in hindsight that there were at least some strategic political thinkers on our team trying to guide us towards victory. We may come again.

Audit 20 Sept

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20. Stringer Resigns. Behind the Scenes of the Colin Craig Catastrophe (05 July 2015)

I was rung this morning (Sunday 5 July) by RadioLive who asked me about my “resignation press release.”  I asked “what press release?”  They said, “Oh, that’s strange“.  I hadn’t made any press release. Turns out Party Secretary Nathaniel Heslop had made one yesterday, advising the Party membership and media of my resignation from the Board last Thursday.  I’d kept this between the Board and myself.

I’ve written to the Board to ask if the release by the Party Sec. was authorised.  It seems a bit odd to me this is the only official statement from the Party or Board in several months…my resignation. Nothing about Colin’s suspension from the Party, his earlier resignation even, or anything else.  Seems a bit partisan.

Not surprisingly, it was posted up yesterday on the Vote Conservative website (which is controlled by camp Colin Craig) before I was aware of it this morning.  Of interest, is that the VC post has had six comments since yesterday, all of which have been removed, except one member’s comment, a broken heart icon. So, why are they removed?  Either that, or I’ve been blocked from viewing them (I’ve already been blocked from commenting myself, my wife, and current Board member Deborah Cunliffe, among others). Were the comments perhaps critical of Colin Craig?  Instant removal.

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I understand that some sort of communiqué was also sent to members about my resignation, again, nothing sent to me which is becoming a pattern.

I’m not accusing the Party Sec. of anything untoward; I trust Nathaniel as an honourable person; but this of course plays into the Craig camp who have been busy little bees (to quote Commodus) posting nasty online comments about me and current Board members.

Here is the Party Secretary’s press release of yesterday.  It would have been nice to have been sent a copy as the outgoing Interim Acting Chairman or at least advised it was going out (a simple courtesy, like being advised I’d been so-called “suspended from the party” which I never was). So much for process. Being directed to this press release by Radio Live, I was of course forced to make a statement to the press this morning, and that is below ex TVNZ and WO (verbatim) who carried it within 5 minutes on their own websites, and later the NZHerald.

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Pictured, Colin Craig and Rachel MacGregor.

http://tvnz.co.nz/national-news/stringer-quits-board-over-colin-vs-john-battle-6353135

Screen shot 2015-07-05 at 1.49.22 PMhttp://www.nzherald.co.nz/politics/news/article.cfm?c_id=280&objectid=11476088

http://www.whaleoil.co.nz/2015/07/breaking-colin-craig-wins-as-last-original-board-member-resigns/

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19. Colin’s Phantom Polling. Behind the Scenes of the Colin Craig Catastrophe (05 July 2015)

Cameron Slater has made much of Colin Craig’s phantom “dodgy polls” as he’s called them, not only in this campaign, but in others.

One curious matter has remained unexplained, and is worth asking about.

Screen shot 2014-10-17 at 10.07.11 PMLate in the 2014 campaign, Colin told the media, that he had personal polling that showed certain encouraging results. This data was used to justify standing Conservative candidates in Epsom, Pakuranga and Northshore.  Phase Two of a well-known person’s curious polling company work for the party was cancelled by Colin, so it can’t have been them, but CC still had these “other” polls. Unfortunately, when several Board members have asked, Colin has been unable to:

a) tell us what company ran the polling.

b) present any invoicing or paper work related to the work (which should have been declared on any Electoral Returns, and therefore is possibly an illegal act).

c) Show us, or even his close aid Rachel MacGregor, any of the hardcopy relating to the data or the polling, or the company, even just to glance at it, despite several requests.

Which makes you wonder.  Maybe if we’d seen it Colin was afraid we’d go blind?

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18. Are the Conservatives a Dead Cat? Behind the Scenes of the Colin Craig Catastrophe (04 July 2015)

032bfcb097115fd5108bbb6e26c4dfee602bbbd0The Conservative Party has now probably been irreparably destroyed by Colin Craig’s need for attention and his ruinous behaviour behind the scenes.  There are many varied reasons why, what was a viable and growing Party, has collapsed. It had nothing to do with a few Board members “speaking to the media.” The top five reasons for the implosion I would pinpoint as follows:

1) The Party policy platform – and therefore its electable brand – was hijacked by the opinions and whims of one personality.

2) The Board failed to govern as a democracy because one person paid most of the money and this carried too much influence in too many minds.

3) A leader with too much centralised power valued their judgement too highly and dismissed valuable advice from sector specialists and more experienced people to the severe detriment of outcomes.

4) The person with the money bags micro-managed critical things to the severe detriment of the party’s performance in critical areas of voter influence.

5) Bullying, lies and deceit alienated all 13 Board members (old and new) who resigned en masse to distance themselves from a personality who still cannot accept fault and will not let go of the dead cat he ran over in the driveway, which some of us want to get to a vet before its too late.

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Diet Your Racism

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17. Consv. Members start speaking out. Behind the Scenes of the Colin Craig Catastrophe (02 July 2015)

Screen shot 2015-07-03 at 12.28.44 PMOther Party members have finally started to speak out. This from the Timaru Herald and from the Rangitata Party Facebook site where a campaign of abuse against me has been raging. My advice to Colin: “you can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but not ALL of the people ALL of the time.”  Things will out.

The Rangitata Party Facebook site is here, but is heavily censored in favour of Colin Craig. https://www.facebook.com/ConservativepartyNZRangitata?fref=ts

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Branje said she always had doubts about Craig’s “wish washy” public profile and was “a bit disappointed” when Christine Rankin joined the party.

She had since been disillusioned by Craig’s latest actions.

She wanted to see the party “regroup and come back stronger” but said “unless they come back from this with absolute transparency, and an explanation that actually holds water for those of us who did our best to get them over the five per cent [party vote threshold required for a party to enter Parliament], I won’t be voting for them again.”

The party’s Rangitata candidate and employee of Craig’s, Oliver Vitali, issued a statement on June 22 pledging his continued support for Craig. The statement suggested board member John Stringer, who was vocal about Craig’s departure, “needs to be sacked along with other dissidents”.

A comment by the party’s Rangitata electorate page on social networking site Facebook on June 30 warned Stringer “I’d watch out for lightening [sic] if I was you.”

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16. Colin’s Strange Defaming Letter. Behind the Scenes of the Colin Craig Catastrophe (02 July 2015)

Colin's database Letter 27:6 (a)
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The letter above was written by Colin Craig, not Angela Storr as stated, and distributed by his private PA last Saturday (27/6) four hours after he had been suspended from the Party.  That’s right, a non-member of the Party using the Party database to write to every Party member spinning his angles and defaming a Board member and the de facto Interim Chair.

The private business PA, also a past Members Manager, was acting for her Boss when she knew he had been suspended from the Party.  But of course if Colin Craig says he’s not “suspended,” or there was no “inappropriate behaviour,” or it wasn’t “sexual harassment,” and there are no more sexual harassment claims coming, then I guess that’s correct, isn’t it?  It is with some, who simply don’t want to believe their messiah figure can be so flawed. It would end a dream. They’ll soon be living a nightmare.

This letter was sent to Whaleoil by other party members (not me) concerned at its contents and tone. It was even sent to us (this copy above).  Several friends received it as well. WO published their copy earlier in the week, so it’s nothing new. See here:  http://www.whaleoil.co.nz/2015/06/colin-cockroach-craig-tries-to-hang-in-party-in-complete-disarray/

It was written by Colin himself (we can prove that).  Widespread party members have expressed concern about this letter. I understand from a senior party official, that the grassroots of the Party do not like it and it has backfired on CC. That person has conveyed that to Colin and Helen Craig directly.  I’ve also had several phone calls and emails from senior members of the Party concerned at what it has been used for, and its content. As one member said on a regional Party Facebook page,

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I think the letter is disturbing in several ways, not the least of which the claim it comes also from CC’s wife, Helen Craig. Helen has no status in the party. So, is this dynastic?

I’ve already discussed the illegitimacy of doing it in the first place, and how it breaches members’ privacy re the use of the database. It was an act contemptuous of the Party, the members and the Board in several ways. But let’s look at the contents.

Colin and The Leadership

Last Friday in agreement with the Board Chairman, Colin stepped down as the leader.

This of course is not the complete truth.  Colin had been summoned, as had all Board members, to a special full Board meeting on Friday 19 June to answer questions about his mis-behaviour.  He panicked, when he presumed there would be a vote against him (no vote was necessarily organised; although if there’d been one, he would have lost it and been thrown out of the party, as he has been). Brian Dobbs and Laurence Day had summoned Colin the day before to a private meeting in Hamilton.  They’d been shown the written documents, poems and letters CC had written by “the source” who had specifically flown up to them. They wished to discuss what they’d seen with Colin. But Colin refused to drive down and meet with them. After viewing the evidence, Laurence Day, a very loyal supporter of Colin’s and the other principal Party donor, persuaded him to resign.

CC then organised his ridiculous “resignation” press conference.  Brian drove up from the Waikato for the Board meeting in Auckland, was diverted by CC to a hotel, had some “leadership review” contrivance thrust at him at the last minute, was completely ignorant of what was really going on, and signed a rushed note coupled together by Colin.  The bizarre press conference then went ahead at 3.30pm. Colin makes its sound like some ordered Board planned process, which it never was.  Most of the Board, if not all, didn’t even know the resignation was coming; we watched it live on TV. Colin then “cancelled” the Board meeting (which he never had the authority to do. Brian did nothing as Chair). I and another Board member excoriated Brian.  Christine Rankin resigned in disgust.

The Board

Unfortunately the Board began to fracture and there have been a few disappointing moments as some (now ex) Board Members went public with their opinions. This began a series of resignations from the Board. As at 5pm on Friday 26th June 2015, the Board was vacant with no elected members.

This is untrue.  The Board fractured, and had been toxic for several months, because of Colin Craig. He never takes responsibility or ownership.  Even now, after all the admissions and documented accusations, and the resignation of 11 of his 11-person Board, he has still not admitted to doing anything much wrong. Board members resigned because of his inappropriate behaviour and his numerous public untruths. They also knew the media had all the information, and it was starting to come out.  Whaleoil published the first of CC’s love poems at 3.15pm, 15 minutes before CC resigned. [This information has been delayed the public, due to the new legal wrangles over confidentiality]. The Board fracturing and the resignations were NEVER BECAUSE Laurence Day (1), followed by Christine Rankin (2), Brian Dobbs (3) and then myself (as the fourth Board member to speak out) “went public with their opinions.”  

It is also completely untrue that the Board was “vacant.”  Both Brian, Laurence and I were still Board members. This was a deliberate misleading of the Party members, in their thousands.

Mr Stringer

One Board member (Mr Stringer) was suspended from membership of the Party on Thursday afternoon after several serious breaches of his obligations. If you are contacted by Mr Stringer please understand that he is suspended and has no standing in any way.

I have never been suspended.  This was a complete contrivance by CC in collusion with Brian Dobbs. These matters are well documented and explained in detail here and here. The media are now digging in to these matters in some detail. In essence, Brian was the only other Board member at that stage, alongside me, and he “suspended” me without a quorum, without informing me, without tabling any evidence, without any documentation, and in breach of every and any Robert’s Rules’ process. He tried to utilise a proxy of a Board member who had already resigned, and was overseas, and use it in an unlawful way.

When defaming me to thousands of members for “several [so-called] serious breaches of his obligations” Colin simply means I “spoke to the media.” For this crime, Colin, like he did to co-founder Larry Baldock, wants me hung, drawn and quartered.  Sonny Tau having smuggled dead kereru under his jacket, still remains on his Board. Perhaps I should have done that instead. Colin appears to be pathologically unable to share the limelight with anyone.  He cannot bare anyone else speaking other than himself; he needs to control this utterly.  That is the real motive for the fake suspension. It is also why:

a) at the East Coast Bays launch, he did not allow at the last minute, the List candidates to sit on the stage in the chairs provided, despite having spent all day preparing their speeches which were never delivered.

eight_col_craig

East Coast Bays launch and the empty seats never filled. 

b) why he steadfastly resisted and delayed ALL attempts to discuss the election of a President and a Deputy Leader as demanded by our Constitution.

c) Why he delayed ANY discussion of the election campaign for five months, because he knew there were several criticisms on the Board, of his management and performance, and why he maintains even today, it was a “fantastic result.”  Yeah, right.

d) Why he delayed announcing the List candidates until only a few days before the election (and then only the other top 4) and why he delayed this for months on end beforehand despite frequent protestations and written deadlines from the Board.

e) It’s also why he uses litigation and legal confidentiality agreements to silence people.

What happens next

The officers of the Party (Membership Manager, Administration Manager, and Party Secretary) will confer and agree the best way forward.  It is likely this will involve the election of a new Board.  The Constitution requires that an election of the Board be by postal ballot.  We are currently taking further advice on this matter.

These officers have never had the Constitutional authority to do any of these things. Many of them are personally employed by Colin in his business.  He fails to disclose that to the media.  And there was also a legitimate Board in place, so this was a deliberate attempt to circumvent and undermine that proper Board in the minds of the members.

“In the press statements last Friday with Colin Craig and now ex-Chairman Brian Dobbs, it was made clear that the way forward would be decided by the members.”

So two men, one of whom had already resigned, and is about to be suspended (Craig), and another about to resign (Dobbs) arbitrarily dictate this action on behalf of the duly elected Board and the whole Party? This is the same as CC arbitrarily “canceling” the special Board meeting (19/6) duly-called by the same Chairman Dobbs.  Colin thinks he is the law, and he is still acting as “the Leader” despite resigning a week earlier and being kicked out of the Party for gross betrayals.  He is out of control and a law unto himself. It has become farcical. He acts like an Ottoman Sultan.

“If you do have questions, please feel free to raise them. I will update you again shortly so you continue to have the latest information.”

In what capacity? A self-resigned Leader and Board member and then a suspended member?  And what give CC the right, or the authority, for he and his wife, who has no official status, to hijack the Conservative Party’s database and membership list, and update anyone, or spin false one-sided narratives? 1) “There were never any concerns on the Board,” 2) “There was no inappropriate behaviour,”  3) “John was suspended,” 4) “The Board is vacant,” 5) “It was not sexual harassment,” 6) “Larry Baldock was not sacked from the Board,” 7) “Leighton Baker has not resigned from the Party,” 8) “a duly constituted meeting of the board headed by then-board chairman Brian Dobbs,” blah blah blah.

Of more concern, is the active blocking of anyone with a different view, removal of their comments, banning of their spouses, so Colin can control everything on any party Facebook page or website. That is creepy. New Zealand is not China or North Korea.

And we thought ‘Helengrad‘ was bad. “One Law For All” and all that.

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Living with Mum’s Dementia (my story)

Originally posted on coNZervative:

This is my Mum, aged 75.  She has advanced alzheimers (dementia). Her memory is about 5 seconds long. She does not know who I am, who she is, where she is, yet we still have a meaningful and loving relationship. My youngest sister and I have just won Joint-Guardianship and Administration of her with the support of the WA Government and Attorney’s Office.  If you’re living with dementia, or about to confront it, read more below the photo. This is our story.

Image

My Mum and I have always been close. We had long and intelligent conversations about life, God, the world and people. We wrote to each other a lot about literature and history. We’re both melancholic personalities which leads one to pondering life’s deep waters. But that is all changed now.  Mum is gone, and someone else is in her body.  Her personality is different.  Her memory is staccato…

View original 1,546 more words

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15. 20 Questions for Colin Craig. Behind the Scenes of the Colin Craig Catastrophe (01 July 2015)

image00220 Fair Questions for Colin Craig.

1. Why did you lie to your Board for months about “inappropriate behaviour” with the Party press secretary when asked directly if it took place?

2. Why did you say on Paul Henry 20/6 that no “inappropriate behaviour” took place with Rachel MacGregor, then admit it the next day at a press conference you called?

3. [Redacted].

4. Do you categorically deny the new rumours emerging about a second sexual harassment case against you by another of your female employees?

5. Why did you not tell the truth to the media in late 2014 about Larry Baldock and Leighton Baker’s departures from the Board and Party?

6. Why did you overspend the Party budget in late 2014 by approx. $680,000 and not consult your Board about this at the time?

7. Why did you arrange a loan to yourself at 8% interest to cover this amount, and not lay this at the Board, but rather rang around your supporters by phone, and excluded those you knew would question this? Was that a “Board meeting” in your mind?

8. Why did you take the Party’s $220,000 GST rebate for yourself without reference to the Board?

9. Do you still believe that a missile hit the Pentagon and not a plane?

10. When you said publicly that John Stringer had been “suspended” by “a duly constituted meeting of the board headed by then-board chairman Brian Dobbs” (NZHerald) why did you not disclose that it was simply a phone call between Brian Dobbs (who resigned the next day) and Nathaniel Heslop (who had already resigned)? 

11. If the current Board was appointed/elected in exactly the same way as the first Board, and is “illegitimate” as you claim, why was the first Board not also illegitimate?

12. Why are you allowing your supporters to manipulate and control Party websites, blocking members and removing any comments critical or questioning of you?  Is this the open democratic voice of the people you have espoused so strongly,  such as for Citizens Initiated Referendums and “One Law for All”?

13. Why is John Stringer’s wife banned from Party websites?

14. When you say no sexual harassment took place, do you also deny that a Sexual Harassment Claim was negotiated by the Human Rights Commission between you and a female complainant sometime in late 2014?

15. If there was no veracity to the Sexual Harassment Claim filed against you by a female employee, why did you make a large payout to the claimant and why was it necessary for all details to be hidden by a strict confidentiality agreement?

16. Why did you cover up and misdirect the Board as to the nature of this payout, when it took place, what it was for,  and how much was involved, if you are innocent of all claims?

17. Why did you directly access and use the Party’s private database as a party member after your membership had been suspended by the Board?

18. Why did you write a letter yourself, and have it distributed to all Party members, including the Stringers, by Angela Storr your private PA, when you had already resigned as a Leader more than a week previous, were no longer on the Board, and your membership was already suspended by the Board?

19. Do you feel the Conservative Party’s private database should be used, and members written to by you to discredit a Board member and argue issues of personal opinion over an acrimonious dispute; is that Leadership and an appropriate use of party membership?

20. Do you feel that public statements that you are setting up a new party and a new Board to counter the existing one in place,  is in anyway “prejudicial to the interests of the Party,” and justifies your suspension as a party member as you did against Larry Baldock?

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