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Response to Privileges Committee Report: Hon Peter Dunne

3 December 2013

Response to Privileges Committee Report: Hon Peter Dunne

“I welcome the Privileges Committee’s findings that it was unacceptable that the Henry Inquiry was handed private information, despite having no formal powers to demand it, and that its failure to consider the particular role of MPs, was worrying.

“I resigned as a Minister because I was not willing to compromise my overriding belief that ‘citizens, be they constituents, members of the public or journalists, ought to be able to communicate with their elected representatives in confidence if they wish’ and that ‘we tamper with that right at our collective peril.’

“For that reason, I was not willing to allow access to my private emails, and I would take the same approach in a similar situation today.

“In complete contrast, the Henry Inquiry showed a complete indifference to protecting personal privacy.

“It carried out its work with the finesse of a bull in a china shop, so I am naturally delighted that the Privileges Committee has held it and the Parliamentary Service to account for their manifest failings.

“On the basis of the Privileges Committee’s findings it is now clear that I was entirely within my rights to decline access to my emails, and that in accessing my electronic records without my approval the Henry Inquiry grossly exceeded its authority and acted quite improperly.

“In hindsight, it is also clear that the pressure which led me to resign as a Minister, for failing to comply with the Inquiry’s improper demands, while perhaps understandable in the heat of the time, was both unfortunate and a hurried over-reaction.”

ENDS

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