Emotional Nicky Hager emerges with destroyed hard drive and reveals 'huge relief'

An elated Nicky Hager has spoken of his joy after police destroyed cloned data seized in the 2014 raid of his home.

The investigative journalist and Dirty Politics author will have a ringside seat at the High Court this afternoon. Source: 1 NEWS

Clutching a smashed two terabyte hard drive outside court, the investigative journalist and author of Dirty Politics told media it was a "huge relief" to retrieve computers, documents, cell phones and memory sticks, which had been held under seal at the High Court.

He described the "surreal" scene in which police destroyed the drive.

"We went down into the basement of the High Court building into this little narrow room without lights on," Hager told ONE News.

"The police held torches around while the detective, who was in charge of removing stuff from my house, destroyed the materials which they had copied.

"The detective took an orange-handled hammer and he hit this hard drive 213 times. Then he took out bolt cutters and he cut holes in it."

Hager described watching the destruction at the Auckland High Court today as a surreal experience. Source: 1 NEWS

The media was not permitted to watch or film the process.

"I felt emotional about it but I felt like I was watching history going on because what we saw down there, with each blow of that hammer was hitting home the fact that because of this court case there are better legal protections for the media."

In December last year, the High Court ruled the raid on Mr Hager's home was illegal.

Police were hunting for the identity of the hacker who supplied information for Mr Hager's Dirty Politics book.

The book was heavily reliant on material hacked from the computer of Cameron Slater.

Mr Hager obtained that material from a person whom he promised confidentiality.

His lawyer Steven Price said the case sent a strong message to police.

"When the police do a raid like this, it's not just the source that they are looking for. It’s all of the other sources of that journalist, and behind that all the other journalists who have sources and material that they keep in their homes.

"Be very, very, very careful before you conduct searches of journalists’ houses because there are different and more fundamental interests at stake."



Dead female orca orphans calf after being found at Northland beach

A orca has been found at a Northland beach today, and has likely orphaned a calf.

Department of Conservation officials travelled to assess the orca at Mangawhai Beach this morning and to decide how to bury it.

Whale rescue researcher Dr Ingrid Visser told the Mangawhai Focus the the 2-3 tonne female orca likely drowned in the last 24 hours.

They are very social and don’t normally abandon their young - Dr Ingrid Visser

"The bruising around her lower jaw line and stomach suggest she was rolled around in the surf before hitting the beach," she said.

She said the 18 to 20-year-old animal was lactating and had likely orphaned a calf, which would be cared for by other members of the pod.

"They are very social and don’t normally abandon their young."

A pod of orcas was seen off the coast of Waipu early this morning, while the dead whale will receive a blessing from local Iwi and will be buried nearby, the Mangawhai Focus reported

It's the second orca to die on a New Zealand beach this week after a female killer whale died after becoming stranded on a south Taranaki beach on Monday.

Orca whale
An orca whale (File picture). Source: Getty

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Andrew Little doesn't have the chops for xenophobia politics

When Winston Peters calls you out for dog-whistling, you've hit rock bottom.

Andrew Little blundered his way into another immigration row this week by singling out Indian and Chinese chefs.

He claimed – wrongly – that large numbers of these semi-skilled migrants were squeezing Kiwis out of jobs.

What would economist Guy Standing make of Little's brazen populism?

Andrea Vance ONE Voice
Andrea Vance ONE Voice Source: 1 NEWS

He's one of the star turns at Labour's Future of Work conference in Auckland next week.

In his acclaimed book The Precariat he writes about an emerging angry new class.

"It consists of a multitude of insecure people, living bits-and-pieces lives, in and out of short-term jobs, without a narrative of occupational development, including millions of frustrated educated youth who do not like what they see before them, millions of women abused in oppressive labour, growing numbers of criminalised tagged for life, millions being categorised as 'disabled' and migrants in their hundreds of millions around the world," he says.

Standing says the precariat are drawn to politicians who draw on their fears and insecurities by blaming incomers and foreigners.

He cites Europeans like Sarkozy and Berlusconi, but his theory could equally be applied to Donald Trump, Winston Peters…and apparently now Andrew Little.

There is one difference: Little does not have the chutzpah to carry off this empty and dangerous rhetoric.

Naturally, his remarks played badly – including among his own colleagues and supporters.

It's hard to see how Labour didn't see this coming – particularly after the "Chinese-sounding names" debacle last year.

So, Little back-tracked and wrote this defensive blog largely blaming the media.

Here's some context: Gallery journalists' questions were prompted by remarks Little had made earlier in an in interview with a local newspaper.

He specifically referenced the example of ethnic chefs (his staff say he was responding to a specific question on the subject).

He did not resile from the comments, and in fact repeated the example of chefs a few times. It's hard to see how half-a-dozen journos all misinterpreted his stance - in an identical way - in their reports.

So, what was happening behind the scenes?

Andrew Little says ethnic chefs should be able to be sourced locally and Auckland is 'creaking at the seams'. Source: 1 NEWS

On first reading, it looked like this was the beginning of some new positioning.

Little was accompanied by immigration spokesman Iain Lees Galloway, who less than an hour later began probing minister Michael Woodhouse on the seasonal employers scheme, which brings temporary workers in from the Pacific.

A day earlier, Little rashly stated that a future Labour government would force banks to change their interest rates in line with the Official Cash Rate. Like immigrant-bashing, the outmoded idea was bang-in-line with NZ First's policies.

Some commentators assumed this was Andrew Little's clumsy attempt at flirting with Winston Peters, who may hold the balance of power after next year's election.

Sadly, the truth is rather less sophisticated. Quite simply, Andrew Little is just a really bad communicator.

He lurched into the new monetary policy in the middle of a media stand-up. Little said the government should pressure banks to reduce interest rates to help besieged dairy farmers – and there he should have stopped.

Nor is he ever going to out-Winston Winston - Andrea Vance

Journalists pushed for clarification – and somehow he ended down the path to legislating against banks.

Remarkably, Little had also learned no lessons from last year's Chinese sounding names debacle. While there is nothing wrong with starting a debate on immigration policy when numbers are at a record high, singling out individual groups and ethnicities is irresponsible and exploitative.

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown floundered because he paled in comparison with Tony Blair's persuasive oratory – and Little cannot match John Key's easy, nonchalant delivery.

Nor is he ever going to out-Winston Winston.

Labour can challenge National's thinking on immigration, and go into the election with bold new employment policies.

But the party is never going to succeed if their leader cannot make himself understood. And this was just an ordinary week in the House.

How will Little perform under the daily pressures of the election campaign trail?