A Parliamentary Service stuff-up

The Herald reports:

Today Mr Carter apologised to Miss Vance and Fairfax group executive editor Paul Thompson in a statement.

He said the release of the phone records was “completely unacceptable”.

“This private information should not have been released and could be seen to attack the freedom of the press which is critical to informing the public about what Parliament is doing and ensuring public confidence in Parliament. I view any actions that may put at risk journalists’ ability to report very seriously,” Mr Carter said.

His statement today was in contradiction to answers to written questions provided to the Green Party last week, saying Mr Henry had requested the records and they had been declined.

In his statement today, Mr Carter said they were not requested by Mr Henry, but he had received them by accident.

He said Mr Henry immediately returned the records without viewing them and made it clear he had neither sought, nor wanted them.

Mr Key said he was disappointed in .

“Quite frankly in releasing that information to the Henry inquiry they got it wrong, they made a mistake and they should have never released that information.”

Even if the information had been requested, it should have never been supplied – except under a statutory legal authority.

Parliamentary Service run the parliamentary complex on behalf of several organisations and users – Ministers, MPs, Office of the Clerk, press gallery etc. Their mistake seems to be in not distinguishing between them. As a priority they need to have a clear information policy that does distinguish.

If the PM orders an inquiry into a leak, it is very appropriate that (for example) details of communications by Ministerial staff are made available. But not opposition MPs, and not journalists.

This is major breach of trust, and they will have to work hard to recover that. Also as bad is giving the Speaker incorrect information.

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