Wednesday, 22 November 2006

Hager, Brash and 'Herald' humbug

Unable as I am to post or read substantially from my regular web sources (thanks iHug) I do want to comment on some of what appeared on the front page of this morning's Herald since it does help explain why I started blogging: In short, because there's so much nonsense that passes for educated commentary.

I refer of course to Nicky Hager Vs Don Brash. If you want my opinion, here it is.

Says the Herald, "Hager said he had planned to launch the book yesterday, but was prohibited from doing so." Leaving aside for the moment the reputation of Dicky Faker for honesty and integrity -- a reputation which, based on past history, must be somewhere close to the freezing point of glycol -- as I understand it what is injuncted are emails stolen from Brash's computer. If FaFer has written his book based on emails that weren't stolen -- "Hager said the emails weren't stolen," says the Herald -- then he's free to publish his book. It would seem however that he doesn't.

The man, once again, is lying -- as too it seems is John Armstrong, who writes blandly of the "High Court injunction blocking publication of Hager's book." This is pure humbug, if not outright lying to his readers. I'll say it again: the injunction is against stolen emails, not against Hager's book. If Hippy Daker has data honestly come by (if he would even know what "honest" looks like), then he is free to make if it what he will.

But it seems he doesn't.

The Herald continues with further humbug. "Blanket injunctions of the kind of the kind that Dr Brash has obtained are not healthy for our democracy," pontificates the Herald. "Those who ask to be entrusted with power have to accept that their dealings should be an open book."

Now, this is nonsense. Are they really suggesting that all "those who ask to be entrusted with power" should make their private emails avaliable to whoever asks for them? Apparently so.

They boast they are "in possession of hard-copied emails which are, or may be, the subject of [Brash's injunction" -- in other words, emails stolen from Brash's computer -- and they are presently arguing in court for these to be publicly released. Not to do so, their lawyer is arguing, is "inconsistent with the rights of freedom of expression affirmed and protected by Section 14 of the Bill of Rights Act."

Frankly, this is bullshit, just as much as TV3's argument that injuncting these private emails is an "unreasonable restriction on freedom of expression."

If they really and truly believe this, then I look forward to the Herald senior staff and the producers and presenter of Campbell Live making the contents of their own emails available to us all online, and seeing their applications to the courts for the release of private emails of H1, H2, Alan Bollard, Mark Prebble, and the entire front bench of the Clark Cabinet.

As I say, this is bullshit, nd not just from Hager who is professionally enmired in the stuff.

Hager claims he is doing work "in the public interest," work that "shines a light on many deceptive and unethical activities" etc. etc. etc., and he outlines some of his claims in the press pack up there at Scoop.

Now it's hard to answer this after watching a year of demonisation by the Clark Government, but is there really something wrong with talking to the Brethren? Or constituents? Or business groups? Or donors? When did association with either business or Brethren or making a donation to a political party or releasing an anti-Labour or anti-Greens pamphlet become so demonised, so evil inand of itself, that we need -- as a matter of intense public interest --to see and hear all the private communications about these activities?

What's wrong with criticising all the lies and spin and just complete nonsense that appears right out there in the open and is made and lapped up everyday, like for example the very demonisation of those groups Hater says Brash has been talking to, or much of what appeared on the front page of the Herald today, or on the front page of the Sunday Star Times most weekends?

Or is Nicky Hager just used to shadows himself?

By the way, and to conclude: Having mentioned the Sunday Star Times and Hicky Nager in the same opinion piece, I can't now fail to mention the opinion of Justice Neazor of the worth of their collaboration over the "revelation" of of the SIS bugging Tariana Turia -- "a work of fiction" Justice Neazor called it after a thorough investigation. As I said back then:
Good advice might be to remember this finding next time you read a story written
by either Nicky Hager or Anthony Hubbard and as Justice Neazor suggests, just file it under fiction.
UPDATE: Just to remind of previous 'Hagerings' NBR has a roll call of those previously 'Hagered,' from the SIS to the SAS to Timberlands West Coast to Helen Clark herself.

RELATED: Politics-NZ, Politics-National, Nonsense


  1. What confuses me more, doesn't this guy just release books just before each election, I think he cocked up his timing, saw the interview this morning, reckons Key and Brash will go after its release

  2. What is the difference between Ian Wishart & Nicky Hagger ?

    One is right wing (Ian) and the other one has no wing (Nicky).

  3. summary: don't read the NZ Herald unless you want to become totally clueless on what's happening in the real world.

  4. There's also some more humbug from Mister Armstrong - and the newspaper he works for - that should be considered.

    Mr. Armstrong is a senior editorial staffer with New Zealand's largest - and arguably most influential - newspaper. And I'm damn sure he wouldn't accept any 'public interest' defence if copies of e-mails, interview notes and telephone calls with his contacts were stolen and published.

    Not would he be very impressed if APN management were leaking to a proxy, say, minutes of his contract negotiations, documents relating to a disciplinary or Employment Court case he was privy to, performance assessments etc designed to discredit him.

    Now, I think the public would be very interested in this kind of insight into the operations of a media organisation. I also think it's a legitimate matter of public interest whether the Herald, its staff and proprietors lives up to the standards of probity it editorialises about, but I'm fairly confident Mr. Armstrong and APN (or more precisely, the very best lawyers a major corporate can buy) would beg to differ.


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