Farrar, Morton have denials of accusations by Peters put on record

On 22 July Winston Peters made allegations against several people in Parliament about what he claimed was “the truth about the leak of my superannuation”.

In 2017 he had taken allegations against different people, including National Ministers Paula Bennett and Anne Tolley (as well as heads of Government departments), to court and failed to provide evidence. He conceded that Bennett and Tolley had not leaked the information. Substantial costs were ordered against him.

The allegations in a General Debate in Parliament last month:

Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS (Deputy Prime Minister): Today, I am going to outline the truth about the leak of my superannuation. There have been news reports about the case. The matter is not sub judice. But a source totally connected to both the ACT Party and the National Party has revealed that the leak was one Rachel Morton.

Morton heard about the case because she was present when former Minister Anne Tolley told her ministerial colleague Paula Bennett about it—not outside by the lifts, but in a ministerial office. Ms Morton then, thinking it would be kept in confidence, told ACT Party leader, David Seymour, but, desperate for any sort of attention, Mr Seymour contacted Jordan Williams of the wage subsidy – receiving taxpayer union fame. Williams—no stranger to dirty politics—told John Bishop, father of National MP Chris Bishop, and the details were then leaked to Newsroom’s Tim Murphy.

Williams also told another dirty politics practitioner, National Party pollster David Farrar. Farrar tried to shut it down, seeing the risk it exposed to the National Party, but then went along anyway, although he later tried to steer the story away from National’s guilt, which is its usual modus operandi.

Peters versus everyone he hasn’t already lost in court against

Both Rachel Morton and David Farrar have had responses to these allegations recorded in Parliament.


Application for response to be incorporated in the parliamentary record

  1. On 22 July 2020, David Farrar applied for a response to be incorporated in the parliamentary record under Standing Orders 159 to 162.
  2. The application relates to references made by Rt Hon Winston Peters during the general debate on 22 July 2020.
  3. The speech is reported at New Zealand Parliamentary Debates, Vol. 748, pp. 19678 – 19679.
  4. The applicant was referred to by name.
  5. Having considered the application, I have determined that a response submitted by David Farrar should be incorporated in the parliamentary record.

Rt Hon Trevor Mallard
SPEAKER

Response presented under Standing Orders 159–162 on application of David Farrar relating to references made by Rt Hon Winston Peters on 22 July 2020

The Right Honourable Winston Peters on the 22nd of July 2020 stated in the General Debate that I was told by Jordan Williams about Mr Peters’ superannuation and that I was involved in breaching Mr Peters’ right to privacy.

The statement by Mr Peters is incorrect. I did not discuss or disclose, in any way or form, details of his superannuation prior to reports appearing in the media about it. I know this for a certainty as I was totally unaware of there being any issue around Mr Peters’ superannuation until it was reported in the media.


Application for response to be incorporated in the parliamentary record

  1. On 31 July 2020, Rachel Morton applied for a response to be incorporated in the parliamentary record under Standing Orders 159 to 162.
  2. The application relates to references made by Rt Hon Winston Peters during the general debate on 22 July 2020.
  3. The speech is reported at New Zealand Parliamentary Debates, Vol. 748, pp. 19678 – 19679.
  4. The applicant was referred to by name.Having considered the application, I have determined that a response submitted by Rachel Morton should be incorporated in the parliamentary record.

Rt Hon Trevor Mallard
SPEAKER

Response presented under Standing Orders 159–162 on application of Rachel Morton relating to references made by Rt Hon Winston Peters on 22 July 2020

The Right Honourable Winston Peters on the 22nd of July 2020 stated in the General Debate that I gave details of his superannuation to Act Leader David Seymour and that I was involved in breaching Mr Peters’ right to privacy.

Mr Peters claims I was aware of this information because it was discussed in a meeting that I was in with Hon Anne Tolley and Hon Paula Bennett. I was never in a meeting with Mrs Tolley and Mrs Bennett where this was discussed, and I never gave any information to Mr Seymour.

The statement by Mr Peters is categorically not true.

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35 Comments

  1. Blazer

     /  26th August 2020

    I don’t believe Morton and Farrar.

    Reply
    • So you believe Peters despite him providing no evidence?

      Liked you believed Peters’ allegations against Bennett and Tolley despite him having no evidence in court and conceding they hadn’t leaked?

      All Morton and Farrar need to do is put their denials on record in Parliament.

      For Peters’ allegations to be credible he needs to provide evidence, otherwise it looks to me like yet another case of him making allegations that will never be substantiated. That he is doing this leading into an election is likely to reinforce a lot of views about him.

      Reply
      • Blazer

         /  26th August 2020

        Tolley admitted being indiscrete because she was ‘cross and tired’..

        Reply
        • That’s right.

          And in court Peters’ lawyer conceded she and Bennett were not the source of the leak.

          Winston Peters has accepted in the High Court that two former National ministers he had been suing for $450,000 for breaching his privacy were not the source of the leak or responsible for it.

          In his closing submission today, Peters’ lawyer Brian Henry said both Anne Tolley and Paula Bennett denied in their evidence leaking information on Peters’ seven-year overpayment of superannuation – and the lawyer for the Ministry of Social Development and public servants did not challenge those denials.

          “That left the MSD in the position that they now cannot avoid a finding that the breach was on MSD,” Henry said. “The plaintiff was expecting a challenge from MSD to the ministers, but the MSD has not challenged the evidence that they [the ministers] did not leak.

          “That dual denial removed two of the options that the plaintiff, when it opened its case, was expecting to have examined in the court.”

          https://www.newsroom.co.nz/peters-accepts-national-ministers-didnt-leak

          Tolley’s indiscretion was embarrassing for her.

          Peters making allegations he had no evidence for (he seemed to rely on the hope the leak would be revealed in court) has been costly for him, both in reputation and financially.

          [39] The costs and disbursements payable to the first and third defendants on a 2B basis (as adjusted) are: $101,897.26.

          [40] The costs to the Crown defendant on a 2B basis with the uplift I have approved above are $150,527.00 together with disbursements of $65,394.11, in total $215,921.11.

          Peers has said he will appeal but that risks even more costs, and now he is claiming others are responsible for the leak so appealing the decision and the costs could be difficult.

          – PETERS v BENNETT [2020] NZHC 1734 [17 July 2020]

          Reply
          • Duker

             /  26th August 2020

            Its still a breach of Peters privacy . There couldnt be a connection to the leaker and a journalist as the court cant make a journalist divulge their sources

            The judgement is being appealed , especially that ‘no surprises’ was a ‘proper’ way to breach someones privacy

            This was interesting

            *Newsroom’s application to view Peters’ notice of appeal on the court file was supported by Peters’ lawyers but opposed by Crown lawyers, who argued the public interest would be “better served if the grounds of appeal were reported in the context of the hearing of the appeal, when [the Crown’s] answers to the appeal will have been properly explained.” Justice Denis Clifford ruled Newsroom could view both Peters’ appeal and the Crown’s cross appeal.

            The Crown cross appealed but didnt want its appeal application to be publicised ?
            https://www.newsroom.co.nz/peters-conflicting-claims-in-super-leak-case

            Reply
    • Corky

       /  26th August 2020

      Wrong narrative for you, Blazer?

      Reply
  2. John J Harrison

     /  26th August 2020

    This just proves for the umpteen time what a liar and charlatan Peters is.
    The most egregious aspect is that he abused parliamentary privilege to directly smear innocent people who dare to question his innumerable untrue utterances.
    Unlike Blazer, I cannot wait to see the back of this idiot – responsible for the worst government in living memory.
    Hopefully the SFO investigation will finish both Peters and his party off.
    Cannot wait.

    Reply
    • Blazer

       /  26th August 2020

      Peters gave loyal and dedicated service to the National Party for ..many years.

      Reply
      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  26th August 2020

        You can believe that or you can believe it was always about Winston First.

        Reply
      • Jack

         /  26th August 2020

        I believe that Blazer
        Politics and hurt feelings go hand in hand
        Eventually gets delusional somewhere

        Reply
    • Duker

       /  26th August 2020

      “most egregious aspect is that he abused parliamentary privilege to directly smear innocent people ”
      Goose and gander… the people in the Ministry abused the no surprises policy so that Peters private details …by various methods unknown…ended up in the Media

      Its a convoluted case as MSD and IRD have specific laws protecting the private information of individuals, so its weird that the judge allows a vague policy not a law to trump the common law privacy.
      Then again Peters never has much luck with High Court Judges, but does so with the Appeal Court.
      Remember the Winebox, where the former Chief Justice found the tax arrangements in the Winebox were legal, which was overuled by two judges who said it was illegal- they used a tax shelter in the Cooks island to turn income into tax free money and the Cooks government got a minute %, the money never left NZ as they all sat around a table in an Auckland office and passed cheques around, an out and out sham purporting to be a legitimate business transaction.

      Reply
    • duperez

       /  26th August 2020

      Of course the most egregious aspect is that information which should have been private was leaked.
      Not only that but it went to Peters’ political rivals. Not only that but it went to rivals who included at least one who could not be trusted or who had associates or staff they work with including at least one who could not be trusted.

      If the same thing happened with Peters in Government ‘using’ information about one of his rivals it’s fair to suggest the reaction would have been extreme.

      Reply
  3. duperez

     /  26th August 2020

    There probably will be be weighty tomes written about ‘truth’ and believing things in the world as it is in this part of our history, to add to those written in the past.

    ‘Fake News’ and ‘Alternative Facts’ will be part of that and the casualness of just making stuff up and having the expectation of having it believed. The rigmarole in some cases in the US suggests almost a normalcy even of lying under oath. Not that that is the surprise but the seeming shrug of the shoulders “So what?” reaction.

    The horse has bolted. For operators, manipulation of truth is just another tool in the box. Peters is well practised at the art and painting pictures he wants others to believe. Farrar is too.

    You’re entitled to not believe Morton and Farrar. Just like whoever believed the story they were told about the leaking of the Peters’ information. Someone made stuff up, someone believed them.

    Reply
  4. Alan Wilkinson

     /  26th August 2020

    That’s why we don’t believe you, B. Your credibility is zero along with Winston’s.

    Reply
    • Blazer

       /  26th August 2020

      ..facts are facts.-12 years a Nat M.P…and who exactly is ‘we’?

      Tauranga-Winston Peters

      National Party

      14/07/1984

      18/03/1993

      Hunua

      National Party

      25/11/1978

      28/11/1981

      Reply
      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  26th August 2020

        We is all right thinking people, B. I suspect it has been Winston First for ever – only the vehicles have changed.

        Reply
        • Jack

           /  26th August 2020

          I’m not a part of that ‘we’ cult.
          I think Mr Peters was faithful. National are a cult and he got walloped. Cults abound eh Blazer?
          Mr Peters behaves like a hurt man. I could go on, with Blazer’s permission.
          (I wrote another post about two weeks ago but Pete ignored it or perhaps I sent it to the wrong email. Anyway, I wasn’t worried, but it turns out it has relevance to this thread.)

          Reply
  5. Duker

     /  26th August 2020

    “Bennett and Tolley had not leaked the information”
    The information was disclosed to around 40 people including Bennett and Tolley – this came out in the court hearing including persons in the PMs office
    “That of course didn’t prevent Ms [Anne] Tolley from telling her sister, nor did it prevent 42 people being made aware of my super case.”

    Tolley also breached Peters privacy by telling her husband and her sister as she admitted in court.
    The Judge ruled there was a breach of Peters privacy intended to harm him, but ruled that ‘no surprises’ in government was a proper use of breach of privacy. This point has been appealed

    Will Mr Jordan Williams and Mr John Bishop to put their denial on the record of parliament ?
    https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/political/421758/peters-makes-superannuation-leak-allegations-in-parliament

    Reply
    • duperez

       /  26th August 2020

      I’d have to go back and look through the rules but I don’t remember the part where the ‘no surprises’ policy stipulated a number who should get information. One would have assumed the less who were told they better.
      ‘No surprises’ meaning a proper use of breach of privacy is one thing, an office worker in Auckland being ultra-cautious and bringing something to the attention of their boss meaning 42 people getting the information?

      Given the description, (the so called description) of events it is easy to imagine the excited little huddles and the flashing of neon lights of those in the loop who saw the possibilities differently that an Auckland clerk.

      Reply
    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  26th August 2020

      Surely the information would be on the MSD database and actually accessible by many staff?

      Reply
      • Duker

         /  26th August 2020

        Database probably an old design so limited fields . I can remember talking to an accountant about IRD details they have , he said its very limited database details just various numbers but your tax return forms have it in detail.
        Plus anyones database details is limited acess , I was talking to a life insurance company this week on the phone and they asked a string of personal questions before they could access my account. So it works to protect them giving out information and stop office snoops.
        Not like some decades back when I worked for a private company who ran heath databases for DHBs, you could put in name and up would come the NHI number and then all the coded procedures they had. We had to do that as some times errors came in and one patient would have $25 mill a cost of procedures or similar. Perhaps nowdays you wouldnt know the name. One person had been a patient since 1952 or something when he was 15, I took it as meaning a mental health patient.

        Reply
        • Alan Wilkinson

           /  26th August 2020

          It must all be filed electronically and accessible to those staff with access rights. Probably all accesses are logged and have certainly been checked in this instance.

          Reply
  6. duperez

     /  26th August 2020

    What is truth? What is ‘the’ truth? Peters provided no evidence for his claims.

    Rachel Morton says: “Mr Peters claims I was aware of this information because it was discussed in a meeting that I was in with Hon Anne Tolley and Hon Paula Bennett. I was never in a meeting with Mrs Tolley and Mrs Bennett where this was discussed.”

    So she wasn’t in a meeting with Mrs Tolley and Mrs Bennett where this was discussed. She says. (Should she have been present as a Press Secretary when such information was being discussed between Ministers? You know, press secretaries, people who put information out.)

    Was she present somewhere else with her Minister when it was discussed? Did the two of them discuss it? When, how and why did the confidential information come to Ms Morton?

    The point is about evidence and credibility. Rachel Morton has fashioned a statement, “I was never in a meeting with Mrs Tolley and Mrs Bennett where this was discussed.” That doesn’t mean that she wasn’t in the loop where, when and however the information was being passed around. She comments on one specific instance, no mention of talk in the lift and elsewhere.

    Peters didn’t have evidence. Ms Morton’s evidence is a Bill Clintonesque statement: “I did not have sexual relations with that woman.”

    What gives her the right of the benefit of being believed?

    Reply
    • Gerrit

       /  26th August 2020

      What gives Winston Peters the right of the benefit of being believed?

      Reply
      • duperez

         /  26th August 2020

        Nothing. They are equal. They both have positions to protect and others to attack.

        Reply
    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  26th August 2020

      You have never heard of innocence until proven guilty then?

      Reply
  7. NOEL

     /  26th August 2020

    Do these standing order responses carry the same weight as anything else presented under parliamentary privilege?.

    Reply
    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  26th August 2020

      You mean none?

      Reply
      • duperez

         /  26th August 2020

        You’re right AW.
        It’s just people saying stuff. No weight, just people saying things to clear air which needs to be cleared. Doing it with such glib statements doesn’t matter, it’s the saying that’s important. A bit of shiny paint on a rusty body.

        Reply
        • Alan Wilkinson

           /  26th August 2020

          I don’t know the answer. It depends on what sanctions are available to punish liars. Since Members are prevented from calling each other liars, on first sight it appears liars are protected rather than sanctioned.

          Reply
    • Gerrit

       /  26th August 2020

      I think it has more to do with the fairness based on the right to provide a reply to accusations made under parliamentary privilege.

      It is now up to Peters to prove Farrar and Morton liars or let himself be stained by the baseless and unproven accusation that was entered into the official Hansard records.

      A no win situation for Peters.

      it might also make MP’s think before using the privilege provided to make accusations without foundation.

      The right of reply is important to balance the power between MP’s and the public.

      Reply
      • duperez

         /  26th August 2020

        Yes, that right of reply is important. And it is a no win situation for Peters.

        In some senses it is a pity it is him with his well blemished record. The talk of fairness and being stained might come across differently if it were about some other MP. However, if it were a ‘nondescript’ MP would the information have gone through the chain? Did it go through the chin because it was an MP? The leader of a party? Because it was Winston Peters? Did it get to the stage it did because the election was coming up?

        Would a cabal of senior Government members have been involved if it were an ‘ordinary’ MP? Was a cabal of senior Government members involved as there was the possibility of any one of them making political capital out of it?

        Peters had his right of reply which included legal steps and he failed to get satisfaction. The only satisfaction was the judicial conclusion that his information had been leaked.

        Reply
        • Duker

           /  26th August 2020

          Appeal to come…we’ll see how that pans out

          He’s been vindicated over the breach at the border, as even Bloomfield says ‘thats likely’

          Reply
  8. Duker

     /  26th August 2020

    This is how it normally works..junior staffers again
    https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/politics/2017/03/pm-bill-english-denies-seeing-a-tweet-sent-from-his-own-account.html

    Or this one ..nobody realised recording a secretary might be a crime
    https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11880729

    “English this week denied reports that he’s planning on quitting before the next election. But I’d wager he won’t be there in 2020. He’s smarter than that..”
    ..of course he wasnt he’s denied it!
    https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=119866

    Then there was the other Todd Barclay thing that English ‘denied’….some journos tipped off that they had evidence that he had been caught out in a big fat [. ]
    “English prevaricated his way through 15 minutes of questions from reporters on the way into National’s caucus meeting in the hope the story might go away, saying seven times that he could not recall if Barclay had told him about the recording. ”
    7 times he denied it and few hours later ‘undenied it’
    https://www.newsroom.co.nz/2017/06/20/35006/english-barclay

    The weird thing is English was considered one of the more stright up mps…

    Reply

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