The leak of minutes from a National Party committee meeting provides some evidence of a potential division within the party. Never mind the supposed ructions within Labour: the battle going on within National is starting to go public, and John Key looked surprisingly unconvincing when answering TV3's questions about his knowledge of Simon Lusk.
Having said all that, I suspect the story is probably really only of interest to politics tragics.
But any story where John Key is made to look uncomfortable and answer questions in an evasive manner can only be good news for Labour, because it reinforces a developing narrative that Key and his government cannot be trusted to give straight answers.
It's the sort of scoop that the media love: a leak, and evidence of a potential power struggle behind the scenes. But it's also the sort of story best left to the media. The public don't have a high regard for politicians at the best of times, and politicians who frequently dig the dirt are bound to attract a certain reputation, and not necessarily a positive one.
I understand Trevor Mallard's desire to embarrass National over this matter, but I suspect most people are turned off when they read blogposts like this one. Labour needs to project an image of competence and credibility if it is to govern in 2014, and it should be leaving these types of "gotcha" stories to the news media. Mallard probably knew TV3 were doing a story on Lusk in the 6pm news bulletin (Mallard posted his blogpost after 5pm, and for all I know he may have given the material to TV3), so he had little to gain by posting the story.
I'm also mindful that more than a few Labour attacks have in the past blown up in the face of the attacker. So a far safer strategy for the party would be to hand over material like the leaked minutes to the likes of Duncan Garner or Paddy Gower, or leak them to a friendly blogger. The Labour Party could learn a lot about muckraking by looking at the way National gets Labour-negative stories into the news media.
If Labour's going to play "gotcha" out in the open, then it needs to make sure it focuses on issues that are actually important.
A good example is the work being done by Phil Goff to publicise various MFAT leaks. These leaks are highly embarrassing to National, because they portray a minister who is trying desperately to disguise his ineptitude through bullying and bluster. But they're also important because that ineptitude is threatening to do real harm to our nation's reputation abroad.
If Mallard et al want to expose to the nation the internal goings-on within National, then they should use proxies to do their dirty work, rather than be seen with their hands in the mud. Is there really no blogger on the left as deranged and desperate for attention as Whaleoil?