Slater: PM's former staffer 'gutless'

Cameron Slater
Cameron Slater
Whaleoil blogger Cameron Slater has described Prime Minister John Key's former press secretary Jason Ede as "squeamish'' and "gutless'' for not fronting up to the media and talking about their relationship.

Mr Slater said Mr Ede should respond to accusations levelled against him in Nicky Hager's book Dirty Politics.

Mr Ede's role in John Key's office has come under scrutiny following the publication of the book which was written using years of Mr Slater's communications obtained by a hacker.

He is accused of joining Mr Slater in accessing the Labour Party website when security was vulnerable and obtaining private information. He is also accused of feeding information to Mr Slater's Whaleoil blog to attack political opponents.

Mr Ede - who now works as a National Party staff member - has gone to ground since publication of the book while Mr Key has attempted to explain his actions as normal political practice.

Mr Slater said his contact with Mr Ede was normal politics, including the receipt of press releases.

"You are all claiming there is this vast conspiracy - it simply doesn't exist. That Jason Ede is some sort of ringmaster? In my view, Jason Ede is squeamish, and gutless.

"And the fact he has gone to ground and hiding and not speaking to anybody suggests that's true.

"My advice is front-foot everything. My advice is speak and tell your story. If you don't tell your story, everyone else is telling your story with their narrative.''

Mr Slater said his style of politics differed from many others.

"I play politics like Fijians play rugby. My role is smashing your face into the ground.

"Politics is a nasty despicable game and its played by nasty despicable people. Where's the surprise in this?

"There's a lot of people want to be involved in politics but there are not very many people who want to say and do things. The vast majority of people are squeamish.

"The squeamish people are gutless, they run for the hills, they don't speak to the media. And you have to question that - look at all the people who are running and hiding and not talking where I'm the one speaking to the media. If it all comes down to me I'm prepared to front.''

Mr Slater dismissed evidence released by the hacker which aimed to prove contact between the blogger and Mr Ede on issues Mr Slater had denied discussing.

"That's a screen-shot from the hacker ... I don't know if he's edited that or not.

"When people ask me who are my sources. I'm not going to . . . . . . . tell them who my sources are.

Mr Slater also defended asking an ex-prostitute from information about politicians. He said they were "all a bunch of sanctimonious pricks who claim to be innocent who claim to be innocent in all respects and above reproach. I've been around politics for a long long time and I know that's bulls***.''

He said there was "hypocrisy and sanctimony'' from those on the political left when he had helped Labour supporters with issues.

"It's come out in Nicky Hager's book I'm a nasty bastard but there's in fact a lot of people I help that I do off the record in the background for nothing.''

Mr Slater said his blog was no different from blogs on the left - a comment the Prime Minister has also made.

"There's of plenty vicious posts that are written on left wing blogs,'' Mr Slater said.

Slater's confession

"I play politics like Fijians play rugby. My role is smashing your face into the ground." There we have it from the Whale's mouth. John Key has still not cut him adrift nor Slater's mate, Collins.

The last I knew NZ was not like Sicily where thugs run the show.