There has been considerable debate over whether the SST was justified in allowing the PM’s involvement in Doonegate to be exposed.
The NZ Herald Editorial takes the view that it was not justified, and takes a swipe at Fairfax, owners of the SST.
Former Dominion editor Richard Long writes that the convention to protect confidential sources is designed to “protect whistleblowers uncovering conspiracies and dastardly deeds” as in the the Watergate case of Deep Throat.
Long says that having the PM confirm *five* times the incorrect information is a different case as Helen Clark was not uncovering a grave injustice, a conspiracy, or dastardly deeds that needed to be exposed for the public good. Instead the only person benefiting from her actions, was in fact herself. Thus the convention is not there so the most powerful person in the land can misuse her powers against an individual and in the process misled a newspaper, its readers and caused the individual personal damage.
Richard Long is of course not just the former editor of the Dominion, but also my former boss, being Don Brash’s chief of staff.