Rodney Hide: A secret memo on secret trusts

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Memo to David Cunliffe: say nothing, do nothing, think nothing. Photo / APN
Memo to David Cunliffe: say nothing, do nothing, think nothing. Photo / APN

Memo to: David Cunliffe, Leader of the Opposition

From: Matt McCarten, Chief of Staff

From now on you do nothing, say nothing, think nothing. Not until you run it past me. Better yet, just do, say and think what I tell you. That saves time and minimises risk.

What part of your political brain thought it a good idea to run donations through a secret trust?

No. Forget I even asked. I don't want to know.

Secret trusts? Anonymous donations? Big business? US bagman? That's how we attack Tories. Now they are attacking us. Just be thankful they suck at it. Imagine if Trevor Mallard, the duck, was doing you over.

Did you not notice passing laws stopping this carry-on? We made it so political parties can't hide donors behind trusts. We changed Standing Orders so MPs must declare gifts and donations. You were in Cabinet. It was a Big Deal.

Oh, I know our law never contemplated a leadership primary but the spirit is clear. That's what you broke. National can hit you with this from now until the election.

You look sleazy. You look tricky. You look like a hypocrite.

From now on tell me everything. And I mean everything. I need full disclosure. I can't operate if I am learning what you have done through the Tory press. By then it's too late. That's Politics 101.

You were right to 'fess up. But you should have spilled the lot. You let them drag it out of you bit by bit. That kept the story alive. And you should have blamed your campaign manager. Greg Presland would understand. I would have thrown him under the bus. And kept you clear.

We must name the two unnamed donors. We can't allow your enemies both inside and outside to start speculating on them. That could be bad. Very bad. It doesn't matter that you are giving their money back. You took it last year when you didn't think you would be caught. Handing it back now makes it look too dodgy. Who are they? They are not dodgy, are they?

Don't worry. I will handle them. That's my job.

I told you I can look past the Harvard education, the flash house in Herne Bay and the undisclosed investment trust.

I can work with that. But I can't work with incompetence. Or amateurs. You must be the real deal. That's why you must do, say and think as I tell you. I will make you be your true self. A man of the people.

You might think I'm harsh. This is nothing. Just watch when I find the traitorous twerp who leaked this. I will be showing them harsh. Let's both hope it's The Duck.

Your comrade,
Matt

- Herald on Sunday

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