Rodney Hide has a column in the New Zealand Herald today dismissing the allegation that he was blackmailed into standing down as leader of the ACT Party. He writes:
Hager never rang to ask: “Hey, I have just come across the damnedest stuff and just have to ask, were you ever blackmailed?”
To which I would reply: “No, definitely not. I would never give in to blackmail. I would go straight to the police. It’s a crime. I have no doubt the police and the courts would take a dim view of any attempt to blackmail a political leader and Government minister. It never happened.”
Let’s timeline his resignation alongside the allegations made in Dirty Politics.
- Sunday, 24th April 2011. Don Brash challenges Hide for the leadership of ACT. Hide refuses to stand down:
Hide poured scorn on Brash’s claim of being offered the co-leader’s job. He said he had offered to pay Brash’s membership if his friend joined the Act Party.
“He wanted to be leader. I said the way you become the leader or co-leader is to join the party and work your way up.”
He said Brash was too old for the job. “We’re looking forward to the next generation of leaders and Don has had his shot with National. It’s hard to see him contesting the 2014 campaign.”
- Sunday, 24th April 2011: Simon Lusk (allegedly) contacts Cameron Slater advising him that ‘we can fuck up Rodney. Jordan is talking to a girl that Rodney has been sending dodgy texts to.’ Lusk suggests to Slater that they tell Hide they will release the texts if Hide does not resign by Friday.
- Tuesday, 26th April 2011. Hide still refuses to stand down as leader
Mr Hide has said Dr Brash’s bid is a takeover attempt by a member of a different party.
Confident of keeping his leadership, he said if Dr Brash wanted to become leader, he would have to follow the process and first become a member of the party.
- Tuesday, 26th April 2011. Cameron Slater posts ‘Custer’s last stand’ on WhaleOil:
Rodney needs to be careful with any dodgy plays because the tipline is running so hot that it is practically on fire. This includes some information about his destruction of Heather Roy’s career that would not play out kindly for Rodney. He should remember carefully how he used me in that play.
In a continuation of the “Roy play”, Rodney is also contemplating a personal attack on Don based on his ethics. This would be a great play for Don because it would mean personal life was absolutely fair game, and I just absolutely love politicians dirty laundry being aired in public, just ask Stuart Nash and the new Mangrove Iain Lees-Galloway. Not a classical scholar, Rodney probably is unaware of William Congreve, but here are a couple of excellent quotes:
“O fie, miss, you must not kiss and tell.”
And the better known
“Heaven has no rage like love to hatred turned, Nor hell a fury like a woman scorned,”
Meanwhile my predictions of Rodney’s bunker pals running “Don Brash is an old man” lines has come to pass with Rodney Hide staffer Chris Diack commenting freely on Kiwiblog. Word via the tipline is that they wil keep up that line for a couple of days and then change to smears involving Don Brash’s personal life. It surprises me that Rodney Hide of all people wants to go down that path but if he plays those cards then he will reap what he sows.
- Wednesday 27th April. Hide stands firm:
But current leader Rodney Hide says he is not resigning and that he is proud of what he has done for the party.
He said he had heard rumours about his resignation but said they were not true.
When asked about Don Brash taking over the party’s leadership he said: “I believe Don Brash hasn’t even joined the Act Party yet.”
Dr Brash’s bid seemed to take a blow yesterday when deputy leader John Boscawen said through a spokesman that he backed Mr Hide as leader and would vote for him in a leadership challenge.
Thursday 28th April: Hide resigns:
Rodney Hide has stepped down as leader of the ACT Party, paving the way for challenger Don Brash after days of mounting pressure and speculation.
Dr Brash will lead the party from outside Parliament, so its current MPs will keep their spots, including Mr Hide’s ministerial posts.
Mr Hide announced his resignation at a press conference in the Auckland suburb Newmarket this afternoon, in the heart of the Epsom electorate he has represented since 2005.
In his Herald column today Hide writes:
I tracked down Jordan Williams. He had no texts. He says the claims are “utterly, utterly false … outrageous. … disgusting”. I believe him. I emailed Don Brash. No, Simon Lusk never worked for him. I believe him.
According to Dirty Politics, page 70:
Lusk wrote to Slater via Facebook: Don [Brash] has told [New Zealand Herald reporter] Derek Cheng I was not paid by him and I was not paid by ACT as far as he knew and wasn’t going to comment any further on who was involved in his coup.’ Slater wrote back, ‘Lol, bwahahaha.’
If I was Slater, Lusk or Williams, I think this is the stuff I’d be losing sleep over. I am not a lawyer, but I looked through the crimes act and asked a real lawyer about this, and if the police can establish that these messages really were sent by Lusk and Slater they are admissible as evidence whether or not they were obtained illegally, and might be used, along with Slater’s blog posts, to charge them with conspiracy to commit blackmail, irrespective of whether Hide feels that he was actually blackmailed. Maximum sentence seven years.