Responses and Press Releases

23 October 2014

Press statement in relation to search of Nicky Hager’s home

On 2 October 2014, Nicky Hager’s home in Wellington was searched by police. Mr Hager asserted that documents kept at his house were protected by privilege, including because they contained information that might identify confidential sources. Rather than search those documents, the Police sealed them and lodged them with the High Court pending directions from the Court. Mr Hager had concerns that the search was unlawful and sought legal advice.

Mr Hager has now had a chance to consult his lawyers. He believes even more strongly that the Police have acted outside of the law in seizing his property and seeking to search through all of his documents. Mr Hager has decided to challenge the Police’s actions by way of judicial review. He expects to launch those proceedings during the next few days.

In the meantime, the Police are asserting that there is no valid claim for privilege over the documents. The Police are seeking the leave of the Court to file their own proceedings in order to argue that there is no privilege and that they should be allowed to review all of the documents. A preliminary teleconference was held today (23 October 2014) between the High Court, and lawyers for Mr Hager and the Police, to discuss these issues.

Please direct enquiries to Mr Hager’s counsel: Felix Geiringer (0220243402) and Steven Price (0220262997).

6 October 2014
Statement by Nicky Hager on police seizing property
On Thursday, 2 October, five police arrived at my home with a warrant to search and seize property. I was in Auckland at the time for two days of lectures at the University of Auckland. The police spent over ten hours searching the house and removing property in an attempt to discover the identity of the person who provided information used in my book Dirty Politics.
Soon after the police arrived, the lead detective stated that I was not a suspect in their case, merely a witness. I spoke to him by phone and informed him that he would find no information in the house about my source. Nonetheless, he and his four colleagues seized a large collection of papers and electronic equipment belonging to my family, including computers, drives, phones, CDs, an IPOD and a camera.
I am confident that the police took nothing that will help them with their investigation. Their actions were a fishing expedition, presumably because they have no idea who the source is and hoped they might stumble across information about them.
I believe the police actions are dangerous for journalism in New Zealand. It matters to all people working in the media who could similarly have their property searched and seized to look for sources. People are less likely to help the media if the police act in this way. The police want people to respect their role in society; they should in turn respect other people’s roles in society.
My investigative journalism work means I have an unnegotiable obligation to protect all my sources and the confidences of other people who approach me. I will not cooperate in any way with the police in trying to discover this or other sources. I am in discussion with my lawyers about what I can do to challenge the police actions.

 

Friday, 12 September

Free Chapters of the Book Dirty Politics Now Available on Line

Two sample chapters of Nicky Hager’s book Dirty Politics are being made available free to readers today by the publishers. “The book has sold over 16,700 copies extraordinarily quickly, and we want to offer more people an opportunity to experience the book and decide for themselves if they would like to read it,” publisher Robbie Burton said.

“We believe this is an important book that deserves to be read by readers from across the political spectrum. We are therefore making two chapters available. One is about disturbing activities inside the prime minister’s office and the other about internal National Party politics that will surprise and disturb National supporters.”

http://www.craigpotton.co.nz/flipbooks/dirty_politics/index.html

Wednesday, 13 August

Nicky Hager’s new book was launched at 5pm today at Unity Books in downtown Wellington. The book is not about the Snowden documents; Mr Hager said publicly months ago that he was not writing a book on that subject. Today’s book follows on from his earlier book The Hollow Men and gives an inside view of politics after the John Key led National Party. It revolves around a cast of Key, Cameron Slater, Jason Ede, David Farrar, Judith Collins and other National Party figures. It shows a very different side of John Key and his government than most New Zealanders know.
Mr Hager said the thinks many New Zealanders have felt something is wrong with New Zealand politics, where more and more personal attacks, nastiness and petty scandal is getting in the way of ordinary politics. ‘In recent days there has been some news about personal attacks on the prime minister,’ he said. ‘But the book is about a much more serious and long term problem. Throughout Key’s time as prime minister, his staff and notably senior adviser Jason Ede have been assisting and coordinating persistent personal attacks and dirty tricks against his political opponents.’

‘Journalists have suspected these activities but the evidence has been hard to find. There have been repeated political attacks launched by the National Party attack dogs, notably Slater backed up by Farrar, and what the book shows is that many of these lead back to the Beehive. This is a technique originally from US republican politics known as a two-track strategy, where the prime minister maintains a friendly, relaxed public image while relying on political proxies to relentlessly attack opponents. This approach has meant that Key and his government have not had to take responsibility for their negative politics. This and many other stories about internal National Party politics are revealed in the book.’

The book is called Dirty Politics: How attack politics is poisoning New Zealand’s political environment. It will be in book shops around the country tomorrow morning. It covers the six years of the Key National Government.

The book is based upon a large number of internal communications between the National-aligned blogger Slater and a network of National Party figures.The documents are very revealing about Slater and his collaborators, including much that is shocking and distasteful. But, much more important, the documents also cover politicians and Beehive staff, showing the highly coordinated National Party attack politics used year after year throughout Key’s prime ministership. Readers can see the inside story of issues they have seen in the news, now revealed in the participant’s own words.

Mr Hager said that the leaks seem to have come from when Slater had his website crashed in January this year after comments he made about a West Coast man who died in a car crash (he said the ‘feral’ had done the world a favour). Mr Hager had no part in obtaining the materials. The book also draws on information provided by some National Party sources.

‘As readers will see, there is a very high public interest in the public knowing about the activities revealed in the book. I believe that any news organisation would have jumped at the opportunity to get this material,’ Mr Hager said. For instance:

* During the 2011 election campaign Slater obtained a database of the Labour Party’s members, e-mails and donations, and gleefully attacked the party. What no one knew is that Key’s dirty tricks person, Ede, had helped throughout, including searching inside the Labour Party computers and helping Slater plan the subsequent attacks on Labour. Ede’s office was just two doors from John Key’s and presumably he was using his Ministerial Services computer (Chapter 2).

* In the same election campaign, the prime minister’s office used its knowledge of secret SIS documents to tip off Slater and arrange an attack on the Labour leader (Chapter 3).

* Ede drafted official information act requests for Slater to use in other attacks, for instance against Ministry of Foreign Affairs staff who were in conflict with the government (Chapter 3).

* When the Labour Party leadership race was on last year and getting good publicity, Ede got National Party research staff to prepare an attack on David Cunliffe and other contenders’ policies that was published on David Farrar’s Kiwiblog website the following day (Chapter 9).

* The more the National Government has used Slater, the closer that Key himself has got to the attack blogger. For instance, when most New Zealanders were appalled by Slater’s offensive comments about the West Coast man who died in the car crash, his closest associates rallied to support him. One of those who phoned him and commiserated at that time, according to Slater’s account of the conversation, was John Key (Chapter 12).

Key and his colleagues have known their use of proxies and allies for attacks and dirty tricks was risky, but they believed they could keep it secret. It was only the unexpected leak that has brought the story to the light. The book is full of stories that might otherwise have remained secret.

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