John Key’s standup on the day after the release of Nicky Hager’s Dirty Politics book, can be seen online in the TV3 video of Thursday 14 August. The transcript below is Part Two of the transcript of the questions and answers in the video.
Part Two has John Key claiming that he and the National Party don’t do dirty politics, that the left is the one doing such smear campaigns, and that he and National don’t do anything that other parties aren’t doing.
It’s noticeable Key is touchy about the role of Jason Ede, because his voice audibly squeaks, as he answers questions about Ede. The squeaks indicate his body is physically experiencing stress.
Key repeats his claim that Hager is a conspiracy theorist, meaning Hager’s seeing a conspiracy where one doesn’t exist. At the same time, Key is saying Hager is part of a left wing conspiracy, aimed at smearing Key and National. Key implies Hager is part of a series of attacks that includes the video of an effigy of Key being burnt.
Key repeatedly tries to smear Hager, by attacking his credibility. Hager has an international reputation as a thorough and trustworthy researcher.
Key claims Hager’s book, Seeds of Distrust was as bad as Dirty Politics in being not backed up by facts. My recollection is, that on the night Dirty Politics was released or in the build up to the release, Key was shown on TV saying that Seeds of Distrust was the only good/accurate book Hager had written. Key also claims there’s a lot of things in the book that are not true. Yet, as time goes on, many things are begin shown to be true.
Key also implies that The Standard, and left wing blogs in general, operate the same way as the Whale Oil blog. He talks of issues being raised on (left and right wing) blog sites that are picked up by the mainstream media.
Prior to the release of Dirty Politics, it was my understanding, that stories aimed at smearing politicians and parties (more often left wing ones than right wing ones) were seeded by first being broken on the Whale Oil (possibly also on Kiwiblog on occasions), then were picked up by the mainstream media. I do not know of any occasions when that was done on The Standard.
It has only been in fairly recent times that The Standard even got a mention in the MSM. In contrast, Whale Oil and Kiwiblog have a long record of being referred to in the MSM, and treated as a credible source.
Key claims the effigy burning video was first posted on a blog, and the MSM picked up on it after that. Where did the video first get posted? How did the MSM pick up on it? One report about Key’s response to the video here.
Some of the inaccuracies in John Key’s spin lines, are indicated in Bunji’s roundup today. Rob Salmond, on his Polity blog, also critiques some of Key’s claims, on a post re-posted on the Standard today.
TRANSCRIPT PART TWO: 4.57 minutes – 9.57 minutes
of TV3’s video of John Key talks Nicky Hager’s Dirty Politics‘
INTERVIEWER: Can I just give you a quote from the book here? – apparently from Jason Ede, saying, “They’re chasing us by matching IP neighbourhoods.” Jason Ede says, “In my case I wish to offer a hearty sigh of relief and celebrate dynamic IP addresses.”
KEY: Well. [sucks in breath] Er. [Pause. shrugs. Shakes head slightly] That’s again.
INTERVIEWER: Are you saying that’s false?
KEY: [voice goes slightly up a pitch] No. Look I don’t have any information on that. But what I know, is ah, A: I know for a simple fact that all of that stuff that was run around Labour Party was done by Cameron Slater and it wasn’t from the National Party. If Nati, if Jason Ede went and had a look out of curiosity, fair enough [shrugs] but it’s got nothing to do with the National Party.
INTERVIEWER: That’s a pretty damning allegation, though.
KEY: It’s not true.
INTERVIEWER: Shouldn’t you go and have a look at it though?
KEY: Well there’s nothing for me to go and look at. I’ve asked my office and that’s the assurance I’ve been given.
INTERVIEWER: So your inquiry is to call Cameron Slater?
KEY: [Very slight squeak in voice] Well I’ve asked my office and that’s the assurance I’ve been given. And that’ll be correct. And Mr Slater’s got nothing to hide.
INTERVIEWER: You’d be happy for police and the
KEY: Totally. I mean, look. [shakes head] We have absolutely no issues. And the dirty politics from all this is from the left. And it’s from
INTERVIEWER: So you’ve no involvement at all, Prime Minister?
KEY: [voice squeaks very slightly] No I’ve no involvement in all this. As I say, look the dirty politics is from the left.
INTERVIEWER: When did
KEY: This is the situation where they’ve gone out there and tried to release a book, with no time for people to critique it. They’re the people who have gone out there, basically with all sorts of videos. They’re the people who have gone out there in the course of time, with a whole lot of other things from parodies out. Why are they doing that? Because they don’t want to debate the issues that actually matter. They don’t want to talk about health funding and the economy, and law and order and education. All of this is out there as a conspiracy theory from the left to try and damage my credibility, credibility of the National Party, and to try and hurt our chances in the election. And New Zealanders will see through that.
INTERVIEWER: But with this all as a conspiracy theory, that means that Nicky Hager has made this up, lied. These quotes are false.
KEY: No. What Nicky Hager’s done is join a whole lot of dots that can’t be connected. And that’s very consistent with what Nicky Hager does. If you go and look at his previous other books, he makes wild allegations. Go and ask Helen Clark, whether the allegations he made in the Corngate “Seeds of Mistrust” were right? And the answer is, No.
INTERVIEWER: I’ve read the book over night, and even if 5-10% of it is true, that’s damning.
KEY: [Voice squeaks] No it’s not. We live in the modern world. We never, we never argued some of our people don’t talk to bloggers. We talk to TV3 News. We do that all the time. We live in the modern world where you ask me questions that come off blog sites. But, in the end, these blog sites run their own deal. They do their own stuff, just like The Standard does on the left of politics.
INTERVIEWER: But your office don’t feed us Official Information Act requests: the exact words.
KEY: We haven’t done that either.
INTERVIEWER: Are you satisfied that Judith Collins didn’t leak Bronwyn Pullar’s name.
KEY: Well that’s the assurance that she’s given me and I accept her at her word.
INTERVIEWER: Do you feel you need to go back and check that now given what’s in the book?
KEY: [slight squeak in voice] Nah I don’t think so.
INTERVIEWER: I mean there are specific quotes here, and email exchanges, where days before her name was leaked, Whale Oil is talking about Bronwyn Pullar,
KEY: There’s all
INTERVIEWER: saying that he got it from Judith Collins, saying Judith
KEY: There’ always lots of gossip and innuenda and all those sorts of things. And I suspect if we went through all of the emails that you send, and all the things that happen. We live in a world that’s pretty fluid in terms of information. But if that’s what the Minister said, and that’s what she has said, I accept her at her word.
INTERVIEWER: Shouldn’t you go and have a look at it, though?
KEY: I don’t need to. This is Nicky Hager, who’s a left wing conspiracy theorist, who releases a book an hour before the news so no-one can critique it. This is a guy with a proven track record to make up lots of theories and get them wrong. And this is a guy, that’s done something on the Wednesday, which on Monday and Tuesday, and prior to that, there’s been a series of things from the left. They’ve been out there to try and throw and damage, throw things and damage my credibility because the left don’t want to discuss the issues that matter. [Voice squeaks up slightly] And I think most New Zealanders are going to say, “That’s what the game is here.” They can’t beat National on policy and on economic performance, so it’s throw some muck and see if it works.
INTERVIEWER: But, Mr Prime Minster, do you stand by Jason Ede?
KEY: [Slight hint of a squeak in his voice] Yeah. Jason Ede works for the National Party now. I mean, again and quite a number of facts in the book that he’s got wrong. Jason Ede hasn’t been a press secretary for six years. He’s not two doors down from my office.
INTERVIEWER: [several people ask questions at the same time] You stand by his actions?
KEY: [Voice noticeably squeaks at a higher pitch than usual] Yeah.
INTERVIEWER: How many doors down is he?
KEY: Seven, I think. But he’s on the ninth floor.
KEY: Well he was. He’s not now. He works for the National Party.
INTERVIEWER: [several speaking at once] Wasn’t he tax payer funded at some point.
KEY: [Voice squeaks] Some point he would have been.
INTERVIEWER: Is it appropriate for a tax payer funded public servant to be dirt digging?
KEY: Well I don’t believe he is. He deals with all sorts of issues and all sorts of of um claims that are made. And you guys come to us all the time with stories that are on blog sites. That’s the nature of the beast. I mean, that particular effigy, I haven, burning effigy, I haven’t actually seen it. But it was on a blog site. So it’s quite a part of the modern media. I can’t divorce myself from that. So, obviously, just as in the same way that you read the blogs, and other New Zealanders read it, it’s part of the modern media. But the the National Party is is doing everything, in my opinion, above board. It’s totally fine. Nothing different to what any other political party would do. Mr Hager’s making some claims. He can’t back them up. And they’re not factually correct.
INTERVIEWER: Not using. Not using blog sites as attack people?
KEY: No. Nothing more than what anyone else would do.
ENDS: 9.57 minutes