Hager hints at impact new book will have
Tongues are wagging over the election year timing of a new book by Dirty Politics author Nicky Hager, which is poised for release a day before John Key bows out of Parliament.
Invitations to Hager’s book launch tomorrow were widely distributed yesterday.
The invitation said it was not a sequel to Dirty Politics ‘‘nor related to the election’’.
‘‘It is a completely different book but nonetheless gripping and important.’’
The invitation ended with a note that there would be no media comment until the launch.
People seem to be taking with a grain of salt Hager’s suggestion that the book is not related to the election.
Left-wing commentator Bryce Edwards said Hager could legitimately make that claim if his target was Key, as the former prime minister would be long gone by the time of the election.
Hager famously released Dirty Politics in the run-up to the 2014 election, alleging dirty tricks by National Party MPs, spin doctors and bloggers.
Hacked emails formed the basis of the book.
German internet entrepreneur and former Internet Party founder Kim Dotcom has been claiming on Twitter and elsewhere that he knows why Key resigned, linking it to ‘‘2 terabytes’’ of hacked emails and attachments taken from Government servers.
In one tweet, Dotcom claimed Key knew he could not win the next election with ‘‘tons of hacked Govt emails waiting to be leaked’’.
Dotcom claimed at the last election to have evidence that proved Key lied about his extradition but failed to produce it.
Hager’s previous books have included The Hollow Men, which also drew heavily on emails, the source of which Hager has never revealed.
Former National Party leader Don Brash has always claimed that the emails and documents were hacked, because he said they could only have come from himself.
Brash and Key were the principal targets of The Hollow Men.
In 2002, Hager’s book Seeds of Distrust claimed a cover-up over genetically modified corn and nearly derailed Labour leader Helen Clark’s election campaign.
The controversy became known as Corngate.
Hager’s new book will be released on Tuesday evening, at Wellington’s Unity Books.
Key delivers his valedictory to Parliament on Wednesday.
In an interview with The Spinoff last year, Hager alluded to his new book as ‘‘one of the most important projects that I could imagine in my life’’.
He would not say more about the book or title but when asked about fallout from Dirty Politics, Hager hinted there might be more to come.
‘‘When people say everything has gone back to normal, they’re possibly not realising how much did change, and what they’re perhaps really meaning is the prime minister [then John Key], who was in many ways at the centre of the distasteful politics, has so far survived it.
‘‘None of us knows really how politics works.
‘‘He’s survived at the moment by not answering the question and then not answering the question again and then refusing to answer the question again – relying on the lack of attention span of the media,’’ Hager said.
‘‘He may get away with that but I actually think that one is still playing itself out.
‘‘I think that when people say John Key got away with the book and never had to answer the question – and of course he has got away with not having to answer the question so far – I think they’re not being optimistic enough.
‘‘I think we may still see in the long run it will be seen to have bitten him badly and he hasn’t got away with it.’’
Edwards said he would guess state surveillance was the main focus of Hager’s book, given Hager’s comments about it being ‘‘one of the most important projects’’ imaginable.
Hager had been tireless in his pursuit of that subject over many years.