Legal fund for Nicky Hager
Help raise money for investigative journalist Nicky Hager and any legal bills he incurs as a result of the police raidNationwide
Nicky Hager is a hero. With his book Dirty Politics he exposed a twisted web of power and influence in New Zealand politics and opened the Government and its Ministers up to scrutiny. This scrutiny goes all the way to the Prime Minister's Office and the actions of his staff. Many questions still remain unanswered as to how Ministers of the Crown and ministerial staff were able to act in unethical and possibly highly illegal ways.
As an investigative journalist Hager should be able to protect his sources and yet last Thursday he was raided by the police - not because he is the suspect in any crime, but a possible witness. The police spent 10 hours at his house and took many papers, his computers, phones and other electronic devices. This not only prevents Hager from continuing his work but also risks stifling journalists and whistle blowers in NZ.
I am so angry about this, as I am about the allegations raised in his book. This isn't the New Zealand I know and love!
A dear friend of mine is a good friend of Nicky's and suggested this fund as a way to show our support for Nicky and to send a clear message that we will fight misuse of power in our little democracy. We also need to set a legal precedent that this misuse of power against journalists is not acceptable. Even if the legal work is done pro bono then there will still be many thousands of dollars in costs. Any money over and above what is needed for legal costs will go to help Nicky continue his work.
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On 2 October last year the police raided our home and I had the hugely encouraging experience of watching hundreds of you coming to my aid on Givealittle: giving money and, just as important, sending kind messages and giving moral support. The financial support made it easy for us to decide to launch legal action, asking the court to declare the police search unlawful and have my computers and files returned without the police getting access to them.
I hope you saw the news last week, where my lawyers Julian Miles, Felix Geiringer and Steven Price resoundingly won the first stage of the legal action. The High Court judge, Denis Clifford, declared that the police search had been "fundamentally unlawful". It is a very important decision for New Zealand.
The court costs and other expenses for this stage (not including lawyers fees) were about $30,000. The police may yet appeal the decision (if they do I think their appeal will fail) but even without that we have two more court hearings coming on different parts of the case. Your combined Givealittle support has taken all the financial stress out of taking legal action, thank you, because we knew we had money to get us through.
There's more of the case coming, including at some stage getting my gear back, but the most important decision is that one that happened last week. It firmly establishes a precedent that if investigative journalism produces work with a high public interest, then it deserves legal protection to ensure that the public can continue to receive important information about the actions of the powerful.
It takes many hands to win a case like this. Meg de Ronde and Rochelle Rees organised the Givealittle campaign. Adam Bolleau, Bryce Edwards, David Fisher, Gavin Ellis, Seymour Hersh and Wayne Stringer provided expert evidence. Many others gave advice and practical assistance. And you all helped the ship to float by your encouragement and by ensuring we could pay the bills. I am very grateful for you joining us in this fight.
Nicky Hager, 20 December 2015
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This page was created on 7 Oct 2014 and closed on 1 Apr 2015.