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Private information public under National Government

30 July 2013

Private information public under National Government


Revelations that the Henry inquiry, acting on John Key’s mandate, obtained a journalist’s phone records highlight a culture where private information is public under the National Government, the Green Party said today.

In response to Green Party written questions Speaker David Carter has revealed that journalist Andrea Vance’s telephone records were given to the John Key-mandated Henry inquiry.

“It’s a dark day for democracy when a journalist’s phone records can be secretly taken and given without her permission to an inquiry acting under the Prime Minister’s authority,” Green Party Co-leader Russel Norman said today.

“In response to my written questions Speaker David Carter has admitted previous answers he provided to me were wrong. Mr Carter previously said the Henry inquiry sought Ms Vance’s email records but now Mr Carter says that was incorrect and instead the inquiry was provided the records unprompted.

“We need to know who took it upon themselves to offer up that information and I am sure the Privileges Committee will look at it.

“The reality is that there is a culture that has developed under this Prime Minister where rules and rights are treated as expendable.

“Further Green Party written questions, which we are releasing today, show that Parliamentary Service released then United Future leader Peter Dunne’s email records to the Henry inquiry without his permission on the basis of an email from John Key’s chief of staff Wayne Eagleson.

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“When the PM’s office said ‘jump’ Parliamentary Service said ‘how high?’ It is clear Parliamentary Service felt pressured by the PM’s office to comply.

"We are seeing a pattern of anti-democratic and menacing behaviour by the Prime Minister and the Prime Minister's office that is alarming," Dr Norman said.


Below are Green Party Questions that the speaker is changing his answers to:
Q: Who, if anyone, approached the Parliamentary Service seeking approval to access Andrea Vance’s telephone records?
A: The Henry Inquiry requested information relating to internal phone calls made to and from the internal phone number used by Andrea Vance.

Link: http://www.parliament.nz/en-nz/pb/business/qwa/QWA_08496_2013/8496-2013-dr-russel-norman-to-the-speaker-of-the-house

Q: Did the Parliamentary Service grant approval to anyone to access Andrea Vance’s telephone records?

A: No.

Link: http://www.parliament.nz/en-nz/pb/business/qwa/QWA_08494_2013/8494-2013-dr-russel-norman-to-the-speaker-of-the-house

ends

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