17 Aug 2014

Hager hamstrung on source documents

5:22 pm on 17 August 2014

Author Nicky Hager said his source won't let him release the documents behind his book which accuses National ministers and staff of feeding information to right wing bloggers.

Nicky Hager's Dirty Politics claims that Tony Falkenstein, was the target of online attacks written by the blogger Cameron Slater.

Nicky Hager says his source won't let him release the documents behind his book Dirty Politics. Photo: RNZ

However he said his source might make the material public.

There have been calls for Mr Hager to release the information he was given for the book, Dirty Politics so the allegations can be fact-checked.

He told the Sunday Morning programme he returned the material to his contact because a recent court judgement could have meant he would have to reveal his source.

"I went back to my source in the last couple of days and said would you mind if I took a pile of the source documents about Jason Ede and Judith Collins and things and spread it around the media? And the source said to me 'no' actually and basically implied that they might release the information themselves."

Mr Hager has asked the source that if they do release the documents, they keep private information out of the public sphere.

Slater confident book won't damage relationship with PM

Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater, meanwhile, doesn't believe Mr Hager's book will damage the National Party or his relationship with Prime Minister John Key.

Mr Slater is mentioned in Dirty Politics as receiving information from National ministers and staff.

But John Key denies there are any formal ties between his party and Cameron Slater.

Mr Key said he had not communicated with Mr Slater since the book came out, but would continue to do so on occasion.

"Cameron Slater is a force unto himself, there's no question that people talk to him, we talk to lots of bloggers and actually that's the social media world that we live in."

Mr Key said he would like the identity of whoever hacked Mr Slater's website to be made public.

Slater says Labour also fed him information

Speaking from Tel Aviv, Mr Slater told TVNZ he deals with all political parties and half of David Cunliffe's caucus has been feeding him information.

David Cunliffe.

David Cunliffe has called for Judith Collins to be stood down. Photo: RNZ / Chris Bramwell

He said he knows from his sources in the Labour Party and other parties that the left wing does not have clean hands in this saga.

Labour Party leader David Cunliffe said his MPs and candidates should know to keep away from Cameron Slater.

But Mr Cunliffe said Mr Slater had no credibility and it was self-evident to Labour MPs and candidates that they should have no contact with a person of his ilk.

Mr Slater said he doesn't believe Mr Key will stop texting him because of the revelations in the book.

Cunliffe tells Key to stand down Collins

Labour Party leader David Cunliffe said the Prime Minister should stand Justice Minister Judith Collins down after claims about her conduct in Mr Hager's book.

Mr Cunliffe said Mr Key has already put Ms Collins on her final warning, and he now needs to follow through.

The book has a chapter dedicated to Ms Collins, and accuses her of regularly feeding a stream of information, gossip and documents to Whale Oil blogger Mr Slater.

Mr Cunliffe said the book has revealed distasteful comments from Ms Collins, and that she was involved in a smear campaign of ministerial staffer Simon Pleasants.

Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei.

Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei. Photo: RNZ / Diego Opatowski

Mr Cunliffe said the system built up by Mr Key and the National Party is designed to denigrate opposing parties in revolting terms.

He said the behaviour is not becoming of any New Zealand politician, and Mr Key needs to be held accountable for it.

Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei also said the Prime Minister should stand down Ms Collins.

Ms Turei said the Mr Key should take action.

"John Key needs to take this attack on the democratic process seriously. The allegations against Judith Collins are serious, he should at least stand her down, while he investigates those allegations."

Steven Joyce  during a press conference regarding Novopay next steps.

Steven Joyce Photo: RNZ / Diego Opatowski

Campaign chair for the National Party, Steven Joyce, said the allegations in Mr Hager's book are disintegrating.

Mr Joyce said the email released as evidence was stated openly at the time.

He said a National IT staff member accessed publicly available information on Labour's website, which was not properly secured.

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