So who’s a “conspiracy theorist” now?!





As the media storm over Nicky Hager’s book, “Dirty Politics“,  and allegations over smear campaigns continue to swirl,  National’s spin doctors have given Key, Collins, and other National Party ministers a string of  phrases to use in all media interviews. The phrases are,

  • “Conspiracy theorist”
  • “Nicky Hager’s unproven allegations”
  • “Nicky Hager’s assumptions”
  • “Nicky Hager made them up”
  • “Nicky Hager can’t back  up his claims”
  • “Nicky Hager’s claims dissolving before his/our eyes”
  • “nothing to do with us”
  • “nothing to do with me”
  • “I don’t have details on that”
  • “I don’t know the details”
  • “I don’t know the context of all that”
  • “this is a smear campaign”
  • “briefing bloggers” (instead of leaking information)
  • “Slater is a force unto himself”
  • “Slater is a force of nature”
  • “Labour does that too”

When confronted with specific allegations, as with Guyon Espiner interviewing Key on ‘Morning Report’ (18 August), Key simply refused to engage and veered of on a side-issue or responded with , “I don’t have details on that”.

At no stage does Key or his ministers take responsibility. For anything. If anything is “dissolving”, it is Key’s much vaunted reputation for “transparency” and “high ministerial standards“.

Key and Collins have been instructed by their taxpayer-funded media minders  not to respond to specific issues raised by Nicky Hager, and instead keep the discussion generalised and vague. At that point, Key and Collins can respond with a general statement of “Nicky Hager’s unproven allegations“.

Recently, some in National have tried a new tactic – painting themselves as the “victims” of so-called “dirty tricks”. The new strategy  began on 15 August, with National’s pollster and party apparatchik, David Farrar, making this extraordinary claim on his own blog;

TDB Recommends

I’ve either been hacked or spied on

August 15th, 2014 at 7:40 am by David Farrar

I started reading more fully the book yesterday, and the footnotes in the book. To my shock I realised that Hager had info in the book that could not have come from the hacking of Cameron Slater, but could only have come from my computer, my apartment or my office.

Specifically he refers to copies of two scripts used by my company, Research, this year. There is absolutely no way they could have come from Cameron Slater’s computer systems, as Cameron doesn’t have them. No one has them but me and my office.

I thought about how this could have happened. The two most likely scenarios are that my computer systems have also been hacked, or that someone physically removed the scripts from my office (or possibly apartment). All of these scenarios make me feel sick, and make me worry about the security of the 100+ staff working for me.

Some of the material is very recent – from June 2014 – just two months ago. I think the most likely thing is that someone joined the staff (we recruit often) with the purpose of acquiring material from my office. There’s no evidence of a break in, and I tend to keep my computer systems fairly secure.

I am sure the official explanation will be that the scripts just turned up in an envelope somewhere, and they have no idea how they got there. I think that is bullshit. Most of my staff are young students, who I can’t imagine would suddenly decide to send a copy of my scripts to Nicky Hager in the post.

I consider this outrageous, just as I hope people would if someone from the right infiltrated the offices of the Labour Party pollsters, to steal their material.

There is no public interest defence to the stealing of the material belonging to my clients. There was nothing sinister or inappropriate in it.  In fact one of the scripts detailed in the book is of some questions we did for Family First, who published the results on their website, including the full questions. But I know Hager has a copy of the script as he has quoted the question numbers, which are not included in the published results.

I do not accept that because I am a blogger, and my company has National as a client, it makes it all right for me to be hacked or spied on, and material stolen from me.


This neat bit of propaganda aimed for two objectives

  1. It tried to deflect attention from Nicky Hager’s allegations of National’s abuse of ministerial power,
  2. It tried to show that “everyone is doing it, so no big deal” – a line that Key has repeated on several occassions.

A day later, interviewed on TV3, Cameron Slater told the world he had been the subject of death threats and  the victim of a hate campaign himself;


Cameron Slater -  Death threats over 'Dirty Politics' - TV3 - Nicky Hager - Whaleoil - Jason Ede - John Jey


“‘Cos I’ve got a torrent of death threats as a result of Mr Hager’s book…”

I’ve covered Slater’s claims in a previous blogpost, and raise questions about the truthfulness of those so-called “death-threats”.

A day later, on 17 August, Farrar repeated his belief that someone was spying on him;

But if you were tape recording my phone when I worked out that someone had planted a spy into my office (and one that appears to still have been there maybe just three weeks ago), then you would have heard me swearing and promising bloody retribution.

On the same day, the Herald ran a series of stories – all with one central theme, that National ministers, MPs, and even Slater were the “victims” of some secret conspiracy;


kim dotcom hits back at cameron slater's claims

Internet mogul Kim Dotcom has denied another accusation by Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater that he was responsible for hacking Slater’s blog website earlier this year.

“We all know by now that I had my emails hacked in February,” Slater posted this afternoon.

“We also know that David Farrar has had his intellectual property stolen, and that Mark Mitchell had his personal emails hacked and his office broken into.

“What I can also now reveal is that Tony Lentino, the businessman who formerly financially supported Kim Dotcom also had his office broken into.

“On top of that Travis who works for the blog was also hacked along with another media person who has been a vocal critic of Kim Dotcom.

“Until now we haven’t had the proof, only a bunch of dots to join but we now have the complete picture.”


 .Judith Collins' husband targeted in burglary

The cabinet was held his laptop which had not been taken. Amounts of cash on left by staff on desks around the office had not been taken either.

“It seemed a very odd thing at the time and I presume that someone may have been interested in the information that was on that laptop” Ms Collins said.



MP burgled and hacked

In response to Herald on Sunday inquiries, Mitchell confirmed:

• His parliamentary office in Wellington was broken into on September 16 last year. Police investigated and swept the office for bugs but none was found.

• His Rodney constituency office in Orewa was broken into in early October and a laptop and two phones were taken. Police investigated but no arrests have been made.

• His personal email was hacked.


Now, call me a sceptic, and perish the thought that politicians are even remotely capable of lying… but… yeaaaah, nah.

All of this is just way to convenient to be happening now.  Let’s cut to the chase and call it what it is; this is tin-foil hat stuff. In effect, the Nats are suggesting that a Vast Left-wing Conspiracy (VLC) of operatives trained in break-ins; bugging; tapping; etc, are conducting a covert programme of intel-gathering against National.

Am I right?

And Labour, no doubt is part of this VLC?

The same Labour whose IT experts left gaping security holes in their party computer, allowing Aaron Bhatnagar, Cameron Slater, Jason Ede, and the local Young National Komsomol Brigade to go wandering through, collecting data on donors, credit cards, email addresses, etc, etc, etc?!

Is that the same Labour party?

Well, I have a few questions myself…

  1. Judith Collins  claims that her husband’s office was burgled and his laptop “accessed”, but not stolen. Was a complaint laid with the Police? What is the Police Case Number? And what was the result?
  2. Rodney MP claims his email hacked. Where is the evidence for this and why has the GCSB not been able to determine the culprits? Considering the hundreds of millions of taxpayers’ money spent on the Bureau with all their considerable hardware and trained staff – they can’t locate the culprits?
  3. Mark Mitchell also claims that his  parliamentary office in Wellington was broken into on September 16 last year. Mitchell further states  that  Police investigated and “swept the office for bugs but none were found”. September 16 last year was a Monday – Parliamentary staff would have been present, and no one saw anything out of the ordinary?

More important though is that access to Parliament and it’s inner offices is strictly controlled.

First, a visitor has to proceed through security at all main doors, where everyone is screened via metal-detectors.

Then you sign-in.

Access to offices is permitted via swipe-cards, and is monitored by Parliamentary Services – as Fairfax media journalist Andrea Vance found out the hard way, last year;


Spy scandal journalist speaks out


If Mitchell’s office was “broken into”, the culprit(s) had to make their way past security; through metal detectors; past National Party staffers;  through coridor and office doors. and past his secretary – all  controlled by swipe cards.

I don’t think so.

It all seems  too… convenient.

Ironically, our esteemed Dear Leader – who has “never been caught out bending the truth or outright lying” – is accusing investigative journalist Nicky Hager of  being a “conspiracy theorist”.

The only conspiracy theorising appears to be emanating from National’s inner hierarchy.

There is simply no Vast Left-wing Conspiracy. (If there is, I have yet to receive my invitation.)


MP Mark Mitchell is a client of National Party apparatchik, Simon Lusk – one of central characters in the Cameron Slater-David Farrar-Jordan Williams cabal outlined by Nicky Hager.

The MPs to whom Mr Lusk has been a campaign adviser in the past include Taupo MP Louise Upston, Maungakiekie MP Sam Lotu-Iiga, Napier MP Chris Tremain, Rodney MP Mark Mitchell and former list MP Aaron Gilmore.

And of course we know the close relationship between Judith Collins and Cameron Slater.

Mark Mitchell. Judith Collins. Simon Lusk… and Cameron Slater.

Were there really any break ins?




Radio NZ:  Listen to the full interview with John Key on Morning report ( 11 min 3 sec ) Speech to the New Zealand China Partnership Forum

John Prime Minister accepts Minister’s resignation

Kiwiblog: I’ve either been hacked or spied on

Kiwiblog: People sometimes say jerky things in e-mails

NZ Herald: Kim Dotcom hits back at Slater’s claims

NZ Herald: Judith Collins’ husband targeted in burglary

NZ Herald: MP burgled and hacked

Fairfax media: Spy scandal journalist speaks out

Hawkes Bay Today: Concern about Hawke’s Bay mans influence in Nats

Previous related blogposts

Death threats made to rightwing blogger?

Other Blogs

Public Address: Confidential information: the legal rights and wrongs

Public Address: Dirty Politics

Polity: National and Labour’s membership data

Gordon Campbell on Nicky Hager’s new book

Bowalley Road: Closing Our Eyes In The Sausage Factory: Some Thoughts On Nicky Hager’s Book, “Dirty Politics”

The Standard: Rob Gilchrist On Nicky Hager

The Standard: Was a crime committed when Slater accessed Labour’s computer system?

The Daily Blog: Hager’s Dirty Politics – Death threats or hit jobs?

Kiwipolitico: Ducking for Cover

Pundit: Dirty Politics: The battle of the metaphors

Pundit: The politics of vilification

Pundit: A crazy day in dirty ol’ NZ politics

Imperator Fish: Cameron Slater is the real victim

Porcupine Farm: Why My Next Printer Will Be An Epson

Porcupine Farm: #TEAMKEY2

The Jackal: Death threats and Dirty Politics

The Jackal: Nicky Hager – Hero of the Week

The Jackal: National’s death by association

Recommended reading

The Jackal: The real nasty bloggers



Vote and be the change

Above image acknowledgment: Francis Owen/Lurch Left Memes



= fs =


  1. The Twitterati predicted massive squirrel releases by National on day one.

    I suspect we will see more finesse now that the Slater has been schmoozed out of the picture.

  2. Good stuff, frank. The greens and labour dont have the money required to pay off their own slater (or any amount of ‘operatives’ for that matter) that should be a red flag to anyone buying the ‘politics as usual’ line. I guess thats why theyre building this faux conspiracy up around kimdotcom. He is the only figure on the left with money. Some of the “break-ins” predate his entry into politics though – which means this conspiracy would fall apart from the most minor prodding. Come on nz journalists, do your job.

    • Listened – sadly due to work -to bLeightont Smith’s show on Wednesday. He was insinuating – very strongly – that Labour’s “Vote Positive” was used because of the ‘left wing smear campaign” and they were somehow are part of it.
      Also – due to how my client was talking – that “Kim Dotcom was involved somehow”. I don’t know if he was involved but someone pissed at Mr Slater’s revolting work in relations to the Sth Is man seems more logical, given the time it happened.

      A bit like the Donghua Liu case, how can you prove what’s not there?

  3. As usual, a brilliant summation Frank.

    Given the timing of the bleating about “hacking” “break-ins” etc, it’s glaringly obvious it’s pathetic retaliatory spin for what Hager has revealed, which incidentally is proving to be correct!

    FJK & Co have been caught out with this one, well and truly and the only means of attack is to throw suspicion into the arena against opposition or abuse the book’s author. It’s what the Natsies do best.

    Frank you forgot in your spin list of phrases, the old FJK favourite when he’s cornered – “at the end of the day” – “at the end of the day” – “at the end of the day”…… Like a stuck recording, repeat, repeat, repeat in a sorry attempt to re-enforce the message …. ho hum!

    • I thought about that one, Mary, and decided to leave it out. It may be a personal quirk of Key’s speech (not a product of spin doctor coaching), and I think it was a mistake for the Left to focus on his style of speaking. (I have to concede to the Right on this one.)

      However, on the rest of it, Key is guilty as sin, and his days in politics politics are now numbered.

  4. I think Winston Peters did it best when he satirically asked how there’s such a sudden increase in all these crimes against Nats — Considering how many crimes the Nats HAVE committed.

    • Indeed, JGuest. It remains to be seen if Peters decides to support the Nats, post 20 September. In which case, if he does, it’ll be a case of aiding and abetting…

      Let’s hope he realises how toxic the National brand has become in only one week.

      • Great work as always Frank,

        Count on Winston Knowing how toxic Nat’s are.

        His followers and Winston will not go anywhere near that putrid cess pool now called National..

  5. Frank, be grateful.
    Be grateful that when the stats say (Judith tells us), that burglaries are down and crime is on the decrease, that those that do happen are in select little places like National Party MP’s offices and her husband’s office.

    To have a Minister of Justice so clever she could corral those crimes to one type of place is remarkable!

  6. New post from Whaledump – See line 367 from Cameron Slater for a particularly galling moment of hypocrisy.

    Here is a text paste of lines 355-378:

    Cameron Slater, 3/22, 9:15am

    looks like they are frightened of the outcome in Rodney
    Aaron Bhatnagar, 3/22, 9:15am

    so what are they cooking up in Rodney?

    if Mitchell is being talked out of Rodney – and if Robinson and Simpson are punchdrunk, then who?
    Cameron Slater, 3/22, 9:17am

    he wont go from Rodney, he is pissed off with the dirty stuff and is set to attack the rumours head on…could be a law suit coming for the rumour mongers…copies of emails have been obtained

    Mitchell is mad as hell
    Aaron Bhatnagar, 3/22, 9:18am

    cripes. Whos in for it?
    Cameron Slater, 3/22, 9:18am

    I’d say Alistair…he is the one spreading the mercenary rumours

    Yep. Slater boasts of obtaining other peoples’ emails, and has the audacity to call other peoples actions “dirty stuff”, “rumour-mongering” and “mercenary.”

    Direct link to the Whaledump post on Pastebin site:

  7. Fresh out from the Greens regarding IGIS investigating:

    Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand –
    Spy watchdog, the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security (IGIS), has
    confirmed it will investigate Green Party concerns that Security Intelligence
    Service (NZSIS) documents were declassified for political purposes.

    “John Key can no longer say these dirty politics allegations are
    ‘baseless’ and a ‘conspiracy’. The IGIS thinks it legitimate enough
    to investigate,” Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei said.

    “John Key’s strategy of attacking the claims and denying wrongdoing has
    failed because now an independent authority has found them worthy of

    Mrs Turei last Thursday lodged the complaint after allegations were revealed
    in Nicky Hager’s book /Dirty Politics/ that the NZSIS declassified a
    document that would not normally have been released, and provided it to
    blogger Cameron Slater who used it to attack former Labour leader Phil Goff.

    “The allegation that the NZSIS declassified a document for the express
    purpose of releasing it to a prearranged source as part of an orchestrated
    political attack is very serious and it is right that the IGIS will
    investigate,” Mrs Turei said.

    “The people who had access to this information work for the NZSIS and the
    office of the Minister in Charge of the New Zealand Security Intelligence
    Service, John Key.

    “The inquiry needs to speak to all who had access to this information and
    determine who and how it was accessed, declassified and released.”

    Nicky Hager’s book /Dirty Politics/ alleges that the NZSIS overruled normal
    Official Information Act request processes and fast-tracked the release to Mr

    The book also alleges that /“…someone had told Slater that his request
    would be processed, signed off and sent to him in just a few days. It also
    seems that Slater had some advance knowledge of what the information said.”

    Correspondence between Mr Slater and an associate includes statements that
    imply this advance knowledge of both the content of the information and the
    process being used for it to be released, such as /“…it has been
    expedited, in the public interest. It is devastating for Goff I am told.” /

    The Dominion Post had also requested the information but was refused.

    “The National Government has treated our democratic processes and checks
    and balances as barriers to be circumvented in its own interest,” Mrs Turei

    “It’s good that this aspect of the National Government’s dirty politics
    will be investigated and I expect other aspects will be examined by other

    “National’s degradation of our democracy needs to stop and politics
    cleaned up. John Key needs to start taking responsibility for the actions of
    his Ministers and advisors – the buck starts and stops with him,” Mrs
    Turei said.

    Meanwhile the Privacy Commissioner has declined to investigate the
    allegations around Judith Collins’ release of information about an
    individual, Simon Pleasants, because of a lack of personal interest. He also
    declined to reopen the investigation into the Bronwyn Pullar leak.”

    Of course the PC won’t investigate! They don’t like to investigate anything. Under strict instruction from FJC I expect. Don’t know why they (the Privacy Commission) exist really. Just another useless govt public entity that serves no purpose other than gobbling up the taxes.


      • No Frank.
        The Privacy Commissioners office is about keeping everything out of the public domain,and making sure everything is kept secret (private).
        They are just a play on words in reality.
        The PC has to ensure that the public don’t get a hold of anything that can damage this govt, and keep all their secrets private.

        Have you ever tried to get them to do anything. I have, but they wouldn’t do a thing – even though the breach of privacy sat squarely within their supposed realm of responsibility – and that was one of FJC’s portfolios too.

        And F the PC now too!

        Corruption has seeped into every inch of this govt and it’s cronies. Obviously the PC doesn’t mind everyone knowing that they are practicing the art of cronyism! Hand picked.

        FJC is involved here too. Marie Schroff went through the ACC training school. Is there a new PC now? And has this one been involved with ACC somewhere along the way too?
        At least precariuosly involved with FJC I reckon.


    • MISTERY Quango, is the word.

      “Don’t know why they (the Privacy Commission) exist really. Just another useless govt public entity that serves no purpose other than gobbling up the taxes”

      Take over government, then first go after a big Quango hunt as Labour did in 1987.

      • quango
        noun (pl) -gos
        a semipublic government-financed administrative body whose members are appointed by the government
        Word Origin
        C20: qu (asi-) a (utonomous) n (on) g (overnmental) o (rganization)

  8. Is the privacy commissioner a national party crony?.

    I only ask because of this

    And whats with two new national party candidates coming from the tobacco industry and the tobacco industry also paying whale slug thousands each month for running his sewage pond?.

    p.s Duncan Garner thinks Key was in on a whole lot of the disgusting crap that Hager has exposed.—and-mud-sticks/tabid/674/articleID/52542/Default.aspx

    • “p.s Duncan Garner thinks Key was in on a whole lot of the disgusting crap that Hager has exposed. “

      Duncan Garner would be 100% on the nail, Reason. Of course Key knew.

      My own brief stint as a Parliamentary Assistant for the Alliance (in the mid 1990s) gave me an insight how MPs and Leaders’ offices worked. They – the Leaders – have frequent meetings with their media people, policy writers, strategists, etc.

      For Key not to have spoken with Ede is ludicrous and I hope Garner or some other journo asks one simple question;

      Who did Ede report to?

      Once that question is answered (it won’t be, of course), the dominoes start to fall.

      Because otherwise, if Ede didn’t talk to anyone; didn’t report to anyone – then he was paid an awful lot of money to be sitting in his own office on the Ninth Floor doing “nothing”.

      Let’s see who the first plucky journo is to ask Dear Leader that one question.

  9. “Is the privacy commissioner a national party crony?”

    Did you see the PC job advertised?

    There’d be hundreds of job vacancies if the quangos all got the sharp shift!


Comments are closed.