Wednesday, June 22, 2022

A perfect example

Last year, a stranded kiwi criticised the MIQ system. Covid Minister Chris Hipkins responded by doxxing and defaming her. Now, he's been forced to apologise for that:

Minister Chris Hipkins has admitted he released incorrect and personal information about journalist Charlotte Bellis, after she criticised the managed isolation system.


Under mounting public pressure, Hipkins, who was Covid-19 minister at the time, cast doubt on Bellis’ story with a claim she had been offered consular assistance twice since early December 2021 but had not responded to the offers.

It’s understood Hipkins’ public apology was a request of Bellis’ lawyers. After Hipkins admitted fault privately to Bellis in March, her lawyers sought an apology instead of pursuing a legal settlement for defamation and a privacy breach.

Good, but obviously it would be better if Ministers weren't bullies, and didn't abuse their positions to obtain and release personal information about their critics. And obviously it would be better if the Prime Minister held her Ministers to account when they misbehaved liek this.

Its also worth noting that if Hipkins' department, Te Kawa Mataaho - Public Service Commission - had their way, he would have enjoyed legal impunity for this "proactive release". Which makes Hipkins, like Paula Bennett, a perfect example of why we should never allow that to happen.