Nicky Hager's house raided by police

BLOGGER: Cameron Slater
BLOGGER: Cameron Slater

Author Nicky Hager is planning legal action to stop investigators from looking at electronic records taken from his home in a police raid.

It was revealed today that police last week raided Hager's home as part of an investigation into emails he used in his Dirty Politics book.

In a statement, police confirmed they had "removed computers and related items under search warrant from a Wellington address as part of [an] ongoing investigation into alleged hacking of Mr [Cameron] Slater's emails."

Hager's book alleged links between Prime Minister John Key's office and right wing blogger Cameron Slater, whose Whaleoil blog attacked many of National's political opponents.

Hager was provided Facebook posts, emails and other material for his book by a third party, known as Rawshark, who allegedly hacked Slater's computer.

Hager told Radio New Zealand this evening he had been out of town lecturing in Auckland for two days when he learned police were raiding his Wellington home last Thursday.

He said he spoke straight away to the detective leading the raid and told him there was nothing in the house that would help with their investigation. He told them he had taken precautions to protect his source.

''It is really crossing the line to think it's OK to come and do someone's house over, over a book, when they were very clear I'm only a witness and haven't done anything wrong," Hager said.

He did not believe authorities had yet looked at the material taken from his home. A legal fight would "begin now'' to establish whether investigators would be able to access the material, he said.

On his website, Hager said five officers had searched his home for 10 hours. The officers had taken "a large collection of papers and electronic equipment belonging to my family, including computers, drives, phones, CDs, an iPod and a camera," he wrote.

Hager said the police raid was "dangerous for journalism in New Zealand" and he would not cooperate with efforts to reveal his source.

"My investigative journalism work means I have an unnegotiable obligation to protect all my sources and the confidences of other people who approach me."

The author warned the action was chilling for other media in New Zealand.

While he accepted the police had the right under the law to be there, he was critical of the powers they were afforded.

He claimed they were able to carry out the raid due to the ''rather draconian search and surveillance bill,'' which was passed in 2012 amid widespread controversy.

However, Hager also said the police were ''careful'' and his belongings were now sealed in evidence bags.

Slater said he welcomed the news of the police raid and continuing investigation into his allegedly stolen emails.

"The police are doing their job and I'm pleased to see they are pursuing the matter with such vigour."

In a blog post, he added that for Hager to claim his book was a journalistic endeavour was wrong.

"Journalists call people they write stories about. Journalists give people a right of reply. Journalists tell the whole story, not massaged narratives that suit their politics," Slater wrote.

He wrote that if it was in the public interest for his emails to be published, then the same could be said for the identity of Hager's source.

"It must cut both ways," Slater wrote.

"Nicky Hager was the recipient of stolen information, we should know who was responsible for that theft. 

"If Hager [protects] the hacker then he protects a criminal."

He said he trusted the police would continue to perform their duties and more information would come to light in the coming weeks.

Stuff