The leak inquiries

Written By: - Date published: 8:11 am, October 11th, 2018 - 37 comments
Categories: Media, Politics, Simon Bridges, the praiseworthy and the pitiful, trevor mallard, you couldn't make this shit up - Tags: , ,

A good leak is something to behold.  The media trumpets the news that has been leaked and the leakee looks bemused and confused.  And the leaker, who knows who they are?

The media cycle is dominated by the news.  Reporters scurry around in increasingly smaller circles interviewing each other and theorising on who the leaker was and what the implications of the leaked information are.

Leaks from within your own party are always destructive.  Political division within a party is polling poison for a leader.  If you cannot run your party how can you run the country?

And the ripples caused by great leaks can go on for months.  Although if the leaked information is relatively mundane this only happens when the leakee makes an absolute mess of handling the repercussions of the lease.

Simon Bridges’s obsession with who leaked his travel expense information is a strong indicator that he is not fit to be Prime Minister.  Fancy worrying about information that was coming out anyway being leaked a couple of days early.  Surely he had better things to worry about.

Trevor Mallard originally called his bluff and announced a full review to find out who leaked the information.  The need to show that it was not Parliamentary Services or the Speaker’s own staff was clearly a consideration.

Then we had the extraordinary situation where the supposed leaker texted Bridges and Mallard as well as Tova O’Brien to say that he or she was in National’s caucus, was suffering from mental health issues and asked that the inquiry be called off.  O’Brien was scathing at Bridges’ refusal to do so.

I was sent the same text message Simon Bridges and Trevor Mallard were sent last week by the leaker of Bridges’ expenses.

It was desperate and devastating – a clear plea for help.

The inquiry was called because there was concern about a leak from within the parliamentary system – a weakness which could undermine the sanctity of the parliament and therefore our democracy.

The leaker’s message was simple, in their words:

“There is no security breach in the parliament or problem to be fixed in the system.”

They wanted the inquiry called off:

“Just say you know there is no security breach”.

They shared anecdotes from National Party caucus meetings that only National Party MPs would know in an attempt to prove that they’re an MP, and that the leak shouldn’t be dealt with at a Parliamentary level overseen by a Queen’s Counsel or High Court judge.

This is a National Party issue that should be dealt with by the National Party. As the Speaker just made clear by calling off the inquiry.

Bridges should have got in before Trevor Mallard and requested the inquiry be called off himself.

Having received that same text as Simon Bridges I was surprised that he not only chose to push on with the witch hunt, but suggested the person should be named and even called into question whether the message was genuine.

Mallard calling off the inquiry was the rational and humane thing to do.  This was an internal National Party issue and for them to sort out.  Bridges could have done the same.  But he refused to and then engaged in what can only be described as a witch hunt, spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on an inquiry into a 3 day premature leak of information.

National then tried to suggest that Mallard and Labour were still possibilities mainly on the basis that Bridges thought, using his magical prosecutorial skills, that Mallard was guilty of being the leaker.

Bridges denied the story.  Of course he would do that.

Mallard’s response is interesting.  It has just been revealed that he set up a further inquiry to ensure that Parliamentary Services was not responsible for the leak, thereby shutting down the one possible conclusion that would not leave National with egg all over its face.

From Tova O’Brien at Newshub:

The net appears to be closing in on the National Party as the likely source of the leak of Simon Bridges’ expenses to Newshub.

Newshub can reveal Parliament’s Speaker ordered his own inquiry into the leaking of Mr Bridges’ expenses to clear himself and his staff.

Speaker Trevor Mallard confirmed an IT expert and employment lawyer were brought in to forensically go through phone records, email records and printing activity of about 20 parliamentary staff, including Mr Mallard himself.

Mr Mallard’s inquiry was conducted by major auditor KPMG and found “there is no evidence the expense document was sent to any unauthorised parties via email… That scanning, printing and photocopying logs confirm that there is no evidence of the expense document being printed.

“On the basis of this independent review there is no evidence that staff in the Office of the Speaker, Mr Speaker or Parliamentary Service finance and corporate staff released details of this quarterly expense disclosure report to any unauthorised parties.”

Parliamentary Staff in National MPs’ offices, including staff in the National leader’s office and in Deputy Speaker Anne Tolley’s office, were excluded from the investigation.

The timing is exquisite.  The results of National’s inquiry are due to be released soon.  This will only increase pressure on National and heighten interest in the story.

There only appear to be four possible conclusions and none of them are very palatable for National.

  1. The leaker is not discovered.
  2. The leaker is a staffer and is summarily fired with aspersions cast on their nominal employer.
  3. The leaker is a list MP.  Will National use the waka jumping law?
  4. The leaker is an electorate MP.  National wields its power to get them to resign.  They then face a by election.  Botany would not be a good place for a by election.  Auckland Central, for instance, would be disastrous.

No matter what historians in the future will look back and wonder what all the fuss was about.  And it may be that they will conclude that this was the beginning of the end of the reign of Simon Bridges as National leader.

 

37 comments on “The leak inquiries”

  1. Cinny 1

    Was wondering how much the leak search has cost so far, more than the limo by the sounds of it.

    Ego can be a very expensive business.

    • alwyn 1.1

      The leak enquiries are probably much less than Helen Clark’s ego trip travelling the world and getting our embassies to turn on parties for her to show an ego-driven film about how she was “cheated” out of being the UN Secretary-General.
      I wonder who approved that complete waste of our money?
      At least Bridges was talking to real New Zealanders about real problems.

      • Kevin 1.1.1

        We are bitter today…

      • Cinny 1.1.2

        Aunty Helen the first elected woman PM of NZ, three terms as PM, then she went on to being the third most important person at the UN.

        simon bridges leader of the national party for only a year and an unwanted national party leader at that, judging by the polls and comments via KB.

        simon talking to ‘real New Zealanders about real problems’, not listening, just talking, yes that’s simon.

        Re Aunty Helens doco, if you want to complain that it was a waste of money alwyn, I suggest you complain to who was in government at the time… which was national.

        How many businesses did national bail out while in power? How much did that cost us all?

        Meanwhile, money is continued to be spent on simon, by simon, searching for a leaker, just so he can save face.

        • Dukeofurl 1.1.2.1

          English hardly needs any international ‘exposure’ as a board member of retail company Bunnings.

        • Chris 1.1.2.2

          Helen Clark was no friend of the poor and disadvantaged. For that she should never be held out as heroic.

      • Dukeofurl 1.1.3

        So the taxpayers arent paying for Key and Englishs travel as retired PMs?

      • cleangreen 1.1.4

        alwyn leaked the information it seems to sound like?

        Seeing as coming to the defense of “simple blithering Bridges is a giveaway there!!!!!

  2. Incognito 2

    IMO Simon was merely a placeholder or seat-warmer but in any case he wasn’t a leader. A leader leads by being exemplary, by being inspiring and having great people skills and compassion, and by mapping out and/or articulating a vision & values that people can and want to subscribe to (as in: vote for). Another attribute of a (great) leader is to be able to admit mistakes and to say sorry and apologise when appropriate.

  3. Ankerrawshark 3

    Incognito that definition of a leader sounds like Jacinda

    • Incognito 3.1

      That hadn’t occurred to me but now you mention it … 😉

      It’s more a description than a definition; my description.

  4. Dirk.Dirkin 4

    Hamish Price thinks the coalition are terrified of Bridges? Good one Hamish

    • OnceWasTim 4.1

      Hamish who?
      I tried for a pic on the gNat website. I gave up because they all looked like Harcourts Real Estate agents, or 1970’s style IBM customer service engineers, or even some of those held out to be one of Amway’s success stories.

      Can anyone direct me to a pic of this specimen?

  5. Michelle 5

    based on incognitos definition it looks like national will be in opposition for a while

  6. 4. more likely Bridges is terrified of the coalition. He is on a road to nowhere.

    One has to wonder why he has persisted with this?
    Any exposure is good exposure? Covering up some other smelly pile of sh…????

  7. ankerawshark 7

    Patricia my theory is that Bridges has persisted because he is petty minded and that is how he operates (just my hunch people) and/or he wanted to appear like a strong leader……………..which has back fired really.

    • Kevin 7.1

      I think that Bridges is under the misconception that his little stunt with electing the speaker made him look strong and decisive. I think that was his high water mark and its been downhill ever since, only he doesn’t see it.

      He should have been quietly going about his business, knowing he has the support of the caucus and the party, rebuilding where the party is weak and looking to find a coalition partner that will work with National.

      Instead he has barked at every passing car to the point that he looks like and idiot and that is reflected in how is perceived by the public and on social media. A platform where (whether you like it or not) you have to look real hard to find any kind of support for him.

      • Ngungukai 7.1.1

        Typical lawyer just like Winston barking at every set of car tyres that annoys him.

        • WILD KATIPO 7.1.1.1

          The difference between the two was that Bridges is only the leader of the opposition and has been since Peters has been deputy PM , – and when Peters was acting PM he did a very competent job, – DESPITE having his personal details leaked prior to that.

          Two very , very different people and two very , very different approaches.

  8. Dukeofurl 8

    Regarding the list of choices
    3 “The leaker is a list MP. Will National use the waka jumping law?

    ALL Mps , electorate and List are covered by the Waka jumping legislation. While the Greens have said they wont use the procedural step of a formal letter to the Speaker if they ever expell an MP from caucus.

    Simon Bridges hasnt given any such pledge ‘not to use it’ LOL

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/107383365/national-would-repeal-waka-jumping-law-but-wont-commit-to-not-using-it

  9. Chuck 9

    “Trevor Mallard originally called his bluff and announced a full review to find out who leaked the information.”

    Mickysavage it concerns me that you would say that…The Speaker of the House is not supposed to be partisan.

    However, in your defence, I can see why you said that all the evidence to date suggests Mallard still wears his Labour party Y fronts under his Speakers attire.

    • Fireblade 9.1

      You’re wrong. Trevor goes commando.

      • Dukeofurl 9.1.1

        The extra questions given to opposition seem to out number those given to labour.
        Thats evidence of non partisan chairing

        • Fireblade 9.1.1.1

          Trevor Mallard isn’t biased. If National think he is, that’s awesome, let them drown in thier own paranoia.

  10. Chris T 10

    Great to see another Labour MP showing such great openness and transparency ……..

    • Ankerrawshark 10.1

      Chris t likely Trevor did a secret investigation to protect the leakers identity as they claimed they had mental health issues. That way if he found the leaker their identitycould be kept secret due to their mental health issues, or not.

      Bridges has really backed himself into a corner by publicizing the investigation

  11. ianmac 11

    If we were the National War Cabinet, what would the plan of action be to score a win for Bridges and or the Party?

    -Transfer the blame elsewhere by………
    -“Uncover” a much greater problem preferably with one of the Coalition…
    -Find no Leaker but hint at Dirty Tricks with the Speaker…
    -Deny that there had been a Leak at all and that it was all a clever Bridges plot, to test the security of Parliament…

    -Or …

  12. Muttonbird 12

    Apparently tomorrow is the big day for the PWC enquiry. This will be a non-even of course.

    Mysteriously, no leaker will be named, and the whole thing will have been figments of our imaginations.

  13. Observer Tokoroa 13

    Toxic to the core.

    Given that the Trolls on here know everything political and magical – and like Kiwi Farrar spread themselves like geese on heat – we can expect more and more leaks and squeaks from the impotent Nationals whether in caucus or in blogspots.

    Promoters of world wide pollution. Jealous guardians of Toxic Air and Water. Promoters of lower and lower wages for john citizen. Preventers of housing except for the wealthy . Movers of heaven and earth to allow the Landlords to scum the already poor.

    National has over the years fully shown its naked truth. It is determined to destroy the common man. It loathes and tramples on the men and women who do the real work in New Zealand.

    New Zealand can get by without Simon or his trolls or his hatred of the Common Man.

  14. cleangreen 14

    Good for Trevor as we do have many more heavy duty things to do to fix our country now after nine years of John Key rorting and pillaging and carpetbagging.

    John Key sold our own ‘long decades of paid for assets and we got nothing back in return’ now!!!!

    That was the crime of the century that key should pay for.!!!!!

    no wonder why he fled before the heat came on him; – the bloody criminal he is!

    • Observer Tokoroa 14.1

      I agree with you Cleangreen

      The theives that are National – stole the Assets of the Common Man. AND gave them to their wealthy friends and wealthy share holders..

      1 ) We must ask the New Government to list and declare what are the belongings of the Common Man.

      2 ) The New Government must recover the Assets stolen by the wealthy National Thieves. And return them intact – or in Cash – from whom they gave them to – including from the Share Holders.

      3 ) The Common Man must be installed as the Prime Figure in the Land – ahead of all others including ahead of all Parliaments, Councils, or Governors. Pls note the few Wealthy people in NZ are small in number, well heeled and are totally uncaring of the millions of Common Man. We need set the imbalance to favour the many .

      4 ) The Fair Go – Concept. Access to The Law should not be beyond the reach of the Common Man. Any Situation in which a Common Man is exploited should be heard in Court and suitable punishment placed upon the criminal who defied the Fair Go.

      In other words, The Law should stop the nonsense of drawn out parodies over who murdered who – and open up the Courts to all the thousands of people who get a bad deal from employers, corporations, dodgy builders, bolshy neighbours, over priced lawyers etc. etc etc etc

      • Antoine 14.1.1

        > The Common Man must be installed as the Prime Figure in the Land – ahead of all others

        Including women?

        A.

  15. ianmac 15

    From Newsroom but not too sure what Laura is driving at. Softening us up a bit?

    “National leader Simon Bridges and Speaker Trevor Mallard both preached compassion over the leak saga. Laura Walters questions whether their actions backed that up….”
    “….As mental health awareness week draws to a close, it seems political wins, rather than compassion, remain front of mind.”

    https://www.newsroom.co.nz/2018/10/11/273048/politics-not-compassion-wins-in-leak-saga?preview=1

    • Muttonbird 15.1

      Walter’s is promoting the ‘let’s move on’ theme alright. Blaming everyone equally. I’m stunned she didn’t manage to drag Labour into it so that’s something I suppose.

      This of course is exactly what the Nats want right now. For everyone to just get over their internal problems and concentrate on high petrol prices.

      I expect they will release the PwC findings or non-findings at 4:00pm on Friday 19 October just in time for the long weekend.

  16. Oh dear,…. human beings…..

    The Golgafrinchams – The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy – BBC …

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