Key hits out at 'stealing of election'

Prime Minister John Key yesterday hit back over the Dirty Politics allegations against him and his Government, warning that a hacker and the political left were "trying to take an election off New Zealanders".

Mr Key's fightback against claims of a sustained National Party dirty tricks campaign was bolstered yesterday when senior public officials hosed down fresh evidence appearing to show he was in the loop over secret documents released to Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater.

But questions remain over claims first made in Nicky Hager's book Dirty Politics that Mr Key's office or the SIS helped Slater obtain the documents which he then used to embarrass former Labour leader Phil Goff.

National's bid for a third term in Government hit a banana skin last week in the form of Hager's allegations and Mr Key said that was bad news for the entire country.

"There's a real risk that a hacker and people with a left-wing agenda are trying to take an election off New Zealanders," he said in Christchurch.

But he was looking ahead to National's official campaign launch this weekend.

"We're going to make an announcement on Sunday that's really important to New Zealanders ... I just say to New Zealanders: it's your election, you own it."

He also hit out at the media, saying that by reporting on Hager's book and the release of source material hacked from Slater's computer "you're effectively supporting illegal activity".

Early yesterday Mr Key faced new evidence appearing to contradict his claims that he was never told the SIS intended to release the documents Slater used against Mr Goff.

But two letters emerged later yesterday - one from former SIS Director Warren Tucker and another from Ombudsman Dame Beverley Wakem - which referred to Dr Tucker briefing the Prime Minister on the release of the documents.

Dr Tucker and Dame Beverley both said later that they meant they had briefed Mr Key's office and not the Prime Minister himself.

Mr Key added that he had been on holiday at the time the briefing took place.

"I was having myself a whale of a time on holiday in Hawaii."

Asked if he could have been briefed by phone, he said: "We've got a full inquiry and people will be more than happy to check my records."

Mr Key was still reluctant to comment on whether anyone in his office might have passed information about the documents to Slater.
He hadn't asked his staff, "and I'm not going to do that at the moment".

"At the end of the day it's irrelevant when we're four weeks out from an election. New Zealanders don't care about that."

Mr Goff yesterday called for Cheryl Gwyn, the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security, to use her powers under the Security Intelligence Act and "put on oath anyone relevant to the case" including Mr Key, Slater, Mr Key's chief of staff Wayne Eagleson and his former senior adviser Jason Ede, who is tagged in Hager's book as Slater's primary Beehive contact.

"It is much harder for a person to lie on oath than it is in a press stand up," Mr Goff said.

He said Dr Tucker told him about Slater's request for the documents on July 26, the day he received it.

Mr Goff said Dr Tucker said he intended to release that day, "and I hit the roof".

He had told Dr Tucker it was "unbelievable that you would contemplate doing anything like that - that draws you right into the political arena".

He said Dr Tucker then agreed to delay the release for a week.

Mr Goff said that tallied with messages published in Hager's book and more recently online where Slater indicated he was frustrated that release of the documents had been delayed.

- by Adam Bennett, NZ Herald

Labour no better

Phil Goff did actually do something wrong, in case that's been overlooked. And Helen Clark was so frightened of being overthrown she ruthlessly excised any possible challengers from her own party while PM, leaving the party bereft of any decent leadership for years (and more years to come by the looks of who they've got now).
Also, her feminist health ministry excised hundreds of experienced GPs from obstetrics, leaving her favoured midwifery-only system behind to wreck it all, and make childbirth unsafe again. Actually, thinking about it, some deaths have resulted from a ruined system so thoroughly dismantled there was no going back.
Hager's allegations pale in comparison, and I'm yet to have seen any proof of lives ruined due to his allegations. But both he and his hacker are having a damn good crack at a decent, hard-working PM, who has seen our country through a massive global financial crisis with just a few bumps and bruises. Some thanks he gets!
Again, the left-wing media is out of touch with the public interest measure - how journalists are meant to measure newsworthiness. Most of the really vile stories affecting many more New Zealanders about the real impacts of Labour's tenure will probably never be told.
I wish the supporters of Hager's theories and assumptions would get away from the fire and realise the "witch" on the stake isn't real. They need to wake up to reality - there is no credible or safe alternative to National to govern. The media better be careful of the kind of three-headed beast it wishes upon us, lest this whole heist turn out to be the crazed machinations of one very angry German. [Abridged]

But who stole our democracy?

John Key has himself to blame for his predicament.  He and his party have learned nothing from "The Hollow Men' but we have!

The question is not who stole the election. The real question is who peverted and stole our democracy. And who is now telling the truth?

Deny, deny, deny

At the end of the day, the National Party is not 'taking a hit'. They have fallen on their own shoddy sword.

Nicky Hager's book is not an attack on National as they would like us to think..Some of them (not all, I hope) are being exposed for their disgusting gutter level tactics.

The book just points out the disgraceful conduct of some people in the highest levels of our government and their administration.There is unlawful and corrupt behaviour, but most concerning there is the undemocratic behaviour.

I trust that anyone planning to vote National will at least read the book before casting their vote. For the sake of our democracy I hope they look further than deny, deny, and make their own decision. Our country deserves that.



Hang on a bit

Hang on a bit, here you are banging on about "Labour (being) no less clandestine or ruthless with their adversaries."  Where's the evidence?  Feed us some examples.  Evidence is coming out about what National's been up to.  Give us some evidence about what you are saying Labour did.

Any less relevant?

So does that make what he has to say any less relevant?  When governments are involved in shenanigans we have a right to know, whether or not an election is imminent.  I would venture to say that before an election is probably to best time to reveal this type of goings on.

Just what part of the evidence is 'discredited?'

Just what part of the evidence is discredited?  Surely you aren't referring to Key's assertion that he was in Hawaii when Tucker "advised/informed him about the OIO request.  Surely you don't believe that when Key goes to Hawaiii he is incommunicado. Surely you don't believe that when our Prime Minister is out of the country he doesn't keep his hand on the helm.  The most you can say about the evidence is that it is not conclusive and that is far from "discredited."

Layers of grubbiness

Think about what this distraction article is about. Goff uses discredited evidence to accuse Key of lying about outing Goff's lying. Media in this country has sunk to a new low by giving Hager oxygen to push his book. That book is not journalism - it's hacked emails and accusations with only one side of a murky story. Therefore Hager is no journalist - just a blogger like Slater except in print.

Dropping a bombshell

It's certainly interesting that the satirical song, "Planet Key" has been banned and this book hasn't. The song was a joke while Hager's book has been released with the intention of influencing the election. Hager drops a bombshell book just before every election. This is the third time he's done it by my count.

Tall poppy machine huffs and puffs

The left and the Greens can't win this on policy - we see now the Greens' tax numbers are utterly ridiculous, meaning an unacceptable rise in most people's PAYE - and so they all get behind this delicious lot of conspiracy theories. It's all based on past events, when the media at the time could kick themselves for not asking enough questions about things then of the Nats. So tough - they've had their chance, and now they expect us all to sit down and swallow their regurgitation of these so-called mini-scandals that happened years ago. Boring!

Labour were no less clandistine or ruthless with their adversaries during their time in tenure before Key's Government; mostly actually, they did it to each other; it was rabid, nasty stuff - and they are no different. Nor are the Greens, who have shown in the past, along with their sisters and brothers in Greenpeace, that they will stoop to dirty politics also. Now we have a new and particularly lethal kid on the block - Internet-mana. Not dirty? You bet! We can see through you, Mr Dotcom!

Layered over this pile of bile, we have Wellington and Auckland-based journalists, who are bitter about the way National has skillfully avoided death by their own "sensational" stories over recent years. Following Hager's book, and the hacker's highly manipulative and frankly revolting dumps (has anyone seen the language he uses?), political reporters with a lot of pulling power in this country are jumping up and down like demented monkeys. Where is the public interest measure? I wish the media would poll us to see what we think of Hager's book itself, and those disgusting twitter dumps that has our journalists daily caught in their spell (or is it stench?). Talk about stealing an election, bang on Mr Key! Keep your head up - it's only NZ's great tall-poppy knocking machine huffing and puffing away - as they do!