On the weekend John Key apologised to Cameron Slater for breaching his privacy by releasing a private email. That Slater would even seek an apology is incredible given what he gets up to. Publishing private emails is something Slater does all the time. Just check out Matt Blomfield’s troubles with Slater if you want an example.
The prime minister has apologised to Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater over the release of an email that forced Justice Minister Judith Collins’ resignation.
The discovery comes as John Key awaits an inquiry report into an alleged smear campaign against the boss of the Serious Fraud Office. An email from Slater, obtained and released by Key, implicated Collins in the smear against her own official, saying she had been “gunning” for SFO director Adam Feeley.
Collins resigned, insisting she would clear her name. Key called an inquiry. Slater countered by lodging a privacy complaint against the prime minister for disclosing a personal email.
The email was supplied by Odgers to someone in Key’s office. As she was the recipient of the email she must have been entitled to hand it out unless Slater marked it as being confidential.
The results of the investigation into Judith Collins is due out shortly. It sounds like it will say that Slater and Odgers are a couple of big noters and Collins will be exonerated.
But Key should learn to say sorry more often. He did offer at one stage to apologise to Tania Billingsley, the victim in the Malaysian Diplomat incident, but then said that he would not. He refused to apologise to reporter Andrea Vance whose privacy was breached when her emails sent to Peter Dunne were sent by Parliamentary Services to the inquiry trying to find out who leaked a confidential report into the Government Security Communications Bureau.
Key’s preferences are clear. He will apologise to someone who writes an email detailing an attack on a senior public service figure but refuse to apologise to someone let down by the legal system or a reporter whose privacy has been breached.
The speed of finalising this case is impressive. I hope that the Government ensures that Labour’s request for investigation into aspects of dirty politics is progressed just as quickly.