Friday, 12 September 2014

No Surpises There

Media and Used Car Salesmen

Phil Goff has been a Labour politician since Noah was a lad.  His party has been jumping up and down demanding that an inquiry be constituted to investigate "leaks" from the Security Intelligence Service (otherwise known as NZ Spooks Incorporated) to a right-wing blogger, Cameron Slater (otherwise known as the Enemy).  These events allegedly took place six years ago.

So Phil Goff, who was leader of the Opposition at the time, and who, consequently, received regular briefings from the SIS upon any clear and present dangers to New Zealand, has been summoned to appear under oath.  The back story is this: Goff was briefed on a possible threat to NZ security, which he subsequently denied ever knowing about.  Clever Cameron Slater, smelling a malodorous dead rat, put in an official information request to the SIS, to secure the contents of the briefing.  This material would eventually expose Phil Goff in a deliberate lie. 

Phil Goff, huffing and puffing with indignant sanctimony, wanted to know why the SIS "colluded" with a private blogger by releasing information under the Official Information Act.  Was there a deeper and darker conspiracy between the Prime Minister's office--which is ultimately responsible for the SIS--to discredit Goff, using the services of Slater?  Now, Goff, under oath, has been caught out once again.  No Right Turn, a left-wing blog, has reported:

Phil Goff was interviewed by the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security today, and in the process admitted on oath to unlawfully delaying an OIA request:

When I spoke to the Director of the SIS who phoned me suggesting he intended to release the documents immediately, he was coy about whether he knew of the identity of the Mr Slater who had requested the documents sought under the OIA. He then acknowledged that he did know who Cameron Slater was. The documents were to be released immediately until I challenged why the SIS was acting in the way he proposed. He at that point suggested he would delay the release for a number of days.

So, just to be clear, Goff didn't like the identity of the requester, so he demanded a delay. And Tucker gave it to him. That is unlawful. The OIA is clear: a response must be made "as soon as reasonably practicable". The information clearly could have been released immediately, so it should have been. Goff (and Tucker) has behaved unlawfully by having it delayed.

Still, Goff's frankness is illuminating: he believes, contrary to law, that not liking the identity of the requester is a reason for delaying a response. Which shows perfectly why he is unfit to hold office and should never be allowed to control an OIA process ever again.
So, the story so far: Goff lied to the public about not knowing something he very well knew.  He blamed the SIS for not telling him.  Now, it emerges that when he learned that Cameron Slater, a hated right-wing blogger was about to expose his deceit, pressured the SIS to delay releasing the information.  The Director of the SIS complied--with his illegal request.

So, Leader of the Opposition, Phil Goff pressured the Security Intelligence Agency to break the law.  In all the brouhaha over Cameron Slater and leaks and dirty politics, this is the first H-bomb.  Goff should be hounded out of Parliament in disgrace. 

But the media has mentioned not a word in the last 48 hours.  It is a left-wing blogger who has called it, thus acting with integrity.  The media are too bent on a faux scandal that they fail to see the actual (now admitted) illegality before their faces.  Either that, or they have collectively concluded that Phil Goff is irrelevant.  Yesterday's man.  There are bigger fish to fry.  You know--if we managed to bring down a Prime Minister that would confirm our Very Great Importance.  But Phil Goff would barely merit attention.

By and large, the media in New Zealand are intellectually and morally bankrupt.  No surprises there.  We have very low expectations in their regard, and once again we have not been disappointed. 

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