Monday, August 18, 2014

Crowdsourcing the dirt machine

So, the biggest political scandal of the year happened while I was busy, and I still haven't had time to read the book yet (I'm hoping to get to it this afternoon). From what I've read, I agree with Danyl and Andrew: this is a toxic style of politics which we shouldn't stand for, and those who practice, use, or even condone it need to be voted out on their arses.

Meanwhile, amidst his unconvincing denials this morning, John Key admitted that his staff were "briefing the bloggers" as part of the government's media management strategy. Those staff are paid with public money, and that media management is official government business - which makes those briefings "official information". Which means we can demand its release under the OIA.

Of course, any request for all briefings to bloggers will be refused as requiring substantial collation and research, but there's a way round that: crowdsourcing. As I've just tweeted: pick a month, email "" (or use the FYI form here) requesting all briefings to bloggers by him and his staff made during that month, demand urgency due to the high public interest in political accountability and the upcoming election. If they don't indicate that they'll respond to it in the two days they do for their pet dirt-dealers, complain immediately to the Ombudsman on "". The Ombudsman has previously indicated in the student-loan costings decision that requests for significant information around election-time have heightened public interest, and that should help.

I'm doing July 2014. Someone else is doing June. There's an FYI request in for May-August, and I'm sure there'll be others. Join the crowdsource, and help expose how National's dirt machine works.

Update: There's now requests in for January, February, March and April 2014.