Slater threatened retribution for JLR, RNZ delivers

RNZ’s Checkpoint has gone alarmingly low in support of a campaign of retribution.

In the weekend Cameron Slater threatened to go public with dirt targeting people in the National Party, in a knee jerk reaction to the Jami-Lee Ross revelations of harassment of multiple women (at least four and as many as fifteen are numbers mentioned). See:

On Checkpoint yesterday afternoon RNZ delivered what looks like the first shot, publicising details of a text sent from a possible victim of Ross to Ross. This dumped on a National MP on behalf of ‘a supporter’ of Ross.

Whether the text (and reportedly other communications) were supplied to RNZ by Slater or someone else associated with Ross or Slater doesn’t make much difference.

For obvious reasons it has been assumed by a number of people as Slater (there is no evidence of this except for Slater’s threats and his claimed support of Ross over the weekend).

Slater and Whale Oil have a reputation for dishing out dirt. The over the top attacks on Len Brown just after the 2013 Auckland mayoral election is a prominent example, but there are many others.

Ross reacted badly under self inflicted pressure last week. Slater has a long record of acting poorly under pressure, lashing out. Both try to claim they are in fact the victims (they may actually feel they are victims, but their actions and especially their responses under pressure suggest otherwise).

RNZ publicised an “abusive text” “believed to have been sent to Jami-Lee Ross in August” by a woman who had aapparently just ended a relationship with Ross.  RNZ did not quote the text, nor could they give any context, but out of a claimed 61 words they quoted just four – “you deserve to die”.

The text includes a slew of abuse and personal insults about Mr Ross’ appearance and personality.

That doesn’t sound good, but one could presume there was a lot of angst and emotion involved, as there often is when relationships turn sour.

The text sent in August was 61 words long. The message – along with other texts – was provided to RNZ by a supporter of the Botany MP with his permission.

Questions have been asked on RNZ on this.

Like why they are dishing out dirt on behalf of someone who was committed to mental health care on Sunday (now reported to have been released in the care of ‘a friend’), regardless of permission being granted or not. RNZ don’t say what form this permission took. I hope they relied on something more substantial than the word of ‘a supporter’.

And why are RNZ involved in what looks like vexatious utu, after Slater had threatened to do just that in what looks like another attempt to destabilise and trash National. Slater has been running bitter attacks against National leaders, MPs and party officials for years – ever since he was shunned as a part of the Dirty Politics fallout in 2014.

I hope that Lisa Owen and Checkpoint producers and RNZ reflect on what they have become a willing party to, and revise their standards. It is probably too late to undo the damage they have aided and abetted, but they should give some indication that being a sock puppet of Ross and Slater is not a good look, especially for a public broadcaster.

Ross has gone just about as low as any MP has gone.

Slater has a long reputation for attacking and trying to trash people, he is probably widely considered to be the lowest of New Zealand bloggers (he has called himself a journalist but he is more of a agenda, money and hate driven arse).

Do RNZ really want to lower themselves to those standards?


UPDATE: Slater appears to confirm things. he posted yesterday…

It’s going to get worse for National.

…with a link to the RNZ story. Also:

Two sides to every story is what I am seeing here…and now the second side is being told.

The Slater side of any story should always be viewed with a lot of scepticism. He is a self confessed ’embellisher’ and is known to say the opposite of truth and reality.

 

Seymour v Collins on euthanasia checkpoints

David Seymour kicked off Question Time in parliament yesterday by quizzing Minister of Police Judith Collins on whether she believed “the public has a right to be concerned about Police conducting roadside breath-screening tests with the intention of collecting personal information for investigations unrelated to road safety.”

Collins avoided answering this and follow up questions by claiming she couldn’t respond even in general due to a specific incident being referred to the Independent Police Conduct Authority (IPCA) for investigation.


QUESTIONS TO MINISTERS

PoliceRoadside Testing and Collection of Personal Information

1. DAVID SEYMOUR (Leader—ACT) to the Minister of Police: Does she believe the public has a right to be concerned about Police conducting roadside breath-screening tests with the intention of collecting personal information for investigations unrelated to road safety; if not, why not?

Hon JUDITH COLLINS (Minister of Police): Although there is no ministerial responsibility for the genuinely held views of members of the New Zealand public, and both section 16 of the Policing Act 2008 and the Cabinet Manual preclude my intervention—in particular, with policing operations—I can confirm that the Commissioner of Police has referred this incident to the Independent Police Conduct Authority (IPCA) for investigation.

David Seymour: Does the Minister believe it is a good use of Police resources to interrogate law-abiding people attending a peaceful meeting of an advocacy group, given an 18 percent spike in burglary reported by Statistics New Zealand just this week?

Hon JUDITH COLLINS: I think I have answered that question very clearly. This is not a matter that I can comment on. It is currently with the Independent Police Conduct Authority, and for me to make a statement about it or have any sort of view would, in fact, actually try to influence the IPCA—and this is not a Labour Government; this is a National Government.

David Seymour: Can the Minister comment on whether she is completely satisfied with how Police currently allocates its resources, given increases in assault, sexual assault, abduction, kidnapping, robbery, and extortion, but no reported increases in rogue advocacy groups in Maungaraki?

Hon JUDITH COLLINS: Clearly, the member is not aware that road policing is actually funded out of the Ministry of Transport, not out of Police. [Interruption]

Mr SPEAKER: Order!

David Seymour: Does the Minister agree with the Privacy Commissioner, John Edwards, when he said “there would be pretty troubling aspects” to an operation that used the statutory power and, indeed, funding provided under the Land Transport Act to gather personal information for a different purpose?

Hon JUDITH COLLINS: I am not sure how many times I need to tell that member that I have no intention of wading into an investigation that the Independent Police Conduct Authority is undertaking. I take my responsibilities very seriously, and I would refer the member to not only section 16 of the Policing Act 2008 but also the Cabinet Manual on this issue. [Interruption]

Mr SPEAKER: Order!

David Seymour: Does the Minister have any views about how a police force should operate and how it should allocate its resources?

Hon JUDITH COLLINS: Yes, I do. One of the ways I believe that police should operate is to not have politicians telling them how to do their job. [Interruption]

Mr SPEAKER: Order! [Interruption] Order!

David Seymour: Will she guarantee that someone will eventually be held accountable for this gross breach of civil liberties?

Hon JUDITH COLLINS: I think the member is jumping to conclusions. I suggest he leave it to the Independent Police Conduct Authority, which is the right and proper place and people to look into this issue.


Seymour followed up with a press release:

Minister ducks for cover on inappropriate use of police resources

The Minister of Police has failed to reassure New Zealanders that someone will take responsibility for any misuse of police resources to target euthanasia groups. She hides behind due process today while she is happy to crow about police operations when it suits, says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“When New Zealanders see a blatant abuse of civil liberties, they expect someone to be held accountable. At the very least they expect the appropriate Minister to have a view on the principles of good policy. New Zealanders should be disappointed on both counts today.

“Astoundingly, Judith Collins refused to acknowledge what anyone can see: that surveillance of assisted dying advocates is ethically wrong and legally dodgy, not to mention a complete waste of police resources when burglary is spiking 18% in the last year.

“The Minister refused to share any view on this behaviour, saying it would be inappropriate given an inquiry is under way by the Independent Police Conduct Authority. ACT respects this due process, but it needn’t prevent the Minister from expressing a general view, particularly one who is not usually reluctant in sharing her opinions.

“She hasn’t shied away from crowing about other initiatives such as recent anti-burglary measures. Core police operations suffer when resources are thrown at harassing advocacy groups, but the Minister offers no comment. Apparently she only likes to comment on good news.”

It would be good if the Minister of Police could at least assure the public that breath testing checkpoints won’t be used illegally to detain members of the public travelling legally.

Police checkpoint targeting meeting attendees

Stuff reports that Police admit using checkpoint to target euthanasia meeting attendees

Police have admitted they used a breath-testing checkpoint to target people who had attended an Exit International euthanasia meeting.

The move has been criticised as an “unlawful checkpoint to interrogate pensioners” by one lawyer, while another said it was probably a breach of police powers. 

A complaint has already been laid with the Independent Police Conduct Authority about the officers’ actions in Lower Hutt earlier this month, and it is understood at least one other will be laid in coming days.

If unlawful this is bad, but even if it isn’t unlawful this is an awful action targeting people who legally attended a meeting.

It is understood police were originally investigating on behalf of a coroner looking into a death, suspected to be self-inflicted.

But when police decided to turn the investigation into a criminal operation, they asked a coroner if they could put the coronial investigation on hold.

Questions put to police late last week and over Labour Weekend went unanswered. But on Wednesday, Inspector Chris Bensemann supplied a written statement confirming the checkpoint was to “identify people attending an Exit International meeting in Lower Hutt”.

He said police had a duty of care and a “responsibility to the community to investigate any situation where we have reasonable grounds to suspect that persons are being assisted in the commission of suicide”.

“Police are responsible for enforcing New Zealand’s laws, and currently suicide or encouraging/helping someone to commit suicide is illegal in New Zealand.”

I don’t think committing suicide is illegal.

Regardless, using alcohol checkpoints for other purposes, effectively detaining and questioning people just because of a meeting they had attended, is quite disturbing.

He confirmed the operation was conducted via a breath-testing checkpoint near the location of the meeting.

“Information gathered through the checkpoint has enabled police to provide support and information to those people who we had reason to believe may be contemplating suicide.”

That’s way outside the allowable uses for checkpoints.

 

Winston Peters evades questions on evidence

In a number of interviews Winston Peters has been asked what evidence he has about the Peter Dunne leaks. Peters usually gives vague answers, contradictory answers or simply ignores the question. He has been more evasive than Dunne.

Once exchange was very funny:

CORIN Have you got evidence to back that up?

WINSTON Yes.

CORIN What is it?

WINSTON Well, again, I never have pursued that path.

Admitting he has never fronted up with evidence?

Here are edited transcripts of three interviews with Peters over the last three days. I have deleted diversionary waffleand questions and answers not related to evidence.

Radio NZ Checkpoint (Friday).

Watson: Mr Dunne says he still denies leaking it, some of his actions unwise, but he is not the source of the leak.

Peters: I don’t believe that.

Watson: What did you know about this?

Peters: Well anyone that saw the electronic record would have to come to the same conclusion that I came to a long time ago, and this is the reason why I raised it.

Watson: The electronic record, did you see an electronic record of his emails?

Peters: I saw sufficient electronic records to know what I was talking about.

Watson: Where did you get them from?

Peters: Well that doesn’t matter really.

Watson: Well, it would be interesting to know though.

Peters: Ah, I’d never ask a journalist for their source because it’s a matter of professional integrity, you can’t disclose it otherwise you’ll never get any more information, and nor can I.

Watson: But is your electronic records that you have seen, do they give you more insight into what’s in those emails? Are the just a track of traffic, or have you got content?Peters: Well, without content they’d be worthless, wouldn’t they.

Watson: Well, have you got content that you’ll be showing to the police?

Peters: I don’t get up and make allegations that I haven’t properly investigated.

Watson: Have you given information to the police?

Peters: No, I haven’t had a chance to talk to them, I only lodged the complaint today.

Watson: But you will be giving information to the police?

Peters: No, I have made myself available to talk to them if they want me to talk to them then that’s fine by me.

Watson: But if they asked for information, if they asked for email content between Peter Dunne and this reporter, you have it and you could give it to them?

Peters: Well most certainly yes.

Watson: How much have you got? Of the 86 emails how much have you got?

Peters: Well enough to know that a serious issue had people who were not treating it properly, had mistreated the information they got, and that was affecting my country’s national interest. I as a former foreign minister I know how seriously our overseas…

Watson: But is your information, have you got information that proves absolutely that Peter Dunne leaked the report to that reporter…

Peters: Well let me tell you this, I made the allegation knowing that there was a day of inevitable consequence, that day has arrived. That’s all you need to know.

Source: http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/political/137084/dunne-resigns-as-minister-over-gcsb-leak

The only details were provided by Watson. Peters gave no specific answers – but by not answering and not disputing what was claimed he left the impression that he has seen emails.

TV3 The Nation (Saturday)

Rachel:   Good morning Mr Peters thank you for joining us this morning.   You’ve seen an electronic record of the emails, were they truly professional.

Winston No.

Rachel:  Why weren’t they?  What did you see that made  you…?

Winston:  That’s all history now, but the fact is any one that saw that electronic record and its content had to know that this day was inevitable…

Rachel:  What specifically was unprofessional?

Winston:  Well leaking when you are on the Intelligence and Security Committee is seriously not just unprofessional it is in some countries, in fact our country as well, potentially a criminal act.

Rachel:  Was there anything in those emails that was potentially personally embarrassing to Mr Dunne?

Winston:  Yes.

Rachel:  Can you expand on that?

Winston:  No, that’s immaterial….

Rachel:  Do you think that that is the reason why Mr Dunne didn’t make the emails, the unedited emails available because there was personally embarrassing information in them?

Winston:  Yes.

Rachel:  And yet someone has leaked this information to you.  So is that not a breach of national security as well.  Does that not make you something of a hypocrite?

Winston        Well you’ve gotta be joking if you think that someone acting improperly as a minister, that is threatening the national security issues with respect to other countries, and that information as to the leak is coming to a Member of Parliament is a national security issue, then you’ve got it all – I’m sure you haven’t personally – but it’s a perverse way of looking at things.   There’s no irony here you know.

Source: Video | Transcript

Once again no answers, and no information about evidence provided by Peters.

TVNZ Q + A (Sunday):

CORIN How did you know when you were at that select committee to raise those allegations?

WINSTON I had information that suggested I should check out three things to pursue the information I had in terms of its disclosure.

CORIN What is that information?

WINSTON Well, that he wasn’t being questioned on oath, he wasn’t being questioned with electronic record, and, in my view, there was most certainly- he wasn’t having checked his electronic records.

CORIN And where did you get that from? Have you seen the emails?

WINSTON Look, I’d like to tell you, but, frankly, how many informants would I get if I start disclosing who they are.

CORIN Okay, so you’re not going to tell us where you got it from, but can you describe to us the nature of what you have seen in terms of have you seen emails? The emails in question?

WINSTON Let me just tell you, because there’s much more and wider than you think. The electronic records are very, very clear. Mr Dunne’s denial is, frankly, futile in the extreme. Those denials are bound to fail, and they concern far more than one leak from the GCSB on a classified document. There are other sets of information items from the GCSB which he leaked as well to the same journalist.

CORIN Can you give us some details of what they are?

WINSTON Well, you know, here’s one – one was to do with the very low morale of the GCSB, none of which would’ve been helped by leaking that sensitive report, again from the same minister to the same journalist. There was one with respect to the appointment of the head of the GCSB, the new one, as well as the one that was seriously classified – the Kitteridge report – at all times. And there is more than that as well.

CORIN So that implies that you’ve seen the nature – you’ve seen the actual emails themselves?

WINSTON I don’t think it’s any help for you to try and ask me for how I got the information-

CORIN Because we need to know whether that’s- how valid that is.

WINSTON Valid? That’s why he’s gone.

CORIN But when-?

WINSTON I don’t know why you guys still doubt. When I said in the select committee that I wanted that information, if anyone doubted that I meant to get to the bottom of it, then they don’t know how important this information is.

CORIN But what we need to know- You’re saying that there are other leaks that have come from Mr Dunne to this journalist, but what we need to know – is that what is contained in those emails that he won’t release?

WINSTON Some of it, yes, but it most certainly leaves no doubt that it’s him.

CORIN So you’re saying these emails contain details about Ian Fletcher’s appointment?WINSTON Yes.

CORIN What did it say?

WINSTON Well, it says something that’s clear to you – that a minister is leaking like a sieve.

CORIN So can you just give us a sense of the nature of what you’ve seen and you’ve claimed to have seen in these emails? Is it.. how does it.. what does it show about the nature of the relationship between Andrea Vance and Peter Dunne? Do you think Peter Dunne was acting in an appropriate way?

WINSTON No.

CORIN In what way?

WINSTON Well, I don’t want to, you know, go down that path. It doesn’t-

CORIN Because Peter Dunne says he was absolutely professional, that this was simply just a case of a journalist talking to an MP. Are you saying that’s something different?

WINSTON Sadly, that statement is not true.

CORIN What evidence have you got to back that up?

WINSTON Sad for his staff as well, but, sadly, that statement’s not true.

CORIN Have you got evidence to back that up?

WINSTON Yes.

CORIN What is it?

WINSTON Well, again, I never have pursued that path.

WINSTON …I asked, ‘Was this evidence on oath? Was there electronic record?’ And to find that the answer is no to both those questions-
CORIN Okay, so you want John Key to do that?

WINSTON Well, because then you would see all of the electronic record, which you are entitled to, against a minister who has offended seriously the laws of this country, and second, who’s now arguing the privacy and the slippery slope down which we might go if his emails are disclosed. Those emails are about him breaching the security and the privacy of classified information.

CORIN Okay. Winston Peters, in the last couple of weeks, you seem to have found some renewed vigour and energy. I mean, you had a big speech on migrants. You’ve used parliamentary privilege to attack an opponent. What’s motivating you at the moment? Are you clearly positioning yourself now as the kingmaker for the next government?

WINSTON First of all, dislodge this idea of parliamentary privilege. I know what the journalists say, and let me tell you this – if I didn’t ask that in a privileged environment, they wouldn’t publish a thing.

CORIN Sure, okay. No, I accept that.

WINSTON …because they’re too scared of being sued. I’m not. They are.

Source: Q+A: Winston Peters interview video

In each interview details were put to him about evidence and he didn’t confirm (or deny) anything at all.

In parliament Peters was more specific. He said all the evidence was in the phone records. The Henry report had no phone evidence, so since that was released Peters has dropped any claims about phone records.

He now uses a more general term – “all of the electronic record“, and he refers to emails generally but provides no specific information about contents.

He has not provided any specific information, and he hasn’t directly confirmed anything.

This is typical Peters – he makes general accusations, allows the media to speculate for him, and then the media give him credit when something from within the vagueness proves to be true.

Radio NZ reported Pressure grows over spy report leak yesterday:

However, Mr Peters told Radio New Zealand News on Sunday he has information which proves Mr Dunne not only leaked the GCSB report before its scheduled release, but also other classified documents.

He said it’s the prime minister’s job to get his hands on the emails and reveal the truth and he wants Mr Key to launch a formal inquiry.

Mr Peters did not rule out releasing the information himself, but said it should come from Mr Key and not from someone outside the Government.

There is no transcript nor audio available so it cant be seen what Peters actually said. He seems to feed the media off air and then avoid answering on air.

I have seem no direct claim of having evidence form Peters. He allows the media to speculate and find evidence for him, he has asked the police to find evidence, and here he claims that the Prime Minister produce evidence.

This is all extremely dishonest of Peters.

He is a master of media manipulation. And they keep letting him get away with it, they don’t hold him to account or insist on substance to his claims, they do all the work for him, and then they give him credit for being right.