The revelation in parliament that the Prime Minister knew of three clandestine meetings between Winston Peters and Kim Dotcom were supposed to be taken, how? As a spy taunt - the security agencies have Billy Big Steps under surveillance? That was my first thought. But, no - it turns out it's all totally harmless, it's just that the Prime Minister is making and taking telephone calls to Cam Slater from time to time, that's all. Nothing more concerning than the hate merchant of the Kiwi blogosphere being outed as having a clandestine relationship with the leader of the New Zealand Government. No need for alarm.
The problem is not that he is publicly damaged or tainted by association with the hate merchant of the Kiwi blogosphere - I doubt most people would care - but the relationship between them and how that can be both the source and confirmation of rumour at the fringes of journalism. So for example the PM can leak something to Whaleoil and can then claim he got it independently and vice versa. That cover has now been blown. Second problem is the web John Key started spinning was not quite the one he finished up with as far as his evolving story goes. Maybe it's just that it is difficult to believe a lot of what he has been saying in relation to security issues lately, but the PM's defensive play made it appear he was hiding more than he was revealing.
Mr Peters and Kim Dotcom have both alleged they were spied on after Mr Key spoke about Mr Peters' three visits to the mansion.
Mr Key has earlier denied it was a spy agency, but would not say who told him, although he said it was not someone in the National Party. He said somebody had contacted him about it, and there were reports of the visits in the Herald by Rachel Glucina and on Cameron Slater's Whaleoil blog a week ago.
"Contrary to what [Peters] might want to believe, I can read. A member of the public, for want of a better term rang me up and said what was the case. I assumed it was right. I said it, it turned out to be right. I didn't think it was that controversial, to be honest."
First contradiction right there: he says he can read as if he read a report of it and then he says someone rang him about it. Which is it? What he means is someone told him on the phone and then he went and had a look, or more likely: his helpers have found the earlier Glucina/Whaleoil posts to provide a defence of having read it himself.
A member of the public? Rang up the Prime Minister? Just rang up the PM, apparently. Either the member of the public had the PM's private number, somehow or other as you do; or, through the byzantine maze of the Beehive gatekeepers surrounding the Head of Government a member of the public rang up bearing such incredible news that they were connected directly to the PM himself to tell the details. Naturally a member of the public telephoning the PM was taken at their word and the PM dutifully relayed this information to the public at an opportune moment. This is what the PM expected people to believe.
The PM knew it was correct or else he wouldn't have said it, simple as that - he
wouldn't just throw around assertions and rumours without knowing the facts. He says on the video that this source is reliable and that they have seen it. Hmmm.
He would not confirm it was Mr Slater, but said he did speak to Mr Slater "every so often," and had called him earlier this week during which they briefly discussed Kim Dotcom. He said that did not mean he agreed with everything Mr Slater wrote on his blog. "I speak to lots of blogsters [sic]."
Yeah, lots of Blogsters like, say, David Farrar.