NZ First accused of leaking UMR poll

Winston Peters has generally trashed polls as fake and meaningless, but it looks like when they suit his purposes he isn’t averse to leaking them.

Two months ago from RNZ:  Peters calls polls fake, claims he’ll win 20% of vote

RNZ’s most recent poll-of-polls had New Zealand First sitting at 8.7 percent.

But Mr Peters said the media’s polls were fake – and his own polling put his party’s support far higher – closer to 20 percent.

“I’ve got the statistical evidence to prove it, I don’t know why the media carry on with their mindset and keep on boring people witless with scenarios that are not going to happen.”

I don’t think he produced any evidence, which isn’t unusual for him.

A week ago on RNZ:  Winston Peters says polls giving him 10% are fake

New Zealand First leader says media polls giving him 10 percent are fake and he’s going to get 20% in the election.

A Colmar Brunton poll had just been published with NZ First on 11%, up 2.

Then last Friday from Newshub:  Labour’s confidential polling leaked:

Newshub has been leaked poll results from the company that does Labour’s internal polling which show it is in big trouble, two-and-a-half months out from the election.

The results show Labour is on 26 percent support – crashing from 34 percent in May.

And New Zealand First, for the first time in three years of polling, is no longer the lowest rating party.

Winston Peters and co are on 14 percent – up 5 percent since May – just overtaking the Greens who are on 13 percent.

Peters didn’t slam this poll as fake.

The company, UMR, does the polling for Labour’s inner sanctum and the results are normally kept secret from the public.

Earlier in the year Little went public with a UMR poll that wasn’t as bad as usual for Labour.

Tonight the Labour Party and UMR said the results had not yet been released to the Labour Party and the leak must have come from a corporate client who had already been provided the results.

Today: Andrew Little accuses Winston Peters of leaking poll that made Labour look bad

Andrew Little is accusing Winston Peters of leaking poll results that are damaging to the Labour Party.

“Whenever you see something that’s reported as a leak, you look at who talks about it the most,” he told Newshub.

“I’m pretty sure NZ First has UMR as a pollster, so I think the leak – in inverted commas – is more likely from New Zealand First than anybody.”

This seems to have been confirmed by Duncan Garner.

Peters didn’t deny it, he avoided ‘reacting’.

“I’ve got no reaction to that. I couldn’t give a rat’s derriere what he says,” the NZ First leader told The AM Show on Monday. He wouldn’t reveal if NZ First used UMR for its polling.

“We don’t divulge who we talk to on the issue of polling… That’s not information you’re privy to… It’s none of your business.”

Mr Peters has been talking up the poll regardless, suggesting he’ll soon have the right to call himself leader of the Opposition.

“If [Labour] go from 26 down to 22, that’s it. Andrew is not in Parliament,” Mr Peters told The Nation on Saturday. “So why would you make these statements, that he’s the next leader of the country? Or the leader of the Opposition?”

It’s not unusual for politicians to trash polls and news they don’t like and then hypocritically promote what suits their purposes.

But UMR is just one poll, a Roy Morgan poll also published last week had NZ First on 8%. Peters would probably call that fake.

Peters has usually been staunch in not predicting election outcomes. On the Nation on Saturday:

Look, you know, one thing is very important in life, and that’s this – don’t count your chickens before they hatch.

But in another break from Peters tradition, in his speech to the NZ First congress on Sunday he closed with:

“So spread the word. This time, in our 24th year, we are going to transform the electoral system and we will be most definitely the Government.”

However he hasn’t produced a poll that backs that up yet.

Dirty local body politics?

A story of ‘political skulduggery’ in Marlborough from Stuff: Marlborough councillors brand Whale Oil leak ‘despicable’

Political skulduggery has again rocked the council chamber in Marlborough as lawyers are called in to investigate a secret recording of a committee meeting leaked to a right-wing blog. 

The leak to Whale Oil could see heads roll at the council, as councillors who attended the meeting are made to front up on Monday.

A recording of a tense behind closed doors discussion about the cash-strapped ASB Theatre was published on the blog site on Friday.

Council chief executive Mark Wheeler said if a councillor had leaked the public-excluded discussion he or she could be asked to resign. 

The committee meeting took place in April. 

Councillor Peter Jerram said the leak was “absolutely orchestrated” and smacked of “dirty politics” emerging in Marlborough. 

“Party politics are definitely involved. But worse than that, it’s gutter politics.” 

Marlborough Mayor Alistair Sowman said the post was a clear attack on mayoral frontrunner Leggett, after a “very successful” attack on Sowman himself. 

Whale Oil involved in local body politics in Marlborough might seem a bit odd, they don’t usually do much about the provinces and most will have no idea who the current mayor of Marlborough is and who the candidates are.

But Whale Oil has had a number of posts on Marlborough local body politics over the last few months. Why? The Stuff article has a hint.

Political strategist Simon Lusk, who has links to Whale Oil, spoke at a local government seminar in Marlborough earlier this year attended by several council candidates. 

Lusk said at the time fighting for transparency was meaningless unless candidates opposed bad news being hidden in publicly excluded council meetings.

Lusk did not confirm or deny whether he was involved when contacted on Saturday. 

He was told information had come through on the blog’s tip line, he said. 

Why Lusk or Whale Oil might have such an interest in Marlborough local body politics is anyone’s guess.

There’s an unusual number of posts on Marlborough issues at Whale Oil going back to about June. No other regions have had this much attention so they stood out.

I never took much notice of the Marlborough posts apart from noticing they were there, they seemed local and not very interesting.

But what we have now is a story of wider interest:

  • a secret recording of a closed Marlborough District Council meeting in April
  • details of the recording published on Whale Oil in September, on the day that local body election voting papers are sent out
  • council chief executive Mark Wheeler said if a councillor had leaked the public-excluded discussion he or she could be asked to resign

Being asked to resign three weeks before the election closes might be horse bolted timing.

What if the leaker is a candidate for the election? Their name is already printed on the ballot and posted to voters, but it could affect votes.

The Marlborough Express (Stuff) has followed up with Marlborough council announces investigation into Whale Oil leak ahead of final meeting

A secret recording of a private council meeting has triggered an investigation into all councillors and staff who were at the meeting. 

The investigation will require everyone at the behind closed doors discussion in Marlborough to sign a statutory declaration saying they were not behind the recording or it being leaked to a right-wing blog. 

It is a criminal offence to knowingly make a false declaration.

They are taking it very seriously.

Meanwhile Whale Oil had a string of posts on it yesterday too.

As predicted yesterday the Marlborough Express has written an attack piece on me. They didn’t even call for comment.

After we busted John Leggett and the Marlborough Express tried to ignore the story there still remain a number of unanswered questions that I am sure the ratepayers of Marlborough wants answers to.

The Marlbourgh Express doesn’t seem to know the first rule of politics. Explaining is losing.

That’s funny considering the number of posts explaining everything.

Locals don’t dare speak out because their lives will be made hell.  Local news doesn’t dare speak up because their commercial viability is under threat if they speak up against their biggest advertisers.

More explaining. They could be important issues for people in Marlborough, but that’s local stuff that most people are unlikely to be interested in.

So they act like they are violated, scream “Whaleoil” and hope that voters will forget what it is really all about.

What an utter waste of rate payers’ money to try and figure out who helped the truth get to the public.

Stop screaming my name, and start taking responsibility for your own words and actions.

That’s more interesting, to me anyway.

A secret recording was taken of a closed door council meeting and supplied to a media outlet and published during an election campaign.

The recording is a serious matter. If it was a councillor they could be asked to resign. If it was a staff member  I expect it would potentially be a sackable offence.

But Cameron Slater and Whale Oil don’t think that how the information was obtained matters, or is excusable as the story they want to tell is what is important.

Nicky Hager thought something similar when he published Dirty Politics.

Another thing that puzzles me about this – how much influence would Whale Oil have on the Marlborough election?

Most people are barely or not interested in local body elections. Most Marlborough voters are unlikely to read Whale Oil.

I’m baffled as to why Whale Oil is giving so much coverage over several months for a relatively low interest issue that can hardly be attracting many clicks or much advertising to the blog.

It will be interesting to see whether Whale Oil sees their whistle blowing coverage of sufficient importance and interest to continue their coverage after the election.

Ombudsman on MFAT leak inquiry

The Ombudsman has been scathing of an inquiry into leaks from MFAT and how the Government handled things, which seriously compromised the careers of MFAT employees.

Stuff: Damning inquiry points finger at the Government, State Services Commissioner

Ombudsman Ron Paterson has told the Government it should compensate a former top diplomat whose career ended in tatters after he was targeted by the inquiry, which was instigated by the State Services Commission.

He has also recommended a formal apology.

The 2013 inquiry has already cost taxpayers as much as $1 million, including lawyers costs and fees paid to the woman who headed it, Paula Rebstock.

The 2013 inquiry headed resulted in senior diplomats Derek Leask and Nigel Fyfe  being singled out , despite evidence the leaks that sparked it originated from within the State Services Commission itself. The person responsible cannot be identified because of suppression orders.

While they were not named in the State Services Commission-ordered inquiry, Leask and Fyfe were easily identifiable and their conduct was publicly  criticised by the State Services Commissioner and Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully after personal emails were published revealing their opposition to restructuring of the ministry.

Paterson says the SSC acted unreasonably during the inquiry  and pointed out flaws including:

* the findings in relation to Leask exceeded the inquiry’s terms of reference.

* Leask was not given fair notice prior to his interview that his conduct would be examined.

* Insufficient material was provided him about the applicable standards against which his behaviour was being measured

* He was not treated fairly.

* The evidence relied upon by the inquiry did not reasonably support some of the criticisms made about him in the final report and some highly relevant evidence was not properly addressed

* The manner in which Leaks’s actions were addressed in the final report was disproportionate when compared with the comments about the actions of other senior MFAT managers.

* Publication of the report, in a manner that identified him and contained unfair criticisms of him, was unjust

* State Services Commissioner Iain Rennie’s public statement about Leask was unreasonable.

Paterson recommends Leask receive compensation for harm to his reputation caused by the deficiencies in the inquiry and publication of the report.

This has raised serious questions.

Stuff: Top diplomat: Serious questions to be answered about the government’s misuse of power

Neil Walter, a former top diplomat, says serious questions are raised by the Ombudsman’s report into flawed government inquiry.

In the view of three Queen’s Counsel, the investigation team’s report was riddled with errors of fact and contained a number of accusations that had little connection with either the inquiry’s terms of reference or the evidence produced.

The Privacy Commissioner has separately ruled that Rennie breached the Privacy Act.

I expect more questions will be asked about all this. Serious questions need answers and appropriate remedies.

I think one thing in particular that needs to be addressed is the apparent propensity of the current Government to attack and discredit public servants and others to protect themselves, to divert from serious issues or to discredit arguments or evidence that is inconvenient to them.

Twyford versus Bennett/English

In Question Time in Parliament yesterday Phil Twyford asked questions about Paula Bennett, making a number of allegations and insinuations. Bill English responded on behalf of Bennett who was not in Parliament.


[Sitting date: 16 June 2016. Volume:715;Page:8. Text is subject to correction.]

7. PHIL TWYFORD (Labour—Te Atatū) to the Minister for Social Housing: Does she stand by all her statements?

Hon BILL ENGLISH (Deputy Prime Minister) on behalf of the Minister for Social Housing: Yes, within the context in which they were given.

Phil Twyford: What was her motivation for briefing her staff on the police investigation into Hurimoana Dennis?

Hon BILL ENGLISH: Her motivation was that the staff should know what the Minister had been discussing, and the matter moved on from there.

Phil Twyford: Are the media reports correct that the three to four staff she said that she briefed on the police investigation included Lucy Bennett, Clark Hennessy, and her senior political adviser, Belinda Milnes?

Hon BILL ENGLISH: I think those people are among her staff; that is likely. But, of course, Ministers are not constrained by any particular rules about briefing their staff, and that is because staff are a pretty important part of getting a lot of things done.

Phil Twyford: Was she surprised, given her reputation for leaking information about her critics, that her staff took the same approach with the information that she gave them about the police investigation?

Hon BILL ENGLISH: I refute the statements made by the member. I am surprised to see the Labour Party members outraged by what they call a leak to the media, which turns out to be discussion around the dinner table about something apparently everyone already knew about but that the media had decided not to run until they could use it to attack Paula Bennett.

Phil Twyford: Why, after the Human Rights Commission told her that she had breached Natasha Fuller’s privacy by releasing her private information, did she say she might do it again, and “it would depend on the circumstances”?

Hon BILL ENGLISH: The two events are not connected in any way—[Interruption] Well, in this case, apparently, as I am advised, the person concerned told the Minister himself, and I am told that “everyone knew”.

Phil Twyford: Are the journalists correct who tell me that her office regularly releases this sort of information to discredit critics and shut down stories; if not, why does she believe they would make that up?

Mr SPEAKER: Either of those two supplementary questions—the Hon Bill English.

Hon BILL ENGLISH: No, those journalists are—well, I do not know exactly what they said to the member, because I would not want to rely on his description of it, but I think that if the member was familiar with how this story apparently became a story, it was a matter of about third-hand gossip, through a series of social events, that ended up as a story. [Interruption]

Mr SPEAKER: Order! [Interruption] Order! Mr Twyford and Mr English, the series of questions has now concluded. I am calling Tracey Martin. [Interruption] Order! Would both members, please—if they want to carry on the interchange, I suggest that they try it in the lobby.


“…releases this sort of information to discredit” is an interesting comment from Twyford.

Reserve Bank leak and MediaWorks

In March a journalist from MediaWorks leaked information about an OCR announcement that could potentially have resulted in insider trading, and another MediaWorks employee passed the information on to a blogger.

This was a serious breach.

Journalists had been brief on impending announcements so they cold prepare stories on the condition secrecy was maintained until the official announcement was made.

Yesterday the Reserve Bank issued this press release:

Reserve Bank takes action after investigation confirms leak

Thursday, 14 April 2016, 2:15 pm

Reserve Bank takes action after investigation confirms leak

An independent investigation has confirmed that highly sensitive and valuable market information on the March Official Cash Rate (OCR) cut decision was leaked by a journalist ahead of the official release, the Reserve Bank said today.

Following the investigation, the Bank will tighten its procedures for the release of confidential information. The Bank will discontinue embargoed lock-ups for news media and analysts ahead of announcements of interest rate decisions, Monetary Policy Statements and Financial Stability Reports.

The investigation by Deloitte’s forensic unit found that, contrary to the rules of the lock-up, information on the Bank’s decision to cut the OCR was transmitted by a Newshub Mediaworks reporter to several people in the Newshub office from the media lockup for the Monetary Policy Statement on 10 March.

This information was then passed on by another person in Newshub Mediaworks, well before the MPS official release, to an economics blogger. The blogger only alerted the Bank to the leak after the MPS was officially released.

Deloitte was assisted in its investigation by Mediaworks’ legal team, who undertook an internal investigation, uncovered emails that confirmed the leak, and reported these to Deloitte.

Governor Graeme Wheeler said: “The leak is a serious and disappointing breach of many years of trust. It created the opportunity for improper gain on financial markets and damage to the integrity of the Bank’s communications. I am extremely disappointed that the information was leaked initially and then communicated more widely.

“The fact that several people outside the Bank, who had access to the information improperly, failed to alert the Bank immediately, was irresponsible and left open a significant risk that the Bank could have closed down quickly with an immediate official release.”

No evidence has emerged that the leak gave rise to any financial market impact.

The Bank has considered alternative arrangements relating to information security. However, none completely mitigated the technology and human risks, said Head of Communications Mike Hannah.

“We have reviewed the procedures of several central banks. None provide lock-ups for analysts prior to major policy announcements, and the few that provide embargoed lock-ups for media representatives take extensive measures to control the media environment in the lock-up that are not viable for us. Most central banks do not provide embargoed lock-ups.”

Mr Hannah said that from the 28 April OCR statement release, the Bank will issue OCR and MPS statements via its pages on Thomson Reuters and Bloomberg screens at 9:00am, as is currently the case, followed by release on its website and to email subscribers. In the case of the quarterly MPSs and six-monthly FSRs, the release of a news release and these documents at9:00am will be followed an hour later by a press conference.

“The decision not to provide lock-ups for media or analysts means that these parties will receive the information at the same time as other financial market and public audiences.”

More information: Investigation into leak of March 2016 OCR announcement

MediaWorks issued their own press release:

MediaWorks Response to Reserve Bank Statement

Thursday, 14 April 2016, 2:07 pm

Mark Weldon, Group CEO, MediaWorks said: “MediaWorks unreservedly apologises to the Reserve Bank for this incident. Once MediaWorks was aware a leak had taken place, it conducted its own investigation to determine whether the leak had come from within MediaWorks and self-reported that to the Reserve Bank.”

Regarding the specifics of the matter, Richard Sutherland, Acting Chief News Officer, said: “The leak was caused by a failure within News to follow proper process and changes have already been made as a result. We are addressing the breach with those concerned and new policies and training will be implemented moving forward.”

There was a strong response on Twitter from journalists from other companies who were very annoyed their privilege of lock-up provide information in advance had been removed.

Some suggested that MediaWorks only should be penalised, which is a fair point.

Others said that much stronger action would be appropriate from MediaWorks, with sackings amongst the suggestions.

It was pointed out that if a Reserve Bank employee or politician had leaked information like this the media would be all over the story, they would have identified the people involved and named and shamed them.

Instead they muttered on Twitter where it was also suggested that they protect their own.

Except Rob Hosking from NBR who was scathing. See next post.

 

Who orchestrated the Craig/Conservative hit job?

Colin Craig and his party are in a mess and it’s largely of their own doing. But there’s questions that seem to have escaped scrutiny.

Timing

It’s been claimed that parts of the story surrounding ‘inappropriate behaviour’ have been around since Rachel MacGregor’s sudden resignation two days before last year’s election. She was obviously very unhappy about something and she wasn’t sharing her decision with Craig – he was surprised to find out via media.

So why has it suddenly been pushed with specific details published and promises of more to come? Why specifically now?  Was it timed to coincide with a coup attempt or has the leak launch just happened to coincide with the attempt to kick Craig out of the leadership and party?

Source of the leaks

Craig has been slammed for breaching a confidentiality agreement.

Rachel McGregor has claimed she speak up with her side of the story because of the confidentially agreement.

But someone who must have been close to MacGregor leaked detailed information and evidence to ‘Whale Oil Media’ and to journalists from other media organisations.

Information that originally at least only MacGregor could have had copies of, on paper and in electronic form.

So who has leaked to Cameron Slater and others? How did they get the information? And why have they leaked?

Identity of the leaker

I’ve been informed “from reliable sources” of the identity of who has leaked to Slater. This person must presumably have some connection to MacGregor. They also have interesting (in this context) political connections.

They also have a history of close ‘Dirty Politics’ connections with Slater.

I haven’t seen any fuss about this from the left. They seem to be preoccupied with celebrating the Conservative train wreck. If the Slater revelations were targeting a party on the left their would have been an immediate ‘Dirty Politics’ outcry. The apparent lack of interest in this aspect of the Conservative hit job is curious.

If my source of the identity of the person who leaked to Slater is accurate then it should be of significant political interest beyond the Conservative Party.

Goff, leaks, lies and sincerity

(Further to Goff apologises, media warned over leak)

Last month details of the Gwyn/SIS report were leaked to media the day before it could legally be publicised. Phil Goff was an obvious suspect but he was cleared by new Labour leader Andrew Little.

“He’s given me those assurances, I’m satisfied with that,” he said on Firstline this morning.

“He hasn’t given the report to anybody, he declined media interviews until the report was released at 10am yesterday, so I don’t know where they came from and I’m satisfied they didn’t come from Phil Goff.”

Goff: SIS report leak ‘perfectly appropriate’

However it was later revealed that Goff had been the leaker, so either Goff lied to Little or Little lied to media. And Goff was unrepentant.

“What I did was perfectly appropriate, if the journalists decided to run information given to them in confidence then you should raise it with your colleagues,” Goff told Radio New Zealand at the time.

Goff had changed his stance by last week.

Goff signalled in an interview last week, that he had apologised .

“I beat the gun on the embargo. I shouldn’t have done that,” he said.

“I’ve apologised to the inspector-general. The ball is in her court [as to legal action]. I’ll take it on the chin, whatever her decision is. I haven’t tried to lie about it or mislead people on it.

“[I] shouldn’t have done it…I’ll accept any consequences.”

Today Inspector General Cheryl Gwyn said Goff’s leak was no appropriate.

“All witnesses, including Mr Goff, were subject to a confidentiality order of the inspector-general,”  IGIS said in a statement.

“The order was made to ensure fairness and the integrity of the inquiry. The disclosure of the report by Mr Goff was in breach of the order.”

And Goff has ‘unreservedly’ apologised.

The Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security has accepted Labour MP Phil Goff’s “unreserved apology” for leaking a Security Intelligence Service report to media.

Mr Goff gave a verbal and written apology and Ms Gwyn says no further action will be taken.

Goff apologises for SIS report leak

And Goff has said:

And I guess my enthusiasm led me to make some more comment than I should have.

That downplays the fact that he breached a confidentiality agreement.

I gave information that was not going to damage anybody.

In his opinion. Is that Goff’s Law of Leak Justification?

Ah what happened in John Key’s office was that that was part of a smear campaign.

So when someone else does it they are smearing, when Goff does it he’s just a bit enthusiastic.

The sincerity of Goff’s apology looks very dubious. First he (or Little) lied about leaking. Then he was unrepentant. Then he “unreservedly apologised”, followed soon afterwards by making excuses and turning it into political point scoring.

Andrew Little has a bit of work to do to reform his caucus.He generally sounds sincere but he will be damaged by association and collaboration with leaks, lies and insincerity like this.

Little shouldn’t be satisfied with what has come from Goff on this both last month and today.

Today Goff has apologised ‘sincerely’ to the

Goff apologises, media warned over leak

Phil Goff has given a “full and unreserved” apology for leaking details of the Gwyn report. And the media has also been warned, presumably for their complicity.

Goff apologises for leak

Labour MP Phil Goff will not face any sanctions for leaking the details of a report by the spy watchdog a day before it was publicly released.

Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security Cheryl Gwyn said this morning she had accepted Mr Goff’s “full and unreserved” apology.

“The Inspector-General will not take the matter any further,” she said in a statement.

Mr Goff breached a confidentiality order last month by disclosing details about her report on the Security Intelligence Service’s release of information to blogger Cameron Slater.

Ms Gwyn said no classified information was disclosed, but Mr Goff’s leak led to premature media reporting on the content of the report, “to the detriment of other witnesses to the inquiry, particularly those adversely affected by the report”.

This looks like a warning slap over Goff’s knuckles and a warning that tolerance of political leaking has changed substantially. Goff has a record of leaking with impunity over the years.If he does it again it would deserve severe sanctions.

The Inspector-General would be taking steps to ensure greater clarity around release protocols for future reports, and had also written to media organisations to remind them of their obligations under the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security Act.

“The Inspector-General has significant powers to inquire into sensitive matters, and make adverse findings which may have a material impact on individuals.

“The obligations around confidentiality are necessary to ensure natural justice and fairness. It is important these obligations are respected.”

And that looks like a strong warning to the press, who have been complicit in leaks probably since Gutenberg’s day.

The media have a responsibility to be fair in their reporting. They knowingly reported cherry picked aspects of a report they would have known was still confidential, in effect enabling Goff’s illegal misuse of the report.

The Inspector-General seems intent on enforcing compliance and has effectively warned Goff (and all MPs) plus the media.

If reports are leaked illegally in the future strong action will need to be taken against offenders or we will revert to impunity as usual.

It’s worth remembering Goff’s initial reaction to his leaking of the report:

“I gave an outline of some relevant points that I said cleared my integrity,” he told Radio New Zealand.

“What I did was perfectly appropriate. If the journalists decided to run information given to them in confidence, then you should raise it with your colleagues.”

Without apology he openly admitted leaking and tried to blame it all on the media.

Do everyone a favour and prosecute Goff

Phil Goff has admitted to what appears to be an illegal act – he leaked parts of a report given to him confidentially in advance of it’s official release by the Inspector-General for Intelligence. His apparent motive was to put his selected bits of the story into a favourable light.
Goff has a history of being involved in significant leaks. He – like other politicians – leak because they can get away with it. In this case Goff seems to have blatantly ignored the law, assuming impunity.

For the good of our democracy the Police should prosecute Goff. It’s time a stand was made against MPs breaking the law when it suits them.

Prosecuting Goff would do our democracy a huge favour. It would make it clear that MPs are not above the law.

It would also do the National Government a favour, but that’s simple collateral benefit.

And it would do Labour a favour if it prompts Goff to either resign from Parliament or stand down at the last election. He seems to be well past his political used by date.

It would be a major snub for Goff and he would probably feel bitter about it but it would also probably do him a favour and get him out of politics. He seems jaded by accumulated bitterness, so a little more bitterness won’t hurt much.

MPs should set an example and abide by the law, and if not they should be made an example of. Goff is as deserving as any for making a stand against MPs who ignore the law.

It would do everyone a favour. Especially our democracy.

Phil Goff: “please explain” spleak

The media have now Phil Goff’s leaking of confidential information prior to the release of the Gwyn report, at the instigation of a “please explain” request to Goff after it was claimed and it was later admitted he gave information to journalists.

Stuff reports:

The inspector-general of intelligence and security yesterday issued a “please explain” request to Goff over why aspects of her report were given to journalists before it was released.

Gwyn said she was aware of Goff’s statements that he had disclosed some information concerning findings in her report.

She would be seeking further information from Goff and others. A conviction for a breach under the IGIS Act could trigger a fine of up to $50,000 against a company or corporation or a $10,000 fine and a year in jail, or both, for an individual.

Goff leaked selected parts of the report in an obvious attempt to pre-empt the publicity the report would receive. A classic spin leak (spleak).

Goff has a history of leaking – see “Goff is a serial leaker”. And that’s just significant ones that are known about.

Prosecutions for breaking the law involving politics are not common, hence the continuation of leaking with apparent impunity.

In this case it is very ironic as the Gwyn report looked in to the passing on of information for political purposes. It turns out that the report found nothing illegal about the information passed on to Slater, but Goff seems to have blatantly broken the law trying to set the narrative around the report.

Goff’s spleaking may have been counter productive anyway. Media and blogs got excited about the damage the report would deliver for Key and National and then the report delivered far less – and was called a whitewash by some.