Home' Greymouth Star : September 6th 2014 Contents Greymouth Star
Saturday, September 6, 2014 - 5
The media can continue to report
on Cameron Slater’s communications
with high-profile figures after the
High Court blocked the blogger’s bid
for a gagging order.
In the High Court at Auckland
yesterday, Justice John Fogarty said
the media were still allowed to discuss
material already leaked and publish
information already in their hands.
The judge was quick to clarify it was
an interim order pending further legal
wrangling next week.
However, the Whale Oil blogger —
who was not at court — was successful
in placing an interim injunction against
the hacker known as Rawshark from
any further publication of his emails
and social-media conversations.
Slater’s legal action specifically
targeted the New Zealand Herald,
TV3 and Fairfax Media, as well as
the “unknown” hacker behind the
Whaledump Twitter account.
His lawyer John Billington QC
said his client suspected he knew the
identity of Rawshark but was not sure
enough to name him.
The case, which the lawyer suggested
was a first in the country’s legal history,
was likely to shape the way the law was
used in the future.
He compared the scenario to a thief
breaking into someone’s bedroom and
stealing personal information which
then ended up on the front page of the
The lawyer acknowledged Justice
Fogarty must balance the public
interest against the right to privacy but
said “the court can’t close its eyes to the
fact the information was obtained by
“ It’s also in the public interest
upholding law and order,”
Julian Miles QC, representing the
media outlets, said the application for
an injunction had come far too late and
he called the situation “ unprecedented
in New Zealand political history”.
He criticised Mr Slater’s affidavit,
which he said focused on personal
information the media had no interest
“The continuing pattern of what ’s
been published is significant issues of
genuine public interest which all relate
to the political debate that ’s raging at
the moment,” Mr Miles said.
There were also references to TV3
director of news Mark Jennings’
affidavit in which he made scathing
comments on Slater’s previous personal
attacks on people that had caused
“ immense distress and damage”.
Mr Miles said a ban on publication
even for one day would be hugely
significant so close to an election.
“ It would be irresponsible to gag
informed commentators but the Wild
West, as it were, in the blogosphere
would be free to disseminate conspiracy
theories and allegations and whatever
else they might want. ”
Whether or not an injunction was
granted, he said information would
continue to come out through various
sources on-line and it was best to allow
the mainstream media to disseminate
Mr Slater’s statement of claim
said he had “tens of thousands
of e-mails spanning a period of
more than 10 years”,
exchanges with accountants, doctors,
lawyers, psychiatrists and personal
communication with his wife.
The High Court showdown comes
two weeks after the publication of
Nicky Hager’s Dirty Politics book,
which accused the National Party of
attacking opponents through Slater’s
Whale Oil blog.
The hacker known as Rawshark has
quit, acknowledging he could go to jail
for hacking the Whale Oil blog but
defended the decision to do so.
He has also threatened to return
if dirty politics continues in New
“I know vigilantism is a dangerous
final resort. I hope history judges me
kindly,” he said. “If I didn’t do it, who
would have? If I didn’t do it this way,
how could it have been done?
“Don’t try this at home ... unless
you think it ’s important enough
to risk seven years in jail. Think it
through. ” In a series of tweets from
the Whaledump2 account, Rawshark
said he was not motivated by political
leanings but by “ratf***ers” — a term
from the Watergate scandal to describe
those alleged of manipulating the
“This was never about party politics
for me. I have done what I set out to
do. It is time to go.
“ To targeted ratf***ers: Good
luck lying. Remaining dumps (of
information) are with journos. You
feeling lucky, punk?
“ To all other ratf***ers, present and
future: Don’t make me come out of
The announced retirement from a
central role in the scandal fits with the
Herald’sunderstanding of Rawshark’s
intentions, which were referred to
prior to an announced court action by
blogger Cameron Slater.
“By the time you read this, every
device used in this operation will have
been destroyed and disposed of along
with all the decryption keys. So long
The hacker referenced the cases of
Aaron Swartz and Jeremy Hammond
two cause celebre hacker activists
who were targeted for prosecution
after computer intrusions. Swartz
committed suicide while facing
aggressive prosecutors demanding he
ser ve decades in jail while Hammond
was sentenced to 10 years in prison.
New Zealand Herald
Labour Minister Simon Bridges says
he was aware of a smear campaign on
the Whale Oil blog on union cleaning
contracts for Government buildings
but it had no influence on his
decision to change them.
Nicky Hager ’s book Dirty Politics
raised questions about the Government
axing of its agreement to hire cleaning
companies for State buildings only if
they were members of the Building
Ser vice Contractors of New Zealand
(BSC) industry body.
It suggested a link between D unedin-
based company Crest Commercial
Cleaning and Whale Oil posts critical
of the BSC in 2012 and 2013.
In May, Mr Bridges announced that
the Government was dropping the
But yesterday, he said that the
decision had nothing to do with Whale
Oil or Crest.
“ We know that (blogger) Cam
Slater or Whale Oil had a series of
posts critical of me. If anything, those
posts made me less likely to make the
changes we made, not more likely.
“His posts were counter-productive,
but in the end, the advice was very
clear, so we made the changes. ”
He said the Ministry of Business,
Innovation and Employment had
proactively looked at the arrangement,
and advised that it be dumped.
“It was uncompetitive, it wasn’t
having any kind of the desirable
effect in terms of health and safety, or
“It was also a real outlier in terms
of Government procurement and also
I think (World Trade Organisation)
rules,” Mr Bridges said.
“I’ve gone back to double-check. I’m
not aware of any lobbying from anyone
about these issues.”
The decision “certainly had nothing
to do with bloggers, lobbyists, or any of
He said Whale Oil clearly had an
agenda. But “he’s had no influence on
me as Minister of Labour”.
Mr Bridges said he had received no
correspondence from former Cabinet
colleague Judith Collins — a friend of
Slater — about the matter.
He said he had met Mr Slater. “If you
read his blog, you’ ll see he hasn’t been
my greatest fan in the last year or two
. .. I wouldn’t describe him as a good
New Zealand Herald
Whale Oil court bid fails
‘It would be irresponsible to gag informed commentators.’
Simon Bridges ‘not influenced’
Hacker quits, destroys evidence
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