Judith Collins

There's lots of stuff we know and lots we don't know following the latest round of Dirty Politics interviews... Here's my take on what we know so far and what it means

It's a matter, ultimately, for the courts. And voters. But the debate over Cameron Slater's accessing of the Labour Party website in 2011 has become a war of metaphors.

The specifics in the Hagar book are devastating. To focus on them, the left should take Nicky Hager’s advice and avoid the politics of vilification.

Over the summer holidays I wrote a post calling on the left to repudiate the politics of vilification.

Dirty Politics could have the unintended consequence of harming all New Zealand politicians... and the Prime Minister's terrible stand-up

It's been a high stakes day in New Zealand politics. Nicky Hager, an occassional contributor to this site, has put his reputation on the line by choosing to use hacked emails to write Dirty Politics and John Key has matched him as he stood by his controversial staffer and denied some of the seemingly well-made claims in the book.

A scandal can be distinguished from a controversy. Immigration policy became controversial in the 90s, the foreshore and seabed in the 2000s. Even though there were bungles, and offensive views and policies were aired, the underlying issue was always sharp disagreement over core values and policies.

In a scandal, the underlying issue is wrong-doing.

Except when it’s a 'Kinsley gaffe', named after the first political botanist to identify this species in the wild. In these cases, the scandal occurs when a politician says something that is true but they shouldn’t have said, rather than does something wrong.

The timelines are damning, the hits this week revealing. But in the end none of it matters, because it all comes back to that dinner and what we knew months ago

So Judith Collins survives her 48 hours on the cliff's edge and heads off on holidy with the title "honourable" still in front of her name. Which is hardly surprising really, because while all the MFAT documents clarify and compound, they don't convict.