Cash rolls in to Hager's legal battle fund

NICKY HAGER: Would go to prison rather than reveal his source.
ALDEN WILLIAMS/FAIRFAX NZ
NICKY HAGER: Would go to prison rather than reveal his source.

Investigative journalist Nicky Hager's legal battle against the police search and seizure of belongings from his house has received a significant financial boost.

Hager is the author of Dirty Politics, a book based on emails and Facebook posts hacked from WhaleOil blogger Cameron Slater's computer.

Dirty Politics alleged links between Prime Minister John Key's office, National politicians and party-linked figures, and Slater.

Slater laid a complaint with the police over the hacking of his communications, which were leaked online by the hacker who went by the name Rawshark, and posted from the Twitter account WhaleDump.

Police spent 10 hours searching Hager's house last Thursday, and removed computers and related items under a search warrant as part of the "ongoing investigation into alleged hacking of Mr Slater's emails".

* Hager house raided by police

* Hager vows to protect hacker's ID

Hager said he anticipated a legal fight over access to the material, and expected pressure to reveal the identity of "Rawshark", his source for the material Dirty Politics was based on.

"But there is no way I will ever cooperate," he has said previously, saying he would go to prison rather than reveal his source.

Fundraising has begun online to support Hager's legal fight - with more than $25,000 raised since the GiveaLittle page was set up yesterday.

The page was set up by former Young Labour leader Meg Bates, who described Hager as a "hero" who "exposed a twisted web of power and influence in New Zealand politics and opened the Government and its ministers up to scrutiny" through Dirty Politics.

Hager said he did not know the person who had set the page up, but he was grateful to them and to everyone who had donated for their support.

Media lawyer Steven Price would represent Hager in the legal challenge. Price is Hager's long-term lawyer, and worked on all his previous investigative books at no charge.

Hager said he did not know what the arrangement with Price would be in this case, because he did not know how large it would be.

Bates said even if Hager's legal representation was conducted at no cost, there would still be thousands of dollars in costs, and any money raised above what was needed for legal fees would go to Hager's future investigative journalism work.

Stuff