In the Herald this morning, John Armstrong examines Don Brash's unique injunction against dissemination of his leaked emails and asks "why now"? The answer is on Stuff: Nicky Hagar was going to launch his book based on the emails today. And it sounds like it would be quite revealing:
The book - The Hollow Men: A Study in the Politics of Deception - was to have been launched today but has been caught by a court injunction obtained by Brash last week forbidding publication of the emails.
Hager called a press conference in Wellington this morning and distributed copies of his preface to the book and a foreword by former National MP Marilyn Waring.
The book is "an extraordinary case study of unprincipled and anti-democratic politics," Hager says in his preface.
Waring, now professor of public policy at Massey University, described the book as "an excellent systems analysis" and "so important".
"This is a story about democracy, and the public of New Zealand deserve to know what they have when they speak of such an ideal," she writes. "I would expect to see much of the evidence set out in the book reported to the Electoral Commission, Parliamentary Services, the police and the Auditor-General."
Unfortunately, thanks to Don's injunction, publication has been halted. So, we won't get to learn exactly how much he lied to the public during the election campaign, or how dirty his dealings were.
There's a rich vein of hypocrisy in this on Brash's part. The opposition - and our political system - relies on leaks every day to hold the government to account. They are a vital part of our democratic system. But what's good for the goose apparently isn't good for the gander, and leaks which would allow the opposition to face similar scrutiny - leaks which, despite their supporters efforts to smear the government, unquestionably came from within the National Party from people dissatisfied with Brash's political direction - are suddenly unethical and illegal, and to be suppressed. And no doubt they'd continue to claim this, while at the same time denouncing any effort by a government ministry to suppress leaked information by similar means. Consistency, it seems, is for other people.
Fortunately the media sees the threat posed by this injunction and is fighting it - and hopefully that means we'll finally be able to find out just how dirty Dr Brash was playing it last year.