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Polity: Dirty politics: My 2c

Written By: - Date published: 7:48 am, August 14th, 2014 - 104 comments
Categories: accountability, john key, national, phil goff, Politics, same old national, Spying - Tags: , , , , , , ,

polity_square_for_lynnReposted from Polity.

There are bits of Nicky Hager’s Dirty Politics that are, for political anoraks, at least, “who cares” material.

But there are bits that are not.

For me, the most shocking revelation in the book is about the use of clandestine SIS files as a weapon of partisan politics. To recap, John Key or his office discovered classified SIS files that were embarrassing to Phil Goff, got them declassified, then immediately told a right-wing blogger to seek those same newly-declassified files under the OIA, all as a means of smearing a political opponent.

That is awful.

That is not what spy agencies are for.

The use of spy agencies in partisan politics is absolutely, irredeemably disgusting.

That episode has much more to do with John Key and Jason Ede than it does Cameron Slater. Misuse of SIS documents was arranged by John Key’s personal office, and carried out by one of John Keys most senior staffers, Jason Ede. Cameron Slater is simply their tool.

So what should happen now?

Well, that episode alone needs to be investigated by the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security.

Another incident, where Ministers Amy Adams and Judith Collins appear to deliberately circumvent the OIA to benefit Slater should be investigated by the Ombudsman.

This book does not describe a series of incidents. It describes a system. And responsibility for that system lies with the person at the head of it. The person who employed Jason Ede, who stood by as his Ministers and officials breached their ethical and legal obligations to New Zealanders, and who also personally fed vile material into National’s attack blog machine. John Key.

Yes, there is some ideological name-calling in this book. And yes there is some stuff detailed rather breathlessly in here than is common practice around the democratic world.

But there is much more than that.

We cannot let anything obscure the disturbing facts that emerge about potential misuse of taxpayer funds, and the apparatus of New Zealand state security, along with unethical if not illegal actions by multiple government Ministers.

National’s glib response so far has been disrespectful to New Zealanders and to our democracy. Given the behaviour documented in Hager’s book, that it sadly no surprise. We deserve a much more serious response than this. And, more broadly, we deserve a much better politics than this.

104 comments on “Polity: Dirty politics: My 2c ”

  1. politkiwi 1

    So State surveillance is all about keeping us safe from “the terrorists”, is it?

    • Colonial Viper 1.1

      The trick being that anyone who is not part of their Tory elite, are now “terrorists.” For those of you in doubt of the long term trend, just take a look at how the police have totally militarised the small town of Ferguson in the USA, facing off unarmed blacks with submachine guns and armoured vehicles, after a copper shot and killed and unarmed black teenager.

      • Olwyn 1.1.1

        When things reach that stage, there is no longer so much as the obligatory nod to the public good. The dubious rationalisation that “us” getting our own way is somehow good for everyone becomes redundant. It is just the dominant defending their dominance.

      • Kiwi local 1.1.2

        Back to Goebbels, Hitler era 1933.
        they are using same principals now as then, and will become very ugly if Natz are returned which I doubt, people have seen the other side now of the smiling assassin.

    • politikiwi 1.2

      I do find it interesting that Hager is being described as an “investigative author” rather than an “investigative journalist” – this happened in Suzie Ferguson’s bit on Morning Report today.

      I wonder if that’s deliberate.

      I also haven’t heard any MSM talk about the revelations of SIS material – they’re focussing on the links to the bloggers, which is far less damaging.

      • David H 1.2.1

        Trying to remove the ‘Journalist” title so as to make it easier to make him reveal his contacts. A sort of reverse WhaleOil… Who so desperately craves the title of Journalist.

      • Kiwi local 1.2.2

        Been told not to mention SIS stuff by Joyce I bet.

  2. vto 2

    surely there is no way that John Key can be Prime Minister again…

    is there?

    • politkiwi 2.1

      This is why we’re seeing attacks on Hager’s credibility rather than the evidence he has presented.

      National’s only hope in this election is #TeamKey. If Key’s brand gets destroyed they have nothing – they can’t bring Joyce or English or Collins forward as the new face of the party: everyone knows they’re nasty pieces of work.

      This book – which I’m yet to have a chance to read – can destroy the brand as long as those asking the questions in the MSM don’t allow this to become a sideshow about Hager’s political beliefs. If they focus on the substance rather than the messenger and force Key to answer direct questions about it, he’s fucked.

    • David H 2.2

      Packing now and ordering 3 one-way tickets to Hawaii hopefully

    • Michael 2.3

      That depends on middle New Zealand – the small sliver of the electorate to which the big parties market themselves as they decide the outcome of elections. Labour’s silence on this matter is deafening.

    • Kiwi local 2.4

      With Watergate they called it “abuse of power” fitting for Key case.

  3. f dx 3

    Ever since Key arrived on the scene I described him as a streaky piece of shit, and so far I have not been proven wrong.
    If somehow he manages to secure/steal a third term he will need to start wearing a bullet proof vest and up his security detail because his teflon coating will not be enough to keep him safe.
    This scumbag that purports to be running OUR country needs to go before further irreversible damage is done to our once proud nation.
    The depth he has taken politics is his win at all costs shows the shallowness of the man and the company he keeps just reinforces it.

    • CnrJoe 3.1

      Steady on

    • Puckish Rogue 3.2

      Big talk tough guy 🙂 but when he wins his third term its because the people of NZ want him there

      • Princess 3.2.1

        And if National get back in a third term they will “work for the NZer’s who voted for them. Not the bullshit billboard “Working For NZ”.

      • Kiwi local 3.2.2

        PR You say that same line with rapidity have you got that in speed dial as a throw away line as you will have to after they throw him out next month we all have had enough slimy activity at the bee hive..

    • Kiwi local 3.3

      He detests us all as scum as Hitler did.

      This will become a police state with his paranoia

  4. D T Harrel 4

    Its not awful its damning if this can be proved(SIS info released to Cameron Slater in an election campaign and the link form John Keys office) that could bring down any democratic govt.

  5. fambo 5

    Even if this governnment does win the election, the next three years will see it dragged down pretty much like Nixon was dragged down even though he won the 1972 presidential election. This will make it harder for government in general to go about the business of governing.

  6. Tracey 6

    I haven’t read the book. I haven’t seen the evidence or the lack of evidence for things being attributed to it.

    IF the SIS incident happened then I cannot see how anyone partisan or bi-partisan can say with their hand on their heart that is not serious and worthy of transparent investigation, and quickly.

    People do seem on the whole to accept dirty tricks in politics and national is playing intot hat by smearing Hager and taking a “so what” nonchalant attitude.

    I saw Corrin Dann this morning condemning hager for releasing his book at 5pm and not giving them (him) enough time to read it. Well, imagine, for a moment, that TVNZ had carried a story of the opening, the assertions, a quick denial and smear by Nats and said “our political reporter is reading the book and will be investigating the veracity of claims made in it. We will have a report on his/her findings on Monday morning at 7am.

    God forbid!

    Vote Green

  7. dave 7

    John key has to resign he has to go he must resign
    There is criminal side to this resignation may not be the end of it.
    Run while you still can john

    • Puckish Rogue 7.1

      Why? Is there any proof other then some allegations made in a book hes done anything wrong?

      • framu 7.1.1

        have you forgotten that key has pretty much admitted it in the past? (drawer full of gossip)

        and notice how the response is to try and shoot the messenger – wihtout a single denial of said message?

      • Kiwi local 7.1.2

        PR read the 150 lies he told so far in six years, do you think he hasn’t lied over this stuff?
        They had lots of ninth floor activity destroying all traces of evidence so you could breath easier for your leader, Happy?

  8. Colonial Viper 8

    Time for Key to immediately stand down from the SIS portfolio pending the results of an urgent investigation. These events demand a Royal Commission.

    • Kiwiri 8.1

      New Zealand needs to get to the bottom of finding out whether he has compromised the roles of the Prime Minister, SIS Minister, and leader of the National party, and the extent to which he has abused power.

      The Royal Commission of Inquiry needs to be independently created, appointed and run.

      John Key’s potential and perceived conflict of interests must be avoided.

      We need to know the truth.

  9. Bill O'Rielly 9
    08:20am

    So Guyon Espiner spins the interview with Cunliffe not to be about National possible using SIS for its own purposes, but in terms of blogging. He tries and normalise it, the theme of the interview being:

    “This is hardly new is it” (aka, all the other parties do it… so it’s ok for National do it)

    Great, so anyone can contact the SIS and get some dirt on the opposition, thanks Guyon? The Greens, Mana, Labour et al, would not be allowed near anything the SIS etc have at present.

    Guyon then turns the interview around and says that Labour have bloggers and attempts to do a gotcha moment on Cunliffe. Guyon never mentioning how unusual this allegation is (i.e. use of the SIS to further the incumbents position in politics), but rather again to this is normal it.

    Guyon, then asks Cunliffe 3x (in ever increasing squeaky voice), are you going to the police?

    Is this your top interviewer RNZ? God help us.What was the interview about again, oh thats right,

    Now, if the use of SIS is true, do you think it is possible the Government could determine who is fit for employment for key positions within Government. Could they not use their information to hurt people, ensure they are never employed again? No questions were asked of the nature. How would it effect your ability to ‘question’ the government if you new they had dirt on you?

    9:00 to Noon Hooten + Williams Interview
    Normalising the argument, divert:

    Mathew Hootens response rather predictive, from what I can tell he is trying to make out this is normal, its not entirely new. Jason Ede is just a political appointee of John Key blaa, blaa, blaa…….

    He then intimates Nikki Hager is just an extreme left person, he is an extremist, he is not a journalist, he does not check facts etc (sits nicely with John Keys he just a screaming lefty)

    Then again reiterates ‘It is nothing new’

    Again normalising

    Hooten then makes out that the information taken was a criminal offense. The diversion then comes in: Oh Labour etc have done it…. Once again its the message, its ok because i have alleged others do it.

    Humm, the point in all this is that JK and Team Key are seen are as squeaky clean, non bitchy party,a party who would not use the likes of Slater et. al.

    [lprent: It isn’t that I mind comments posted on the TOR network. However the style on this one reminds me of bad12, and bad12 is banned. Comment content discarded. I believe that we have mentioned that all new people commenting have to be passed by a moderator. Suspicious ones get left for me to investigate. ]

  10. ianmac 10

    Martin Lush talks to Judith Collins. Funny that Judith is so dismissive and contemptuous. Ha!
    Martin does persist which is good. (Judith’s line is Nicky is just making money from stolen emails.)
    http://www.radiolive.co.nz/AUDIO-Judith-Collins-on-her-chapter-in-Dirty-Politics/tabid/506/articleID/52123/Default.aspx

  11. nadis 11

    I’d make two points. First if there is evidence of misuse of SIS information then that is a criminal offense. I am waiting to hear news of a police investigation. I’m sure Nicky will have forwarded the evidence to the police already.

    Secondly, the silence from Labour leadership or the Greens is deafening. Even to the extent of a Labour no show on the regular Marcus Lush spot this morning. We’ve only heard from Winston. What is the obvious reason for the lack of comment?

    Unless it blows up with hard evidence this is already yesterdays news. Not even John Campbell last night could give it legs.

    • Silence?
      https://twitter.com/DavidCunliffeMP/status/499649181686849536


      Metiria has been retweeting about this all day: https://twitter.com/metiria

    • Bearded Git 11.2

      Labour running a positive campaign Nadis. Difficult for you to understand I know.

      Contrast this with the systematic negative dirty politics practised by National as revealed by Hager.

      • Michael 11.2.1

        Labour isn’t touching the biggest scandal in years because it is running a “positive” campaign, in which it happens to trail the party alleged to misuse classified, official and personal information in dirty tricks campaigns against it? Or is it that Labour just wants to sleepwalk to victory by letting Key stew in his own juice?That is certainly the low-risk strategy. OTOH, it isn’t principled leadership.

    • lprent 11.3

      sigh Think it through.

      Parliament isn’t sitting. Politicians are in electorates all over the country campaigning. It isn’t like they are all concentrated in Wellington like they usually are.

      Like me they are waiting for copies of the book to arrive in their city. Mine is meant to be in Auckland this morning sometime.

      Like me they aren’t commenting too much until they read the book. All they have in the meantime is whatever is coming through the news or over twitter.

      Nicky Hager really needs to learn about how to sell epubs..

      • Tracey 11.3.1

        got mine from whitcouls st lukes. In a box out tge back. Me and another guy waiting for the box to come out.

        If this stuff isnt true it can only be because slater misrepresented his network in his emails, talked himself up, … Or hager sat down and created all these emails himself.

  12. fisiani 12

    So a Left wing conspiracy theorist gets access to some stolen emails and writes a book alleging a massive conspiracy. Left wing bloggers see this as a possible chance to win back some relevance and make even more ridiculous claims. The only reaction on the other side is derision. Bloggers getting tips from a variety of sources is not news. Left wing journalists will pursue this for a few days but get no further for there is no story of note. Assumption and supposition doth not make a conspiracy.

      • Kiwiri 12.1.1

        LOL here too
        That dense paragraph doesn’t cut the mustard. Fail. A lot more work needed.
        There is a very long day ahead and an even longer night to go.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 12.2

      Yes, Banks will be found not guilty because he’s not guilty.

      I’m more concerned about the alleged Ministerial criminal behaviour than any political conspiracy. No doubt the courts will be given an opportunity to express an opinion. Choke on it 🙂

    • Mark F 12.3

      Fisiani; The irony of Nicky Hager writing a book using stolen emails when he is a person who constantly rails against spying by the state, is lost on this lot. The fact that he has written and profited from three books using stolen property, he openly brags about is fine by him, but he goes apoplectic if he even thinks somebody may have invaded his privacy. The duplicity is strong in him!

      • McFlock 12.3.1

        So the emails detailing fonterra and PoAL paying slater to advocate for them, and the emails detailing computer hacking of the labour party website, and the emails detailing the pms office declassifying documents and feeding them to slater, are all true?

        good to know.

    • thatguynz 12.4

      🙄

    • grumpy 12.5

      ….and on Sean Plunket, it appears Dotcom has outed himself as being the hacker of Slater’s emails. Hager seen visiting the Dotcom mansion frequently in the lead up to the book release.

        • grumpy 12.5.1.1

          We shall see…..

          • yeshe 12.5.1.1.1

            @grumpy … there must be another website somewhere that needs your best attention ? This one is so at odds with you, I wonder why you bother being here.

            Read the TV3 link I posted .. Nicky Hager is unequivocal; it is not via Dotcom. Further, if your brain can comprehend such a thing, Hager has, again without equivocation, stated he is willing to reveal his sources if it comes to a police or official inquiry.

            Try to keep up grumpy, and stop throwing your tiny little muddy bits hoping some will stick.

            • grumpy 12.5.1.1.1.1

              Now we have information that not only Hager but also Norman have been frequent visitors to Dotcom. This is moving quickly, the MSM seem openly hostile to Hager who was savaged by most radio this morning, strangely purely by highlighting his hypocrisy.
              If this is the “bomb” Dotcom was gloating about it has been a fizzer.

              [lprent: You are trolling. As far as I can see you are repeating an unsupported assertion about Hager from Slater. As was pointed out up above, there is a direct denial. You ignored that and then repeated the assertion! Stupid.

              Banned for 6 weeks unless you can demonstrate some credible proof supporting your assertion.]

  13. Olwyn 13

    The two biggies are indeed the misuse of SIS files and the hacking of the Labour Party’s computer files, since they are both illegal. However, some of the excerpts doing the rounds, which may seem commonplace to those in the know, do show a vile attitude toward New Zealanders who are not part of the elite, and even toward some who are. How can you expect people who cheerfully acquiesce in Slater’s attitude to East Christchurch, for example, to concern themselves much with the employment, housing and general security of their fellow citizens?

    • grumpy 13.1

      I understand there was no “hacking” of the Labour site, it was just left open for anyone to find. Slater’s emails were definately hacked, in conjunction with a sophiosticated DDoS attack, for which Dotcom is claiming responsibility. You would think he would keep his mouth shut on this but apparently the urge to gloat is just too strong.
      Sirens?????

      • yeshe 13.1.1

        not dotcom .. see 12.5.1 above

        • yeshe 13.1.1.1

          @grumpy .. do you have a link for what you are saying re Dotcom ? otherwise best you stop repeating it .. it came only from Slater. So then .. link please ?

      • Olwyn 13.1.2

        With regard to the legal definition of hacking, see wtl’s comment on the “National’s Response” thread: http://thestandard.org.nz/national-response/#comment-866076

      • tricledrown 13.1.3

        Grumpy having more snickers as Lprent has pointed out whale oil doesn’t have a ddos system so calling your BS.
        The only person claiming that Dotcom leaked emails !
        Which shows how gullible you are!
        And that Cameron Slater will stoop to the lowest of lows to spread the dirty tricks he is accused of!
        Guilty by obfuscation!

        • lprent 13.1.3.1

          As Lprent has pointed out whale oil doesn’t have a ddos system so calling your BS.

          He now has one after shifting servers. It just isn’t particularly well configured, nor is it particularly effective.

      • Tracey 13.1.4

        so because the billboards are in public anyone can draw on them, right?

        • grumpy 13.1.4.1

          Because the billboards are in public anyone can read them or take notes of what they say. You cannot deface, destroy and/or remove them – that is theft. The former is what slater did, the latter Dotcom/Hager.

      • KJS0ne 13.1.5

        Grumpy: A security flaw in a website is not the same thing as it being left open for anyone to find. Do you bite on every spun word that rolls off John Key’s tongue?

        There was an opening in Sony’s playstation account holders database leading to tens of thousands of credit card details being stolen a year or two back. By your logic those passwords were just sitting there for anyone to find, no harm done…

    • Draco T Bastard 13.2

      How can you expect people who cheerfully acquiesce in Slater’s attitude to East Christchurch, for example, to concern themselves much with the employment, housing and general security of their fellow citizens?

      I don’t. I fully expect them to not give a shit about anybody beyond their rarefied social circles (and I doubt that they’d like all of the people in their social circles either).

      • Olwyn 13.2.1

        Even if they don’t give a shit about anyone at all, they are the government. There are standards to which they are supposed to adhere. And I am not sure what standard open cruelty to earthquake victims meets. True, this is Slater, not the government, but the government is not so perturbed about such attitudes as to distance themselves from him. Or to do anything substantial to help the people in East Christchurch.

  14. nadis 14

    Stephanie. I don’t do twitter so that has all escaped me. And to be fair I have just seen the greens calling for an inquiry

    But nothing really in the traditional media aside from that.

  15. yeshe 15

    Here we go …

    From Greens at 10 am …

    http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PA1408/S00225/green-party-to-lodge-official-complaints.htm

    read the list of complaints ….

    • grumpy 15.1

      If anyone wanted proof that this is a cynical political hit, this is it. Going to the police???? Be careful what you wish for.

      • Sable 15.1.1

        Are your really this naive Grumpy or is it just an act?

      • tricledrown 15.1.2

        Grumpy you worried,you are the apologist and Denialist

        You must be well down the list(no pun intended) at more than arms length from the other regular dirty tricks brigade but you all seem to have the same argument same words same sentences more proof National have a coordinated program of undermining democracy!
        send in the clowns I can hear the music as you type

      • framu 15.1.3

        so your saying you dissaprove of cynical political hits?

        better ring up key and let him know then grumps – after all that is the topic of the book in question

  16. Sable 16

    The real problem here is there is no ubiquitous, objective, external party that keeps these people honest. Once upon a time (or maybe not) we there were journalists with integrity. The sort of people who risked all to bring down the likes of Richard Nixon. Now they are mostly gone. Replaced in large part by sycophantic journalistic toadies who excuse every dirty act and dirty trick of right wing political elites.

    Keys has little to be concerned about and he know it. After all who’s there to ask the tough questions…..???

  17. outofbed 17

    I read the book last night
    My Thoughts,
    I never understood why the media and the Nats associated with this troubled individual
    Cameron Slater is mentally ill
    Who else can remember the original whale oil site a few years ago complete with a large range of pictures of Helen Clark Head photoshopeed on to pornographic images.
    The Disgusting Photoshopping of young labour activist James Sleep (also pornographic) ?

    Who else Remembers when DPF was as thick as thieves with Slater and do you remember the misogynist Kiwiblog before it cleaned up it act ?

    Slater Farrar Collins et al are odious people and should be treated as such.

    The book joins a few dots that we probably already knew
    The use of the sis and the OIA requests as political tools for example.

    It shows quite clearly that The NATs have no scruples whatsoever and power is everything.

    I hope that the MSM now shows some balls and start doing the job we expect of them. After listening to Espiner and Ryan this morning I won’t be holding my breath

    • Cameron Slater is an odious, nasty, sexist, abusive person. His mental health issues are not relevant to any of those things.

      • outofbed 17.1.1

        I would think that they very much are,
        The guy needs help.
        What worries me is that someone who is so obviously sick
        is being taken so seriously by the Msm and powerful politicians

      • tricledrown 17.1.2

        But Slater has been convicted twice and is on his 3rd strike! sarc

  18. yeshe 18

    The book is all sold out and in reprint already ! As LPrent said .. Nicky needs to learn to spell epubs.

    Have to make more popcorn it seems …

  19. Delia 19

    I used to work with a young guy who would cheekily say to me, rules are made to be broken..this reminds me of him.

  20. yeshe 20

    @outofbed .. any chance I could arrange to ‘rent’ your copy of the book ? All sold out til likely Aug 22 which is a problem. (I had one ordered at Unity in Akl but they received only 20 copies overnight.)

  21. yeshe 21

    key has to be seen to be believed .. can’t make this shit up ! has redefined the meaning of ‘slippery’.

    http://www.3news.co.nz/Video-John-Key-talks-Nicky-Hagers-Dirty-Politics/tabid/1607/articleID/356848/Default.aspx

    and key just said he reads The Standard !!! sure we are all impressed with that little gem … yeah? nah.

  22. Blevins 22

    @outofbed and yeshe.

    Perhaps you could try Royal Oak Mall in Royal Oak (Not surprisingly). When I was there this morning both PaperPlus and Whitcoulls had copies which had not sold at the time. Both stores had around a box or two each as I recall. $35 a copy.

  23. Blevins 23

    On Seven Sharp tonight – It’s Nicky Hager vs Steven Joyce (live) aparently. Wait for the ad hominem attacks to ensue from Joyce. I wonder if Nicky will be able to get a calm reasoned sentence in amidst the backpeddling from Joyce.

    PS- Royal Oak mall is open late tonight, till 8pm.

  24. yeshe 24

    @Blevins .. thx for that re Royal Oak .. will try in the morning as several friends here wanting it asap … and #2 .. what a disgrace Hoskings is. If he got any further bias to the right, he’d fall off his desk straight to the floor.

  25. Blevins 25

    Yes it’s pretty bad how biased both Mike Hosking and Paul Henry appear to be on almost every political news item concerning parties that fall within the spectrum of ‘Centre-Left’ or in regard to anyone who dares question John Key intelligently. So much for the ethos of unbiased journalism… Pretty sad really.

    • KJS0ne 25.1

      They’re just the tip of the iceberg, TVNZ, Radio NZ, NZ Herald are all populated by so called journalists (reporters is a better term) without a shred of integrity. Sitting keenly like dogs at dinner time waiting for their master to distribute the food. Keen to distribute verbatim whatever Key has to say on the issue often without so much as a softball let alone the hard variety.

      Not saying they’re all like that, there’s good pieces being written, presented and researched on each of the aforementioned outlets, just that it’s by no means the bulk of the content – That is devoted towards National’s interests. I can only hazard a guess that the collusion between National and the MSM is due to the fact that those who pull the strings at these outlets are National’s real constituents (the wealthy and or corporates).

      National remind me starkly of the politicans to which Carlin describes: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=atxbnLxd-ik

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  • Joint Statement: New Zealand and Australian Trade Ministers
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