Bridges and National keep digging further on Leakgate

Written By: - Date published: 12:51 pm, August 26th, 2018 - 64 comments
Categories: labour, Media, national, same old national, Simon Bridges, spin, the praiseworthy and the pitiful, trevor mallard, you couldn't make this shit up - Tags: , , , ,

I have been following this story with some interest.

The original story, that Simon Bridges had spent heaps of money on his tour of the country so that he could meet and greet ordinary kiwis was almost laughable. How could he not understand how bad it would look?

The splash of information was funny. Of course the left used it. National’s born to rule inclinations were to the fore again.  But the information was going to come out a couple of days later. It was no big deal.

But the muscular testosterone full response ever since has been pretty weird.

Like the decision to call for an inquiry that was going to cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to find out who leaked information about a limo and hotel spend of hundreds of thousands of dollars a couple of days earlier.

Then there was the finger pointing. National blamed Labour without a shred of evidence.  And to call their bluff Mallard offered and then ordered a full blown inquiry.

Then we had Friday’s news suggesting that the leak had to be from within National’s ranks.  Either that or someone was running a pretty way out false flag operation.

But the texts and the disclosure of the issues to Bridges, Mallard and to O’Brien happened 8 days ago. So how did each of them handle the disclosure?

Well on Monday the 20th Bridges said he was confident that it was not any of his MPs. He also said that we had a Government that was trying to distract although to be fair he may have been talking about his dispute with New Zealand First. Of course he did not intend to create confusion by merging together comment about two different matters at the one time …

And remember this comment was made the day after the Police had told him they had identified who the sender of the texts was.

No wonder Politicians are held in such low regard. Because when you consider what Radio New Zealand came out with on Friday you wonder about how rubbery the words are that Simon uses.

Just to recap:

Sources have told RNZ Mr Bridges and the Speaker Trevor Mallard both received an anonymous text message last week from a person claiming to be responsible for leaking the information to Newshub.

The author of the text warned they suffered from mental health problems in the past and said being exposed publicly could push them over the edge and put their life at risk.

The appeal came after Mr Mallard launched an inquiry into who leaked the expenses and promised to name and shame the person responsible.

The text, which RNZ has not seen, detailed a number of conversations and pieces of information from National caucus meetings over a period of weeks in an attempt to prove the author was a National MP.

In the message, the author said they had leaked the expenses because they disagreed with Mr Bridges’ leadership style, describing him as “arrogant”, and wanted him to be held to account for his spending of taxpayers’ money.

Of course the news was incendiary. National’s attempt to blame Labour and the public service was shown to be a whole load of kaka. And National had a certifiable leaker, maybe two.

After the news was released there were interesting developments.

Simon Bridges gave a stand up. He went from we have to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to find out who did it to the police know who sent the text to him and probably did the original leak and he did not want to know. As if.

We had the dance of a hundred veils. He had not questioned his caucus about it.  Although no doubt others had. But his conclusion was clear:

The text made clear to me that it was from the leaker … [and that] the leaker was in the National caucus.”

Then we had to put up with more politics. I can tell you that it is pretty clear to me and a few others who the leaker is. I support leaving them in peace.

Trevor Mallard agreed. He decided to call the inquiry off on the basis that it was an internal National Party issue.

But they could not abide by this. From Lucy Bennett at the Herald:

National has criticised Parliament’s Speaker Trevor Mallard for pulling the pin on an inquiry into who leaked details of leader Simon Bridges’ expenses to the media.

Bridges and Mallard have both expressed concern for the mental health of the leaker who sent a text message last week to both and to a media outlet asking them not to pursue the inquiry because of the impact it would have on their mental health.

National MP Gerry Brownlee, who is shadow leader of the House, questioned what had changed in the 24 hours between Mallard yesterday announcing the appointment of Michael Heron QC to lead the inquiry, and today’s decision to discontinue it.

“The Speaker … was happy to appoint Mike Heron but today it’s all off because he’s decided that all the guilt lies with our caucus. That’s a pretty unacceptable position for a Speaker to put themselves in,” Brownlee told the Herald.

“Clearly there is a duty to find that person. I think he’s obfuscating his duty as a Speaker, quite frankly, if it turns out to be a staffer, [Mallard] is the head of the Parliamentary Service and he has a duty of care to every person who works in that place, and he’s walking away from that.”

National rejected Mallard’s assertion that the leak could only have come from within the National Party.

“While that is possible, that is not his decision to make nor can he categorically make it based on the evidence,” Brownlee said.

“The facts have not changed following publication of parts of the text message and the Speaker has no new information than when he announced the appointment of a QC to lead the inquiry yesterday.”

National would continue to search for the person who leaked the information ahead of its publication to both ensure their wellbeing and to protect the integrity of the role of the Opposition, he said.

How a Parliamentary Services staffer as opposed to a National Party staffer could have been at the caucus meetings is not explained.

Can someone reconcile Bridges’ statement with Brownlee’s statement? And do National really want the investigation to continue?  Can’t they just decide?  Either they are sympathetic to someone having personal issues or it is all Labour’s fault.  Both don’t work.

And WTF Brownlee.  Why continue with the political games.  If someone is vulnerable how about all politicians decide to shut up about the issue and agree to forgo the seeking of political advantage.

Tova O’Brien was scathing about National’s behaviour.

I was sent the same text message Simon Bridges and Trevor Mallard were sent last week by the leaker of Bridges’ expenses.

It was desperate and devastating – a clear plea for help.

The inquiry was called because there was concern about a leak from within the parliamentary system – a weakness which could undermine the sanctity of the parliament and therefore our democracy.

The leaker’s message was simple, in their words:

“There is no security breach in the parliament or problem to be fixed in the system.”

They wanted the inquiry called off:

“Just say you know there is no security breach”.

They shared anecdotes from National Party caucus meetings that only National Party MPs would know in an attempt to prove that they’re an MP, and that the leak shouldn’t be dealt with at a Parliamentary level overseen by a Queen’s Counsel or High Court judge.

This is a National Party issue that should be dealt with by the National Party. As the Speaker just made clear by calling off the inquiry.

Bridges should have got in before Trevor Mallard and requested the inquiry be called off himself.

Having received that same text as Simon Bridges I was surprised that he not only chose to push on with the witch hunt, but suggested the person should be named and even called into question whether the message was genuine.

Some of the media comment has been weird.  Bryce Edwards thinks that having a leaker in Caucus and demanding a very expensive inquiry over not very much is an advantage for Bridges.

Stacey Kirk thinks the investigation should continue and that it was more probable than not that the leaker came from within National’s ranks.  How about 99% more likely?  And how about since the Speaker’s office is no longer realistically implicated in the leak the expense is not justified?

Tracy Watkins had an even more bizarre take on the issue:

Except Stuff has been told the text was by no means incontrovertible evidence of an inside job – and while some of the information supplied by the texter could suggest they were a National MP, that information could also have been picked up or deduced by a wider circle of people, including staff.

We have not been shown the text, so there is no way of verifying that.

But Bridges has now been left in the worst of all worlds.

Having called for an inquiry, he was obliged to stick to his guns on the issue, even after it appeared that he might not like the answer should it turn out to be a National MP.

That would have suggested a concerted campaign to destabilise his leadership.

But having now been informed by police that the person concerned has mental health issues, Bridges has no way of knowing for sure whether that might be one of his MPs, a staff member, or even someone from the Speaker’s office.

An inquiry might have allowed Parliament to find that person and put support around them if necessary. Alternatively, it might have found that the text was a smokescreen.

So let me get this straight, staff from the Speaker’s Office attend National caucus meetings?  And accepting National sourced spin on texts you have not seen?

The Herald has been more staunch on the issue.  Audrey Young correctly asked why Bridges would call for an inquiry when he did not know how it would end up.  Any experienced court lawyer will tell you that you never ask a question you do not know the answer to.

An editorial summed up the situation perfectly:

Thus an investigation that started over a triviality may leave the country wondering which National MP might have a serious mental health problem. This is what can happen when a leader over-reacts to a slight. The consequences can be worse than the offence.

The best advice I can give to National is stop digging.  Put this particular episode to rest.  And hope that its caucus rifts are repaired.  And that its caucus members are well.

64 comments on “Bridges and National keep digging further on Leakgate ”

  1. Carolyn_Nth 1

    The Herald is mis-reporting what Bridges said here, by its omissions:

    The text made clear to me that it was from the leaker … [and that] the leaker was in the National caucus.”

    This is what Bridges said in the video accompanying the NZ Herald article:

    The text made clear to me that it was from the leaker. The text stated that the leaker was in the National caucus.”

    In that stand-up, Bridges went on to say he didn’t know if the leaker was a NatMP. Bridges slipperiness here is also questionable, as you state in the post, Micky. How could the leaker have repeated details from the Nat caucus, without being a Nat MP?

    But at no point does Bridges accept the claim that the leaker is a Nat MP.
    Also, as you say Micky, Bridges is contradicting his earlier desire to find out who the leaker is.

    • mickysavage 1.1

      Thanks Carolyn_Nth. I took the Herald comment at face value. I watched some of the interview as it was happening and struggled to make sense of what was being said. Bridges was all over the place on it, trying to sound sympathetic but never ruling out continuation of the investigation.

      I did presume the Herald would have got this correct.

      I can’t otherwise reconcile Bridges statement. Is he really saying that the textor knew all of the caucus discussions but was not a National MP or staffer?

      If he is actually concerned about the leaker’s mental health he would not be playing these word games.

      • Carolyn_Nth 1.1.1

        Bridges and Brownlee seem to have decided to go with the line that they didn’t accept the leaker’s claim that it was a caucus inside job.

        Lucy Bennett is muddying the waters in a couple of ways. She said:

        Bridges and Mallard have both expressed concern for the mental health of the leaker who sent a text message last week to both and to a media outlet asking them not to pursue the inquiry because of the impact it would have on their mental health.

        I immediately thought she was referring to RNZ, who broke the story. And RNZ had stated they had not seen the original text. They said someone else told them pretty much what the contents were.

        Then you quote from O’Brien indicates Tova O’Brien was sent a copy of the original text, along with Bridges and Mallard.

        And she pretty much contradicts Bridges conclusions about it.

        O’Brien was the one who had got the original leak about the high spending by Bridges.

        So who leaked to RNZ the content of the text to Mallard, Bridges and O’Brien?

        • veutoviper 1.1.1.1

          Who is the second person who leaked the text from the original leaker?

          My understanding is that:

          1. The leaker originally leaked Bridges’ expenses to Tova O’Brien and that the way they did this has not been disclosed, but the format in which the expenses presented did not match the format (standard form) that they have to be and had been presented to the Clerk of the House and Parliamentary Services who are responsible for administration of MP travel and accommodation expenses.
          https://www.parliament.nz/en/mps-and-electorates/mps-expenses/

          2. The leaker then texted Bridges, Mallard and Tova O’Brien as per the post.

          3. Another person then “contacted” RNZ “…to reveal both Mr Bridges and the Speaker of the House, Trevor Mallard, received a text from an unidentified member of the National Party caucus, claiming to be the source of the original leak.”

          This quote is from a RNZ article at 8.33am on Friday, 24 Aug, written by Jane Patterson which details this contact with RNZ and is very careful in its language in not saying how this second person contacted them – nor when. This article was up before the RNZ link in the post above to an article by Jo Moir at 9.11am the same day which is a broader and slightly updated one from Patterson’s earlier one but again does not detail how the second person contacted RNZ.

          Patterson’s article. https://www.radionz.co.nz/news/political/364808/leak-saga-reveals-a-party-with-serious-internal-problems

          After revealing the contact by this second person, the article goes on to
          say

          “From what RNZ has been told, the texter included information about caucus conversations over several weeks to prove they were a National MP.

          That then brings us to the second leak, from a person concerned the inquiry is still going ahead despite that text.

          If they too are a National Party MP that presents a picture of a party with serious internal problems. ..”

          It then goes on to speculate on what the feelings of Nat MPs may be to the inquiry – and why some may not wish to be subject to it.

          This doesn’t give any clues as to whether the second person is indeed a Nat MP, and the field is really wide open as to who the second person may be. It could be a member of the leaker’s family, whanau, or staff: or someone else that the leaker has confided in who is connected or not connected to the Parliamentary precinct – or it could be the leaker themselves pretending to be someone else. SCREAM ….

  2. pete 2

    I read on Newsroom about a National Facebook ad:
    “National, which removed the post in July while the ASA considered the case said it “completely rejected” the complaint and had no intention of misleading the public.”

    https://www.newsroom.co.nz/2018/08/24/207197/national-facebook-ad-deemed-irresponsible

    So i read all that then come on here and read this story. Um, the National party has no intention of misleading the public?

  3. Chris 3

    Reading what the likes of Edwards, Watkins, Kirk et al say in their “opinions” confirms all the more why we shouldn’t give every reporter and their dog the opportunity to spray their thoughts all over the show. The media aren’t called the Fourth Estate for nothing. Why are we so intent on destroying ourselves?

  4. Anne 4

    ms, the last sentence in the second paragraph of the post is unfinished.

    According to Martyn Bradbury… In an update he is claiming the leaker was not an MP. Does that mean someone did it on an MP’s behalf?

    I’m getting mightily confused. 🙁

    [Thanks Anne I have tidied it up. I am pretty confident it is an MP – MS]

    • Anne 4.1

      Oh, I see from veutoviper’s detailed update there appears to have been a second leaker. Maybe that’s the one Martyn Bradbury was referring to, but he thought it was a reference to the first leaker. Urghhhhhhhhhhhh…

      • veutoviper 4.1.1

        I’ve found another complication/hiccup connected in a slightly less ‘persons involved’ sense that I will write up and post after the evening feeding round here is completed! LOL

  5. Chris T 5

    At the end of the day the only one wanting the inquiry stopped is Mallard.

    Wonder why

    • Carolyn_Nth 5.1

      Mallard is happy for the Nats to go ahead with their own inquiry.

      Tova O’Brien, who was the one originally contacted the leaker with the Bridges expenses story, is supporting the leaker’s call for an end to the inquiry – and O’Brien says the leaker must be a Nat MP, because of the contents of the text, which the leaker sent her.

      • Chris T 5.1.1

        Tova has been in National Caucus meetings?

        I think Tova might be more worried about her source being named

        • dukeofurl 5.1.1.1

          I dont think she knows the original source- The details was likely passed on from another gallery member or ex gallery like Paddy Gower or Duncan Garner.
          Tova Obrien is relatively new while the others go back years and would have trusted sources.
          Also this method allows the leaker to ‘categorically deny leaking [specifically] to Tova O’Brien’. Which out for those that use that exact wording.

          Soper also seems to ‘know too much’ without saying he got the leak too, so he could have passed it on as well, keeping his hands clean.

          The parliamentary gallery is far more Machiavellian that even Australian federal politics, so allways remember anything there is possible

          • veutoviper 5.1.1.1.1

            Check Tova’s background, Dukeofurl. She was around TV3 for years as a political reporter often on the news with Garner and Gower before spending some years as their person in Europe. She is no low level new political reporter.

            • dukeofurl 5.1.1.1.1.1

              Well she is still less ‘senority’ than people like Campbell, Garner, Gower.

              “Tova is Newshub’s Political Editor. She has been with the Newshub team since 2007, mostly based in Wellington but also working in Auckland as a producer for both news and foreign content.”

              There was time in Europe as well so only came back to main gallery job in ‘May 2018 she returned to Wellington to become Newshub’s Political Editor.

              In my view by Tova not being the original source makes deniability a lot easier and as the new head of Newshub political reporter she gets the scoop.

              I dont have the link now but read many many years back on how the politics of leaks worked and the bylines werent all that you would think.

        • veutoviper 5.1.1.2

          Where does Carolyn or Tova suggest that Tova has been in Nat caucus meetings? Stop trying to divert.

    • veutoviper 5.2

      Costs of the QC inquiry which could well exceed the Bridges travel etc costs that this whole debacle has been about in the first place.

      This would have come out of the Speaker’s/Parliamentary Service budgets if Mallard went ahead. If Nats do their own, they can find the money in their own budgets or from donations etc to the Party.

      • dukeofurl 5.2.1

        National wants its cake and eat as well. To them only a problem when others do it

        1)Marks is being extravagant in using Airforce helicopters to travel to military bases

        2)Bridges limo travel is only using services that are paid for anyway and the cost is shuffling money from one department to another

    • Roy cartland 5.3

      You would wonder.

      Although a total boofhead in opposition and govo, as speaker Trev is pretty solid.

      Has it occurred to you that he doesn’t want mud on his hands if the “mental health” aspect ask blows up? If shit goes down, I mean way down, Gerry, Simon, all the blood-lusts will appear cruel.

      He’s called it off to give the nats enough rope. Whatever else, he ain’t silly.

      • veutoviper 5.3.1

        Good points, and in fact consistent with the approach Mallard took initially when he stated that he was giving it 24 hours before making any decisions on what action to take, if any.

    • Dennis Frank 5.4

      I presume he pulled his inquiry when it became clear to him that the leaking couldn’t have come from Parliamentary Services. Isn’t that in his domain of responsibility?

      He did also cite the safety of the leaker who self-identified as being vulnerable to the stress due to a mental-health condition. I commented the day before yesterday (52,52.1) on how his concern seemed to contradict the police assurance to Bridges that the leaker was not in an unsafe state.

      “It has now been confirmed to me that the person who leaked the details of the expenses and the texter are the same person. He or she has details of events that it is unlikely anyone outside the National Party would be privy to,” Mr Mallard said. “The text is from someone who is clearly very disturbed and today’s publicity will almost certainly make that worse. My priority is to get appropriate support to them whether they are an MP or a staff member.” [https://www.radionz.co.nz/news/political/364834/speaker-calls-off-bridges-expenses-inquiry]

  6. Dean Reynolds 6

    This is the tipping point for Bridges & the Nats. I’m predicting that the next lot of polls will have the Nats below 39%, leading to Brides being challenged for the leadership because of his incredibly inept handling of this issue

    This challenge will expose the deep fault lines in the Nat caucus & then it’s all on – they’ll be down to 33% (& falling) approval by December

    A judgement of Biblical proportions – ‘those who sow the wind, reap the whirl wind’ & by god, these arseholes deserve to be out of office for years

    • Chris T 6.1

      Lol

      Good luck with that

    • Dennis Frank 6.2

      Too soon. Depends how they handle it from here, who the leaker is, and whether they are staffer or MP. Nats will have already narrowed the possibilities down to a few contenders – on the basis of known mental-health issues.

      But maybe the leaker was flying a kite rather than telling the truth! If so, it was a devious ploy that worked well. Machiavelli would’ve flown a kite like that to eliminate a rival leadership contender (as per RG the other day). If they get a confession, the sweep it under the carpet reflex will bury the problem. If not, suspicion will remain rife within the Nats & we can expect a corrosive effect to embed.

  7. Kat 7

    The police are reported as knowing the identity of the texter/leaker, one would imagine Mallard knows as well and that is why he called the inquiry off. Its either someone in the Nat camp or not. Given the information made public at hand it appears it is.

    Mallard has clearly indicated it is an issue for National to sort.

    Two questions, why would Mallard want to put his reputation and position as speaker at risk by being involved in skullduggery that National accuse him of and what has National to gain from this “Leakgate” continuing to breath oxygen.

    • veutoviper 7.1

      I doubt that he knows the identity of the texter/leaker because the Police would be in deep shit if they had revealed the name in the circumstances under the Privacy Act.

      However, it has crossed my mind that if he had asked some careful questions of the Police, then he may have been able to rule out people other than those in the NAT camp (MPs, staff) – in other words rule out MPs other than National ones, staff in his own office, Parliamentary Service etc. – for example, by asking the Police whether he could rule out the person being any of those other categories.

      • Chris T 7.1.1

        Pretty hard to rule out Parliamentary services unless he is clairvoyant

        • veutoviper 7.1.1.1

          BS if he had asked the right questions which I believe he is quite capable of doing. It is not so much the wording of the answers, it is the unsaid things implied by body language, wording used etc that is far more important/indicative in such situations than the actual denial, wording used in the answer.

          • Chris T 7.1.1.1.1

            So now Mallard is an expert in body language

            It’s an independent inquiry.

            If he had interviewed the staff he would have been breaking the rules

      • McFlock 7.1.2

        I don’t think they should/would have offered even that much.

        I once had to call the cops because a friend was in distress. They tracked him down. Comms called back and said he was not in danger. No further information.

        Basically, the texter offered enough info on caucus meetings that only a nat could know it, and if it was fabricated then Bridges could go “ha! that’s not true, it’s probably not a nat!”

        The lack of denials about the extra information the texter gave suggests that the information was correct, and could only have been known by a nat, therefore it’s an internal nat issue.

      • Kat 7.1.3

        Mallard called off the inquiry because it was “an internal National party issue” not because it was anyway connected with “mental health” issues. That is a clear signal Mallard knows where the leak came from. Its just the commentators want blood and the person(s) involved put in the stocks. Bridges will be wishing he never opened his mouth.

        • Chris T 7.1.3.1

          Why

          If that were the case why would he still be demanding it when Mallard has given him the perfect out?

          Sorry but your logic is flawed

          • McFlock 7.1.3.1.1

            What’s the “out” that Mallard gave Bridges?

            The last thing Bridges needs is for it to be confirmed that the leaker came from within National – he needs to at least vaguely look like caucus is unified behind him.

            So if Bridges stops asking for an investigation, it looks like he admits he has internal strife.
            If he launches his own investigation or Mallard does one, Bridges really needs all nats to be exonerated (not gonna happen is my bet).
            So Bridges only course of action is to demand Mallard launch an investigation, and pray that Mallard doesn’t call his bluff again.

            And Bridges managed to put himself in this position.

            • Chris T 7.1.3.1.1.1

              That is a stretch

              Have you heard of the old adage that sometimes the most obvious answer is the right one?

              Ie He still doesn’t think it is a nat and wants it to carry on

              Fits a lot easier than triple bluffs and conspiracy

              • McFlock

                In that case he can investigate the nats’ end himself, come up with no results whatsoever, and kick it back to Mallard.

                But he prefers to do nothing and moan. So is he a do-nothing leader, or is he purposefully dragging his feet?

                • Chris T

                  At which time Mallard would say he won’t open it

                  • McFlock

                    If there’s no evidence a nat did it, then Mallard will need to exonerate his own office.

                    At the moment, Bridges is refusing to clean his own house when it looks like the smell is coming from there. But if the nat house is clean, then the smell must be coming from Mallard’s house.

                    At which point the nats can formally complain to whomever about leaks coming from the Speaker’s office. Privileges? Who does one complain to about the speaker?

            • veutoviper 7.1.3.1.1.2

              +1

  8. AsleepWhileWalking 8

    Nat’s handling this debacle the same way they managed in govt.

  9. Fayrestorm 9

    I’m curious about your position on the identity of the leaker – “I can tell you that it is pretty clear to me and a few others who the leaker is. I support leaving them in peace.” I’m struggling to think of a National MP (in the of course of their duties as an MP) who qualifies for such an empathetic response – or is this more a statement about bearing in mind that regardless of the leaker’s idenity, we’re all human and deserve some leeway and compassion when struggling?

  10. Chris T 10

    At least now we know that anyone can claim mental illness in a text and get off

    • Incognito 10.1

      Get off what?

      People with mental illness do call for help in irrational ways and when that cry for help is properly interpreted by the right person/people they may get the help they need. But it is long arduous way to recover from mental illness – some never fully recover even with professional help – and the scars (of the experience) stay forever with you, mostly on the inside …

  11. Philj 11

    This ‘news’ is more about the media justifying itself…It does sell copy and generate distrust by the public though. The MSM has a credibility issue.

    • Anne 11.1

      The MSM has a credibility issue.

      They’re all over the place on this issue. Some say it’s a Nat MP. Some say it isn’t. Some say it’s the death knell of Simon B. Some say it isn’t. Some say he shouldn’t have demanded an inquiry. Some say he should have. And so it goes on….

      And that silly HDPA is still signalling the possibility it was Labour wot did it. That’s why Mallard cancelled the inquiry.

  12. Robert Guyton 12

    I reckon three Nat MPs dunnit.

  13. veutoviper 13

    As I mentioned at 4.1.1 above, there is something else going on that is confusing the situation even further.

    Many reports etc on this ‘drama’ including this post, have suggested that another weird thing about the original leak of Bridges’ expenses is that the information was due to be released a few days later so no big deal. Many have also said that the information has been released.

    This is in fact not the case – ie that Bridges‘ expenses have been released. MPs’ expenses for the quarter 1 April – 30 June 2018 were released on 16 August 2018 being expenses incurred through the Parliamentary Service system for providing expenses to MPs.

    However, there are two systems at play in relation to MPs expenses – the Parliamentary Service system and the Ministerial Service system administered by the Department of Internal Affairs which covers expenses (travel, accommodation and credit cards etc) incurred by Ministers and Leaders/Co-Leaders of Parties including the Leader etc of the Opposition – and any other persons who may incur such expenses as a result of their relationship to Ministers of the Crown or Party Leaders etc.

    All of the latter expenses – including Simon Bridges’ quarterly expenses (01/04/2018 – 30/06/2018) as Leader of the National Party and Leader of the Opposition – are collated into separate quarterly accounts by the Dept of Internal Affairs and released separately to the Parliamentary Services MP expenses quarterly reports. Usually both sets of quarterly accounts are released at the same time, but for some reason the DIA Ministerial Services expense accounts were due to be released 12 days later this round – last Thursday, on 23 August 2018, not at the same time as the earlier 16 August 2018 MP expenses.

    BUT – there has been a glitch and the DIA Ministerial Services Ministers etc expense accounts were not released on Thursday. Instead DIA have had to delay release of this information for probably two weeks.
    https://www.dia.govt.nz/Ministers-expense-releases

    This has been reported on by only one or two media as below and many media seem to have missed it; and the connections etc have been lost in the drama of the other events.

    https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12112181

    http://www.newstalkzb.co.nz/news/politics/release-of-ministerial-expenses-delayed-due-to-oversight/

    Ohhhh dear ……………………

    • Anne 13.1

      This is due to a process oversight which occurred during the collation the current quarter’s data, and was identified by the Department of Internal Affairs yesterday, 22 August 2018, during our quality assurance, pre-publication verification process.

      A decision was made to postpone the publication so that a complete data set for the quarter is available. This will be completed with urgency, and we hope to be able to resolve this in the next two weeks. We apologise for any inconvenience.

      Yeah well, you know… in light of recent events, could this be gobbledygook as practiced by officialdom?

      • veutoviper 13.1.1

        As a long serving public servant now retired, I cannot possibly confirm or deny that, Anne! Lol. Seriously, there is obviously a problem of some sort and not just a typo or two.

        • McFlock 13.1.1.1

          I’ve only been in offices where publication was cancelled and redone at the final step once or twice, and while I can’t say for sure that people lost their jobs (it’s a supervision problem) one or two folk coincidentally got restructured out of a contract renewal.

          Although there was one dude who got hiffed a year or two after I left one place – thousands of copies were binned, advertisers refunded and the entire project permanently cancelled because the main coordinator had fucked it up irreparably. All the data had been anonymised but not unique Id’d at the collection level, so all the charts were randomised piles of garbage.
          Very hushed tones around the office with that one, apparently.

          • veutoviper 13.1.1.1.1

            I can imagine! Really big and expensive oops.

            I have been thinking overnight and now wonder whether a decision was made to hold off on release of these expenses to allow the inquiry headed by Heron time to get underway and/or in light of the leaker pleading mental health issues, The announcement re not releasing the expenses was the same day that Heron’s appointment was announced.

            OTOH The expenses may show something else that is likely to attract more media and public attention, eg high or unusual credit card expenditure. Or it may be as I first suggested, a boo boo only found at the last minute.

            • McFlock 13.1.1.1.1.1

              “A decision was made to postpone the publication so that a complete data set for the quarter is available.”
              Couple that with “process oversight”, someone screwed up.

              I suspect they either failed to get the data from a couple of offices, or maybe jumped the gun and requested the data “to date” just before the quarter was over.

  14. Ed 14

    “National Party leader Simon Bridges has lashed out at Parliament Speaker Trevor Mallard for cancelling an inquiry into the travel-expenses leak 24 hours after confirming it was going ahead, and suggested he had been influenced by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

    He said if Mallard or Ardern had any new information, they had a duty to share it with National.

    ….The criticism of Mallard is in itself a new twist in the saga that is likely to see Bridges at the very least forced to apologise to Mallard if not referred to the privileges committee.”

    https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12113976

  15. Kat 15

    Should be entertaining, at least, hearing Hoots backing up his boy Bridges on nine to noon tomorrow morning. The hole is getting dug deeper and a very tall ladder is going to be needed, no place for a rickety swing bridge.

    • Fireblade 15.1

      Hooton’s Twitter account/page was deleted on Friday morning. Is this relevant or just a coincidance? Did he say something he shouldn’t have?

  16. Ross 16

    If an MP has an extended leave of absence from Parliament over the coming weeks, it presumably will raise suspicion that they were the leaker. If a National MP resigns in the near future, that is likely to result in similar speculation. It also raises conjecture over at least one National MP, who has previously taken stress leave and who has dropped well down the National list rankings following Bridges’ appointment as leader. By not publicly identifying the leaker, suspicion will linger. I can’t see how that can possibly help National.

    • Sacha 16.1

      “It also raises conjecture over at least one National MP, who has previously taken stress leave”

      Tova O’Brien said it was a person whose mental health issues she was not previously aware of. That rules out the member for Nelson, you’d think.

  17. SPC 17

    Bridges continues to pretend it’s not someone in his own caucus while looking over their communications ….

    And everyone of those in caucus knows that he could find information he can then use against them if they do not support his leadership.

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