National’s varied response to the Thompson and Clark report

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: ,

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 …

26 comments on “National’s varied response to the Thompson and Clark report”

  1. Kat 1

    It is abundantly clear that Simon Bridges “knows nothing”….what Gerry Brownlee knows is what John Key told him. That John Key is gone along with “National’s messaging discipline” is no coincidence.

    • Ross 1.1

      To be fair, Brownlee and Bridges are not accomplished liars as was Key. They try but don’t have the chops for it.

    • Anne 1.2

      It’s worth noting that all the things which had the potential to come back and bight John Key on the bum were linked to spying claims, surveillance operations and unlawful raids on NZ citizens. I refer to the GCSB/Ian Fletcher debacle… the Dotcom surveillance/raid… the Hager raid/unlawful removal of private property… and now confirmation Public Service entities used a private company to spy on individuals they perceived [wrongly] to be a threat to them.

      No wonder he jumped ship the way he did. It could have happened at any time and he knew it.

    • Michelle 1.3

      really kat sounds a but naïve on your part soimon knows nothing well that factor alone is bad cause if he knows nothing what the f..k is he doing in parliament

  2. SPC 2

    The National Ministers of MBIE, Energy, Primary Industries and maybe Police should have known what was going on – given what was being done by those they had responsibility for. And of course their Prime Ministers, the real question is whether this was ever discussed by their Cabinet – so they all consented to the practice.

  3. patricia bremner 3

    For a brief moment I was sorry for Bridges. As you say Micky An ‘I know nothing ‘ moment, which if true meant he wasn’t on the ‘Inner Circle’ after all, or worse, Key has trained him very well during those sometimes observed Key homilies.’That was Operational’ sounds like a Key hat. ‘I didn’t see that, I was wearing my Ministerial hat’

    The reflex responses from both these MPs are revealing. We have at least learned that fundamentally Brownlie doesn’t believe in democracy. Not for other Parties, and anyone opposing National’s ideas. They don’t have rights and can be spied on. At last we understand the rush to pass laws to allow Departments to spy on New Zealanders.

    • I feel love 3.1

      and more proof the born to rule hearken back to the days of Dickens era England, “a gentleman like…” because gentlemen don’t lie or cheat or steal… a gentleman’s word is his bond, a gentleman’s handshake yada yada…

    • SPC 3.2

      The key discussion to allow departments to use an outside contractors to spy on New Zealanders, and to my suspicious mind use of outside contrac tors/parties before departments etc had legal authority themselves to gather the information.

    • patricia bremner 3.3

      Brownlee spelling sorry/

  4. A wee reminder about how much Chch residents respect Gerry’s commitment to the rebuild:

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/news/city-centre/9425736/Park-bench-dedication-to-Gerry-Brownlee

  5. Dennis Frank 5

    “The public needs to know more about this scandal that is so contrary to the way we expect our public servants to behave on our behalf. The public wants to know who approved of this surveillance, why it was considered necessary in a democracy and, perhaps most important of all, how much was really known about it by the ministers in charge.” https://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/opinion/109463498/editorial-more-questions-about-spies-and-the-public-service

    Google identifies this as an editorial from the Dominion Post, but the Stuff page doesn’t. Perhaps to indicate to readers that newspapers are no longer relevant. I agree with the quoted section: the media ought to apply pressure to National until it informs the public who decided to authorise the surveillance, in each instance.

  6. Michelle 6

    gentleman my arse gentlemen don’t treat people like that gerry

  7. Dv 7

    And the natz took the insurance co over, and renamed it southern response.
    Looked benevolent at the time but?
    Interesting eh?

  8. RedLogix 8

    The image in the OP … it took several minutes for the penny to drop 🙂

    Way too early in the morning here; my body clock doesn’t have numbers this small.

  9. peterh 9

    So there were no Nats MP that knew. the Greens. Mana, Internet party also had the big eye of the spy on them. so who authorised this

  10. McFlock 10

    So Bridges’ excuse is that he didn’t pay attention to ensuring that the rights of ordinary NZers weren’t trrampled by departments under his responsibility?

    Actually sounds plausible… Still, bad, but plausibly out of touch

    • Tricledrown 10.1

      Slimy Siomy very carefully abdicated his responsibility a police prosecutor and all purgering himself to boot saying he is tough on crime yet deliberately lying?

  11. mosa 11

    The people of CHCH ( Ii am now one of them ) have suffered greatly in a disaster that is still being felt.
    What they needed was support at the most critical time of their lives instead they were pawns in a viscous surveillance program initiated by their democratically elected government and MPS.
    I hope these revelations about the actions undertaken by the last government serve as a warning about what can happen when people are fooled into supporting the actions of a man who is portrayed and sold that he can walk on water and his colleagues who are more than content with excusing their behavior against their own countrymen and women just to stay in power.
    I hope CHCH people let Brownlee know how despicable he really is at every opportunity.
    For Bridges to say he knew nothing of this appalling war against his fellow New Zealanders is beyond contempt and the true crimes and actions undertaken by Key and English will know be made public.
    This is just the start.

  12. mosa 12

    The people of CHCH ( Ii am now one of them ) have suffered greatly in a disaster that is still being felt.
    What they needed was support at the most critical time of their lives instead they were pawns in a viscous surveillance program initiated by their democratically elected government and MPS.
    I hope these revelations about the actions undertaken by the last government serve as a warning about what can happen when people are fooled into supporting the actions of a man who is portrayed and sold that he can walk on water and his colleagues who are more than content with excusing their behavior against their own countrymen and women just to stay in power.
    I hope CHCH people let Brownlee know how despicable he really is at every opportunity.
    For Bridges to say he knew nothing of this appalling war against his fellow New Zealanders is beyond contempt and the true crimes and actions undertaken by Key and English will now be made public.
    This is just the start.

  13. Tamati Tautuhi 13

    Bridges has definitely been out of touch with what has been going on and is still out of touch with what is going on. Strange how most New Zealanders knew what was going on ?

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