Dirty politics: My 2c

Dirty politics: My 2c

There are bits of Nicky Hager's Dirty Politics that are, for political anoraks, at least, "who cares" material.

But there are bits that are not.

For me, the most shocking revelation in the book is about the use of clandestine SIS files as a weapon of partisan politics. To recap, John Key or his office discovered classified SIS files that were embarrassing to Phil Goff, got them declassified, then immediately told a right-wing blogger to seek those same newly-declassified files under the OIA, all as a means of smearing a political opponent.

That is awful.

That is not what spy agencies are for.

The use of spy agencies in partisan politics is absolutely, irredeemably disgusting.

That episode has much more to do with John Key and Jason Ede than it does Cameron Slater. Misuse of SIS documents was arranged by John Key's personal office, and carried out by one of John Keys most senior staffers, Jason Ede. Cameron Slater is simply their tool.

So what should happen now?

Well, that episode alone needs to be investigated by the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security.

Another incident, where Ministers Amy Adams and Judith Collins appear to deliberately circumvent the OIA to benefit Slater should be investigated by the Ombudsman.

This book does not describe a series of incidents. It describes a system. And responsibility for that system lies with the person at the head of it. The person who employed Jason Ede, who stood by as his Ministers and officials breached their ethical and legal obligations to New Zealanders, and who also personally fed vile material into National's attack blog machine. John Key.

Yes, there is some ideological name-calling in this book. And yes there is some stuff detailed rather breathlessly in here than is common practice around the democratic world.

But there is much more than that.

We cannot let anything obscure the disturbing facts that emerge about potential misuse of taxpayer funds, and the apparatus of New Zealand state security, along with unethical if not illegal actions by multiple government Ministers.

National's glib response so far has been disrespectful to New Zealanders and to our democracy. Given the behaviour documented in Hager's book, that it sadly no surprise. We deserve a much more serious response than this. And, more broadly, we deserve a much better politics than this.

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Comments

Bill O'Rilley says:

08:20am

So Guyon Espiner appears to spin the interview with Cunliffe not to be about National possible using SIS for its own purposes, but in terms of blogging. He seems to try and normalise it, the theme of the interview being (its as almost as if he is parroting Joyces comments):

“This is hardly new is it” (aka, all the other parties do it... so it’s ok for National do it)

Great, so anyone can contact the SIS and get some dirt on the opposition, thanks Guyon? The Greens, Mana, Labour et al, would not be allowed near anything the SIS etc have at present.

Guyon then turns the interview around and says that Labour have bloggers and attempts to do a gotcha moment on Cunliffe. Guyon never mentioning how unusual this allegation is (i.e. use of the SIS to further the incumbents position in politics), but rather again to this is normal it.

Guyon, then asks Cunliffe 3x (in ever increasing squeaky voice), are you going to the police?

Is this your top interviewer RNZ? God help us.What was the interview about again, oh thats right,

Now, if the use of SIS is true, do you think it is possible the Government could determine who is fit for employment for key positions within Government. Could they not use their information to hurt people, ensure they are never employed again or their familes? No questions were asked of that nature. How would it effect your ability to 'question' the government if you new they had dirt on you?

9:00 to Noon Hooten + Williams Interview

Normalising the argument, divert:

Mathew Hootens response rather predictive, from what I can tell he is trying to make out this is normal, its not entirely new. Jason Ede is just a political appointee of John Key blaa, blaa, blaa.......

He then intimates Nikki Hager is just an extreme left person, he is an extremist, he is not a journalist, he does not check facts etc (sits nicely with John Keys he just a screaming lefty)

Then again reiterates ‘It is nothing new’

Again normalising

Hooten then makes out that the information taken was a criminal offence. The diversion then comes in: Oh Labour etc have done it.... Once again its the message, its ok because i have alleged others do it.

Humm, the point in all this is that JK and Team Key are seen are as squeaky clean, a party who would not use the likes of Slater et. al.

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