RAW DATA: Whaleoil blogger Cameron Slater interviewed on The Nation

Video and transcript.





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?

Cameron      Yeah.

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?

Cameron      Yes.

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.

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