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Have Winston’s rights of privacy been breached?

Written By: - Date published: 5:16 pm, August 7th, 2013 - 50 comments
Categories: john key, winston peters - Tags: ,

Hot on the heels of Peter Dunne’s privacy problems another MP claims to have had an attempt made to breach his rights of privacy.

As noted by Idiot Savant Winston Peters has made some startling claims in Parliament this afternoon.  He asked the Prime Minister if he was aware of any occasion where Key’s staff had sought or reviewed the phone records of a private citizen for reasons other than national security?  Key could not rule it out.  Then Peters in the general debate claimed that Police had wanted to access his phone records because someone wearing a New Zealand First T shirt had been seen outside the venue of the Teapot tape when the famous cuppa occurred.  This information is apparently contained in the information release about the teapot case that recently occurred.

Of major concern is that the file apparently records that Mr Key’s Chief of Staff Wayne Eagleson had been “kept in the loop” during the investigation.

The Herald reports Peters as saying:

There is information in a police file that says police would have to take Winston Peters’ phone records to lay charges and make a case against Bradley Ambrose … [m]y telephone records were going to be seized in an operation that was sparked by the Prime Minister’s office and monitored by the Prime Minister’s office.

This is not Zimbabwe. This is New Zealand.

This is yet another example where rights of privacy appear to have been trashed for the benefit of the Prime Minister.  New Zealand if you are not already you should be very afraid …

50 comments on “Have Winston’s rights of privacy been breached?”

  1. The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell 1

    You mean either:

    “Have Winston’s rights of privacy been breached?”; or

    “Has Winston’s right of privacy been breached?”

    [If you google “rights of privacy” the phrase appears in a number of places. Depends if there is an individual right or a number of associated rights that when grouped together can be considered to be “rights of privacy” – MS]

    • In Vino 1.1

      GF is right – agreement of verb!!

      [Right you both are and I have corrected – MS]

  2. insider 2

    Seems like careful use of the future conditional

    ]”my telephone records were going to be seized in an operation”

    were they?

  3. BLiP 3

    Early days, of course, but it certainly looks like Winson has a legitimate concern, and a question. Or two. It seems Winston is convinced by the documents he holds that the police were privvy to his telephone records. If that’s the case, did John Key sign a warrant to spy on Winston or did the police carry out spying without a warrant? If nothing else, why would John Key’s Chief of Staff, Wayne Eagelson, be “kept in the loop” regarding a police investigation that had nothing to do Mr Eagelson’s duties as a public servant?

    Meanwhile, John Key cannot understand why anyone would have any reason to be the slightest tiny bit concerned about him being in sole charge of our spying agencies. Unless, of course, John Key understands perfectly and is just lying. As usual.

    • karol 3.1

      Yes. It’s not certain at all that his right to privacy has been breached. Brent Edwards analysis on Checkpoint is worth listening to.

      [audio src="http://podcast.radionz.co.nz/ckpt/ckpt-20130807-1715-more_from_rnzs_political_editor-048.mp3" /]

      • mickysavage 3.1.1

        Thanks Karol. The papers will make interesting reading. And I phrased the article as a question rather than a statement …

      • wtl 3.1.2

        I think this analysis is missing the mark and doesn’t really address the issues raised by Peters. See my comment at 6 below.

  4. tc 4

    ‘This is not Zimbabwe. This is New Zealand’ but edging closer with every legislative and off the record behind closed door deal.

  5. Chooky 5

    +1 BLip @ tc

    …..Good performance from Winnie as usual….I doubt he will go into coalition with Key

    (.By the way the photo illustration heading this post does not do him justice)

  6. wtl 6

    You can listen to more detail from Peters in the following interview from Radio NZ:

    http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/checkpoint/audio/2564832/peters-says-tea-tape-investigators-wanted-his-phone-records

    In it, he asserts that the police must have wanted the phone records because they already knew about the occurrence of some specific phone calls (during which Peters was apparently alerted to the contents of the tape). This aspect is particularly troubling – how did the Police know this if they had not already seen the records? Peters could have been told of the tape contents by e-mail, word of mouth or any other such method. As Peters points out, the police would not make such an assumption unless they already had some knowledge of a phone call.

    In addition, he points out the the file he has seen makes repeated references to Eagleson being “kept in the loop” which is quite extraordinary as I cannot imagine any normal police investigation would have such a reference to the complainant being “kept in the loop”.

    • karol 6.1

      Well, I don’t think Peters’ comments in the interview enable any strong conclusions to be made. HE seems convinced the request for phone records, but he didn’t provide any explanation of hard evidence. He said the request for phone records was specific, but they don’t seem to have been specified by time period. It’s just that the police seemed to know Peters had found out about the content of the tapes via phone calls. The evidence Peters gives for that is that they were looking for phone records rather than email records, or contents of a letter.

      however, they could have found out about the phone calls by word of mouth – maybe not Peters’ mouth, but someone else’s.

      I will still wait to see what evidence turns up.

      Peters was a bit too vague.

      • wtl 6.1.1

        You are right, there is not enough evidence to really know one way or another. From what I can tell, Peters has a very limited file which is suggestive of something rather untoward going on, but the file itself does not provide details. From what I can gather:

        1) Peters had phone conversations with 2 people about the tape.
        2) Somehow the police knew they might need to get “phone records” of Peters to proceed with their case. They were specific about the need for phone records (although they never did actually ask for the records, possibly because the case never went to trial).
        3) Peters is adamant that the other participants of the phone calls would not have told the police.
        4) Therefore, Peters is suggesting that the police knew or were told about the phone records from some other source. He is implying that this source may be the Prime Minister’s office.

        If it is true that the Prime Minister’s office some how had access to Peter’s phone records, this is deeply disturbing. In saying that, I really cannot believe that Prime Minister’s office would have been stupid enough to do so AND leave a paper trail that they had done so.

        It is also extraordinary that there are multiple statements of Eagleson being “kept in the loop” regarding the investigation. If it really was just a normal procedure, they would not have needed to note that in the file (i.e. it would be implicit). These references suggest that they may have been actual political interference in the investigation, which is disturbing in itself, more so given that it occurred at election time and involved police executing searches on newsrooms.

        In any case, it seems that Peters is using publicity to ensure that the complete file is made available to him or made public. If they refuse to release the file now, it will look like they are covering something up.

        • yeshe 6.1.1.1

          wtl — “These references suggest that they may have been actual political interference in the investigation, which is disturbing in itself, more so given that it occurred at election time and involved police executing searches on newsrooms.”

          Of course there was political interference. Why on earth was there an investigation in the first place ? The very nature of it was 100% political — and all because bratboyKey was recorded in a public place to which he had invited media and only two weeks out from an election.

  7. leftriteleft 7

    30 seconds on TV1 News. What a crock of shit.

    We have to get rid of these Prestitutes.

    • Anne 7.1

      Thanks for that leftriteleft. I turned off at 6:25pm. Total crap! It coudn’t be clearer now…they are deliberately avoiding or playing down news coverage which is damaging to the NAct govt. It’s blatant and disgraceful. Despite Patrick Gower (who gives me the impression he might be at last learning a thing or two – I hope I don’t regret saying that) TV3 is now the superior news channel. What’s more they give us decent coverage of overseas news too which is almost non-existent on our parochial, mind numbingly infantile and egotistical TVNZ.

  8. ratesarerevolting 8

    Winston is a [snip – can’t you do better than that? MS]

    • Jilly Bee 8.1

      Go back to Whaleoil or Kiwiblog ratesarerevolting – no need to bring TS down to their common denominator.

      • Jilly Bee 8.1.1

        Thank you mickeysavage, sheesh I am no prude – but that description is not what is need on TS.

  9. vto 9

    ” He asked the Prime Minister if he was aware of any occasion where Key’s staff had sought or reviewed the phone records of a private citizen for reasons other than national security? Key could not rule it out. ”

    The fact Key can’t rule it out means, of course, that it has happened.

    Key has been running roughshod over pretty much every single law, regulation, norm, constitutional thingy, everything everything…

    And of course so has Collins – acting ultra vires, predetermined, dishonestly.

    Many in NZ wanted a business person to run the country – well, there you go, we have had one and looky at what’s happened… it has been run like a business. A money-trading business. A used car salesyard. A south Canterbury finance. A Fonterra. A Pike River…..

    …that is what NZ is being run like. Rules shat on, ignored and bent. Lies told to customers and suppliers. Rip shit and bust.

    Key should never ever get a knighthood.

    • Rhinocrates 9.1

      Key could not rule it out.

      Well isn’t that interesting?

      We could be heading towards New Zealand’s Watergate if things turn out well, or its Reichstag fire/fizzle if they don’t…

      Key should never ever get a knighthood.

      He will or he won’t. If he doesn’t, I’d pledge to eat my underpants, but it’s far too likely. If he does, it will speak volumes about the state of our former democracy when it’s far too late.

    • Anne 9.2

      Many in NZ wanted a business person to run the country – well, there you go, we have had one and looky at what’s happened… it has been run like a business. A money-trading business. A used car salesyard. A south Canterbury finance.

      A used car sales yard is the most appropriate description. You know, one of those places that sell second hand overseas cars with the speedometers wound back…

      Yes. I’m pissed off tonight. When you think about the Key/ Collins/ Bennett debacles and the despicable lying and bullying and what happens? The media pretty much ignores it all as though none of it is important. Nuff to make a maiden cry…

      • RedLogix 9.2.1

        Yes. That’s the bit that gets me Anne. If Labour had done anyone snippet of this it would have been the end of the world.

        But then again you have to remember that Helen signed that painting ….

        • Rhinocrates 9.2.1.1

          “You fuck one sheep and…”

          Sigh…

        • Anne 9.2.1.2

          But then again you have to remember that Helen signed that painting ….

          Oh of course, I forgot. I mean that was a really heinous crime wasn’t it. 🙄

    • toad 9.3

      Key should never ever get a knighthood.

      I’m hoping that at some stage something sticks that Key cannot slip away from and he gets a prison sentence rather than a knighthood.

      I recall well the Muldoon years with Piggy using the SIS and Police to victimise Springbok Tour protestors, and what is going on now is worse.

  10. karol 10

    ” He asked the Prime Minister if he was aware of any occasion where Key’s staff had sought or reviewed the phone records of a private citizen for reasons other than national security? Key could not rule it out. ”

    The fact Key can’t rule it out means, of course, that it has happened.

    Not necessarily, it was such a general question Key might just have been being cautious. It occurs at the end of Robertson’s primary question vid.

    It would have come as a surprise to Key. He might have been unclear what Peters was referring to but feeling Peters was trying to set a trap, wanted to go away and check. Since then Key has denied it happened, and the police have denied requesting the records.

    • vto 10.1

      “Since then Key has denied it happened, and the police have denied requesting the records.”

      And you believe both Key and the police?

      • karol 10.1.1

        Well, ultimately, I can only go on solid evidence of what has been said. Key tends to muddle his words and muddy the water rather than telling outright lies when put on the spot. I doubt the police would lie outright over such a matter.

        This is how RadioNZ is reporting the responses:

        Police said on Wednesday that Winston Peters’ name came up due to public statements he had made about knowledge of the contents of the tape. However, they say his records were not accessed – nor was there any application for a warrant to access those records.

        Prime Minister John Key described Mr Peters’ allegations as nonsense and it was entirely up to police how they conducted their investigation.

        Mr Key said a police complainant is generally kept informed on progress of their case – but any suggestion that his office influenced or was aware of the operational details of the investigation is offensive.

        The police seem pretty certain about what they did. Key is a bit more vague about it (without having his direct quotes) – it looks like he is being a bit vague about his role and talking in generalities rather than saying directly what he did or didn’t do.

        I think its necessary to have solid evidence before accusing anyone of lying – even slippery Key.

        • vto 10.1.1.1

          I can understand that approach in certain circumstances however in a joepublic capacity it is apparent that we have been kicked in the goolies too many times to go back, which is a crying shame. Imagine if we had a PM we could trust and who did not distort situations, or even, not be a compulsive liar? Wouldn’t that be something? Has there ever been one do you think?

        • chris 10.1.1.2

          “Mr Key said a police complainant is generally kept informed on progress of their case ” k

          that’s the bit I find interesting. If Police are keeping the complainant informed why on earth would Eggleson be “kept in the loop”?

      • David H 10.1.2

        I wouldn’t trust Key as far as I could spit against the wind in a Hurricane.

        The Police?? Unfortunately about the same. Totally untrustworthy. And their scandals keep coming, Planted evidence, Innocents in Jail for 20 years. etc etc

  11. Tigger 11

    Was the PM’s office kept in the loop. Simple question to Key in the House or an OIA.

    If the answer is yes then by who and why?

  12. Wayne 12

    Karol, This is surprisingly careful of you. Actually to be fair, you usually are, though I would have to say I sometims wonder if you have even read the GCSB Bill and the amendments, given some of the claims made of it. But in any event that is another matter, although I think Helen Clark brought some rationality back to the debate, unlike my former colleague Gehan who was writing in the Herald a couple of days ago.

    As I have said many times here, in these sorts of questions the PM, or any Minister, has to be careful in their reply, especially since it was a “ambush” question.

    For instance a straight “no” (even though the answerer thinks that is the situation) which is then contradicted is hugely embarrassing. Most commentators on this site would immediately say the PM is a psychopath and a liar (well most here already do anyway).

    • mickysavage 12.1

      So Wayne by this claim that Helen Clark “bought some rationality back to the debate” I presume you are referring to the suggestion that her comments supported the GCSB law changes.

      My understanding of Helen’s comments are:

      1. She always acted on legal advice when issuing approval to the GCSB to do anything.
      2. If there is the problem identified by the Kitteridge Report then a law change is justified.
      3. There is no way that she was approving the frankly grotesque increase in powers that is currently being given to the GCSB.

      Helen has always been very careful and diplomatic when she has talked about New Zealand’s situation. To interpret this diplomacy as support for what is frankly a totally unjustified increase in the state’s powers is insulting in the extreme.

      • vto 12.1.1

        Well said mickeysavage. I heard Helen Clark too and she was very careful to outline what you relayed there. However, you missed out the very important steps that she said would need to be attended to in ‘repairing’ an area of law as important as this one. These steps have been completely and utterly ignored by this bunch of cheap cowboys…

        skycity casino deal
        bain compensation
        ecan sacking
        gcsb laws
        dotcom spying
        laws for hollywood
        loans for mediaworks
        money for scf investors

        It is no wonder Fonterra runs such an abysmal operation – look who they look up to ffs

        • In Vino 12.1.1.1

          Agreed – Helen was always lucid, careful and logical. Unfortunately she lacked Key’s likeability (for those who could not appreciate her qualities). Key’s lucidity is limited to slick dodginess, as far as I have seen. His language is smoother but simpler, if with endearing and obfuscating faults.

          I wonder if we know all about the Fonterra thing yet, I have heard a whisper that it is almost impossible for this problem to have arisen only from a dirty pipe: the Hautapu factory may not be entirely at fault.

          To me the Fonterra issue is: was the problem kept unannounced for any commercial reasons?
          If so, then heads really should roll. But too soon to say?

          Sorry – I had forgotten all about poor old Winston..

    • idlegus 12.2

      no you are wrong, wi expected key to say “no” because if he was “aware of any occasion where Key’s staff had sought or reviewed the phone records of a private citizen for reasons other than national security” then i think any other answer is quite shocking. , & would want to know why they had sought the phone records of a private citizen for anything other than natioanl security.

  13. TruthSeeker 13

    Key’s denials mean nothing and my understanding is that at least one media outlet has the documents that Peters referenced in the House today. So we will soon get to see.

  14. tricledrown 14

    winston will play this like a very slow striptease

  15. burt 15

    If Peters has gone against most prior precedent and he’s actually got something that he doesn’t need parliamentary privilege to hang Key on his flat out denial then …. Ok – one proven liar proves another did it too. If Winston has any balls he will ask Key to hold up a big NO sign so he can humiliate him like he was humiliated himself.

    But putting that to one side, the big issue is Key coud get hung on this one… But I’m picking Winston is just being Winston.

  16. Tanz 16

    some people here can say whatever they want, others get told off for nought. Winston this, winnie that. The pollies are locking Kiiws out from debate and decisions, both on the left and the righ, a game Is being played.

    [lprent: Argue all you like. Someone is sure to disagree with you. The moderators usually don’t care.

    Just don’t do the types of *behaviors* that moderators notice. I will give a hint direct from the about/policy.

    Whining about how the site is run is a sure sign of someone who hasn’t read it. We watch people who think that they run the site. If they persist, they eventually get the Pete George effect – a bums rush to help them build their own site where they can set their own rules in their miniscule audience. ]

  17. xtasy 17

    This is a MUST watch space, and as I have observed Winston, he is a master of theatrics, and he is also a master of getting into media limelight. Yet he can always deliver stuff nobody expects, and his master piece was the “wine box” affair. So never forget that, he can deliver surprises. So it may well have something to it, but I would not rush to conclusions as yet.

    Good on Winnie though, keep the damned JK (not JFK) on his feet!

    • Tigger 17.1

      Now that it’s clear the PM’s office were in the loop more than an ordinary complainant there’s fire and not just smoke. JK’s ordinary bloke facade has slipped.

    • Chooky 17.2

      +1 xtasy

      Winston looks after the elderly ….maybe he should be worked on to extend his reach to the 800,000+ non voters that Labour has neglected …..and who didnt vote Labour last time …ie the natural labour voters who are not inspired by the right leaning Goff or Shearer to vote…..

      If Labour is so contemptuous of its voters ( that it cant put in Cunliffe as leader) maybe Winston can step into the breach and consolidate his position…by advocating for the unemployed and sickness beneficiaries….I think he already does to some extent ….by saying jobs for NZers before jobs for overseas immigrants

  18. Sable 18

    Have to start calling Keys the Richard Nixon of the southwestern pacific. The difference is Nixon was stood down and those who aided him in Watergate were arrested. What the hell is going on in this country and where is the Governor General in all this? About time Keys and co were brought to account….

    • Colonial Viper 18.1

      What the hell is going on in this country and where is the Governor General in all this?

      Is that the Governor General/ex-head of the GCSB?

  19. Tanz 19

    OK Iprent, thanks for clarifying that. I have bees in commenting here for a few years. Open debate from those on the right seems to be unwelcome. The left do not own politics in NZ, even if they think they should. lots of swearing and name calling here too,, Disagreeing with a post should be allowed. . thanks for the heads up though.

    • lprent 19.1

      Disagreeing with a post should be allowed.

      Disagreeing with the content of a post is not a problem. However targeting the author is not allowed. The site needs authors to write posts and a frequent tactic to dissuade them is to tie them down in personal conflicts. Repetition will get harsh bans and a some even harsher abuse from me if I see it. It allows me to protect both the authors and the site from an attack. I also run a policy of being quite vindictive against anyone who has been banned for it in the past.

      That accounts for more than 40% of all of the ban weeks we do on this site for obvious reasons. I consider that someone who is a fool enough to do that to authors on their own site is ipso facto far too stupid to participate in any kind of meaningful dialogue into the foreseeable future. Darwin award material.

      The next most common reason for weeks of ban is for those strange people who think that they can force their own rules on how this site is run and what it should write about. Mrs Grundy behaviour is a classic darwin award anywhere on the nets – the usual response is “if you don’t like it – then start your own and set your own rules there”. Usually they don’t (seem to be adverse to work), if they do then it drifts for a while and then dies, or it may carry on for years with a minimal audience.

      My personal response is to be as scathing as possible when I see people repeating that particular one. This is a good thing…

      After all a more diverse net is a better net. Like the classic anti and prescriptive political parties in the style of NZ First, the Conservatives, or RAM, we need places on the net for all people to go and comment (away from where I have to read them).

      Incidentally the third most prolific are people trying to do early diversions in a post on top-level comments. Not addressing the content of the post, but trying to make the post comments head off into a different topic is irritating to authors. It appears to have a marked increase coming up to an election. So I’ve been warning people a lot about that recently and started to warn by moving their comments to OpenMike. Sometime in the next month or so I will start escalating it. I’m thinking I’ll start with 2-4 week bans and then rapidly start escalating to bans until after the election. I’ve just been reading back to the last two elections and having a refresher on the tactics that have been used in the past.

      These three account for almost all of the bans handed out here over the last couple of years…

      Open debate from those on the right seems to be unwelcome.

      The moderators and I don’t care. We’ll usually just pile in with the rest of the people arguing iff we have time. Some of the most interesting discussions are triggered from comments by the right. However you’ll tend to notice that some of the regular commentators get somewhat acid at people who keep repeating the same mantra’s over and over again and attempting to divert (rather than deal with) or ignore responses pointing to flaws in their argument (Pete George is often a good example). If we wanted soundbites unthinkingly repeated endlessly then we’d be reading Whaleoil or listening to talkback radio.

      The swearing and name calling isn’t an actual problem for the moderators when moderating. This isn’t a childs forum. A good rule of political thumb is that if political debate isn’t heated then you should start taking bets on when the next social and political revolution will take place.

      However abuse without explaining the reasons for it is (in the policy as “pointless abuse”) is something we watch for. You’ll see moderators targeting people with a specific pattern of that behaviour. But if they are trying to get other people who don’t respond (ie like the droners of the previous paragraph) to respond then it tends to be more tolerated. If they are doing it to avoid responding as a defensive diversion or to try and kick off a flame war then it is a issue for the comments section of the site.

      You’ll also see moderators eventually target people who do simply fire and forget comments. Who clearly don’t read the responses to their comments at some point and respond to them (I test for that) or respond by simply attacking their critics rather than refuting their arguments. They don’t contribute much and tend to lose their entertainment value pretty rapidly.

      There appear to be more of them on the right. Personally I blame that largely on the poor quality of the forums where they learn their debating skills. Many of their arguments often amount to some variation of “everybody knows” often without being able to link to anything supporting their assertions… And it isn’t just the “right”

      The point is that people have to be prepared to debate and *defend* their assumptions openly if they want to survive here. Droning a few silly catch phrases and some canned responses doesn’t work well here at many levels. If I see a lot of them trolling the same line then I view it as being a simple attack on the site and start dealing with it accordingly.

      Often using the “debating” skills that work at Whaleoil, or even at Kiwiblog isn’t particularly effective because you have to be able to defend your ideas with intelligence and links, rather than just asserting them with stupidity. It isn’t openly debating opinions that is unwelcome, it is how they are argued.

      Personally without the restrictions we place on ourself’s that it isn’t the content that we moderate but mostly the behaviour, then personally I’d have cut off a lot of debates. The chemtrail or 9/11 debates. The ideological role of women in society. The moronic assertions that temperatures measured in europe is same as what happens in the whole world. Or what happened in the labour movement in the 1980’s. Or any number of others.

      These erupt in OpenMike whenever people get vaguely bored. All of these are articles of faith for their various adherents. But unlike many of the more simple-minded commentators on the right, their adherents (from all over the political spectrum) can mostly argue – even if what they argue often appears kind of silly (to me).

      There are a few debates and commentators that we tend to shutdown as soon as we see them. Attacks on children. Racial bigots. Simple minded attempts to push women back into the kitchen. Incitements to violence. Anything that edges over the bounds of defamation law in NZ for those not in the narrow confines of the public interest as expressed in the Lange vs Atkinson case. Assertions of unsupported defamatory “fact” against politicians. Breaches of a privacy including any attempts to “out” people. But these either follow the legal proscriptions or the duties of various ombudsmen. We view them all as being attempts to damage the site and act accordingly.

      What rapidly becomes unwelcome here is people debating their ideas stupidly. The biggest stupidity is usually to attack the site. Their ideas (mostly) get a lot more toleration.

  20. captain hook 20

    Jon Keyote is turning into a right little rightwhinger.
    every time something happens he runs off to the cops.
    what a fucking cry baby.

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