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

Snowden files: How NZ and US agents plotted to spy on China

Five Eyes allies identified a diplomatic data link between Chinese offices as a target for hacking. Nicky Hager and Ryan Gallagher dissect the plan.

#snowdenNZ : The price of the Five Eyes club: Mass spying on friendly nations

Leaked Snowden files show most of GCSB’s targets are not security threats to New Zealand, as Government suggests…

Digging up dirty deeds, Nicky Hager writing in Walkley Magazine

Political journalists had long suspected
links between the prime minister’s office and these
bloggers, but the activities were well hidden and
denied. The book shows a series of attacks and
manufactured scandals: researched and coordinated
by government staff and then fed to journalists via
the attack bloggers. It is a classic example of where
a leak was crucial for the story getting out

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

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: Nicky Hager writes in The Guardian

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

Bruce Jesson Lecture, Maidment Theatre, Auckland

The second part of the lecture will be about investigative journalism. But before that, I want to use the opportunity of this lecture to talk much more widely, sharing some thoughts about the state of politics in New Zealand today.

2011 Election analysis: I’ve just been internalising a really complicated situation in my head

The news declared that the National Party had had a ‘historic’ election victory on Saturday but, if that was true, National Party people would be looking happier. The reality is much more complicated.

Wikileaks: the first cables released in New Zealand

These are the first US embassy cables released in New Zealand, in full except for one name being redacted.

Wikileaks: Leaked US cables spill the beans on NZ ties

NEW ZEALAND’S collaboration with United States intelligence agencies was “fully restored” in August 2009 but both governments decided to keep the decision secret.

Wikileaks: US tried to change nukes stand in 2005

THE WIKILEAKS cables reveal American ambassador Charles Swindell worked ahead of the 2005 election to pressure New Zealand into changing its nuclear-free policy.

Dying for an invitation to Washington

John Key and his colleagues are going to send the Special Air Service to Afghanistan. The current talk about whether National should do so is, unfortunately, academic. The decision is already made.

“Crosby v Hager”: defamation proceedings used as a political weapon

I have just been through an eleven month defamation case. Fortunately, we mostly won. About 20 to 1 if it was a score. If I was ever going to be sued like this, I am pleased that the suer was a man of Lynton Crosby’s standing and that his case against me was so weak….

Unfortunately, defamation is a tool that can be used by any well resourced company or individual against people who have annoyed them or who they do not like. This has serious implications for journalism and public accountability — potentially chilling freedom of speech about the people who most deserve scrutiny and criticism — since the sad fact is that it is much safer for a news organisation to criticise poor people than rich and powerful ones.

Leaked: National plans reveal the government’s continued reluctance to spend

Leaked Cabinet plans list the government’s infrastructure projects and show that even facing the worst economic crisis in half a century, the government intends to restrain its spending….

There’s actually only one John Key, just not the one on show

National’s campaign is hiding a front bench full of 1990s-style free marketers behind John Key’s well-scripted one-liners….

Private hospitals will ‘cream off’ easiest work under Nat scheme

Investigative journalist Nicky Hager says National’s health policies have gone publicly unnoticed, but involve a shift back to 1990s free-market reforms….

Plum job for Brash as National attacks cronyism

JOHN KEY plans to appoint former party leader Don Brash as high commissioner to London if National is elected later this year, sources have told the Sunday Star-Times….

Interview with Nicky Hager 2008

Nicky Hager is interviewed about lessons for the public from his book and the film The Hollow Men

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.

Key’s election-advice invoices undermine attacks on Labour

National Party leader John Key appears to be using taxpayers’ money to pay for his controversial Australian strategy advisers, Crosby/Textor. Inside information strongly points to the firm being paid through Key’s parliamentary office rather than by the National Party, even though the Australians are primarily assisting the party’s election campaign strategy….

Return of the Hollow Men

National leader John Key’s campaign is being overseen by the same highly controversial manipulators who directed Don Brash’s ill-fated tilt at power….

Why John Key wants to change the electoral system, Otago Daily Times, June 2008

National Party leader John Key is talking about changing New Zealand’s electoral system. Nicky Hager writes about Key’s plans and the lobby groups that are pushing for the change.

Election funding: What’s National up to?

The great weakness of much journalism is a process-worker approach to assembling quotation-based stories….

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.

Donor cash stays in shadows

MPs have stepped back from proposals that would have lifted secrecy
surrounding party donations….

“Propaganda then and now”, notes of a lecture at Auckland Museum on Wednesday, 2 May 2007

I will be talking tonight about the history and characteristics of propaganda, starting with the WWII versions as seen in the “Towards the Precipice” poster exhibition here at the museum and moving on to contemporary examples that together help us to understand the world we live in.

Beyond the spin-doctoring, democracy is at work

I would like to propose a New Year’s resolution for news organisations: sorting out the difference between genuine media commentators and giving regular media space to political party spin doctors….

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.