Following up on the Hey Chubby post a few days ago. It looks like David Farrar has finally made a comment on it…
m@tt (83) Says:
May 15th, 2010 at 8:24 am
David, why did you use the OIA to try and get information on people that had made legitimate requests of the government?
[DPF: I think sunlight is the best disinfectant when people lie]
Well that really is a limp response, and it really just highlights up David’s strange actions. David is saying that the reason he ran an Official Information Act request to find out who had been making Official Information Act requests on the three strikes bill is to find people who had been lying?
What lie? Well, we can only speculate on his actions and motivations and raise a few questions. Mostly because it is rather amusing to do so, and it points out attitudinal problems on the subject of free speech by the government that he supports.
The Official Information Act is there to shed light on government actions. So was David looking for the lying within the government?
As we pointed out in “3 strikes law could increase murders Nats’ secret official advice” there appears to have been some considerable shifty work going on inside of government.
While they have been telling us that three strikes will reduce serious offending, the Government has been warned by its own officials that its three strikes policy may lead to people being murdered. Its reaction was not to drop the policy but to muzzle the officials and try to keep this secret from New Zealand.
We are sickened.
The revelation that three strikes may increase the homicide rate was contained in the last paper Simon Power received as minister responsible for the policy before it was handed over to Judith Collins.
There is ample scope inside that sequence of events for some lying to have happened. Especially since the government has been assuring us that the 3 strikes bill would be effective and will somehow magically drop violent crime. However it appears that at least some of the advice to them was that it may increase some types of violent crime.
Moreover, David didn’t ask for the information that I and various journo’s had requested on the advice given to the government about the effect of the three strikes bill. Instead, he asked about individuals who had been asking about that advice.
Perhaps he is suggesting that individual members of the government are at war with each other to the extent that they are making OIA’s against each other? It is possible bearing in mind some of the obvious divisions in this government over the 3 strikes and other issues. But it is unlikely bearing in mind David’s own affiliations.
David runs a polling company, Curia, that seems to get the majority of its work from the National party and other associated right-wing organizations. He must be highly trusted by that party to handle their very politically sensitive and frequent polling. He is also strongly associated with the National party in his blog acting as a defacto spinster for their lines. It seems unlikely that he’d want to expose the divisions in the caucus.
So it is most likely that David was looking for individuals outside of government who had used the Official Information Act procedures to examine and criticize the current government on the 3 strikes bill.
Now this is quite curious because in 2007, David was the spokesperson for the “Free Speech Coalition” campaigning against the Electoral Finance Bill. This was a bill and subsequently an act which he claimed would stifle free speech against the government.
David now apparently thinks it is ok to attempt to expose individuals using the OIA. Why? Because they may write material criticizing the government. In other words, they are exercising free speech, and exercising it to criticize the government – the very thing that he was defending in 2007. The only apparent difference between Davids 2007 attitudes and now, is that his party is in government.
Of course, this government seems to also think that what employees legally do in their spare time is also their business. For instance the new proposed codes of conduct for the public service appear to be draconian attacks on the current ability of public servants to have beliefs or even associations outside of their work.
Our political interests and activities (and possibly even the political interests of a close family member) have the potential to conflict with our obligations as State servants. The effective management of such conflicts must balance the role of the organisation we work for and its relationship to the Government, the importance of encouraging a strong democracy, and our personal rights as New Zealanders.
As our post said
Wow. So you can get a mark against your name if your partner or your siblings or parents are involved in (the wrong kind of) politics.
This appears to be the same type of attitude that David, a person closely associated with the government putting this forward, is taking to people writing critical articles about ‘his’ government.
I really think that David needs to turn the light on himself, and consider on how how far he has drifted from the free speech principles that he espoused so strongly only a few years ago. There is a word for that type of self-serving about-face. It is hypocritical.
The “Free Speech Coalition” were most notable for a number of billboards comparing various politicians with dictators. Perhaps David needs his own one.