Editorial: The story that keeps on giving

By Kim Gillespie

Author Nicky Hager with copies of his book, Dirty Politics.
Author Nicky Hager with copies of his book, Dirty Politics.

Unless you have hours free every day to trawl Twitter and read screeds of grimy emails between right-wing Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater and his associates, it can be difficult to keep up with the #dirtypolitics saga.

Since mid-last week when Nicky Hager's book Dirty Politics was released election coverage has been dominated by claims surfacing from it.

A week in political reporting is a long time - in the social media age stories can come and go within hours, let alone days - so for an issue to linger as this has must be infuriating for those at the centre of it.

One reason this story keeps going and going like the Energizer Bunny is the continual drip-drip-drip-feeding of information from the leaky tap that is the hacker thought to be Mr Hager's source.

For news and politics junkies it's a fascinating exercise to watch play out, but you have to wonder if many people have had enough.

There is so much information, so many accusations and recriminations flying back and forth, that the whole issue seems to be growing exponentially.

It's a lot to take in and you can't blame people for not wanting to even do so.

Though a quick peek at the most popular stories on nzherald.co.nz yesterday afternoon showed four out of the five top stories stem from the issue.

Our columnist Garth George argues that Labour and the minor parties must be gritting their teeth that the Hager affair is constantly obscuring their policy announcements.

But I imagine there's a fair bit of schadenfreude among the opposition ranks as the key players in this saga face the spotlight.

There's also more than a fair bit of schadenfreude apparent among media types, but to be fair most would probably be just as excited whichever political party was under the gun.

I have argued before that it's a pity this issue is overshadowing valuable policy discussion, but it's worth remembering there are still four weeks until September 20, and while I don't think Hager, Slater, Jason Ede, Aaron Bhatnagar, John Key and Judith Collins among other #dirtypolitics players are going anywhere anytime soon, this election race is relatively young.

- Rotorua Daily Post

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