Tuesday, December 23, 2014

No-one expects the Chief Archivist!

Last month, John Key admitted in Parliament that he deleted all his text messages "in case his phone is lost". At the time, I suggested that this was a prima facie breach of the Public Records Act, and it appears I was right. After a complaint from the Greens, the Chief Archivist is on the case:

Dirty Politics has sparked another official probe - this time by the guardian of the country's public records.

Chief archivist Marilyn Little has agreed to a call from Green MP James Shaw to investigate Prime Minister John Key for deleting text messages.


In a letter, she confirms she will carry out a review of record-keeping practices for Key's texts between November 2008, when he first took office and November 2014.

"No-one expects the Chief Archivist to conduct an inquisition, but there is no reason why the Prime Minister should have had to delete messages from Cameron Slater unless he has something to hide," Shaw said today.

It will be difficult to prove that Key has destroyed public records (a criminal offence) because he's destroyed all the evidence (another criminal offence). But I expect the Archivist will lay down some guidelines which will prevent him from doing so in future - and I expect there'll be all manner of people ready to OIA his text messages just to ensure he's following the law.