Fresh into her old ministerial role, revived Police Minister Judith Collins is straight back to being briefed on matters close to the scandal that plunged her into the political wilderness a year ago.

As the High Court judgment over a search warrant used on the home of journalist Nicky Hager was made public, police national headquarters reached out to their minister with the latest development in the investigation into the hacking of blogger Cameron Slater's computer.

It was that illegal computer hack that caused Ms Collins so much political grief before last year's election, when Hager used Slater's communications to write the book Dirty Politics.

The latest news, of which Ms Collins' office was among the first to know, was that the High Court had ruled unlawful the warrant used to search Hager's home.


A spokesman for police headquarters said that "under the no surprises policy, the minister's office was advised yesterday afternoon of the decision by Justice Clifford, plus our media response". He said no other information had been provided.

Ms Collins' office confirmed that, saying: "She hasn't been told anything she wouldn't hear in the newspaper. They just told us what they were saying. You've got as much information as she has. She hasn't and won't be making comment."

The spokeswoman later emailed saying: "Police emailed the minister's office a copy of Justice Clifford's decision at 3.52pm. This was not requested by either the minister or the minister's office."

The outcome of the case was announced about 4.15pm by Hager's lawyers and the judgment was available from the High Court at Wellington at 4.40pm.

Ms Collins' spokeswoman said: "I forwarded a copy of the judgment to the minister at 5.14pm, by which time it was a public document. The police also sent me a copy of its press statement at 4.46pm (again not requested). This information was passed on to the minister at 5.02pm. It was released by police at 5.05pm."

The hacker called Rawshark provided the source material for Hager's book. Emails and social media chat exchanges between Ms Collins and Slater showed a close relationship, with discussion involving Official Information Act requests, image management and gossip around Parliament.

Both Mrs Collins and Slater later told the Herald the material was forged, although details in the correspondence were independently verified.

Slater complained to the police about the hacking, sparking an investigation that led to a perceived police need to search Hager's house. The judgment yesterday said the search was unlawful on a number of grounds, with a focus on police failure to properly advise the judge of details of the inquiry and its targets.

Among the information released by Rawshark was an email from Ms Collins' private account showing the identity and contact details of a public servant Simon Pleasants, who the blog accused of leaking information. The public servant was later subject to a death threat by a commenter on Slater's Whale Oil blog.

A statement on the Department of Internal Affairs website this year shows Ms Collins settled matters through the Privacy Commissioner with an "assurance... that at no time did she consider Mr Pleasants had leaked information, as was suggested by the Whale Oil blog".

"Mr Pleasants has indicated he accepts Mrs Collins' statement that she had no knowledge about why Mr Pleasants' work title and contact details were sought by the Whale Oil blog, and that she made no allegation to the Whale Oil blog that Mr Pleasants might have breached confidence.

"The Department of Internal Affairs is pleased Mr Pleasants' reputation as a professional public servant has been upheld and notes that Mr Pleasants now considers the matter closed."

For all the focus on Dirty Politics, it wasn't the book or even a hacked email that sparked Ms Collins's resignation. Instead, an email sent by a third party to the Prime Minister's office led to her stepping down. In it, Slater wrote to another person: "I also spoke at length with the minister responsible today (Judith Collins). She is gunning for Feeley," he said in reference to the then head of the Serious Fraud Office, Adam Feeley.

The email suggested Ms Collins was involved in a plot to undermine Mr Feeley, leading to an inquiry, which cleared her of any wrongdoing.

She said she had been "incredibly let down" by Slater, who had "used" her name in an email of which she had no knowledge.

This month, she was returned to the Cabinet by the Prime Minister, putting her back in an office where police have now updated her on the Hager search warrant case -- a development in an investigation sparked by Slater, whom she has described as a "family friend".

Labour Party Shadow Attorney-General David Parker said the awkward closeness of the relationship and the briefing showed Ms Collins was in the wrong job. He said it also showed the "no surprises" policy was being taken too far, with ministers told of matters they did not need to know about.

"I think it shows she should never have been made Minister of Police again. For her to be put in this position is really insulting to the public."

Slater did not respond to a request for comment.