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Megan Woods: Dirty Politics goes too far

Red zone in Chch

There was much to be offended by in Nicky Hager’s book Dirty Politics, but, as a Cantabrian, being called “scum” by John Key’s friend and Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater made me angry.

No one in the Red Zone asked for their home to be destroyed and wanting a fair resolution shouldn’t make them the target of John Key’s black ops machine. These decent hard-working people have had their lives turned upside down through no fault of their own. It beggars belief that, as the Prime Minister and a former Cantabrian, John Key didn’t end his relationship with Cameron Slater after knowing about this appalling comment. In fact no-one in National has yet expressed any regrets.

During the first week in the new Parliament, I began asking questions about the Prime Minister and Ministers’ abuses of power. The issues coming to light around how John Key and his Government “do politics” are too important to be buried by an election defeat for Labour. It is our job to hold those responsible for these abuses of power accountable for their actions.

National tried to dismiss the book as a left-wing smear during the election, but I believe many Kiwis are horrified to know their Government is behind an orchestrated campaign to personally denigrate and destroy people who offer a different view. A spotlight has been shone on a nasty and malicious new way politics is being practised in this country. While some people may have shrugged their shoulders and said “all parties do this”, it couldn’t be further from the truth. Dirty Politics goes further than politicians. Our scientists, teachers, community advocates, and academics are also victims. If this practice continues the question becomes who is next?

New Zealand must be a country where people can stand up and talk about what they believe in. It must be a country where people aren’t afraid their reputations will be destroyed if they disagree with the Government. Labour makes no apologies and will not resile from holding the Government to account on this.

New Zealand is heading down a very dangerous path. It is crucial that the practice of Dirty Politics is stopped now.

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