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Rolling Coverage – Reaction to the Release of Journalist's Phone Records

Rolling Coverage – Reaction to the Release of Journalist's Phone Records

Parliament Speaker David Carter has admitted a journalist's phone records were handed over in a ministerial enquiry after earlier denying this had happened. Scoop brings you reaction from politicans, journalists and experts throughout the day.

Thursday 1 August 2013

3:57 pm - Newsflash - Parliamentary Services Boss Resigns

According to Stuff.co.nz Geoff Thorn, the General Manager of Parliamentary Service, has tendered his resignation due to blunders around the release of phone and swipe card access records.

His resignation will come into effect Friday.

Speaker David Carter said his “confidence in the Parliamentary Service has been undermined by events in recent weeks".

Questioning in Parliament

Dr RUSSEL NORMAN to the Prime Minister: How many emails did Wayne Eagleson and the Henry inquiry send to Parliamentary Service regarding the Henry inquiry and on what dates were those emails sent?:

Questioning in Parliament

GRANT ROBERTSON to the Prime Minister: On whose authority did his Chief of Staff request that the Parliamentary Service provide access to information relating to Ministers and their offices and “any other relevant material requested” and did this take place after the Henry inquiry was told that Parliamentary Service would not release the information requested?

Steven Joyce spoke on the behalf of of the Prime Minister. He said that Chief of Staff Wayne Eagleson was acting under the Prime Minister's authority. At no point was it expected or desired for the journalist's records to be included in the inquiry. It was a serious mistake to release the records, and the issue was now before the Parliament's Privileges Committee, Mr Joyce said.

Mr Joyce then answered supplementary questions from Mr Robertson :

Wednesday 31 July 2013

PM John Key takes questions in Parliament

DAVID SHEARER to the Prime Minister: Does he stand by his statement that “when my Chief of Staff speaks to someone, they speak for me”?

Dr RUSSEL NORMAN to the Prime Minister: Does he take responsibility for the actions of the David Henry inquiry?

Fairfax Political Editor Tracy Watkins and former TVNZ head of news Bill Ralston spoke on Radio New Zealand's Morning Report this morning.

Ms Watkins said the email release cut to the heart of journalists' ability to operate in and around parliament.

Mr Ralston described the incident as outrageous but said he thought the release was more likely to be due to incompetence rather than a conspiracy against the media.

Also on Morning report Green Party co-leader Russel Norman said there was confusion over the chain of events that lead to the release, but he did not accept the Speaker David Carter statement that the release was a mistake.

Sir Geoffrey Palmer spoke on Nine to Noon this morning and said Parliamentary Services had been set up to avoid having executive power running parliament and described the release as an egregious constitution error on the part of the parliamentary officials.

From The Editor : The Privileges Of Parliament & Peter Dunne

A Column by Scoop Editor Alastair Thompson

Tuesday 30 July 2013

It has been reported Fairfax journalist Andrea Vance's phone records were accessed as part of an inquiry into the leak of a report about the Government Communication and Security Bureau.

Three months of phone records had been supplied to David Henry by Parliamentary Services and the Speaker said this should have never happened.

According to Mr Carter, the records were returned without being viewed.

"I stress that the David Henry inquiry never requested this information and recorded that fact immediately the information was received. I am further advised that this information was not used by the inquiry."

He has apologised to Ms Vance and to her employer.

Stuff quoted Mr Carter saying:

"The private information should not have been released and could be seen to attack the freedom of the press which is critical to informing the public about what Parliament is doing and ensuring public confidence in Parliament. I view any actions that may put at risk journalists' ability to report very seriously."

He said he had asked Parliamentary Services to look into ensuring this kind of information release did not happen again.

Fairfax group executive editor Paul Thompson said he was “deeply concerned” that the information was handed over.

Updates Responses and Tweets:

In Parliament John Key said the information was incorrectly sent by Parliamentary Services and that it was never viewed.

Speaker David Carter

In Parliament today Speaker David Carter said the release of the information was a breach of trust.

“I will do everything in my power to get to the bottom of it.”

No one asked Parliamentary Services to release the documents, rather someone had enthusiastically overridden what they should have done, Mr Carter said.

The rules around the use of swipecards in the Beehive needed to be made clear.

The sooner the committee can report back and clarify the rules the better it is for the press, parliamentarians and democracy in New Zealand, he said.

Mr Carter said the matter should be referred to the Privileges Committee.

Grant Robertson speaking in Parliament on email release

(Begins 2:28)

Dr Russel Norman speaking in Parliament: “Freedom and democracy relies on a free press.”

Media Commentator Gavin Ellis posted to Kiwi Journalists Association Facebook page:

“Journalists will condemn in the strongest terms the open assault on media freedom represented by the seizure of a Dominion Post reporter's phone records. Members of the Kiwi Journalists Association Facebook page (which is restricted to present and former professional journalists) can add their support to this condemnation by 'liking' this post. The result will be forwarded to the New Zealand Government.” https://www.facebook.com/groups/216332661716385/

Russel Norman's question to the Prime Minister: "Did his Chief of Staff, Wayne Eagleson, advise Parliamentary Service that United Future Leader Hon Peter Dunne had agreed to cooperate with the Henry inquiry and had consented to releasing his electronic phone logs; if so, why?"

ENDS

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