Nicky Hager at the launch of Dirty Politics. Photo / Adam
Dirty Politics, the new book from author and
investigative journalist Nicky Hager, will feature leaked
emails between National Party figures and a right-wing blogger.
The book, which has been released in Wellington tonight, aims
to tell the story of "how how attack politics is poisoning
NZ's political environment".
It includes email correspondence between Whaleoil blogger
Cameron Slater and Jason Ede, one of the Prime Minister John
Key's press secretaries, in relation to information found on
The National Party had denied any involvement, but Mr Hager's
book showed Mr Slater and Mr Ede had discussed the
information and how to avoid being caught.
Mr Hager said the Prime Minister's office had been
"collaborating" with National Party "proxies" who were
carrying out attacks on behalf of Mr Key while working to
preserve his image.
"Part of the book is about how John Key has cultivated a very
respectable image of being friendly and relaxed but at the
same time there has been another part of his politics which
New Zealanders have not seen or understood."
Mr Hager described Mr Slater as an "obnoxious" blogger whose
attacks on a young man killed in a car crash earlier this
year had led to hackers attacking the Whaleoil website.
He said the attack knocked out the Whaleoil site for a number
of days during which time a hacker had come away with
"thousands and thousands" of documents.
He said the papers revealed an "an astonishingly cynical and
ugly view" of the way National's "proxies" behaved in
Mr Hager said people would become increasingly astonished as
they read through the book because the "dirty politics" only
"You will not believe what you read and how bloody awful it
In a speech prior to the launch, the book was described as
one which "implicates John Key and senior National Party
It ''revolves around a cast of Key, Cameron Slater, Jason
Ede, David Farrar, Judith Collins and other National Party
"It shows a very different side of John Key and his
Government than most New Zealanders know'', the book's
Hager's earlier books have included Seeds of Distrust, which
threatened to ankle-tap former Prime Minister Helen Clark as
she headed into the 2002 election.
Mr Hager followed with The Hollow Men which gave voters an
inside look at the manipulations of National's 2005 campaign.
His 2010 book Other People's Wars exposed New Zealand's
intelligence and military activities in Afghanistan and Iraq
during the "War of Terror" - a stark contrast to the
friendly, public relations-driven view the New Zealand
Defence Force had offered.
His previous access to well-placed intelligence sources have
driven speculation he was preparing to release Edward
Snowden-sourced documents about New Zealand's involvement in
the US-led Five Eyes spying alliance. But talk around
Wellington yesterday had some leaning towards an expose on
Ahead of today's launch, Prime Minister John Key dismissed Mr
Hager saying: "Most people know that Nicky Hager is a
screaming left-wing conspiracy theorist."
It's a view which is in contrast to praise from US journalism
legend Seymour Hersh, who last year said: "Nicky Hager has
more knowledge and understanding of the American intelligence
world in Afghanistan - both its good and its very bad points
- than any reporter I know."
The release of the latest book has been carried out in total
secrecy. Publicity for the book ahead of the launch has been
non-existent, although the launch itself at Wellington's
Unity Books has become today's must-attend Wellington
Media commentator Russell Brown said Mr Key's comments should
be seen as preparing the ground for whatever might be coming
by attempting to diminish Mr Hager's credibility.
"They are generally stories people don't want told," he said
of Mr Hager's work. "You can see that in the push back which
comes before the book comes out."
Mr Brown, AUT's Journalist In Residence and frontman with Toi
Iti for Maori Television's Media Take, said Mr Hager had
proven his credentials repeatedly and should be regarded as
"One very valuable thing about Nicky is that he operates at a
different level to most journalists. He has a strong sense in
the public interest. He can take a long time to get the
detail right. We're lucky to have someone in his position."
Mr Brown said Mr Hager's books fell into either the
"barnstormer" or "technical" category and he expected this
one would be greeted as a "barnstormer".
Mr Hager's first book was Secret Power, published in 1996. It
was a world-exclusive and remains the authoritative text on
the United States-led pre-digital spying network called
- by David Fisher, NZ Herald