Who had copies of the Kitteridge report?

Much has been said about Peter Dunne being the only minister to have been interviewed during David Henry’s inquiry into the leaking of the Kitteridge report – except by Peter Dunne, who is not commenting on it. Discussing an ongoing inquiry you were involved in would be imprudent to say the least.

The impression has been given that only ministers received the report, but that’s not the case. Copies also went to the directors, secretaries, or chief executives of seven agencies or organisations and also to another eleven other senior officials.

This was stated in question time on 10 April when Russel Norman asked Bill English who had received a copy.

Dr RUSSEL NORMAN (Co-Leader—Green) to the Prime Minister: Who in his Government had access to the Rebecca Kitteridge report into the Government Communications Security Bureau before it was publicly released; and did the Prime Minister, or any of his Ministers, or their offices, leak the report?

Hon BILL ENGLISH (Acting Prime Minister) : The report by Rebecca Kitteridge was initially provided to the Prime Minister and his office on 22 March.

The paper was circulated under strict Cabinet security procedures to members of the Cabinet committee on domestic and external security—and the membership of that is available on the Cabinet Office website—of senior Ministers.

Copies of the report were received by the directors, secretaries, or chief executives of the following agencies or organisations:

  • the Government Communications Security Bureau,
  • the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet,
  • the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade,
  • Crown Law,
  • the New Zealand Security Intelligence Service,
  • the intelligence coordination group within the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, and
  • the State Services Commission.

In addition, 11 other senior officials within these agencies were given the report.

Two other Ministers received it: the Hon Peter Dunne, consistent with his membership of the coalition, and the Hon Maurice Williamson, in his capacity as Minister of Customs.

The Prime Minister can give a categorical assurance that neither he nor his office leaked the report. He does not believe for a moment that his Ministers or their offices leaked the report either.

Earlier today in China the Prime Minister informed the media that he had asked his chief executive at the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet to speak with the State Services Commissioner to provide some advice about a potential inquiry into the leak. That advice is likely to be received upon the Prime Minister’s return to New Zealand.

John Key has also stated he has full trust in Peter Dunne and is confident he wasn’t responsible for the leak.

I haven’t seen any reporting of any of the non-ministers being interviewed, and Winston Peters has made no accusations against anyone other than Peter Dunne.

There is no obvious motive for anyone associated with the Government to have leaked the report – especially ministers, including Dunne.

And Peters’ accusations have no factual basis, he says phone records would show Dunne talked to a Fairfax journalist prior to the leak of the report (Fairfax say they viewed a copy) – “the pure connection by dates of exclusive leaks shortly after those phone calls“. That’s a very flimsy connection, and it is highly questionable that Peters would have access to Dunne’s phone records.