Since its publication in August, Nicky Hager’s Dirty Politics: How attack politics is poisoning New Zealand’s political environment has dominated the political agenda in the lead-up to the September 20 general election.
Partly, this reflects Hager’s cast of characters. The lesser lights include a clutch of right-wing bloggers and sundry consultants to the governing National Party. But the supporting cast also numbers a special adviser working in prime minister John Key’s office, and former justice minister (and one-time aspiring National Party leader) Judith Collins. Most importantly, at centre stage stands Key.
Based on the contents of a USB device Hager received “out of the blue”, and which contained thousands of documents hacked from the website of right-wing blogger Cameron Slater, the book has poured generous quantities of political petrol on a campaign that had been on a slow burn.