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Judith Collins claims 'smear campaign' over Hager allegations

Justice Minister Judith Collins is dismissing claims she collaborated with a right-wing blogger about stories.

The claims are made in Nicky Hager's new book, which he says reveals the National Party has been at the centre of smear campaigns against opponents since 2008.

The book suggests Ms Collins gave Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater secret details on ACC's accidental leak to Bronwyn Pullar - allegedly revealed in Mr Slater's communications with a friend.

The Minister told Newstalk ZB she has no idea about some of the claims in the book.

"I think that's just bizarre. So I'm just not quite sure what he's talking about. But look, it's a smear campaign," she says.

Mr Hager makes claims about a well organised operation, allegedly run from an office two doors down from the Prime Minister, to discredit political rivals.

"The chapter about Judith Collins will give people a shock because she's acted in many ways which you would not expect of a minister, she really looks bad," he told TV ONE's Breakfast.

Prime Minister John Key says the book, "makes all sorts of unfounded allegations", and called it a "cynically timed attack book from a well known left wing conspiracy theorist".

Mr Hager stands by his claims, saying he was given a large number of documents and correspondence when hackers brought down the Whale Oil blog site earlier this year.

'Attack dogs'

Mr Hager says the papers he received documented "the link between the government and the senior ministers, and their attack dogs, who at arm's length could carry on attacks and dirty tricks on their behalf with their cooperation and their assistance".

Right-wing bloggers were effectively running a dirty tricks campaign for National, in particular during the 2011 election, Mr Hager claims.

Specifically, he says Mr Slater obtained a database of the Labour Party's members, emails and donations, "and gleefully attacked the party."

In the same election campaign, Mr Hager claims the Prime Minister's office used its knowledge of secret SIS documents to tip off Mr Slater and arrange an attack on the Labour leader.

Mr Hager alleges a senior advisor to the Prime Minister, Jason Ede, drafted official information act requests for Mr Slater to use in other attacks, for instance against Ministry of Foreign Affairs staff who were in conflict with the government.

Mr Hager said the emails were leaked to him when Slater's Whale Oil website was hacked in January this year after comments he made about a West Coast man who died in a car crash.

ONE News has not had access to the documents that Mr Hager has referred to in making his claims.

Author Nicky Hager talks about his new book, Dirty Politics. Source: Breakfast


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