Former Cabinet minister Judith Collins faces being pulled
into the high-level inquiry into intelligence information being
sent to blogger Cameron Slater after new information from the
hacker known as Rawshark.
The Herald now has information purporting to be social media
conversations and emails between Ms Collins and the blogger
Among the information, which was said to be hacked from
Slater's computer, is an apparent discussion about the
political demise of former Labour leader Phil Goff.
The conversation appears to show Slater and Collins
discussing Mr Goff's departure from Parliament in the context
of an expected Official Information Act response just days
before the unusually swift of an intelligence briefing to the
blogger from the SIS.
The Official Information Act release, made just days after it
was requested, showed SIS director Dr Warren Tucker had
briefed Mr Goff on Israeli backpackers the SIS had initially
suspected were spies -- information the Labour politician had
claimed not to have been told. Nicky Hager's Dirty Politics
book raised questions as to whether Slater was tipped off
about what to ask for and when the information would be
coming as part of a politically motivated attack.
The Herald is currently analysing the new information but has
matched the dates of an apparent conversation between Ms
Collins and Slater with the days leading up to the release of
the SIS information.
In discussing Labour's prospects for the 2011 election, Ms
Collins is said to have sent a message to Slater on July 31
2011 at 8.27am saying: "Can't imagine that they can find
someone to take the fall for Phil. When Phil fails, will he
then resign from Parliament so we can have a by-election so
soon after the election? perhaps he should just go now and
then we can save money on a by-election?"
Slater is shown responding: "Well hopefully I will get my
reply to my OIA on monday. then we will see what happens."
Collins: "Oh dear. All this open government thingy."
The conversation -- if accurate -- shows the blogger
discussing the expected release of intelligence information
with Ms Collins, a Cabinet minister, before the SIS had
The blogger had made the request for the SIS information on
July 26. On August 2, he is said to have sent a message to a
friend saying: "OIA'd the briefing minutes and notes for
Goff's SIS briefing... it has been expedited, in the public
interest. It is devastating for Goff I am told." The
information arrived on August 4.
The Inspector General of Intelligence and Security, Cheryl
Gwyn, has launched an inquiry with hearings being held just
nine days before the election. Mr Goff, blogger Cameron
Slater and staff from the Prime Minister's office have all
been summoned to give evidence -- but the absence of John Key
from the list of those testifying has sparked fresh outrage
from opposition politicians.
Labour's Phil Goff says Ms Collins must also be called to
testify to the inquiry into the release. Asked about the
exchange, he said: "It indicates the closeness of the
"I would expect the Inspector General to have her give
testimony as to what she knew and why she knew it.
By David Fisher of the New Zealand Herald