RAW DATA: Whaleoil blogger Cameron Slater interviewed on The Nation
TRANSCRIPT: 'THE NATION'
CAMERON SLATER INTERVIEWED BY RACHEL SMALLEY
BROADCAST SUNDAY OCT 20
Rachel: ... she [Bevan Chuang] saw him the night of the election and that morning.
Cameron Slater – Blogger Even as it may, I still didn’t have an affidavit from Miss Chuang until I received a draft from here on Monday night.
Rachel Were you aware of the plan though?
Cameron No, no idea. I don’t know what she's talking about.
Rachel She then claims that she spoke to you on the Sunday morning, and that was Sunday after the election, and you told her that if she came forward it would shame Len Brown into resigning.
Cameron Well it would.
Rachel Did that discussion take place?
Cameron It would shame him into resigning. There's no facts in dispute here about what was contained in the affidavit. But on Sunday morning I still did not have an affidavit. In fact the only thing that I had on Sunday morning that I had was four rather innocuous texts where Len Brown…
Rachel But the discussion had taken place?
Cameron Sure I was talking to a source.
Rachel We viewed over 100 texts. I don’t think anyone else has seen these texts, between Wewege and Miss Chuang.
Cameron Any of those between me?
Rachel All of them point to Palino placed on Chuang to go public. Were you aware?
Cameron No, I was not aware of any of that pressure at all.
Rachel Not aware that – you spoke to her though on the morning after the election.
Cameron I spoke to her on the morning after the election. Now you need to understand electoral law to understand that there's no benefit to John Palino in any of this.
Rachel We'll get to that. Can you confirm it was the Palino campaign that alerted you to this?
Cameron No I can't confirm that because I'd received reports from many different places.
Rachel So how did you find out, what was your principle source?
Cameron On look there's rumours flying round about Len Brown for a long long time.
Rachel You can't go factually into a situation unless it's a confirmed source.
Cameron So I was approached initially by Mr Wewege and we said look I think I've got something here. I said well put me in touch with the person. I still at that point demanded that I have an affidavit. You can't run around with these sorts of things and stand them up.
Rachel So Mr Wewege approached you?
Rachel That’s Palino's campaign.
Cameron No it's not Palino's campaign. It's one person. I didn’t even know he was conducting ….
Rachel He works on Palino's campaign.
Cameron It's not Palino's campaign.
Rachel It was clearly though in Palino's interest that this was made public though.
Cameron It was in Palino's interest that this was made public at the beginning of the election campaign. It was made public after the election had finished.
Rachel Okay, so if news of this if you had come out before the election, do you think Palino would have won?
Cameron Who knows? Well the Herald has produced a poll today saying that Aucklanders don’t think this matters at all. So I don’t actually agree that Palino would have benefited from it. He would have maybe got a small benefit from it, but I don’t believe he would have got large benefit from it.
Rachel Why was everyone so keen then for this story to break after the election.
Cameron No one was keen for it to break after the election. You're thinking there's a conspiracy and a plan…
Rachel I'm not thinking at all. I'm just working out why ….
Cameron Well I'm joining the dots that David Lewis wants you to join.
Rachel Miss Chuan said there was the desire for it to break after the election.
Cameron Of course, Miss Chuan was still in a relationship with Mr Brown while she's working on the Palino camp.
Rachel Or was it that if Brown was forced to stand down after the election, would it be almost guaranteed that Palino would win a bi-election?
Cameron There's no guarantee at all. My understanding is that…
Rachel He would have been a front runner though wouldn’t he?
Cameron Well would he? Because if Brown wasn't standing then there's be all sorts of openings on the left wing, and the word that I've heard from my Labour sources is that Phil Goff was seriously considering standing, and I don’t think that John Palino would be able to beat Phil Goff. And there's no guarantee that Maurice Williamson wouldn’t come out of the woodwork either.
Rachel Okay we're digressing a bit here.
Cameron Well that’s exactly right, we are digressing away from the facts of Len Brown's affair.
Rachel Do you believe though that if the affair had been made public after the election – again I'll ask you – Brown would stand down. Would Palino have won the bi-election?
Cameron I have no idea.
Rachel Oh come on, you're immersed in Auckland politics, you must know this.
Cameron Sure. I don’t believe he would have because there would have been all sorts of other candidates. Who knows what Mike Lee might have done, who knows what a senior Labour who's done 23 years or more in parliament would have done in standing. You can't say there's any guarantees for that.
Rachel Okay were you aware that and involved in the suggestion that if the statement was shown to Brown before or after the election whenever, and he was forced to resign, that you would suppress that information and Brown could use the excuse that he was standing down, he had a bit of a heart attack?
Cameron That’s an outrageous suggestion that I'd be involved in blackmail, because that’s what that is.
Rachel Well that’s your word not mine. But this is what Miss Chuan suggests, that if she signed the affidavit then if you showed it to Len Brown and said look we'll keep quiet about this, you resign, say it's a heart problem…
Cameron Yep. Miss Chuan can say whatever she likes, but the fact of this whole story is that from day one, my story, my details, all my explanations to the media, and I've been completely open to the media, I haven't gone into hiding, I haven't dodge anything, have been exactly the same from the word go. Miss Chuan meanwhile has said that she won’t speak to media. She's managed to talk to you guys on camera, she's shown you texts. She's also speaking now exclusively to the New Zealand Herald. Her story has changed substantially.
Rachel She hasn’t spoken to us.
Cameron Well she gave – provided you with texts. Okay so that’s still talking with the media. Hang on let's just clarify this. Right the way through, since the beginnings neither Steven Cook nor I have changed anything that we've said or done, and everything that we've said or done has stood up, that Len Brown had an affair for more than two years.
Rachel She hasn’t backtracked on any of that.
Cameron No, but she's backtracked on a whole lot of other things, including her statement she wouldn’t speak to the media.
Rachel Did you and Steven Cook attempt to sell this story to Women's Day?
Cameron No, we did not attempt to sell the story to Women's Day, and Women's Day have denied to you I understand that they made an approach. I'm quite happy to share with you the emails and the text messages and the phone logs that they actually approached me.
Rachel So they approached you about the story?
Rachel How did they get wind of it?
Cameron It was everywhere, it was all over the blogg.
Rachel The mainstream media wasn't aware of it, how did Women's Day get hold of it?
Cameron You can badger me all you like but you can't change the facts that Women's Day contacted me after the story broke, not before.
Rachel There was no move made to approach Women's Day to sell the story about the affair?
Cameron No, that is a categoric lie if anybody is saying that.
Rachel In the statement that we have, Chuan says she received a threatening text message. She says she got it on the Sunday before the election, so a week before.
Cameron She told me it was Tuesday.
Rachel She hadn’t signed an affidavit by then. So who would have sent that text?
Cameron Well I don’t know, nobody knows, the Herald's conducting an investigation. The number that it was sent from also sent me a threatening text on Tuesday, sent my father a threatening text on the Tuesday, sent John Palino a threatening text on the Tuesday, and two other unrelated parties to all of this.
Rachel Maurice Williamson I think was sent a text too.
Cameron Well I'm not gonna confirm who it was, I'm not authorised to do that.
Rachel We spoke to his office.
Cameron So he's admitted to receiving a threatening text. But hold on a second, let's just clarify this. That was on the Tuesday, I still didn’t have a story. I thought there was no story here at all, I had never been sent any text from Miss Chuan on that Tuesday.
Rachel What did your text say?
Cameron My text said something along the lines of you know you're gonna wreck a person's life and it's disgusting that you're doing this.
Rachel You must have a hunch where that text came from.
Cameron I've got a very good hunch where that text came from, because the number of people on the Tuesday who knew about this story would be less than five people from my side. Including Miss Chuan, and it would be people close to Len Brown. Now remember Len Brown went on John Campbell's show and he admitted that he told his wife on Tuesday about the possible release of this story. So you know you’ve got threatening texts to Duncan Garner on radio from David Lewis.
Rachel That’s a side show really because…
Cameron The whole thing is a side show, we need to be talking about the ethics and behaviour of Mayor Len Brown, not anything else.
Rachel Or do we need to talk about something else here, because let's strip this right back. This was a plot it seems…
Cameron No it wasn't.
Rachel ... to discredit Len Brown.
Cameron It's not a plot.
Rachel And it was a political plot.
Cameron Of course it's political, we're not playing tiddly-winks Rachel, this is politics.
Rachel Where does this leave Auckland politics now?
Cameron Well Auckland politics is the same as where any politics is, in that it's a dirty disgusting despicable game, and it involves dirty disgusting despicable people at all levels. And to have this high and mighty belief that New Zealand politics is clean, it isn't. You know we've had Trevor Mallard raising affairs under the protection of parliamentary privilege. We've had all sorts of allegations about other people. We've had the Richard Worth affair.
Rachel Affairs happen in all aspects. That’s not a crime.
Cameron Absolutely, it's not a crime, but it's not the fact that he had an affair, it's the fact that there were jobs given to the mistress, it's the fact that Council properties….
Rachel Well Bevan Chuang says John Palino offered her a job if he became mayor.
Cameron Did she swear an affidavit to that?
Rachel We've got it in a statement.
Cameron So what?
Rachel Why is John Palino now in Australia?
Cameron A planned holiday is my understanding with his fiancé. See there's a lot of assumptions, and there's a lot of leaping to conclusions, there's a lot of you know talks of plots. I can tell you that there was no plot from myself and Steven Cook at all. We were dealing with a story and it wasn't until Monday, the day before the story broke, that we actually had all of the details of the affair. Prior to that, prior to that Monday, and Steven Cook will confirm this, when he first went and saw her, he sent me an email and said mate there's no story here, this is just a couple of silly texts. So all of a sudden it develops on the Monday after all of these allegations that the Herald says there's a plot. If I didn’t know about the details until Monday, no one else could have known about the details either.
Rachel And so it goes on. Cameron Slater, "Whaleoil" Blogger. Appreciate your time, thank you for coming into the studio this morning.