Written By: - Date published: 7:33 am, December 20th, 2018 - 26 comments
Categories: Abuse of power, accountability, Gerry Brownlee, national, Politics, same old national, Simon Bridges, surveillance, you couldn't make this shit up - Tags: andrea vance, Thompson and Clark
Poor National. Christmas is just round the corner and it has another crisis to deal with.
How does it respond to allegations that it was complicit in the use of Thompson and Clark by multiple crown entities during its last reign?
Simple Simon had a shall we say conventional response [actual film]:
Here is the longer version:
Mr Bridges said he had no knowledge of any unethical behaviour under his watch.
“I never had anything to do with this. My sole focus was on growing our economy, our export opportunities… all of that stuff was operational. But if anyone should be answering it, it’s Peter Hughes.”
But Gerry Brownlee went all hold my beer on it and decided to try and defend what had happened as well as the chief of Southern Response who had justifiably fallen on his sword.
From Andrea Vance at Stuff:
Former Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee knew insurer Southern Response had hired a controversial private spy firm for a two-year period.
Brownlee defended the $177,350 bill for hiring Thompson & Clark when questioned by Labour MP Megan Woods in September 2016, and confirmed they were engaged in January 2014.
On Wednesday, the Ilam MP also backed outgoing Southern Response chair Ross Butler, who has been forced to resign over the scandal, saying he was “pilloried”.
And he criticised a Government inquiry report which found the company infiltrated and recorded several closed meetings of insurance claimants, potentially unlawfully. That finding is now the subject of a complaint to police.
“I have read the report, I think it is not a good report, I think that it is written in a way that has a degree of inflammatory language in it,” Brownlee said.
“It is designed to make the big cost of it more palatable. And I think it is a great tragedy a gentleman like Mr Butler has been treated the way he has.”
And his justification is full of holes. Again from Vance:
Questions asked of Brownlee by Woods show he was aware of the investigator’s contract and defended it because Southern Response staff had received threats.
He said: “I am not prepared to outline the full reasons for this expenditure beyond saying post the Ashburton MSD shooting incident, threats to staff were taken very seriously.”
However, the Ashburton incident took place in September 2014, some nine months after Thompson & Clark were hired.
After spending the last decade admiring National’s messaging discipline can I say how disappointed I am that such a previously formidable machine now shows so many weaknesses. And how pleased I am …