Blogger Cameron Slater is the main target of Dirty Politics but several others play a prominent part. Phil Taylor profiles those the book links to Whale Oil

Jason Ede

National's "black ops" man, according to Dirty Politics. During the period the book covers he worked from the Prime Minister's department, liaised with Slater and other right-wing bloggers, allegedly feeding them gossip, research and tips. With Slater he covertly accessed the Labour Party's website and downloaded personal information .

A former journalist for Taranaki Daily News and TVNZ. By 2003 he was a senior press secretary in the National Party leader's office working alongside David Farrar, who later set up the right-wing Kiwiblog.

Moved earlier this year to work for the National Party on its election campaign but still has a staff access card to Parliament.

Simon Lusk

Right-wing consultant. In emails and messages revealed in the book, he boasted of helping candidates gain party nomination and of attack politics against opponents. Claimed to Slater that he had worked for Mark Mitchell (Nat, Rodney), Sam Lotu-Iiga (Nat, Maungakiekie), Louise Upston (Nat, Taupo), Jami-Lee Ross (Nat, Botany), Leonie Hapeta (unsuccessful Nat candidate Palmerston North 2011), Jonathan Fletcher (Nat, unsuccessful, Rimutaka 2011), and Sam Johnson of Christchurch's post-earthquakes Student Volunteer Army.

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In one email to Slater he said: "I'm just motivated to cut throats. Unfortunately the biggest buzz I get is when I wreck someone, only done it three times, but I was on a massive high."

Carrick Graham

Tobacco and alcohol sector lobbyist and consultant. Son of former National Justice Minister Doug Graham. The book claims he writes posts favourable to the causes of clients which are run on the Whale Oil blog under Slater's name, and comments using the pseudonyms Lion King and Nick Naylor.

In his previous role as spokesman for British American Tobacco, Graham spoke out against anti-smoking groups calling them "zealots".

Advised Mark Hotchin, former boss of failed finance company Hanover, on how to restore his reputation.

The mission statement of his company, Facilitate Communications Ltd, says "This is about ensuring you manage your reputation - not someone else".

He told the Herald this week he did not want to comment at the moment.

In 1993, aged 23, Graham crashed his father's government Ford Fairmont in the Domain. He left the scene and reported the car missing from his father's Remuera house. He was charged with careless driving and making a false statement to the police. He was fined $200 on the driving charge and granted diversion on the latter.

Katherine Rich

Former National MP, chief executive of Food and Grocery Council, appointed by National to the Health Promotional Agency, which guides policy on obesity and other key health areas. Hager alleges Rich uses Graham's and Slater's services on behalf of companies selling alcohol, soft drink, confectionery and tobacco and cites a series of emails from Graham to Slater bearing her initials and containing "hits" for publication on the Whale Oil blog.

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The book claims targets included National Addiction Centre director Professor Doug Sellman and anti-obesity campaigner and director of Just Water International Tony Falkenstein.

Rich told the Herald the council does not pay for media coverage or blogs but declined to say whether it hired Graham's Facilitate Communications. "As representatives of the majority of the food and grocery industry, the Food and Grocery Council ... [tries] to get fair and balanced messages on issues related to food and grocery overall. Our involvement with the media is not slanted to any political type. "

Cathy Odgers

Hong Kong-based lawyer, tax specialist. Blogs as Cactus Kate. Used Whale Oil to publish journalist Nicky Hager's home address after he revealed details of her Chinese tax clients. Said in an email to Slater and other right-wing bloggers David Farrar and Matthew Hooten: "Make sure when Cam finds it that you repost where Hager lives. I've done a post for Saturday on whale blog as can't run myself as too close to work. The leaks he is involved with include tens of thousands of rich Chinese ... it would be a disaster if they knew where he lived. He may even need police protection ..."