Written By: - Date published: 9:30 am, December 24th, 2018 - 9 comments
Categories: Abuse of power, business, capitalism, Deep stuff, democracy under attack, Dirty Politics, Ethics, human rights, internet, making shit up, Media, Politics, Propaganda, spin, twitter, you couldn't make this shit up - Tags: clark and thompson, jordan williams, nz taxpayers union
It has been an interesting few weeks.
The Clark and Thompson revelations are really disturbing. I do not know how many words you have to throw at the situation to accurately describe it. But this tweet is a start.
Boy, how angry must the Taxpayers Union be to discover the government was using its money to spy on us like some goddam totalitarian thugs?
— David Slack (@DavidSlack) December 19, 2018
Yep the Government was using its money to spy on us like some goddam totalitarian thugs.
Of course there is the claim that Labour did it too. It appears that Clark and Thompson was active during the term of the last Labour Government and had a number of Government contracts. But they were terminated following an instruction from the Government. Or at least as far as the last Government was concerned.
From Nicky Hager in 2008:
The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry quietly severed its contract with controversial private investigators Thompson and Clark Investigations last year, after the Sunday Star-Times revealed that TCIL’s “corporate intelligence” included infiltrating and spying on community groups.
Maf initially refused under the Official Information Act to confirm or deny any contract with the private investigators. However, when chief executive Murray Sherwin became aware of the issue the contract was cancelled.
“In light of the direction from the prime minister regarding SOEs’ use of private investigation firms, Maf reviewed the information supplied by Thompson and Clark and terminated its contract with them,” he said. The information was a monthly newsletter on national and international animal rights issues and “of limited value to our enforcement and compliance activities”.
Greens co-leader Russel Norman has asked the government to audit government bodies to find out which are using the private investigators. The move comes after the Star-Times reported last week that the private investigators had been caught a second time trying to infiltrate activist groups, including the environmental group Save Happy Valley, who oppose state-owned enterprise Solid Energy’s West Coast coal mining operations.
SOE Minister Trevor Mallard accepted Solid Energy’s assurances that it had instructed TCIL to stop using paid informants and had been assured that TCIL had complied with this directive. But Mallard said: “This company has now twice done damage to the reputation of Solid Energy with their activities” and he expected the Solid Energy board to make “the appropriate decision” about its contract with TCIL.
At the same time he questioned other government agencies using TCIL’s services.
“I don’t like TCIL’s chances of getting government work, frankly, from any Crown entity in the future,” he said.
But Thompson and Clark were persistent and as revealed by Hager continued to do business for Solid Energy. Despite the Government’s instruction. Hager provided this timeline:
March 2008: Three protest groups who complained Thompson and Clark broke the law by employing unlicensed agents to infiltrate the groups fail in a complaint to the Registrar of Private Investigators and Security Guards. Save Happy Valley Coalition, Peace Action Wellington and Wellington Animal Rights Network, were told their complaint failed because the paid informants didn’t meet the legal standard of employees. There was no contract, set pay, tax deducted or control exercised over them by the investigation firm.
April 2008: Hager reveals Thompson and Clark is again trying to recruit spies from within the ranks of the protest groups – clearly flouting the government’s advice.
To any reporters out there what should be followed up is if there was any rescinding of the Fifth Government’s clear direction not to do business with Clark and Thompson by the John Key Government.
What should the Taxpayer’s Union do? After all their mission includes this statement:
We’re here to represent the common interests of all taxpayers and to provide them with a voice in corridors of power.
We work to expose excessive and wasteful government spending. We want more transparency and accountability in how taxpayers’ money is spent.
The Taxpayers’ Union is entirely supported by people like you. We receive private donations from our tens of thousands of members and supporters. We are not a political party nor aligned to any.
We want our politicians spending money as if they’d worked as hard as the taxpayers who earned it. We believe that new taxes should only be introduced when there are equal decreases in other taxes.
So surely this particular spend of public resources would attract their attention. After all if the amount of milk that Christchurch City Council was consuming is an issue surely the use of a private investigator to trash the rights of privacy of ordinary New Zealanders would be of more than passing concern.
But it appears not.
Hi Greg. Some people say we chase too many issues / media releases. But if you want to help out, here’s your chance 🙂https://t.co/87AVKL9zAL
— Taxpayers' Union (@TaxpayersUnion) December 20, 2018
What is this? Investigation according to who pays the most?
I should not be surprised. The Taxpayer’s union has either a finely honed sense of irony or no sense of irony whatsoever.