So, John Key and John Banks have a meeting in a cafe, full of members of the public. They get the photo-op, then usher the media out. A HoS cameraman accidentally leaves his audio recorder. Key and Banks talk. In public. Anyone in the cafe could hear. The recorder gets the conversation. Key bullies the HoS into not printing it. The HoS caves. Disgraceful.
The HoS says it got legal advice and it had the right to publish the conversation. Of course it does – public figures, public setting, members of the public around meaning no geniune attempt to keep the conversation secret, public interest in the contents of the conversation. All these factors overrule any prima facie right to privacy.
Hell, this is a government that says you give up your right to your personal financial details if you dare to speak out against government policy (and then threatens the Human Rights Commission if it backs you). It’s rich for them to cry ‘right to privacy’ over a meeting in a cafe.
The HoS says the contents of the conversation are potentially explosive but it would not be ‘ethical’ to print the transcript. I’m astounded. What is more ethical – not printing a recording that you got inadvertently and legally because the participants, who are public figures, didn’t consent; or letting the public know what public figures are trying to keep secret from them?
We have the right to know what Key and Banks were talking about. The only ethical option for the HoS is to print the transcript.