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

David Cunliffe (TVNZ)
Steven Joyce

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.

 

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