Labour leader David Cunliffe says WhaleOil blogger Cameron Slater’s attempts to seek an injunction against the media show a double standard, with ‘‘huge’’ public interest in the material being leaked.
Slater is seeking an injunction to prevent several media organisations, including Fairfax, from reporting emails which were leaked after being hacked from his computer. A High Court judge today granted an interim injunction blocking the hacker Whaledump from leaking anything further to media ahead of a full hearing next week.
Cunliffe said it was important to have open debate, especially just a fortnight away from the general election.
‘‘I believe in press freedom, especially in an election campaign,’’ Cunliffe said.
‘‘Very serious issues have been raised that go to the integrity of ministers and the Government itself, including the Prime Minister’s office; that’s an issue of national importance,'' he said.
’’It’s not consistent that he [Slater] should acknowledge that he infiltrated the Labour website and now seek to injunct those who infiltrated his. I don’t know who they are, and I have no responsibility for it, but it’s a double standard.’’
Asked if Slater was a hypocrite, Cunliffe said: ‘‘He [Slater] seemed to think it was okay to fish around in [the] Labour Party’s website and now he’s trying to injunct others to talk about material from his own. You can use that word.’’
Cunliffe said the closing days of this election campaign were similar to those of 2011, when Prime Minister John Key took action against media in the wake of the Teapot Tapes saga.
‘‘This is deja vu. In the last election campaign media organisations were chased by police over the Teapot Tapes. This is not good enough. New Zealanders deserve to have free and frank debate on the issues, including when it doesn’t suit the Prime Minister,’’ Cunliffe said.
‘‘The material’s in the public domain and it goes to the heart of the national interest and the integrity of government. Now those who put it there may have a case to answer but the fact is it is in the public domain and this is a matter of ministerial and government integrity and the public interest is huge.’’
Cunliffe said he had no idea whether Key was involved, but said the subjects covered were ‘‘something John Key and his team are solely responsible for,’’ Cunliffe said.
‘‘The material revealed in [Nicky Hager’s book] Dirty Politics is John Key’s team, this is John Key’s network. This is how they work.’’
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