Debating "Dirty Politics": Media, Politics and Law

The University of Otago is going to debate Dirty Politics. We'd love for you to join in it.

Love it or loathe it, Nicky Hager's Dirty Politics and its aftermath has lit a fire under our perception of "politics as usual" in New Zealand. Exactly how all that plays out come September 20th is an as yet unknown cipher.

Beyond its effect on the upcoming election, however, the book raises a number of important questions across a range of different areas.

  • Are we in an era where politics is dirtier than the past, or are we simply more fixated on claims of scandal? 
  • Does it really matter how politicians seek to get elected and re-elected? 
  • How have changes in media, and the rise of social media in particular, impacted on the way politics is pursued? 
  • What relationships should exist between old media, bloggers and our politicians? 
  • What can, and should, the law do to constrain how people talk about and engage with the political process?
  • When is it allowable to intrude upon individuals' rights to privacy for the greater good of public debate?

These are all issues that the publication of Dirty Politics raises, without necessarily giving full or satisfactory answers to. Furthermore, they are issues that go far beyond the "who said what to whom in which email" stories that understandably have dominated in the wake of the book's appearance. 

In an effort to move past such discussions and instead debate the bigger picture, the University of Otago is holding a "webinar" event livestreamed from the University's media production studio on the afternoon of Friday, September 5. The details are:

  • Debating Dirty Politics: Media, Politics and Law

You'll be able to watch it all livestreamed here ( ... as well as participate in debating the issues (and ask the panelists questions) via twitter at @HagerDebate and #HagerDebate. 

So please join us on Friday for some or all of this debate.