Problem for Problem Gambling Foundation

There was a flurry of criticism this morning when the Problem Gambling Foundation advised it was losing Ministry of Health funding for the bulk of it’s current services.

Trevor Mallard was quick off the mark.

Govt silences casino deal critic by axing funding

The Problem Gambling Foundation is being forced to shut its doors after losing government funding because it has vocally opposed National’s dodgy convention centre for pokies deal, Labour’s Internal Affairs spokesperson Trevor Mallard says.

It also appears that Mallard was wide of the mark. Criticisms have been premature.

The funding hasn’t been cut, it is being moved to a “superior” provider. From the Problem Gambling Foundation’s media statement Statement on Ministry of Health contracts:

While the Ministry describes PGF as a valued provider of quality services it has told PGF it has a superior offer for the clinical and public health services PGF provides.

Mallard acknowledges the change of service provider despite his “axing” headline:

“The Ministry of Health has said it has received a ‘superior contract bid’ but as the Foundation is the largest provider of problem gambling services in Australasia, it is hard to imagine a more qualified organisation to do this work.

“The Government’s deal with SkyCity stinks and the public knows it. An additional 350 pokie machines in Auckland will cause significant harm to the community.

“The Problem Gambling Foundation has spoken out about the dangers of this deal and are now paying the price.

“Internal Affairs Minister Peter Dunne and the Ministry of Health need to explain the reasons for this outrageous decision,” Trevor Mallard says.

Stuff explain in Problem Gambling Foundation loses Govt funding:

A spokesman from Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne’s office confirmed today that the other organisation was the Salvation Army.

The spokesman said the Salvation Army bid for the contract was more efficient, and offered more services and value for money.

It’s tough on the PGF but funds for services should be contestable. The Salvation Army have a record of providing a wide range of services – and they have also been critical of the Government.

Internal Affairs minister Peter Dunne and the Ministry of Health both “emphatically deny” any political involvement.

The Mojo story and a Masterton coincidence

The big question still unanswered about the Mojo Mathers versus Taxpayers’ Union story is who initiated the story.

Questions are being asked about a taxpayer-funded trip for deaf MP Mojo Mathers to be interviewed on a small provincial radio station.

A puzzle has remained about who put the questions to the Herald on Sunday in the first place.

Tonight PhilP commented on Kiwiblog:

I read a piece in Monday’s Wairarapa Times-Age where Trevor Mallard, Grant Robertson and Chris Hipkins were in Masterton last weekend with their Wairarapa Labour candidate Keiran McAnulty. Apparently they were out door knocking.

I can’t find the item on their website, but lo, the Wairarapa Times-Age is hosted by NZ Herald so must be APN.

This story is confirmed by some tweets:

@Kieran_McAnulty  Mar 1
Had a fantastic response from #gigatownMTN locals today, as the Labour team canvassed door to door. To those who helped out – Thank you!

@chrishipkins Mar 1
Great afternoon door knocking in Masterton. We’ve got an awesome candidate in @Kieran_McAnulty – popular with locals!

Embedded image permalink
And curiously:

If MPs end up having to justify every plane trip, taxi ride, bus fare, or train ticket the end result will be less public access to MPs

 @gtiso  Mar 1

@chrishipkins don’t worry. It’s only the left-wing MPs.

That was on Saturday. The Mojo Mathers story was posted on the NZ Herald news site at 8.30 am on Sunday.

Green MP’s 800km taxpayer-funded trip questioned
By Patrice Dougan

8:30 AM Sunday Mar 2, 2014

Was it available in the print version of the Herald on Sunday before Sunday?

It seems quite a coincidence that Chris Hipkins was in Masterton on Saturday with Trevor Mallard and was talking about the story topic.

Another tweet:

Drove down to Children’s Day celebrations at Avalon Park this morning. Don’t tell Jordan Williams about this travel extravagance…

See earlier story: Mathers story seems odd

UPDATE: There’s confusion over timestamps in Twitter between browsers, it appears that Hipkins’ tweets were made on Sunday afternoon. Chrome:

Hipkins Masterton 1

But Firefox seems to be accurate:

Hipkins Masterton 2I’ve never noticed before but the layout is different between the browsers as well.

I accept the Sunday afternoon timestamp. This reduces the level of coincidence, but it’s still very curious to see the three Labour MPs active in Masterton on the same day the story was probably researched and written.

The news report from the Masterton Times-Age.

Labour MPs Masterton

And the big questions remain:

  • who gave the story to the Herald on Sunday?
  • why was the Taxpayers’ Union questioned about the story?
  • why did the story imply the Taxpayers’ Union had asked the initial questions?
  • what were the motives for trying to make something of a very innocuous visit by a Christchurch MP to Masterton?

UPDATE2: Someone from the Wairarapa says about the Times-Age:

Worthy of note is that the wretched editor, one Andrew Bonallack, is determined to turn the paper into a Labour Party news propaganda organ.

 

Groundduck day

While Labour crash and burn Trevor Mallard keeps coming up with yet another attempt at the same old question that the Speaker rules out of order.

Questions for Oral Answer

Questions to Ministers

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

10. Hon TREVOR MALLARD to the Prime Minister: Further to his response of “No” as to whether he received an assurance from Mr Dunne that he had not made a copy of the draft Kitteridge Report on the GCSB available to a Fairfax reporter, in Oral Question No 11 on 12 February and that he “accepted him at his word”, in a supplementary answer to the same question, in what context did Mr Dunne give his word that he did not make said report available to the reporter?
This follows 

 30 January 2014:

11. Hon TREVOR MALLARD (Labour—Hutt South) to the Minister of Internal Affairs: Does he stand by all his statements?

Hon PETER DUNNE (Minister of Internal Affairs) : Yes—in fact, I am more than happy to stand by the only statement I have made since being appointed Minister of Internal Affairs 2 days ago, which is that the New Zealand Fire Service has today deployed the first of two firefighting contingents to help fight bushfires in Victoria. This actually follows four similar deployments to Australia last year and underscores the close relationship and cooperation our two countries have when dealing with times of national adversity. I am sure that the House will want to join with me in wishing our firefighters well and that they will have a safe return home.

Hon Trevor Mallard: Does he stand by the comment he made as he welcomed his new role that he has, with his chief executive officer, responsibility for, amongst other things, proper protection of the security of information?

Hon PETER DUNNE: Yes.

Hon Trevor Mallard: How does he reconcile that comment last week with his action in leaking a confidential report to a member of the parliamentary press gallery?

Mr SPEAKER: I will allow the Minister to respond to that question.

Hon PETER DUNNE: I stand by the comments that I made in the statement that the member referred to. I accept the responsibility that I have as Minister of Internal Affairs and I will honour that responsibility.

Hon Trevor Mallard: Did he leak the Kitteridge report or any draft thereof—

Mr SPEAKER: There is no ministerial responsibility for that question.

Etc.

And 11 February 2014:

11. Hon TREVOR MALLARD (Labour—Hutt South) to the Minister of Internal Affairs: Further to his answers to supplementary questions to Oral Question No 11 on Thursday 30 January relating to his responsibility for the security of information, does he believe that all his actions as a Minister mean he is an appropriate person to hold the position of Minister of Internal Affairs?

Hon PETER DUNNE (Minister of Internal Affairs) : Yes.

Hon Trevor Mallard: Did he, as part of the process of his recent reappointment as a Minister, give the Prime Minister an assurance that he did not leak the draft Kitteridge report or make it available to a Fairfax reporter?

Hon PETER DUNNE: The discussions I had with the Prime Minister are between the Prime Minister and me, but I reiterate the answers that I gave to the House on 30 January. I have had no ministerial responsibility for any issues relating to the Kitteridge report.

Hon Trevor Mallard: Was the reason that he is not prepared to tell the House that he has given the Prime Minister an assurance that he did not make the draft Kitteridge report available to a Fairfax reporter because he in fact made that document available to that reporter?

Mr SPEAKER: I call the Hon Peter Dunne, in as far as there is current ministerial responsibility.

Hon PETER DUNNE: I was appointed to this position on 28 January. In relation to the primary question, I have honoured the responsibilities entrusted to me fully since that date. In relation to other matters, I have no responsibility for them.

Hon Trevor Mallard: Is he in a position to give the House now an assurance that he did not make the draft Kitteridge report available to a Fairfax reporter; if not, why not?

Mr SPEAKER: Again, I will allow the Minister to answer the question, but in as far as he has current ministerial responsibility as Minister of Internal Affairs.

Hon PETER DUNNE: I refer the member to my previous answers on this very subject.

Hon Trevor Mallard: Referring to his current responsibility for security of information, can he give the House an assurance that he is a suitable person to oversee this for New Zealand by now stating that he has never made a confidential report available to a Fairfax reporter?

Mr SPEAKER: Again, I will invite the Minister to answer the question in line with his current ministerial responsibility.

Hon PETER DUNNE: My current responsibilities began on 28 January, and the question that is made is answered in respect of those answers, and I refer the member to previous answers on earlier subjects.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: Having regard to the security and secrecy of information, particularly in his present job, why does he not admit the time, the date, the room, and the circumstances of his leaking of the Kitteridge report?

Mr SPEAKER: Order! That question is not in order at all.

Etc

And  12 February 2014:

11. Hon TREVOR MALLARD (Labour—Hutt South) to the Prime Minister: Is the Hon Peter Dunne a suitable person to hold the position answerable in this House for the security of information held by Government in light of him repeatedly declining to deny, in the House yesterday, that he made the draft Kitteridge report available to a Fairfax reporter, and, if so, has he received an assurance from Mr Dunne that he did not make the document available to any reporter?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY (Prime Minister) : Yes, and no.

Hon Trevor Mallard: Is he the Minister responsible to this House for commissioning the Kitteridge report into the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB), the Henry report into how that report was made available to a Fairfax reporter, and the reinstatement of the Hon Peter Dunne to his ministry?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY: Yes.

Hon Trevor Mallard: Has he, since he received the Henry report, received any further information that has helped him to identify the source of the leak of the Kitteridge report into the GCSB?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY: No.

Hon Trevor Mallard: What, if anything, has changed with regard to who made the Kitteridge report available since he said on 7 June that he could not accept Mr Dunne’s assurances that he did not leak the draft Kitteridge report?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY: What is true is that I accepted Mr Dunne’s resignation because he failed to comply with the inquiry. What I have also done, as I have said to the House before, is accepted Mr Dunne’s assurances that he has categorically ruled out playing any part in leaking the report. Another way of saying that would be “I’ve moved on.”—and do not worry, Trevor, one day David will move on when it comes to you, as well.

Hon Trevor Mallard: Does he stand by his statement in relation to the Henry report that there is only one conclusion you can take from reading the report; if so, does he still believe that Mr Dunne is the person most likely to have made the draft Kitteridge report available to a Fairfax reporter?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY: In relation to the first part of the question, yes. In relation to the second part of the question, I accept Mr Dunne’s assurances.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: In respect of the Prime Minister’s answer to the second part of the primary question, which was “has he received an assurance from Mr Dunne that he did not make the document available to any reporter?”, to which he said no, preparatory to the reappointment of Mr Dunne, did he ask Mr Dunne for his assurance that he did not leak the Kitteridge report?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY: No, because I accepted him at his word, just as, I am sure, I will accept that member’s word that he did not discuss untoward things when he went to the Dotcom mansion three times.

Etc

And 18 February 2014:

11. Hon TREVOR MALLARD (Labour—Hutt South) to the Minister of Internal Affairs: Does he stand by his answers to all supplementary questions to Oral Questions in the House this year; if so, why?

Hon PETER DUNNE (Minister of Internal Affairs) :Yes , because they accord with my ministerial responsibility.

Hon Trevor Mallard: Does he accept he has responsibility in this House for the security of Government information; if so, will he now make it clear that he is a suitable person for holding that role by stating that he did not make the draft Kitteridge report on the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) available to a Fairfax journalist?

Mr SPEAKER: The Hon Peter Dunne—the first part of that question is acceptable.

Hon PETER DUNNE: I have answered that question—

Hon Trevor Mallard: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. I think you attempted to edit my question.

Mr SPEAKER: I have.

Hon Trevor Mallard: Can you—and, Mr Speaker—

Mr SPEAKER: I have. I can help the member. There were two parts to that supplementary question. The second part of the supplementary question is out of order. The first part of the supplementary question is in order, and that one can be answered.

Hon Trevor Mallard: Point of order, Mr Speaker.

Mr SPEAKER: Does the member wish to proceed?

Hon Trevor Mallard: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. I want to refer you to Speaker’s Ruling 155/3, which relates to the Prime Minister’s requirements for the suitability of Ministers to hold roles. I am not asking the member whether he leaked the document; what I am asking him is to demonstrate—as is allowed under Speaker’s Ruling 155/3—that he is a suitable person for holding a role as a Minister in this House. The question was very—

Mr SPEAKER: Order! I can help the member. If the member now rephrases both parts of his question, it will be over to the Minister which one he will address. But if the member rephrases the second part of his supplementary question in line with the words he just used, that will be in order.

Hon Trevor Mallard: Is he prepared to demonstrate to the House today that he is a suitable person for holding the role of security of Government information by directly denying that he made the draft Kitteridge report on the GCSB available to a Fairfax journalist?

Mr SPEAKER: The difficulty we have now got to is that the member is not repeating the first part of the question he raised.

Hon Gerry Brownlee: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. Interestingly, I think that the first part of the question that the Hon Trevor Mallard asked could stand, but then he deviated and was in contravention of Standing Order 377(1)(b). There is clearly a breach of that particular Standing Order.

Hon Trevor Mallard: The question was very clear, and was whether he is prepared to demonstrate that he is a suitable person by doing X. I have not asked him whether or not he leaked the report on the GCSB to a Fairfax reporter; I am asking him to demonstrate his suitability by denying that in the House. Clearly, any person who was a Minister and leaked that report would not be suitable.

Hon Gerry Brownlee: If he had put a full stop after “demonstrate” or “demonstrate to the House”, that would be fine, but to go on and make a requirement that is by any reasonable assessment an imputation, an inference, or even an argument, and quite possibly a discreditable reference, it then falls outside the Standing Orders.

Hon David Parker: If that was the concern of the Minister in response to a question, he would just deny the allegation. It is very proper for the Opposition to try to highlight matters that are disreputable on the part of Ministers. This is an example where we are trying to do that, and that is quite within the Standing Orders.

Hon Gerry Brownlee: If that were the case, then any old question could be asked any old time. There would be no need to have Standing Order 377, “Content of questions”.

Mr SPEAKER: Order! I am going to allow the member an opportunity to repeat his question as he first asked it, because the question has changed quite substantially. The member has every right to ask the current Minister of Internal Affairs something for which he has been responsible since he was appointed as Minister of Internal Affairs, and if the question is along those lines, I will rule it in order. If the member then tries to tease it back to occurrences that occurred some time before the Minister was appointed as the Minister of Internal Affairs, I will be inclined to rule it out of order, and that will be the end of the matter.

Hon Trevor Mallard: Is he prepared in the House today to demonstrate today that he is a suitable person to have custody of public information, by denying that he made that document available to a Fairfax reporter?

Mr SPEAKER: Order! To progress the matter, the Minister can answer the question up until the final addition of that information.

Hon PETER DUNNE: That question has been asked in a couple of forms on 30 January and 11 February. I stand by the answers given on both of those occasions.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. This is a matter that has been well traversed by a select committee and by inquiries inside and outside this House. With respect, if the Minister is being asked to demonstrate a present action that is required of him now—a certain fact that relates to his qualifications for the job—that is still a present matter that the House would like to be assured of. It is not, therefore, a past matter, which is the qualification that Mr Brownlee tried to put on it. Frankly, if we cannot hear the truth behind this, then this is no longer a House of Parliament that gets to the bottom of the matter.

Hon Gerry Brownlee: What Mr Peters is saying is that—the question implicitly makes an allegation. Otherwise there would be no need for the use of the word “deny”. That is not within the Standing Orders.

Mr SPEAKER: I appreciate the point that the member Mr Peters is raising. My job is to adhere to the Standing Orders. Therefore, this is question time, where Ministers can be asked questions where they have ministerial responsibility. What the member is attempting to do is devise a system whereby he asks the Minister to deny an action that occurred prior to him being a Minister. The Standing Orders do not allow that to happen in this House.

Chris Hipkins: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. The issue that I want to raise with you goes to the issues around the character of Ministers and whether or not actions prior to their becoming Ministers can be questioned in relation to their character and suitability to hold the roles. I can recall examples—for example, Ms Collins questioned previous Ministers in the Labour Government over actions that they took even prior to their being members of Parliament and the implication that that had for their current ministerial roles. What Mr Dunne is being questioned on is something that related to his conduct prior to his holding the current ministerial role, but that is no different to Ms Collins’ questions to someone who was not even a member of Parliament when they did the things that she was questioning them on.

Hon Trevor Mallard: I would like to draw your attention back to a question earlier today, where you allowed Mr Williams to ask a question of the Hon Mr Woodhouse that related to his experience prior to being a member of Parliament, and you allowed Mr Woodhouse to answer it. What I am asking for is some consistency.

Mr SPEAKER: Yes, but I do recall the answer from Mr Woodhouse was that he replied to the effect that that was not relevant to the answer, and then proceeded to answer the question. The Minister has now answered the question. If the member still has a further supplementary question, I will listen to it. But—

Hon David Parker: You wouldn’t let him answer the second part.

Mr SPEAKER: Order! I appreciate the assistance from the Hon David Parker, but the Minister has answered that question. Does the member have a further supplementary question?

Hon Trevor Mallard: I certainly do. In light of his answers last week, has he given any assurance to the Prime Minister on the question of his suitability to hold his current role, with regard to the security of Government information, other than through the media in June last year?

Hon PETER DUNNE: Prior to taking up this appointment, which actually pre-dates the period of ministerial responsibility, the Prime Minister and I discussed the role and what it entailed, and the outcome of that was that he offered me the job.

Rt Hon John Key: Can the Minister confirm that the actual test of whether someone serves as a Minister is whether they enjoy the confidence of the Prime Minister of the day, and can the member confirm whether he believes he has the full confidence of the Prime Minister of the day, and can the Minister confirm that—

Mr SPEAKER: Order! We have now had—[Interruption] I will hear from the right honourable—[Interruption] Order!

Rt Hon Winston Peters: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. The first question is of the Prime Minister, not the Minister—[Interruption] No, even though he sought to put it to Mr Dunne, it is only the Prime Minister that has the confidence, and the second question should have been ruled out because it was a second question.

Mr SPEAKER: If anybody wants to ask a supplementary question, they should ask a single supplementary question. In my opinion, the first supplementary question asked by the Prime Minister was completely in order and the Minister can answer it.

Hon Trevor Mallard: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. In order to help the Prime Minister, I seek leave of the House for the full supplementary question of the Prime Minister to be answered by Mr Dunne.

Mr SPEAKER: Order! Members must still abide by the Standing Orders.

Hon PETER DUNNE: I can only assume that, because the Prime Minister offered to appoint me as the Minister of Internal Affairs, he has full confidence in my ability to do the job, and I intend to reflect that confidence in the way that I carry out this role.

Hon Trevor Mallard: Further to the supplementary question asked by the Prime Minister and the Minister’s answer, did the Prime Minister then ask him whether he leaked the report?

Hon PETER DUNNE: That question was put to the Prime Minister last week, and I refer the member to the answer he gave, which I am not going to disagree with.

Mr SPEAKER: Supplementary—[Interruption] Order! Order! I need to hear the supplementary question.

Hon Trevor Mallard: Further to the Prime Minister’s question and the supplementary answer, did the Minister give the Prime Minister any information relating to the making available of the Kitteridge report to a reporter, other than through the media?

Mr SPEAKER: I do not accept that that question has any ministerial responsibility in respect of the current Minister of Internal Affairs.

Hon Trevor Mallard: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. That question has more ministerial responsibility in it than the one that you allowed from the Prime Minister, which went to the Prime Minister’s responsibilities.

Mr SPEAKER: I will allow the member, rather than forfeiting a question, to have an attempt at asking a question in line with the current ministerial responsibility of the Minister.

Hon David Parker: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. I am confused—[Interruption]

Mr SPEAKER: Order! It is a point of order.

Hon David Parker: I am confused as to how a Speaker can find it in order for the Prime Minister to ask a Minister whether he has his confidence but then an Opposition member is not able to ask a question of whether the Prime Minister checked whether the Minister leaked a report before he said he was confident in him.

Mr SPEAKER: I do not need assistance. I am here to help the member’s confusion. My duty is to instantly judge how appropriate the question is to the Minister’s current responsibility. I have invited—[Interruption] Order! I have invited the member to attempt to rephrase his question. Otherwise we will simply move on in this matter.

Hon Trevor Mallard: Further to the Prime Minister’s question, which indicated that he has confidence in Mr Dunne, was one of the factors in building that confidence his making clear to the Prime Minister that he did not leak the Kitteridge report to a Fairfax reporter?

Hon PETER DUNNE: The discussion we had was wide ranging and dealt with matters relating to the internal affairs portfolio to which the Prime Minister subsequently appointed me.

 

Labour letting the attack dog out

Or maybe that should be letting the duck out, Labour’s Mallardy.

Labour seem to have re-employed Trevor Mallard’s muckraking, or he has unleashed himself. He has been used for the two Parliamentary weeks this year to try and dredge up tired old crap, looking tired and looking like crap when he does it.

It’s  sad sack politics, like a punch drunk old boxer.

Mallard has been busy on Twitter hissing like a goose.

And at number twenty seven in the Labour caucus he’s the one nominated to front up on Breakfast this morning, looking tired and like crap, to suggest that the public might perceive that Key had used his old friend in the GCSB to spy on Winston. That’s tired old politics, and he backtracked when asked if he actually believed what he said.

Comments on this at Whale Oil – BassilFawlty:

He has not looked well or performed well the last two times I have seen him, all the fight seems to have gone from him.

Yes, he’s looking a bit like a deflated cactus. Going through the shit-stirring motions.

Kaykaybee:

So Humpty Dumpty Trevvy Mallard is being put back on the wall for awhile. Cunliffe, busy trying to find a new chief of staff and struggling with policy, cannot deal with this farce and is forced to let the dogs out. I wonder in the confusion of running for leader did he even know about those within Labour who were in contact with the serial embezzler and fraudster Kim Dotcom.

Looks pretty desperate to have to resurrect a man you despise and demoted to the lowest of ranks and so ignominiously. Cunliffe and Mallard – such animosity ! Like to see how that pans out.

GazzW

Labour seem to be using Mallard for all of the grubby petty stuff that no one with an eye on their political future is prepared to do. He was such a pathetic looking object at QT this week raising the hoary old Dunne/Fairfax reporter (notice that they never name her even in the House) issue.

Poor old bugger in a crumpled suit and shirt ranting away from his place on the back bench – I almost felt sorry for him at one point but then I remembered all the shit that he’s dealt out in the past. It’s called karma.

Has Mallard gone rogue? Presumably not, the Labour whips will have supported his Question Time attacks. And presumably Labour management get to choose who to put forward for interview spots.

So David Cunliffe must either be supporting the old Mallard mutt being unleashed, or he is not controlling his caucus.

“Nice guys don’t last long in this game.”

In an NZ Herald article on David Shearer’s demise as Labour leader a sad observation is made:

The Mana Party’s Hone Harawira said he always found Mr Shearer to be “very, very friendly and very open”.

“I think that was probably his downfall. Nice guys don’t last long in this game.”

That’s how Harawira sees it, and I know others in politics see it that way. I was this told myself recently on Whale Oil.

It’s rubbish.

This sounds to me like it is an attempt to excuse bad behaviour, to excuse politicians who act awfully.

Some of the longest standing politicians in Parliament are widely regarded as decent, nice people – for example Phil Goff and Peter Dunne, both MPs since the 1980s.

There are also long serving MPs with reputations of being not so nice at times, like Trevor Mallard, Winston Peters and Clayton Cosgrove.

Politicians can be strong and still by nice. That means standing up and challenging the nastiness, and make it clear it doesn’t belong in Parliament. MPs are the people’s representatives, so they should represent decent and honourable behaviour.

Politics needs more nice guys and women. Strong and principled works best with nice.

Hooton to Dunne: “See you in court”

@nzxnewsroom
Peter Dunne’s emails with journalist could be made public under Official Information Act

@PeterDunneMP
My emails are not official information under s.2f of the Official Information Act, therefore are not subject to the OIA

@MatthewHootonNZ
Rubbish @PeterDunneMP. See you in court.

I wonder who is Hooton is acting for there.

This presumably relates to this news report earlier this week: Peter Dunne’s emails could be made public

The Office of the Ombudsmen confirmed to a parliamentary select committee on Wednesday that emails of a nature like Mr Dunne’s are likely to be subject to the Official Information Act, and therefore they could be made public.

Labour’s Trevor Mallard posed a series of questions about the emails to deputy Ombudsman Leo Donnelly, including whether emails between a minister and a journalist arranging to meet for a coffee would be subject to the Official Information Act – to which Mr Donnelly responded “yes”.

Mr Donnelly says the Ombudsman’s office has a number of complaints regarding Mr Dunne, which are ongoing, but none relate to issues of accessing his ministerial emails as a result of his resignation.

Mr Mallard also asked whether information Mr Dunne held in relation to parliament’s intelligence and security committee – a statutory committee that was not related to his ministerial portfolio – could be subject to the act.

Mr Donnelly said it may be, but added: “I couldn’t give you an answer now without the circumstance coming before the Ombudsman [and them] being able to consider it”.

As I understand it the emails were not sent as a Minister.

It looks like Mallard is trying to find some way of getting the emails covered by the Official Information Act.

It’s surprising an MP would be wanting to pursue this means of trying to access MP emails with journalists.Is Mallard acting on his own or with the blessing the Labour caucus?

It would be interesting to see if a few Labour MPs are leaking anything to journalists at the moment. But totally inappropriate I might add.

Cosgrove proves Garner’s coup claim

On RadioLive this afternoon Duncan Garner spoke of his involvement in kicking off the public part of last night’s coup talk.

David Shearer will be gone as Labour leader soon – Duncan Garner – Audio

He also explained how coups work.

This is how coups work. This is how the destabilising campaigns work.

They’re not decisive, they’re slow, they’re unsure, and everyone involved in them is worried about being outed.

And Labour’s denials today are absolutely normal, this is how it works.

I have never had an MP say to me

“Ah, you’re bang on about this one, this is a coup. You’ve got me! We’re replacing him, how did you know?”

They never say that.

And Grant Robertson saying all MPs are behind Shearer is nonsense. They have never all been behind Shearer Grant, you know that.

MPs today in the Labour Party, and my source as well within that caucus, is lying to cover their butts.

That’s how it works.

This is part of the destabilising campaign.

Labour MPs are moving on Shearer, make no mistake, they’re undermining him, and their assurances they are supporting him are in my opinion not worth anything.

There are a number of MPs who have a lot to lose if Shearer goes, I’m talking Annette King, Phil Goff, Trevor Mallard, and Sky City Cosgrove when he comes on this afternoon.

Those people lead the ABC club, that’s the Anyone But Cunliffe club. If the leadership changes those careers are over, that’s why they want David Shearer to stay in the mix.

I’ll talk to Cosgrove after 5 o’clock, he’s got a few secrets himself about loyalty, I’m sure he will not want to discuss too many of those.

But make no mistake, Labour will attack me on this, they will attack my credibility, they will try and discredit me, that’s not new.

That is how a coup works.

Then after 5 – Clayton Cosgrove and Duncan Garner go head-to-head over Shearer and coup – Audio

There was too much talking over and too little of substance actually said to bother transcribing any.

Cosgrove didn’t try to answer any questions – he denied by avoiding answering.

He attacked Garner from the very first opportunity.

He attacked Garner’s credibility.

He tried to discredit Garner.

He proved everything Garner said previously. He seemed to clearly prove – That is how a coup works.

The only think that wasn’t clear was whether Cosgrove deliberately signalled that Garner was right, or whether he couldn’t hide old habits or was oblivious he was proving Garner’s point.

Was it recorded? If Cosgrove had heard Garner’s earlier spiel he wouldn’t have followed Garners coup recipe to the letter. Unless he wanted to prove Garner right without being open and honest.

Trevor Mallard to have a sex change?

Friends of the Labour Party have announced that rules for a gender quota for the Labour caucus are being considered – see More Like This, Labour rules changes pushes for more women [LEAKED DOCS] and Labour’s proposed man ban.

Individual electorates would be able to limit candidates to being female:

New Rule 248A. An LEC may request that NZ Council determine that only women may nominate for the position of Labour candidate for their electorate. Such approval overrides the right granted in Rule 251 for any member to be eligible for nomination.

And the party list must be selected to ensure at least a 45% female caucus for 2014, rising to 50% in 2017.

New Rule 289A.  For the 2014 election the Moderating Committee shall, in determining the list, ensure that for any percentage of party vote likely to be obtained, and taking into account the electorate MPs likely to be elected with that level of Labour support, the resultant Caucus will comprise at least 45% women.  For the 2017 and subsequent elections the percentage shall be at least 50%.

They don’t explain how they will calculate which gender will win marginal seats. Presumably their selection will need to allow for a margin of error.

Current MP Trevor Mallard has been told that acting like and old woman in the House will not qualify him for the female quota. Mallard repeated recently that he is mid career so he may need to have a sex change to keep his place.

Clayton Cosgrove is also exploring various ways of keeping a seat in a caucus of diminishing blokes. This is, after all, the age of pragmatic politics.

This post is only partly satirical – actually the proposed rules aren’t a surprise, I saw this being discussed probbaly at The Standard, possibly around the time of Labour’s conference last October.

Labour back to trashing themselves

After a short diversion trying to trash United Future it looks like Labour are back to trashing themselves. The dirty work is back to being done within the caucus. Red on red.

Patrick Gower reignited an always simmering consternation about David Shearer’s leadership.

Shearer put on notice by Labour MPs

A Labour MP told 3 News today that Mr Shearer had until spring – two months away – to pick up his and Labour’s performance.

The MP, speaking on condition of anonymity, said: “The caucus is just really flat. It’s not panic or anxiety just yet, but a couple more bad polls and it will be. David’s got a couple more months. A change in leadership cannot be ruled out before the end of the year.

“Spring time is when people will get really nervous, just over a year out from the election. We don’t want to get into the “Goff-zone”, where it’s too late to change the leader, but you’ve got someone in there the public just don’t want -the phone is just off the hook.”

The MP who spoke to 3 News is not a loyal supporter of leadership rival David Cunliffe. That makes the comments more significant as it shows there are broader concerns in the caucus about Mr Shearer’s performance.

And the stirring within seems to be not exclusive to Gower. Corin Dann also reports:

Crucial two months for David Shearer

However what I do detect is an increase in the threat level for David Shearer.

If the poor showing was to be reflected in a downward trend across a number of next round of polls (including the left’s currently favoured Roy Morgan Poll) then a challenge come spring is possible.

As one Labour MP put it to me this week another 5 or so points down in the next round of polls and things could be different.

Another stressed privately that there was no push for change now and David Shearer had the support of caucus.

But they did also note the fact that there’s a small window for change around September/October if things get really dire.

And…

Then to compound matters David Shearer displayed poor judgement by briefly visiting a Sky City corporate box. Not fatal, but a silly mistake nonetheless which undermined his attacks on the Convention Centre deal and got up the noses of activists in party.

David Shearer is well aware of these failings.

What’s crucial now is how he responds over next 8 to 10 weeks, his every move will be watched and there really is no room for error now.

This looks like a planned attempt to dump Shearer. It has similarities to the so called Cunliffe coup attempt at Labour’s conference last year. This has come up again at The Standard:

…you know full well that most people thought Trevor Mallard was leaking to Gower during the conference.

And…

It’s a classic “Thursday story”.

The leader is (usually) not in Parliament on Thursday – today he was campaigning in Ikaroa-Rawhiti. So it’s safe to talk to the gallery, cat’s away, mice play …

In unrelated news, Trevor Mallard *was* in Parliament today.

Perhaps not coincidentally Mallard was at the forefront of the assaults on Peter Dunne and United Future, albeit more openly (sometimes).

Whether Mallard is involved or not (and it seems to have his grubby handprints all over it) whoever is deliberately destabilising Shearer’s leadership this is very dirty politics – I think it’s disgraceful. Someone in the Labour caucus is trashing their own party using trashy tactics.

Sure, Shearer looks to be a dead leader walking, he has done for some time. But this is a terrible, destructive way of dealing with an obvious problem.

Labour look to be a long way from repairing and rebuilding. Labour’s mallardy continues.

That’s bad for Labour supporters and it’s for New Zealand politics.

http://thestandard.org.nz/open-mike-27062013/#comment-654648

Lack of evidence points serious suspicions at Henry

Much has been said about how most politicians leak and most don’t get caught. And that Peter Dunne’s inexperience at leaking was his downfall. But Dunne wasn’t caught. He was accused and effectively convicted of being leaker by David Henry – despite a lack of evidence.

David Henry’s report on his inquiry into the leaking of the Kitteridge report was remarkable. It appears that Henry decided there was only one suspect and didn’t bother seriously looking any further. As blogged there were Huge gaps in Henry investigation, with the most glaring deficiency summed up in one paragraph:

59. For completeness I record that I had no access, nor did I seek any access, to private email providers or private telephones.

That’s an extreme irony because it highlights the lack of completeness in Henry’s inquiry – he didn’t consider means of communicating that most experienced leakers would be far more likely to use than Parliamentary emails.

And Henry didn’t even seem to consider the possibility of personal communication between Vance and her leaker. Except with Dunne.

It seems that Henry was convinced that Dunne and only Dunne leaked. And Henry did everything he could to convict Dunne – which he virtually did with his report.

It’s been claimed that Henry interviewed Dunne up to four times. And the release of the report was delayed due to at least the last of the Dunne interviews.

And pressure was also applied to Dunne by Winston Peters. How did Peters know about the intense investigation into Dunne?

It seems extremely unlikely that Andrea Vance or Fairfax leaked to Peters. That would have been an extreme breach of trust and very damaging to their credibility.

It also seems very unlikely that John Key or anyone associated with him leaked to Peters. Key seemed to retain strong trust in Dunne until very late in the process. And Dunne being identified as the leaker was embarrassing and an inconvenience for Key.

About the time Peters started his attacks Key was saying he thought it most likely the leaker wouldn’t be identified and that he trusted Dunne. Indications are that Key was surprised by the Henry report and by Dunne’s admissions and ministerial resignations.

And for Key to have known about Henry’s suspicions he would have to have been told by Henry or someone associated with his inquiry.

A more likely explanation is that Henry leaked to Peters to put pressure on Dunne in his inquiry. There is no obvious  alternative.

It now seems obvious Peters was given no evidence of communications but was given sufficient credible information of Henry’s suspicions and interviews for Peters to launch an all out attack on Dunne.

Despite his own lack of evidence or admission Henry damned Dunne with his report anyway. Peters wasn’t necessary to achieve that.

So why was Peters brought into play? All he did was put pressure on Dunne while the inquiry was trying to pin Dunne.

Most of the evidence and lack of evidence points to Henry targeting Dunne as the only culprit, giving scant consideration to other possibilities that in the normal course of leaking would be more likely, and Henry being the source of Peters’ information.

Dunne has been ridiculed for being caught leaking when most MPs do it frequently, undetected.

But most leakers don’t have a Henry style kangaroo court.

The motives and methods of David Henry (or of someone associated with him in his inquiry) are as questionable as those of Peter Dunne. The main difference is Henry doesn’t have Peters or Trevor Mallard targeting and harassing him.

The leaking of the Kitteridge report revealed illegal spying on New Zealand citizens by a Government agent.

The leaking to Winston Peters reveals very questionable methods, possibly of a Government agent in an inquiry. That should be serious.

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