Wednesday 13 August 2014

Thank God For Nicky Hager!

Man Of The Hour: Nicky Hager with a copy of his just released book, Dirty Politics. Photo by Mark Mitchell.

IF NICKY HAGER did not exist it would be necessary, for the survival of our democracy, to invent him.

A full review of Nicky's book will follow just as soon as I have read and digested its contents.

In the meantime, as the news media responds to Nicky's revelations, we should ask ourselves this very simple question: "Does this journalist's response to Dirty Politics suggest that he or she is part of the solution - or part of the problem?"

Oh, and thanks again, Nicky. Thanks heaps.

This posting is exclusive to the Bowalley Road blogsite.


Anonymous said...


I've noticed a slight but definite mood change in recent weeks. not a groundswell yet, but a questioning of the status quo. The Nicky Hager book, a more disciplined Labour Party and even a focus on policy.

The mood change is subtle. Some people seem to be putting the phone back on the hook. Are we witnessing a 1978 scenario where Labour and the opposition forces use their underdog status through an election campaign to focus minds and hearts on their message. If Bill Rowling could do it then David Cunliffe certainly can.

thesorrow&thepity said...

Then the correct follow up question would be "is half the book dedicated to left wing blogs & their information sources?" Or are all left wing blogs sugar n spice? It's politics in the 21st century not tidily winks, both sides use bloggers; how is this a revelation?!

Ennui said...

Great question Chris. I noticed that on Stuff and the Herald that the book made immediate headlines. This morning the stories appeared less prominent and watered down. Lne can only speculate why?

Guerilla Surgeon said...

I had a quick look at the whale oil blog for the first time in years. He reckons it's going to be "one-sided" – that man obviously needs an irony transplant.
And to those who are writing off Winston Peters – I notice he's fallen on this like manna from heaven. So there's life in the old tusker yet :-).

Nick K said...

Why? Because the Left can't win on policy so it hangs on to winning by defamation and smears?

Charles Etherington said...

It's cured my sciatica so sorry folks, I'm back!
Hager is simply part of the left's dirty politics machine. More thorough than his equivalents on the right but still utterly partisan. Because of his past interventions in elections he will probably have little impact as he has no credibility with the average person. They know it's 'just that bleating dirt digger again.'

Good on him though for maximising sales but wait for the backlash showing the dirt merchants on the left which I note Cunliff is very carefully trying to keep clear of.
He is learning.

It does show how important blogs and the net are and they will continue to grow. The right is ahead in this game for once, unlike when Brash and English were at the top. They copped the dirt then from their enemies like Hager.
I note in parallel CBS has announced it will produce content more for the net in future than TV. That is a huge shift.
TV, other than through the net is dying.
House of Cards is on-line now more than on TV.

Anonymous said...

Oh come on.
Hagar is doing his usual trick of presenting commonplaces as revelations, and overcooking his conclusions.
"The Hollow Men" presented that the startling revelation that rich men like access to political power, and are prepared to do something about it. The major revelation , the shabby deal done with the Exclusive Brethern was already public knowledge.

Hagar is constantly banging on about illegal coms intercepts, and dirty politics yet he's done just that.

Hagar's latest gems:
Farrar polls for the National Party! (Farrar says as much on his blog)

Collusion (talking!) btween bloggers and politicians! (Has been happening or years and is no secret - ask Helen)

Slater is a loon! (you think?)

What about the left and their tame blogs. Are they any different?

The real issue this election is (much of) the left's willingness to deal with a political party funded by a foreign criminal, purely for his own ends. Chris, you seem to think this is acceptable!
How would you react if this was a right wing party?

Jigsaw said...

Just so I get it right- a book on dirty politics by a man who routinely steals other people's emails. That correct?

Anonymous said...

Nicky Hagars king hit is the hacking of the Labour Party website, which he claims to have uncovered and nobody knew about it.

Yet a ten second google search shows the story was published multiple times all over mainstream media over three years ago.

The National Business Review even hired top IP lawyers for an opinion of the legallity. They found it was totally legal because the Labour website had a gaping security hole and anybody could see the database.

So Hagar's claim that he has uncovered a big conspiracy is patently false.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

Nick, if it's defamation and smears, why is Hager not being sued? Has he ever successfully been sued? Has he ever got more than a minor apology? Considering how strict New Zealand's defamation laws are, I'm surprised he is not bankrupt – but then he generally gets as facts correct.
If you want defamation and smears, I suggest you go to whale oil blog.

Charles Etherington said...

GS re why not sue?
As a former litigation solicitor, I can tell you why normally you would strongly advise your client not to sue the likes of Hager, even if he has defamed you.
It only gives him the oxygen of publicity and makes you look silly and thin skinned.
Better to ignore them or dismiss them as bent and biased and let the likes of Slater do the same dirt throwing job to Hager's side.

I'm a bit slow on this one though, as I did not fully appreciate that Hager is no friend of Labour either it seems. Am I right? Is he just a far left activist making a living?
Why doesn't he get a blog? No money in it I expect. He would not get a job as a journalist, as he is not one. He's an attack activist fully engaged in dirty politics, while pretending to be clean and aloof. Very dishonest & dishonourable man. Hollow indeed.

Tiger Mountain said...

National is going down. In a better world there would be a stack of resignations including NixonKey’s, Whaleboil would be excommunicated and the nation begged for forgiveness by live stream.

But Key will probably fight it out OIA by OIA, revelation by revelation. Time for a cleanout of dirty politics. And Dotcom’s Sept 15 still tick tick ticking.

Every vote for the left boosts the left bloc, Labour, Green, Internet Mana, no wasted votes.

Don Robertson said...

Wow. Did you guys get advance copies? How did you read it so fast?

BTW - Slater said in an interview ages ago that he takes money to push opinions - but I didn't know he took tobacco money.

I'm bit of a lefty, and if allegations like these were made against left-wing politicians and bloggers, I'd be very concerned.

Our political parties keep sending people over to the United States to learn from the Republicans and Democrats, and that worries me. They meet people like Karl Rove, who worked for the Bushes, and Dick Morris, who worked for Clinton, and they are both pretty horrible people, and they both play a very dirty game. I don't want to see New Zealand politics sink to that level.

These sort of tactics work for an election, but the long term effect is to turn people off altogether, and to make them susceptible more extreme cults of personality. Pretty soon politics will descend to having one personality based cult chanting abuse at another personality based cult.

That's not in anyone's long term interests - we'll, unless your facing extradition, I suppose.

Those of you who are so quick to defend Cameron Slater have to ask yourselves - is he really someone you admire and support? You really want him carrying your flag into the election campaign?

Nick K said...

Win a defamation case or else it's all true? Is that the same as all the Labour Party's "consent is not given in rape unless proven otherwise"?

Guerilla Surgeon said...

Given that the libel laws in this country are very strict – for instance compared to the U.S. and possibly even Britain, it is surprising that the man hasn't been successfully sued for large sums of money. That implies that he is at least getting his facts right, because as I remember it one of the defences is that it's actually true.
God I'm loving how the right at ducking and weaving on this. And calling it one eyed and so on without any sense of irony at all. This is almost as much fun as watching the right's reactions to Kim Dotcom's betrayal of all that they love :-). A source of simple pleasure and amusement.

Chris Trotter said...

To: Charles Etherington.

As a former litigation specialist, Charles, you will be aware of the difficulties facing someone like Nicky Hager when it comes to defending themselves from the sort of casual slanders you have been repeating on this commentary thread.

As the operator of this blogsite, however, I am in a position to defend him from such foul attacks.

Your allegations are untrue and malicious. You will cease forthwith, or you will be banned permanently from Bowalley Road.

I hope I have made myself clear.

pat said...

two questions to ask all parties involved in the affairs publicised in Nicky Hagers you deny any of the allegations? and do you think what has occurred is desirable?.......everything else aside the replies to these two very basic questions would be very enlightening.

Charles Etherington said...

What!!? Allegations? It's opinion I thought.
Are you sure you're not reading another post as mine?

Chris I am not in the possession of any knowledge about Hager's allegations either way and could not care less about them.

I am expressing an opinion. One which is the same as Joyce's in the media today. It is not slander (defamation) to express an opinion unless one lives in Russia or China.

Hager is spreading carefully timed dirt (which can be true or untrue or so mixed no-one can tell), in my opinion.

I appreciate you like and respect him and that is fine but I'm entitled to take a contrary view of him and his motives.
In fact I am saying he may be making true allegations, but the way it is done, and when (an election campaign, again) says it all, in my opinion.

Jigsaw said...

As I understand it (not having read the book) Hager also says that Rodney Hide was blackmailed. I have just listened to Rodney Hide tell Chris Trotter (it was your voice surely?)on radio that he wasn't blackmailed and that the section on that in the book made him laugh out loud. I waited for you Chris to call Rodney a liar on radio....

jh said...

One thing that put me off Nicky Hager was how he downplayed the significance of the intercepts in the Urewera case.
Imagine if he had applied the same standards to the hacked emails. On the one hand he is prosecution, on the other the defence:
Each time the police want a new search warrant or interception warrant, they add their latest evidence to the growing document and make their case for the latest warrant. It is an evolving document which, since its function is to persuade the courts to give police more powers, contains their most compelling evidence.

Thus an affidavit shows the progress of the investigation, but is not intended to be a balanced document. The police might collect hundreds of hours of intercepted conversations and include only snippets that support their allegations. No doubts are expressed and evidence that contradicts the suspected offences is generally not included. If all you see of the evidence is an affidavit, it can give a highly distorted picture of a case. This makes it hard for the public to judge the Urewera issue since, to date, much of the news media information about it comes from the one leaked affidavit.

Chris Trotter said...

And why would I have done that, Jigsaw? Unlike some, I do not brand people liars without solid proof that they have not told the truth.

Nicky's book relates the exchanges between Cameron Slater and Simon Lusk over what they clearly believe was their successful effort to force Rodney Hide's resignation.

Nicky observes that their conversation feels like blackmail. He freely admits, however, that he has only the Slater/Lusk exchange to go on.

The texts allegedly exchanged between Rodney and an un-named young woman, not being available, leaves room only for journalistic conjecture.

Nicky cannot say definitively that Rodney was blackmailed - and he doesn't.

It helps if you read the book, Jigsaw.

Barnsley Bill said...

Chris, clearly you have forgotten the weekly piece you wrote for Truth under Cams stewardship... I haven't. And I am sure Cam still has every email back and forth discussing attack lines, themes and who to have a pop at.

Chris Trotter said...

You would be wrong about that Mr Beaumont.

Cameron was actually a very good editor to work for. He never suggested a single line of my "Waitakere Men" column.

Andrew R said...

I don't think I have seen such a frantic dismissal of Hager as is happening in comments sections like these. I get the impression though that almost if not all of those dismissing Hager as some sort of left wing hypocrite who is just telling us what we all know haven't actually bothered to read the book. But hell, why let facts get in the way?

Meanwhile my copy is ordered and I am looking forward to receiving it and reading it.

That is is selling so many copies gives me hope that facts will win out in the end.

pat said...

Have just watched Paul Henry hang J Collins out to she to be the sacrificial wolf (dressed up as lamb) to save Key?

Anonymous said...

Given that the libel laws in this country are very strict – for instance compared to the U.S. and possibly even Britain,

First off, we don't have libel laws. We have the Defamation Act 1992.

The reason most defamation suits never see the light of day in New Zealand? The time and expense is simply not worth it, even if you win.

Guerilla Surgeon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Guerilla Surgeon said...

Libel– or defamation cases are not necessarily done to be "worth it". They're done to punish, and to cost the opponent money. Particularly if they have a lot less than you. And if what I hear is true then Slater is going to sue simply to get the name of the person who gave Hager the information. Anyway, if it's untrue they should sue as a matter of principle. It's not as if John key can't afford it :-).
Still lovin' it incidentally :-).

Barnsley Bill said...

Thanks for replying Chris, and now we come to the crux of it. Because apparently you were simply a meat puppet being directed what to write.
Happy to discuss that with you anytime over a beer at Galbraiths because the correspondence being offered as gospel in the book is in my experience and reasonably accurate recollection about as far from the truth as Anything written by George McDonald Fraser. Historically linked works with a fictional character placed in the central role.
I have spent the last few days reviewing ( with shame, hubris and all manner of other emotions) electronic communication between a dozen or so parties that read as gospel rather than boastful nonsense would make a dozen Sequels to the book.
It would also see many characters in the blue AND red team stroke out.
Russell Beaumont.

jh said...

I haven't been so interested in this until I heard Slater's comments about the people of Christchurch. There you have the worst type of rat-bags from the commercial world.
But what if the left were exposed?
One of Tony Blairs speech writers claims that way back, they discussed ramping up immigration to "rub the right's noses in diversity". Helen Clark claimed New Zealanders were "deeply racist". How about exposing the arrogance and stupidity of the left?

Guerilla Surgeon said...

"How about exposing the arrogance and stupidity of the left?"

Isn't that Slater's job? In fact isn't that his calling? Mind you the right might not really like being associated with him – described by someone in this or another thread as "putrid" – with some truth :-). And yet all you can come up with JH is that Helen Clark said New Zealand society is deeply racist? Certain amount of truth in that – still there is none so blind as those who will not see. Anyway, considering the fuss the right made about that stupid bloody drawing she did or didn't do..... claiming dishonesty of the first-order blah blah blah. God help us, Hager's exposure seems to have much more meat in it to me :-). Plus it presents the rather unsavoury but pleasing picture of the right ducking and weaving, and running for cover. Never seen them quite so defensive :-). And this could go on for months. Loving it!

Charles Etherington said...

Enough nasty politics surely. Lots of Shakespearian quotes come to mind.
Let's debate policy. Or is that too cynical?
The sanctimonious Greens policies perhaps, or is it their claim to be as clean as fresh snow why they are getting Labour voters to shift their way currently?

Guerilla Surgeon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Guerilla Surgeon said...

I'm not quite sure what "enough nasty politics" means. If it means we had enough by now then probably it should have been said when the right were slavering around with corn gate or picture gate or whatever. I'm not sure I really care about the truth of the allegations at all – though possibly I should :-).
What worries me is stuff like that arse Slater getting privileged access to SIS information, when other reporters allegedly had to wait for 20 days. (As just explained on focus on politics.) If somehow the National party is using the SIS as a facilitator for an attack dog then that's real corruption. (Still loving it mind.)