Hager takes Westpac to Human Rights Review Tribunal

Recently the Privacy Commissioner upheld Nicky Hager’s complaint against Westpac for breaching his privacy – see Privacy Commissioner upholds Hager complaint against Westpac.

That is only advisory (toothless) so Hager has now filed a case against Westpac with the Human Rights Review Tribunal.


Nicky Hager files proceedings in the Human Rights Review Tribunal

Nicky Hager has filed a case against Westpac with the Human Rights Review Tribunal. This is yet another step in Mr Hager’s response to the unlawful search of his home and private information by Police.

The Privacy Commissioner recently upheld Mr Hager’s complaint against Westpac for breaching his privacy. However, the Privacy Commissioner’s decision is advisory only. To obtain binding orders, Mr Hager needs to take his case to the Human Rights Review Tribunal.

Mr Hager believes the attitude of Westpac has left him with no choice but to continue with his case. “He has asked Westpac to acknowledge that it breached his rights.

Despite the Privacy Commissioner’s ruling, it has not been prepared to do that,” Mr Hager’s lawyer Felix Geiringer said.

Mr Hager will be asking the Human Rights Review Tribunal for binding orders requiring that Westpac not give its customers’ bank transaction data to the Police without a production order.

There may be thousands of people in the same position as Mr Hager, but who do not know it. “He has also asked the Human Rights Review Tribunal for an order requiring Westpac to notify everyone whose privacy may have already been breached,” Mr Geiringer said.

Even if Mr Hager is successful before the Human Rights Review Tribunal, the broader issue may remain. “This issue does not just relate to Westpac. All New Zealand’s banks had the same arrangement with the Police. Many other companies have also been releasing personal information without asking for a production order.”

A claim against the Police for making the requests is still before the High Court.

Privacy Commissioner upholds Hager complaint against Westpac

Felix Geiringer (Nicky Hager’s lawyer):

Westpac “believes that every customer has authorised the disclosure of all of their information… to Police for whatever reason Police give it seems untenable that Westpac would genuinely hold this belief… it would come as a surprise to a great many of Westpac’s customers…”

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And:

The Privacy Commissioner’s decision:  Privacy Act Complaint: Nicky Hager and Westpac New Zealand (Our Ref: C/28047) 

Police pay damages to Hager’s daughter

The Police stuffed up when they raided Nicky Hager’s house while he was away in October 2014.

Today lawyer Felix Geiringer has advised that the Police have agreed to pay damages and costs to Hager’s daughter, who was home at the time, had her bedroom searched, and had her computer and phone seized.

Police pay-out for Hager raid

In a further development of the legal proceedings over the Police raid of the home of investigative journalist Nicky Hager, the Police have today settled a claim brought by Nicky Hager’s daughter.

Nicky Hager’s home was raided by Police in October 2014. The raid was part of an investigation into the source of Nicky Hager’s book, Dirty Politics. In December of last year, the High Court ruled that the warrant that was used for the raid was “fundamentally unlawful”. The Police are not appealing that decision.

Nicky Hager’s daughter was the only one home when the Police turned up to raid the house. She had to stay and watch the 10-hour raid of her home. The Police search included a search of her bedroom and private belongings. The Police seized and cloned her phone and laptop. The laptop was kept by the Police for over four months. This all happened two weeks before she was due to submit her end-of-degree University papers.

The Police have agreed to pay Nicky Hager’s daughter damages and her costs. They have also agreed to destroy all copies of her information taken during the raid and copied. On that basis, his daughter has agreed to discontinue her proceedings against the Police.

Claims brought by Nicky Hager against the Police following the raid on his home are still ongoing.

During the case brought by Nicky Hager the Court directed that the names of some of those involved, including Nicky Hager’s daughter, not be released in relation to that proceeding.

It was a futile raid that was botched by the Police, at least they have agreed to settle on this.

Russia, FBI and hacked elections

Two articles of inter from last week on the US election – one saying that the consensus view of the CIA was that “Russia’s goal here was to favor one candidate over the other, to help Trump get elected”, and the other a detailed analysis of ’10 crucial decisions’ that affected the presidential election.

Washington Post: Secret CIA assessment says Russia was trying to help Trump win White House

The CIA has concluded in a secret assessment that Russia intervened in the 2016 election to help Donald Trump win the presidency, rather than just to undermine confidence in the U.S. electoral system, according to officials briefed on the matter.

Intelligence agencies have identified individuals with connections to the Russian government who provided WikiLeaks with thousands of hacked emails from the Democratic National Committee and others, including Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman, according to U.S. officials. Those officials described the individuals as actors known to the intelligence community and part of a wider Russian operation to boost Trump and hurt Clinton’s chances.

“It is the assessment of the intelligence community that Russia’s goal here was to favor one candidate over the other, to help Trump get elected,” said a senior U.S. official briefed on an intelligence presentation made to U.S. senators. “That’s the consensus view.”

During the campaign Trump said a number of times that a rigged election was a serious concern, but he doesn’t seem to think this is a big deal – see Trump: Claim of Russia Meddling “Ridiculous,” Dems Making Excuses.

(With Kim Dotcom claiming that WikiLeaks may target next year’s New Zealand election this should be of some concern here).

Looking back through the presidential campaign Glenn Thrush at Politico: 10 Crucial Decisions That Reshaped AmericaNothing about the most dramatic campaign in memory was a foregone conclusion. The inside story of the pivotal choices that got us to President Trump.

It should be remembered that the election was eventually decided by I think about 50,000 votes in three states, so it was very close.

When deciding whether to contest the presidency Trump rated his chances at 10%.

This is a detailed analysis that’s worth reading if you are interested in what lead up to the result that shocked the world. The ten ‘crucial decisions’:

1. Hillary Clinton copies the Obama playbook. December 12, 2013.

But, in the end, Brooklyn simply failed to predict the tidal wave that swamped Clinton—a pro-Trump uprising in rural and exurban white America that wasn’t reflected in the polls—and his candidate failed to generate enough enthusiasm to compensate with big turnouts in Detroit, Milwaukee and the Philadelphia suburbs.

Either way, there was something missing that technocrats couldn’t fix: The candidate herself was deeply unappealing to the most fired-up, unpredictable and angry segment of the electorate—middle-income whites in the Middle West—and she couldn’t inspire Obama-like passion among her own supporters to compensate for the surge.

2016 wasn’t 2012 because Obama wasn’t the nominee.

2. Jeb Bush decides to run for president. December 16, 2014.

There wouldn’t have been a President Donald Trump without Jeb Bush. A rebel needs a crown to crush, and the wolfish insurgent found his perfect prey in this third Bush to attempt to claim the White House, a princeling of a family that by 2015 had come to represent everything angry GOP voters hated about their own party.

3. Donald Trump taps Corey Lewandowski as his campaign manager. January 7, 2015.

It was probably the single most important decision Trump made early in his campaign for the presidency and, true to form, the candidate made it without much consultation or due diligence, and without quite knowing what he was getting into.

“What do you think of my chances?” Trump asked Lewandowski as soon as he sat down in Trump’s office, according to a person familiar with the interaction.

“Five percent,” Lewandowski replied.

Trump countered with his own assessment: 10 percent.

“Let me propose a deal,” Trump then joked. “Let’s settle on 7½.”

4. Bernie Sanders doesn’t attack Clinton on her “damn” emails. October 13, 2015.

The second problem was more durable, utterly avoidable, entirely self-inflicted and ultimately damning: Clinton’s enemies were starting to weaponize the murky tale of her private email server, an issue that would do her permanent political damage, sap public trust and, eventually, hand Trump a winning issue. “It’s a cancer,” a longtime Clinton insider told meas her campaign was ramping up. “She’s her own worst enemy,” another said.

Lucky for Clinton that Sanders wasn’t her worst enemy. Sanders, an (uncommonly) principled politician who was as intent on running the campaign he wanted as in winning, attacked Clinton on the issues he felt were the most important. Under pressure, he would eventually bash Clinton on her refusal to release the text of her Wall Street speeches, her cozy relationship with fat cat donors, her late-in-the-day conversion to an opponent of trade deals. But that was only in later debates, and only after Clinton and her team had savaged Sanders on his gun control record.

Most of all, he flummoxed his own advisers by steadfastly refusing to attack Clinton on the issue that would hurt her most: the emails.

5. CNN shows Trump’s empty podium for 30 minutes. March 3, 2016.

This was symbolic of how obsessed media became with Trump coverage – in this case remarkable focussing on his absence rather than his presence.

But if Trump’s time was, literally, money for the networks, the cable-Trump marriage was also unprecedented in a way that threw the political coverage dangerously out of balance.

The absurdity of the situation was laid bare on March 3, 2016, when CNN, Fox and MSNBC prepared to air what was billed as Trump’s much-anticipated rebuttal to Mitt Romney’s claim that the GOP front-runner was a “phony” and a “fraud.” Trump was supposed to start talking at 1:30 p.m., but he was strategically, playfully late.

The live shot of a flag-backed podium in Maine sat empty for five, 10, 15, eventually 30 minutes of Donald-free empty space that illustrated the vacuity of the celebrity-driven frenzy that defined Trump’s early campaign. CNN officials dismissed the incident, arguing that the image was just that—a static picture—that provided a backdrop for a stream of talking-head banter, much of it critical of Trump.

For Trump, the point was clear: He was so much more important than any of his rivals that even his absence was more newsworthy than their presence, and the networks did nothing to dispel that view, airing his speeches in their entirety when no other candidate or even President Obama was afforded that privilege.

6. Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio play patty-cake with Trump at the debates. August 6, 2015.

The only two candidates who ever really had a real chance to stop him—golden boy hawk Marco Rubio of Florida and Tea Party icon Ted Cruz of Texas—made the calculation that ignoring Trump, and letting him run amok in the early debates, was their best chance at self-preservation.

The decision by the two young senators—they are both just 45 years old today—may well go down as one of the most consequential wimp-outs in recent politics.

But it seemed to make perfect sense in the summer of 2015, when Rubio’s Capitol Hill-based circle and Cruz’s Houston-based operation simultaneously decided on a hands-off-Donald approach.

7. Trump insults the parents of a dead war hero. July 28, 2016.

The final night of the convention was supposed to be Clinton’s big night, and many of the reporters who crammed into the press section in the early evening of July 28 were busily pre-writing their big Hillary speech stories when Khizr Khan and his wife, Ghazala, walked onto the stage.

“Donald Trump: You’re asking Americans to trust you with their future. Let me ask you: Have you even read the United States Constitution?” said Khizr Khan, whose son, a Muslim-American Army captain, had died protecting his fellow soldiers from a suicide bombing in Iraq in 2004.

Khan spoke, in a quavering monotone, about the injustice of Trump’s proposed Muslim immigration ban. By the time he pulled out a tiny dog-eared copy of the Constitution from his suit jacket pocket, the audience was on its feet, and reporters on press row were plucking out their ear buds to hear what he was saying. “I will gladly lend you my copy,” Khan told Trump, as his wife silently stood next to him, fighting back tears.

It was a critical moment in the election, or so it seemed at the time—“an appeal from a regular person for Trump to show some human decency,” in the words of former Jeb Bush adviser Tim Miller, “which he never does.”

Privately, Trump fumed about the Khan speech—he hated to absorb any insult without responding—even as the people around him, including Manafort, encouraged him to let it go. But there was, as always, no controlling Trump.

This is a concern about Trump as president, especially internationally. Some think that Trump a ‘telling it like it is’ tough guy stance will allow the US to dominate countries like China, others dread what it could precipitate.

The public hated it. A Fox News poll taken in the first week of August signaled to GOP leaders (wrongly, as it turned out) that Trump was cooked and could never recover: He dropped from running neck-and-neck with Clinton to 10 points down over the course of two weeks. “I thought that was it,” said one former Trump aide.

“If he loses,” Robby Mook, Clinton’s campaign manager, told me at the time, “his attack on Khans was the turning point.”

But here’s the thing: At that very moment, Mook’s own internal data was showing that Trump’s negative message overall—his “diagnosis of the problem” as Brooklyn called it—was resonating.

Clinton’s team laughed off Trump’s nomination speech. Yet her pollster John Anzalone and his team were stunned to find out that dial groups of swing state voters monitored during the speech “spiked” the darker the GOP nominee got.

8. Clinton decides to take a summer break. August 1, 2016.

Trump wasn’t dead. And the polls clearly showed that whatever he said or did, he still commanded between 36 and 43 percent of the national vote. The partisan divide was simply that stark, the animosity toward Clinton that real.

But it was a genuine boot-on-neck moment for Clinton’s Brooklyn operation.

Too bad it was the height of summer, and the Clintons had made plans they refused to change with their rich friends. So, the race almost, seemingly in the bag, Clinton came off the road, for a work-and-play semi-hiatus to regroup for the big fall push that saw her take four consecutive weekends off the trail, post-convention.

So at this moment of Trump’s maximum vulnerability, Clinton was work-vacationing with the likes of Jon Bon Jovi, Paul McCartney and Jimmy Buffett in the manses of Long Island, Beverly Hills, Martha’s Vineyard and Silicon Valley.

But Trump, surprisingly resilient and coachable when he needed to be, was to make masterful use of Clinton’s absence.

9. Trump goes scorched earth after Access Hollywood tape. October 7, 2016.

One month before Election Day, Donald Trump was hit by a bombshell that would have spelled instant electoral death for anybody without his chutzpah (or even a human-apportioned sense of shame).

On a Friday morning four weeks before the voting, the Washington Postobtained a hot-mic tape from a 2005 appearance on Access Hollywood in which Trump described in gross detail an incident in which he had sexually assaulted a woman who resisted his romantic entreaties.

The fallout was swift, damaging and seemingly campaign-killing.

The candidate’s daughter Ivanka, two people close to the family said, was mortified, and urged him to apologize immediately.

Trump’s natural instinct—stoked by Bannon’s attack-when-attacked attitude—was to give as little ground as possible.

One longtime adviser to Trump described the strategy this way: He couldn’t do anything about the tape—it was out there for everybody to hear—but he could stick with “his core brand” by reinforcing his refusal to play by the usual rules of politics.

Trump came out of it seen as he wanted to be: a defiant candidate who flouted rules of “political correctness” and whose in-your-face candor consistently registered in polls as the perceived attribute voters liked most about him. And anyways, it was a classic Trump move: When you’re caught doing something indefensible don’t even try to defend it—attack.

Trump, a guy who couldn’t seem to shut up, urged his surrogates to “go dark,” according to a former aide.

Trump’s numbers collapsed again, but Bannon never doubted that his pal could pull it out and urged Trump to indulge his most brazen showman’s impulses by turning damning on-tape proof that he was a sexual harasser into a populist crusade against the “rigged system.

10. Jim Comey sends a letter to Congress. October 28, 2016.

Clinton wanted to run her campaign her own way. To the frustration of her staff, that often entailed less retail campaigning: She insisted more often than not on flying back to her house in Chappaqua on most days, and held her debate prep sessions at a nearby conference center instead of doing them on-the-fly in battleground states, so she could combine cramming and campaigning.

That hesitation about “the campaigning part” was why, despite their confidence Clinton would pull out a win, many in her camp came to see the campaign as a high-stakes game of musical chairs: The candidate who had the worst final news cycle would probably lose.

It was Clinton.

On a sleepy Friday afternoon 10 days before the election, FBI Director James Comey sent a letter informing Congress that he had obtained a big new batch of emails pertaining to Clinton’s email server. It was a revelation widely (and inaccurately) cast as his decision to “reopen” the case, after having announced in early July that Clinton had been cleared of wrongdoing but had been reckless in setting up her private email server.

Top officials for both campaigns said the revelation—which turned out to be an inconsequential cache of previously parsed emails kept on the laptop of Clinton aide Huma Abedin’s estranged husband, Anthony Weiner—was a game-changer in a race in which Clinton had little margin for error.

A campaign that was notable for Trump doing everything not by the book which kept shocking many, and for Clinton’s flawed candidacy and flawed campaign, two of the biggest deciding factors turned out to be Russian and FBI involvement.

It’s nothing new that Russia and the US interfere in elections of other countries but the extent Russia has allegedly done this in the US to this degree is unprecedented.

The way hacked emails have been used should be a concern around the world.

It’s not new – hacked emails and other communications featured in Nicky Hager’s ‘Dirty Politics’ book launched early in New Zealand’s 2014 general election, as it turned out unsuccessfully. But I suspect that how that was done will have been noted and learned from.

WikiLeaks tried a different approach in the US election, drip feeding emails over a period of time. This certainly had an impact.

Ultimately FBI head James Comey’s interference probably swung the election in Trump’s favour at a crucial time, but that situation was set up and enabled by the hacking and the drip feeding.

Democracy is at real risk of being trashed by hacking.

Hager, Farrar on privacy

Nicky Hager at The Spinoff: “‘If you’ve done nothing wrong, you’ve got nothing to fear’ is like a slogan from a police state”

The claim “If you’ve done nothing wrong, you’ve got nothing to fear” is like a slogan from a police state. I agree with the writers who say that privacy (like freedom of speech) is an essential part of a person being able to develop their personality and beliefs. It’s as crucial and fundamental as that.

I know as a writer on intelligence that most people by far aren’t being spied on. But if the idea or fear is around that our lives aren’t private, it undermines this vital stuff about who we are. (Also, by the way, the loudmouths who say “If you’ve done nothing wrong, you’ve got nothing to fear” would actually be enraged if their privacy was breached.)

I think Hager would be outraged if his privacy was breached, for example via a police raid. Fair enough, he should be outraged if the police act improperly or illegally.

This brings us back to the subject of privacy. It is awful if people wonder needlessly whether someone is reading their private email, or decides they’d better not be involved in politics, or generally shrinks down and limits who they are because of an unnecessary fear of surveillance. Because, unfortunately, the fear that we’re being watched does almost as much damage as the reality would.

Given that Hager has more than once been the recipient of private communications and has published these details in books, there’s a degree of conflict in what he says.

He used a major privacy breach to both make money and to try and influence the outcome of an election with his ‘Dirty Politics’ book on 2014.

It’s as if he thinks that breaching privacy for the right cause is fine, otherwise it’s evil.

David Farrar responds to Hager on privacy.

I have had my private e-mails read. They have twice appeared in books published by Nicky Hager.

I have considered quitting politics because of the fear of surveillance.

I’ve had spies put into my business to steal documents.

So pardon me if I have trouble reading the above without getting a bit angry.

I think that’s a reasonable reaction. Farrar  has also tried to influence elections, but I’m not aware of him using illegally obtained communications to do that.

Hager generally seems to be reasonably intelligent, but it almost seems as if he doesn’t see the contradictions in what he says and does.

 

Hager at Williams v Craig

Dirty Politics author Nicky Hager gave evidence unwillingly in the defamation case between Jordan Williams and Colin Craig.

In the days leading up to this there was some PR positioning on Twitter, led by Matthew Hooton.

You know that was not true and the subpoena is pure PR.

I know first hand that: (1) it is true, (2) the subpoena is not just PR, & (3) you are spreading misinformation.

Geiringer has represented Hager. There was a lot more twittering over this.

This was clarified when Hager appeared in court yesterday – NZH: Colin Craig defamation trial: ‘Dirty Politics’ author Nicky Hager takes the stand

Hager originally agreed to give evidence for Craig but once the trial started he changed his mind.

“When the court case started it looked to be very personal and tawdry,” he explained.

“I did not want to be part of it anymore.”

He wrote to Craig’s’ lawyers and informed them of this, and in return was sent a subpoena ordering him to appear as a witness.

“Now, here I am,” he said.

There he was, for a short time. He read his statement and wasn’t cross examined.

Stuff summed up in Former Conservative board chair denies Colin Craig harassment allegations:

Hager gave evidence about the relationship between political blogs and the mainstream news media, and the media’s tendency to pick up stories of major political scandals broken by those blogs. 

He said Taxpayers Union founder Jordan Williams would “certainly have known” that Craig’s poem Two of Us would become a national news story after Williams leaked it to Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater.

“Mr Williams would certainly have known it would be picked up and publicised in mainstream media.”

Hager gave evidence to the influence Whale Oil had, making reference to the blog breaking the story of Auckland mayor Len Brown’s affair. 

At the Herald link  Colin Craig defamation trial: ‘Dirty Politics’ author Nicky Hager takes the stand there is video of much of Hager’s statement.

So Hager told the jury what is already widely known about Whale Oil and Dirty Politics. Craig’s defence team obviously thought it was important enough to get him up to Auckland to read for ten minutes.

But it didn’t end there, with both sides of argument claiming victory on Twitter on whether Hager volunteered to appear or not, with Hooton leading the storm.

There’s been a lot of side shows and interrelated issues and agendas surrounding this tawdry case.

 

The concept of left wing balance

Early last week Radio New Zealand teamed up with Nicky Hager to reveal not very much about New Zealand’s involvement in the Panama papers.

The Standard had a number of posts as a result, including:

Sprung! New Panama Papers dump confirm NZ is a tax haven

A new release of Panama papers absolutely confirms New Zealand is a tax haven says Nicky Hager. And ironically, it is because of New Zealand’s squeaky clean reputation that tens of thousands of foreigners have come flooding here.
Rather than actually dealing with the issue, John Key is using his old classics “nothing to see here” coupled with “Labour did it too”, “nicky hager is a conspiracy nut”, and “wait for the (Shewan) whitewash enquiry” defenses.

John Key chickens out of #panamapapers interview

The Radio New Zealand TV One Nicky Hager release of analysis of the Panama Papers is underway and the media response is fascinating.

First up John Key pulled out of his regular Radio New Zealand interview after learning what he was to be questioned about. He attended all other media invitations. One wonders why. Perhaps National needs the PR advice to try and work out how to respond.

Radio NZ working with Nicky Hager on a major story (ok, on a minor story in a major way) seems to be fine.

The second of those was by MickySavage. Yesterday he posted:

Matthew Hooton and the Radio New Zealand post

Radio New Zealand recently published a piece penned by well known supporter of the right Matthew Hooton.  What has happened to the concept of balance?

This tweet caused me some surprise when I first saw it.  I respect the quality of Radio New Zealand’s reporters and its commitment to the concept of quality journalism.  But I scratched my head when I saw this tweet because the conclusion seemed completely overblown and so un Radio New Zealand like.

What was really weird was that the post was written not by a staff member but by that well known commentator for the right Matthew Hooton.

I was astounded by this.  Isn’t Radio New Zealand meant to provide “innovative, comprehensive, and independent broadcasting services of a high standard”?  How could Hooton’s views be considered to be independent?

Hager is not an RNZ staff member. He is well known as a left leaning political activist.

Why are his views accepted as independent and balanced while it is ‘astounding’ that Hooton’s opinion is allowed on public radio airwaves?

Hooton’s article was ideologically driven and contained clear bias.  And it was completely lacking in detail or analysis.

Many people saw the RNZ/Hager coverage of the Panama papers in a similar light.

But getting back to Hooton’s column why did Radio New Zealand agree to it being published?  Did the arrangement to report on the issue with Nicky Hager upset the right that much that they demanded a patsy piece in the interests of “balance”?

So including a different opinion from Hooton is somehow a right wing conspiracy of public radio coercion, but collaborating with Hager is beyond reproach?

A rule from Presland farm:

Media balance is essential but some balance is more essential than those bloody righties being allowed to say something too.

It’s worth noting that Hooton was given a permanent ban from The Standard last week. Their sort of balance?

Hager: “If it was Rawshark it would be prison”

Newshub reports that Nicky Hager questions ‘Slater sentence’ – in fact Slater wasn’t sentenced, he accepted his guilt as a condition of choosing the diversion that was offered to him. But Hager doesn’t call it  sentence.

Investigative journalist Nicky Hager is questioning the punishment handed down to “Whaleoil” blogger Cameron Slater over his involvement in the plot to hack a political website.

Mr Hager doubts the unknown hacker ‘Rawshark’ who supplied information for his book “Dirty Politics” would be given the same treatment.

“If Rawshark gets caught, I don’t think that Rawshark will get diversion and 40 hours of community service. I think that even though that person did a noble thing in my opinion, they’d quite likely go to prison.”

But the two offences are hardly comparable.

Slater paid Rachinger to hack The Standard (that’s what Slater admitted to in court despite claiming differently since then). But there was no hack. There was no use of illegally obtained data.

And even if it had been successful revealing that Labour had some contact with The Standard would have surprised few and caused no more than some minor embarrassment.

Note that Lynn Prentice and Andrew Little both strongly deny allegations of a direct financial or author relationsip between the Labour Party and The Standard.

In comparison ‘Rawshark’ obtained a a large amount of data from the hacking of Slater, and this was used by Hager to right a book and the book and associated campaigns were used to try and significantly influence the 2014 election.

So both the scale and the success where vastly different.

So if Rawshark is identified, charged and convicted I would expect their sentence to be different to Slater’s diversion.

But now that it has been revealed that Slater got diversion that would make any possible trial and sentence of Rawshark very contentious.

Regarding severity it’s also worth considering what could have happened had Rachinger successfully hacked Prentice and obtained say a large amount of both Standard data and Prentice’s private data?

Slater has a record of seriously misusing data he has obtained, like from the Labour party website and from the hard drive of Matthew Blomfield data. But he hasn’t been charged for either (although Blomfield is taking civil/defamation action against Slater).

Geiringer on Slater’s diversion

Felix Geiringer @BarristerNZ

  1.  Before offering diversion, the Police MUST consult the victim. In this case they did not even tell the victim there had been an arrest.
  2. Reparation is one of the two primary purposes of the scheme. In this case, Slater was not required to do anything by way of reparation.
  3. Diversion is generally only offered to first time offenders but http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10673417
  4. Diversion is only offered for minor offending. In Hager case, Manukau District Manager described offences under this section as serious.
  5. To qualify, Slater had to admit responsibility and show remorse. His media statement claims he has never done so and still does not.
  6. Diversion is “unlikely to be appropriate” where the “offender refuses to identify co-offenders”. Who was Slater’s mysterious “funder”?
  7. Diversion is “unlikely to be appropriate” where offender was the organiser. Eg, the offender was soliciting others to commit crime.

I’ve run out of steam. There are probably more.

Geiringer will be very familiar with the Hager case as he has represented Hager.

Panama papers investigation – “NZ a tax haven”

Nicky Hager says “What the Panama Papers show without any doubt at all, absolutely conclusively, is that New Zealand is functioning as a tax haven.”

That in itself may or may not be a serious issue for New Zealand. Any country can potentially be used in some way by someone as a tax haven.

It could be argued that Inland Revenue enables tax evasion because some people in New Zealand evade tax. Should we clamp down on the grey economy?

The key issue is whether New Zealand allows trusts that are out of the ordinary and what trusts are used for here can’t be used elsewhere.

Does New Zealand need to clamp down on trusts? Or are we just one option for rich people wanting to hide income and if we weren’t available they would simply do it somewhere else?

If the latter then it is an international issue and the motives for singling out New Zealand should be examined.

Nicky Hager has a reputation for politically loaded revelations so this will require substantial balanced analysis.

One News: Panama Papers investigation: ‘NZ absolutely, conclusively is a tax haven’

Tens of thousands of Panama Papers documents reveal how New Zealand, Niue, The Cook Islands and Samoa have become prime destinations for the rich to hide their financial secrets.

 The documents have been subject of an investigation by ONE News, in partnership with RNZ News and investigative journalist Nicky Hager.

Hager says: “What the Panama Papers show without any doubt at all, absolutely conclusively, is that New Zealand is functioning as a tax haven.”

It can be revealed that at the centre of the New Zealand operation is Roger Thompson, a former Inland Revenue worker.

His accountancy firm – Bentleys, in the heart of Auckland’s business district – is the New Zealand agent for Panama law firm Mossack Fonseca.

Mr Hager describes it as “an ordinary office in the middle of Queen Street where nobody would look and where it’s only inside the computer files and the filing cabinet that you would realise that that is the centre of all kinds of tax haven activity in our country”.

For $4000 this New Zealand agent creates trusts for wealthy foreigners who use New Zealand’s limited disclosure rules to stay anonymous, even to tax authorities.

An admin fee of almost $3000 a year will see Bentleys send a one-page form to Inland Revenue. It confirms foreign trust clients don’t need to pay any tax under New Zealand law.

Mr Hager says: “IRD never knows who the real people are who are behind these trusts. They never get to see the accounts. They never get to see what business they’re doing.”

The point has just been made on Breakfast that what is happening in New Zealand isn’t illegal.

Andrea Vance has fronted the One News investigation – working closely with Nicky Hager – and she made the point that it raised important moral questions that needed to be considered.

The investigation into the Panama Papers New Zealand is a journalistic collaboration by reporters from ONE News, RNZ News and investigative journalist Nicky Hager.

It may be difficult separating political activism from legitimate legal and financial issues.

So it needs to be properly thrashed out whether New Zealand should allow this legal activity (legal on the New Zealand trust side of things at least).

Also:

Radio NZ: