John Key is reported to be “puzzled” by concerns expressed by ministers about their phone calls and emails being trawled by the Henry inquiry. Radio New Zealand report:
The Prime Minister is puzzled about why any of his ministers feel the need to complain about the way their information was handled by the Henry inquiry.
A number of ministers expressed disquiet over the way some of their information was handled.But Mr Key questioned why any minister would be worried, because being trusted not to leak to the media is the least he expects from his executive.
Having an inquiry that complies with the law and parliamentary conventions, and that doesn’t make accusations that leads to a minister resigning despite presenting no evidence is the least his Ministers should expect from Key.
Key has previously said that no Ministers complained to him about the terms of the inquiry when they became known.
What Key fails to understand is that when he announced the terms of the inquiry no Ministers (except possibly one) would have suspected that it would involve their own communications being examined. And they wouldn’t have suspected a witch-hunt.
Unlike Key some Ministers are aghast at the way the inquiry seemed to make a conclusion of guilt based on very questionable reasoning, and then pursue evidence without having any regard for the legality of the data gathering or whether it complied with Parliamentary rules and conventions.
ODT reports Leak inquiry ‘chilling’ – Collins.
Justice Minister Judith Collins says it was “chilling” to discover that the David Henry inquiry into the GCSB report leak had treated the privacy of ministers’ and staff information in a “contemptuous way”.
Police Minister Anne Tolley told Mr Henry she was surprised that Mr Henry did not seek the advice of Speaker David Carter to clarify rules about parliamentary privilege.
“With 20-20 hindsight that might have been a wise thing to do,” Mr Henry said but he had assumed that Parliamentary Service, which reported to the Speaker, knew the rules.
Act leader John Banks suggested during his line of questioning that the Henry inquiry had “trampled on the rights and freedoms of Members of Parliament and the fourth estate in a very cavalier manner.”
Worse than trampling on the rights of Ministers in a cavalier and contemptuous way, many are aghast that the inquiry would smear a journalist and the leader of a party with innuendo, and would effectively make very obvious accusations against a minister without having any evidence to back up it’s case.
Gerry Brownlee said it appeared Mr Dunne had been denied natural justice, by relying on his privilege as an MP but facing a report which criticised him.
The Henry inquiry seemed to decide guilt early in their inquiry based on nothing of substance, and then set about trying to obtain evidence that backed up their guess while ignoring any other possibility.
It’s easy to see why Ministers would have major concerns in retrospect.
It is Key’s apparent blindness to this that is puzzling.