Nicky Hager's book is available as an e-book (PDF) at his website: (click)

Nicky Hager’s book is available as an e-book (PDF) at his website: (click)

Journalist and author Nicky Hager (The Hollow Men, Secrets and Lies, Other People’s Wars, Secret Power — last mentioned on The Paepae here) knows a thing or two about the state security/surveillance apparatus … and leaks.

He was recently interviewed for a spot on Radio NZ’s Mediawatch (14 Apr 2013) on the subject of the leaked information from various government departments and a huge story he contributed to about international tax havens — worth a listen, seriously.

I generally listen to Mediawatch as a podcast, usually while I’m out walking. This morning’s walk included the monthy ‘Mediawatch Extra’, which is the show’s response to feedback and a chance for the Mediawatch crew to shoot the breeze about aspects of the media’s performance, including their own. It’s always entertaining, always good. Today host Colin Peacock introduced another clip of their Nicky Hager interview recorded but not broadcast as part of the 14 April show.

Given the on-going train wreck of the GCSB illegal spying, the NZ prime minister’s changing story about his links to and contact with Ian Fletcher, and Mr Key’s role in the appointment of his old friend to the job of top government spy, it made sense to ask Nicky Hager for his expert view of the rolling scandal and revelations … and John Key’s political management.

Here’s the clip of Nicky Hager interviewed by Radio NZ Mediawatch’s Colin Peacock and Jeremy Rose …

Nicky Hager on Radio NZ Mediawatch Extra April 2013

As you’ll hear, in part the conversation broached the subject of Mr Key’s noteworthy (and defensive) declaration that as Prime Minister he would henceforth stop taking stand-up questions from ‘knuckleheads’ in the media — and MPs in the House(!) — and will ask for questions to be written down and given to his office for answer (see: John Key toughens up? “Forearmed is forewarned (sic), I’m going to change.”)

Such an approach makes Mr Key’s answers subject to grooming by his advisors — including, I guess, his spin doctors, seeking to protect him from fallout from his own varying statements. You may recall, I suggested earlier that Mr Key’s reputation for veracity is suffering. Nicky Hager seems to agree:

Did John Key forget that he was friends with Ian Fletcher? Well no, of course he didn’t. I don’t think anyone in the country believed him when he said that. So it’s not that he couldn’t remember it, it’s just that he wished that he hadn’t had to say it, and he would have tried to figure out a better way not to say it if it had been a written question. — Nicky Hager


– P