Thousands of emails backing up Nicky Hager's dirty tricks allegations could be drip fed between now and the election, threatening to derail National's campaign.
An anonymous website yesterday posted screen grabs from a handful of the emails hacked from shock jock blogger Cameron Slater with the promise of more to come.
While there was no new information in the emails, they backed up Hager's claim that a member of Prime Minister John Key's office, former adviser Jason Ede, fed Slater information, including details of what to ask for in Official Information Act requests.
The emails were released via a Twitter account linked to a zipfile on the Mega.co.nz website.
More emails have apparently been fed to media organisations, turning the campaign into a potential landmine for Key, who faces questions on numerous fronts, including on the extent of the relationship between his office and Slater, and Ede's role in Labour Party membership and donor details being accessed by National.
Key also faces questions over the relationship between Slater and Justice Minister Judith Collins, who passed on details of a Parliamentary Service staffer who received death threats after his name was published on WhaleOil.
The role of Key's office in Slater being handed a sensitive Security Intelligence Service briefing is also being questioned, after it appeared to be expedited specially for his blog.
The SIS insisted yesterday that neither Key nor his office played a part in the release. But it confirmed that Key was briefed about the decision to release the information to Slater.
Hager said yesterday he had not seen the Twitter account and had not heard from his source about their intention to release the information. He had spoken to his source at the weekend to try to get some of the information back in order to release it "and they said ‘leave it to me'."
Slater has pointed the finger at Internet Party founder Kim Dotcom for the hacking, which Dotcom denies.
Key said yesterday that it was "spooky" the emails had ended up on Mega, which was linked to Dotcom. But he had no idea if Dotcom was behind the hacking.
Key went on the offensive yesterday, accusing his opponents of a smear campaign and saying the real dirty tricks were being carried out by Labour.
If people did not believe that then "why over the course of the last decade have they spent so much time trying to get into my financial records; trying to drill into everything in my blind trust, trying to look at what's happening with Tranz Rail [shares], sending Mike Williams to Australia. I can go on and on and on."
Williams is the former Labour Party president who pursued a false trail against Key in 2008 which Labour secretly referred to as the "H-bomb", in the belief it would discredit Key so badly National would lose the election.
Speaking from Israel, Slater said yesterday he was concerned by the release of the emails, which had been "hacked by a criminal".
If all the emails were released it would paint "a completely different picture" of him.
* Comments are now closed on this story
How soon will you visit the new war memorial park?Related story: War memorial park all but completed