Hooton on Hager’s humongous hypocrisy

Matthew Hooton comments on Nick Hager’s humongous hypocrisy.

However much we may disapprove of Mr Hager, he deserves everyone’s support against these attacks on his privacy. Whether we are an extreme right-wing shock blogger like Mr Slater, or a far-left activist like Mr Hager, the police have no business searching our homes or workplaces unlawfully. Neither should any bank or airline hand over our private records to a government agency unless lawfully ordered to. It is not a question of “nothing to hide, nothing to fear.” Even the most virtuous tend to have doors on their bathrooms. Shame on the New Zealand Police.

That is the catch-cry of the left-wing too as they campaigned last election against “spying”.

Mr Hager, though, seems unable to apply a principled approach toward those he disapproves of, whether forestry companies, biotechnologists, intelligence agencies, centrist or right-wing politicians, or people using trusts in countries in which they are not resident.

Everything significant he has written in the last 20 years has been based on stolen or hacked documents to which he applies his own unique interpretation without bothering to establish background or context, and the scale of these ethical and legal breaches has reached industrial proportions.   

This week, Mr Hager defended the release of a quarter of a million names and addresses by the so-called International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) of which he is the sole New Zealand member. Among them will almost certainly be drug lords, tax evaders and other international criminals who should be drawn to the attention of authorities.

But also making the cut is the International Committee of the Red Cross, as did Greenpeace and Amnesty International in a previous Enemies List issued by Mr Hager’s friends. Several hundred New Zealand settlors, trustees, beneficiaries, directors and lawyers are among them, including some of my clients and friends.

All that links these people is that they are named in the stolen or hacked documents. We do not know the context for why they are mentioned and neither will Mr Hager’s friends give any of the documents to law enforcement authorities for review.

The smear was in, everyone inside the Panama Papers was dodgy, or in the words of Andrew Little, “grubby”.

This is absolutely despicable conduct and, if anything, it makes it worse that the ICIJ site includes a disclaimer that it does not “intend to suggest or imply that any persons, companies or other entities included in the … database have broken the law or otherwise acted improperly.” The least people with integrity would do before violating privacy on such a humungous scale would be to read the documents themselves, focus on those who do appear to have done something wrong and where necessary alert the authorities.

As it turns out, in the context of the ICIJ now holding nearly 12 million illegally obtained documents, the actual wrongdoing seems incredibly limited. True, there are serious political scandals in Iceland and Malta. But with Mossack Fonseca being the fourth-largest trust law firm in the world and no one suggesting it is the ultimate model of respectability, the hundreds of left-wing journalists who have been given access to all the documents have found surprisingly little to report. In New Zealand, the main attention has been a Tauranga Elvis impersonator’s links to a corrupt Iraqi, a perfectly legitimate Green Party donor and of course the prime minister referencing the inclusion of Greenpeace, Amnesty International and the Red Cross on the ICIJ database.

We cannot always say this but the New Zealand media have demonstrated near-exemplary integrity in dealing with the Enemies List. Not even TVNZ and RNZ have rushed around demanding people prove their innocence against the unspecified allegations of Mr Hager’s friends. Only he appears to be defending the publication of the Enemies List. Shame on Mr Hager.

Nicky Hager is a rat faced c*nt. He doesn’t have the guts to front me in public. He is a purveyor of stolen documents and he makes money fencing those documents.

He moans when police get a warrant to search his place, but he does warrantless searches all the time, and breaches the privacy of those he targets.

New Zealand’s biggest privacy breacher is Nick Hager.

 

-NBR


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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story.  And when he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet.   Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet, and as a result he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist that takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him.  But you can’t ignore him.

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