To some he’s a conspiracy theorist, to others an investigative journalist; however you perceive Nicky Hager, it’s fair to say the release of his most recent book, Dirty Politics: How Attack Politics is Poisoning New Zealand’s Political Environment has made quite a splash.
Having sought to write the book after hearing a hacker had obtained copies of correspondence between right-wing blogger Cameron Slater, a.k.a Whale Oil, and key members and affiliates of New Zealand’s (conservative) National Party, Hager says his motivations are to highlight the dark side of New Zealand politics, in the hope the country will repent of its mudslinging and play fair.
Positing some pretty serious allegations, including that current Minister of Justice, ACC and Ethnic Affairs Judith Collins defamed a public servant – and that other members and associates of the National Party partnered with Slater to conduct smear campaigns, both against members of the opposition, and members of the National Party itself, the release of Dirty Politics five weeks out from the next NZ General Election has placed the conservative party, and current Prime Minister John Key, under scrutiny.
Sarah talks to Nicky about why he wrote the book, and what he makes of the controversy over its release.
Nicky Hager is a Wellington, New Zealand-based investigative journalist. Visit www.nickyhager.info for more.
Sarah Illingworth is a freelance journalist and Editor at Impolitikal. She has an MSc in Poverty & Development from the University of Manchester. Read more by Sarah.