Scoop Election 08: edited by Gordon Campbell

Gordon Campbell on the ongoing fallout from Nicky Hager’s book

August 15th, 2014

Call me old-fashioned, but ad hominem attacks have almost seemed the last refuge of a scoundrel. That doesn’t mean you can’t reach a conclusion or make a judgement call – but you need to be guided by the evidence. You don’t start with personal abuse, to try and distract people from looking at the evidence. Right now, that’s the difference between John Key and Nicky Hager. Key’s desperate accusations: “screaming left wing conspiracy theorist” “typical Nicky Hager book” “baseless accusations” “what ifs” etc etc are personal slurs that can be easily refuted by picking up the book and reading what it contains. If I was Gareth Morgan, I’d spend a few bob on sticking a copy of Dirty Politics in every letterbox in New Zealand, before the election.

In stark contrast, any judgements arrived at by Hager proceed from the black and white evidence of what the likes of Justice Minister Judith Collins have said and done – in their own words, and reflected by their own deeds. When you recall that Collins has supposedly been on notice in the wake of the Oravida scandal…it seems pretty clear that it is John Key who is the empty vessel here. No doubt, Collins will survive this latest debacle. Yet BTW, the fact that Steven Joyce has been fronting the government’s response at this dark hour shows just how decisively the power has shifted this year to Joyce in any if- Key-went-under-a-bus succession race.

At this point, its hardly necessary to retrace the entire Collins chapter of Hager’s book. Suffice to say, the collusion between Collins and Cameron Slater – and the apparent misuse of privileged access to personal information – makes for compelling reading, and should be cause for Collins to be stood down from her ministerial post, pending an independent investigation into whether serious improprieties have occurred. Fat chance of that happening. At this point in the election campaign, National is circling the wagons – and a resignation wouldn’t happen even if it could be shown that a Cabinet Minister had released personal data to a blogger to enable the target to be publically subjected to a torrent of personal abuse, up to and including death threats. Oh wait: that is what happened here.

Talking of death threats, too little has been made of the threat to Hager himself in an email sent to Slater, David Farrar and Matthew Hooton (see pages 91-92) in the wake of Hager’s previous work on international tax havens. “Those Chinese can be very vicious when they lose face…It would be a disaster if they all knew where he lived. He might need Police protection…” etc etc. It doesn’t matter that Hager’s phone number and address are in the phone book. The intent seems all too clear.

To my mind, the people who have been victimised by the smear campaign that has been run out of the Prime Minister’s office since at least 2011 deserve their day in court, or at least in front of an independent inquiry. It may not matter to Mike “No Smoking Gun” Hosking, but ordinary citizens – and not mere politicians – have been among those targeted by this grubby little cabal. In that sense, it is a bit of a shame that Hager’s store of emails only date backwards from January 2014. One can safely bet on what the email traffic between Slater and his friends in high places with respect to Tania Billingsley would have looked like.

So far, at least one victim has had his say about being targeted by the Jason Ede/Cameron Slater clobbering machine. Labour MP Phil Goff was targeted by SIS file material released with suspicious speed to Slater before the 2011 election, when Goff was the Labour Party leader. In an interview with RNZ’s Mary Wilson on Checkpoint last night, Goff eloquently explained what the evidence presented by Hager had revealed, and why it was wrong.

Incidentally, the Goff affair completely blows out of the water the claim that the National Party’s relationship with Slater is no different to how politicians routinely engage with journalists. Leave aside the fact that Slater’s tone and intent – to damage and silence critics of the government – is a little bit different to what normally constitutes journalism. Believe me, SIS files are not usually released to journalists – they’re almost always flatly denied, as a matter of course. Moreover, they’re not usually speedily released to meet a timeframe calculated to do the most political damage. Time and again, Slater has enjoyed extraordinary, privileged access to the Beehive and to private information that I would safely bet, is unique. No one else gets briefed in this way, on such topics. Journalists get fed, if at all, quite different levels of information and access. Oh, and in the Goff case, who could possibly have authorised the release of those documents? As Goff indicates, it could only have been the Minister of the Security Services, John Key. If Mike Hosking wants a smoking gun, there’s one.

Footnote: Hate to be an agent of the language police but after 20 years of Nicky Hager being an internationally respected journalist – let alone a key figure in our domestic political debates – you’d think that our politicians might have learned how to pronounce his name. On my understanding Hager rhymes with lager. It is not pronounced Hay-ger. Yet people know that, right? It must be just a deliberate attempt to annoy him. We’re such a sophisticated bunch.

Campaign Song
Don’t know if the National Party has finally picked an election campaign song, but may I suggest that in the light of Nicky Hager’s book, this one might be appropriate?

ENDS

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    1. 51 Responses to “Gordon Campbell on the ongoing fallout from Nicky Hager’s book”

    2. By AlisonM on Aug 15, 2014 | Reply

      I am enjoying your commentary on this, Gordon, and watching the msm coverage with, um, interest? I don’t watch Seven Sharp (or TV News in general) but did last night to see Nicky. It’s not that I expect anything anymore, but the way in which it was the journalist (Nicky) who apparently needed to be held to account, not the politicians left me…OK, this is a whanau-friendly site, so I won’t sink that low and say what I was muttering at the time…Suffice to say I am re-dedicated to never watching it again. And a bit depressed.

    3. By Jeremy on Aug 15, 2014 | Reply

      It is of absolutely no surprise to me that intelligence agency data is being used for political gain. It should be obvious to anyone with a functioning brain that intelligence agencies exist mainly as a weapon to attack and crush opponents and dissenters of the establishment.

      NZ is not over-run with terrorists, there is little to no need for wholesale widespread spying and data collection for “reasons of national security”

      Access to and oversight of such power should never be placed in the hands of just one person. It was and is ripe for abuse. The evidence that it is being abused is now out in the open.

    4. By Mike on Aug 15, 2014 | Reply

      Alison – I also had an enormous feeling of rage at the staged S. Joyce and N. Hager interview where Hosking decided to be the runner for the Nats and ended up looking like a complete goose. How N Hager could hold himself in check knowing exactly what he does says volumes for the man. Hosking is a fool, bombastic and only interested in presenting his particular warped unbalanced view of things. The other surprise, but I should know better, is the Dominion’s response this morning does not even tackle the implications of these matters concentrating on what Colins and Key have to say which is nothing. Its about time the media got off their arses, had a good think about their profession and started actually to be of use round the place. This is enough to galvanise quite a few people to actually come out and take to the streets to remove this cancer in our society. I must admit Gordons handle on this has been fair and reasoning as well as illuminating.

    5. By john on Aug 15, 2014 | Reply

      Hagar’s claims don’t stand up to ten seconds of scrutiny.

      1/ He’s not political (hes a failed extreme left politician)

      2/ He’s not trying to influence the election (simply totally unbelievable)

      3/ He uncovered the previously unknown hacking of the Labour Party website (false on two counts – it was in EVERY mainstream media outlet for days in 2011, and labour admitted it wasn’t have, but a “gaping hole” in their security that everybody could look into.

      4/ Rodney Hide was being blackmailed (Rodney Hide laughed out loud when heard about that one).

      To be fair to Hagar, he was 100% accurate when he claimed “You won’t believe what’s in my book”.

    6. By Matt on Aug 15, 2014 | Reply

      “4/ Rodney Hide was being blackmailed (Rodney Hide laughed out loud when heard about that one).”

      You think Rodney would admit to being blackmailed over sending inappropriate texts to a young women?

    7. By Grump on Aug 15, 2014 | Reply

      @ John

      Wow, that’s the best defence you lot can come up with? Allow me to debunk:

      1/ Political merely means “gives a shit”, so well done John, you’ve proved that he (along with everybody) is ‘political’ in this definition.

      2/ Only true if by “influence” you mean get voters to actually think about who they’re voting for. Understandable why Nats wouldn’t want that.

      3/ This is the most unsettling argument put forth by the Slater, you and the rest. You are literally saying that you would feel perfectly entitled to walk into someone’s house and stare at them in the shower if the door happened to be open. One shudders at what logic you might apply in the case of say a young girl too drunk to deny consent to your advances.

      4/ “Rodney laughed out loud…” Just brilliant. Man laughing = proof. Only with a pathological sense of self-righteousness could that be seen as any kind of evidence. Someone under the threat of blackmail is hardly going to out their blackmailers on telly are they? (But TBH, I had a laugh about that as well.)

      Just put on your teamkey tshirt and tune out… you better hope you’ve turned off enough of the public to stay at home on polling day.

    8. By AlisonM on Aug 15, 2014 | Reply

      Just confirming, @john, that you’ve read the book before I dive in to any discussion about details? (I have read it, btw.)

    9. By john on Aug 15, 2014 | Reply

      1/ Hagar (an ex politician) claims he is not political – bullshit #1

      2/ Hagar claims he is not trying to influence the election – bullshit #2

      3/ Labour actually apologised in 2011 for what experts called “a gaping security hole that everybody can look into”, proving that a/ Hagar was bullshitting about the hacking, and b/ bullshitting on TV about being the first to discover it (it was in EVERY mainstream media outlet 3 years ago for days).

      The difference is the material from the Labour website wasn’t illegally hacked, and wasn’t realeased.

      Conversely, Hagar’s not only used illegally hacked material – he also published it.

      Which leaves him dripping in hypocrisy.

      4/ Have a listen to Hide’s response. It comes across as a lot more believable than Hagars claim based on hearsay from stolen emails
      http://www.radiolive.co.nz/Political-Panel-exclusive-Rodney-Hide-answers-accusations-of-blackmail-made-in-Dirty-Politics-book/tabid/506/articleID/52171/Default.aspx

    10. By Grump on Aug 15, 2014 | Reply

      @John

      See, people this is his debate style:
      “I say it so it’s true.”
      “I say it with a swear word so it’s GOT to be true!”
      “So what if I can’t spell the name of the guy I’m supposed to be criticising, I still demand credibility!”
      As for your stunning analysis of Rodney – “comes across” means nothing. He is a politician. He’s good at spin and deflection, how could he not be? His job is to make bullshit sound wonderful. Of course that doesn’t mean it’s true, but Nicky has bothered to provide at least SOME kind of proof, unlike your corporate-Nat-friendly-radio link.

    11. By Ian MacKay on Aug 15, 2014 | Reply

      Great summary Gordon. The reaction by most on the Right is very interesting. From a lead by Joyce and from an “Avoid-at-all-Cost-Interview-Key” the responses are all about denigrating the messenger and avoiding any and all issues raised. Perhaps someone could lend John a copy to read but there are no pictures in it John.

    12. By john on Aug 15, 2014 | Reply

      It’s pretty simple.

      When he tries to claim he is not political, and not trying to influence the election, he totally destroys any shred of credibility he ever had.

      He totally shoots down his own credibility again, when makes the blatantly false claim on TV that he uncovered the unknown Labour Party website “hack” (when it was in every paper in the country in 2011).

      He shows the epitome of hypocrisy when he uses illegally obtained personal communications and publishes them, in order to complain about legally obtained information that wasn’t published.

      As I said, he’s dripping in hypocrisy.

    13. By john on Aug 15, 2014 | Reply

      Enough to see Hager stumble and fall when interviewed when he couldn’t even answer what the king hits were. Asked again, he still couldn’t come up with anything.

      He couldn’t even come up with any evidence that Key was involved – and he wrote the book!

      He couldn’t explain why what he did wasn’t totally hypocritical.

      Then he blatantly lied about discovering the Labour Party website breach.

      I don’t like the guy but his hysterical performance was so embarrassing I felt sorry for him.

      He managed to totally destroy what was left of his own credibility.

    14. By mythic on Aug 15, 2014 | Reply

      @John

      Whether or not the material from the Labour website was illegally hacked or not depends on whether public access to it was authorised or not. Labour’s apology for the security hole is simply not relevant to the issue of authorised access. Besides, what should they have done instead, pretended it didn’t happen?

      You say that Hide’s denial is more believable than the claims based on content from stolen emails. Yet if the emails are stolen, doesn’t that prove their authenticity?

      You seem to be conflating Hagar’s credibility and political affiliations with the veracity of his material. This is not a rational line of thinking, yet seems to be one of the few arguments put forth by those attempting to deflect (note: few people seem to be denying) the allegations.

    15. By Peter on Aug 15, 2014 | Reply

      @ John

      You appear not to have read Grump’s comprehensive dismissal of your points. A pity.

      As for point no. 3: you seem to think that two acts of unethically appropriating data are the same thing. Surely a brief thought experiment would reveal how untenable that position is.

      Imagine I wander through an office building browsing through the stuff people have left on their desk while they are out to lunch. If I come across someone’s address book and decide to snaffle it, that just makes me a squalid little pervert.

      But perhaps, instead, I grab a pile of papers with a mixture of material. Some of it might be personal and therefore of no wider interest. But some of might suggest an abuse of power – say (this is just a thought experiment, remember) a minister with responsbility for the security services de-classifying material so that it can be fed via a staffer to a tame media outlet in order to discredit a political opponent.

      If I then pass this information on to a highly qualified journalist who then publishes it in a book, then that confers a moral quality on what otherwise might have been a petty, self-serving act. (Something of a difference between the two appropriations, I think.)

      To argue otherwise is to deny the primacy of an individual’s ethical duty. It’s the equivalent of saying that there could never be any circumstances under which whistle-blowing is justified. (No Ellsberg, no Snowden etc)

      You could always argue that – but it would lock you into being always an obedient servant of the rich and powerful. Mind you, some people are happy with just that role ….

    16. By Simon on Aug 15, 2014 | Reply

      hi John,
      I think he’s released the book now because he knows it will get the most attention, have the biggest impact and also sell the best. As a journalist he’d be chasing the limelight and the fame of breaking yet another big story (his track record to date is pretty good). So I think it’s drawing a long bow to infer Nicky Hager is political just from the timing of the book’s release. There may be other external or circumstantial facts that suggest that he is political, but not the mere fact he’s published this book.

      Also not entirely sure it is hypocrisy to publish illegally obtained personal communications when it seems (and I’ve seen or heard no evidence to the contrary) that he didn’t actually hack or break into anyone’s computer (or ask anybody else to either), and the information is, as it has turned out, to be well and truly in the public interest.

      I’m not particularly left or right, but I do applaud Nicky Hager’s efforts, we need more real investigative and well researched publications like this, whether you like what it tells us about ourselves or not – or maybe because we don’t like what it tells us about ourselves?

      So no not “dripping in hypocrisy”, I’d suggest not even damp.

    17. By Grump on Aug 15, 2014 | Reply

      John – why are people just not listening to you?

      This article explains it better than I could:

      http://www.nzherald.co.nz/opinion/news/article.cfm?c_id=466&objectid=11309070

    18. By GrumpIE on Aug 15, 2014 | Reply

      @Grump:

      And yet here you are defending a man who to extrapolate your own analogy:

      Has accepted a washing basket full of panties that were taken from someones house, to take them, the intruder needed to smash the door down with a blunt axe, and punched the owner in the face to stun her.

      I really do not understand how this scenario appears to be more acceptable to you.

    19. By John on Aug 15, 2014 | Reply

      Simon says “There may be other external or circumstantial facts that suggest that he is political, but not the mere fact he’s published this book. ”

      You mean like when he stood for parliament for a far left party?

      So trying to be a politician is no longer political?

      Of course he’s dripping with hypocrisy.

      He uses illegally obtained communications, and publishes them, to complain about legally obtains data that wasn’t published.

      He complains about dirty tricks, then blatantly lies about the Labour Party website being hacked.

    20. By Simon on Aug 15, 2014 | Reply

      Dear John, you’re so right.

    21. By Daniel on Aug 15, 2014 | Reply

      You mean that time he stood for parliament THIRTY-SIX YEARS AGO?

      You’re right, that’s definitely the most relevant thing here

    22. By BruceTheMoose on Aug 15, 2014 | Reply

      Steve Mythbuster sure has has his work cut out for him by the Chairman these past few months.

    23. By BruceTheMoose on Aug 15, 2014 | Reply

      Steve Mythbuster sure has had his work cut out for him by the Chairman these past few months.

    24. By cinesimon on Aug 15, 2014 | Reply

      I guess it’s no surprise that Hager is seen by the right wing as an “extreme left politician”. Given that these people rather clearly don’t pay attention to anything beyond their childish & self-centered fever dreams, they won’t know his history. Therefore, make it up! on’t bother to actually discuss the issues and the valid allegations that come with substantial proof! No, honest debate is not OK, in right wing world. So they proove Gordon Campbell correct. Because… ‘so there’? That seems to be about their level of discourse on this matter.
      For those too lazy and self centered to bother with the real world, Nicky Hager is not a Labor crony. Or a communist. He’s done plenty of journalism critical of ‘the left’(because apparently to these people, even Labor are communists). In 2003, he wrote a book about Labor and the Helen Clark government that was extremely critical of them. He’s not a Labor crony, as the right’s childish fantasies insist. The fact that you need to use cliched attack lines from the 1980s, shows just how little the right wing are able to deal with this problem. It’s really rather pathetic to see them lower themselves the way they are. For those too lazy to find out for themselves, Hager’s book is not just a bunch of ad-hominem or political attacks, nor are there any “conspiracy theories”. There are dozens of substantive, thoroughly reasoned allegations, with proof.
      Given that so much of NZ’s right wing has become a nothing but a clone of America’s Republican Party – where science is apparently a giant Marxist conspiracy against freedom, reality itself is a liberal plot to destroy us western civilization – it’s not surprising that the attacks seem old, lazy and have nothing to do with the actual book.
      It’s extremely sad to see how far NZ’s right have fallen. I only hope that reasonable conservatives can rescue the National Party, before it’s taken over by the shameless, dishonest children doing their best to emulate America’s Tea Party.

    25. By cinesimon on Aug 15, 2014 | Reply

      Yes, John, you know it all. You should write a book, given that you clearly know more than any other person in NZ about all this.
      Or, maybe you ought to create an NZ Tea Party – where your fever dreams can be realized.

    26. By Craig on Aug 15, 2014 | Reply

      “On my understanding Hager rhymes with lager. It is not pronounced Hay-ger.”

      Given our PM’s embarrassing Maori pronunciation (or should that be “Marrie”?) I’m not surprised that John Key will try anything to discredit or insult Hager, even by saying his name wrong.

    27. By Fern on Aug 15, 2014 | Reply

      Oo-er, “Hager rhymes with lager.” Am just waiting for one of the Nats’ apologists to make the German connection.

    28. By kiwigunner on Aug 15, 2014 | Reply

      The general public have suffered at the hands of these people. The few Principals who publicly opposed National Standards were picked off with ruthless attacks begun at Slaters web site. Try the name Alan Allach in Slaters search bar to see what he did to him.

    29. By Ex National Supporter on Aug 16, 2014 | Reply

      I am astonished by some of the replies to this blog. Are those of you who think that Judith Collin’s leaks to Cameron Slater are OK real people? Do you live on our planet? Are you morons? Is this what you want New Zealand to be, governed by scum? I’m so pleased I don’t know you and we aren’t related.

    30. By Graham on Aug 16, 2014 | Reply

      Another interesting and relevant book on the way – http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/aug/15/wayne-swan-warns-rise-business-oligarchs-new-book-good-fight?CMP=ema_632

    31. By simon on Aug 16, 2014 | Reply

      To John … and all those who parrot the same lines.

      Two simple questions:

      1) Have you read Hager’s book?

      2) If so, which page numbers contain false allegations?

      Try to answer with specifics, not more bluster, please.

    32. By john on Aug 16, 2014 | Reply

      Hager is so sanctimonious that he thinks it’s ok for him to illegally obtain private communications, and it’s ok for him to dig dirt, but when anybody else does something even half as bad as he has (even legally), he claims it’s vile.

      Perhaps drowning in hypocrisy is a more apt description than merely dripping with hypocrisy.

    33. By Grant500 on Aug 16, 2014 | Reply

      “To John … and all those who parrot the same lines.” “Have you read Hager’s book?”
      Don’t have to. Anything that is of any interest has already been put in the public domain.Do you think there is any more “explosive” items left to go? He’s used all his bullets at once to make an impact- makes good sense for sales – there is nothing left. Hagar amuses me – a left wing capilist. Making money out of it all. The truth has nothing to do with it. Take your blinkers off – Hagar is a hypocrite of the highest order. He rails against the GCSB etc about their spying but writes a book based on stolen emails. Stop and think about it for a minute. And some people think he is capable of telling the truth. Doesen’t matter what Cameron Slater is – Hagar is still a hypocrite.

    34. By mark on Aug 16, 2014 | Reply

      To John … and all those who parrot the same lines.
      Two simple questions:
      1) Have you read Hager’s book?
      2) If so, which page numbers contain false allegations?
      Try to answer with specifics, not more bluster, please.

    35. By Jackp on Aug 16, 2014 | Reply

      John, Simon’s right, which part of the book you consider lies? If you listened to Hager he said he wanted to inform the public before the elections and I thank God he did. So far, Key hasn’t taken any action against Hager, why not? He took it against that newsman after the infamous tea party. The ball is in Key’s court and it looks like Key is dropping it. So, before you attack Hager, why not watch what Key does. By the way, I am reading it and just read about the SIS releasing information to Slater about Goff’s briefing with those Israeli spies in New Zealand. Read Fran O’sullivan’s article in the Herald. She admitted this happened because Slater was getting the big breaks and not the “lazy” media. 1 point for Hager.

    36. By Joe Wylie on Aug 16, 2014 | Reply

      John’s blubbering into his Milo about the horrid unfairness of it all leads me to believe that Brash’s Hollow Men-era fanboys were made of sterner stuff than Slater’s sorry acolytes. Back then, a happy little denizen of Kiwiblog was confidently predicting that Hager would have “his ears nailed to the wall” for daring to diss the saintly Don.

    37. By John on Aug 16, 2014 | Reply

      Jackp says “So far, Key hasn’t taken any action against Hager, why not? ”

      Because Hager hasn’t actually hasn’t made any direct claims that Key’s done anything illegal.

      He just smears and makes vague insinuations.

      Which is why when asked what direct evidence he has against Key, he couldn’t come up with anything – not a thing.

      So he was asked again “What evidence do you have against Key”

      Again – nothing. Just smears and inuendo of the exact sort he says is vile.

    38. By simon2 on Aug 16, 2014 | Reply

      John, the evidence has come from National’s own general-secretary. Directly contradicting John Key, today.

      But you won’t read or believe it, just as you won’t answer my simple questions above.

    39. By Norman on Aug 16, 2014 | Reply

      I don’t understand all the Hager “using illegally obtained/hacked emails” line. Unless people are just repeating National’s spin.

      The point here is “public interest”, is it in the public interest to publish these hacked emails? Yes, in my opinion.

      Despite Slater’s ongoing campaign for journalistic accreditation, the book shows he is far too partisan, too connected to National to be taken seriously as a journalist.

      As for Hager, ask yourself John, does running for Parliament disqualify him from journalism for life? Is Hager in regular contact with senior Labour or Green Party officials? Does he regularly get info from a Minister who happens to be his mate?

      The language used on Whale Oil alone is enough to discredit Slater, in my opinion.

    40. By Mr Curious on Aug 16, 2014 | Reply

      Hello could someone please clarify this for me:

      A Key sued a journalist/camera man for leaving a microphone in a cafe and turned on.
      B The Labour Party apparently did not ensure their website is safe.
      How can Key sue in the first case but the Labour Party cannot successfully sue for files stolen?
      The only thing I can think of is intent, but then the Labour Party surely did not intend anyone to take these files and those who did download these files surely intended to do so.
      So what is the legal difference here?

    41. By Russell Ward on Aug 16, 2014 | Reply

      John. Can I ask are you one of Cameron’s stoolies? You are not making much sense.

    42. By fdx on Aug 16, 2014 | Reply

      Johnny boy, you have been out gunned, you are in the dust bleeding from multiple hits but I applaud you for your brave stand despite the overwhelming barrage of facts disassembling you feeble arguments. Give that man a glass of milk.

    43. By Frankie V on Aug 17, 2014 | Reply

      John.
      Have you read the book?
      Also, you will find that the Labour website ‘hack’ by Slater and Ede was illegal, not only that but Slater, Ede and co say in emails they knew it was illegal and they were glad they weren’t caught doing it. What Hager has done publishing the hacked emails in public interest is legal within the confines of the law and has been check by lawyers.
      I know it’s difficult and upsetting when people you worship do terrible things and challenge your love for them but it is ok to disapprove of their actions while still keeping your admiration for your idols.
      Please provide specifics instead of repeating the same discredited statements so there can be a rational discussion with you. Cheers!

    44. By onenzer on Aug 17, 2014 | Reply

      mike, you are a brave man, watching and listening to mike hoskings take on anything.try tv3.

    45. By Whanga.Bar on Aug 17, 2014 | Reply

      I have not read the book(but it is on back order). Knowing Nicky for several decades I have witnessed first hand his high standards and attention to detail, Nicky will have an avalanche to back up what has been released to date. I would go as far to say that any political motivation he has is to keep democracy open and transparent, whether its National, Labour or the Greens in power.

      To those defenders of the Blue Realm, how exactly should an investigative journalist get to the truth?

      Perhaps Investigative Journalists should just accept National Party – Whale Oil press releases like everyone else…

    46. By John on Aug 17, 2014 | Reply

      Slater and Hager are two sides of the same coin.

      They both make serious allegations with little or no proof.

      Hager does everything he can to smear people with serious criminal allegations of blackmail.

      But delve deeper, and you find the following quotes from Hager himself – “The documents do not contain the texts and we do not know they exist. There is also no evidence that a direct threat was made to Hide.”

      These sort of smears, when he himself admits to “no evidence”, is probably more despicable than anything he claims of in his book.

    47. By Paul on Aug 18, 2014 | Reply

      So John, the crux of your argument is that because Nicky Hager has some historic left wing allegiance everything he says is intrinsically false and unbelievable?

      Nice logic

      Judith Collins has now admitted providing a public servants name to Slater so that he could be smeared online.

      So at least one of the allegations is now proven to be true. Tellingly John Key has avoided any outright denials of many of the other allegations. Very strange is they are all as baseless as you affirm.

      But keep at it, always entertaining to see someone flogging a dead horse.

    48. By framu on Aug 18, 2014 | Reply

      john – when you find out that hager has been doing things like… photoshopping 14 year olds onto gay porn and then publishing it, you might be able to compare him to WO

      till then pull your damn head in and get a damn grip

    49. By Elyse on Aug 19, 2014 | Reply

      The book is available on Amazon, digital edition. You can download kindle to your computer for free.
      It’s very well written.
      What I find hard to believe is that there wasn’t criminal action taken against whoever stole the the files from the Labour Party website?
      I had a prowler on my street. He stole wallets from every house on my block where the back door was left unlocked. They caught him after I saw him and called the police. People being lax enough to leave their doors unlocked was no excuse.

    50. By Tim on Aug 19, 2014 | Reply

      Wow, the astroturfers are out in force. Funny that. Also ironic that John seems to be a popular handle amongst them.

    51. By Grump on Aug 20, 2014 | Reply

      @ GrumpIE (about a hundred posts back)
      —-
      “And yet here you are defending a man who to extrapolate your own analogy:

      Has accepted a washing basket full of panties that were taken from someones house, to take them, the intruder needed to smash the door down with a blunt axe, and punched the owner in the face to stun her.

      I really do not understand how this scenario appears to be more acceptable to you.”
      —-

      Impressive that you’ve managed to lower the discourse into sexual depravity and violence so swiftly.

      I’ll help you try to understand, I know it’s difficult – and I mean that without meanness or sarcasm.

      Contrary to ‘defending’ Hager (or rather his actions) – which I guess I support, but ultimately that’s for the courts to decide – I condemn the contents of the documents he has reprinted. Specifically the actions and behaviour of Crown ministers, and the PM.

      Play the ball, not the man.

    52. By Joe Blow on Aug 22, 2014 | Reply

      Section 4AA(1)(c) of the New Zealand Security Intelligence Service Act:

      (1)The Director must take all reasonable steps to ensure that—

      (c)the Security Intelligence Service does not take any action for the purpose of furthering or harming the interests of any political party.

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