SIS report due out today

photo credit: i k o via photopin cc

The Gwyn Report into allegations the NZ SIS were used for political purposes to smear Phil Goff, via Cameron Slater, is due for release at 10 am. Radio NZ reports:

The report by the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security, Cheryl Gwyn, found the release of information to right-wing blogger Cameron Slater under the Official Information Act had been incomplete and unprofessional.

The investigation was initiated after Nicky Hager’s book Dirty Politics suggested the SIS had been used for political purposes to attack the then Labour Party leader, Phil Goff.

Dr Tucker’s briefing notes were then released in a matter of days after Cameron Slater made a request for them.

They appeared to confirm Mr Goff had been briefed on the matter.

But the investigation found not all the relevant information was released.

Hopefully this report reignites the discussion around Nicky Hager’s Dirty Politics and the National Party smear machine, but maybe not: there’s already been heavy criticism on Twitter this morning about Morning Report focusing more on who “leaked” the Gwyn report than on its content.

Time will tell!

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Stephanie Rodgers is a campaigner, communicator, and commentator on New Zealand politics. She provides advice on messaging and communications strategy, media and social media, organisational culture and crisis management for progressive and community organisations.

10 Comments on SIS report due out today

  1. One Anonymous Bloke // November 25, 2014 at 12:07 pm //

    Collins inquiry finds that she wasn’t involved with either of the groups trying to undermine the SFO chief. Key sacked her for something she hadn’t done, and if she had, would have been less serious than the evidence against him in the Gwynn inquiry.

    I’m picking he will declare he’s done nothing wrong, with zero consequences, apart from the continued dismantling of human rights and the rule of law.


    • One Anonymous Bloke // November 25, 2014 at 12:20 pm //

      PS: I wonder if Collins will brag about tiptoeing through a minefield and coming out clean. One for the political history buffs.


  2. I hate to say it, but I reckon this one’s for the birds now.

    There’s plenty of other things that the Third Term National Government are up to that deserve the sort of scrutiny, time and column inches. By focusing on 2011, when there’s an easy out for Key and National, only embeds the idea that there’s not a sense of engagement in the now and in the future from the left.

    Charter schools, state housing sales, sexual assault laws, energy policy, trade agreements – all in play, and all things that can be got in front of now, can be acted upon and influenced. The Dirty Politics affair has tarnished Key and National, but not really damaged them or Collins.

    It’s a third term Government, their track record of governing is what’ll get them in the end, rather than a focus on some areas of political media management. Yeah, they’ve been unethical and conducted smears, but you know what? They were good at it, and they got away with it. The structure’s exposed now, and it’s about stopping future outbreaks of this sort of behaviour by recognising it and calling it as soon as it arises.

    And, to be quite honest, Labour etc need to sharpen up their own attacks. They’ve got to adopt the incisiveness of National’s media operation without sacrificing their core morality, which is going to be difficult but possible.


    • I disagree. I think there’s a lot of aspects which mean this story is going to be a big one, despite being ultimately about events in 2011. There’s the Dirty Politics aspects, which should get more in-depth coverage post-election (it was unfortunately overshadowed by Kim Dotcom-related drama).

      And there’s the fact a lot of journalists clearly feel indignant about Key’s actions, both in using Jason Ede and Whaleoil to manipulate them, and in giving Slater the kind of access and quick response journalists are routinely denied.

      I agree Labour can do a lot better in how they deal with these attacks, and it’ll be interesting to see how Labour and the Greens handle the issues in today’s Question Time.


      • I think Labour need to keep tagging him with it, but diversify their attacks to the point that it’s not their raison d’etre. Plenty of targets in a third term administration. Also I reckon Winston and the Greens can take up the Dirty Politics slack, and if Labour let them – Labour can get on with starting to build the image of a government in waiting.

        And journalists may feel indignant, but they’re political journalists and they’re relying on the politicians to provide them with their stories, so nobody’s going to go two footed full blood into this one. No Woodward and Bernstein, and even Hager’s shifting towards his argument about the role of media diversity etc.

        Slater may become more dangerous to National as he’s distanced, or he may become diminished. Either way, it’s a positive.

        The political perpetual motion machine continues to thud away, and eventually the news cycle only has so much room for ‘old news’.


        • I really don’t see that Labour have hyper-focused on this issue. Obviously they will today – the dump of reports into National’s bad behaviour is the only story going.

          In the case of the Gwyn report it simply has to be Labour who lead the charge – it’s about a deliberate smear campaign against their leader at the time.

          The point about journalists isn’t really about whether they’re going to go “full blood” on the story. It’s that their “indignation” means this story gets covered, and doesn’t get brushed off.


          • One Anonymous Bloke // November 25, 2014 at 2:14 pm //

            I’d prefer if it were the State Services Commission and the constabulary leading the charge. and Labour have to take it seriously too.


  3. Armstrong proves your point:

    Although PMQ’s appears to see some repeat q’s from Lab and Green on the report.


    • I watched the beginning of Question Time – Norman and Little approached different sides of the matter and Key didn’t come across at all well. And it’s advantageous to have multiple primary questions when that’s the case, there’s greater opportunity to cover multiple sides of the issue.


      • Blimey, given Norman’s ‘Dark day for democracy’ opener on the urgent debate on the issue, all Little has to do is not fall over his own feet and come out looking like a sensible leader.


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