Privacy Commissioner Closes Investigation about Hon Paula Bennett Refers Matter to Director of Proceedings
“I have closed my investigation of the privacy complaint made by Natasha Fuller about the actions of Hon Paula Bennett,” Privacy Commissioner Marie Shroff said today.
“Unfortunately the parties did not reach a settlement on the privacy issues in this complaint.” “In my view the complaint has sufficient substance for me to refer the matter to the Director of Human Rights Proceedings, and I have contacted him accordingly,” the Commissioner said. …
Note for Media
Where we believe a complaint has substance and we have been unable to settle it, we may decide to refer it to the Director of Proceedings. His role is independent of the Privacy Commissioner and he will decide whether or not proceedings ought to be issued in the Human Rights Review Tribunal. This is a separate process from our complaints process and all hearings are commenced and heard afresh. The role of the Tribunal is to make a final determination about the substance of a privacy complaint.
So, one investigation ends and another begins. According to details available here:
In simple terms, the Director performs similar functions to those previously performed by the Proceedings Commissioner: litigating cases involving the anti-discrimination provisions of the HRA, and litigating cases under the Privacy Act 1993 [‘PA’] …
As indicated, a referral to the Director does not automatically mean that proceedings will be issued. The Director is, in reality, a ‘fresh pair of eyes’. Although the Director has no powers of investigation, much less the resources to do so, he approaches the matter anew and may in fact ultimately come to a different conclusion from the PC.
So nothing is certain yet, but the complaint has cleared the major hurdle, and is moving towards action. At this point Key should clearly stand Bennett down, but of course he won’t – there don’t seem to be any consequences for any kind of illegal or unethical behaviour in Key’s government (except for whatever it was Worth did). Even from a position of pure expedience, however, Key should act, as the longer this drags on the closer the eventual blow-up will be to the election.
Finally, let’s all hope that the media pay particular attention to the final comment from the Commissioner:
The complainant Natasha Fuller has asked the Commissioner’s office to convey to the media that she will be making no public statements on the issue. Any enquiries should be directed to her legal representative Joanne (Wattie) Watson of Hamilton.
Leave Fuller alone – she’s been through enough. Go chase Bennett through Parliament with your cameras why don’t you.