The Dim-Post

September 1, 2014

New shit has come to light

Filed under: media — danylmc @ 8:43 am

Via Stuff (sorry about quoting so much of your story, guys): 

Judith Collins’ office processed an Official Information Act request in just two days to release an email embarrassing then Serious Fraud Office head Adam Feeley in 2011.

The revelation comes as ripples from the Dirty Politics saga widened during the weekend after a series of bombshells including:

■ Collins stepped down as Justice Minister after an email handed to the prime minister’s office raised questions about her involvement in what leaked emails appear to suggest was a campaign by Right-wing blogger Cameron Slater and others to undermine Feeley while he was SFO boss.

■ Prime Minister John Key confirmed there would be an inquiry into Collins’s actions in relation to Feeley, with details of the inquiry to be announced today.

In October 2011, Feeley was embarrassed after emails leaked by his former prosecutor showed he had toasted the prosecution of Bridgecorp managing director Rod Petricevic with Champagne obtained from the offices of the failed finance company.

Emails obtained by Fairfax Media, alongside one released by the PM’s office, appeared to show controversy over the incident was in part stoked by Slater and fellow blogger Cathy Odgers who had talked of being being paid – it appeared from the emails – by Hanover Finance’s Mark Hotchin to attack the SFO.

The allegation that some insiders – most prominently Matthew Hooton – are putting around is that as-yet-unreleased documents show Collins passing on information about the prosecution to Slater, who then passed it onto Hotchin’s defense team. If that’s true then it will be the biggest corruption scandal in New Zealand politics for many generations (feel free to nominate contenders in the comments). It is hard to imagine that any Justice Minister would be crazy and horrible and dumb enough to do that. On the other hand, Judith Collins tenure as a Minister has mostly been about crazy, horrible dumb things. So we’ll see. 

Putting Collins aside for a moment, the revelation in the email released by John Key reveals some other pretty horrible stuff happening in our political-media culture. Mark Hotchin was under investigation by the Serious Fraud Office so he allegedly hired Graham, Slater and Odgers to smear the head of the office, and several senior journalists in the mainstream media are implicated in that smear campaign. 

Russell Brown has an overview of what happened. Herald journalists Fran O’Sullivan and Jared Savage have published comments on the material in Slater’s leaked email, and O’Sullivan is especially indignant at the suggestion she was collaborating with Slater. I guess it’s just a huge coincidence that Slater wrote in a private email: 

Cathy can outline her contact with Fran O’Sullivan separately. Basically though the Herald and other media are now picking up our lines that this situation is like “Caesar’s Wife” where the SFO must be beyond reproach. If he nicked a bottle of wine what else has he nicked or hidden from receivers and liquidators? …  

And that O’Sullivan then wrote her column entitled ‘More than a storm in a champagne flute‘ vigorously attacking Feeley in exactly the way outlined in the email. Savage wrote six stories about the same subject. There was also a column by Deborah Hill-Cone – who bestowed Slater with his Canon award: 

What does it say to his staff that it is OK to take a bottle of wine from one of the companies you are investigating? If that is OK – hey, it’s only a bottle of wine – what next? 

It would be nice to know what was actually going on here. Did the Herald’s staff know they were collaborating in a PR smear campaign? Jared Savage wrote that it was ‘naive’ of him not to know that he was being manipulated by Slater and Graham. It’s a shame that one of the top investigative journalists in the country is such a trusting, innocent naif.  I think we’re going to hear a lot of this over the next few months. ‘Gee, in retrospect I was wrong to trust Cameron Slater!’ But Slater hasn’t exactly hidden his utter, utter loathsomeness over the years. Pretty much the only nice thing you can say about him is that he’s been totally upfront about how incredibly unethical, sleazy, corrupt and hateful he is. 

Journalists need to hold people like the head of the Serious Fraud Office to account. They need to source their stories, and they source those stories off people with an agenda of their own, and sometimes those sources aren’t nice people, and journalists also need to keep their sources confidential – but it seems really, really wrong for people like Graham, Slater and Odgers to exploit those prerequisites of a free press to make a living conducting vendettas against public servants on behalf of the people they’re investigating. And there seems to be something going on at the New Zealand Herald that makes it very easy for them to be used in these smear campaigns. I hope they try and fix it. 

Update: Fran O’Sullivan wrote: My column was written b4 Slater’s email which quotes my column & NZH editorial.

95 Comments »

  1. This is going to be very hard for National to ever get away from. The perception will be that they are a party hooked into dirt and borderline-criminality that has looked after New Zealand’s richest, even when they have done appalling things.

    Comment by George — September 1, 2014 @ 8:48 am

  2. We all get fooled from time to time. I expect that the reaction of those who have been fooled will be to withdraw the last slivers of partiality and good faith that have been extended to the PM’s circle, and the underlings he uses to do his business.

    Comment by George — September 1, 2014 @ 8:53 am

  3. If I read the post right, you might be mixing up Jared Savage with David Fisher.

    Comment by sammy 2.0 — September 1, 2014 @ 8:55 am

  4. Ah, OK, here’s Savage admitting “naïve”. Sorry.

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11316711

    Comment by sammy 2.0 — September 1, 2014 @ 8:58 am

  5. Danyl,

    I think you are correct. This story has more legs than everything else in the Dirty Politics book. The book showed that Slater was a grubby individual (quelle suprise!) but it really felt like drawing with a huge brush trying to tar everybody and I think it failed. The SIS OIA had some legs, but it felt like Slater’s hit job on Brown (unlike say the job on David Cunliffe re a chinese immigrants reference).

    What I do think is a better question is : Why was this not in Hagar’s book? Did the hacker not pass everything on? In my mind this is tending to imply there is some for of political ‘conspiracy’ here. A tag line of ‘Vote positive’ a book that is scandal driven, and now an exceptionally important story re Judith Collins. My real concern is that all of this was planned months out and is the election campaign, which meant someone has sat on this information for months.

    Comment by John W — September 1, 2014 @ 9:03 am

  6. “…Pretty much the only nice thing you can say about him is that he’s been totally upfront about how incredibly unethical, sleazy, corrupt and hateful he is…”

    Normal people frequently underestimate the sincerity of evil. I don’t want to Godwin this, but how often do you read in history books members of the European ruling elites saying they didn’t think Hitler would actually follow through on his vulgar anti-Jewish program once he got into power when old Adolf was completely upfront about it?

    Comment by Sanctuary — September 1, 2014 @ 9:03 am

  7. South Canterbury Finance deposit holders were bailed out. Hanover wasn’t. There needs to be a proper enquiry. Not some 2 minute rush job. If anyone lost money in any of the finance companies they should vote for a change of government. Key is trying to whitewash this. Key has a very weak character couldn’t make a hard decesion to save himself. He is not the man to lead the country if the rot is deep and wide as it appears. Aside from the massive conflict issues.

    Collins has got form. (MofJ ffs) The only way it can be cleaned out properly is a change in admin. Cunnliffe finally (at long bloody last) ramping it up he / labour greens need to add more pressure.

    Comment by Simon — September 1, 2014 @ 9:11 am

  8. “I don’t want to Godwin this, but…” I just did.

    There – fixed it for you!

    Comment by Michael — September 1, 2014 @ 9:13 am

  9. @Michael – Actually, I was just being polite. A Godwin is when someone accuses someone of being a Nazi, not drawing a lesson from history. Perhaps you ought to look it up.

    Comment by Sanctuary — September 1, 2014 @ 9:17 am

  10. The Labour Government made some pretty hideous calls in it’s 3rd term (think Electoral Finance, Peters etc) – is there something about being in power for a couple of terms that just make these people incredibly arrogant after a couple of terms of power, and if so, perhaps we should place a limit on length of office?

    Comment by Michael — September 1, 2014 @ 9:17 am

  11. The point Godwin is trying to make is that you can’t just throw such analogies into the discussion without the comparative implication – and thus it heads downhill from there. I get it it. Perhaps you should look it up – I’ll give you a hint, the other handle for it is “Godwin’s Rule of Nazi Analogies”.

    Comment by Michael — September 1, 2014 @ 9:19 am

  12. @Sanc: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Godwin%27s_law

    “if an online discussion (regardless of topic or scope) goes on long enough, sooner or later someone will compare someone or something to Hitler or Nazism.”

    You compared Slater to a Nazi.

    Comment by kalvarnsen — September 1, 2014 @ 9:19 am

  13. “On the other hand, Judith Collins tenure as a Minister has mostly been about crazy, horrible dumb things.”

    Yet disturbingly popular things, in many cases.

    Comment by izogi — September 1, 2014 @ 9:26 am

  14. Simon, the Deposit Guarantee scheme was brought in in October 2008 in response to the Global Financial Crisis. Hanover stopped paying its depositors in July 2008. So it’s not really that surprising that the Hanover investors weren’t covered.

    The whole finance company sector was so poorly run that most of the collapses predated the big credit crunch.

    Comment by Conrad — September 1, 2014 @ 9:27 am

  15. @John W,

    What I do think is a better question is : Why was this not in Hagar’s book?

    Hager says he didn’t have the crucial email tying Collins to the whole thing. The hacker (Rawshark(?)) says he didn’t have it either. Matt Nippert doesn’t appear to have seen it until Key released it on Saturday. So it looks like this only became a story about Collins once Cathy Odgers gave the email to Key’s office, thinking that it was going to come out anyway (even though it wouldn’t have).

    Comment by Andrew Geddis — September 1, 2014 @ 9:30 am

  16. The hacker did have all the other Hotchin stuff, which he gave to Matt Nippert. I would like to know why that wasn’t in Hager’s book.

    Comment by danylmc — September 1, 2014 @ 9:32 am

  17. “…Cunnliffe finally (at long bloody last) ramping it up he / labour greens need to add more pressure…”

    I am not so sure. I think Labour/Greens need to avoid being associated with this scandal as much as possible. At the moment, the Labour should try and stick to it’s vote positive message and promising an inquiry into the books revelations.

    But surely this is just all more evidence that New Zealand’s leadership class is decadent and no longer fit for purpose. The disgraceful *meh* lawlessness and subsequent legislative arse covering of the Dotcom affair wasn’t a deviation; it was the first hints that the performance of our leadership class has collapsed into muddled incompetence, corruption, cronyism and casual lawlessness even as it maintains an attitude of complete entitlement.

    The question is, is this the nadir? Can our leadership elite reform itself?

    Comment by Sanctuary — September 1, 2014 @ 9:36 am

  18. Perhaps because Nippet is a journalist and Hager isn’t. Hager’s approach was to throw about a large number of accusations without looking behind what people were saying, claiming, boasting and so missed what could be the most important story.

    Comment by NeilM — September 1, 2014 @ 9:42 am

  19. “It’s a shame that one of the top investigative journalists in the country is such a trusting, innocent naif.”

    People try and influence court cases/prosecutions all the time in this way, especially but not exclusively commercial cases. How do you think most “investigative journalists” get their material? This is one of the more elaborate ones by the look of it even allowing for the hyperbolic styles of Whaleoil, Cactus Kate and Matthew Hooton. With the added spice of a Minister potentially being involved. Usually it is the lawyers who speak to the journalists – strictly off the record, of course or supply the documents. Some people have entire journalistic careers based on this sort of story. The incentives to use and be used are very high for a journalist. Leading stories that create consequential news please editors and events move quickly. The quality question most often asked is not is this story true but can we publish this without legal jeopardy? The largest example of an attempt like this in recent years is the one we are in now – the Kim Dotcom saga, where he and his associates have played the media like violins – or more accurately, given the quality of some of the journalism, banjos.

    Comment by Tinakori — September 1, 2014 @ 9:43 am

  20. The hacker did have all the other Hotchin stuff, which he gave to Matt Nippert. I would like to know why that wasn’t in Hager’s book.

    Sure. Maybe Steven Price (Hager’s lawyer) might be able to shed some light on that. There may have been a judgment call made on whether the risk of litigation was too high/the evidence too tenuous to justify airing it.

    Or maybe there’s a left wing conspirace to get Judith Collins. What would I know?

    Comment by Andrew Geddis — September 1, 2014 @ 9:47 am

  21. With the added spice of a Minister potentially being involved.

    If you see a great steaming turd as ‘added spice’. I guess that’s how things are inside the ‘beltway’.

    Comment by Joe W — September 1, 2014 @ 9:54 am

  22. People try and influence court cases/prosecutions all the time in this way, especially but not exclusively commercial cases.

    Really? They try to get the head of the agency investigating them sacked from their position so as to forestall the investigation?

    If this is just “business as usual”, then the NZ Police force is going to be busy for an awfully, awfully long time: http://www.legislation.govt.nz/act/public/1961/0043/latest/DLM329005.html?search=ts_act%40bill%40regulation%40deemedreg_crimes+act_resel_25_a&p=1

    Comment by Flashing Light — September 1, 2014 @ 10:04 am

  23. Fran O’Sullivan is in a very tricky spot here, since she must be either complicit or naive, she’s involved either way, and in either case her judgment as a journalist is very suspect. Either corrupt or dumb – which is it?

    Comment by Dr Foster — September 1, 2014 @ 10:04 am

  24. I find this all a bit of a worry.

    On the basis of emails from obnoxious people who don’t have much of a connect with reality we will have two enquiries which probably won’t reach any conclusion til after the election but which could very well determine the results of the election.

    Perhaps they will show Key and Collins in the worst possible light and so justify having lead to an opposition win.

    But if they exonerate Key and Collins but the Nats are thrown out then what would that say about how our politics now works.

    Comment by NeilM — September 1, 2014 @ 10:07 am

  25. “. So it looks like this only became a story about Collins once Cathy Odgers gave the email to Key’s office, thinking that it was going to come out anyway (even though it wouldn’t have).”

    Without trying to sound like a John Key apologist, This means Key (finally) gave Collind the boot based on info not in the public domain and unlikely to come out before the election. Hence, it does show integrity on his part.

    Comment by Swan — September 1, 2014 @ 10:08 am

  26. “Hence, it does show integrity on his part.”

    To me it just suggests he needed a new and thinly veiled excuse to do something which he’d come to realise he should have done much much earlier, yet categorically stated he wouldn’t.

    Comment by izogi — September 1, 2014 @ 10:11 am

  27. But if they exonerate Key and Collins but the Nats are thrown out then what would that say about how our politics now works.

    Oh, I dunno NeilM … maybe that if you are fucking stupid enough to play footsie with Cameron Slater, et al, then you run the risk of having to wear the consequences? What exactly do you want to see happen here? For everyone to shrug, say “I’m sure everything will come out in time”, and just carry on as normal to re-elect National for another three years on the assumption that they’ll “do the right thing” once “all the facts are established” through the processes that they set up and control?

    Ain’t gonna happen. And read Hosea 8:7 as to why it shouldn’t.

    Comment by Flashing Light — September 1, 2014 @ 10:12 am

  28. “What exactly do you want to see happen here?”

    But… but… it’s all Nicky Hager’s fault! He shouldn’t have released his book so soon before an election. Or ever. Obviously.

    Comment by izogi — September 1, 2014 @ 10:14 am

  29. @Swan,

    Hence, it does show integrity on his part.

    Why do you assume that Key knew this was not going to be in the public domain? As far as he was aware, Rawshark(?) could have either given it to Nippert, or been sitting on it for later release. At which point, if he did sit on it without acting …. boom!!!

    So, sure – Key (finally) did the right thing. But the key (sorry!) point is that no-one knows exactly what anyone out there now knows … which throws everything into a state of deep uncertainty.

    Comment by Andrew Geddis — September 1, 2014 @ 10:17 am

  30. “This means Key (finally) gave Collind the boot based on info not in the public domain and unlikely to come out before the election. Hence, it does show integrity on his part.”

    Except for the part where Key et al didn’t know Nippert et al didn’t have it.

    Comment by Pascal's bookie — September 1, 2014 @ 10:23 am

  31. …no-one knows exactly what anyone out there now knows … which throws everything into a state of deep uncertainty.

    And all based on the actions of an individual (?) whose identity we don’t know and whose motivations we think we know who hacked personal emails of people whose statements might not have much truthiness.

    Comment by NeilM — September 1, 2014 @ 10:28 am

  32. “Heaven has no rage like love to hatred turned, Nor hell a fury like a Press Gallery scorned – William Congreve.

    Guyon Espiner is righteous this morning.

    http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/top/253431/collins-inquiry-terms-to-be-announced-soon

    Comment by George — September 1, 2014 @ 10:30 am

  33. Hager told breakfast telly he agreed with hacker Rawshark to only take some of the material so that other outlets (like Fairfax’s Nippert and the Herald’s Fisher) had some exclusive content to work on. Given the specialist business context, that’s not a bad thing.

    Key did not know this stuff was not going to be part of Nippert’s story the following day, so no integrity points I’m afraid. Stop trying to find excuses for these characters. Those on the right should be just as concerned as the left about the lack of ethics in politics and media that is being revealed. We all benefit from fixing that.

    Comment by Sacha — September 1, 2014 @ 10:33 am

  34. @AG and others – true enough.

    At the very least it shows he was prepared to act when something came out that was really beyond the pale, and that he isn’t some puppet for a group of people blackmailing him. Having written that though I realise that isn’t a particularly high bar, but it seems worthy of note given the current situation!

    Comment by Swan — September 1, 2014 @ 10:38 am

  35. On a purely political level, I have to wonder just how damaging this week will be to the National Government. They’ve positioned their entire campaign around Brand Key (“Team Key”), and that relies on Key having a robust set of ‘positives’ with a large section of the electorate. This hasn’t escaped him, and will be lowering specific positives, particularly trust and reliability, and perhaps also care and understanding. That’s going to hurt with their soft supporters and the non-engaged, who rely heavily on personal cues because they lack political information of the conceptual tools to understand that information. Usually the National Government would respond to this by attacking their opponents on the same things and degrade their opposition as foolhardy and unreliable (cover your own weakness by attacking your opponents strengths), but in this case they’re unable to use their standard MO.

    Labour and the Greens were very astute in keeping their distance from the Hager book, and letting Hager and the rest of the media take it to the public on their own, only bringing substantive comment after several days, and only really (in Labour’s case) commenting at length on the allegations that involved Goff’s character assassination. They’ve stepped things up now, after the ground has been laid, but it rightfully isn’t seen as originating from them.

    Comment by George — September 1, 2014 @ 10:39 am

  36. I dunno, interfering with intelligence agencies seems ‘beyond the pale’ enough doesn’t it, Swan? Overnight tracking polls are likely to have played a bigger part in Joyce’s decision about what Key should do.

    Comment by Sacha — September 1, 2014 @ 10:42 am

  37. And all based on the actions of an individual (?) whose identity we don’t know and whose motivations we think we know who hacked personal emails of people whose statements might not have much truthiness.

    NeilM’s right! The real story here is Hager, the hacker, and their motivations!! All these emails may be lies!!! We’re being subjected to the biggest con job in NZ history!!!! WAKE UP, SHEEPLES!!!!!

    Why can’t we just talk about “Tuhoi”, right Neil?

    Comment by Flashing Light — September 1, 2014 @ 10:42 am

  38. Oh, I dunno NeilM … maybe that if you are fucking stupid enough to play footsie with Cameron Slater, et al, then you run the risk of having to wear the consequences?

    What I’ve noticed is a tendency to resort to the telephone in the conversations the PM and Ministers have had with Slater. It may be that this is their preferred style of interaction in informal contexts. It may also be because there is no traceable record of the substance of the interaction and the PM and Ministers can maintain plausible deniability, and duck the OIA. Slater was just stupid/unlucky enough to write it down.

    Comment by George — September 1, 2014 @ 10:44 am

  39. @Swan,

    At the very least it shows he was prepared to act when something came out that was really beyond the pale…

    Oh, sure. He _finally_ got there. I would, however, dispute your interpretation of “beyond the pale”, but. For me, having any sort of role in the Pleasants thing out to have been the end of Collins.

    But yeah – credit for what he did do, when he did it.

    Comment by Andrew Geddis — September 1, 2014 @ 10:45 am

  40. The allegation that some insiders – most prominently Matthew Hooton – are putting around is that as-yet-unreleased documents show Collins passing on information about the prosecution to Slater, who then passed it onto Hotchin’s defense team….

    actually hooton was backtracking a little on this on morning report, saying what he’d heard may have been chinese whispers.

    Comment by leah — September 1, 2014 @ 10:48 am

  41. “They’ve positioned their entire campaign around Brand Key (“Team Key”), and that relies on Key having a robust set of ‘positives’ with a large section of the electorate.”

    Didn’t one of National’s early Team Key campaign videos feature Cameron Slater on-screen saying something like “I’M ON TEAM KEY”? Or was it just someone who looked a bit like him?

    I’ve been searching around trying to find that video recently but can’t spot it anywhere.

    Comment by izogi — September 1, 2014 @ 10:51 am

  42. Endgame inference of the whaledumps – NZ Government exploiting constitutional democratic checks using ministerial/insider information fed to paid gutter bloggers colluding with PR propagandists and a willing corporate media to interfere with justice, discredit, character assassinate, and professionally undermine any opposition and regulatory restriction on a cabal of financially interested politicians, their families, local business networks and international business connections (often fostered and developed using, implicitly or explicitly, ministerial positions and stature) extracting public wealth through shell companies and complicit local entities to unlisted offshore companies in blind tax havens for the exclusive benefit of that same self-serving elite while also pandering to larger international interests in massively undermining the freedoms of a subservient and deluded population through mass surveillance and international information sharing. Kind of what all those left-wing conspiracy theorists have been saying with “cronyism” and “corruption” for years.

    The corruption clearly goes some long way in explaining the rigid and myopic economic focus of this government (dairy exports, civil construction, etc.).

    A Commission of Inquiry, to avoid scapegoating or a whitewash, needs to trace as far into the corruption as possible – inc. historical government tenders and appointments, register of pecuniary interests, OIO applications, ECan appointments, Christchurch construction contracts – but will never reach the depths of depravity this government has sunk to.

    Comment by troll — September 1, 2014 @ 10:59 am

  43. George: “What I’ve noticed is a tendency to resort to the telephone in the conversations the PM and Ministers have had with Slater.

    Absolutely. Key et al. know that it is a deeply “bad” idea (for them) for there to be a record of what they do/say. It is obvious that written/electronic material would/could easily be discoverable by OIA, or by “hacking”. Meta-data (and potentially content) of phone conversations is still potentially a risk, but much less so.

    Unfortunately, for Key et al, some members of the fabled Right Wing Conspiracy are utter muppets. Which is the main impression one gets from “Dirty Politics”: it’s a litany of despicable ideas, implemented by fools.

    Comment by RJL — September 1, 2014 @ 11:02 am

  44. The Herald look as bad as Slater and it all looks like a German fraudster who allegedly facilitates the theft of copyright material may have facilitated the theft of someone’s emails and Hagar is now making a shed load of cash off stolen goods.
    Oh and the media appear to be loosing their advertisers eyeballs to a blog site because they are so self obsessed they can report on nothing else but what happens in the media. Unbelievable that there seems to be no head of news chatting with circulation, advertising and explaining the constant over the top one sided attacks on a party that is polling 50% is a bit of a turn off and how about doing some news type stuff.

    Comment by David — September 1, 2014 @ 11:03 am

  45. I am curious about who it was that supplied Key’s office with this email. Maybe it was Odgers but I can’t see why she would do that. There is another name in the address bar that has been redacted. Who was that? Jason Ede? David Farrar? It had to be someone wanting to help Key out by letting him sack Judith before the Sunday Star Times did their story.

    Comment by Karen — September 1, 2014 @ 11:04 am

  46. What pisses me of is Ryan on National Radio always trying to put the best possible view on anything National does. Now guys we have to accept the minister is innocent till proven guilty.
    I have no idea of she calls herself a journalist or a light entertainment person or what but she is not good at what she does

    Comment by Ron — September 1, 2014 @ 11:05 am

  47. Oh and the SFO and FMA are the worst offenders when it comes to tipping off their favoured journos who spin their lines for them.
    Anyone who has followed the SCF trial gets an inkling on how totally useless the SFO is, how many years has Hotchen had his assets frozen while they decide on if to prosecute or not. Remembering Hanover was sold and the investors got to vote on the sale and over 90% agreed to it.

    Comment by David — September 1, 2014 @ 11:08 am

  48. Comment by David — September 1, 2014 @ 11:03 am…

    OHHHHH!!! I spot a Lesser Beaked Slaterbird outside it’s enclosure on Whale Island! *scribbles furiously in bird-watching notebook*

    Comment by Sanctuary — September 1, 2014 @ 11:13 am

  49. I am curious about who it was that supplied Key’s office with this email. Maybe it was Odgers but I can’t see why she would do that.

    Well, everyone seems to be assuming it was Odgers (that’s how Fairfax/Herald are reporting it). Her reason for doing so would be to let Key’s office get ahead of the story, on the assumption that the Sunday-Star Times was going to print it anyway (which turned out to be wrong). That would make her the “4th name”, which would make some sense as the email in question was a kind-off “where we’re at” summary for the individuals involved.

    Against that, Slater popped up on my blog’s comment thread, denying that the story of Odger’s being responsible was true: http://pundit.co.nz/content/blue-on-blue#comments. Readers may treat that information with however they want to.

    Comment by Andrew Geddis — September 1, 2014 @ 11:17 am

  50. What pisses me of is Ryan on National Radio always trying to put the best possible view on anything National does. Now guys we have to accept the minister is innocent till proven guilty.

    To be fair to her, there needs to be “balance” in the segment (see the Broadcasting Act). And now that Matthew Hooten has gone off the reservation and started hunting with Mike Williams, he’s not providing it anymore. So she’s become a bit of a de-facto water carrier for the Government at the moment.

    Comment by Andrew Geddis — September 1, 2014 @ 11:20 am

  51. “So it looks like this only became a story about Collins once Cathy Odgers gave the email to Key’s office, thinking that it was going to come out anyway (even though it wouldn’t have).”

    I seem to have missed this update overnight / this morning… can someone link me to the confirmation that it was Odgers who gave the email? Was that from a radio broadcast this morning? Haven’t seen it mentioned elsewhere.

    Comment by kim — September 1, 2014 @ 11:29 am

  52. oh, scratch that, I see the Herald reference now. I saw Sean Plunket tweeting on the weekend that he was going to reveal the leaker this morning on radio… did that happen?

    Comment by kim — September 1, 2014 @ 11:31 am

  53. The way Slater refers to Odgers in the email implies to me it is Odgers.

    He says he will leave it to Odgers to update on… This is a common thing to say in an email and when you that person is generally copied in.

    Comment by Swan — September 1, 2014 @ 12:12 pm

  54. Re Slater and telephone conversations
    I wonder if he recorded them??.

    Comment by DV — September 1, 2014 @ 12:18 pm

  55. Another line that clearly needs investigation – Deborah Hill-Cone and Slater.

    Comment by Tigger — September 1, 2014 @ 12:55 pm

  56. I’m nominating John Key for worst prize if the info on this tube is correct! It makes Collins Slater et al look like minows

    Comment by Victoria Adams — September 1, 2014 @ 1:35 pm

  57. “Really? They try to get the head of the agency investigating them sacked from their position so as to forestall the investigation?”

    The former head of the SFO Chas Sturt was also a target when in the job. The SFO has also often been a player in the manipulation of the media. When there is serious fraud there are usually serious crooks and they have used a variety of methods to deal with them.

    Comment by Tinakori — September 1, 2014 @ 1:52 pm

  58. Yeah but …. why would Odgers name be redacted? She is implicated in the email so there would be no reason to do that. Also, she’s more Act than National and she doesn’t seem the type to help them out. It’s more likely someone closer to the Nats campaign I think.

    Comment by Karen — September 1, 2014 @ 1:54 pm

  59. (Also, much love for the Lebowski reference in the title… hopefully nobody has to abide any toes at all, let alone more toes)

    Comment by kim — September 1, 2014 @ 2:16 pm

  60. Yeah but …. why would Odgers name be redacted?

    Isn’t that exactly what you’d do if you were trying to keep the person who gave it to you anonymous?

    It’s more likely someone closer to the Nats campaign I think.

    Well, that just moves the issue one step back. Who did Odgers give the email to, who then gave it to Key?

    Comment by Andrew Geddis — September 1, 2014 @ 2:19 pm

  61. I see the link between Hill Cone and Slater already well looked at here http://www.reddit.com/r/newzealand/comments/2dmeex/link_between_whale_oil_and_deborah_hillcone/

    There’s also an old post from HC where she revels in National’s win and jokes about joining the VRWC http://m.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=10543007

    You know that they say, there’s no joke without fire…

    HC has a strange post up today defending her friend Cactus Kate. So I think we can take it that there is a close link there. http://www.nzherald.co.nz/deborah-hill-cone/news/article.cfm?a_id=368&objectid=11317080

    Just how close?

    Comment by Tigger — September 1, 2014 @ 2:19 pm

  62. @michael Comment 10.

    It’s why a smart default position would be to vote against the incumbent unless there’s an overwhelming case not to.

    Comment by Bill Bennett — September 1, 2014 @ 2:20 pm

  63. danylmc: I would like to know why that wasn’t in Hager’s book.

    Hager started his book without the hacked data. He was writing about the topics in it and seeking further sources on them, when someone offered him the data. But he only used the stuff that supported the information he had from other places, the bigger story of “dirty politics” he was already working on.

    It all needs multiple sources to be in a book, really. Independent confirmation. He’s not just a blogger.

    Comment by tussock — September 1, 2014 @ 6:44 pm

  64. Who is rawshark? Wikipedia says “re-discovering his past life through a surreal collection of clues he has left himself”.

    Rawshark is Cameron Slater re-discovering his part life through a surreal collection of clues he has leaked?

    Stranger things have happened…

    Comment by Yates Baysol Snail & Slug Bait — September 1, 2014 @ 7:05 pm

  65. The hacker could have given what they have on Collins which appears to implicate her in undermining the SFO quite some time ago. Not now just before the election.

    Releasing it now means we the public will most likely not see the results of an investigation til after the election. And I think we have a right to know and to know before we vote.

    Publishing this earlier on the year would have given time for an investigation and time to consider how the result might influence our vote.

    What we have now though is someone drip feeding for there own reasons content that suggests but doesn’t prove anything.

    I’d prefer we were given the opportunity to have these allegations tested before an election rather than get them as part of a scheme we are not a party to.

    Comment by NeilM — September 1, 2014 @ 7:17 pm

  66. NeilM, the general thrust of your post @7.17pm is that Collins should have had her scheming, underhand behaviour exposed early enough to allow the government plenty of time to recover before the election. Is this desperation creeping in?

    Comment by McNulty — September 1, 2014 @ 8:32 pm

  67. Yeah, Neil’s struggling more than Key was on Morning Report today. Come on guy, you’re the last man standing, go out in a blaze of glory! Ede’s a hero, Collins is a saint, Slater is the Mother of the Nation! It’s all a left-wing conspiracy, by the leftist left! Looook, the Standard, the Standaaaard!

    Comment by Judge Holden — September 1, 2014 @ 8:59 pm

  68. “Publishing this earlier on the year” assumes that they had sufficient evidence. This came from Key’s lot, remember, and they only produced it in response to the need to get rid of Collins.

    Besides, the only reason this is being noticed is because it comes at the end of a long series of similar and related revelations. Swap this announcement with the Oravida debacle, and you could say pretty much the same thing (i.e. it would have been ignored and everyone would be saying “if only they’d announced the Oravida stuff earlier!!!)

    Comment by Flynn — September 1, 2014 @ 9:39 pm

  69. I’ll vote for party that says they’ll hold a full enquiry, give the public a decent amount of time to digest the findings, and then hold a new election.

    Like, have a fully informed election rather than gaming by people hiding their identity.

    Comment by NeilM — September 1, 2014 @ 9:44 pm

  70. >I’ll vote for party that says they’ll hold a full enquiry, give the public a decent amount of time to digest the findings, and then hold a new election.

    So, not voting National then?

    Comment by Ben Wilson — September 2, 2014 @ 12:24 am

  71. Or your party could have been honest about their dealings with sewerbloggers, Neil, instead of waiting for a book to reveal it. Take some responsibility, and all that.

    Comment by Sacha — September 2, 2014 @ 6:45 am

  72. New shit has come to light?

    The dude abides…

    Comment by trev — September 2, 2014 @ 6:57 am

  73. I don’t know about the rest of you, but these leaks are just confirmation of how the “new” National operates….and has done since (at least) Don Brash became the leader. In much the same way that Julian Assange / Wikileaks / Chelsea manning and Ed Snowden confirmed widespread suspicion about what illegal stuff many western governments were doing.

    Comment by Steve — September 2, 2014 @ 6:00 pm

  74. @Ben Wilson

    I’m just an ex Clark voter waiting for a reason to vote Labour again.

    These emails date from 2011, there was plenty of time to have this all out in the open prior to the election period. And I presume having it all out in the open sooner rather than later is something we can all agree on.

    Given how much of this relies on what Slater claims I’d prefer to have an investigation before having to decide who to vote for.

    If Labour gets into govt, has a royal commission and it turns out Collins is cleared, where does that leave a Labour govt’s mandate? Would Labour then say – oops, sorry, to be fair we’ll just have to hold a fresh election.

    If the SFO allegations against Collins durn out to be true then she and the govt need to be held to account and they should lose the election.

    I think this dumping of emails during the election period doesn’t do anything for our democratic process. Just like the secretive dealings of Brash didn’t.

    Comment by NeilM — September 3, 2014 @ 9:58 am

  75. Those Bridgecorp investors would have got heaps and heaps more back had the SFO people sold that bottle of champagne to Liquorland. They are clearly thieves. Pure evil. Worse than Petricevic. Etc etc

    Comment by Matthew Hooton — September 3, 2014 @ 10:16 am

  76. >If Labour gets into govt, has a royal commission and it turns out Collins is cleared, where does that leave a Labour govt’s mandate? Would Labour then say – oops, sorry, to be fair we’ll just have to hold a fresh election.

    The Labour government’s mandate, if elected, is on their policy, and their public statements thereof, and whatever promises were made by any coalition they bed down with. Collins being exonerated from some technical charge is hardly worth calling an election over.

    If you really can’t make up your mind between Labour and National because you’re unsure whether Collins conspired with Slater, then there’s nothing really to talk with you about. You decide things in a way that makes no sense to me. There are so many reasons why you could vote Labour, if you are genuinely looking for a reason. Line up their policy with your own beliefs. That’s kind of how representative democracy is meant to work. I should not really have to explain this. Personally, I won’t be voting either Labour, or National, and not because of Slatergate, but because they just don’t promise to do the things I want done.

    Comment by Ben Wilson — September 3, 2014 @ 10:46 am

  77. NeilM: “These emails date from 2011, there was plenty of time to have this all out in the open prior to the election period.”

    Yeah, well, unfortunately, Slater/Collins/Key/Graham/Odgers/et al don’t seem to be in the habit of BCCing John Campbell (say) in their emails, so these have in fact only just come to light. Hacker got them in Feb 2014, Hager wrote the book as quickly as possible (given that he needed to organise them into narratives, supported by other information, and at least satisfy himself that they weren’t bullshit).

    Also the critical SFO allegations against Collins are in an email that Key/Odgers revealed. The critical email apparently wasn’t in the emails that Hager had.

    So, if you are concerned about the timing of this, blame Key. Why didn’t Key release this email and force Collins’ resignation back in 2011?

    Comment by RJL — September 3, 2014 @ 10:48 am

  78. @Ben Wilson

    There are other choices besides Labour and National.

    @RJL

    I’m sure plenty of Hanover investors would have wanted this out sooner. The hacker is playing a political game by delaying this.

    Leaving aside the alleged involvement of Collins, the actions of Odgers et al should have been brought to the publics attention as soon as possible not used as a pawn in the election process.

    Comment by NeilM — September 3, 2014 @ 11:28 am

  79. >There are other choices besides Labour and National.

    You don’t say!

    Comment by Ben Wilson — September 3, 2014 @ 11:48 am

  80. NeilM “…the actions of Odgers et al should have been brought to the publics attention as soon as possible not used as a pawn in the election process.”

    So, are you suggesting that Key has been sitting on this email for years, and that he has only brought it to light now in a desperate, election campaign-driven attempt to manipulate voter perception and attention?

    Comment by RJL — September 3, 2014 @ 12:10 pm

  81. hey Neil. Maybe if you spent less time blathering about why you think people’s motives are just plain awful, and more time thinking about the revelations, you might find you have time to form an opinion afterall.

    Worth a crack anyway.

    Comment by Pascal's bookie — September 3, 2014 @ 1:00 pm

  82. You decide things in a way that makes no sense to me.

    Plus fucking one.
    Although to be fair to NeilM, he doesn’t even attempt enter a discussion from a logical position or argue in good faith anymore.

    Comment by Gregor W — September 3, 2014 @ 2:26 pm

  83. NeilM’s fucked – applying logic to the situation this country finds itself in would result in a shattering of his world view.

    His MO is to disrupt discussions with inane statements and tedious questions about things that are easily discoverable – except that he pretends to have not read the news coverage so he can ask them here and waste people’s time.

    Isn’t it about time he was related to the same hole as that other inane blatherer Pete George?

    Comment by Rob — September 3, 2014 @ 3:30 pm

  84. Isn’t it about time he was related to the same hole as that other inane blatherer Pete George?

    Yeah… remember how we all turned into a pack of braying, slavering, monsters and acted like the worst kind of douchebags on the internet to hound away someone we disagreed with?

    Good times, Rob. Good times.

    Comment by Phil — September 4, 2014 @ 9:28 am

  85. Well said Phil, NeilM got called a piece of shit for daring to disagree about something the other day. This place has really turned into an echo chamber lately – thanks Slater!

    Comment by Exclamation Mark — September 4, 2014 @ 10:12 am

  86. There’s disagreeing and then there’s being a tedious thread hijacker. I disagree with most things you come up with Phil but I wouldn’t suggest that you gtfo.

    Comment by Rob — September 4, 2014 @ 11:54 am

  87. remember how we all turned into a pack of braying, slavering, monsters and acted like the worst kind of douchebags on the internet to hound away someone we disagreed with?

    I don’t remember that. What I recall was;

    (a) Pete being a sanctimonious bore and thread chewer,
    (b) a number of us calling him out on a sanctimonious bore and thread chewer,
    (c) Danyl banning him for being a sanctimonious bore and thread chewer.

    The surprising part for most I think was point (c) given that telling Pete to bugger off was pretty much par for the course.

    Comment by Gregor W — September 4, 2014 @ 4:50 pm

  88. Yes Pete seems to be a thread chewer over at Public Address quite a bit now.

    But I’ve noticed and I’m sure others have too that posters like NeilM pump out the volume. I’d bet NeilM has a far higher word count here at the DimPost than Danyl.

    Their output is beyond normal or natural to the extent it looks obsessive compulsive but I suspect its more than just some trolls personality disorder which drives it.

    Anyway most of the time I skip or skim read their posts ………….. they argue from a position of bad faith.

    Comment by reason — September 4, 2014 @ 10:11 pm

  89. Pete was whining just yesterday about his recent ban from Public Address. Twitter haven’t got rid of his white noise yet.

    Comment by Sacha — September 5, 2014 @ 7:29 am

  90. Pete ‘Suburban Crackpot” George?
    At least he’s sufficiently heroic to merit a Bob Dylan quote:

    Now I wish I could give Brother Bill his great thrill
    I would set him in chains at the top of the hill
    Then send out for some pillars and Cecil B. DeMille
    He could die happily ever after

    NeilM’s more the hitchhiker from Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas – begging to have his face stepped on to put him out of his misery.

    Comment by Joe W — September 5, 2014 @ 8:24 am

  91. I kind of miss Pete. It was always cute watching him try to deal with the realisation that the opinion of one Pete George Esq wasn’t of general interest.

    Comment by kalvarnsen — September 6, 2014 @ 11:25 am

  92. Russell Brown banned Pete George?

    Desperate times demand desperate action. I bet Key is quaking.

    But let the left wing Cleansing of politics begin.

    begging to have his face stepped on

    Never been physically threatened on a comment thread before.

    Comment by NeilM — September 8, 2014 @ 9:30 pm

  93. I didn’t realise Russell had banned him, but this is the conversation that was occurring at the time, and Craig’s comment (linked) probably explains the essence of why.

    Comment by izogi — September 8, 2014 @ 9:44 pm

  94. @izogi

    I disagree with Pete generally but banning him and others just leaves the range of political debate at PAS to be from “fuck John Key” all the way over to “FUCK John Key”.

    Comment by NeilM — September 8, 2014 @ 10:02 pm

  95. @NeilM
    Never been physically threatened on a comment thread before……
    Not this time either. So no need for injured grandstanding.

    Comment by paritutu — September 9, 2014 @ 7:24 am


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