Book written based on leaked political emails, NZ

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

A book has been written based around leaked political emails sourcing from leader of the New Zealand National party, Doctor Don Brash. The book has been titled The Hollow Men: A Study in the Politics of Deception and it's by author, Nicky Hager, an activist for left-wing causes.

The release of the book was supposed to be today, however the release of the book has been prohibited by the High Court because of an injunction, issued last week, banning the publication of the leaked emails. The injunction applies to anyone as the plantiifs are in the names of "Jane Doe and John Doe".

The topics in the book cover a lot ranging from policies and matters to do with the party. The book also includes Dr Brash's relationship with the exclusive brethren. The books also shows that people within the party, who had denied links with the exclusive brethern, had in fact had links with them. Those people include Dr Brash, John Key the spokesman for finance and Stephen Joyce the campaign manager. The contents page has been revealed, it showed that the book includes political strategies behind the Orewa speech, the input into Nationals campaign from neo-conservatives in America, industry lobby group influences, doners to National and also the election spending strategy that was thought up by Australian advisers.

He also said it looked at a range of possible breaches of election finance laws and parliamentary spending rules.

Mr Hager confirmed that the book doesn't just use emails but also interviews with people inside the National Party who are unhappy.

Mr Hager said that the book uses emails from Dr Brash that are non-personal and the book does not include anything about Dr Brash's private life. He said that well-placed sources from within National had provided him with the emails. Mr Hager said: "[The emails did not come] from hacking into the parliamentary server or gaining access to Don Brash's computer system or something like that".

In response to the book National has begun to attack Mr Hager's credibility. Gerry Brownlee, deputy leader, has labbled Mr Hager as a well known intriguist. "Helen Clark roundly ditched him over his Corngate allegations a few years ago and it would be interesting to know what she would make of his latest claims."

Dr Brash said that it is not expected that their communications with the public would be made public.

The New Zealand Labour party is claiming that this book will be the "death knell" for National. Michael Cullen, deputy prime minister (PM), said: "The claims about Brash's and John Key's dealings with the Exclusive Brethren are very damaging. The trouble for the National Party is the book may knock out both of them in one go and the party will have to look beyond Key as leader."

Current affairs show which is broadcast on TV3, Campbell Live, has filed legal precedings in the high court to allow the publication of the book. Carol Hirshfeld, producer, said: "[Our] lawyers are arguing the court didn't take sufficient account of the public interest and that constitutes an unreasonable restriction on freedom of expression. Another key point in the application is that Brash knew for some time that the emails were in the public domain, but delayed acting until now." On today's show host of Campbell Live, John Campbell, said that he and some of his bosses had read the book.

The injunction stops the publish and broadcast, which includes the internet, of the emails. It is also prohibited to reveal what the emails contain or giving the emails to another person except the High Court where they are supposed to be given.