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NRT: More information thuggery

Written By: - Date published: 11:34 am, March 24th, 2012 - 18 comments
Categories: accountability, corruption, Gerry Brownlee, national - Tags: ,

NRT with yet another example of the Nats’ intimidation tactics.

More information thuggery

Today in Parliament, Labour MP Lianne Dalziel asked some questions about the fairness of the government’s bailout for red zone property-owners. Gerry Brownlee’s response? To dump the details of her earthquake claim into the Parliamentary record.

Again, this is an appalling act of information thuggery, involving deeply personal information. This is purely operational information, which should never have been in the Minister’s hands. And yet, when its needed for a political smear, its available to him. This suggests misconduct on the party of the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority, as well as a gross abuse of power by the Minister.

This isn’t the first time a Minister of this government has behaved like this. Paula Bennett is off to the Human Rights Review Tribunal for breaching the privacy of beneficiaries who had stuck their heads up and complained about their treatment, in a case which looks to cost the government tens of thousands of dollars. Sadly, Brownlee’s comments are covered by Parliamentary Privilege, so there seems to be no scope for holding him to account. The government department which gave him the information, OTOH, could be in a different boat. There is no reason for Ministers to know the private information of individuals dealing with CERA, it was not collected for the purpose of enabling bullying, and so passing it on to him was a violation of privacy principles. CERA needs to be held to account for that. And in future, government departments faced with such requests from Ministers should not only refuse them – but publicise the fact that the request was made, so the public can hold abusive Ministers to account.

18 comments on “NRT: More information thuggery ”

  1. Brownlee’s behaviour is utterly appalling.  The questions and answers can be seen here.  Brownlee introduced Dalziel’s personal information to the debate to imply some sort of impropriety.
    Dalziel made a very effective personal statement.  She has always been very open about her circumstances and the figures involved.  She is the local MP.  Of course she should be permitted to ask questions about an issue that is of deep relevance to her constituents.
    Brownlee then chose to smear her further.  Utterly disgraceful.

    • Hami Shearlie 1.1

      Why should we be surprised about Brownlee’s behaviour? Remember when he “assisted” someone out of a National Party event?

  2. Didn’t the govt make Brownlee absolute dictator of everything related to the Christchurch earthquake, with no legal safeguards? We should probably be glad he didn’t order her thrown in jail, he’s got the temperament for it…

  3. Mark Hubbard 3

    Yes. And understand that the State at the size it is to fulfill the Left’s social agenda, necessarily involves the absolute stripping away of the privacy, hence freedom, of every single one of us, before it. This shameful thing Brownshirt has done, is being done to thousands of individuals, daily, by government bureaucrats.

    It’s the brute, Big Brother Police State, not a state of civility. And you guys and girls wanted it …

    • Jan 3.1

      What point exaxtly are you trying to make about “government bureaucrats”? It’s far from clear and it sounds to me as if you have a concern that your eligibility for governent services involves providing personal information of the kind you provide to open a bank account, get a drivers’ licence or to apply for credit or to visit a GP or create a facebook entry come to that. There is scope for abuse as the post indicates but I’m not sure what you are talking about

    • Pascal's bookie 3.2

      Go on then, give us some examples Mark.

      Thousands of times, every day, the state releases protected info about citizens? Crikey. You’d think someone would have noticed.

      I’d suspect that your version of civilisation would be a) hardly worth the name, and b) unachievable democratically.

      • bbfloyd 3.2.1

        sounds like he’s got the updated newspeak dictionary…..

        • Mark Hubbard

          Is the moderator actually going to put this post up, or is sabotage the MO here all the time?


          [lprent: You have been on our permanent ban list for some time and get routed automatically to spam. Looking at your comment and attitude I can see why. Spam is also the lowest priority item to deal with on the site. I’ll try to remember not to not release your comments out to the unsuspecting public in future even if they look rational – it is clear that you are not.

          But go back to the solo wanker site – I suspect you suit it. ]

  4. Pete 4

    There was a good segment on Media 7 this week about this government’s cavalier attitude towards privacy when it comes to smearing their opponents to score political points.

    • insider 4.1

      Yes this govt is unparalleled in its abuse of private citizens. Helen Clark would never have defamed any one.. Oops. I mean a cabinet minister would never have acted politically to sandbag someone’s career…. Oh double oops. I means senior cabinet minister and strategist would never have have made personal attacks in parliament on a whistle blower… Oh frack! Ok ok they all do it, it’s not unparalleled and the outrage is somewhat staged.

      • Pascal's bookie 4.1.1


        Remember when Cullen released the tax details of kiwiblog commenters who were complaining about being overtaxed? Yeah, me neither, but that would be a parallel to what Bennett did.

        I do remember lots of outrage though, about some of the things you mention, much of it justified. Sad to see though that it seems to be have feigned.

        • Dr Terry

          I do not know why anybody today should have to be reminded that one wrong does not make another right.

      • Pete 4.1.2

        So that’s what the right is reduced to, is it? “Both sides are bad, so vote National”.

  5. ianmac 5

    Remember when if a woman laid a charge of rape, was then subjected to intensive character assassination by the defence. Every smear and innuendo was used to cast blame at her door. Now days I believe that that is rare, because and society and the law decry denigration of whistle blowers or questioners or charge bringers.
    Except in Parliament of course. And except in this case for Brownlie. He is of course above censure.

    • QoT 5.1

      Unfortunately, ianmac, rape victims still get more than enough smear and innuendo directed at them. Hence the shockingly low report rates for sexual crimes.

  6. Tc 6

    ‘CERA needs to be held to account for that.’…..tui moment. We are talking about hand picked NACT sycophants here not some independent or publicly elected body.

  7. North 7

    Not surprising.

    Think back…….the loathsome Brownlee has ALWAYS been one to stoop to the lowest at the drop of a hat. The karmic day gets closer Bunter.

    • Hami Shearlie 7.1

      Nick Smith got clobbered this week, long after refusing to allow ACC counselling to victims of sexual abuse – so we know karma does exist, even if not immediate. Gerry will be for the chop one of these days – but can we wait? – the excitement’s building……………………………………………

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