Tuesday, June 12, 2018


Winston Peters is set to become acting Prime Minister this weekend. And he's chosen this moment to launch a new lawsuit against senior public servants who will in effect be working for him over breaching his privacy during the 2017 election campaign:

Peters has begun new legal action seeking $450,000 for alleged breach of privacy in relation to the leaking of details of his superannuation overpayment.

Ardern told RNZ today that she found about her deputy's latest action yesterday.

Peters is going after the Ministry of Social Development chief executive Brendan Boyle, State Services Commissioner Peter Hughes, the Attorney-General on behalf of the Ministry of Social Development and former ministers in the previous National government Paula Bennett and Anne Tolley.

These people need to be held to account. Passing on private information about a politician to their political rivals (who immediately and inevitably leaked it for political gain) is something that simply should not happen. Arguably, there's no reason whatsoever for Ministers to know anything about any individual's welfare payments unless they're sacking someone for fucking them up - its a purely operational matter, and none of any minister's business. Meanwhile, the obvious and significant risks of a privacy breach should have ruled out any disclosure. At the same time, its obviously awkward for Peters, who is now a Minister, to be suing people who effectively work for him (and with whom he will have to continue to work in future), not to mention his own government. While Cabinet conflict of interest provisions are robust enough to handle it, it's still going to be very awkward indeed.