'Sense of violation' over leaks - Farrar

Last updated 10:00 14/08/2014
DAVID FARRAR: Blogger and pollster.
KENT BLECHYNDEN
DAVID FARRAR: Blogger and pollster.
Cameron Slater
Fairfax NZ
WHALE OIL: Blogger Cameron Slater
Nicky Hager
ROSS GIBLIN/ Fairfax NZ
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Blogger David Farrar, reacting to Nicky Hager's latest book Dirty Politics, says he feels slightly violated over leaked emails.

Hager's latest book, Dirty Politics, was released late yesterday having earlier been shrouded in secrecy, apparently to stop some of the people named in his book taking out an injunction to stop its publication.

The book is based on thousands of emails which revealed the extent of the relationship between WhaleOil blogger Cameron Slater and prominent National Party figures.

Farrar, whose company does polling for National and who operates the National-sympathetic Kiwiblog, said had the situation been in reverse, with right wing blogs publishing details about left wing political figures, it may be viewed differently.

"Cameron's a big boy. I doubt there's huge sympathy, but having said that I still think it is not a healthy thing, that someone hacks six years of private communication," Farrar said describing the lifting of Gmail and Facebook messages as "concerted hacking".

"I don't think it's going to be a healthy thing if we sort of think it's open season to hack the communications of people, even if they're unsympathetic or people we don't like. And there's a teeny sense of violation there, that there's a lot of personal emails there, I'm sure, between a lot of people nothing to do with politics," Farrar said.

"Over in Britain, actually, some newspaper editors have just gone to jail for that stuff," Farrar said.

"Cam[eron Slater]'s not the most sympathetic figure for people of the left; they're not going [to be] sorry for it, but I think people should actually reflect on it. If some right wing blogs had published six years of private emails from a Labour MP or Labour activist, they'd be calling for the police to investigate."

Farrar said this morning that he was given information which was not in the public domain by the Beehive "once a year or so"  but later admitted that more often he was given advance access to information if those in the Beehive believed it would lead to "favourable" coverage.

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But he defended the way he ran the blog and said the access to information was exaggerated. Farrar said he had tried for months to get information out of Chris Finlayson's office about the number of Treaty settlements under National but "they never got round to it" so he had to submit requests to the Office of Treaty Settlements.

Farrar said he often worked against his clients. His company, Curia, polled for Family First but Farrar had campaigned for marriage equality and to keep the drinking age 18.

Meanwhile there were rumours Farrar could lose his contract with the National Party after he took part in a campaign, Axe the Copper Tax, which forced the Government to change its position on copper internet pricing.

Farrar said that story was overblown, but he did get pushback on the story.

"I certainly got feedback that there were some pretty unhappy people about what I was doing."

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