Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Dirty Politics

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  • Alfie,

    Key played super-evasive in parliament yesterday when responding to questions about his communications with Slater.

    Norman asked Key how many times he had spoken to Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater or sent a text.

    "None in my capacity as Prime Minister," Key replied. That wording was very deliberate.

    Key's argument is that any communications with Slater occurred in his capacity as leader of the National Party, not as Prime Minister. The distinction is important. It allows Key to wriggle free from his detractors, even if it is not very becoming.

    As Prime Minister, Key is accountable to Parliament for his Government's actions. He is not accountable to Parliament for the actions and behaviour of the National Party. Any Opposition question straying into the latter's territory must be ruled out of order by Parliament's Speaker.

    Labour's Chris Hipkins, however, sought to close off this escape route by asking whether Key had ever phoned or sent a text to Slater on his Government-supplied phone.

    "I am not 100 per cent sure of that," Key replied to mocking laughter from the Opposition benches.

    Given Key's earlier comment that he calls and texts Slater regularly, it's up to the opposition to nail down the facts and not let up on this line of questioning. Of course a record exists of all calls and texts made from Key's phone. I wonder how long it would take for an OIA request on this subject to receive a response?

    Dunedin • Since May 2014 • 1434 posts Report Reply

  • Alfie,

    Speaker David Carter has ruled that Key was wrong when he refused to answer questions about Slater in parliament yesterday.

    Having reviewed Mr Key's responses overnight, Mr Carter today said that was likely correct for most of Dr Norman's questions. However, one where Dr Norman asked if Slater was correct when he said Mr Key had told him the mother of a car crash victim was "the same woman f-ing feral bitch that screams at him when he goes to Pike River meetings" should have been answered.

    The question "made a connection to the actions of the Prime Minister in response to Pike River Mine Tragedy," Mr Carter said.

    "A connection having been made to a matter of ministerial responsibility an informative answer should be given."

    Naturally, Key denies he was being deceptive and comes out with the following piece of meaningless dribble.

    "At the end of the day, people have a variety of different relationships with different people."

    Dunedin • Since May 2014 • 1434 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    Of course the next question should be "how many tines have employees of the PM's office (including Ede) have been contacted by Slater (spit) in the past 4 years? And how many times have they contacted him?"

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2620 posts Report Reply

  • Angela Hart, in reply to BenWilson,

    In short, I think we need to supplant the news media with information media, devoid of rhetoric and spin. It seems to be happening already, that people already seek data out for themselves, but it could be vastly improved.

    I'm with you here. There's so much damage simply from the senseless repetition of untrue sound bites without challenge or correction, let alone the spun stories and the lack of focus on what is really important.

    Christchurch • Since Apr 2014 • 614 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to Angela Hart,

    I’m with you here. There’s so much damage simply from the senseless repetition of untrue sound bites without challenge or correction, let alone the spun stories and the lack of focus on what is really important.

    Sadly, a populace with its hands full making ends meet is too distracted to raise the alarm. Or worse still, it'll be desperate enough to find a scapegoat or 2. (HT Dylan Horrocks)

    https://twitter.com/dylanhorrocks/status/523302199695134720

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5429 posts Report Reply

  • Alfie,

    Dunedin • Since May 2014 • 1434 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Angela Hart,

    repetition of untrue sound bites without challenge or correction

    let's all do what we can on that front.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19706 posts Report Reply

  • Angela Hart,

    Christchurch • Since Apr 2014 • 614 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Angela Hart,

    Sub rosa?

    Hager’s legal team

    Either The Herald is relying too much on their Spellcheckers, or this was a Freudian slip...

    ...she said the judge pushed the police to fined a way of resolving the issue without compelling the media to disclose the source.

    ;- )

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7943 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2620 posts Report Reply

  • Katharine Moody, in reply to Paul Campbell,

    Tom Scott nails it …. more than once

    Someone should do a study of how Key's nose in caricature lengthens over the period of his time in office :-).

    Wellington • Since Sep 2014 • 798 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to Paul Campbell,

    Tom Scott nails it …. more than once

    Thanks, but surely that first link's Sharon Murdoch's work?

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4593 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell, in reply to Joe Wylie,

    Oh you're right, my apology - it was tagged "Tom Scott and others" with no additional credit

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2620 posts Report Reply

  • Alfie,

    John Key faced more questioning on 'Dirty Politics' in parliament today. Luckily we can all sleep easily because Key assures us that "he has seen no evidence his staff behaved unprofessionally."

    The operative phrase there is "seen no evidence". Eyes closed, eyes closed, can't see nuffin... moving right along.

    When Winnie asked about "Jason Ede's services to the National Party while employed at the public's expense", Key replied:

    "Where questions are appropriately asked they'll be appropriately answered".

    WTF? Can our dear leader really get away with flat-out refusing to answer straight questions... again? What a farce.

    Dunedin • Since May 2014 • 1434 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca, in reply to Alfie,

    WTF?

    As I said days ago, Parliament has been rendered useless. Key may as well have a press release in the morning and tell everyone what law he is creating or changing and then at least the Taxpayer can save some money by pointless travel to the House for MPs to sit and be ignored, lied to or outright suppressed. It’s now an absolute farce. The only perc for being in Wellington is that their breaks have not been taken away, unlike the rest of NZ.

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report Reply

  • Alfie,

    John Roughan has updated his Key hagiography with some startling news.

    The Prime Minister believes he knows who hacked Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater's computer and produced the source material for Nicky Hager's Dirty Politics, according to a new edition of a recently published biography of John Key.

    In a new chapter in John Key: Portrait of a Prime Minister devoted to this year's election campaign, Mr Key is quoted as saying: "Someone phoned and told me who the hacker was, but other than having a look at this person, I thought, 'Oh well ... nothing will come of it. Life goes on'."

    Mr Key did not divulge the name of the person to the biography's author, senior Herald editorial writer John Roughan. Asked yesterday whether the PM had referred the name to the police investigation into the stolen emails, a spokeswoman for Mr Key said that though he believed he knew who the hacker was, "he cannot be certain".

    Is this just big noting? The Police and security services are all searching in vain for Rawshark who appears to have concealed his digital tracks well. Nobody has been arrested so who could possibly have this info and let it slip to Key. Was it a credible source or just a gut feeling from his good mate Cam Slater?

    No doubt the Police will be raiding Key's house in the near future.

    As an aside, the Where's Wally game continues.

    Dunedin • Since May 2014 • 1434 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    John Roughan has updated his Key hagiography with some startling news.

    It really is quite bizarre. "Yeah I know who it is. Can't say because I'm not hundy percent sure, but y'know... at the end of the day..."

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    Obviously Key is now a witness in this case, I look forward to the police raid of his office where they take away all his phones and computers

    Of course it's possible that that someone called the PM and not John Key ....

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2620 posts Report Reply

  • Alfie,

    Russel Norman is thinking along exactly the same lines.

    "The police spent 10 hours going through Nicky Hager's house because Nicky Hager supposedly knows who Rawshark is, well the Prime Minister is now on the public record saying he knows who Rawshark is. I would expect the police to be consistent and even handed and to raid the Prime Minister's house and his office to find out who Mr Key thinks Rawshark is."

    Dunedin • Since May 2014 • 1434 posts Report Reply

  • Marc C, in reply to Alfie,

    So, so, so, there we have it then.

    If it was worth editing and amending the text of the biography of our Honourable Leader Kim John Key, then there must be sufficient merit to the validity of the comments by Key, made towards Roughan. Key appears to have confirmed that comment, that he believes he knows who the hacker Rawshark is. But his comment that he could not bother telling the police, because he is not absolutely certain, that is BS of the highest order.

    All that raises yet more questions. Such as, why does Key not tell the police? Could it be, that the person Key suspects to be the hacker who hacked his buddys computer (C. Slater), is likely to know stuff about Key’s involvement in “Dirty Politics”, that could cause serious harm to the reputation or more of our Beloved Leader? That seems to be the only logical conclusion. Key would usually rather have sound interest in informing the police about the suspect, one would think, if he had nothing to worry about his own past actions and involvements.

    The fact he does not inform the police can only lead to the suspicion that Key has much to hide, and an interest in the hacker not being revealed, as he may reveal stuff about Key that could cost him his job, or worse.

    So the mainstream media should actually be pressuring Key for answers, but are they? I again see little evidence of this. They do not have so much restraint with other persons. Perhaps also some in the media do not really want Rawshark to be exposed, as it may reveal more about the involvement of some in the media in "dirty politics". All this raises endless more questions, and justified suspicions, about Key and his own Office.

    Is it not so that people who know a person being searched for having committed a crime, or who know of illegal actions, and who may have committed them, have some duty to report this? Mr Key will though not be having the police visit him I am sure, as those that may believe in the police being that “independent” would in my view be extremely naive.

    Akl • Since Oct 2012 • 437 posts Report Reply

  • NSA, in reply to Alfie,

    Rather than running hypotheticals I’d prefer Dr Norman and any other elected official intent on stamping out corruption and protecting New Zealander’s privacy look more closely at what Key is saying and focus on the means of Key’s own inquiry(?):

    “Someone phoned and told me who the hacker was, but other than having a look at this person, I thought, ‘Oh well … nothing will come of it. Life goes on’.”

    what exactly would “having a look at someone” involve exactly? Would Minister of the SIS/GCSB/ National Security and Intelligence be equipped to take a better look at someone than another minister? Would a warrant be required? Basically what if any personal privacy is still protected by New Zealand law on these occasions when the Prime Minister of New Zealand opts for “having a look”?

    Fort Meade, MD • Since Sep 2014 • 34 posts Report Reply

  • Jack Harrison,

    New Zealand politics really are a bad novel at the moment.

    wellington • Since Aug 2014 • 296 posts Report Reply

  • Dismal Soyanz, in reply to NSA,

    what exactly would “having a look at someone” involve

    That's the first thought I had when I read that.

    Maybe the office of not-the-PM googled the alleged Rawshark?

    Wellington • Since Nov 2010 • 310 posts Report Reply

  • NSA, in reply to Dismal Soyanz,

    Who knows, nothing surprises any longer. It’s not entirely in keeping with the expectations one would have of a minister who has gone to lengths to stress a desire to protect New Zealanders’ cyber security at all costs.

    There are threats our Government needs to protect New Zealanders from. Those threats are real and ever-present and we under-estimate them at our peril.

    New Zealanders are entitled to expect that their security is something that the Government takes seriously. And we do. We take it very seriously.

    But we can’t say we take it seriously, and then not make the tools available to allow our security services to do their job.

    That is the opposite of taking security seriously.

    And that is something I will never do.

    No paucity of balls is required to simultaneously occupy both these positions.

    Fort Meade, MD • Since Sep 2014 • 34 posts Report Reply

  • Alfie, in reply to Marc C,

    But his comment that he could not bother telling the police, because he is not absolutely certain, that is BS of the highest order.

    Agreed. Key is aware that the Police are wasting a lot of man hours trying to track down the illusive rawshark. Surely he should try to convince his "source" that passing on the name to the cops would be appropriate for a good citizen?

    In reality, if it's not total BS, it's probably 'Cam reckons it was Dotcom' or something equally pathetic and unbelievable.

    Dunedin • Since May 2014 • 1434 posts Report Reply

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