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Judith Collins raises doubt about which dimension she occupies

Written By: - Date published: 8:06 am, August 27th, 2014 - 38 comments
Categories: election 2014, Judith Collins, making shit up - Tags: ,

Judith “Tipline” Collins is really growing on me. She has been able to keep stories surrounding Dirty Politics alive by throwing petrol onto a fire which may otherwise have been burning out.

Last night she claimed that she had been exonerated by the Privacy Commissioner of the allegation that she had leaked information about Simon Pleasants to Cameron Slater.

Radio New Zealand reports her statement as follows:

I have been cleared by the Privacy Commissioner… and I do not want to go into any detail on matters which are currently the subject of multiple complaints,” she said.

Ms Collins said Privacy Commissioner John Edwards had ruled the information she passed on to Mr Slater was not private.

However, a letter from Mr Edwards last week said no such thing and instead stated he would not investigate a complaint about the matter without the support of Mr Pleasants.

The Commissioner made no judgement on Ms Collins’ actions.

Ms Collins refused to be drawn on whether she had effectively facilitated cyber-bullying by passing on Mr Pleasants’ details.

“Actually, no. We’re not going to talk about details of a matter which are currently with police… if I did, I would then be accused of trying to influence the police.”

As Justice Minister, Ms Collins is responsible for and has championed anti-cyber-bullying legislation introduced to Parliament last year.

The trouble for Collins is that the Privacy Commissioner said no such thing.  This is what he said about the Greens complaint:

The request for the investigation did not come from the public servant who was the subject of the disclosure. I advised the Greens that the Privacy Act gives me the discretion to refuse to investigate a matter where the complainant (in this case, the Green Party) does not have a sufficient personal interest in the subject matter of the complaint.

The Privacy Act is fundamentally concerned with the preservation and promotion of individual autonomy. It protects the right of an individual to determine, or at least influence, the extent to which their personal information is placed into the public domain and becomes the subject of public discussion.

That purpose would not be served if we were to investigate a complaint in a highly politicised and publicised environment that is neither on behalf of, nor supported by, the affected individual.

Get that?  If Mr Pleasants complains then the Privacy Commissioner will consider the matter.  But at this stage he does not think that an investigation is appropriate.  There is no way that Collins has been “cleared” and if she really believes this then she lacks the competence to be a Minister.

And reinterpreting the opinion of the Privacy Commissioner is not someone that the Minister of Justice should be doing.  Collins is the Minister in charge of the Privacy Commissioner.  Her statement politicises the office in a way that the Commissioner was trying to avoid.

I was heartened to hear that her friendship with Cameron Slater will continue.  Because it is clear that the cluster%$k that is National’s right will continue to remain active.

Update:  Radio New Zealand is now reporting that Collins is backing away from her original claim.  She is now saying that her view was based on media reports and she now accepts that a complaint and investigation is now possible.  Makes you wonder why she said what she did in the first place without checking it out.

38 comments on “Judith Collins raises doubt about which dimension she occupies”

  1. toad 1

    This would be a really good time for the Unidentified Chinese Border Official to make a reappearance.

  2. Tracey 2

    So, there is no public interest component to the privacy Commissioner’s role, I did not know that.

    Can the Speaker do anything, or is that not possible cos parliament is effectively closed?

    Is there no process to deal with issue which arise once parliament is closed?

    “Ms Collins refused to be drawn on whether she had effectively facilitated cyber-bullying by passing on Mr Pleasants’ details.” 27 August 2014

    contrast with 5 November 2013

    ““No longer is bullying confined to the classroom or playground – the digital age has meant tormenters can harass their target anywhere, at any time and the trails of abuse remain in cyberspace forever,” Ms Collins says.

    “The Harmful Digital Communications Bill sends a strong message to those who continue to harass and harm others online – time’s up.”

    “Cyber bullying can have a devastating effect on people’s lives, particularly young people. This Bill will protect victims and hold perpetrators to account.” 27 August 2014

    Proposals in the Bill include:

    Creating a new civil enforcement regime that includes setting up or appointing an approved agency as the first port of call for complaints.
    Allowing people to take serious complaints to the District Court, which will be able to issue remedies such as take-down orders and cease-and-desist notices.
    Providing a legislative mechanism for people to easily and quickly request the removal of harmful content from websites, which also clarifies the law relating to website hosts (called a “safe harbour” provision).
    Making it an offence to send messages and post material online with intent to cause harm, punishable by up to three months imprisonment or a $2,000 fine.
    Creating a new offence of incitement to commit suicide, even in situations when a person does not attempt to take their own life, punishable by up to three years imprisonment.

    So….

    Can Mr Hooton and Mr Slater and Ms Odgers (although she would need to be extradicted from Hong Kong) be investigated and charged by the police over the Hager address for violence exchange, (once the Bill becomes an Act)? Or not, because it was a private conversation?

    BUT a Minister of the Crown giving over a name to allow a known bully to, well, bully?

    “10 Who may bring proceedings

    (1) Any of the following may apply to a District Court for an order under section 16 or 17:

    (a) an individual (the affected individual) who alleges that he or she has suffered harm as a result of a harmful digital communication:

    (b) a parent or guardian on behalf of a person described in paragraph (a)the affected individual:

    (c) the principal of an educational establishment, if a student of that establishment is a person described in paragraph (a) and the student consents to the principal bringing the proceedings:

    (c) the professional leader of a registered school or his or her delegate, if the affected individual is a student of that school and consents to the professional leader or delegate bringing the proceedings:

    (d) the Police, if the digital communication constitutes a threat to the safety of any person an individual.”

    • Lanthanide 2.1

      “Can Mr Hooton and Mr Slater and Ms Odgers (although she would need to be extradicted from Hong Kong) be investigated and charged by the police over the Hager address for violence exchange, (once the Bill becomes an Act)? Or not, because it was a private conversation?”

      No, because the alleged offences occurred well prior to the Act being passed, assuming it ever will be.

      • Tracey 2.1.1

        hence my bit in brackets Lanth.

        My general point wasn’t lost though, was it?

        • Lanthanide 2.1.1.1

          ? Your bit in brackets suggests that when the act is passed, they can be charged. But they can’t, because their alleged crimes occurred before passage of the act. So whether the act is passed or not is irrelevant.

          • Tracey 2.1.1.1.1

            I understand that it is rare for legislation to be passed with retrospective power and I haven’t checked if such a provision exists in this.

            I have a vague recollection the GCSB changes were retrospective? I am getting old and may have misremembered that.

            My general point was the legislation in train by the Minister of Justice rails against the very actions she and Mr Slater (and his pals) have indulged in.

            • Rich 2.1.1.1.1.1

              Yes Tracey I suspect that is what I remember as well. I’m pretty sure that you are correct.

          • Rich 2.1.1.1.2

            Are we sure that these days that Acts are not passed with retrospective applicability. I know that the concept is that you should not be able to be charged for activities that you did not know were illegal at the time, but I’m pretty sure this has been superceded somewhere of late. I will check.

            • Lanthanide 2.1.1.1.2.1

              Parliament is sovereign so can do whatever it likes, however retrospective legislation is very rare in general.

              I would suggest it’s largely used in cases to make actions that were illegal at the time, legal, eg the election spending scandal by Labour and other parties was retrospectively ruled legal, and I suspect the same is the case with the GCSB act you mention above.

              I’m not aware of any cases where something was retrospectively deemed to be illegal.

              • disturbed

                Lanth, “Parliament is sovereign so can do whatever it likes,”.

                If the TPPA is passed by this lot you can bet that will be gone by lunch also!!

  3. wyndham 3

    Yes. Collin’s office has just (8.30 am on MR) issued a statement to the effect the Judith Collins ‘misinterpreted’ what the Commissioner said !

    As you say Micky, surely as a minister there is a question of competence here. After all she is a trained lawyer !

  4. Tracey 4

    “She is now saying that her view was based on media reports and she now accepts that a complaint and investigation is now possible. Makes you wonder why she said what she did in the first place without checking it out.”

    Because she thought no one would check her statement?

    “misinterpreted”. IF she misinterpreted that she needs to immediately stand down as Minister of Justice for

    1. lacking the requisite reading comprehension skills for the position;
    2. being a party to behaviour she has presented a Bill to Parliament to make an offence;
    3. Doing nothing when aware police evidence might be released, wrongly, to Mr Slater

    please feel free to add to the known transgressions

    • shorts 4.1

      “Because she thought no one would check her statement?”

      I’d suggest so – and seems to have been the case most of this currents govt’s time in office, say what ya want cause chances are the media won’t check alongside an assumption the public will forget

  5. hoom 5

    Well its pretty obvious that the dimension she occupies is Planet Key.

    • tricledrown 5.1

      Crussher Collins was very very very unwise now she is now on her very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very rrrr last warning!

  6. vto 6

    Her forehead and eyebrows confuse herself

  7. Tigger 7

    http://i.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/10425650/Collins-stays-confident-about-Papakura

    She’s utterly deluded. Here she thinks she’s a poor, put upon soldier, bravely carrying on.

    “You have to be tough to be in this business. There’s a reason they call me Crusher.”

    What she doesn’t say is that her name applies to how she treats public servants she believes did her wrong.

    • yeshe 7.1

      My eyes are playing tricks .. I read her last statement as :”There’s a reason they call me Custer”.

  8. Not a PS Staffer 9

    Dominion Post and Stuff have blocked feedback from readers. There were 600+ negatgive comments on Rosemary’s McLeod’s exhoneration of National’s use of Whaleoil. There were 300+ negative comments on Andrea Vance’s puff piece on Paula Bennett. Today she does a hatchet job on Labour’s campaign. They have blocked comments. They are gutless.

  9. RJL 10

    So is misrepresenting the Privacy Commissioner Collin’s last, last, last chance?

  10. disturbed 11

    All we need is the opposition to meet on the fucked press screwing the election and demand TVNZ & RNZ studios for them to occupy and run till the election and get there clear concise policies out there to a very very very confused electorate.

    Because the press has made it clear who they are backing to NZ already see the point?

  11. BLiP 12

    Judith Collins now says that she misinterpreted “media reports” . . . trouble is, I can find no media reports prior to her lying about having been cleared by the Privacy Commissioner. Anyone else seen any which could possibly have been “misinterpreted” by a lawyer?

    • Rich 12.1

      It implies that she got to see some ot the stories before they came out doesn’t it?

    • RedLogix 12.2

      Misinterpreted or not is besides the point really.

      Anyone with the faintest sense of right or wrong here would have shut their mouth and done their very best to keep out of the media for the next few weeks.

      But Collins is unrepentant. She’s blithely unable to acknowledge what the rest of the country, even her own caucus can see, that she has fatally wounded her career and can never be a Minister again. (Or if she does remain, questions around blackmail will forever hang over her head.)

      Instead she leaps to completely wrong conclusion, blabs to the media, and in doing so, reveals that she still believes she has done nothing wrong.

      • BLiP 12.2.1

        Huh? I agree that anyone with the faintest sense of right or wrong here would have stayed schtum yet, not only did Collins pipe up, she also lied because there were no media reports she could have misinterpreted. That illuminates the point by reinforcing her unrepentant and blithe inability to acknowledge what the rest of the country, including those in her own party. can see.

      • North 12.2.2

        To believe that Collins (albeit wrongly) EVER understood that she was exonerated by the Privacy Commissioner as claimed by her, we MUST believe the following:

        1. The PC receives a complaint and a request that the PC exercise statutory power of enquiry into an alleged privacy breach by a minister of the Crown.
        2. All within a matter of days the PC institutes, conducts and determines the enquiry – without inviting input from the accused minister – (questions of natural justice surely?).
        3. This enquiry (conducted in a vacuum) exonerates the accused minister. The PC then announces this outcome to the media but, wait for it, not to the accused minister.

        If we don’t believe the scenario in 2 and 3 above (and even surely Collins could not – years of legal training, legal practice, tenure as an MP and as a cabinet minister – latterly as minister of justice for God’s sake), we CANNOT believe Collins.

        So why the impossible claim of misunderstanding ?

        Is she in delusional psychosis ?

        Does she wilfully float a false soundbite hoping that ultimately it will constitute the record – the PC exonerated me…..” ?

        Does she cynically take licence knowing, for reasons unknown to us, that whomsoever takes her down will go down with her ?

        Who knows ? This is the most extraordinary election year in a number of ways – there’s a new English usage…….”I”, “me”, “the Prime Minister” now means “the Prime Minister’s Office”…….My Office”. Collins (the dictionary) has established “last” as having no meaning at all. A prime turd has lost its vaunted gloss.

        And most notably……..when the going gets tough our really smart people, our natural rulers…….well repeatedly it seems they regale us that they’re S-O-O-O incompetent. And thus shouldn’t be held accountable for ANYTHING.

    • Tracey 12.3

      The first and only media report i heard or read was collins saying the pc had cleared her…

  12. Draco T Bastard 13

    But at this stage he does not think that an investigation is appropriate.

    This is something that bugs me about NZ law enforcement – they ignore the fact that laws are being broken unless the right person complains about it. They should be enforcing the laws when they’re broken – not just when they feel like it.

  13. Awww 14

    So pleased Collins remains a “loyal friend” to Slater. Somebody should tell her that the company she keeps is an early but reliable indicator of where she will end up in life.

  14. Macro 15

    English was given the chance by Guyon Espiner on RNZ this morning to apologise on behalf of the Government for the abuse of privilege in this matter, since neither Collins nor Key have to date. Like the scum that these people are, he was unable to as well. They have no sense of what constitutes moral behaviour or decency, what-so-ever. They have no right to be anywhere near Parliament let alone govern!

  15. disturbed 16

    No worries Macro,

    Gonekey will be gone.

    Along with his cronies soon for sure sleep well.

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