Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Our spying Prime Minister

Yesterday John Key denied any responsibility for the henry inquiry's spying on Andrea Vance. But it seems that he lied:

Prime Minister John Key has confirmed his chief of staff told Parliamentary Service staff to supply records to a ministerial inquiry after the department initially refused to cooperate.


Fairfax understands Parliamentary Service refused two requests for records from the Henry inquiry - and Key today confirmed that was the case.

He also confirmed his chief of staff Wayne Eagleson became involved at that point, notifying Parliamentary Service that ministers and their staff had been told to cooperate with the inquiry so there was no problem handing over their records.

That followed an edict to minsters offices from Eagleson that they and their staff should cooperate fully with the inquiry. Eagleson had made the edict known to Parliamentary Service told it he believed they could release that information.

Key is still trying to quibble and pretend that his chief of staff - who speaks with his voice - was only asking for information about Ministers. But the clear meaning of the email sent by Eagleson is that he wanted all information on contacts between Ministers and Vance, including her phone records. Our Prime Minister is simply a liar.

But that's not the only problem here: Eagleson had no business talking to Parliamentary Services at all. They're not part of the executive and not subject to his inquiry. And for the same reason, Parliamentary Services should not have given him any information, let alone information on a journalist, without a warrant and clear permission from the Speaker. So we'r enot just looking at over-reaching, spying government, but also at a Parliamentary Service which is overly subserviant to it and does not understand its constitutional role.

Heads must roll for this - and now we know whose: Eagleson and the Parliamentary Services manager(s) who approved the release.