Matthew Backhouse

Matthew Backhouse is a journalist based in Auckland.

Blogger moves family after death threats

Blogger Cameron Slater.
Blogger Cameron Slater.

"Disgraceful comments" by right-wing blogger Cameron Slater, which have led to death threats, meant he was asking for trouble, according to the Grey District Mayor.

Mr Slater has had to move his family after death threats and a sustained cyber-attack on his Whaleoil blog.

Mr Slater, who plans to report the threats to police today, said his website had been down since yesterday morning due to a malicious denial-of-service attack.

The cyber-attack has coincided with a number of death threats on Facebook, which Mr Slater has blamed on Greymouth residents and members of the wider West Coast community.

In a blog post, Mr Slater called a Greymouth car crash victim "feral" - a comment that was reported in the local Greymouth Star newspaper this week.

Mr Slater told Radio New Zealand this morning he had received "a constant tirade of death threats" on Facebook since yesterday. Some had targeted his family, particularly his daughter.

"It's got to the point where I've actually had to move my family," he said.

"What we've got here is a basic, locked-down, watertight case of cyber-bullying where I've had something like 200 people attack me on Facebook, asking me to commit suicide, demanding that I meet them somewhere so that they can kick my teeth in, and saying that they know where I live and they're coming round to kill me."

Grey District Mayor Tony Kokshoorn told Radio New Zealand that Mr Slater had it coming.

"What goes around comes around, and if you want to be that insensitive - make disgraceful comments about a young lad that's a passenger in the back seat of a car, who's left behind parents that have lost four children now in accidents over the years - he deserves all the slandering he's going to get."

Mr Kokshoorn agreed the death threats were "uncalled for".

"There's no question about that, but the trouble is, when you raise the emotions of people, these are the types of things that happen.

"Cameron should have thought about this, he's a mature person ... If you're going to make insensitive comments like that, you are welcoming all types of tough remarks back. So what goes around does come around."

Mr Kokshoorn added two wrongs did not make a right.

"It's very uncalled for, both comments - but his comments started this whole thing. To say that this young lad, who was a passenger in a back seat of a car, is feral and won't be missed, I think is disgraceful.

"If he's got any brains at all, Cameron should kill this whole subject by just saying one word, sorry, and let's get on with life."

Mr Slater said he knew who was behind the death threats because they were doing it under their own names on Facebook.

"So I'm harvesting all of the details and later on today, I'll take all of those details down to the police," he said.

"These people are acting like vigilantes over a perceived slight against their community, and it's actually proving the point that there is seriously a feral underclass in New Zealand that seems to think that they're above the law."

Mr Slater said the cyber-attack would be costly to run and was definitely not being done by only one person.

"It is a crime to do what they're doing, but they're banking on the fact that the police or the resources that I have available won't be able to track them down. But it's vandalism and it costs money to deal with it.

"It's malicious, absolutely malicious. And with the death threats on top of that, it's a little tough on the family."

- APNZ

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