One News again last night tried to beat up John Key's use of the Diplomatic Protection Service. You can watch the piece here, but you might want to have a bucket handy.
If Labour thinks that discrediting John Key in this way is the key (pardon the pun) to electoral success in 2011, we reckon that they are very sadly mistaken. It will come as no surprise that the story has been rolled out to One News by Pete Hodgson, Labour's master strategist.
As we blogged yesterday, Hodgson was the caucus genius behind the H-Fee smear in the dying days of the 2008 election campaign. H-Fee failed spectacularly. Since then Hodgson, who will retire at the election has tried week after week to get mud to stick to John Key. From the Richard Worth affair, to Ministerial expenses (didn't that backfire on Labour?), to John Key's travel and lastly this latest attack line, Hodgson has been singularly ineffective. The Richard Worth affair of course was a spectacular own goal for Labour when the extent of Phil Goff's association with complainant Neelam Choudary came to light.
This latest attempt to smear John Key will end similarly for Labour, simply because Hodgson has omitted to tell One News that budget blowouts for the DPS are nothing new, as evidenced by the figures provided here in response to a written parliamentary question. Once again, Labour hasn't let the facts get in the way of a good smear.
So, courtesy of WhaleOil, we honour Pete Hodgson today; Labour's strategic mastermind!