If I were in Labour, I would be looking at the polls and thinking that a small target strategy is best: preserve your credibility at all costs, keep your head down, pick up the votes as National self-destructs – it worked for Key in 2008. Instead, Shearer seems to be trying to shoot the moon with a knock out blow to Key (interesting parallel to Norman’s export policy there).
Shearer has taken a risk that his own credibility will be tarnished if no proof emerges that Key was aware of the GCSB’s involvement in Dotcom spying from at least as early as February 29th. I hope they considered their options carefully and didn’t just jump on a rumour.
But I think this will play out OK for Shearer either way because
a) he hasn’t claimed that the tape definitely exists, only that sources in the GCSB claim it does
b) it can never be proven not to exist (contrast Goff on the SIS in both instances) and most importantly
c) Key didn’t really try to deny it happened despite the fact that if it is true that he talked Dotcom with the GCSB it makes a lie of his implausible claim to have only become aware of the spying on September 14. Key’s weak ‘prove it’ and ‘so what’ sound like tacit admissions, and that will be enough to keep him on the backfoot and prevent him turning the tables on Shearer even if the tape never emerges.
PS. It’s a little worrying that the spies seem to be leaking to the opposition. It’s also worrying that Slater seems to have his own leak within the security apparatus – presumably in the PM’s office.