On Radio New Zealander yesterday, Matthew Hooton made two important points.
First he – along with pretty much everyone else – poured cold water on the idea that John Key was a virginal innocent in the selective release of SIS documents to Whaleoil. Good. Key is insulting our intelligence.
But second, and more important, Hooton argued that even if Key’s version of events is right, then he is in even more trouble. In that circumstance, his issue is dereliction of duty.
Political staffers, such as for example Jason Ede, have absolutely no businesses being delegated Prime Ministerial authority to take decisions over any aspect of New Zealand’s security apparatus. Yet that is what it appears Key has done. Key, apparently, was too busy high-fiving kids to take the duties of his office seriously.
Hooton says , and I agree, that neither Prime Minister Bolger nor Prime Minister Clark delegated any decision-making authority over SIS matters. Not even Heather Simpson had that kind of authority.
If Key is right, and he had no earthly idea that his security agency was releasing just-declassified documents to his blog weapon to embarrass his partisan opponent, then what the hell was he doing delegating that level of authority to a mid-level hack? As a mid-level hack myself I use this as a term of endearment, obviously. That is shocking. Let’s hear him answer questions about that.