Written By: - Date published: 2:23 pm, October 3rd, 2018 - 45 comments
Categories: Abuse of power, David Farrar, Dirty Politics, dpf, john key, Media, Politics, the praiseworthy and the pitiful, you couldn't make this shit up - Tags: david fisher, jordan "slater" williams, nz taxpayers union
Gosh. This is awkward. Talk about dirty politics.
David Fisher has discovered that the Taxpayer’s Union, the National Party aligned entity whose founders include David Farrar, has been using multiple fictitious identities for its Official Information Act applications.
False identities were used by a right-wing lobby group to make Official Information Act requests of a government agency.
The Herald uncovered evidence showing people seeking information for the NZ Taxpayers’ Union did not actually exist – and that numerous email addresses from its purported members were actually directly linked to its head office.
One single Taxpayers’ Union email address was linked to nine ghost people who filed OIAs seeking information, including details later used by the lobby group to seek publicity.
The Herald approached the Taxpayers’ Union for comment. It refused to talk for two days then issued a statement admitting it used false identities to make OIA requests.
It has claimed it was forced to use pseudonyms because it was being “stonewalled” when seeking information.
I would have to take the claims of “stonewalling” with a certain degree of cynicism. OIA stonewalling has been endemic for the past decade, especially under the last Government. John Key admitted doing so for political advantage.
But the dirty politics brigade has again raised bad memories.
What is also interesting is that elements within the National Party are complaining.
There is a legitimate role for a lobby group targeting government waste. By abusing the OIA and playing stupid games to advance his personal obsessions, Jordan Williams is sabotaging that role. #nzpol https://t.co/jOnBNdDVRC
— Hamish Price (@hamishpricenz) October 2, 2018
I get the impression that just below the calm surface is a seething mass of conflicting ambitions waiting to break out.
Barrister Stephen Price has said that “[t]he whole thing is not a good look for the Taxpayers’ Union.”
You can say that again.