The new look Whale Oil – as it should be

A new look to whaleoil.co.nz

A well deserved response. It’s worth reading all of Chapter 27, but here’s the final say:


Since the publication of Whale Oil, the book, there’s no question Matt’s life has changed. He is now generally perceived for who he is, and no longer for what Slater’s blog said he was, and he reaps the benefits of that every day, every time he gets a new client, every time someone reads the book and sends him a friendly message. And yet the exercise of holding Slater to account was, he says, a kamikaze effort. Winning against Slater in the High Court, finding justice for himself, was a massive victory but whether he can claw his way back to financial stability and to a sense of peacefulness for his family remains an open question.

I know he’s doing it tough. I probably know it better than anyone outside his family, after my four years of almost daily contact with this indefatiguable man; yet I can’t believe he won’t do what he always does: tough it out, battle through, do something audacious that will — somehow — save the day.

And so we arrive back at this masterstroke – this takeover of the whaleoil blogsite. What’s in it for Matt? Why would he bother? The toxic stuff once written up here about him is long gone, thanks to Matt’s efforts through the courts. The whaleoil site itself is worth nothing now, but it’s also worth everything.

All those other people, the ones who like Matt were slandered, bullied and humiliated on that blog over all those years — the horrible stories about them are still out there, recurrent reminders of vicious attacks. People like the woman I interviewed who was still too shaky to tell me what had happened but who simply googled herself and silently showed me the result on her phone; people like Scott Poynting, who knows that anyone googling him runs immediately into the whaleoil accusations against him. There are many, many such people.

All of that will — after Matt’s won the required court orders — be gone. Because the internet never goes away they will never be completely destroyed, but they will be gone from casual searches.

All the nasty stories, the lies and the taunts, will be pulled down.

This site — whaleoil.co.nz — now serves as a perpetual memorial to the injustices inflicted on all those people, and to Matt’s long battle to curtail falsity, bullying and manipulation.

That is a very fine ending.

Click here to get a copy of Whale Oil by margie thomson

Gavin Ellis on Whale Oil book: “a harrowing slaga” but enduring long form journalism

RNZ media commentator Gavin Ellis applauded what Margie Thomson’s book Whale Oil

Margie Thomson’s investigation into the Whale Oil blog suggests that books may be the most enduring type of long-form journalism.

Transcript (from 6:22)

Great cover on that book, it’s not a whale so much as a sort of a monster of the deep coming up from the bottom of the book.

I think it was Margie who said that a whale was inappropriate, too nice to depict Slater and the dirt he is infamous for.

I think the monster comes from Matt Blomfield’s famous wrestler grandfather Lofty, who created an octopus hold.

Whale Oil by Margie Thomson really is a harrowing tale about a man, a businessman called Matt Blomfield and his decade long fight to clear his name after it was besmirched in a pretty serial fashion by Cameron Slater on the Whale Oil blog.

The book itself, I thought Finlay Macdonald summed it up perfectly, let me just read you one sentence of what he said. he said:

“Many readers will need a shower after a session with this book, and and Margie Thomson is to be applauded for her willingness to go where only trolls and the spiritually misshapen could feel at home.”

And that’s really, this is a, when I say it’s an awful book, it’s a very very good book. What it said is really quite awful about the ability of social media to basically destroy the reputation of an innocent person, and she sets about disproving virtually everything that appeared on the Whale Oil blog.

Of course Matt Blomfield has won defamation cases against Cameron Slater over it, but it’s a harrowing slaga, saga, but the thing that impressed me most I think is that it shows, with books like this it shows that this sort of excellent very long form journalism, you know the book chronicles a saga over ten years.

It may be that the most enduring form of journalism that we have.

The work that we do as daily journalists is ephemeral, you know it’s here one day and gone the next. I used to hate people saying that today’s newspaper is tomorrow’s fish wrapper, but there’s an element of truth in that.

This sort of deep investigation, and of course she’s not alone, we have a number of other journalists who’ve written books about different subjects, Rebecca McPhee, absolutely, and I think that they do us a real service by having an enduring form of journalism.

Now of course books are not regarded as a news activity, which is a problem under the Privacy Act, which makes them vulnerable, more vulnerable than a daily journalist would be.

Whale Oil was carefully vetted by lawyer Stephen Price to avoid possible legal actions.

Even with proposed changes to the Privacy Act I don’t think that this form of journalism enjoys the same protection as news activities do.

However books have an advantage of time to check out their accuracy and reduce risks.

But nonetheless I really commend not only this book but the whole process of committing to books.

This sort of long form investigative journalism, it really is great reading but also the lessons in them remain for the future, and that’s something in daily journalism we’re in danger of losing, particularly with the avalanche of material that we have bombarding us every day that is so ephemeral and this sort of anchors it with a degree of permanence. let’s hope so anyway.

It’s true that newspapers are published and sold one day, and disappear off the newsagents’ shelves by the end of the day. Books remain for sale on bookshelves for weeks.

But publishing news online means that it does endure far more than it used to. It can be just a Google search away. Enduring news – and blog posts – provide a lot of readily available research material for books like Whale Oil.

The difference with well researched and written books like Whale Oil though is that they collate and filter and edit a vast amount of material – and there is a vast amount of material in the Matt Blomfield story.

One of the successes of Whale Oil is that Margie took a huge amount of information and made it interesting and readable, while putting on record an awful campaign of attack that took place over many years.

It was, as Ellis says, a harrowing Slater saga, or saga.

Newsroom review: Whale Oil

Finlay Macdonald has a very good review of the Maggie Thomson written book on Matt Blomfield book, Whale Oil – Where only trolls and the spiritually misshapen go

Many readers will feel like a shower after a session with this book, and Thomson is to be applauded for her willingness to go where only trolls and the spiritually misshapen could feel at home. As she explains early on, her book was born from a footnote to Nicky Hager’s 2014 bestseller Dirty Politics, arguably the book that marked the beginning of the end for Slater by laying bare his methods and the scabrous demi-monde he inhabited.

Calling their vendetta “Operation Bumslide” (a lexicon of vulgar and puerile Slaterisms would make a short book in its own right), these detractors harnessed the then-popular Whale Oil machine to depict Blomfield as a fraudster, a thief, a liar, a pornographer and a lunatic. Strange and sinister things happened along the way, including a violent home invasion and assault, which was at the very least worthy of far greater scrutiny in the context of Blomfield’s other travails than the police gave it.

Being from the same publisher and with an admiring foreword by Hager, you could be forgiven for thinking Whale Oil might represent one dip too many into the same dank well of character assassination, paid hit jobs and vicious mockery of undeserving victims. It’s not. Rather, Thomson has constructed an elegant psychological study of both main protagonists, equally obsessional in their own ways, locked in a kind of death-embrace from which only one can emerge the winner, but which will leave neither unscathed.

The term Kafkaesque is over-used and mis-used, but Blomfield’s predicament surely meets the criteria. Defamed, denigrated and physically attacked, he was nevertheless incapable of defending himself through any normal channel. The police, the courts, the media, the bureaucracy all live down to Kafka’s vision of a system designed to serve only itself and its own absurd purpose. The more Blomfield struggles to extricate himself from this web of perfidy and stupidity, the more he appears fixated and vexatious to indifferent observers. The more he professes his sanity, the more insane he appears.

It really is a wonder that Blomfield didn’t go completely raving mad – or just give up, as so many of Slater’s targets did.

I think that many of Slater’s targets will be grateful that Blomfield had the determination and tenacity to see this through, as far as it has come at least – a successful defamation after over six years of delays and attempts at avoidance by Slater, and of course the book detailing it all.

But this shouldn’t be the end of it. It would be worth following through with more holding to account. There are serious unanswered questions about inaction by the police on a number of occasions, including doing nothing about attack death treats that came very close to a murder being committed.

And accomplices of Slater should be nervous about being held to account for their actions too.

When truth finally does arrive, albeit on crutches and with a bandaged head, it’s almost an anticlimax. Having gamed the courts for years, delaying and prevaricating (for much of the time continuing to gleefully defame and otherwise harass Blomfield), Slater has nothing to offer; no proof whatsoever that anything he posted was true, fair or reasonable. So he loses. But the outcome is less than our aforementioned primitive instincts for story might demand. Slater is a bankrupted wretch, those who conspired with him are untouched by the verdict.

Some are untouched, like Warren Powell, who (the book claims) probably paid Slater at least in part for the protracted attacks on Blomfield, and also Amanda Easterbrook, who has kept a low profile.

Others have been affected to an extent. Dermot Nottingham is now bankrupt as a result of court costs incurred after multiple unsuccessful private prosecutions, some related to the Blomfield saga. He is also currently serving a home detention sentence which includes a ban on him using the internet, but remarkably Blomfield wasn’t included in the prosecution of him on five charges of criminal harassment.

Marc Spring has been at least as involved in abuse, false claims, defamation and harassment as Slater and so far has avoided court action against him – more due to police inaction than anything. He continues to attack Blomfield, although his major online options are now limited. He conducted sustained attacks against Blomfield in 2015-2016 when Blomfield had a restraining order against him, but the police decided not to take action.

But Spring has been affected. His credibility, his employment, his business affairs and his family have all been victims of his obsession with trying to destroy others, this has become more a self destruction.

What animates the likes of Slater and the haters he attracts remains a mystery, other than that they lack normal empathy and a sense of decency.

This whole affair is bad enough on it’s own, but there are very important wider issues.

That they are enabled by the failings in our systems and our souls is more the point, and this necessary but unpleasant book should be required reading for anyone interested in reforming the media-legal nexus for the realities of the attention economy. That will be too late for Matt Blomfield, but at least he’s finally out of the shit, while those he wrestled are still in it.

Blomfield’s long fight has finally managed to prove his attackers were malicious and almost totally wrong, and he himself has won back some of what was taken from him. The book has resulted in almost universal sympathy, admiration and respect – as far as I have seen the only exception being a small number of Slater apologists at Kiwiblog (I was accused of hate speech there yesterday for being critical of Slater and his accomplices).

Things should get better now for Blomfield. He will never get back everything that was taken from him, he and his family will bear the scars of vicious attacks online and physically,

The same can’t be said for the trolls and the spiritually misshapen, who still claim to be victims (as bullies do when someone stands up to them), have shown no remorse, and show no sign of recovering from their self inflicted miserable situations.

How to buy ‘Whale Oil’ (the book)

The book ‘Whale Oil’ was launched on Tuesday night, and got significant news coverage yesterday. I think this is an important book, and I think that it is worth reading.

If you want to borrow the book from a library there could be a long wait – someone reported yesterday at The Standard: “I have just ordered a copy from Auckland Library.  21 of 21 holds on one copy.”

Whitcoulls have copies available in most stores – you can check out where on their website, and also order online.

It can also be ordered directly from the publisher potton & burton: (this is an easy and fast process, I ordered other books from them recently):

WHALE OIL

ONE MAN’S FIGHT TO SAVE HIS REPUTATION, THEN HIS LIFE
Margie Thomson
Availability: In Stock

In May 2012 Auckland businessman Matt Blomfield found himself the target of a vicious online attack, the work of Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater. The attack came out of the blue, destroying Blomfield’s reputation and career, stealing his identity, turning him into a social outcast. Two years after the online attack began an armed gunman came to Blomfield’s house and tried to kill him. He only survived because the intruder’s shotgun misfired.

But Matt Blomfield decided to fight back. He spent seven years and many hundreds of thousands of dollars taking a defamation case against Slater, which he ultimately won, establishing that Slater’s vendetta was based entirely on lies.

This book is a remarkable piece of investigative writing, a story of courage and tenacity, which reminds us how important it is to stand up to bullies, and to be reassured that in the end they do not always win.

There is an interesting story around the book cover – Matt’s grandfather was famous New Zealand wrestler Lofty Blomfield:

He is credited for inventing “The Octopus Clamp”, an early version of the Scorpion Deathlock,

Disclosure: I assisted with a little bit of information for the book, but I have no financial interest in the book nor in sales of the book.

I’m promoting it here because I think it is an important book that has wider implications than the Matt Blomfield saga – it shows how easy and bad destructive blogging and online activity can be, and how poorly our laws and our policing practices allow us too deal with it.

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: https://www.whitcoulls.co.nz/product/whale-oil-6462218

But bookstores should have copies.

So what is the ‘Whale Oil’ book about?

A book called ‘Whale Oil’ by author Margie Thomson was launched by Nicky Hager last night in Auckland to a large receptive crowd. I now have a copy of the book, and have been able to have a quick look through it.

The book has been very well researched and well written. It is very readable, and should be of interest to a much wider audience than people involved in blogging.

Disclosure: I was interviewed by Margie, and feature in a very minor way in the book, due to the fact that I was dragged into a campaign of harassment and was myself harassed when I put a stop to attacks here on Your NZ.

Obviously the book is about the Whale Oil blog and about Cameron Slater aka ‘Whale Oil’ the blogger (or sort of ex blogger). But it is about much more than that.

Primarily the book is about Matt Blomfield and his partner Rebecca and daughters Rosalie and Bella, and the extreme harassment they have been subjected to for about a decade. The worst of this was a home invasion attack on Blomfield in which a shotgun was used and Matt was seriously assaulted in front of his family, who were also targeted, But there was much more attacking and harassment, ranging from extensive attacks on Matt’s business operations, threats to family, and even an attempt by someone called Cam Slater trying to friend a 10 year old daughter on Snapchat.

The handling of the assault and a number of other complaints made to the police, in particular the lack of police action, feature prominently through the book. These issues are still under scrutiny.

The six year defamation case that Matt pursued against Slater also features. This shows that claims by Slater and associates on Whale Oil that lead to the defamation, throughout the proceedings, were largely a big pile of whale shit. Finally last October a judge ruled that after years of deliberate delays and stalling and incompetence, Slater had no credible defence.

Damages may take another year to be determined, but as Slater declared himself bankrupt it could be a hollow victory for Matt, unless some of the company and asset ownerships that have been ‘rearranged are unraveled.

Also under scrutiny in the book is ‘Operation Bumslide’, a campaign of harassment by Slater and ex business associates of Matt’s – Warren Powell, Marc Spring and Amanda Easterbrook, plus the close association with the notorious Dermot Nottingham.

Matt’s challenging but determined efforts to shut down Lauda Finem and their notorious website are also covered. However there is still a lot of material still online, despite a jury and judge finding that Nottingham was largely responsible. Spring and Slater were also implicated in using Lauda Finem to harass and attack people, including myself (and many others).

Things have caught up on Slater and Nottingham, both now bankrupt and both suffering health problems – although it is apparent that Whale Oil overstated the effects of the stroke suffered by Slater last October, and Slater tried to avoid and delay court proceedings claiming he was incapacitated, while showing he was far more capable than he was claiming.

But what about the others? It is claimed that Powell paid Slater, which has implications of the campaign against Matt being a paid hit job. But Powell moved overseas.

Easterbrook is put under scrutiny for her involvement. She seems to have avoided consequences so far, but will be uneasy about what is written about her.

And Spring, in my opinion, still looks like a loose cannon, unrepentant and intent on continuing his harassing activities. The book claims that evidence shows that both Spring and Slater discussed the attack on Matt before it happened as well as immediately afterwards. Lack of police action in that respect looks odd, but Spring seems to have been dealt with leniently by police over the years of harassment. Perhaps an attempt at justice will finally be seen to be done.


The book also looks at the wider and very topical issue of bullying and online harassment, and the failure of the police and court system to adequately protect people.

Nottingham has been convicted of five counts of criminal harassment, in which he harassed people over periods of several years. The sentencing judge said that the five charges were the worst of many found on the Lauda Finem website. I disagree with the judge on this.

Matt Blomfield and Rebecca and Rosalie and Bella have, I believe, been subjected to far worse, over a longer period of time, than any of the victims for which Nottingham alone has been convicted. I am amazed and concerned that the police have not addressed this adequately, or addressed those working with Nottingham, in particular Slater and Spring.

Perhaps the book will prompt some more holding to account for the worst case of harassment by a big margin.

These are nasty people who seem to enjoy trying to destroy people’s lives (they have called it fucking over’ – and possibly in one case, take lives. They seem unremorseful, unrepentant, and Spring at least seems intent on continuing with this behaviour, while claiming to be a victim (something Slater and Nottingham have also done). This is typical of bullies.

Matt Blomfield has done something huge for the many victims of abuse from this group of people, he has stood up to them, he has had significant successes, and through this book has highlighted a number of things that should be of concern to the public.

‘Whale Oil’ is about far more than a blog. It is about a pod of pricks.

This has been online bullying at it’s worst. At least it has now been confronted and serious questions have been asked. However more answers are needed, and as a society we need to be looking at how we can prevent this sort of thing from happening, at least to this extent.


Margie has done a great job with this book. Please read it. Copies have been distributed to book shops around the country.

Those of you who have followed things here over the past few years will recognise a lot of what is detailed in the book, but there will be things that will (or should) shock you.

It should also have wider appeal. It details real dangers of harassment online, and how the tentacles of that can spread into the real world, doing real harm.

The book can be ordered online, eg: https://www.whitcoulls.co.nz/product/whale-oil-6462218

But bookstores should have copies.