They say Dirty Politics like it is a bad thing

Radio New Zealand is continuing on the witch hunt in Marlborough and Nelson. Instead of focussing on the issues they want to shoot the messenger and root out a whistle-blower.

Nelson councillor and mayoral candidate Pete Rainey said it amounted to gutter politics, which was unbelievable in local body elections.

The blog run by Cameron Slater was described in Nicky Hager’s book Dirty Politics, as having a history of running smear campaigns against MPs, health campaigners, environmentalists and others on behalf of Mr Slater’s political allies.

Mr Rainey, a city councillor for three terms, and co-owner of a local events management business, was recently accused of profiteering from his dealings with the council. He said the deputy mayor Paul Matheson asked for information on his business dealings with council, but Mr Rainey said it was later found to be wrong.

Whale Oil published the information.

“Look there’s definitely untrue claims made by Slater about a company I own and its dealing with the council. The information is incorrect – it’s quite clear it’s incorrect but the information is out in the public arena and I think the people of Nelson will have to make their own mind up about how that happened and who stood to gain from it,” Mr Rainey said.

Wrong? Is Rainey really wanting to go there? See how Colin Craig is getting on. The story is materially factual. Perhaps Rainey just took less, not none, just a little less.

Marlborough Mayor Alistair Sowman is trying to find out who leaked a recording of a confidential council meeting in April, aimed at embarrassing mayoral candidate John Leggett.

The closed meeting was about the financially troubled ASB Theatre in Blenheim, which opened in March this year. The audio and transcript of the meeting to discuss finances have appeared on the Whale Oil blog.

The Marlborough District Council said legal advice had confirmed that recording discussions in the confidential part of a council meeting was in breach of the Local Government Act and the Privacy Act.

All staff members present at the meeting now have to sign a statutory declaration to say they were not responsible for the recording or in releasing it to a third party.

Councillors will also have to surrender, if requested, their council owned devices for inspection.

Mr Sowman, who was stepping down this year, said he had not seen anything like it in all his years on the council.

Blogger Cameron Slater claimed it was council staff who leaked Mr Leggett’s views on the theatre funding. Mr Sowman said that was highly unlikely, and if it turned out to be a councillor then he or she could be asked to resign.

Mr Sowman said the law allowed councils to exclude the public from parts of council meetings, if there was good enough reason.

“We were talking about people who owed the council money and then there was a report of the theatre’s finances.”

He was confident the council would trace the leak.

I doubt they can trace the leak. For a start it was months ago. Secondly, a witch hunt never reveals anything.

Dirty Politics publisher Robbie Burton said the defamatory post on Mr Rainey, who was a friend, came “straight out of the Dirty Politics playbook”.

“Does anyone really think Cameron Slater would be interested in Pete Rainey unless someone locally put him up to it? Of course, he wouldn’t.

“Our community deserves far better than this,” Mr Burton said.

Cameron Slater said he acquired the information from tip offs, and his own research.

“There is a real ‘boss hogg’ mentality in many small towns where cabals of ratbags act with impunity. It sometimes takes someone outside of it all with no fear of retribution to get to the bottom of it all,” Mr Slater said.

Nelson’s deputy Mayor Paul Matheson said while he requested the information from council staff in relation to Mr Rainey’s business, he did not pass it on to Whale Oil.

Mr Matheson said he had no idea why the blog would run information the council had conceded was incorrect.

“All I’m aware of is the information originally sent came from the (council) chief executive, so whether that information was tested or not, I’m not sure.”

As I said above the information is materially correct, but maybe Rainey took less, not none, just a little less. If he wants to test it like Colin Craig then be my guest.

Stories only stack up if there is truth behind them and I am disappointed that no one is asking Leggett what he really thinks about the theatre, what he says in public or private?

 

– Radio NZ


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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. 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 who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

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

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