National's Joyce dismisses Nicky Hager's 'Dirty Tricks' book as nothing new and wild conspiracy; Greens lay complaints alleging corruption

National's Joyce dismisses Nicky Hager's 'Dirty Tricks' book as nothing new and wild conspiracy; Greens lay complaints alleging corruption

By Bernard Hickey

With 37 days to go until the September 20 election, here's my daily round-up of political news on Thursday August 14, including National's Campaign Chairman Steven Joyce rejecting Nick Hager's 'Dirty Tricks' book as nothing new and a wild conspiracy theory.

"It is exactly what it says on the cover. It is a dirty politics book. It's got a bunch of stolen emails, a bunch of allegations and some of them are breathless about things that are already well known, such as David Farrar is the member of the National Party, and others that are completely sort of '1 + 1 = 49 and apparently the Prime Minister's a devil beast," Joyce told TVNZ's Breakfast programme.

Joyce said he had not read the book, but his advisers had informed him of the books' contents. He did not directly address the allegations, although he was not directly asked.

"It's a book about how people on both sides of the house brief bloggers, in the same way they brief journalists actually, and I don't think that's news either," he said, adding there were rumours Labour Party staff wrote on left wing blogs.

Joyce said it was normal for press advisors to brief bloggers, just as they briefed journalists.

"The left are losing the battle of ideas at the moment, and they're trying to tear the Prime Minister down, and this is just another day of the week," he said.

Joyce said Hager never went to the people he wrote about in his books to ask for some sort of denial. "He just publishes and says 'that's the reality of it' and never bothers to check it with anybody, which is an unusual approach for someone who considers himself in that journalistic thing," Joyce said.

John Key told reporters in Dunedin he rejected allegations in Hager's book that he or his staff were involved in hacking Labour's website or releasing SIS information to Cameron Slater.

Key said he stood by Jason Ede, who was no longer a staffer in the PM's office but was working for the National Party. See more here on Radio NZ's site.

The Prime Minister also said he would look at claims in the book that Judith Collins arranged to move a prisoner to help a relative of Cameron Slater, but that he wasn't concerned by the book "at all."

He said he would be happy for any investigation to be held into matters raised in the book.

Slater vs Dotcom

Meanwhile, Cameron Slater, who is at the centre of Hager's allegations due to the leaking of his emails to Hager, has said on his Whaleoil blog that he believed Kim Dotcom was responsible for the Denial of Service (DDOS) attacks that took down Whaleoil earlier this year and coincided with the hacking of his email.

"At the time Whaleoil was under the DDOS attack (it shut us down for a few days), we have a fair idea that it was Dotcom behind it," Slater said.

"At the end of the period, I suddenly noticed something not right with my email.  I changed the password and went on a mad dash to change all other passwords," he said.

"I suspect they entered GMAIL through brute force attack — Kim might like to boast how it was done.  It doesn’t  matter.  After about 15 minutes I shut them out.   Of about 80G of information, they were disconnected after getting only 8G of it."

Slater went on to say he had two independent witnesses who had seen Hager visit the Dotcom mansion on multiple occasions.

Dotcom denied any involvement via his twitter account.

"For the record: I haven't hacked Whaleoil. I have nothing to do with Hager's book. There will be legal action against Slater & co," Dotcom said.

Hager vs Collins

Meanwhile, Hager did various radio and television interviews detailing what's in the book.

"The chapter about Judith Collins will give people a shock because she's acted in many ways that you would not expect of a minister. She really looks bad," Hager said.

Collins told NewstalkZB she had no idea about the claims in the book.

"I think that's just bizarre. So I'm just not quite sure what he's talking about. But look, it's a smear campaign," she said.

Greens lay complaint

Meanwhile, the Green Party said it would lodge a series of complaints with the Police, Parliamentary Service, the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security and the Privacy Commissioner after revelations in the book.

It said it would complain to the Parliamentary Service over John Key’s senior advisor Jason Ede’s alleged involvement in inappropriately supplying confidential information to blogger Cameron Slater.

It would complain to Police over the possibility that officials working for Key corruptly used or disclosed any information, acquired by him or her in his or her official capacity, to obtain, advantage.

It would complain to Police over allegations of blackmail involving former ACT leader Rodney Hide.

It would would complain to Police over allegations of unauthorised access to a computer system under Sections 249 and 252  of the Crimes Act.

It would complain to the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security over allegations that sensitive documents were declassified in order to be used for political purposes.

It would complain to the Privacy Commissioner over allegations that Minister Judith Collins leaked private information.

“John Key has degraded our democracy,” Green Party Co-leader Metiria Tūrei said.

“The National Government is up to its neck in dirty politics and may have broken the law while smearing opponents," she said.

“The Green Party is today promising to hold a Royal Commission of Inquiry when in Government to get to the bottom of what has gone on and to seek recommendations on how to rebuild a clean and fair political system in New Zealand. National is trying to dismiss dirty and dodgy behaviour as business as usual. It is not. New Zealanders expect and deserve far better standards of their governments and we will not sit by and allow our democracy to be dragged through the dirt by John Key."

Peters talks of Nixon and Watergate

New Zealand First Leader Winston Peters, who has been the subject of many of Slater's attacks, said the book exposed a "Nixonian element arising in New Zealand politics."

"Sadly for the Prime Minister it goes to his office in the same way it went to Nixon’s office during the Watergate scandal," Peters said.

"In short, taxpayers resources have been used both publicly and privately to attack all manner of public figures with the objective of gaining political advantage,” he said.

“Of course there will be denials ,but this story is about the communications between the accused and they cannot deny it."

Labour questions Key

Labour MP Grant Robertson said Key had serious questions to answer.

“Many people will be disturbed by the evidence in the book of John Key’s team indulging in gutter politics and abusing their power," he said, posing the following questions:

  1. What direction did he or his team give Jason Ede regarding his activities and involvement with Cameron Slater?
  2. What involvement did he or his office have in the release of SIS material to Cameron Slater?
  3. What involvement did he or his office have in the breach of the Labour Party’s database?

“John Key must front up to New Zealanders about the behaviour of his team," Robertson said.

(Updated with Cameron Slater alleging Kim Dotcom hacked into his email, Slater alleging Hager visited Dotcom, Labour saying Key has questions to answer, John Key's defence of Jason Ede, Kim Dotcom's rejection of allegation he hacked Slater or was involved with the book)

I'll update this regularly through the day.

See all my previous election diaries here.

See the index for's special election policy comparison pages here.

We welcome your help to improve our coverage of this issue. Any examples or experiences to relate? Any links to other news, data or research to shed more light on this? Any insight or views on what might happen next or what should happen next? Any errors to correct?

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Updated with Cameron Slater alleging Kim Dotcom hacked into his email

This has the Dotcom DNA and  fingerprints and bullet markings all over it .... I just cannot believe that he would be so stupid as to commit the same offence twice  .
This Machiavellian  been arrested previuosuly in 1994 for Hacking computers and theft related to that .

Popped into Whitcoulls to buy Hager's  book.and my advice is DONT WASTE YOUR MONEY .
Its the most patently one-sided leftwing load of garbage to be published this year , and is just an extension of this dirty campaign .
There is basically no substance to the allegations whatsoever , and so much conjecture and fluff , that the leftwing agenda is just left sticking out like dogs balls on a Rottwieler ( or a Weimaraner)

So you've read the whole book have you!? Somehow I doubt it. Face it, your National pals are corrupt and are out to enrich themselves. NZ needs to elect some politicians who actually give a s*** about the public's well-being: this certainly isn't the (inter)National Party.

Haha busted Boatman!

Wrong Whitcoulls , the Albany mall branch had about 12 copies at lunchtime yesterday

I've got to admit that I'm doubting that I'll even bother voting. They are ALL as bad as each other. Is there any party pushing for 4-year terms? If so, I'd probably vote for them purely so we wouldn't have to hear about the election so often.

Gordon Campbell has reported that this is part of the Whaleoil etc strategy and Simon Lusk is quoted.  People will hate politics so much, and the opposition will feel so powerless, that they won't vote.  The Right wins.

Search for Gordon Campbell on Scoop.

What rubbish, they aren't all as bad as each other! This book is about National's dirty politics.
I'd have to say Labour are looking pretty good right now...

Updating with Slater alleging Hager visited Dotcom, Labour saying Key has questions to answer.

Hullo.... Kim Dotcom was arrested in Germany in 1994 for ................. wait for it ............ computer hacking and theft related thereto

Would have been the ideal man for this whistle-blowing job, and it is such a public service.

Problem is that Kim Dotcom is denying it and apparently thinking of suing Slater!

Yes, send in Steven - he's got form ...


Waste of time complaining to the police.  They are very maleable under the force of political pressure as we have seen repeatadly recently.

Moe - if you (and a lot of others) don't vote then you are guaranteeing the status quo remaining. Only the rich whites will bother voting and we know where they will vote. For the others (maoris, minorities, union members, youth, students, unemployed etc) if they don't get off their lazy bums and down to the polling station then they should STFU for the next 3 years. They have proven by their actions they do not deserve to be represented.
Australia doesn't do many things better than NZ but their compulsory voting is to be admired.
I know its hard but try and pick the least corrupt, least sleazy party / member. Trouble is toss a member out and he/she will probably end up selling real estate in your neighbourhood.

I was talking to an electoral officer earlier this week and we were discussing the idea of compulsory voting.  Apparently studies suggest that you get a lower turn out when voting is compulsory as people don't like being told what to do.  I don't have a source for the study although I'm sure it would be easy to google.
I agree with you that people have no right to complain if they don't vote.

I think ppl should have the right not to vote as a way of showing how dismayed they are with "you are all so worthless why should I spend my time voting"
"no right to complain if they don't vote" see above...

You are dead right.  It seems to me that there is within certain bounds, the right wing are motivated to treat the general public poorly by ignoring clear public opinion expressed through referenda, polls and surveys.  This seemsto dishearten the public and they become less likely to vote.  Accordingly the left wing parties recieve less votes.  Labour have not helped themselves by behaving similarly when they were in power and continue to do so by identifying with the more extreem segments of the political spectrum and fail to connect to the average person. 

None of them come across as having any integrity and all are smug, despicable individuals. It is all spin, spin, spin from all corners.Status quo or alternative=no difference at the end of the day.

Which is it "nothing new" or "wild consipiracy" ?
Things are starting to look better for a "Smarter Greener economy"

Why are we even trying to extradite Dotcom for internet piracy , why dont the IRD investigate him for some form of breach of the Tax Administration Act , and you can almost be sure he will not be squeaky clean .
Al Capone was eventually brought down , not for racketeering  , murder , money laundering , mail fraud  or bootlegging  , but for failing to pay his taxes .
We have laws governing things like

  • Money Laundering
  • Theft
  • Tax evasion

We can then  revoke his PR status , declare him undesriable and send him back to Germany.  
And then  tighten up our immigration laws

I'm no big fan of Kim Dotcom but bringing him up is a red herring.  National are again handling another situation poorly and with typical arrogance of the last couple of years.  I think most sensible New Zealanders know John Key is not really mr nice guy.   Obviously it's hard to defend the alligations so best focus on Dotcom (who most certainly isn't squeeky clean but he is fighting for the good guys at least).
If National lose the election it will simply be their arrognace and denial of anything they do being an issue. You know a situation is bad when even Teflon Key won't front it.

We shouldnt be, its a civil matter.
Why should IRD pursue a NZ citizen / PR in such a way? How would you feel if IRD turned up at your door and spent some months looking into your business transactions, up to and including  a colon inspection with a rubber glove?
Im sure you would be happy.

Get real , the IRD does it all the time . If they suspect your tax affairs are not in order , they are required to investigate you, and they do . 
Whtaever you may think , Kim Dot Com is not best  known for honesty , having been arrested in Germany in 1994 for dishonesty, seling stolen phone cards , and hacking computer systems

With all due respect Boatman, that was 20 years ago at the age of 20. I know of students that have hacked into school accounts and accessed teachers private info at the age of 14 and 15.
It's a cheap thrill.. some drive cars at ridiculous speeds for the same rush, that doesn't necessarily make them dishonest..devious perhaps.

For a start Dotcom is not subject to NZ tax from outside NZ until he has been resident for at least four years.
Nuff said.

Thats true , but he must have fully disclosed his overseas interests , must full disclose his overseas earnings and we have money laundering laws here that must be complied with

..the main stream media are the worry for sure - Hosking rubbished the book last night moments after it came out - shows a real ability to consider the facts know doesn't it?  No wonder labour want him out.
MM is following the path of our American media - don't  question, which of course is the path that Key has led us all in.  I may well buy the book, for the simple reason that we need independant  investigative journalist who can actually make a living.   Put aside political ideology and shine a light on this book.

I have not read the book and have no intention of doing so,however the allegations are just that allegations.Has he provided any proof in his book to support these allegation.For myself i will go back to reading Wild Tales written by Graham Nash of the Hollies and CSNY.Drugs booze and plenty of loose woman now thats my go.

Translation:  I only read what backs up my narrow minded view of the world.  

Who needs to spend money to buy a book that tells you that politics is a dirty game.Certainly not me.

And that comment is really helplful Peak Everything........full of factual information......about yourself of course......emotional, snide, put down ra ra ra........!!!!!
I hope NG drafts that comment off to the works!!!

So because i won't be reading this book i am labelled unimformed and lacking understanding of whats happening in NZ.What a crock.Maybe it's you who is unimformed if you have to rely on a book to tell you what is happening.

er, the written words of Slater, Ede and others is the evidence. To paraphrase (so not an exact quote) things like "I'm glad we weren't caught hacking into the Labour party computers"
And in business news, a Fonterra PR guy was apparently paying Slater to write anti-breastfeeding posts, which is a slightly creepy way of using Fonterra's cash.

Drugs, booze, loose women?   They simply can't compete with another great round of Nicky Hager whistle-blowing!!! 

The best we can offer you is ex-prostitutes and enquiries to them from one of the villains.

Slater and Pope Francis are simultaneously in S. Korea now.  Perhaps he can arrange for a much needed exorcism from the Pope.  If succesful, ship up Collins et al for a treatment.

Updated with John Key's defence of Jason Ede, Kim Dotcom's rejection of allegation he hacked Slater or was involved with the book.

Updated with Key saying he would be happy for any investigation to be held into matters raised in the book

He certainly didn't sound happy.

Can you imagine a Greenlabourdotcommanafirst government .
It would be so dysfunctional as to be a joke .

Could you imagine a NationalConservativeActPeterDunne government.  It would be so dysfunctional as to be a joke.  

We already have a Nationalactdunne alliance and we have

  • 5% unemployment , the lowest this Century
  • Lowest interest rates in almost a century
  • A rockstar economy
  • The NZ Share price ( Kiwi$ ) is the highest since we listed it
  • Highest car sales ever
  • Highest house prices ever
  • Almost balanced budget
  • A highly efficient market economy

All we need to do is diversify into Oil and natrual gas development and in under a decade we will be the wealthiest per capita economy on earth.
There there will be no need for this communistic tax and spend other peoples money nonsense

Boatman, I admire your positive outlook for the government. 
Unemployment dropped to 5.6% but those actually employed hardly rose.
Lowest interests were 12 months ago and compared to most OECD countries are not considered low.
a "rockstar" economy - yes we're seeing growth.. Chch...and ...... Auckland of course.
highest new car sales..brilliant roll out the cheap finance and indebt more people to buy cars they can't really afford unless you are one of the top 2% earners in the country.
Highest house prices ever... Is that a good thing?!
"Almost..balanced our budget...hmmm..budget surplus by the end of 2014 right?
Highly efficient market economy...based on?? Commodities? I wouldn't use the words "highly efficient".
I will say that this Govt have done a few things to benefit some of the population now but I'm not sure we'll view them in the same way in 10-20 years.
As per your view on our Oil and Gas industry...I'm not so convinced our nation will become as wealthy as you predict.. with the exception of private and overseas investors and Simon Bridges of course.

Ha. So you see overpriced housing as a good thing? And more cars as a good thing?? Ok...
I noticed you didn't mention the country's MASSIVE debt.

Is that you Slater? You do have a thing about Dotcom and stopping those commie lefties.

Key is very convincing! As Dellboy would say "Ýou know I'm right,Rodney."
I feel a Tui billboard coming on

Personally, since Winston has chosen to make comments, I would like someone to ask him if this affects his ability to work with National after the election, which is really his only bearing on the story.

Have been wondering the same. Winston's rhetoric re National and John Key has now for some years been pretty negative, while the body language if not rhetoric in return from Key is equally dismissive. His policies seem more aligned with Labour- health for over 65s; Reserve Bank Act, foreign sales, asset sales etc. He does not seem to have indulged in any serious Cunliffe kicking, even when it was an easy popular sport a few weeks ago. The Nats would presumably offer him Minister of Horse Racing or similar; Labour Greens would likely find something a little more prestigious- and Labour may welcome his counterbalancing of the Greens. 
So even if the Nats and their manufactured alliances had say 47-48%, he just may head to the other bench first off.

The media coverage has been nearly as biased and weak as the rock star economy rubbish all this year. Hacking is easy and legally worked around by contracting it out in certain overseas juristictions. Interesting how scared they are of dotcom...try to link him to everything.

Went to Whitcoulls at Albany Mall at lunchtime and decided not to waste good money on HAGERS load of one-sided crap .
This is nothing but an extension of the dirty election campaign by the extremely dysfunctional, pathetic ,  leaderless and rudderless left. 
Who paid for the publication of this laod of rubbish

I think you have to do a bit better than name calling. These revelations are extremely serious, and far more so than say who had lunch with whom in Beijing, or even potential misuse of the government system to chase DotCom. Serious misuse of government resources to discredit opponents, and allegedly hacking of political parties comms for example, do seem Watergate like, and rather serious corruption if they are true. 

Stephen L , The so-called "revelations"  are nothing of the sort , its mostly well worded conjecture,  casting aspertions , and a good dose of jumping to conclusions by Hager .
Hager has openly admitted to "working like a dog" to get this out before the election to try to do maximum damage to Key .
It wont work , simply because the alternative to a Key Government is too disasterous to even contemplate

I am surprised you saw a copy by lunchtime- most booksellers report being sold out by mid morning, describing it as the best sales they have seen since Harry Potter finished.

Whitcoulls Albany Mall ( next to cinemas) had about a dozen copies

Greta opportunity for McCully to get his copy.
He is probably safe since he hardly ever puts his head above the parapet.

My thoughts on this situation is given below comment from elsewhere following the left wingers raking themselves up for a good old purging of the civil service.
Before the big left wing purge comes that is just the opposite of what the right has done. Lets consider getting some neutrality into our civil service. It could be done quite easily.
Parliament enacts a law that requires the Speaker of the House be appointed by unanimous vote (Like the Catholic Bishops voting for the Pope, MPs could be locked in Parliament without recess until they decide).
Give the responsibility to appoint senior civil servants, judges and recommendations for knighthood to the Speaker.
Instantly this changes the culture of civil society. Wind vane a… licking morally dubious tactics for promotional success are replaced by hard work, merit and ‘fairness’ moral standards.
To me this is what Hager’s book is about. Democracy is our biggest asset, not grass or water or whatever. If we lose it we are buggered.

Bernard, now if only you could hook up some sorta Generator thingo, to trap the latent heat in all a these Comments, why, you'd be able to launch an IPO and sell the resulting Psychic Energy, or Karma or Whatever, to - well, they say there's a Market for everything.
As long as the Price is Right......put me down for a tranche of 1000, at, say 0.001c per.

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