National plans to breach privacy rights of all of its MPs to find leaker

Written By: - Date published: 8:02 am, August 27th, 2018 - 187 comments
Categories: Media, national, same old national, Simon Bridges, the praiseworthy and the pitiful, trevor mallard, twitter, you couldn't make this shit up - Tags:

Apart from the fact it is showing there is considerable disunity in National’s ranks and that Simon Bridges has very poor judgment this story is getting rather tedious.

But National seem intent on keeping the who leaked Bridges travel information story alive for a third week.

How they are going to do this is going to shake National’s caucus to its core.

The police already know who it is.  I presume they discovered this through their access to the cellular network.  They were able to quickly find out who was linked to the cellphone and determine they were under no current threat.

But National will not have the same means although an OIA might work, eventually.

Instead I presume they will proceed with their plans to check every caucus member’s computers.  Imagine how you would feel if someone insisted on gaining access to your digital information?

All it will take is for a modest number of MPs to say no and then the leaker may retain plausible denial.

And if they knew what they were doing forensic analysis may not be sufficient.

And National, the party that complained yesterday at how many expensive inquiries are being run, is today upset that the particular expensive inquiry into who leaked Bridges information is being canned by Mallard.

From Jo Moir at Radio New Zealand:

The National Party is boxing ahead with its own investigation into who leaked Simon Bridges’ expenses to the media after Parliament’s speaker put the kibosh on an official inquiry last week.

On Friday RNZ revealed a person claiming to be a National MP had sent a text message to Mr Bridges and the speaker, Trevor Mallard, pleading for the inquiry to be stopped for the sake of their mental health.

That led to Mr Mallard pulling the plug on the inquiry saying it was unlikely the text had been sent from anyone outside the National Party.

Shadow leader of the House Gerry Brownlee said the National Party needed to know who the leaker was and will push ahead with uncovering the person’s identity, after Mr Mallard had washed his hands of an inquiry.

“Well of course we think he’s obfuscated his role as Speaker, but he did so after the prime minister had declared it was a problem for the National Party.

“We will now obviously conduct an inquiry, because we need to know who that person is, to either stamp out a problem, or to in fact wrap around someone who has some serious issues,” Mr Brownlee said.

Moir also mentioned that the first that Police Minister Stuart Nash knew about the police investigation was during Bridges’s stand up.  Fair enough.  Politically sensitive information should not be disclosed to ministers unless there is a strong need to do so.

Andrew Geddis has the perfect response to National’s criticism of Mallard in this series of tweets:

Stay tuned for tomorrow when we will no doubt have the next episode in this rather bizarre story of how National managed to destroy its hard won reputation for unity and professionalism by engaging in a witch hunt for someone who released information that was going to be made public three days early.

187 comments on “National plans to breach privacy rights of all of its MPs to find leaker”

  1. Pat 1

    “It is not a case of one sector being able to do all the work whilst others carry on as they are. Because the remaining carbon budget is so small, we must genuinely deliver a transition to living in a low carbon way across all sectors.”

    Havn’t all the Nat MPs already signed a waiver allowing access?

      • dukeofurl 1.1.1

        Nats MPs always talk out both sides of their mouth to say contradictory things

        Brownlee again:

        Everybody should have a right to communicate freely with their Member of Parliament and if you can have outside bodies accessing that sort of communication, which often is of a very private and personal nature to that individual constituent, then I think you break down the trust that should exist between Members of Parliament and their constituents.

        hes saying the opposite to a ‘full waiver’, maybe he means a ‘partial waver’ which of course would be useless.
        https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12107698

        • Pat 1.1.1.1

          “Parliamentary Service computers were able to be scrutinised without permission of employees but a waiver would be developed which all National MPs and Mallard himself would be asked to sign to enable access.

          “I will ask the Honourable Simon Bridges to ensure that all members of his caucus sign that waiver. I will also sign it myself, although the evidence will show neither myself nor my office received the document in electronic form.”

          from your link….my understanding was it was a prerequisite required by Mallard to launch the enquiry….the enquiry was launched( though later cancelled) so the waivers could be expected to have been given

    • mickysavage 2.1

      Yep note he did not answer the initial question, why last week he denied it was a NAT MP when he had received the texts.

      I almost feel sorry for him. Almost …

      • If I understand the sequence correctly, the person has claimed to be an MP and given details that corroborate that they attend caucus meetings. While that might also allow for the possibility that they are a really a Nat staffer who also attends those meetings, surely there can’t be many in that category?

        And as staff members, I would have thought that the employer (National) would have the right to check phones and computers as they are work tools, not personal property.

        In short, Bridges could have eliminated those few staffers as suspects already. I could do it in a day and I’m just a self taught hack.

        While the Police have picked their words carefully, they have not denied that it’s an MP. If the person was a staffer instead, I suspect the Police would have been obliged to clarify that it wasn’t an MP.

        Even if Bridges does find out the name, what does he do then? He can’t publicly out them and he can’t even discipline them without it being obvious who it is.

        Bridges is on a hiding to nothing.

        • Anne 2.1.1.1

          Putting myself in Bridges shoes: once he has established who it was, I imagine he will be demoting the individual and advising them that they are expected to resign before the next election. If its who I suspect it is, the MP is probably intending to retire before the next election anyway.

          • Dennis Frank 2.1.1.1.1

            I agree – if this is how it plays out, damage will be minimised. However the political future for National will hinge on intra-party loyalties around the leaker. If the leaker is seen by the key players as a loser, the exit strategy will work. If the leaker is part of a like-minded network, everyone will re-group on either side of the divide. If the leaker is a key player, the exit may not happen.

          • veutoviper 2.1.1.1.2

            Anne, I would be surprised if it was that particular person if they are from top of South Island.

            Why? Because Newshub (Tova O’Brien) first reported the leak on Monday, 13 August but did not say when the leaker had been in touch. Obviously there were internal discussions within Newshub, and probably legal advice sought, before they went public. So that puts the leaker being in touch over the previous week or few days before 13 August.

            During that previous week, that person had been in their element leading the charge in the House against the Electoral (Integrity) Amendment Bill aka the waka jumping bill when it was debated through its 2nd Reading and half of its Committee of the House stage over three days and a total of about 10 hours of debate. I wrote an epistle on this on Daily Review on 22 August here which only mickysavage and Dennis Frank commented on. * https://thestandard.org.nz/daily-review-22-08-2018/#comment-1516704

            He was sparking on all cylinders and showing no signs of distress, disillusionment etc – and probably would have had little time to think about or act as the leaker did somewhere about that same time. Obviously just my opinion, but it seems unlikely to me.

            * – Haven’t got back with comments to Dennis Frank and Mickysavage as thinking about reworking for a post, and also have drafted a too long reply to Dennis re Select committees etc, but have a nasty hospital medical procedure in the next few days and will refocus after that. Enjoying this subject too much in the meantime!

            • Dennis Frank 2.1.1.1.2.1

              I wish you good luck at the hospital. They shuffled the bill back down the priority list, I gather. No hurry to do your report on the select committee process, take it easy!

              • veutoviper

                Thanks, will do. In overdrive here today but good diversion from prep for this which is the worst part! Been there done, this one before several times.

        • veutoviper 2.1.1.2

          IIRC the only staff members that usually/sometimes attend caucus meetings are the political private secretaries – and only very rarely departmental private secretaries and then only for the item(s) relevant to their department/ministry.*

          So the staffers involved would be very few, and as the leaker apparently included some details of caucus discussions in their text pleading for the inquiry to be dropped, it should be relatively easy to identify which staffers attended the particular meeting(s) referred to in the leaker’s text.

          As you say, the Police were very careful in their wording from what we have been told, and rightly so in line with the Privacy Act provisions.

          However, as I suggested, it would not be beyond the realms of possibility that Mallard, for example, did not ask the Police – not for the name – but for confirmation that the leaker was not from within Parliamentary Service, or not a MP or staffer of another Parliamentary Party other than National. Answering such broader questions without seeking the name of the actual person would not breach privacy per se. Often in such situations, it is not what you ask directly that elicits the information you are after, rather it is the elimination questions asked.

          Some years ago I was in exactly that position with the Police in relation to someone who broke into my house and confronted me with a weapon, and while they would not name him, they did answer my indirect questions that allowed me to know that he was no longer living close by, was in a semi-custody situation pending charges etc and therefore no longer a threat to me.

          In light of Bridges’ background, I have been astonished at his approach throughout this whole episode – bull in a china shop. Definitely on a hiding to nothing and I would really hate to see how he would approach someone in a delicate mental health state – and the possible consequences.

          * Funnily RNZ’s ‘The House’ did one of their great educational items on the difference between the above (Departmental staff and Political staff in Ministers’ offices, and offices of Opposition Leaders and some MPs) this very weekend which I was thinking of posting here today, so here it is. I really recommend these articles from The House for those who are not familiar with how Parliament works.

          https://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/the-house/audio/2018659375/anatomy-of-a-minister-s-office-what-happens-in-the-beehive (15 mins)

          Link to full series of The House
          https://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/the-house

        • Chris T 2.1.1.3

          “Even if Bridges does find out the name, what does he do then? He can’t publicly out them and he can’t even discipline them without it being obvious who it is.”

          Why not?

          He can play the I can be tough card in the press

          • dukeofurl 2.1.1.3.1

            We already know what the nats ‘investigation’ will find, Im sure they have the media statement written…..
            ‘All my Mps are cleared ‘. Ends.

    • Cinny 2.2

      He was terrible on RNZ this morning.

      Not sure whether he was trying to convincing himself or the listeners that he has plenty of support.

      Silly simon.

    • ianmac 2.3

      Bridges after the first question on Morning Report, launched into a tirade about how much support he is getting from Caucus and members of the National Party.

      Doesn’t that mean that he is getting unsupportive messages?
      Or is it to just avoid exposing how slippery his answers are?

      • Cinny 2.3.1

        Ikr… and what about his determination to keep on spending up on limos, no lessons learned, his ego is massive.

        • Bewildered 2.3.1.1

          Cindy the limo cost is already there irrespective, likewise the drivers, get over it, the only real additional cost is fuel etc

          • dukeofurl 2.3.1.1.1

            Not all. Drivers are paid plenty of overtime. Plus in Bridges ‘Big little journey’ the driver would have had to stay overnight away from the base.
            From memory limos and drivers are only based in Auckland Wellington Christchurch.

            Plus as they dont have huge numbers of limos, if one car and driver is out in the provinces with Bridges they would have ‘on call’ limos for hire being used in main centres. Thats additional costs as they would likely be ‘day rates’ rather than a taxi which per journey.

          • Cinny 2.3.1.1.2

            Bewildered, he is not prepared to ‘change his ways’. And cut back on spending so much of our money, that’s the issue for me.

            For example why didn’t he let his local nat MP’s drive him around?

            It’s was never a problem for opposition leaders under the national government, excluding elections of course.

            And a great chance to catch up and get work done… if you want to take that narrative.

            That’s our money he’s spending up, like he’s used to doing it, like he’s used to a ‘limo’ way of life, milking it, simon’s been down that road before.

            Times have changed for simon, he needs to get with the program.

            • Bewildered 2.3.1.1.2.1

              It’s chump change Cinny, if we want to throw stones it would get rediculous , ie auntie Helen financing labour pledge card with parliamentary funds No problem you having a whinge but don’t pretend this is simply national or right issue ( if an issue at all) Here’s another Jonesy watching porn on the tax payer Hiw about another Uncle Hone going walkabout and holiday the tax payer, 😊

              • dukeofurl

                Or Joyce diverting the GST money to spend on desperate advertising in the last week of the 2005 campaign.
                because of the way the invoices are paid the TV and radio had to go short for the $110k.

  2. Ross 3

    If an MP leaked the info I would imagine they would do the honourable thing and inform Bridges. Otherwise all National MPs may be under suspicion.

  3. Dennis Frank 4

    Your last point is worth another look. Does raising the alarm three days earlier than necessary really justify the leaker? Only if the travel expenses were excessive. Lack of horror consequent of their exposure suggests much ado about nothing: all the controversy has been about the leak. Outrage at the Bridges roadshow seemed confined to a small bunch of leftists – politics as usual.

    Privacy law protects the anonymity of the leaker. If the leaker had broken a law, the police would have arrested them by now. Nats don’t like one of their own trying to destabilise their leader, the cops won’t help them by identifying the culprit, so they must get a computer wiz or two or three to see if the leak can be tracked to source. Then they must apply appropriate punishment to deter copycats.

    Because that’s what all the players in the game are learning from this, that it looks like the perfect crime. Pretend to have mental health problems, float a rumour or publish fake news & you can remain anonymous because privacy law protects you from being held accountable.

    • dukeofurl 4.1

      “Privacy law protects the anonymity of the leaker”

      I dont think so when its in the public interest when its an MP. Sames rules when the judge allowed the media to use ‘non personal information’ that had been hacked from Whaleoil. That was private conversations that were released by rawshark

      Thyats whats cunning about the mental health false flag, an attempt to use actual ‘personal and private’ information to cover what in the normal context isnt covered by privacy laws

      • Sacha 4.1.1

        Knowing about Bridges’ travel expenses a few days earlier that they would be released anyway is not ‘in the public interest’ – unlike publishing the hacked Dirty Politics information.

        • dukeofurl 4.1.1.1

          yes it is. Its public information by definition. ( Public money spent while he was doing parliamentary business. Even if the limo was used to ferry his pooch around doesnt make it personal either)
          That there was an ’embargo’ till a few days later does not make personal information until that date.

          What about the info about Ron Marks and AF helicopter flights, that wasnt even an official release. You wouldnt say that was ‘private information’

    • Sacha 4.2

      “Outrage at the Bridges roadshow seemed confined to a small bunch of leftists”

      Nope. The right are the ones obsessed with cost regardless of benefit.

      • Dennis Frank 4.2.1

        Hm, maybe so, in which case I suspect the expenses issue is being driven by them as a pretext. The old right/center-right divide re-emerging. If that is indeed the case, the Nats can’t claim to be a natural party of government on a monolithic basis. They’d have to frame it as a marriage of convenience.

        Has worked like that in Oz a long time, of course. Fitzsimons on Q+A last night likened the current situation of the political right in Oz as `like two cats in a bag, no, three’. Morrison facing a lively prospect!

        • Sacha 4.2.1.1

          Indeed our Nats have the same rural tory/urban liberal tension internally as their Australian cousins manage as a coalition.

  4. Ad 5

    I cannot understand why a sitting MP who sought to bring down their leader with a damaging leak should get anonymity for it.

    • gsays 5.1

      Because….mental ill health…..?

      • infused 5.1.1

        That’s not an excuse.

        • Ad 5.1.1.1

          Parliament is not a hospital.

          • marty mars 5.1.1.1.1

            Ignorant bastard.

            Mental illness happens to people and people are where people are. Your attitude contributes to stigma which contributes to our high suicide rate. And, just cos you’re really ignorant- mental illness does not require hospitalisation only in the most severe.

            Educate yourself before you cause even more damage fool.

          • Tricledrowm 5.1.1.1.2

            It is an asylum

        • cleangreen 5.1.1.2

          All National Party MP’s are suffering from this since labour took over; – ‘mental ill health’

    • McFlock 5.2

      Besides your attitude to mental health, the other reason the MP has anonymity so far is that police should not be in the habit of releasing private information of individual ‘A’ to third parties who have a civil dispute with ‘A’.

      The leak is at best a dispute between ‘A’ and ‘B’ridges. The cops are not there to provide free investigative services to arguing tories.

  5. Kay 6

    “National plans to breach privacy rights of all of its MPs”

    Including Paula’s? Especially Paula’s??

    • ianmac 6.1

      Or especially Nick Smith’s?

    • dukeofurl 6.2

      Another hat in the mix is Bishop.

      have you seen how low hes ranked, Im feeling hes had a personal spat with Bridges previously. Both are trained as lawyers but Bridges had a proper career while Bridges has always worked the backrooms of parliament and beehive including a time in their black ops ‘research unit’

      As well late last year/early this year Bishop had a ‘crisis’ over his snapchat usage. To me that indicates inner turmoil that he broke the party rules about that social media platform to go places no male in his middle 30s should be responding to.

      • Puckish Rogue 6.2.1

        Yeah wasn’t that around the same time as the, alleged, sexual assaults were happening at that camp that Labour MPs attended

        What was the result of that?

        • alwyn 6.2.1.1

          It was time to move on.
          Nothing to see there.
          And anyway St Jacinda had left at least 10 minutes before anything untoward went on.

          Don’t you feel rather sorry for the victim who said, two months ago

          “To know that four months after the assaults occurred, that some action is finally being taken is fantastic. It feels like there’s some closure. After months of backtracks, lack of support and media coverage, it’s all coming to a head.
          “Now the arrest…. and the release of the independent report in the next few weeks is really going to put the assaults and response to the assaults seriously in the spotlight”
          https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/105003464/labour-youth-camp-arrest

          What ever happened to the court case?
          And was the victim really expecting that the report would ever see the light of day?

      • Carolyn_Nth 6.2.2

        I think that’s who WO was hinting at, with reference to CB being a Mallard cycling buddy, and therefore likely to have Mallard’s phone number.

        But, how trustworthy is WO as a source?

  6. ianmac 7

    National should be asked to table the 150 reviews that they claim are taking place along with the cost of each. Or is the claim just False News? A good journalist would ask for the List instead of letting the accusation hang.

    • Tricledrowm 7.1

      News media pointed out that National had spent $58 million at the same stage in their 1st term.while labour has spent only $38 million,Siomon trying with more lying by inflating labour’s numbers while everyone is focused on his over inflated ego!
      But because simple Siomon arragance continues to be the story .
      Simple Soimon continues to shoot himself in the foot while it’s in his mouth crying wolf while barking at cars.

  7. #innersimon
    Simon you fool. Don’t let brownnose brownlee bully us mate – he doesn’t care about us. Where’s Paula? Spose you shouldn’t have called her pulla benefit but hey build a bridge and get over it ha he ha he he. Okay calm down now where was i yep that’s right – call a press conference for 3pm. Today? Every fucken day now get on with it.

  8. Puckish Rogue 9

    Disgraceful and anti-democratic that the Speaker has forced National into this situation 😉

    • dukeofurl 9.1

      Thats where my earlier comments about how leaks are ‘passed on’ amoung current and even former gallery members come in
      Thats how national will be able to proclaim ‘they cleared all their Mps’ as there is no information passed directly to Tova O’brien. Never was, as thats how its played.

      Of course there is plenty of other methods using a ‘private’ webmail address’, often via a camera pic of the information rather than as an attachment.
      The idea that any MP would be sending sensitive stuff via their parliamentary email servers is silly.
      Even with webmail you dont have to ‘send anything’ as both sender and recipient can have the login details and the the info is held in ‘draft folders’ that they both read without sending anywhere

      Good luck with getting access to Microsoft , Google servers to see whats there.

      • Cinny 9.1.1

        One would have thought they would understand that already, after what they’ve put Hager through on more than one occasion.

        But noooooo, not even.

        How much money to look for something that more than likely isn’t even there?

        Something else I found astounding on the RNZ interview this morning… simon refused to stop spending so much money on transport.

        Once again he’s missing the point of the leak to start with, simons arrogance is off the hook, and so is his commitment to spend up large on tax payer funded limos.

        • dukeofurl 9.1.1.1

          Is Bridges and Brownlee and Mitchel going to stop raining the issue of Ron Marks use of Air force helicopter to attend official events?

          They were happy to pour fuel on the fire when it came to others use of the VIP option. Now its come back to burn them as well.
          Oh woes.

      • Tricledrown 9.1.2

        Dukeoferl text messages are not anonymous.

      • Lucy 9.1.3

        The desperation of the leaker does however imply that there is a paper trail – so I would be pumping for a less computer savvy person, so I’d say silly is as silly does!

    • KJT 9.2

      What? By refusing to follow up on Bridges entitled and offensive waste of public money, by wasting even more on an enquiry into who leaked information, which should be public anyway?

      Or. PR, being satirical?

      It is undemocratic that Bridges thinks we should pay, to prop up National’s incompetence.

      It is true that National’s prime Minister could have killed a kitten on public television, and it would not have changed National voters support. Parallels with Trump voters, are obvious.

    • AB 9.3

      Au contraire. Mallard has gracefully given National the chance to quietly bury the story under the “person needs help” category and then just sail on.
      However, such is their hubris, they won’t take this chance. Instead they want to keep insisting that it somehow wasn’t one of them.
      This is where the collective delusion of believing that you ‘really’ won the election lands you – in a mental state so defensive and self-righteous that you end up behaving like entitled dicks.

      • paul andersen 9.3.1

        best post here AB. sense of entitlement from these clowns is breathtaking . the posts on here from the nat trolls confirm their lack of awareness. so thats england,auss and NZ conservative parties tearing themselves apart. good times….

    • roy cartland 9.4

      Ha ha, yes indeed. And also outrageous that he *somehow* engineered it to be so close to the howlings by NAT of anti-democracy, over-authoritarianism of NZF (the $300K waka-jumping thing), so they remind everyone of their hypocrisy so effectively!

    • cleangreen 9.5

      Ha ha ha ha!!!

      Sore loosers National are; – when the boot is on thebother foot.

  9. Michelle 10

    why should we spend more of our taxes on anther gnats mess move on nothing to see here bad enough simond spent 900$ a day wow! and why aren’t more people moaning about this big unnecessary spend up so much for austerity must only apply to when helping the poor aye!

    • Puckish Rogue 10.1

      Because now it looks like Trevor Mallard, supposedly the neutral speaker, is protecting someone, possibly from Labour

      • marty mars 10.1.1

        Lol yep it’s a double triple blind – haven’t seen that move since fast and furious 3. Grow up with your dubious spin pucky – leave off eh.

        • Puckish Rogue 10.1.1.1

          Fast and Furious movies only got worth watching when the Rock and the Stath turned up

          Don’t blame me, blame Trev

          • dukeofurl 10.1.1.1.1

            Only Nats MPs had details of Nats Mps expenses.

            labour Mps had only their own MPs expenses.

            When you had the reference to nats caucus discussions, only a failed diversion would be stupid to say -Oh its labours doing

            • Puckish Rogue 10.1.1.1.1.1

              What about parliamentary services, did they have access?

              • veutoviper

                Right from when the news about the leaker was broken on Newshub on 13 August, it has been stated by Mallard (and I think, Newshub) that the format in which the expenses were provided to Newshub was different to that in which Bridges’ expenses must be and were provided to Parliamentary Service. That was found weird from the start, and also an indication that the leak probably did not come from PS.

          • Draco T Bastard 10.1.1.1.2

            I’m pretty sure that Trev didn’t have anything to do with the casting of the Fast and the Furious.

      • Carolyn_Nth 10.1.2

        Only in some Nat’s wildest, and hopelessly hopeful dreams, PR.

      • Sacha 10.1.3

        Under that fanciful scenario, who gave the information to Labour?

        • Puckish Rogue 10.1.3.1

          Beats me, thats why I’d like to know who it was and who they sent it to

          • Sacha 10.1.3.1.1

            But it can’t be ‘someone from Labour’ who leaked, because they were never given the information in the first place.

            • Puckish Rogue 10.1.3.1.1.1

              How do we know that?

              • Koff

                I doubt if Labour Party MPs are in regular attendance at NP caucus meetings!

                • Puckish Rogue

                  If thats where it came from…

                  • veutoviper

                    Keep up, Pucky! AND stop stirring, LOL.

                    In addition to the actual expenses information, the leaker apparently provided some anecdotal information re some things that had happened at recent National caucus meetings to support the leaker’s contentions that they were a National MP.

                    Labour Party MPs or any MPs other than National ones would never be privy to what happened at those Nat caucus meetings – unless a Nat person (MP or staffer) leaked that information !!!!!!

                    • Dennis Frank

                      To PR @ 1.19pm: I assume Mallard abandoned his inquiry as soon as it became evident that his office & PS were not implicated. However I’m unfamiliar with the internal operation so that’s a guess. His duty motivated him to cancel the expense as soon as it was clearly a Nat insider job.

                    • Puckish Rogue

                      Well that what he says with nothing to back it up with

                    • veutoviper

                      To PR at 1.43pm What DF said – and also Andrew Geddis in the Tweets included in the post above in relation to the abandonment of the Parliamentary Service funded inquiry.

                      As to evidence that PS (which basically includes his office) was not implicated, many signs point to that probability and I am sure that we are not privy to all information re that aspect.

                  • McFlock

                    But the texter claiming to be the leaker apparently divulged information from caucus meetings as proof of their position.

                    And why would someone involved in nat caucus meetings try to dissemble and cover for a leaker from Mallard’s office?

                    • Puckish Rogue

                      Why would The Speaker suddenly shut down the inquiry?

                    • McFlock

                      Because it’s not his job to spend QC $$ on fixing leaks in the nats’ house.

                    • Puckish Rogue

                      “Because it’s not his job to spend QC $$ on fixing leaks in the nats’ house.”

                      That he also says its probably from National without any proof, except his word, is just fine and dandy I guess

                    • McFlock

                      But it’s not just his word, is it.

                      Bridges and O’Brien have also commented on the contents of the texts.

                      Sure, if you look at each item in isolation, you can argue nobody knows from whence the leak originated. That’s why you’re doing it.

                      But looking at the three people who got the texts, each being able to independently check the truth of it, we have a texter who was most likely involved with the nats. The leaked document was in the form that the nats received, not parliamentary services. The texter was flushed out when Mallard announced a comprehensive inquiry format. Mallard has announced that his office will cooperate with a nat inquiry (I assume that means handing over server and phone logs when the nat caucus all turn in their waivers lol).

                      Basically, some nats are going to refuse to sign a release – or they’ll front foot and confess in the next caucus meeting (unless they’re really stupid).

                      And Bridges won’t like the answer he seeks.

                  • cleangreen

                    The biggest circus since the ‘Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus’ all left town.

                    Simply the best yet “diversion” from the Natz.

                • Draco T Bastard

                  Well, John Key did once claim to be the leader of Labour…

              • Sacha

                Why would National’s expenses be provided to Labour when they never have been before?

                If you insist this wasn’t a Nat, what would the person’s motivation be to leak such minor material which would have come out a few days later anyway?

                And why would Soimon and Gerry still be so full of outrage?

                • Puckish Rogue

                  Questions that can be answered once/if Mallard decides to act neutrally and release whatever information he has

                  • Sacha

                    How would Mallard know any of that (beyond that we all know the answer to the first question is that the information was not released to Labour by Parliamentary Services)?

                    He will also be constrained by the same personal privacy obligations that Tova O’Brien respected but that Bridges decided not to.

      • Hanswurst 10.1.4

        But if it was leaked by a Labour MP in a format not provided to Parliamentary services… which National MP tried to undermine Bridges by leaking it to that Labour MP in the first place?

  10. gsays 11

    It seems to be a tad hypocritical to bring up privacy of MPs as a reason to be concerned, when the police are able to know “through their access to the cellular network”.

    I am sure this ability happened with the support of the Labour party.

    • dukeofurl 11.1

      It wopuld have nothing to do with the Labour party, even the Police Minister did not know – even under the no surprised rules national loved to work FOR them

      Any access to the cellular network would have happened with cyber laws passed by Key and national where essentially everything can be accessed without a search warrant and it doesnt have to be ‘national security’ either.

      • alwyn 11.1.1

        The Minister of Police was told at, or just before, 7am last Friday.
        I don’t know if they gave him the name but they appear to have said they knew the name..
        Trevor had, the day before that and long after he had got the text message, announced who the QC was that would be doing the enquiry.
        Now he suddenly scrapped the enquiry.
        He was clearly under orders to try and shut the whole thing down and any excuse, regardless of how stupid it sounded, would have to do.
        Why was Trevor panicking so much over the possible release of the name?

        • McFlock 11.1.1.1

          You wish.

          Mallard cancelled the inquiry because it became obvious the leaker was a nat. Now the nats can have their own leak inquiry.

          • alwyn 11.1.1.1.1

            What made it “obvious”?
            What happened between Thursday and Friday that made it “obvious”.
            Apart that is, from Ardern and Mallard saying so.
            What evidence did they have?
            Do you mean that the Police told them but wouldn’t tell Bridges?
            That is possible but rather scary if the Police work for the interests of the polies of one party rather than the people of the Country these days. It is possible but doesn’t that scare you?
            Has Bush become Ardern’s Beria?

            • McFlock 11.1.1.1.1.1

              Beria? Fuck, you really do go off the deep end.

              I’d say that what happened was that the information in the texts checked out, confirming that the texter was a nat.

              • alwyn

                And how could Trevor, or his boss Jacinda, possibly know that the information in the texts checked out?
                If they could say that they would have to have details of the National Caucus meetings themselves, wouldn’t they?
                And if they had enough to make that decision then obviously that is not evidence of the person having been a National MP at all.
                After all Bridges said it wasn’t evidence at all.

                “While the texter had provided certain facts to support their claim they were a member of the National caucus, Bridges said he could not be sure it was not another party’s MP or an employee of the Parliamentary Service.
                “There is a range of credible scenarios that really mean I cannot say whether they were or they weren’t.”
                https://www.newsroom.co.nz/2018/08/23/206812/police-identify-source-of-bridges-leak-text

                So if Simon, who would have been in the Caucus, can’t say how could people who WEREN’T there possibly know what it does or does not prove?

                • McFlock

                  Text has details of a meeting.
                  You ask people at the meeting “does this check out”.
                  If they say “yes” then the leak came from someone at the meeting.

                  Simon needs to come up with plausible scenarios of how multiple details from caucus meetings ended up being texted to himself, the speaker, and a reporter, without actually coming from someone present at those meetings.

                  Good luck with that. Somehow his caucus is either leaking directly to journalists, or leaking like a seive to someone who leaks to journalists. Oh, and were the spending records discussed at caucus? Because then you’d have a single point for all the leaks.

                  Although who leaked the texts about the leaks? Mallard’s office wouldn’t have received those texts. Mallard might have texted himself, but then the expenses that were leaked weren’t in the format his office received, but were in the format the nat caucus received. So Mallard gets leaked from the nat caucus multiple details about caucus meetings including the expenses of which he already has a copy, then Mallard leaks to O’Brien the information that was leaked to him. Because lolz. And who in caucus leaked it to him in the first place?

                  • alwyn

                    “You ask people at the meeting “does this check out”.”.
                    So who did Trevor, or Jacinda for that matter ask?
                    Or are you just making that up?

                    • McFlock

                      You asked how could people know whether they were given correct details of a meeting at which they had not been present.

                      The most obvious way is “ask someone who was at the meeting”.
                      Like one of the people who received the text in the first place, and was at all those meetings.

                      It’s pretty simple: if the details of caucus meetings in the text are wrong, then Bridges would have said so. But the details were correct.

                      So how did the textor get accurate details of nat caucus meetings without:
                      A) personally being at those meetings; or
                      B) being leaked diverse details of caucus meetings by people who were present?

                      Whatever way you look at it, nat caucus meetings are very leaky ships indeed.

                    • Gabby

                      Slick did wally.

        • Draco T Bastard 11.1.1.2

          I see that you’re in full Conspiracy Theorist mode and inventing all sorts of BS to defend your leaders as can be expected of Authoritarian Followers.

          • Puckish Rogue 11.1.1.2.1

            So release the information and that’ll be the end of it

            • McFlock 11.1.1.2.1.1

              Release what information?

              Do you mean the police should release to the nat leader upon demand the names of private individuals they contact for welfare checks?

              • Puckish Rogue

                Release the information they have on the leaker otherwise there’ll only be rumour and innuendo

                • McFlock

                  You’re “Rumour”, Alwyn’s “Innuendo”. The twin horsemen of the Incompetents.

                  The police have no information on a leaker. They were asked to do a welfare check on somebody who texted three phones at xxxx o’clock claiming suicidal tendencies. They confirmed the texter was in no immediate danger. the police are not at liberty to give out the identity of the texter. But the texts had enough information to be most likely from a nat.

                  Nat problem.

                  • Puckish Rogue

                    “most likely”

                    But not definitely and there lies the problem

                    • McFlock

                      True. The texter might have bugged the nat caucus room to get information that will direct suspicion to the nats, rather than the texter’s true role as a parliamentary aircon maintenance tech. I’m shocked that Mallard hasn’t ordered a full security sweep of the nat caucus room in order to discount that possibility.

                    • Dennis Frank

                      Clever theorising, McF, perhaps he suggested doing so to Bridges before he escaped. Bridges realised he would have to hold an inquiry to see if it was a good idea, so is keeping quiet about the plan while consulting with his colleagues to see if any are willing to object. Obviously any objector becomes leading candidate for leaker, eh? He no fool, Simon.

                    • McFlock

                      Maybe Gary Knapp’s been hiding under the floorboards of the nat caucus room for thirty years, and finally figured out how to work that iphone someone left behind one day.

                    • Dennis Frank

                      “Knapp was always critical of the Democrats decision to join the Alliance which he charged with overwhelming the Democrats identity due to being dominated by the NewLabour Party and in 1996 he quit the party.[1] Following his breaking with the Democrats he was involved with New Zealand First.”

                      So, an even thicker plot than we thought. Knapp the sleeper. No wonder NZF have been able to outplay the Nats! 🤣

            • KJT 11.1.1.2.1.2

              What happened to concerns about privacy.

              Is privacy only for people who have not embarrassed National. As Bennet, the other faucet without a washer, has shown.

      • gsays 11.1.2

        it is the cyber laws passed by key I was referring to.
        I recall being disappointed by the stance of the Labour party.
        iirc there was general agreement from andrew little with the invasive changes.

  11. infused 12

    I suspect something is going to fall out of this that no one expects. There is no other reason to push this story.

    I also find the ‘mental health’ angle of this rather dubious. It seems like a convenient way to call off the wolves.

    So I’m all for this to come out, National MPs or not.

    If anything else, it’s rather entertaining watching Tova sweat.

    • Bewildered 12.1

      Yep agree a bit to flow yet, nearly as fun as the Chris Carter melt down A bit of fun and games going on in national but does not come close to the cluster fk labour was when in opposition Simon will not be around for long, I suggest no biggie for national voters as does not have the factions and outside influences like labour does, changing leader thus not really that big of a deal

      • Sacha 12.1.1

        Heh, “does not have the factions”. Hilarious.

      • infused 12.1.2

        I don’t think many people really care for Simon too much, hence his rating, me included. He’s done better than I thought though.

        • paul andersen 12.1.2.1

          if bridges has done better than you thought, you must have pretty low expectations.

          • infused 12.1.2.1.1

            Sure did. I thought he was the most horrible choice possible and made that very clear. He’s an idiot.

        • cleangreen 12.1.2.2

          “I don’t think many people really care for Simon too much,”

          Never a truer word was spoken.

          Come on Judith come out of the closet.

      • Dean Reynolds 12.1.3

        Whistling in the dark, much?

      • paul andersen 12.1.4

        changeing leaders not that big of a deal… what bollocks. when key pulled the plug ,you nats ran around like headless chooks.

        • Bewildered 12.1.4.1

          Polls did not budge for national It’s a beltway issue and interesting for political tragics, average voter no real issue, in contrat to labour. Identity politics and outside factions ( unions etc) it’s s lot more complicated and goes well beyond beltway

      • dukeofurl 12.1.5

        Big caucus has its own problems when you arent in government. They would definitely have party factions, just they are more personal than ideology.

        For years the catholic school faction of national with its ‘capo’ English and his henchmen Brownlee, Smith, Hekia Parata, Woodhouse…

        • Bewildered 12.1.5.1

          Agree but just the National caucus personalities , no identity politics issue or unions National devide simply where you sit on left right continuum Caucus vote leader that’s it, Thus way less complex

        • Frankie and Benjie 12.1.5.2

          I suspect Brownlee may have something “personal” against the leaker from the time he became Deputy Leader of National under Brash. If this is so then
          “We will now obviously conduct an inquiry, because we need to know who that person is, to either stamp out a problem, or to in fact wrap around someone who has some serious issues,” Mr Brownlee said.
          Either of those options may not be very nice! Brownlee wrapped around you?
          I suspect both Britches and Brownlee know who the leaker is and want utu.
          Their own inquiry might not prove what they “know”.
          My most paranoid conspiracy theory is they are looking for a way to split National in the false belief that the sum of the parts will get more votes than a single NAT brand.

      • KJT 12.1.6

        National does not have factions?
        Probably true.

        National has bribers, sorry, funders!

    • Tricledrowm 12.2

      Mathew Hooton would fit the profile of the leaker.

  12. Ankerrawshark 13

    load Of rubbish that leak came from labour. It would have to be leaked to them from???????

    Besides which labour has no need to discredit or destabilise Bridges. He is a terrific asset to labour and he manages to discredit himself beautifully everyday without much help from anyone. It must be obvious to his colleagues that he is a flop, so much to be gain by discrediting him…….

    Given the police have assured us that the leaker is not at risk and has support I don’t have a problem with hazarding a guess………money on Collins and WO.

    However what an earth is Simon thinking continuing with this BS. His 9 minute interview nearly all about this circus whilst at the same time saying he should be focusing on the economy. …………um…..

  13. joe90 14

    Weirder by the day.

    But almost immediately Bridges and those close to him set out on a witch hunt ending up by blaming Speaker Trevor Mallard for the leak because the material originally emanated from Parliamentary Services for which Mallard is responsible.

    POLITIK has learned that Bridges told several people that he interviewed Mallard and could tell from his experience as a crown prosecutor, by Mallard’s body language, that he was guilty.

    Tweets began to appear from National insiders suggesting Mallard was the leaker

    http://politik.co.nz/en/content/politics/1417/

    • veutoviper 14.1

      Thanks Joe90, this by Richard Harman is definitely well worth a read as it puts some issues in this whole debacle into perspective, as well as putting up some other very good points worth considering.

      Of particular note is the following in the second half:

      This escalation of tension between the Opposition and the Speaker is in itself surprising.

      Alleging that the Speaker is partisan is a serious issue and could well see Bridges face some sort of sanction when Parliament resumes.

      But again, even if National picks up on some of the wilder talk among people close to it and moves a motion of no confidence in Mallard, the motion would not succeed.

      Bridges and his party look to have painted themselves into a corner.

      Partly that is because an inquiry by the Opposition Leader is unlikely to have the clout to conduct investigations outside the National caucus which means that unless the leaker is a National MP or staff member, the issue will remain unresolved.

      … His problem now is that with no real way of identifying the leaker the issue is likely to remain unresolved and he will appear to have failed.

      Not a good look for a new leader struggling to gain traction in the polls.

    • Pat 14.2

      if that statement is accurate I have grave concerns about the mental health of the National Party leader

    • Anne 14.3

      POLITIK has learned that Bridges told several people that he interviewed Mallard and could tell from his experience as a crown prosecutor, by Mallard’s body language, that he was guilty.

      So, what Bridges is saying:

      As soon as Mallard discovered he was the leaker he shut down the Inquiry. 😯

    • So mallard leaked but only a dribble because when he knew he would be caught dribbling he closed the inquiry to hide his own leak?

      Oh Simon you really are toast.

    • Dennis Frank 14.5

      The mallard, tricky & devious as ducks go. Reading mallard body language would require decoding quack & waddle, subtlety that a crown prosecutor acquires by training? Doubt it. Interesting though, that Bridges decided the devious one is guilty.

      Too target the Speaker effectively, you’d need evidence of misconduct, otherwise it’d just be moaning & whining that would make Bridges seem pathetic. So does the Speaker have the right to both launch & cancel his own inquiry? I assume so. The devious one wouldn’t be so silly as to do something that would lose him his job.

      Scarpering off the other side of the world immediately after cancelling was a clever move, but he ought really to have chosen Outer Mongolia or Timbuktu (Nats may despatch a disguised Lusk to Cornwall)…

  14. dukeofurl 15

    tell by his body language and his experience as a Crown prosecutor ?

    Surely as a prosecutor he had …you know actual evidence…..

    • McFlock 15.1

      Evidence is a “nice to have”. That’s why so many prisoners get released after retrials or pardons.

      • Sacha 15.1.1

        Reckons based on body language or chicken entrails are dandy in the ol Tauranga courthouse.

    • Draco T Bastard 15.2

      When has National ever used evidence to support anything that they say?

      After all, the evidence almost always contradicts what they say.

      • dukeofurl 15.2.1

        Prisoners voting is perfect example. Didn’t supreme Court say it was done illegally , when nats removed voting rights. But they don’t have power to overturn it.

  15. Dean Reynolds 16

    It’s great to see Bridges digging not only his own political grave, but also a political grave for his shitty little party

    Just keep on digging, Simon

    • Puckish Rogue 16.1

      You seriously think this will bury National?

      • McFlock 16.1.1

        I’m sure they’ll find other ways to dig themselves deeper.

        To recap: a minor leak of incorrect data about bridges’ spending that was due to be released days later is now in its… third? week. Bless their little socks.

    • cleangreen 16.2

      100% Dean. ++++++

  16. SPC 17

    Bridges continues to pretend it’s not someone in his own caucus – to show solidarity with them. All while looking over their communications ….

    And everyone of those in caucus knows that he could find information he can then use against them if they do not support his leadership.

    So they will have to show solidarity with him until he resigns after defeat in 2020.

    • Blazer 17.1

      Isn’t it interesting that Bridges cannot confirm that the results of his recently launched investigation will be made ..public.

  17. SPC 18

    Has anyone asked the Taxpayers Union what they think of National’s request that the Speaker spend tax payer money on an internal leak investigation?

    • KJT 18.1

      It’s only a problem for the tax dodgers, sorry, “payers”, union when taxes are spent on the poor, disadvantaged, sick, or worst of all brown, mothers of children!

      National wasting, or stealing, tens of thousands, is fine.

  18. Gabby 19

    Slick and Browneye are hopping mad because now they can’t skewer Mallard for persecuting a mentally ill tory.

  19. Ken 20

    Good luck finding the Nat with mental issues among that lot.

  20. pete 21

    Well it took until 10.00 pm to get to the funniest thing all day:

    “Bridges told several people that he interviewed Mallard and could tell from his experience as a crown prosecutor, by Mallard’s body language, that he was guilty.”

    I hope several people read this. Whatever, how many of you there are, you got it from me: After a lifetime of dealing with people from all walks of life in many ordinary situations, in many positive situations and in many negative situations involving the relating of events, giving accounts and hopefully the telling of the truth, I became very experienced at observing body language.

    I can tell by Simon Bridges’ body language and what he says, that he is a fucking idiot. Not only that, his dishonest utterances after he knew more of the details of the leaking showed him to be a slimy fucking idiot.

  21. Michael 22

    Nationall’s motive to continue the witch hunt was expressed by Gerry Brownlee in his Radio NZ interview this morning: “or to in fact wrap around someone who has some serious issues”. Doesn’t that conjure up some comforting images?

  22. Jenny 23

    When Bridges finds the leaker, could they be sacked from parliament under Winston Peters’ Waka Jumping law?

    What would this mean for genuine future whistle blowers who become privy to something dreadful but hidden, but which their conscience tells them the public need to know?

    • Hanswurst 23.1

      I don’t follow. The Waka-Jumping law is for MPs who are removed from the party. That means that that process would have to be gone through first. You make it sound as if the legislation will mean that the party leadership can eject its MPs just by looking at them in a funny way.

      • Jenny 23.1.1

        “You make it sound as if the legislation will mean that the party leadership can eject its MPs just by looking at them in a funny way.”
        Hanswurst

        The National Party leadership are already looking sideways at this leaker, whoever they turn out to be.

        That the leaking of this politically embarrassing information about the leader is considered an offence incompatible with membership of the National Party Caucus and Party is clear from the effort being put into the hunt, to uncover who it is.

        The Waka-Jumping law allows a party leadership to evict from Parliament, any MP they expel from their party’s ranks. Whether that MP goes willingly, or not.

        For the National Party leaker, (or for that matter, any other whistleblower) if the Party leadership determine that this is an offence incompatible with membership of the National Party, that MP can be expelled from Party and ejected from parliament.

        • Hanswurst 23.1.1.1

          That’s shifting the goalposts a bit. Regardless, I can’t get too excited about that. Surely the situation then becomes a question of how democratic or otherwise the party’s structures are. When Chris Carter was expelled from the Labour party several years ago, for instance, it required approval from the Labour Party Council, not just the caucus leadership. If a party, according to its own constitution, decides that a list member is not fit to represent the party, then surely it could be argued that the democratic rights of the party’s membership and those who voted for them are better served by removing that member and replacing them with someone who better represents the party people voted for.

          Some of the criticism surrounding the Waka-Jumping bill referred to New Zealand’s a comparatively negligible problem with MPs leaving their party for such legislation to be necessary. My opinion is that, if it prevents members like Alamein Kopu and much of the NZ first caucus from striking out on their own to make confidence and supply decisions that nobody voted for, then it is a good thing, regardless of whether that only happens a couple of times every few decades.

  23. Jackel 24

    This whole thing is a mess. What’s really going on?

  24. xanthe 25

    If the leaker was from PS and the police know that , then that would be a crime and the police would have to tell Mallard. therefore mallard does “know” that the person was not PS.

    • Exactly. So must be a gnat and simple Simon knows it – bloody lawyers – slippery little types

    • veutoviper 25.2

      “If the leaker was from PS and the police know that , then that would be a crime and the Police would have to tell Mallard …”

      A crime under what law?

      It would be an employment matter under the person’s employment agreement and confidentiality commitments, and would then need to be handled by Parliamentary Service under employment law not criminal law.

      The Police were brought in on a possible serious and urgent mental health situation and appear to have acted purely in that capacity, in probably urgently identifying the person and then sending in a police mental health team as first responders to assess the person and to then work with mental health professionals to see that they got what help they needed. There is no crime in having mental health issues per se and needing help.

      https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/health/99735922/a-growing-emergency-why-are-cops-looking-after-mental-health-patients-in-crisis

      Acting purely in that capacity, the Police would be in the wrong by breaching privacy law if they then released that person’s identity to either Bridges or Mallard.

      As i have said several times here, that does not necessarily prevent someone, eg Mallard in his formal position vis a vis Parliamentary Services, from asking the Police – without seeking the person’s actual identity – to rule out that the person worked in Parliamentary Service, for example.

      It would then be quite reasonable for the Police to say “no” without further details, on practical grounds due to Mallard’s and Parliamentary Service’s responsibilities as an employer to the person as an employee in relation to that person’s well-being; and possibly in light of the high costs to the taxpayer if Mallard/PS were to continue with the inquiry funded by PS.

      EDIT – Quite a few other people here also have similar opinions re why Mallard has called off the inquiry, as does Richard Harmen at Politico – see 14 above. Further opinions along the same lines are on the new Simon’s first Six Month Post.

      • xanthe 25.2.1

        yes that sound reasonable veuto thx

        • veutoviper 25.2.1.1

          Sorry if I sound a know it all, but I have had dealings with the Police mental health teams in similar situations (not me) and they are great, and know the law etc inside out. The real problem is that this should not be their job, but that is where it has ended up through decades of our mental health systems being run down, underfunded, understaffed etc.

          Sorry cannot help my anger, frustration … its not at you. Mea culpa.

          In this particular case, I really want to scream at the lack of understanding, etc on certain Nats part – not just Bridges but also Brownlee who has politised it beyond belief. Talk about ‘bulls in china’ shops! And Bridges should know this stuff from his law degrees and work as a Prosecutor.

          • Anne 25.2.1.1.1

            They’re trying to make political hay out of it veutoviper. Simple as that. The intention is to muddy the waters to such a degree that people will end up not knowing what or who to believe. It is in the neoliberal Right’s DNA to behave that way. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.

            Lets hope this time it doesn’t.

            • veutoviper 25.2.1.1.1.1

              Absolutely, Anne. But this round, I really think that the media are so flummoxed that even they are not prepared to go along with it. So perhaps this time around it won’t work.

              And I am getting so cynical that I am now beginning to wonder whether Brownlee is actually trying to support Bridges – or doing the opposite, helping him dig the hole even bigger.

              Interesting that it has been all quiet with the other Nats even though they are on recess – apart from Woodhouse now joining the bulls in the china shop with his call for Chelsea Manning to be banned from coming to NZ. Oh dear …

              I am really beginning to almost feel sorry for Bridges.

              It certainly has kept me occupied the last few days. Will be out of the picture/offline for most of tomorrow so I hope nothing too exciting happens then. LOL.

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