Hager recap on ‘Dirty Politics’

Nicky Hager has recapped what his 2014 Dirty Politics book was about at Newsroom.

Most controversial, the book revealed that prime minister John Key had a full-time dirty tricks person in his office researching and writing nasty attacks on opposing politicians, quietly sent through to Slater to publish as if they were his own.

Slater was genuinely powerful at that time because the media, to which he fed many stories, knew he was friends with Key and justice minister Judith Collins.

Key survived as prime Minister as long as he wanted to, but Collins copped a setback as a result of what Slater called embellishment and has probably had her leadership ambitions severely hobbled by it (Slater keeps promoting her on Whale Oil, reminding people of it to Collins’ detriment).

The book’s subtitle was “How attack politics is poisoning New Zealand’s political environment.” Does anyone think these aren’t issues deserving sunlight?

This certainly deserved sunlight, and good on Hager for doing that. I have serious concerns about illegal hacking (if that is what actually happened), especially in a political environment, but this was a serious abuse of political and media power that deserved exposure.

‘A boil that needed lancing’

When I decided to research and write about Slater and his associates, I knew I was taking a personal risk. They were well known for personal attacks and smears. They have hurt many people. I expected retaliation.  But I knew what I was taking on and felt strongly that this boil needed lancing.

While Dirty Politics lanced a political boil (in the Prime Minister’s office) and exposed Slater and Whale Oil, rendering them far less effective, it hasn’t stopped them from continuing with attacks and personal smears. Like many others I have been the target of dirty smears and legal attacks since Dirty Politics broke.

That they have been reduced from being a festering boil to being more like cry baby pimples that hasn’t stopped them resorting to dirty attacks. And it ‘is ‘they’ – Slater is aided and abetted on Whale Oil by others, in particular Juana Atkins and Nige who also seem to fucking people over is fair game, for click bait and seemingly for fun. I’m not sure how they sleep easy.

Dirty Politics hasn’t eliminated attack politics, but by exposing some of the worst of it the poisoning New Zealand’s political environment has been reduced. It needs more exposing and more reducing – as well as involving dirty personal attacks dirty politics is an attack on decent democracy.

Leave a comment

53 Comments

  1. Gerrit

     /  June 19, 2018

    The biggest reward for this, and previous Hager books, is simply that one can steal personal and private information, pass it onto a “journalist” who can make use of very selective parts of this stolen information to publish articles without fear. In fact this publication of selective parts can be extremely biased and all without recourse.

    So when the Labour or NZ First or Greens emails get hacked and a book published it will be OK.

    For “in the public interest” is the battle cry to enable selective publishing any private information.

    Goose and gander come to mind. The freedom given to Hager, being “in the public interest”, will be used by others for sure.

    .

    Reply
    • “So when the Labour or NZ First or Greens emails get hacked and a book published it will be OK.’

      I think that would depend on the circumstances.

      If staff in a Labour Prime Minister’s office feed information to a blog that is used in dirty attacks then it could be justified both legally and morally.

      Reply
      • Gerrit

         /  June 19, 2018

        Hager wrote a book and made money from the sales. Slightly different to an unpaid blog host.

        One could ALMOST say he prostituted himself for 30 pieces of silver.

        Reply
        • What about a paid blog host? Hager provided evidence that Whale Oil was paid to attack people (no evidence that the Prime Minister or National pad them but they are alleged to have had paying customers).

          Reply
          • Gerrit

             /  June 19, 2018

            Not to sure what you are getting at. If one gets paid, it is OK to publish stolen information?

            Now I dont know if Slater was paid and whilst alleged, it is like the information in the book, very selective and suggestive to suit a narrative.

            If Slater had been paid and Hager had the stolen proof of that in his hard drive, do you not think it would have been made a significant entry in the book?

            National Pays for Disinformation Distribution. What a title that would have been!

            My point remains that illegally obtained information is OK to be published (and the thief confidentially protected) as long as it is in the “public Interest’.

            Reply
            • Gezza

               /  June 19, 2018

              Basically, yes. It’s been a good thing very often.

        • Blazer

           /  June 19, 2018

          Serial company collapsed director Mark Hotchins of Handover Finance paid Slater and Co to try and sanitise his operations through social…media…just one case.

          Reply
      • Trevors_elbow

         /  June 19, 2018

        Helens infamous phone tree Pete….. no traces all verbal and dirty as all hell if you are to believe the gossip around Wgtn at the time…

        Reply
    • duperez

       /  June 19, 2018

      The freedom given to Hagercould be used by others. Do you think the freedom given to those like Jason Ede also be extended to others?

      Reply
      • PDB

         /  June 19, 2018

        There are likely to be ‘Jason Ede’ type people throughout every political party office – to believe otherwise is simply foolish.

        Reply
        • Blazer

           /  June 19, 2018

          so not content and no evidence for Labour did it too…the right are now reduced to…’Labour WILL do it too’….Bol!!

          Reply
          • PDB

             /  June 19, 2018

            You are as usual making things up – the point is the ‘freedom’ is already there to do what Jason Ede did and is likely to have been done elsewhere as well.

            For example Russ Norman said he didn’t know (ahem) that senior people within his own office, including his executive assistant, were organising out of that very same office a nationwide defacing campaign of around 700 National party election billboards.

            Reply
            • Blazer

               /  June 19, 2018

              Russell who…?Nothing to do with this coalition.There is proof for your allegation…either.

            • PDB

               /  June 19, 2018

              What allegation?

            • Blazer

               /  June 19, 2018

              this allegation…’a nationwide defacing campaign of around 700 National party election billboards.’

            • Gerrit

               /  June 19, 2018

              Geez Blazer, Google or Yandex is your friend

              “A Green Party member was responsible for coordinating the defacing of hundreds of National Party billboards in Hawke’s Bay and elsewhere, Greens’ co-leader Russel Norman admitted this morning.”

              https://www.nzherald.co.nz/hawkes-bay-today/news/article.cfm?c_id=1503462&objectid=11046377

            • Blazer

               /  June 19, 2018

              from the article ‘Mr White was not an active member of the Greens, Dr Norman said, and the networks he had used to mobilise the people involved in stickering the signs were not Green Party ones.

              “I don’t know whether there were other Green Party members involved, there may have been, but not as Green Party people,” he said.’

            • PDB

               /  June 19, 2018

              Funny you missed this bit…

              “The Greens had previously denied involvement, however, Dr Norman told media today that Green Party member Jolyon White, the partner of Dr Norman’s executive assistant, was the person who coordinated the defacing”.

    • Couldn’t have said it any better Gerrit.

      Reply
  2. lurcher1948

     /  June 19, 2018

    So that nice smiling PM with a weakness for stroking females hair ran a DIRTY TRICKS dept im shocked,So this is how he became Sir Key after running away

    Reply
  3. Trevors_elbow

     /  June 19, 2018

    Does he discuss why some journos were not revealed as working with Slater? Why Hager the Benenificent granted them absolution?

    No. Of course not because that might be thought of as manipulative and dirty politics… and we all know the Left is as pure as the Katyn Forest soil soaked in innocents bloody. Means justifies the Ends for hard core Lefties… opposition is to be crushed…

    Reply
    • Blazer

       /  June 19, 2018

      the best and usual right wing retort…what about…!!!

      Reply
      • Trevors_elbow

         /  June 19, 2018

        You’ve got out of bed finally …

        The Left always cry loudest when some uses their own tactics against them.

        Trev prescribes two Anti-KDS tablets and best rest for you BOL…. ypu Need a rest

        Reply
  4. PDB

     /  June 19, 2018

    At the end of the day did the things contained within the ‘Dirty Politics’ book justify the stealing and publishing of ‘select’ emails of a private NZ citizen? What new things did we learn?

    *Cameron Slater deals in dirty politics? We already knew that.
    *Jason Ede was passing on stuff/info to Whaleoil? That had already been established before the book when a photo taken by Ede at parliament and given to Whaleoil was traced back to him.
    *Slater (in fact anybody) having access to credit card details through Labour’s website? That had already been a story on Whaleoil & Slater made a big deal about telling people of Labour’s slack internet security (ironic when his own emails were stolen).
    *Senior people within the National party directly linked to passing on information to Cameron Slater? Nothing proven, in fact Collins was officially cleared of a very serious accusation contained within the book. Rodney Hide was also accused of something that never happened. No direct link to Key himself – no ‘smoking gun’.

    The book overall was a flop in terms of what it contained (no ‘smoking gun’ regarding the main political players) and Hager’s main objective of affecting the election result in favour of the left resulted in National romping in.

    The public interest did not in this case outweigh the privacy expectations of a private NZ citizen no matter how unlikable that person is. The fact the public only got to see very few select emails chosen by Hager rather than the whole lot being dumped into the public domain also works against him. Hager made no attempt to look into the other side of the story & ignored such things as ‘The Standard’ links to various political people within the left. The book therefore can only been seen as a cynical attempt by Hager to change the course of the election in favour of the political views he represents & that doesn’t justify the stealing and publishing of private emails for political & financial gain.

    Reply
    • duperez

       /  June 19, 2018

      Hard case, public interest doesn’t outweigh the privacy expectations of a private NZ citizen no matter how unlikable that person is. Oh, except if it’s Winston Peters and an election is coming up. 🙃

      Reply
      • High Flying Duck

         /  June 19, 2018

        Was the Winston / Super release deemed to be in the public interest Dupe?

        Reply
        • Gezza

           /  June 19, 2018

          I was interested. Difficult to imagine how a lawyer could have done that.

          Reply
        • duperez

           /  June 19, 2018

          You’d have to ask that of those from MSD who thought it wise to talk to Ministers about it. Were the Ministers told under the ‘no surprises’ policy? Did the MSD people think it was ‘in the public interest’ ? Did the receivers of the information then decide it was in the public interest? What public interest? The interest of condemning him? In the interest of not voting for him?

          Reply
          • PDB

             /  June 19, 2018

            The ministers were told under the ‘no surprises’ policy – nothing to do with ‘public interest’. Your comparison is flawed – in the case of Hager he (wrongly I suggest) decided public interest trumped Slater’s privacy, in the case of Winston we don’t know who leaked the information to the MSM or the reasons as to why they did so. Apples and oranges.

            Reply
      • Gerrit

         /  June 19, 2018

        Andrew Geddis explains about privacy and “public Interest”.

        https://www.odt.co.nz/opinion/public-interest-crux-matter

        “Is there a sufficient public interest in publishing the material to justify quite grave intrusions into the privacy of those whose communications were revealed?

        I would suggest that there is a strong case for answering ”yes” to this question.

        Mr Hager limited his use of stolen material in the book to those communications that related to matters of public policy or governmental processes.

        His was not a book written to titillate or to entertain.

        It also is hard to dismiss the book’s revelations as unimportant or trivial. ”
        ———————-
        So if the revelation about Peters pension over payment was not “leaked” to titillate or entertain but to show up shortcomings in the pension payment process, then yes it is in the “public interest”. Was Peters 7 year pension over payment trivial? No, then exposure to the public is justified and privacy cannot be assumed for a leader in a powerful position of authority..

        Reply
        • Gerrit

           /  June 19, 2018

          Geddis double downs in regards leaked “public interest” information and politics calling it necessary and desirable. Peters has not got a leg to stand on, based on his discourse.

          “And if computer hacking in search of information on opponents were to become a regular feature of our political system, that would be a very bad thing.

          Nevertheless, almost every ”leak” involves some sort of criminal, or at least unlawful, activity.

          At the very least, a public servant who tips off a journalist to some embarrassing or wrongful governmental behaviour acts in breach of his or her duties under the State Sector Act.

          Yet, we accept that the fruits of such unlawful actions are a necessary, even desirable, part of our public discourse.

          That is because, as Lord Northcliff once said; ”News is what somebody somewhere wants to suppress; all the rest is advertising.”

          If we only got to see and hear what those in power voluntarily allow us to see and hear, then we would learn nothing about the world at all.”

          Reply
          • alloytoo

             /  June 19, 2018

            “Public interest” needs to be put to the test.

            It order to use it a journalist needs to meet a few standards.

            1. Information is genuinely in the new, important and not just gossip.
            2. Information needs to be disseminated as soon as possible. (not for political effect)
            3. Information needs to be presented in a balanced and testable fashion.

            1. Hager’s book, was release 6 months after the information came into his possession.
            2. He did not allow a right of reply and some of the “revelations” were rather quickly disproven. What was relatively accurate was already in the public domain.
            3. By his own admission he used the information to target “right wing” political players.

            Hager is a activist, not a journalist. Public interest protection shouldn’t apply to him.

            Reply
            • PDB

               /  June 19, 2018

              The proof is in the pudding – the public voted heavily in favour of National who the book targeted hence they themselves decided the book held nothing of ‘public interest’. The complete opposite to what Hager thought (hoped) would occur.

        • duperez

           /  June 19, 2018

          Showing up shortcomings in the pension payment process to Ministers, is in the public interest, whatever the extent of the shortcomings. The names of the individuals involved are irrelevant. In the months of around the Peters’ information being shared, how many other cases demonstrating shortcomings were shared with Ministers where individuals were identified? Which Ministers? More than just the Minister directly in charge?

          Reply
    • Got two groups of people excited.

      The left wing
      Journalists.

      Actually that’s one group really

      Reply
  5. Blazer

     /  June 19, 2018

    ‘No direct link to Key himself – no ‘smoking gun’.- why would Key have given him his contact details and admit to being in regular contact with Slater then…cui bono?
    After the revelations Jason Ede 2 doors down from Key and black ops supremo…went ‘bush’.Nothing to hide,nothing to fear…indeed.

    Reply
    • PDB

       /  June 19, 2018

      In fact Key denied being in ‘regular contact’ with Slater aside from the odd text exchange. On TV (before the book) Slater proudly showed he had Key’s phone number on his phone which means nothing in terms of how regular the two contacted each other or any ‘smoking gun’ of wrongdoing. No doubt with Slater’s habit of over egging himself this was just another fake display of how politically ‘important’ he was.

      Reply
      • Blazer

         /  June 19, 2018

        I’m sure Honky Tonks will have someone to help you argue just what …’regular’ means.Bill English thought 400 texts was nothing…too unusual.Bol.

        Reply
    • Trevors_elbow

       /  June 19, 2018

      Your an idiot. Skaters dad was a bigwig in National for years… Key knew through that avenue…. but for Bol freedom of association means nothing except for Unions and Lefties…

      Reply
      • Blazer

         /  June 19, 2018

        how many times do you have to be…put to..bed!Bol.

        Reply
        • Trevors_elbow

           /  June 19, 2018

          How many more lies and misdirection do you want to say?

          Take your anti KDS pills and have a lie down

          Reply
  6. Loki

     /  June 19, 2018

    Did anybody else watch Emperor Winston praise Hager during his press conference yesterday?
    That’s a bit awkward!

    Reply
  7. Alan Wilkinson

     /  June 19, 2018

    I still haven’t figured out how it is in the public interest to publish private emails obtained illegally but not to find and prosecute the hacker who stole them. Please enlighten me (and Andrew Geddis).

    Reply
    • Blazer

       /  June 19, 2018

      Paula Bennett wasn’t prosecuted for her privacy breaches…oh thats right,it only concerned…beneficiaries.

      Reply
      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  June 19, 2018

        It only concerned a beneficiary who was making a public attack using misleading information. Hoist by her own petard.

        Reply
  8. duperez

     /  June 19, 2018

    Dr Chris Eichbaum, Reader in Government in the School of Government at Victoria University of Wellington:

    “In the case of the Peters information, the publication of the material – and this need not have been the motivation of those who published it – advanced partisan interests. Sure, whether Peter Hughes and Brendan Boyle were justified in passing information to Ministers is a legitimate question. But the more significant and relevant question for me is whether the person who leaked the information (the ‘informant’) satisfied the Ponting Principle in doing so. I suspect not.”

    This after clear implication that Ministers ;leaked the information about Peters.

    https://www.newsroom.co.nz/2018/06/18/125256/whats-in-the-public-interest-some-nagging-questions

    Reply
    • Trevors_elbow

       /  June 19, 2018

      Sorry? Ministers leaked? Says who? You?

      Stop spreading unproven muck… it’s every bit as likely a Green or Labour related party leaked the information to smear National and ensure they couldn’t form a government after the 2017 election…

      The link you provided has no evidence if any source for the leak…

      Reply
      • duperez

         /  June 19, 2018

        From the link:
        “He (Matthew Hooton) asserts that once the information was provided to Ministers it was guaranteed to leak (which would mean that the relevant Ministers are not telling all they know).”

        I took it that the author of the link inferred from Hooton that Ministers leaked the information about Peters. You might draw from it that in fact once others knew Ministers had been told, they leaked it.

        Me spreading unproven muck? No, but very testy reaction to an interesting perspective from Dr Chris Eichbaum on public interest which I’d commented on earlier.

        At the moment there are probably more indications of Eichbaum’s seeming inference being reasonable than there is to say it’s “likely a Green or Labour related party leaked the information to smear National.” Some might see that as spreading unproven muck and having no evidence.

        Reply
        • Gerrit

           /  June 19, 2018

          My understanding is that Winston Peters preempted the revelations by outing himself once he know the ministers (and their office staff) were in receipt of his over payments.leaks.

          He had been advised of the over payment some months before.

          There was no proof of a “leak” from the ministers involved.

          Worth a read

          https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11941646

          ” He’d been told about them by the welfare boffins a couple of months earlier and obviously mortified, he paid the money back even though they were at fault it seems.

          But the information was passed on to the welfare minister Anne Tolley and to Bennett who said, even though she knew it was hot gossip, she adopted a Sergeant Schultz approach, knowing nothing and telling no-one.”

          Reply
    • alloytoo

       /  June 19, 2018

      In instances where you have leaks of this nature to consider who had the most to gain from the leak.

      1. There was absolutely no benefit to National for leaking the information, he had already paid it back and antagonising a potential coalition partner is not good politics.

      2.Peters need a headline and the Greens were grabbing them all with Metria’s “Confession”

      The only person who gained anything (and continues to milk it ) was Peters.

      Reply
      • duperez

         /  June 19, 2018

        Will you next claim that the action of whoever, maybe Peters’ himself, cost National the Government benches? Not cost in terms of Peters’ decision after the election, but cost in the number of votes it lost for them?
        If that’s the case, and we want to live in surmiseland, how many votes do you reckon were affected on either side with the information out? Net gain, net loss, no affect?

        Reply
  9. Kevin

     /  June 19, 2018

    Anyone in politics is fair game and that includes Hager.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s