We clearly ruffled a few feathers among the Nats by exposing the official advice to the government that their three strikes bill may increase the number of murders.
Yesterday we got an email from Justice about an Official Information Act request for the names of people who have requested info under the OIA on the 3 strikes law. It was from David Farrar – pollster for the National party, and their chief spinster on the blogs!
He was clearly hoping that one of the pseudonymous authors here had been stupid enough to request the info in their own name. None of them are that daft (and I’d be seriously annoyed if they were).
We have reasons for keeping our authors pseudonymous as is stated in our About under “Why don’t you say who you are?” and we take protecting them pretty seriously. I’ve had to previously castigate David on this topic.
Some of the authors here use their real names, but others choose to blog anonymously for a variety of reasons. Some of us have professional reasons for doing so, others of us are reluctant to expose ourselves to the kind of personal threats sometimes made online. Those of us using pseudonyms discussed this issue long and hard before we began and came down on the side of anonymity. We hope you can see why. You might also want to contemplate the implications of this link.
The link is about David Farrar’s sleazy camper-van buddy, Whaleoil, from long before he got around to dissing judges decisions. He does have a tendency towards inciting himself and others to break the law.
Anyway, the really amusing thing is that David Farrar cast the net so widely he got all the journos too and they’re justly pissed off about such heavy-handed tactics. In the Dom today (not online, but LexisNexis now has it here):
What happens when the Official Information Act crosses the Privacy Act and bumps into a chubby Right-winger blogger? A minor bureaucratic flap at the Ministry of Justice, it seems. A Dominion Post reporter was asked by the ministry if he objected to his name being released to Kiwblog writer David Farrar who had asked under the OIA for the names of all people who had filed an OIA request about the 3 Strikes Bill. The answer will be plain to readers who spotted the story: “Three strikes papers seen by not signed by justice minister”, bylined: Vernon Small.
I have written to Justice saying that the name shouldn’t be released under the OIA. It is clearly private information.
Moreover, it would set a bad precedent if anyone could find out the name of anyone else who made an OIA request.
The Offical Information Act process is there to make the processes of government more transparent to interested voters. It isn’t there for the governing party and its minions to collect information about political opponents.
But “Chubby” (I like that, and I’ll dig out the picture that fits a bit later), come close and I’ll whisper you the name on the OIA: it was Lynn Prentice.