Born to rule…
Let’s play a guessing game.
‘ Who Dunnit? ‘
1. The Story So far…
Bronwyn Pullar was having trouble with ACC – due in no small part to National’s current cutbacks and demands for greater “efficiencies” from state owned enterprises.
Ms Pullar is a National Party apparatchik and acquaintance of Nick Smith, a National Party MP, and ex-Minister for ACC. She is also close to other National Party high-ups; Michelle Boag , John Key, et al.
Ms Pullar attends a meeting with ACC officials, to push her case. She also has in her possession, files mistakenly emailed to her by ACC. Attending the meeting as a ‘support person’ is one-time National Party President, Michelle Boag.
Who-said-what at that meeting is contentious – each party accusing the other.
Michelle Boag then sends an email to Judith ‘Crusher’ Collins, regarding the issue.
For reasons of her own, Ms Collins forwards the email to ACC board chair John Judge and chief executive Ralph Stewart.
Soon after, the email is leaked to the media,
“Things came to a crescendo on Sunday March 18, 2012. That morning an article by the Herald’s David Fisher confirmed not only that Bronwyn Pullar was the mystery recipient of the information but that at the support meeting where the negotiation occurred she was supported by former National President Michelle Boag. The source of the information appears to be an email that Boag had sent to Collins.The blogosphere kicked in. Cameron Slater had a detailed post up by 8 am, complete with historical emails and links. He then posted a further two posts on the subject up that day. I understand that Boag bet Slater’s father for the National Party presidency in 2002. It is apparent that Slater does not like Boag. He certainly appeared to be enjoying the difficult predicament that Boag had found herself in.” – Waitakere News
Who leaked the email?
The candidates are;
- Michelle Boag – the sender of the email and Bronwyn Pullar’s friend and supporter.
- ACC Minister Judith Collins – the recipient of the email who then forwarded it to:
- ACC chief executive Ralph Stewart and his secretary, and:
- ACC chairperson John Judge.
There is also an indication that Ms Pullar’s ACC case manager also viewed the email, as well as one of Ms Collins’ staff.
It’s fairly clear that whoever leaked the email did not forward it directly to the Herald. That would have left an electronic IP-trail*. Instead, it was most likely forwarded to Cameron Slater, who would have ‘stripped’ all IP details with a simply C&P; and then forwarded it to the NZ Herald.
Slater is fairly notorious for being a useful conduit to leak information from National, to the media. Using him as an intermediary removes embarressing electronic IP ‘footprints’.
So – who would have used Slater in this manner?
In playing “Who Dunnit”, it’s worthwhile considering the three componants of any nefarious activity,
Obviously, all parties to this affair have #2 and #3; Means and Opportunity.
It is #1 – Motive – that counts the most.
Who stood to gain the most by releasing the email?
Who wanted to protect his/her position the most?
Who was potentially most embarressed by the email?
Who has a relationship with Slater and could count on his discretion?
The following is honest opinion…
The last item is perhaps the most critical; whoever forwarded this email to Slater would have needed to be reassured that he would not betray the sender and land him/her in serious hot water.
Slater is National’s “asset”, doing their ‘dirty work’ . When the National hierarchy does not want to dirty their own hands with mud – but still want to make public damaging information to embarress a political opponant – Slater is their go-to man.
Slater’s role in such nefarious activities is even more useful to National after Paula Bennett’s clumsy mis-handling of private information belonging to two solo-mothers, which she disclosed to the media. There is still a complaint pending against Bennett for abusing her position as Minister for Social Welfare.
Somewhere, sometime, a top National Party apparatchik would have instructed each and every minister and MP not to repeat Bennett’s mistake. S/he would have given firm instructions that releasing damaging information to discredit an opponant had to be done surreptitiously, using a Third Party.
That Third Party would be Slater.
That would give National “plausible deniability” when the sh*t hit the fan and fingers were pointed.
In my opinion, Slater’s role in this increasingly bizarre and sordid affair points to who leaked the email.
2. Prior ‘form’…
As explained in my previous blogpiece, Gerry Brownlee – “In the public interest”, this government is probably one of the leakiest in recent history. Leaking to the media and feral bloggers has become a ‘speed dial ‘‘ form of communication with the public.
3. Consequential Matters Arising…
Using Third Parties such as Slater, to spread muck has it’s inherent dangers.
Eventually, the entanglements and the copious volumes of information at the hands of someone like Slater creates it’s own risks for his “handler(s)”. Slater will have considerable dirt on those who have leaked information to him. He will have to be “kept sweet”, to deny him cause to go rogue and threaten to disclose information embarressing to those who have fed him material in the past.
4. A Question…
Isn’t it interesting that John Key acted at near super-sonic speed to lay a police complaint regarding the Teapot Tape. He was only too glad to allege to Police that his privacy had been breached by Bradley Ambrose.
Shouldn’t the release of Ms Boag’s email to the NZ Herald on 18 March, disclosing Bronwyn Pullar’s name and details, also count as a serious breach of privacy?
Why haven’t the Police been called in?
The answer, I suspect, is fairly obvious.
(* The means by which the email was leaked is mostly irrelevant. I offer one method – there are at least two other means by which a transfer of information could easily occur.
* * *
National’s Boag was in ACC meeting (first media repeat disclosing Ms Pullar’s identity to the public)
ACC worker re-viewed leaked Smith letter (note; article’s Timeline ‘March 20′ date should read March 18)
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