There's been an extremely lot of articles written about and comments on the factual information Nicky Hager has expertly expressed in his new book, Dirty Politics. Many bloggers and journalists alike have conveyed their utter distaste at such an ugly system of smear campaigns and attack politics operating in Gods own New Zealand, and quite rightly so.
What has surprised me is that many presumed right wing journalists have also jumped ship and condemned the current administration for their unconstitutional manipulations. Not only has National been copping it from the left, their campaign is also getting derailed by journalists that have sometimes been sympathetic to national's now unrealistic campaign to be re-elected.
Here are some of the more notable articles:
On 18 August, RadioLive's Duncan Garner reported:
The dirtiest election campaign ever - and mud sticks.
We are witnessing something never seen before: this is the dirtiest campaign in New Zealand political history.
Yes, politics has always been gutter, but this is a new low. This is hacking, stealing and fear. This is about a group of bloggers and political operatives dealing to opponents with brutal tactics and blackmail. The Mafia would be impressed.
On the same day, the Southland Times editorial was equally damning:
If those persistently high polls have been giving the impression that John Key can walk on water, the first post-Hager poll will show whether he can walk on sewage.
Just how deeply National's progress towards election day becomes mired in the underfoot unpleasantness that Nicky Hager's book Dirty Politics has laid out will depend on more than the immediate public reaction.
Certainly the initial, seemingly airy rebuff that the public will see through all this and won't care is looking like a perilous approach. In particular, attention must turn to the charge that blogger Cameron Slater was tipped off by the Prime Minister's office to seek SIS documentation that embarrassed former Labour Leader Phil Goff.
Then on 21 August, the Otago Daily Times editorial made some valid points:
Cleansing process needed
Justice Minister Judith Collins has become a liability to Prime Minister John Key, the Government and more widely, and disturbingly, the country.
How a Minister of Justice, entrusted with upholding the highest standards in the land, can lower her own personal standards to feed confidential personal information about a civil servant to a right-wing blogger - knowing full-well the consequences of her actions - is beyond most right-minded people.
Mr Key should sack Ms Collins now, but will not take that action.
The reason he will not sack her is, of course, because the election is a month away and to remove the Justice Minister now will give further oxygen to an issue he has already handled badly.
Not to be outdone, last saturday's NZ Herald Editorial made similar assertions:
Crusher' must be put in her place
Whaledump's release of emails has forced Mr Key to stop defending Ms Collins. It must surely have also cemented her fate. Ms Collins has never hidden her wish to lead the National Party but it now seems inconceivable that she could head off the competent Steven Joyce when Mr Key departs. Indeed, those who would gather around her in a caucus now have real pause for thought on how not to tarnish their own political brands.
Today, the NZ Herald's chief political commentator, John Armstrong wrote:
PM resolves to harpoon 'Whalegate'
Having failed to talk Hager into submission, Key has suddenly gone silent. At his post-launch press conference, he simply refused to answer questions on the subject. The media had had a "good chew" and "we have moved on from there".
Some very pertinent questions remain unanswered, however, namely why Key has not sacked Judith Collins from the Justice portfolio and why she has not apologised to the public servant who received death threats after she passed private information to Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater.
The switch in tactics is understandable, if not defendable. Last week was the week from hell for the Prime Minister. He is in no mood for a repeat.
This is just a few of many mainstream media articles that are damning the National led government and their underhanded operations to covertly smear opponents using attack bloggers.
Surely the Prime Minister cannot ignore the fact that these centre right journalists are rightfully asking the hard questions about his and his Ministers involvement in dirty politics?
It's well past time that John Key stepped into the light and gave some proper answers as to why such corruption has been allowed to fester in our halls of power.
If he's unwilling to come clean, then he should simply resign for his dereliction of duty and complicity in National's unacceptable and undemocratic behaviour.