Helen Clark was probably the biggest gossip of them all when she led the country. She leaked and spread rumours about people and even those in her own team – I wonder how her private communications and those of her senior ministers would look splashed across a book. I bet it wouldn’t be pretty.
But they never get hacked or spied on.
I was also involved in a series of stories about former Cabinet minister John Tamihere over financial irregularities at his previous job at the Waipareira Trust which saw him sacked as a minister. When I got home, my house had been broken into. Nothing was taken but all the windows and doors had been left open. TV3 hired a security firm to change the locks, watch my kids at school and investigate the break-in. The firm concluded that someone wanted to frighten me – and we left it there.
There have been some very interesting break ins of offices recently. Why would people break into an MPs office? No drugs., no money, no alcohol.
I also remember doing business with Labour’s chief of staff Matt McCarten in the 1990s, when he ran the Alliance. Matt was fun and charming – but let’s not kid ourselves, if anyone knew how to run a black ops sting it was him.
When I worked in Parliament, Matt sometimes would give me stuff to attack Labour with, on behalf of the Alliance. Now he is their Chief of Staff.
Senior Labour ministers and press secretaries rang to point me toward The Standard, a Left-wing blog, to read its vitriol on certain days. Who had written those posts? I’m told many were written under fake names by Labour staffers paid by the taxpayer.
My point is politics is dirty, no matter who is in power. Hager seems genuinely surprised at this. Frankly I’m surprised at his naivety.
Let’s not forget that Hager is a long-time critic of spy agencies and electronic surveillance – but he’s happy to accept and publish information taken from people’s computers without their consent. Dirty tricks indeed.
Spying is wrong – except when they do it.