The political rumour mill has been working over the past several months like never before and it hasn't been producing the fairy dust that Jacinda Ardern's been used to.

It's been producing an unattractive and vile political sludge and finally Labour decided to put on its galoshes and wade its way out of the mire.

Make no mistake, Labour orchestrated the events of the past 24 hours.

Support parties were tipped off the night before the story involving the false rumours surrounding Ardern's partner Clarke Gayford would be made public the following day.


Ardern's known about the rumours, like the rest of us, for some considerable time.

There had been strategy sessions in the Beehive on how this would be dealt with when it finally made it into the public arena.

That was sparked by a statement reportedly from our top cop Mike Bush that Gayford hadn't been the subject of a police inquiry and had never been charged in relation to any matter.

The Police Commissioner set the ball rolling and there's little doubt Labour had given him the ball, they wanted the rumour mill, which has been grinding away for so long, to stop.

The police spin doctors are now saying the statement was from the police and not the Commissioner.

If he didn't sign it off then the political impartiality of the police is even more compromised.

Police Minister Stu Nash was simply being cute when asked about it, shrugging his shoulders, saying he didn't know what we were talking about.

Jacinda Ardern's clear strategy was simply not to address the rumours at all, repeatedly telling us "this is not what my job is about and I'm focused on doing my job."


Of course it's not what her job's about, even if she did at one point say it was dirty politics, making it political before later saying she wasn't pointing the finger of blame at anyone.

Her Deputy Winston Peters had no problem with that though saying it was black ops politics and without naming National, said the people behind it would be the people advantaged by it - go figure!

Trouble is, what Labour's now left with is a rumour mill under full steam.

By not identifying the rumours by saying what they involve, they'll simply be refuelled. The poacher turned Labour Party gamekeeper, former Press Gallery journalist Linda Clark's part of the strategy, warning her former colleagues as a lawyer that if they say what the rumours are about, they'll face legal action.

So all the efforts to bury the issue, which is what this exercise was all about, has simply resurrected it.