Prime Minister John Key says he "probably" won't take any
further action about claims in Nicky Hager's book Dirty
Politics that senior Cabinet Minister Judith Collin leaked
sensitive information to right wing blogger Cameron Slater.
Mr Key today continued to dismiss Hager's book - which claims
complicity between his staff, ministers and right wing
bloggers in a covert dirty tricks strategy - repeatedly
saying it was the work of "a left wing conspiracy theorist
who wants to smear the Government".
Hager this morning told the Herald the "nastiest" behaviour
by a minister in his book was Ms Collins giving her friend
Slater the identity of an official she believed was
responsible for leaking information about Finance Minister
Bill English's taxpayer funded accommodation allowance in
In the book he says then-Police Minister Ms Collins'
suspicion that Ministerial Services official Simon Pleasants
had told Labour what they should request under the Official
Information Act in order to embarrass the Government was
"almost certainly unfounded".
The book quotes directly from an email from Ms Collins to
Slater in which she names former Labour staffer Mr Pleasants.
Slater went on to identify Mr Pleasants in a series of
disparaging blog posts on his Whaleoil site leading to a
torrent of abuse directed towards him.
Asked about that claim this morning, Mr Key said: "I'm not
going to go into all of the details. I'm not going to dignify
much in the book now. In the end people can draw their own
conclusions." He said he was unlikely to take further action
over that claim and others including that Ms Collins
discussed then-undisclosed details of the 2011 Bronwyn Pullar
ACC privacy breach with Slater.
"She's utterly refuted them so unless I've got a good reason
probably not.", Mr Key said.
Ms Collins this morning said Hager's book was "full of lies."
"It's a real smear campaign and I'm quite disgusted with it,"
she told TVNZ's Breakfast.
Labour MP Grant Robertson said Ms Collins needed to respond
to the specific allegations made in the book.
"For instance did she have a conversation with Cameron later
about release of confidential ACC emails?"
Ms Collins' response was that a Privacy Commission
investigation had cleared her of leaking to the media Ms
Pullar's identity and a key email about the affair.
But Mr Robertson said whether not Ms Collins was involved in
that leak "she was giving him (Slater) information about the
Hager's book - based on thousands of messages between Slater,
National Party spin doctor Jason Ede and others - claims Mr
Ede ran Mr Key's dirty tricks operations which were kept at
arms' length from the Prime Minister to avoid damaging his
- By Adam Bennett of the New Zealand Herald