Henry inquiry cluster muck

The Privileges Committee investigation on the David Henry inquiry into who leaked the Kitteridge report confirms what was already known – it was a cluster muck up.

The Henry inquiry and Parliamentary Services have been strongly criticised.

Inquiry methods heavily censured

An investigation by Parliament’s privileges committee slammed as “unacceptable” the inquiry being handed information including emails, phone records, and swipe card records when it had no formal powers to demand them.

Parliamentary Service was also heavily criticised.

The committee’s report centred on Parliamentary Service, and also the Henry inquiry for over reaching its powers.

“It is clear from the evidence we heard that the inquiry’s persistent pressure on the Parliamentary Service and approaches to third-tier and more junior staff had a part to play in the releases which resulted,” it said.

Privileges committee chairman Chris Finlayson said the way the information was handed over was “totally unacceptable”.

There had been no consideration given to the special status of both MPs and journalists.

Despite overreaching it’s powers the Henry Inquiry still failed to find any evidence of anyone leaking the Kitteridge Report.

Despite failing to find any evidence Henry made it clear in his report that he thought Peter Dunne was guilty in his report. His investigation was very narrow, severely flawed and failed.

If Henry’s inquiry had not overreached it’s powers Dunne would not have been put in a position where he felt compelled to resign as a minister.

Dunne yesterday claimed he had been vindicated by the report, which had upheld his belief that MPs should not be compelled to hand over their private communications.

He was forced to resign as a minister after refusing to hand over his emails to the inquiry to prove his innocence.

“In accessing my electronic records without my approval the Henry inquiry grossly exceeded its authority and acted quite improperly.”

Journalist Andrea Vance

Fairfax group editor John Crowley said the media group took some comfort from the committee’s finding.

“The committee found that the release of confidential information relating to the work and movement of one of our senior parliamentary journalists, simply going about her job, was unacceptable. We have known that from the outset.”

The rights of Vance and the role journalists played in a democracy had been trampled over as a result.

Andrea Vance was collateral damage with both her work as a journalist and her personal reputation being severely attacked.

And Winston Peters is still making insinuations he has never backed up with any evidence.

This has been a cluster fuck of muck and injustice.

Winston Peters – did he lie? Live or die?

Winston Peters made serious accusations against Peter Dunne about leaking the Kiteridge report and misleading Parliament. And last month he laid a complaint with the police.

NZ Police have announced today…

…there is no offence is disclosed and that further investigation will fail to provide evidence leading to a prosecution.

This raises serious questions about what Peters based his accusations on and what he claimed he knew about evidence.

On Thursday 30 May in Parliament:

Why are the phone records, in which the evidence lies in this case, not being asked of Ministers, in particular Mr Peter Dunne?

All the evidence is in those phone records and your minister is gone.

On Friday 6 June – the day the Henry report was released and Peter Dunne resigned as Minister – Winston Peters calls for police to investigate Dunne

He said he has lodged a complaint with police asking them to investigate Dunne.

“It’s a very sad day for the country because it’s a matter of very serious national security that’s reflected here,” Peters said.

When questioned how he knew about the electronic record, and whether someone had been leaking information about Dunne to him, he replied: “That’s immaterial.”

Asked whether he had seen the emails, he again responded “that’s immaterial”, saying he would never make allegations he could not back up.

Again he was asked what proof he had to make the claims against Dunne before Henry’s report was officially released today, to which he replied: “The answer is the information I saw.”

The Henry report did not use phone records to implicate Dunne, they used the emails (that they hadn’t seen) to implicate guilt. So Peters switched fom phone records to emails and “electronic records) in his claims.

Over the next few days Peters’ claims of evidence kept changing as he was pressed more to provide details to back up his claims. On Campbell Live on Monday 9 June.

Campbell: What proof do you have of that?

Peters: Well the same proof that’s behind my making the statement on day one, and I live and die by what I say on this matter, and every day you’re hearing more. Look, I knew what was breaking tonight in the media outlets, I knew that from day one.

By Tuesday 10 June was still claiming there was evidence but had by now admitted he didn’t have it.

Outside the House, Mr Peters said on Tuesday that, though he was aware of five sets of electronic records, he is still trying to get his hands on all of them. He said he has some information, but not enough yet to go public.

“If you haven’t got the complete picture – which I admit I haven’t got, but I’ve got enough to say what I’ve said and know that we’re going to make it home. Otherwise, this car’s going a long way on no petrol.”

But he had already gone very public and had also gone to the police four days earlier.

And now the police say “further investigation will fail to provide evidence leading to a prosecution”. This totally discredits Peters’ claim of evidence.

Peters said he believes Dunne should resign from Parliament altogether, saying there is no future for him there now.

“This is a serious matter and you cannot just walk away from it like that, and the Prime Minister accepting that and not going the whole way means that he doesn’t still take it seriously and doesn’t understand how important it it.”

Peters said “anyone who saw the electronic record knew that this was inevitable”.

Peters was clearly trying to force a resignation from Parliament.

This is very serious, trying to destroy a political career and trying to eliminate a rival political party.

Especially by making claims in Parliament and in public that appear to be deliberately or negligently false. His claims are certainly not backed up with evidence at all, and not backed up by the police.

Peters said to John Campbell “I live and die by what I say on this matter, and every day you’re hearing more”.

But as the days went by we heard less, and now the Police confirm there is nothing.

I live and die by what I say“.

It’s certainly a death of credibility. And if Peters really did politically live or die by what he says, should he do the honorable thing and fall on his sword?

Dunne in clear over leaked GCSB report?

The Privileges Committee has dismissed a complaint made by Labour against Peter Dunne, finding he “did not deliberately mislead the finance and expenditure committee, nor were in contempt of Parliament“.  Dunne had denied accusations by Winston Peters that he leaked the Kitteridge report.

No misleading. No evidence. Not Guilty.

Dunne in clear over leaked report

From Cartoon: Dunne’s concessions

The Dominion Post reports Dunne: Leak complaint dismissed

 Dunne says Carter has ruled that he did not deliberately mislead a select committee when he denied being responsible for leaking the Kitteridge Report on the GCSB.

According to Dunne, Carter has “dismissed a breach of privilege complaint that had been laid by Labour following the Henry Report into the leaking of the Kitteridge Report, which led to Mr Dunne’s resignation as a minister.”

Dunne said: “I welcome the Speaker’s decision to dismiss the complaint and his ruling that my answers did not deliberately mislead the finance and expenditure committee, nor were in contempt of Parliament.”

He added: “Although the Henry Report made no allegation against me, nor challenged any of my evidence, its excessive focus on circumstantial matters led to unfounded inferences and innuendos that have not only damaged my reputation, but also made it impossible for me to continue as a minister.”

The complaint by Labour relates to Dunne’s response to an accusation by Winston Peters. Reported by TVNZ:

Peters’ accusation came during a Finance and Expenditure Committee meeting this morning when he repeatedly asked Dunne if he was responsible for leaking the report.

 “Why did you come here to duck that? My assertion is that you did leak the report,” Peters said, invoking his right to speak under Parliamentary privilege.

In response, Dunne maintained that he did not leak the report.

“I’m not ducking the question, I’m here as the Minister of Revenue responsible for the administration of the Tax Act,” he said.

“The secret supervisions of those legislation are paramount in my view. I honour them in my daily activities as minister.”

Dunne continues to deny the allegation but has acknowledged speaking to David Henry, the man leading the inquiry.

“He’s questioned everyone who had access to the report,” Dunne told reporters after the select committee meeting.

And he hit back at Peters. 

“It was a scurrilous stunt. I don’t quite know what lay behind it, certainly had nothing to do with Vote Revenue,” Dunne said.

And Winston should prove leak – Key:

“It seems to me that Mr Peters has made an allegation using Parliamentary privilege against Mr Dunne of which he has no evidence to support.”

He says he has received a “categorical assurance” from Mr Dunne that he didn’t leak the report.

“I’ve worked with him for a long period of time and over that time, I’ve found him to be entirely trustworthy,” says Mr Key.

There is still no evidence to support the repeated accusations by Peters, nor the implication of guilt in the David Henry report. Dunne has always denied he leaked the Kitteridge report.

And it appears from this that the Privileges Committee has agreed that the accusations by Peters have been unfounded.

That is effectively a Not Guilty verdict for Dunne on the leaking of the Kitteridge report.

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.