Ardern bans government departments from using private investigator to surveil NZers

Written By: - Date published: 6:15 am, March 13th, 2018 - 31 comments
Categories: Abuse of power, democracy under attack, labour, Spying - Tags: , ,

Newshub,

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has banned all Government departments from using a firm of private investigators for spying.

It follows a Newshub investigation that found state-owned insurers Southern Response got the investigators from Thompson and Clark to snoop on victims of the Christchurch earthquake at the taxpayers’ expense.

Ms Ardern says this was “totally inappropriate” and other Government departments should not be using them.

“Absolutely not. In fact, we had a brief discussion amongst a few Ministers this morning, to make sure that none of their departments are engaging Thompson and Clark in the same way,” she explained.

“Their behaviour around spying and so on is totally inappropriate.”

The ban could be wide-ranging, with Newshub obtaining documents that show Thompson and Clark say they have a “significant client base… including Government Departments, State Owned Enterprises and Crown Research Institutes.”

Thompson and Clark has a controversial history – spying on protest groups for state-owned Solid Energy nearly 10 years ago.

Greenpeace CEO Russel Norman says Thompson and Clark are still at it – spying on the charity’s employees.

“Putting their own spies in activist groups, which I think most New Zealanders would find absolutely appalling that taxpayers’ money is being used for that purpose,” he said.

Public sector watchdog the State Services Commission has already ordered an inquiry into the Southern Response spying.

However, with Thompson and Clark saying they are so widely used across Government, it must be considering widening the net to find out what other departments have used them – and what for.

31 comments on “Ardern bans government departments from using private investigator to surveil NZers”

  1. Sanctuary 1

    Good job.

  2. AsleepWhileWalking 2

    Looking forward to the eventual disclosure on what other issues they were working on. I bet it’s explosive.

    • Sanctuary 2.1

      Labour should be beating the National party over the head with this. Instead, the PM is on the radio being grilled over a youth camp. Grrrrrrrrrrrr.

    • Cinny 2.2

      + 100%

    • patricia bremner 2.3

      1000%

    • Matthew Whitehead 2.4

      I’m looking forward to them dropping the case against Russel Norman (which is clearly intended to intimidate legitimate protest) they assembled with the help of these idiots, myself.

      • AsleepWhileWalking 2.4.1

        A useful step would be rendering any evidence gathered as inadmissible

        • Leonhart Hunt 2.4.1.1

          it should be, it would have been illegally gathered, no warrant. but some govt departments have been sneakly been given extraordinary powers, Msd for example (as I am familiar with them) can legally get 3rd party investigators to gather evidence included and not limited to surveillance, document’s (from both private and Govt department’s and search your home or any other residence/workplace related to any investigation’s, all without judge approval or oversight, whats scary about this is thier are pretty much no limits to this extraordinary power that the police don’t even have and very few limits to this, if you read the section 11 documentation https://www.msd.govt.nz/documents/about-msd-and-our-work/about-msd/legislation/code-of-conduct-section-11-ssa.pdf

          This pertained to document collection, Note that there is not time limit of obtainment information, if you ever received any assistance you fall under the section 11 legislation, forever.

  3. Chris T 3

    If this includes ACC then it is a bit stupid IMO

    • infused 3.1

      This. Fucking stupid.

    • weka 3.2

      Are you saying that the NZ govt *should allow ACC to use Thompson and Clark? Why?

      • Chris T 3.2.1

        Nah

        I just worded it badly I meant no investigating fraudulent ACC claims

        • Molly 3.2.1.1

          ACC are not covering legitimate claims at the moment. The likelihood of fraudulent claims being a problem would be fairly low.

          • Chris T 3.2.1.1.1

            Maybe

            Good job for retired police………who aren’t already working for the PIs freelance.

            • Molly 3.2.1.1.1.1

              Why are you so concerned about fraudulent ACC claims, Chris T?

              Do you have a reason to think they are so common, and that current claims processes would not pick up any anomalies?

    • Matthew Whitehead 3.3

      You mean in terms of investigating fraudulent claims?

      Not at all, just have them use an investigator that hasn’t shown they have ethical problems with their conduct.

      • Chris T 3.3.1

        Yeah sorry. Should have worded that better. She hasn’t said that though

        She has said no private investigators

        Which means no private investigators looking at fraudulent claims

        Which is incredibly stupid

        • dukeofurl 3.3.1.1

          Does that mean the government department can have its own ‘investigators’- like Winz does – but not hire contractors

          • Chris T 3.3.1.1.1

            Maybe

            Good job for retired police………who aren’t already working for the PIs freelance.

            • Michael 3.3.1.1.1.1

              Are you aware of the “Van Essen” litigation which exposed some aspects of ex-police investigating “fraudulent” ACC claims? Some dirty tricks played there on many vulnerable people. Lots of money meant for rehabilitation and compensation going into ex-cops’ pockets though. No prosecutions or convictions for ACC “fraud” because there never was any in the first place.

  4. Cinny 4

    Super proud of our PM for this news. Makes me wonder what has been going on over the last nine years.

    • patricia bremner 4.1

      Cinny they no doubt have people in the Labour Party, NZ First and Greens… especially the Greens. This has gone on since the first strikes, espionage.

  5. Draco T Bastard 5

    Probably time to put some serious regulation on what private investigators can actually do. A complete ban on spying on political groups seems necessary.

    • Carolyn_Nth 5.1

      There seems to have been a record of any activist groups that challenge the status quo coming under surveillance. And usually this is groups that lean more to the left.

      It really needs to stop.

    • Matthew Whitehead 5.2

      I’m a little bit uncomfortable about that, just because some of our political groups in New Zealand really do have extreme and violent ideologies, like the National Front.

      I would prefer that they need warrants before they can spy on political groups, and those warrants must show reasonable suspicion of violence. I would also say that those warrants should become public within five years of being granted, and all failed applications should be made public immediately, so that there’s an incentive to treat the investigation and warrant process seriously, and not to apply for warrants against groups that obviously don’t need them.

      I do want them able to spy on eliminationists, survivalists, etc, even if there’s a political dimension to their groups.

      • Draco T Bastard 5.2.1

        I would prefer that they need warrants before they can spy on political groups, and those warrants must show reasonable suspicion of violence.

        That would indicate that they’re committing and are being investigated for that and are not being investigated because of their politics as Greenpeace and the Greens have been. This is what we want.

  6. Philg 6

    Really Mathew?
    “I do want them able to spy on eliminationists, survivalists, etc, even if there’s a political dimension to their groups.”
    What about Mongrel Mob, Black Power Climate Activists, Anti/pro abortionists, fraudsters/bankers/lawyers/accountants, bad ass police folk, Polluting Dairy farmers etc etc? A slippery slope imo. What exactly, Mathew, doesn’t have a ‘political dimension’ to it?

    • AsleepWhileWalking 6.1

      The SAS/Echelon and Police cover this.

    • McFlock 6.2

      The requirement of a judicial warrant and information release after five years should be some grit on that slippery slope.

  7. timeforacupoftea 7

    This is good news for ACC claimants, no more private and unknown investigators snooping around private properties as has been done in the past.

    Now ACC will have to employ investigators in house, eventually a list of who’s who will be accumulated.

  8. cleangreen 8

    “Greenpeace CEO Russel Norman says Thompson and Clark are still at it – spying on the charity’s employees.

    “Putting their own spies in activist groups, which I think most New Zealanders would find absolutely appalling that taxpayers’ money is being used for that purpose,” he said.

    This is so true as we expected Labour to stop snooping on our citizens when they pledged a softer, gentler, caring, inclusive, Government so labour clean up your departmental systems now or face the wrath of the public.

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