Media coverage of ‘Whale Oil’ the book

The Spinoff: The 10 most shocking moments in the blistering new book ‘Whale Oil’

The book, we can now reveal, is by Margie Thomson, and its title is spare and clear: Whale Oil. It tells the story of businessman Matt Blomfield’s long-running struggle against blogger Cameron Slater, who, of course, was at the centre of Nicky Hager’s Dirty Politics. The saga, told principally from the perspective of Matt Blomfield, covers the extensive legal battle between Blomfield and Slater, as well as examining the way our justice system works, and the way the media has shifted (and shifted again) to allow and then disavow someone like Slater. Blomfield believes that Slater’s attacks led to an attempt on his life at his home in the North Shore of Auckland.

It’s a page-turner – thoughtful and with remarkable attention to detail.

RNZ: New book looks at battle between Slater and Blomfield

Whale Oil is a remarkable piece of investigative writing by Margie Thomson, who has painstakingly researched and documented this unbelievable story.

“It is a chilling account of how inadequate our protection is in the face of a digital attack, and a depressing exposé of police indifference to a citizen’s dire predicament,” the book’s promotional material said.

The book’s foreword is written by Nicky Hager, who said it’s a story of right and wrong, standing up to bullies, and a sobering story of how few protections there are against online attacks.

NZ Herald – Revealed: Book exposes how Whaleoil blogger’s campaign spilled from internet into the real world and took a heavy toll

A new book has revealed how an extraordinary online campaign of harassment and humiliation spilled into the real world and alleges the long-running plan may have been linked to a brutal home invasion.

A conspiracy under the name “Operation Bumslide” saw the former business partner Warren Powell supply Slater and others with a decade of Blomfield’s personal and financial records which were then used in an attempt to destroy his reputation.

The blog posts were then backed up by complaints from “Operation Bumslide” members to a host of government enforcement agencies, leading to Blomfield being described as “one of New Zealand’s most investigated people”.

Eventually Blomfield was cleared of any wrongdoing and Slater lost a High Court defamation case and Human Rights Tribunal case in which one of his articles about Blomfield was described as nothing more than “character assassination”.

The Whaleoil book, by journalist Margie Thomson, is presented as a detailed, behind-the-scenes investigation into years of alleged bullying and threats against Blomfield, including claims that after he launched his seven-year defamation action his computer was hacked and Slater approached one of his daughters over social media.

Along with the personal and financial cost, the book speculates a 2014 attack at their Greenhithe home might be linked to “Operation Bumslide” and the Whaleoil blog posts.

According to the book, Blomfield received odd and frightening text messages forecasting physical harm ahead of a home invasion by gang associate Ned Paraha, who was sent to prison for the armed assault.

The book is highly critical of police handling of complaints, which was conceded by a senior officer who carried out an internal investigation in the way they were handled.

It includes an appendix from barrister and media law specialist Steven Price in which he proposes the creation of a criminal offence for intentional harm caused by posting of online content.

Stuff: New book lifts lid on Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater’s dirty tactics

It took nearly eight years, hundreds of thousands of dollars, and a few mental and physical scars, but Matthew Blomfield believes he may have finally harpooned the big one with the release of Whale Oil.

The book, written by Margie Thomson, tells the story of Blomfield’s lengthy defamation battle with and ultimate victory over Whale Oil blogger Slater and was released amid secrecy at a launch on Tuesday night.

It had gained notoriety even before its release, as Blomfield’s lawyer Felix Geiringer claimed a family was detained by NZ Customs while entering the country and questioned about the name of the book.

Geiringer said the family, who were carrying a copy of the manuscript, had been stopped at an undisclosed airport, and questioned for several hours, and Customs officers threatened ‘dire consequences’ if they didn’t inform the officers what the book was called.

Note in the NZH report “complaints from “Operation Bumslide” members to a host of government enforcement agencies” – may be just coincidental.

The book details the devastating effect that Slater’s smear campaign had on Blomfield’s life, and how he and his family had to go into hiding after an intruder in a Spiderman mask showed up at his Auckland home and tried to shoot at him while his wife and two young children were present.

The book can be ordered online, eg:

But bookstores should have copies.

Leave a comment


  1. Tipene

     /  29th May 2019

    And this template has been played out in 100’s of lives concerning victims of Slater’s attack blog.

    I suspect that this saga will become a form of serialized chapter books – word is that another book is being written about another case involving Slater et al.

    To initiate risk against another person, to the point of a gang associate showing up at that persons house with a gun and smacking them over, and for the person doing this not to feel any remorse,and to actually inform the gang associate nutcase of the victims address?

    Slater is a textbook sociopath, traits which can include:

    Glibness and Superficial Charm.
    Manipulative and Conning. They never recognize the rights of others and see their self-serving behaviors as permissible
    Grandiose Sense of Self
    Pathological Lying
    Lack of Remorse, Shame or Guilt
    Shallow Emotions
    Incapacity for Love
    Need for Stimulation

    • Kitty Catkin

       /  29th May 2019

      A late friend was snared by one. I believe that it shortened his life.

      • Kitty Catkin

         /  29th May 2019

        Even small things should be warning signals; calling someone by a diminutive version of their name and ignoring repeated requests not to do so is one. This may be trivial, but renaming someone against their will is quite aggressive and intrusive.

  2. Alan Wilkinson

     /  29th May 2019

    I enjoyed Pete Belt’s remark as he left the sinking whaler that he stopped caring when he stopped being paid. It’s always a delight to see two people who deserve each other being appropriately rewarded.

  3. Duker

     /  29th May 2019

    Its a page turner… the first and then the last page. havent we heard enough about this creature of the deep


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