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Chris Ford: The Teapot Tapes release - a win for internet freedom!

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Chris Ford
Chris Ford

 The infamous teapot tapes have surfaced on the internet today. For the record, I have (like many other people) listened to them.

While I am not going to comment or refer to their content at this stage (given that most media outlets are taking a cautious approach about linking to websites where the audio file can be found), I can only say that the leak is a win for internet freedom.

In a week when internet freedom has been very much in the news, I have to say that those who finally leaked the tape should be applauded for their actions. John Key's futile legal attempts to keep the tape's contents hushed up have failed abysmally.  Key realises that we are living in an online age when witheld information can be leaked online at anytime. The PM laid his complaint with Police soon after the tape's existence became known so as to prevent its release during the campaign.

Therefore, Key's stalling tactic succeeded but he was probably hoping that any leak would come after Parliament resumed in early February. But now, the tape's release will overshadow the first sitting day of Parliament on February 7. That's the day John Key is obliged by Standing Orders to make his Prime Ministerial Statement to the House. Key would have wanted the day to be used for a bit of celebratory trumpet blowing in the media following his and National's re-election. Now Winston Peters and David Shearer will ensure that it won't be.

I will be back once the legal situation becomes clearer to conduct my own analysis of the tape's contents.

But one thing's for sure - these aren't the days of Richard Nixon when tapes could stay hushed up for months before being released. With the arrival of digital media, the game has changed for all political players - and all politicians of all persuasions must now realise that.  

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