Slater speaks out over texts to PM

  • 26/11/2014

Prime Minister John Key has had further contact with Cameron Slater since Monday night's text message chat about the Security Intelligence Service's (SIS) release of documents to the blogger in 2011.

Slater has confirmed to 3 News he had to provide Mr Key with the text messages so his office could make them public.

"I provided them to him because he doesn't keep his texts, and he requested that I provide the texts and I sent them through," says Slater.

In the exchange, which Mr Key initially told Parliament didn't take place but later backtracked to confirm it had, Slater claims Phil Goff leaked the report in full, that Labour chief of staff Matt McCarten was behind the hacking of his computer that led to Nicky Hager's book Dirty Politics, and that he has evidence his political opponents "tried to kill" him.

Did Goff leak the report?

There was confusion yesterday over Mr Goff's role in the leak of key details from the report, which confirmed staff working in Mr Key's office had helped Slater obtain "misleading" documents from the SIS which contradicted claims the then-Labour leader had made in public.

Current leader Andrew Little at first said Mr Goff had given him an assurance he hadn't given the report to anybody and had declined all media interviews, but Mr Goff later admitted he had given some journalists an "outline" of what it contained.

Slater says journalists told him Mr Goff had given them the report.

"The reality is there were so few people who had access to that report, so few people that were actually party to the report and the draft... The only person who benefitted from that leak was Phil Goff, and it was very obvious that it was him."

Mr Little said on Firstline this morning he's satisfied with Mr Goff's version of events.

"He has confirmed, as I think he has said publicly, that he did tell journalists that the report was coming up, but he's adamant that he didn't disclose a copy of the report or material details of the report."

Did Matt McCarten hack Slater's computer?

One of Slater's texts to Mr Key claims Mr McCarten, a veteran left-wing activist who was appointed Labour chief of staff earlier this year, was involved in the hacking of his emails and Facebook messages.

Slater calls the infiltration a "criminal conspiracy to attempt to bring down a government", but Mr Little says it's not possible Mr McCarten was behind it.

"I know Matt very well and I know his level of computer skills, and while it would be unkind to say that he struggles to open his emails in the morning, Matt is not capable of hacking somebody else's computer."

Mr Key has previously said he knows the identity of the hacker, known as 'Rawshark'. In response to Slater's text claiming Mr McCarten's involvement, the Prime Minister replied: "Hopefully it will all come out in time".

Death threat evidence "in writing"

The final text message of the conversation released by the Prime Minister's office is from Slater, claiming "they played the real dirty politics… even tried to kill me… I have evidence of".

Slater told 3 News by "they", he didn't mean the Labour Party specifically.

"There is evidence out there that there was an attempt to put extraordinary pressure on me so that I would commit suicide. There's a large number of political operatives that are part of that, and they can deny it all they like, but unfortunately they put it in writing."

He won't reveal what evidence he has, saying it's currently under police investigation.

Mr Little says there is "an air of unreality" about Slater's claims.

"I don't know if that was a metaphor or whether that was something genuine. What it confirms is that there is this ongoing exchange between Cameron Slater – probably the next-most toxic personality in New Zealand politics [behind] Kim Dotcom – and the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister indicated he was going to clean up his act, so who knows."

Collins was never 'gunning' for SFO head

The other contentious report out this week concerned a claim Slater made in an email that former Cabinet minister Judith Collins was "gunning" for then-head of the Serious Fraud Office, Adam Feeley.

The email, not part of the Dirty Politics batch, was made public by the Prime Minister's office. It led to Ms Collins' resignation from Cabinet while an investigation was carried out into the claim. Tuesday's report found there was no evidence of Slater's claims, which he now admits were untrue.

"The bottom line is that I was providing a report to a client, and you can't put in a report to a client that you barely touched on anything and had nothing much to report. The client doesn't want to see that sort of stuff, so you tend to embellish a little bit," says Slater.

"Everybody does it – journalists do it in their performance reports, accountants do it when they're reporting to their clients, lawyers do it all the time. This is just standard business practise, and it was taken out of context."

Slater says the email was leaked to the Government by someone "trying to achieve a political aim of taking out a minister or taking out a blogger or taking out a government", despite it not being a part of the Rawshark hack. The New Zealand Herald reported "with reasonable authority" it actually came from right-wing blogger and activist Cathy Odgers, who features heavily in Dirty Politics.

"The report already found that she had nothing to do with it," says Slater. "Of course she had nothing to do with it. She's far more professional than I am."

Cleaning up dirty politics

Mr Little says Mr Key should have apologised for his staff's behaviour and the release of the SIS documents from the start.

"This would all have been fixed up if the Prime Minister had accepted the findings of Cheryl Gwyn and the Inspector-General's report. So, 'Yep, these things did happen, they happened in my office, they shouldn't have happened, I apologise.' And life would have moved on. But that's not the way he operates."

But Slater says the week's developments instead show that Labour is running its own dirty strategies.

"Their sanctimony in the House in pretending to be pure and clean is destroyed utterly, and we can see that now with what's going on. We've got information being fed to their own left-wing bloggers and they're trying to infiltrate or get within the circle of trust, of me in particular.

"It's clear that the Labour Party thinks that focusing on Cameron Slater is far more important than focusing on good legislative outcomes for New Zealanders."

3 News

source: newshub archive