Sunday, July 25, 2004

Dirty pool

Yet more evidence that the government has been playing dirty pool over the Zaoui case. Papers released under the Official Information Act show that Foreign Affairs secretly orchestrated a campaign to generate international criticism of the Refugee Status Appeals Authority's support for Ahmed Zaoui, with the primary aim of providing the government with PR-cover. This sort of interference - the deliberate soliciting of adverse comments on an ongoing court case - is unprecedented in New Zealand. We have a strong convention that the government does not comment on cases before the courts, for fear of being seen to influence the judiciary; here it has deliberately attempted to do an end-run around that tradition by stealth.

If this country can be said to have a core value, it's "fairness". Here Labour has shown its contempt for that value in spades.