National’s Friday afternoon document dump of emails between the Henry enquiry and Parliamentary Services is a trove of information. John Armstrong describes the whole mess as “Govt betrayal on a monumental scale”.
Anyone planning to sort through the email evidence trail will find that a lot of the work has been done for them already by none other than Pete George. Although my personal advice to Pete would be to spend more time outside in the fresh air, I don’t think anyone could deny that he’s done a great job with these emails! There are extracts from two of his posts here, but go read both of them on his site (and maybe leave him a comment or two).
Update: It turns out that the first of these quoted posts, on the timeline, is not George’s work at all, it is from Scoop. Disappointing that George would repost that without attribution.
Monday 20 May 11:41am Henry Inquiry Administrator emails Parliamentary Service – were you able to locate remaining 10 or so phone records? On another matter, how long would it take for you to retrieve the content of emails if we requested them? If those emails were for Ministers, does that present any issues? 1:32pm Parliamentary Service replies to Henry Inquiry Administrator to say “it can be the same day if it is only a few or less. I believe we have the necessary approval for Ministers.” 2:25pm Henry Inquiry Administrator lodges formal request for all emails between Andrea Vance and Peter Dunne between 22 March and 9 April (dates provided in metadata rundown in email on 16 May at 3:24pm). Also emails between Andrea Vance and one staff member from each of Adams, Finlayson, Tolley, PM’s offices. 5:53pm Henry Inquiry Administrator emails Parliamentary Service and requests phone records for Ministers and staff extensions for contact to and from two “numbers of interest” (Andrea Vance’s landline and mobile). Also states “Please note, we do not want the call logs of the two numbers of interest. That is outside the parameters of our Inquiry.” 21 May 9:55am Parliamentary Service forwards email record request to a contractor allocated to this. Parliamentary Service then emails contractor to get idea of effort and ETA. 10:50am Parliamentary Service contractor sends email with attachment of emails records for Dunne/Vance and email records between four Ministerial staff/Vance to Parliamentary Service at 10:50am. 4:25pm Parliamentary Service sends email records file for Dunne/Vance emails and emails between four staff and Andrea Vance to Inquiry at 4:25pm. At 5:12pm Parliamentary Services emails Henry Inquiry Administratorwith a message to call urgently re email sent today and then sends a recall notice for email at 5:18pm. Email titled “DPMC Info Request”. 5:16pm At 5:16pm Parliamentary Service sends revised file with only email records between four Ministerial staff/Vance to Inquiry. Email titled: “Last part of info” Henry Inquiry Administrator deletes email titled “DPMC info requests” with Dunne/Vance email records from his email without opening file. Thursday 23 May 8:34am Henry Inquiry Administrator to Parliamentary Service re email title “last part of info” to say “as discussed we can’t open .pst documents” 9:30am Henry Inquiry Administrator emails Parliamentary Service saying Mr Henry discussed an issue with Ministerial Services and Prime Minister’s Chief of Staff but not Acting Head of Parliamentary Service. The upshot is that Acting Head of Parliamentary Service will be talking with Dunne’s office with the aim of getting the Minister’s permission to view the emails. Sunday 26 May 9:49pm Parliamentary Service emails Henry Inquiry Administrator – “if you have authorisation sorted, I can send you the files.”
The Henry inquiry requested email logs and contents relating to Peter Dunne and Andrea Vance. This information was sent to them. They claim to have been unable to open the email contents file.
But the email trail shows that these emails were requested and obtained before authorisation was even attempted – a week before non authorisation was acknowledged.
Still no permission, still requesting they work around the problem of email access.
Peter Dunne says “my approval was never sought – first I knew they had been accessed was when I met Henry for the first time on 23 May”.
The emails had already been requested and received.
A week after requesting the email contents, six days after sending the email contents, five days after first failing to open the email contents file, four days after continuing to work around the problem, an acknowledgement they don’t have authorisation.
This brings into question this claim:
About 40 minutes after the message was sent, Parliamentary Service officials tried to recall the email and asked the inquiry to call urgently.
The head of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet Andrew Kibblewhite said the file was deleted immediately and could not have been opened because the email system was incompatible with that used by DPMC.
Sent on Tuesday morning, advise they can’t open on Wednesday morning, asked to continue trying to work around the access issue on Thursday morning.
Good work Pete George. Now someone needs to cross-reference these timelines with all the official statements and denials. We can get this started in comments…