Monday, March 08, 2010

Breaking News – there was no news

Today the police released a review into how they conducted the investigation of how emails of ex-National Party leader Don Brash ended up in the hands of journalist and author Nicky Hager. In the original investigation, police found no evidence that the emails were stolen.

When the damaging emails came to light, exposing the extent to which Brash had done deals with extreme right wingers, implicated him in collusion to deliberately hide National’s true agenda, and suggested that he was aware of the extent of the party’s coordination of advertising with a far right christianist cult as well as business interests, Brash’s first response was to prevaricate. Then he went on the offensive, essentially accusing Hager of theft. Hager has always said the emails were leaked, not stolen.

Brash attacked the police, accusing them of running a politically-biased “cavalier” investigation. Brash has said of the police investigation that it looked to him like it “gave every appearance of being treated as a matter of no consequence."

That may have been Brash’s view, but apart from some minor points, the review didn’t agree with him. Still, it clearly was “a matter of no consequence." If I were to bet, it’d be that a National Party member leaked the emails as a matter of principle.

Brash led the party to the far right in what was essentially a hostile takeover of the neoconservative Act Party. Many of the behind-the-scenes leaders and founders of Act were behind Brash. A couple decades earlier, the same cabal took over the Labour Party to foist a neoconservative agenda on New Zealand; they couldn’t take over National back then. In 2005, they thought they finally had their chance to regain power. They were wrong.

Nicky Hager ultimately helped to derail Brash’s largely hidden campaign to jerk New Zealand to the far right. Like George W. Bush, Brash had many smart, powerful and unscrupulous people behind him, but unlike Bush, Brash knew every aspect of what they—and he—were up to. Fortunately, New Zealand voters began to find out the truth before the election. In the months and years since, we’ve learned almost the full extent of their plans—thanks in no small measure to those emails.

No amount of huffing and puffing by Brash or the man who toppled him, John Key, can change one essential fact: New Zealand dodged a bullet in 2005, and the National Party and its campaign were all responsible to varying degrees—all, that is, apart from what I bet was one or more people in the National Party with a conscience or perhaps simply a loyalty to the party, who refused to see National crushed under the weight of Act’s neoconservative agenda.

The police have now firmly established that those email were not stolen. As far as I’m concerned, whoever leaked them did the right thing, whatever their motivations really were.

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