They say in politics, it's not the crime that gets you ... it's the cover-up.
That looks set to be what happens here with #Waitergate.
Key initially tried to front-foot allegations of some seriously creepy weirdness meted out to a waitress at Parnell's Rosie's Cafe on Wednesday; but when the sad spectacle of our Prime Minister appearing on the nightly news attempting to defend his inappropriate touching of hospo staff as "a bit of fun" evidently failed to wash with the electorate, his Black Ops team went into action.
The first sign that this was being taken deadly seriously by the Nats came when they deployed Rachel Glucina acting in the guise of a "PR Advisor" to go have a chat with the waitress in question. Now, most people know instantly who Glucina is - and while she definitely specializes in PR and spin, she's mostly done that in a reasonably covert capacity as the mistress of the Herald's Gossip pages, rather than as a professional.
Although having said that, experienced political warriors have long speculated that her lines of communication run right the way into the Beehive - allegations which were later proven during #DirtyPolitics, when it turned out she was being deployed by the Nats to run scandalous "exposes" about alleged links between Russel Norman, Winston Peters, and Kim DotCom. At the time, Winston alleged her information source must have been the Office of the Prime Minister misusing the state's security intelligence services to track his movements.
So we can already see that Glucina's regularly up to her gills in Nat-party covert ops.
But how did she know so instantly precisely *which* Parnell cafe the incident had occurred at?
Or, for that matter ... which waitress to call up and talk to.
New Zealand's a small place - the well-healed east side of Auckland's central suburbs even more so ... but this was just uncanny.
Fortunately, Glucina has a brother in the know. For, you see, Rosie's is run by Hip Group.
And guess who manages Hip Group? Why, it's Glucina's brother, Henry.
Well how about that.
So what I'm speculating happened here, is when Key's team knew the hair was about to fly on this story; his shadow comms and PR team called in a previously utilized and demonstrably successful political weapon (Glucina), and told her to make the victim's moral high ground go away.
Glucina then took advantage of her familial connection to Rosie's afforded by her brother; and set up the interview with the victim and her immediate employers in the guise of running PR for them.
Now obviously, I can't prove that Henry Glucina personally leveraged or convinced Rosie's owners Grant and Brown to let his sister into their home for the purposes of running damage control ... but it's certainly not implausible.
In fact, the idea of Henry Glucina hitting up the people he works with on a day-to-day basis and saying something like "I know this looks *really bad*, and I've heard The Herald's about to go public with identifiable details. Here, let me introduce you to this PR person I've got sitting around on retainer" and then wheeling in his sister to do an interview and photo-shoot - well, if anything, that seems scarily plausible. And would definitely explain why the Herald's amended its own version of events to acknowledge considerable "confusion over the initial approach" while deleting Glucina's earlier claim that "at no stage did she misrepresent herself or mislead anybody".
This is how the Nats work. Words-in-your-ear, taps on the shoulder, going straight to your employers, and firing off falsehoods safe in the knowledge that somebody else comes along to clean up the mess afterwards.
I'm disgusted with the way Glucina and The Herald have acted here.
But if anything, I'm even MORE outraged that the only thing the Prime Minister appears to have learned from #DirtyPolitics ... is that the Cameron Slater modus operandi works *really well* at skewering the innocent.
Fortunately, just like with #Watergate ... this time, the crooks have been caught red handed.
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