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'1 + 1 = 49 and the prime minister’s a devil beast' — Joyce leads govt counterattack on Hager

National's campaign chairman, Steven Joyce, has brushed aside Nicky Hagar's new book Dirty Politics, calling it a mix of "incredibly exaggerated" claims and public domain facts.

"It's a bunch of allegations, some of them are breathless about things that are already well known such as David Farrar is a member of the National Party and others that are completely sort of '1 + 1 = 49 and apparently the Prime Minister’s a devil beast'," Mr Joyce said on Breakfast.

Mr Joyce said he had not read the book, but had been briefed by people who had read various chapters. 

On allegations one of the Prime Minister's aids, Jason Ede, regularly leaked information to Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater, Mr Joyce said "In these days of social media, people from both sides of the house brief bloggers in the same way they brief journalists."

He added it was rumoured that some people who worked on left wing blogs were rumoured to work on staff for the Labour Party in Parliament.

On allegations the PM's office tipped off Whaleoil when Official Information Act requests were about to be released, so he could request the information himself and put a pro-National spin on it, Mr Joyce said "I don’t know the details of that one but it all went through the public domain at the time. I was told yesterday."

"Nicky Hagar doesn’t bother to go to the people he writes about for some sort of denial or collaboration, be just publishes it and says it’s the reality and never bothers to check with anybody so that’s an unusual approach for somebody who considers themselves in that sort of journalistic vein.

"There’s nothing in the book about it beyond insinuations and allegations."

"He’s got a bunch of stolen emails and I don’t think he’s got anything that’s particularly new

"The book’s called Dirty Politics, and that’s a pretty good demonstration of it."

Questions for PM to answer
Labour leader David Cunliffe said, "The truth is New Zealanders will be deeply shocked. I haven't read all of it. I've read some of it," Mr Cunliffe said. 

"It makes very serious allegations for the Prime Minister to answer over the next 24 hours: What did he know and when? Has he upheld the responsibilities of his office? Has he upheld the responsibilities of the Security Intelligence Service? Was he aware the Labour party’s computers were being infiltrated and that material had been appropriated from us?"

Dirty Politics implicates Mr Ede in advising Mr Slater to request classified SIS documents, which were then allegedly declassified and quickly released to Whale Oil to embarrass Labour leader Phil Goff

Labour never used hacked information to criticised the government, Mr Cunliffe said.

"And I’d go further and say, in contradiction to Mr Joyce, I don’t believe there is any equivalent of the kind of operation that has been run from an office two doors down from the Prime Minister; the kind of dirty black ops machine that is detailed in this book," Mr Cunliffe said, adding that Mr Hagar's claims were allegations.

There was potential abuse of taxpayer-funded resources, the Labour leader said.


Comments and questions

Farrar seems to be more journo than blogger and has called BS on the Nats when he feels it is justified.

No he hasn't - his inclinations are obvious. Moreover, he conducts political polls (Who pays for these? ) commenting on the state of the parties and other issues .How impartial can he be?

Just a question...but it's very odd the way the official polls got the gay marriage survey quite wrong. Remember how shocked John Campbell looked when his own poll showed that 73% of the country did not back the gay marriage legislation?

Everyone seems to have forgotten that a couple of months or so back, John Key blithely admitted that he rings Cameron Slater two or three times a week. I was shocked.

It's a bit rich to see the usual media suspects dismissing Slater and Hagar as ""just dirty politics". What about dirty politicians? And why on earth should we vote for them? We just carry on getting more of the same.

This is why I support the 100 Days movement - to claim back the country from the politicians. It's very possible. And what's the alternative?

Mr Joyce the Govt bully boy is hardly the best and credible Govt first response

When the news being responded to is "Shock, Horror! Woman has baby!", it doesn't really matter who's doing the responding.

Spot on.. this thing is becoming an evident beat up. Yes, it's important we know, but Joyce's point that no-one on the accused side was approached . It's probably all true, but the Nats were on a direct line with WhaleOil.. whoopy ! Well, who would have guessed? Cunliffe's point about taxpayer/govt resources being used for NAt Party business is much more to the point and on the case. Clark set the standard there, so he would know. But if that's the case, then a case of corruption may need to be answered.

Matt McCarten???

Slater and Farrar are upfront about their political leaning, how about Hager?

Hager accuses Slater of using leaked & stolen information, yet he admits he is doing the same. Hagar in his public tirades says he is outraged and he had a responsibility to tell NZ’ers about this.

Mr Hager, for example, I am outraged you publish an email about Dunne yet you have no proof. What is the difference to you doing this as opposed to Slater?

What is your political leaning? YES it does matter as this will have an influence if one is to believe your allegations

As to Mr Cunliffe do not climb on your high horse yet, many are still waiting for you to disclose your secret trust, your actual education, your work with the dairy industry, these are just three minor questions of the 10 or more major ones that you will need to address in the next couple of weeks.

Mr. Cunliffe is too busy helping Kelvin Davis win Te Tai Tokorau to worry about minor things.

"Slater and Farrar are upfront about their political leaning, how about Hager?"

While Hager denies any political links, he has attacked both governing parties in the leadup to elections (remember "Corn-gate" nearly sinking Clark and Labour?), so that must make him a balanced journalist.

However, the Greens had a very comprehensive list of complaints ready to take to the Police... (or are they just speed readers?)

Excellent summary:

"The book’s called Dirty Politics, and that’s a pretty good demonstration of it."

It's a complete joke! What a waste of time. This is Labour continuing their own smear campaign. Ironic.

I thought Cunliffe had recently announced that henceforth he was going to concentrate on the real issues that concern New Zealanders? His conversion to a new life seems to have been rather short-lived.

All those politicians named in this book should really front up ASAP....or they would be unfairly judged by NZers just before this very election!

Did not Russell Norman go visit Dotcom mansion I read somewhere? This was before the attack on WO website. Sorry just drawing long bows

Hang on, we Greens are supposed to be Luddites remember! LOL!

Such a parcel of rogues.

I hope the media whether they are left wing or right wing do their job as the forth estate and tell the public what seems to be obvious wrong doing by the Key led government.

You forget who calls the tune! Those who own the media.

There is strength in the internet, where the main platforms aren't controlled by the same vested interests that control the media here. We're talking journalists and their masters.

The bill of rights advocates freedom of speech, and they should be answerable to the general public. What a joke it is, when the administration as high as the top avoid giving answers to fair and reasonable questions, and won't appear on TV unless they agree to the questions being asked.

Stolen emails = crime. Publishing book based on criminal activity has to be earning from the proceeds of a crime.
I hope for his sake, Hager has a good lawyer.

Exactly. This is no different from someone happily using a stolen van (knowing that it is a stolen van) to transport goods and in the process, depreciating the van.

It's good to get these legal issues sorted out so clearly

Quite right.
The GCSB has been stealing emails illegally for over a decade and never got prosecuted ...

... good for the goose is good for the gander. The criminality is government departments is the higher crime here that needs to be taken seriously and prosecuted to the FULL EXTENT OF THE LAW before the country can get back on the right path.

GCSB has the benefit of statutory protection for safeguarding NZ - it is their job to spy.

Not so Hager's source and Hager is so happy and exuberant about aiding & abetting a criminal act.

1+1 not 49 Mr Hagar, the answer is 11.Everybody knows that.
The Americans never reached the moon they all died eating genetically modified corn on the way there.
Go away nurse, I'll take my medication later, for now I'm writing a book about the secret service using flying pigs to spy on all of us. And for your info. mr Hagar a hack is a horse that I used ride to round up cows before they jumped over the moon. Everybody knows that!!

At least we know how it all works now - those who seek to tell the truth are "conspiracy theorists" and you may want to throw in a "left wing" or "extremist" in there as well. People who don't vote national and are poor and victims of the earthquake are "scum".

Well Kitty, we know what kind of prism you view the world thru - I won't waste my time trying to convince you that if more government intervention and spending is the answer to everything, it's a bloody stupid question!

Judging from the way you handled your response, it clearly wouldn't be much of a discussion anyway.

The big plus for Hagar is that he will never have to apologise for being a man?

This is an opportunity for something good to happen to New Zealand politics.
Voters need more respect from those politicans who are supposed to serve us.
Hopefully a better New Zealand will emerge out of all this.

The alleged indiscretions by various politicians and bloggers does not change one important fact: the parties' policies, whether they be left, right or centre, haven't changed and some of those people who were inclined to vote National because they liked their policies, may/will now change their vote to a party who was not top of their list, for the wrong reasons or, just as likely, not vote because this turns them off politics altogether. Sad really.

I'm having two problems with all of the discussion about Hagar's book:

1. It appears that virtually no-one damning it, and virtually everyone calling it a pack of lies, have actually read the book (even 24 hours after its release).

2. The book is based on actual emails, fully referenced and annotated throughout the text.

So are people actually suggesting that all the emails were made up or is there an attempt to do anything except actually address the substance of the emails?

I wouldn't buy a stolen TV so why should I buy a book that is based on stolen information?

Because some truths may be being exposed that we all are entitled to know about.