Brian Nicolle and Bryan Sinclair Absolutely Refute Involvement In National Party Leaks
NOTE: Scoop has today removed a story from this page concerning the source of email and fax leaks from Don Brash's office. The story related speculation within in the National Party about involvement of Brian Nicolle (incorrectly identified in the story as ACT's campaign manager, he is in fact a campaign assistant, ACT's campaign manager is Ian Kortlang) and Bryan Sinclair, Don Brash's political strategist.
The story advanced a theory about the leaks as related to Scoop by a National Party source, and clearly stated that there was no evidence to support the theory. Both Mr Nicolle and Mr Sinclair have today denied the theory very clearly and absolutely. Read Mr Sinclair's response here.
Scoop unreservedly apologises to Mr Sinclair and Mr Nicolle for any offence caused by the publication. What follows is some quotes from Mr Nicolle responding to the story.
Conversation by phone between Alastair Thompson and Brian Nicolle 9/9/05
Brian Nicolle: Outrageous. Absolutely outrageous.
Scoop: The reason we ran the story is because we had spoken to someone in the National Party who had said that to us… and the theory was that that was what they were talking about in the party. There is a paragraph in the story which states that we have no evidence and we then cite several bits of evidence which suggest that the theory suggested is not correct.
Nicolle: You have got my comments Alastair. I am just gobsmacked by the whole thing. I just see it as a totally dirty tricks campaign maligning myself. I personally believe it's quite clear there is a thread running through all this and it goes back to people who have been making all sorts of accusations about me. It has turned into a very dirty campaign. I am just amazed, I can't understand how people… how you know… I am just gobsmacked about such outrageous claims.
Scoop: We would like to do anything we can to lessen the damage. We have spoken to Bryan Sinclair as you might see now.…
Nicolle: Where I am now I am standing in a paddock and I can't see any email. I don't have a fancy wireless connection. I am actually on campaign duty today.
Scoop: I can remove the story immediately and stick up a statement from you saying that you absolutely refute the allegations.
Nicolle: Well you can put that up absolutely.
Scoop: From our perspective we ran the story because someone in the National Party said this to us…
Nicolle: Well it is clear that I don't have many friends in the National Party.
Scoop: …and their problem was they were trying to figure out how the email and faxes got out of Don Brash's office.
Nicolle: Well what I am trying to figure out is I sent some emails which were published in the Sunday Star Times and I am trying to figure out how they got there too.
Scoop: One aspect of the theory was that Bryan Sinclair might have forwarded you some stuff when he first got into the office.
Nicolle: That is outrageous as well. That is patently untrue.
Scoop: Well I apologise for any hurt we may have done to you and I will remove the story immediately and put up a statement from you.
Nicolle: Well I appreciate you contacting me. Thankyou very much indeed.
Bryan Sinclair Says Claims "Absolute Rubbish"
Scoop co-editor Selwyn Manning speaks to National Party advisor Bryan Sinclair about claims he was behind email leaks from Dr Don Brash's inbox. Bryan Sinclair refutes all such claims as inaccurate and "absolute rubbish".
BRYAN SINCLAIR: "There is an outrageous story on your frontpage at the moment and I obviously have no comment to make on that, you will get some comment at some stage, I will certainly give you some comment at some stage, but not right this minute."
BRYAN SINCLAIR: "I want to take some advice on it. I notice that you have indicated there that you have absolutely no evidence but for Parliamentary corridor whispering I would make it absolutely clear to you too that I have absolutely not been stood down from my duties, I am standing right next to Don Brash right now on the campaign trail."
SELWYN MANNING: "Now can I insert that in there?"
BRYAN SINCLAIR: "Yes you absolutely can. It is absolutely incorrect."
SELWYN MANNING: "This type of message is coming out of contacts in the National camp. That is why I have been trying to get to you this morning to basically for you to say one way or another whether it was rubbish or whether or not it was factual. So you say on the record (interrupted)."
BRYAN SINCLAIR: "Absolute rubbish and I'm pretty unhappy at reading it."
SELWYN MANNING: "Can I use direct quotes and run audio of it if I can get a run of audio of you?"
BRYAN SINCLAIR: "You are not running audio of it. I said to you I will come back with comment on it. But I am making it quite clear to you that it is full of factual inaccuracies and I will certainly give you some comment on it but not right this moment."
SELWYN MANNING: "OK, has there been any indication, any progress as to how those emails got out in the first instance?"
BRYAN SINCLAIR: "I can't make comment on that and you know that Selwyn."
SELWYN MANNING: "OK. I appreciate that. Is there any other area that you want to address right now because I will write it down verbatim anyway."
BRYAN SINCLAIR: "Yes that is fine."
SELWYN MANNING: "Anything else you would like to expand on?"
BRYAN SINCLAIR: "I'll come back to you."
SELWYN MANNING: "OK, thanks Bryan."