Opposition MPs say police should search Prime Minister John Key’s house and office following revelations he was “told” the identity of the hacker behind Dirty Politics.
The revised biography Portrait of a Prime Minister includes a new chapter on the election entitled ‘The Campaign from Hell’, in which Mr Key alleges he was told who the hacker ‘Rawshark’ is.
“Someone phoned and told me who the hacker was, but other than having a look at this person, I thought, ‘Oh well … nothing will come out of it. Life goes on,” Mr Key said in the book.
Mr Key did not reveal the name to the biography’s author John Roughan and when asked if he passed on the information to police, a spokeswoman said Mr Key had no involvement with the inquiry.
Though Mr Key believed he knew the hacker’s identity “he cannot be certain”, the spokeswoman said.
Police conducted a 10-hour-long search of investigative journalist Nicky Hager’s Wellington house earlier this month, in an attempt to flush out the hacker. The author is taking the police to court over their actions.
New Zealand First leader Winston Peters and Green Party co-leader Russel Norman think police should raid Mr Key’s house and office if he claims to know who the hacker is.
“[Mr Key] says he’s not actually certain – another brain-fade. If you do know conclusively, you should say so, but he says he doesn’t know,” Mr Peters says.
Asked if police should search Mr Key’s property he replied: “What’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander, isn’t it?”.
Dr Norman says Mr Key should either tell the public who he thinks Rawshark is, or be subject to a search like Mr Hager.
“I would expect to police to be consistent and even-handed and raid the Prime Minister’s house and office to find out who Mr Key thinks Rawshark is”
“If he wants to avoid a 10-hour police search, which is what Mr Hager got, then he should fess up and tell us who he thinks Rawshark is.”
Rawshark is accused of providing Mr Hager with the personal emails and communications between Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater and National Party staff and ministers that formed the backbone of his Dirty Politics book.
Key should have come clean on Ede -Russel Norman
The revised chapter in Portrait of a Prime Minister also reveals former National Party staffer and apparent close source of Slater, Jason Ede resigned the night Dirty Politics was published.
Mr Hager’s book alleges Mr Ede was one of the sources of information which Slater used to attack National’s opponents.
Mr Key did not confirm Mr Ede’s resignation until two days after the election.
Dr Norman believes if Mr Key knew about the resignation when it happened, he should have made it public.
“If New Zealanders during the election campaign would have known Mr Ede was no longer working for the National Party they would have realised there was a lot of weight in the very serious allegations [in Mr Hager’s book],” he said.
“That’s why National didn’t want anyone to know.”
In an interview for the biography, Mr Key said Mr Ede had a lot of jobs.
“Part of it was dealing with bloggers, but he’d go off and do things for the party too, such as the Mana by-election,” he said.
Roughan writes that Mr Ede had worked full time for the National Party since the start of the year, but it ended the night Dirty Politics was published.
Mr Ede was one of Mr Key’s advisers before he began working for the party. He dropped out of sight several weeks ago but it wasn’t previously known when he quit the job.
Mr Key confirmed to Roughan that he was at times in contact with Slater.
“I don’t know him really,” Mr Key said.
“He used to turn up at the odd event… occasionally Cameron would text me but it wasn’t anything like my relationship with David Farrar (National’s pollster who writes Kiwiblog), I talk to Farrar all the time.”
Acknowledgements: 3 News