Secret Power, New Zealand’s role in the international spy network

Secret Power – Nicky Hager – cover“The most detailed and up-to-date account of the work of any signals intelligence agency in existence… a masterpiece of investigative reporting.” The book contains the first detailed account of the world-wide electronic surveillance system called Echelon, which is used to spy on international communications including e-mails and phone calls. These revelations have been repeated in hundreds of articles, documentaries and movies, and prompted for a year-long European parliament inquiry. The book gives an inside look at New Zealand’s largest intelligence agency and its part in a US-British-Canadian-Australia-New Zealand intelligence alliance, information that helps us understand the workings of all five allied agencies.

Secret and Lies, the anatomy of an anti-environmental PR campaign

Secrets and Lies – Nicky Hager and Bob BurtonA based on hundreds of leaked public relations papers, the book shows how PR consultants think and act when they are being paid to try to influence politics. It shows the range of techniques used by PR companies to manufacture political support for their clients and dirty tricks they use to stop their client’s opponents being heard.

Seeds of Distrust, The story of a GE coverup

Seeds of Distrust - Nicky HagerThe book tells the story of how the New Zealand government handled the unwelcome news of contamination of corn crops with genetically-engineered seeds. Officials succumbed to industry lobbying, quietly changed the regulations to “allow” contaminated crops. ‘managed’ the risk of politicians and the public objecting by keeping the whole incident secret. The book is not about the corn but about the political management. It takes readers step-by-step through the crisis, based on original documents from an unhappy insider.

The Hollow Men, a study in the politics of deception

The Hollow Men - Nicky HagerThe book shows the internal working of New Zealand’s main conservative party (the National Party) from the election of a new leader, through two years of election campaigning, up to that leaders demise. Based on 1000s of internal communications, strategy papers, itineraries and meeting minutes, it gives an unprecedented insight into modern politics. After exposing numerous lies told to the public, revealing the cynical use of racism to woo redneck voters, secret relations with millionaire donors and much more, the party leader resigned on the day the book was published.

The Hollow Men: Play

The Hollow Men - playThe most impressive new work [of 2006] was Dean Parker’s The Hollow Men (Bats), adapted from Nicky Hager’s book about the rise and fall of Don Brash (don’t mention the Masons). We rarely see local political plays of this sophistication – Harry Rickets, New Zealand Listener, December 29-January 4 2008.

The Hollow Men: Documentary film

Award-winning documentary maker Alister Barry (Someone Else’s Country, In a Land of Plenty) brings this exposé of behind-the-scenes politics in an all-too-real political thriller.

  • DVD copies of “The Hollow Men” documentary are available by mailorder priced at $30 each, including gst and postage. Simply email indicating how many copies you would like and your postal address.

Chapters of other books

“Auf der Suche nach Echelon”, Vom Ende der Anonymitat, Christiane Schulzki-Haddouti (editor), Heise, Hannover, 2000

Read “Investigating and Exposing“, a chapter about investigative methods

“Speaking Truth to Power, Public intellectuals rethink New Zealand”, Laurence Simmons (editor), Auckland University Press, 2007

Sunlight did what sunlight does: Nicky Hager on Dirty Politics, three years on

Dirty Politics landed like a bombshell in the NZ election campaign of 2014. It may not have affected that outcome, but that was never the ambition. It has, however, made a big impact on our politics, argues Nicky Hager in The Spinoff

New Zealand elections: dirty tricks helped John Key win another term

An orchestrated attack has painted Key’s political opponents as dodgy, untrustworthy or incompetent. This is not how democracy should work

Dirty Politics

Early in 2014 Nicky Hager was leaked a large number of email and online conversations from Cameron Slater’s Whale Oil blog.

Many of these were between Slater and his personal allies on the hard right, revealing an ugly and destructive style of politics. But there were also many communications with the prime minister’s office and other Cabinet ministers in the National Govt.

The Manipulators, chapter 10 of The Hollow Men

The Australian strategists Crosby/Textor have returned to the news working for the British Conservative Party. We are reproducing a chapter about their operations in a New Zealand campaign, including leaked reports that show clearly how they think and operate…
(See also

Other People’s Wars

Other People's Wars - cover imageThe ‘war on terror’ in Afghanistan and beyond has been the longest foreign war in New Zealand history, yet most New Zealanders know almost nothing about their country’s part in it. For ten years, nearly everything controversial or potentially unpopular was kept secret, and obscured by a steady flow of military public relations stories.

Based on thousands of leaked New Zealand military and intelligence documents, extensive interviews with military and intelligence officers and eye-witness accounts from the soldiers on the ground, Nicky Hager tells the story of these years. New Zealand was far more involved than the public realised in this crucial period of world history, He tells how the military and bureaucracy used the war on terror to pursue private agendas, even when this meant misleading and ignoring the decisions of the elected government.

“Nicky Hager has more knowledge and understanding of the American intelligence world in Afghanistan — both its good and its very bad points — than any reporter I know.” – Seymour Hersh, 2013