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Toby Manhire is a Wellington-bred, Auckland-based journalist.

Toby Manhire: Amid the dirt, here's a glossary

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Cameron Slater - blogger / Nicky Hager - investigative journalist
Cameron Slater - blogger / Nicky Hager - investigative journalist

Hello traveller, and welcome to 100% Pure New Zealand! Normally we're a sleepy, provincial kind of place, but lately it's all felt a bit House of Thrones. To help you make your way around the news, here's a glossary of the key terms.

One-day wonder: What the Dirty Politics story definitely was going to be last week.

The book: Called Dirty Politics and by Nicky Hager, it draws on hacked correspondence leaked to the author to describe links between attack-blogger Whale Oil, aka Cameron Slater, and Jason Ede, then a senior staffer in Prime Minister John Key's office.

Among the many strands that have occupied more than a week of headlines are apparent collusion in accessing sensitive membership details from the Labour Party website, the co-ordinated release of papers from the SIS to the blogger under the Official Information Act, and the Justice Minister feeding the Whale information about a public servant.

Slater is described as taking dosh, including many thousands from tobacco companies, to run ghost-written posts under his name. He and his pals are revealed conducting smear campaigns to influence National candidate selections and discussing blackmailing an MP. There's more, but that'll do for now.

The books: Something a peeved Finance Minister, Bill English, would much rather everyone was talking about.

Dirty politics: What Dirty Politics is, according to Hager's critics, who note especially the illegal means by which the source material passed to him was accessed. See also "dot joining" and "I haven't read it".

Dirty: How you will feel after reading Dirty Politics.

Whaledump: The hacked contents of Whale Oil's inbox. Not to be confused with Whaledung, the contents of Whale Oil's blog.

Nicky Hager: According to investigative journalists in New Zealand and around the world, he is a rigorous and reputable writer who has a record of getting it right. According to critics including the PM, he is a screaming conspiracy theorist. According to former MP and Man of Substance Michael Bassett, he is "a ferret-faced fruitcake ... Just take a look at him on TV!"

Smear campaign: Something launched by left-wing conspiracists.

The left wing: Conspiracists who launch smear campaigns.

Journalists: Lickspittles for left-wing conspiratorial smear campaigns.

Double: The dose you give to people who criticise you, according to Judith Collins' rulebook. See also: "If you can't be loved then best to be feared".

Scum: People forced from their homes after the earthquake in Christchurch, according to Slater.

Squeamish and gutless: Jason Ede, according to Slater.

A despicable game: Politics, according to Slater.

Nasty, despicable people: Those who take part in politics, according to Slater.

Biggest buzz: What Slater's friend and colleague Simon Lusk gets when "I wreck someone". See also, Slater: "My role is smashing your face into the ground."

Hacking: A catch-all term that describes a panoply of activities, from whistleblowing to petty theft to exploiting a vulnerability in computer security to severe gardening.

Also used to describe what has happened when you accidentally post publicly an intemperate thought/picture of your genitalia.

Sarah Potts: A popular New Zealand doctor who died this week. Any connection to the dirty politics scandal yet to be confirmed but surely someone must know something. Is it you or is it me?

Last chance: The first of several final warnings.

Unwise: Idiotic.

The Prime Minister: The Prime Minister's office. As everyone know the 's office is silent.

The end of the day: According to Maori mythology, chanting "at the end of the day" several hundred times will ward off malevolent spirits and pesky bloody journalists with all their questions.

Rugby union: The national sport in New Zealand, so chosen because its complexity offers much material for political metaphors. See also: "All-Black-Ops".

We'll look into it: We won't. See also: "Maybe, maybe not", "I don't have any information", "We'll take some advice on that" and "I don't remember".

Winston Peters: The inevitable winner in any scandal.

Aaron Gilmore: A former MP forced to resign after being a bit of a dick to a waiter. Probably now the angriest man in New Zealand.

Kim Dotcom: A man named after an internet naming protocol who Slater asserts is behind Whaledump.

Condemnation: What the PM refuses to voice. Instead, Slater is "colourful", a "force unto himself".

Bafflingly, John Key has chosen not to say anything like: "Look, at the end of the day this reflects badly on political and media culture in New Zealand.

"I don't necessarily agree with the conclusions Hager draws, and I denounce the illegal manner in which this private correspondence was stolen.

"There is, however, no denying that it exposes something most ordinary New Zealanders would disapprove of.

"I deplore the modus operandi of Slater and his associates. I'd like to think we're better than that.

"I'm standing down Jason Ede from his new role in the National Party office pending a review of the way the Prime Minister's office operates.

"We all have to examine and rethink the way we do business, and I invite leaders of other parties to similarly ask these questions about their own operations."

Debate on this article is now closed.

- NZ Herald

Toby Manhire

Toby Manhire is a Wellington-bred, Auckland-based journalist.

Toby Manhire is a Wellington bred, Auckland based journalist. He writes a weekly column for the NZ Herald, the NZ Listener's Internaut column, blogs for listener.co.nz, and contributes to the Guardian. From 2000 to 2010 he worked at the Guardian in London, and edited the 2012 book The Arab Spring: Rebellion, Revolution and a New World Order.

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