Video | Agriculture | Confidence | Economy | Energy | Employment | Finance | Media | Property | RBNZ | Science | SOEs | Tax | Technology | Telecoms | Tourism | Transport | Search


Hager links PM, Whaleoil in pre-election Dirty Politics book

Hager links PM Key and Whaleoil in election eve 'Dirty Politics' book

By Pattrick Smellie

Aug. 13 (BusinessDesk) - A member of Prime Minister John Key's press office, Jason Ede, hacked into Labour Party computers and stole donor and membership information, according to a new book by political journalist and activist Nicky Hager.

Ede then bragged to right-wing Auckland blogger Cameron Slater, known as "Whaleoil", about using transient internet addresses to hide his tracks, it says.

Hager's book, "Dirty Politics", is at least the third political expose he has published in the lead-up to an election, and appears based heavily on emails and other documents stolen from Slater, most likely during a "denial of service" attack that took the Whaleoil Beef Hooked blog site offline earlier this year, around the time of the launch of the Internet Party.

Slater had created wide offence at the time by claiming the death in a car crash of a West Coast man, whom he labelled a "feral", had done the world a favour.

Subsequently, Hager was offered "thousands and thousands of communications between Cameron Slater and his network of National Party collaborators", on which the book is based.

He told a crowd of 250 who packed into the launch event at a Wellington bookshop that the book would amaze readers as each chapter showed "grubbier and grubbier" political behaviour of a kind not seen since the days of the 1975-84 National Party government of then Prime Minister Robert Muldoon.

"You are not going to believe what you read and how bloody awful it is," he said, with emails showing activity going to the "ninth floor of the Beehive", the Prime Minister's Office, at the same time as Key has "cultivated a very respectable image of being friendly and relaxed, which is true, but at the same time there is another side to his politics that New Zealanders may have smelt but they haven't seen evidence."

This was a "second track of politics", in which "the Prime Minister's Office was collaborating week by week and year by year with a group of National Party allies and proxies who would do their attacks for them."

"What people haven't understood is that side by side (with) the friendly, relaxed leader of the party has been the most vigorous, negative campaigning and personal attacks that we've seen since the age of Muldoon or before," Hager said.

Chapter 2 of the book relates email exchanges between Ede and Slater following the discovery by a member of then Labour leader David Shearer's office, John Pagani, that one of the IP addresses for hacks into the Labour database was registered to National Party headquarters.

According to the book's reprinted emails, Ede emailed Slater on June 14, 2014, to note Slater "stood out like dog's balls because of your damn Mac!" as Pagani tracked the hackers by "matching IP neighbourhoods and the types of computer we use."

"In my case," wrote Ede, "I wish to offer a hearty sigh and celebrate dynamic IP addresses."

Slater, who is about to launch a privately funded news service, was quoted publicly accusing Pagani and others of lying, when confronted at the time.

A spokeswoman for Key said she could not comment on whether Ede still works in the Prime Minister's Office, saying "I'm not sure of his official title at the moment, but he's still involved."

Key has yet to respond. Green Party MPs took to social media immediately to push a message to "clean up New Zealand politics."

Hager has attempted to influence previous elections. In 2005, he published "The Hollow Men", which exposed links between then National Party leader Don Brash and wealthy members of the religiously conservative Exclusive Brethren sect. In 2002, Hager's so-called "Corngate" expose on genetic modification embarrassed then Labour Prime Minister Helen Clark.

Whereas Brash successfully sought interim injunctions against the publication of The Hollow Men, tonight's launch was unimpeded by court action, although no review or sale copies were distributed until the launch event.


© Scoop Media

Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines


Hourly Wage Gap Grows: Gender Pay Gap Still Fixed At Fourteen Percent

“The totally unchanged pay gap is a slap in the face for women, families and the economy,” says Coalition spokesperson, Angela McLeod. Even worse, Māori and Pacific women face an outrageous pay gap of 28% and 33% when compared with the pay packets of Pākehā men. More>>


Housing: English On Housing Affordability And The Economy

"Long lead times in the planning process tend to drive prices higher in the upswing of the housing cycle. And those lead times increase the risk that eight years later, when additional supply arrives, the demand shock that spurred the additional supply has reversed. The resulting excess supply could produce a price crash..." More>>


Sweet Health: Sugary Drinks Banned From Hospitals And Health Boards

All hospitals and DHBs are expected to kick sugary drinks out of their premises. University of Auckland researcher, Dr Gerhard Sundborn who also heads public health advocacy group “FIZZ”, says he welcomes the initiative. More>>


NASA: Evidence Of Liquid Water On Today's Mars

Using an imaging spectrometer on MRO, researchers detected signatures of hydrated minerals on slopes where mysterious streaks are seen on the Red Planet. These darkish streaks appear to ebb and flow over time. More>>


Bird Brains: Robins Can Just Be Generally Clever

Research from Victoria University of Wellington has revealed that birds may possess a ‘general intelligence’ similar to humans, with some individuals able to excel in multiple cognitive tests. More>>


Psa-V: Positive Result On Whangarei Kiwifruit Orchard

Kiwifruit Vine Health (KVH) has received a Psa-V positive test result on Hort16A and male vines on a kiwifruit orchard in Whangarei. This is the first confirmed case of Psa-V on an orchard in the Whangarei region. More>>

Regional Accents: Are Microbes The Key To Geographical Differences In Wine?

A new study of six of New Zealand’s major wine-growing regions has found that differences in flavour and aroma of wine from different areas may depend more on microbes than was previously thought. More>>


Science: AgResearch To Cut Science Staff In Areas Of 'Reduced Demand'

“We are therefore consulting with our staff from today on a proposal to reduce science staff in areas of shrinking demand. Combined with recruitment planned in areas of growing demand, this would mean a net reduction of 15 scientists and 41 technicians at AgResearch in the 2015/16 year." More>>


Get More From Scoop

Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news