From time to time I check in to Ian Wishart's The Briefing Room - http://www.tbr.cc/ - so I was very interested when they broke the story early this afternoon that Air New Zealand had been flying Australian and American soldiers into the warzone in Iraq. After Labour has hung its hat on attacks on John Key over his supposed inconsistencies over involvement in the Iraq war, this was NOT the news that Labour needed to hear today. Nobody is denying that it happened - in fact, there is a wealth of evidence that it did. The issue is whether the Government was told. Air New Zealand is adamant that the government was briefed in advance - Peters and Goff are denying that they had ever been told.
From what I'm hearing on the radio as I type this from Barry Soper, top MFAT official, Simon Murdoch is going to be hung out to dry. However, given the sensitivity of the whole Iraq question (demonstrated by Labour's concerted attacks on Key over Iraq), it is inconceivable to me that Peters and/or Goff were kept out of the loop. Phil Goff has just held a hastily-convened media briefing, which would suggest that the government has hastily rolled out a damage-limitation strategy. This is a major embarrassment to the government - they're not having a good run at the moment; not that I'm complaining! It's certainly not the kind of news they need to turn the polls around!
Ian Wishart cops a lot of flak from the government, but he seems to have scored a direct hit with this one, and I'll be buying a copy of Investigate Magazine in the morning!