A rogue government | The Jackal

4 Aug 2013

A rogue government

Key's chief of staff Wayne Eagleson.
It is bad enough that three months worth of communications between Andrea Vance and Peter Dunne were intercepted without any legal authority, but the guilty party not accepting any responsibility for such an unlawful act is even worse.

With so many people involved and so many lies being told it is understandable that the general public might be scratching their heads and wondering exactly who the guilty party is in this fiasco. So lets sort the wheat from the chaff shall we.

On the 31 August, the government and opposition parties gathered in the House of Representatives to discuss such issues. The Hansard records:

David Shearer : Under what authority was Wayne Eagleson operating when he contacted Parliamentary Service asking for phone and email records to be released?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY : In two areas. The first was that I had issued terms of reference for the inquiry, which were put into the public domain, and, secondly, on the basis that he had written to those individual Ministers requiring and telling them and their staff to comply with my wishes. He was making sure that Parliamentary Service understood that.

Clearly John Key is responsible. In that answer he accepts that it was under his authority his Chief of staff, Wayne Eagleson, contacted Parliamentary Service to convey his orders for phone and email records to be released.

So how exactly did Wayne Eagleson contact Parliamentary Service to make the Prime Ministers directions known? By email of course:

David Shearer : Did his chief of staff ask Parliamentary Service for information on, or records of, phone calls from the parliamentary precinct, as part of the Henry review?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY : I think it is important, for the record, just to relay what my chief of staff did. So effectively there are two things. Mr Eagleson emailed the offices of the Ministers who had received the report to inform them that on my wishes they should comply with the inquiry, and, secondly, on 9 May he emailed Geoff Thorn at Parliamentary Service to confirm that I wished him to make available the inquiry records in relation to Ministers and their staff. At no point did he ask for information about journalists. That would not have been appropriate or right. He did not do so, and nor did the inquiry want that information.

So where is the email that Wayne Eagleson sent to Parliamentary Service on 9 May? This communication hasn't been released by the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. Is this a simple mistake or something far more sinister like a coverup?

Why would they release hundreds of pages worth of emails (PDF) just to not include the 9 May email between Wayne Eagleson and Parliamentary Service? The obvious answer is that they did in fact instruct Parliamentary Service to break the law. The head of Parliamentary Service, Geoff Thorn, appears to have resigned for simply following Wayne Eagleson's unlawful instruction.

Despite Key clearly accepting that it was on his authority that his Chief of staff contacted Parliamentary Service to instruct them to intercept and release three months worth of communications between journalist Andrea Vance and Peter Dunne, the Prime Minister is failing to accept any responsibility. He's even refusing to stand before the Privileges Committee to answer questions, which is yet another gross breach of process.

What is clear is that the Prime Minister of New Zealand is treating our democratic process with contempt! His rogue government believes it is above the law and acts as if there is no accountability at all. Surely New Zealand deserves better than that?