Inquiries galore

September 2nd, 2014 at 6:52 am by David Farrar

There’s now three major inquiries underway in relation to the e-mails published in the book, and subsequently.

Here’s my take on them.

  1. Police inquiry into the hacking of Cameron Slater’s messages. This is pretty straight forward in that the hacker has clearly broken the law, and off memory could face charges with a maximum seven years imprisonment if identified and convicted. What is less clear is whether Hager has broken any laws. Legal friends have suggested a case can be made for receiving stolen property.  IANAL so don’t know where this will end up.
  2. IGIS inquiry into the OIA release showing Phil Goff had not told the truth about being briefed about the Israelis in Christchurch. The Inspector-General has issued subpoenas and is taking evidence under oath, using the new powers granted by this Government and Parliament. I have confidence it will be a robust inquiry. I would point out that the inquiry is not about classified or secret information. It is about information that was deemed suitable to publish under the OIA. I’m not totally surprised that some people in Government *may* have got a bit talkative when informed that a document was going to be released directly contradicting a statement made by the Leader of the Opposition.
  3. Some sort of high level inquiry into the behaviour of the Minister responsible for the SFO in relations to the then Director Adam Feeley.  This is an appropriate issue for an inquiry, as it is about behaviour of a Minister in relation to their ministerial duties. It is not a criminal or legal matter. Arguably it could be an employment issues. The inquiry sounds like it will be robust headed by a retired Judge or QC, and have the ability to take evidence under oath.

Now David Cunliffe is calling for a Royal Commission of Inquiry into basically the entire Hager book. With respect, this is breathless hysteria that verges on McCarthyism. Labour thinks that the fact a press secretary and some MPs have had conversations with a blogger, is something that needs a Royal Commission of Inquiry. Seriously? Where would it end? Should this Commission of Inquiry require evidence from every media outlet in NZ, requiring their journalists to disclose under oath all their dealings with ? Should all Labour MPs and candidates be required to do the same, or just National MPs? Why just dealing with one blogger? Should the inquiry include people who have ever talked to me? How about people who have talked to left wing blogs? You see why I call it verging on McCarthyism.  And this is from the party that won’t even confirm how many staff who work for David Cunliffe have blogged under a pseudonym at left wing blogs.

That is not to say some of the revelations in the e-mails are not disturbing. I don’t know if Mark Hotchin was involved in trying to undermine the SFO, because he was under investigation by them. If so, that is very serious. But it is a potentially criminal matter that the Police are capable of investigating, and I presume are already assessing the evidence to make appropriate decisions.

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86 Responses to “Inquiries galore”

  1. southtop (265 comments) says:

    We should have had a corruption commission in NZ years ago!

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  2. Positan (390 comments) says:

    It’d be really great if, just once, Labour could show that they have a single person among their lot who can actually think – or at least was able to rationalize a situation’s actual substance, and manage to effect a response that was both proportionate and intelligent.

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  3. tom hunter (4,805 comments) says:

    Now David Cunliffe is calling for a Royal Commission of Inquiry into basically the entire Hager book. With respect, this is breathless hysteria that verges on McCarthyism.

    It’s not hysterical it’s good politics, one of the few times I can recall applying the dubious accolade to Cunliffe.

    The object is to totally derail the government and the National election campaign for weeks or months on end.

    It’s the Tuku Morgan underpants scenario all over again, something that was played to the maximum but was totally shaded as “corruption” within just a few years by the very people who’d trumpeted about Morgan’s “crime”.

    Hopefully Key and company will follow the Obama playbook: refuse to cooperate, refuse to set up a wide-ranging inquiry, claim that there’s not even a smidgen of corruption, attack Hager and others as conspiracy theory nutters (in progress), and laugh the whole thing off as standard partisan politics.

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  4. AG (1,827 comments) says:

    This is pretty straight forward in that the hacker has clearly broken the law, and off memory could face charges with a maximum seven years imprisonment if identified and convicted. What is less clear is whether Hager has broken any laws. Legal friends have suggested a case can be made for receiving stolen property.

    The hacker more likely faces 2 years under s.252. And Hager hasn’t “received stolen property”. Emails, etc aren’t “property” in terms of s.246 (which is why, you might recall, there were no charges laid against him for The Hollow Men).

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  5. KiwiGreg (3,255 comments) says:

    “IANAL” You might want to find a different acronym. I assume it means I Am Not A Lawyer, not a description of things you’re prepared to do.

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  6. Richard (82 comments) says:

    Haha. yep, “IANAL” is about the most accurate thing in that post.

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  7. tvb (4,415 comments) says:

    Taking evidence under oath would require some sort of statutory inquiry. If Collins was using Slater to undermine Feely while he was undertaking serious criminal inquiries and those elements who were under inquiry were also connected with Slater this raises very serious issues. It is important that Collins is cleared of any connection with that, but Slaters’ email suggests otherwise. The circumstances of Feely’s resignation need to be looked at and whether Collins had any role in that and why. I do not see Collins returning to Cabinet while Slater and his nasty little blog remains in operation. Collins continues to defend him. Well she might but she will not be a Minister again until that connection is broken or Slater and his blog disappears.

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  8. thePeoplesFlag (245 comments) says:

    The Nats are on the ropes, Key is sounding more and more like Cameron Slater every day in his surly and truculent attacks on “the left” and there is more to come. At the end of the day, National has no one to blame but themselves. They deliberately set out to create a no holds bared two tier PR strategy. Except the mis-named happy mischief corrupted, and whaleoil corrupted absolutely. The National party, and the National party alone, chose to associate itself at the highest levels with bombastic and miserably nasty people who thought that despite their giggling disrespect and hateful politics they were untouchable.

    Well, blubber boy Slater is now a tainted slick in the mouth of John Key.

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  9. Ross12 (1,425 comments) says:

    Tvb

    Feely has already said he left under his own terms.

    Re 1. Is there a legal “way’ the police can get Hager to name the hacker? The Fisher case says Hager cannot claim to be a journalist in this case.
    If Hager cannot be charged with receiving stolen goods then that part of the law needs to changed immediately. It is absolutely crazy to be the way that it is.

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  10. Tarquin North (295 comments) says:

    Russel won’t be happy, Cunliffe called for a meaningless inquiry before he got a chance. Trumped by Cunliffe! Won’t go down well with tree hugging macrame makers.

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  11. metcalph (1,430 comments) says:

    If Collins was using Slater to undermine Feely while he was undertaking serious criminal inquiries and those elements who were under inquiry were also connected with Slater this raises very serious issues.

    When Philip II of Macedon said “If I enter Sparta, I will raze it to the ground”, the Spartans replied “If”. There simply is no real evidence tying Judith Collins to the Hotchin/Carrick initiative (which I think was extremely unwise if not criminal). All Judith has to do is deny it and bang, that’s the end of the inquiry.

    The circumstances of Feely’s resignation need to be looked at and whether Collins had any role in that and why.

    Feeley has gone on the record that he quit because he wanted to move his family to Queenstown. That is what he said then and more importantly what he says now even after the Slater email leaked.

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  12. metcalph (1,430 comments) says:

    Re 1. Is there a legal “way’ the police can get Hager to name the hacker? The Fisher case says Hager cannot claim to be a journalist in this case.

    Can’t make Hager name the source. Can make Hager give up his materials. Since Hager now claims to have hunted down the source after the original hack (which if this isn’t bullshit because all anybody knew was a DoS), then the source should be traceable.

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  13. publicwatchdog (2,593 comments) says:

    Add to your list my complaint to Police, made yesterday to the Auckland District Commander Michael Clement, against former Minister of Justice Judith Collins, for alleged violations of s.116 and s.105 of the Crimes Act 1961.

    The evidence upon which I am relying to support this complaint is the same as that upon which Prime Minister John Key purportedly relied to remove Judith Collins of her Ministerial responsibilities.

    Interesting how a baseless, ‘left-wing conspiracy’ ‘smear attack’ has managed to trigger so many official inquiries?

    No smoke without fire?

    And Judith Collins has effectively been fired as a Minister.

    In my considered opinion, the only way to clean up this corruption is to clear out the corrupt.

    In my considered opinion, this John Key led National Government, with its toxic, cancerous Wall St ways, has got to go, so we can get back our DECENT New Zealand, that we can feel proud of.

    Then, a new cleaner Parliament can focus on enshrining in statute the framework required to help STOP corruption, ‘white collar’ crime, ‘corporate welfare’ and ‘dirty politics’.

    Penny Bright

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  14. Colville (2,268 comments) says:

    Expand the inquiry to cover all pollies dealings with blogs and funding of those blogs.

    Ahhhh…. lift the skirts of that horrible place called The Standard :-)

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  15. Nostalgia-NZ (5,191 comments) says:

    See the reverse of the DC argument here. He, should return to America if he has nothing to hide – then equally why should the NP not feel confident that the books should be opened to show that it’s all a ‘conspiracy?’ The idea that this is going to go away because of sharp headlines and bluster is nonsense. This truly is a matter of public interest that needs careful analysis. Even from a partisan point of view it must be in the interests of the NP long term, and the country in the short term. We don’t have formerly forthright bloggers disappearing, concerns that criminal inquiries are being undermined and that even the inner workings of a political party are influenced or attempted to be influenced by dirty work against prospective candidates and then somehow have the capacity to think that it’s ‘all right Jack’ because nothing should be looked at in isolation too closely and certainly not for patterns that show open Government and democracy are being undermined with out fear or favour by a ‘powerful,’ and if some of the allegations are correct, dangerous elite. We are talking about ‘payback’ by those that are entrusted to uphold the Law, to have impartiality, treat others with fairness and to be honest.

    One thing I have noticed amongst some of the rage and finger pointing against the ‘left’ or some other mysterious entity that is apparently to blame for what Ministers have done, or said, are voices of NP members and others who generally quietly go about their lives are those that ‘don’t buy it,’ who feel disappointed about Collins and the ‘offices’ of some MPs who it appears they feel acted poorly – they are middle New Zealand who are somewhat anxious that there is a new ‘counter culture’ of politics that has submerged trust and shaken who may be trusted and who may not. It may be just the ‘timing’ of blogs and the internet that have presented this opportunity to attack others by remote control, however, like a lot of new technology that arises where no rules seem to abide – it’s out of control. An inquiry and recommendations might stabilise that, or at least make a clear definition that the Law still applies whether on the internet or not, as do fair politics and those that set out to destroy others or ‘pay back’ are not part of the NZ landscape just because they couldn’t resist a new potential technical arsenal that has arrived. As Bill English said in recent weeks ‘it’s not my (his) style.’

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  16. AG (1,827 comments) says:

    @tvb,

    Taking evidence under oath would require some sort of statutory inquiry.

    Right – a Public Inquiry under the Inquiries Act 2013. This is what Key will announce today/tomorrow.

    @Ross12,

    Re 1. Is there a legal “way’ the police can get Hager to name the hacker? The Fisher case says Hager cannot claim to be a journalist in this case.

    Well, the Fisher case is probably wrong, and the Privacy Commissioner (who adjudicates these matters) can ignore it (and probably will). But anyway … no. All Slater could do is demand that Hager divulge all private material that he has in his possession. And he doesn’t have any anymore.

    f Hager cannot be charged with receiving stolen goods then that part of the law needs to changed immediately. It is absolutely crazy to be the way that it is.

    Really? You want to outlaw publishing information in the public good? You do realise how almost all decent journalism/reportage works, right? Case in point … a public servant photocopies several documents showing that a Labour Minister of Finance is cooking the books and passes them on to a newspaper. Should the journalist who gets those documents and prints a story based on them be subject to at least 3 months imprisonment, and maybe up to 7 years?

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  17. Colville (2,268 comments) says:

    Nice that you continue to show how worthless you are Penny. Your bias continues unabated.

    Didnt lay a complaint against Hagar for corruption? You know like profiting from stolen information?

    oh and I never saw when you posted a “thankyou” for showing you up WRT Colin Craigs publiclly stated position on CGT.

    Have a nice day. Freakshow.

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  18. Gravelroad (154 comments) says:

    So, if Labour and their associates do ascend to the treasury benches in a few weeks time, will they still want to open themselves up to all these official enquiries?
    Or are the investigations only to be directed at the National Party?

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  19. Colville (2,268 comments) says:

    AG.
    “the public good” argument is total bullshit.
    I cant go out and hack David Cun*liffe and trawl thru his shit then select the stuff that suits my point of view , publish it and claim “public good” I know I will find something dirty in there to justify the actions tho (in my slanted view of the world)

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  20. Ross12 (1,425 comments) says:

    AG

    So you would be quite happy if someone hacked your computer and published all the details ? or they hacked the University computers and printed all the person details of students and employees ?
    In the case you quote , yes the journalist should be punished ( maybe not jail time) as should the Public Servant — stolen material is stolen material in my view. This “public good” aspect needs a serious review.
    Journalists should not be up in some special elevated place , protected from the law for doing things other people would get hammered for.

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  21. AG (1,827 comments) says:

    @Colville,

    Nope. If you hack Cunliffe’s computer, you’ve committed a crime that could put you in jail for two years – there’s no “public good” defence to that. Hager didn’t hack nothing, though. If someone then gives you stuff that they’ve hacked from Cunliffe’s computer and you publish it, you face a potential breach of confidence action, to which your only defence is “public interest”. So Slater, etc can sue Hager for his book … if they think there was no “public interest” in the contents. Then a court can decide the matter, not an individual and their “slanted view of the world”)

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  22. m@tt (629 comments) says:

    National and Key are making one last desperate attempt to appear to be doing something. They’ll most likely still get them across the line on election day but I’d be surprised if they last twelve months as the various reports into their actions are published.

    For the record I think the inquiry needs to now be bi-partisan and be given a wider scope, wide enough to follow any other matters arising and if that if the trail leads into Labour, the Greens, NZ First or any other party for that matter, then it is followed there.

    As David has said on this blog before, ‘sunlight is the best disinfectant’, for all parties.

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  23. AG (1,827 comments) says:

    @Ross12,

    Happy? Shit no. But we’re not talking about “happiness”. We’re talking about what the law does and doesn’t allow, and what it should and shouldn’t allow.

    So if you can show me a legislative provision that would stop “bad” investigative reportage (like you think Hager’s is) without also killing off “good” investigative reportage, then I’d love to see it!

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  24. publicwatchdog (2,593 comments) says:

    From what you supplied yesterday ‘Colville’ – it is clear that Colin Craig and HIS CONservative Party do NOT have a clearly defined position on a Capital Gains Tax.

    Colin Craig and HIS CONservative Party (with no proven track record), also do not have a clearly defined policy / ACTION PLAN on how to stop / prevent corruption, ‘white collar’ crime, corporate welfare’ and ‘dirty politics’.

    FACT.

    Penny Bright

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  25. alloytoo (540 comments) says:

    Total Bravado on Cunliffe’s part, the last thing he wants is an impartial investigation that encompasses his party.

    Does he really want to disclose his anonymous donor and his secret meetings with Penny Bright?

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  26. Colville (2,268 comments) says:

    AG.
    So you are happy for me to get a mate to hack Cun*liffes computer ?
    No problem in your world then huh?

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  27. Ross12 (1,425 comments) says:

    AG
    Under current law you are probably right.

    My original post was more about reviewing the law and updating it. If the private emails cannot be classed as stolen goods then the law needs to change to reflect that.
    Like Colville I think the “public good” provisions need to be looked as well, in light of what has happened.

    I don’t think good investigative journalism needs to include what I think is stealing material. Once again if the current allows it then it needs to be reviewed and I think most of the general public would agree.

    PS. I don’t think what Hager did was journalism at all — good journalism includes checking facts , having a balance etc.

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  28. publicwatchdog (2,593 comments) says:

    I have had NO meetings with David Cunliffe.

    Another attempted ‘right wing smear attack’?

    Keep going, anonymous GUTLESS ones …..

    Penny Bright

    (Who ALWAYS puts her names to her posts)

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  29. itstricky (1,830 comments) says:

    This is pretty straight forward in that the hacker has clearly broken the law

    Good God you are getting expert at defending the indefensible. Where’s your balanced reporting on what Slater and Collins did? Nup, jut lead with ‘hacker broke the law’, go on about Labour’s hypocrisy and forget everything else especially an inquiry… Very JK like.


    Should this Commission of Inquiry require evidence from every media outlet in NZ, requiring their journalists to disclose under oath all their dealings with Whale Oil?

    Quote from interview the othe morning:

    Interviewer: will you pay it back double?
    CS: of course
    Interviewer: will Judith Collins lay it back double?
    CS: Judith always pays it back double
    Interviewer: do you think that is conduct becoming of a public servant?

    The pretence that WO is a real journalist is well and truely over, and Collins won’t be back in a hurry.

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  30. virtualmark (1,523 comments) says:

    AG,

    The difficulty with the law as you outline it is you quickly evolve to parties employing foreign hackers (i.e. outside the jurisdiction of New Zealand law) to hack computers located in New Zealand, and then pass the information to local “journalists” (and I don’t believe Hager is a journalist at all) who can publish while they act like they’re the only virgin in the brothel.

    That may well be the legal setting at the moment. But I suspect that says more about how the law has not kept pace with technology (i.e. in recognising the place of email and computer-based records, and how their physical location is unimportant) than anything else.

    Meanwhile … Pandora’s box is open. I’m astounded that journalists who not so long ago were outraged that Andrea Vance’s security card info might have been released to an investigation are now happy to breathlessly publish information from stolen emails. Frankly they should give up journalism and take up gymnastics. Even the East German judge would have to give them a 10 for that sort of flip-flop.

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  31. Graeme Edgeler (3,289 comments) says:

    Police inquiry into the hacking of Cameron Slater’s messages. This is pretty straight forward in that the hacker has clearly broken the law, and off memory could face charges with a maximum seven years imprisonment if identified and convicted. What is less clear is whether Hager has broken any laws. Legal friends have suggested a case can be made for receiving stolen property. IANAL so don’t know where this will end up.

    1. Maximum two years. 2. Your ‘legal friends’ are wrong. There is no legal case to be made that Hager has received stolen property based on any allegation that has been made against him in relation to this.

    IGIS inquiry into the OIA release showing Phil Goff had not told the truth about being briefed about the Israelis in Christchurch. The Inspector-General has issued subpoenas and is taking evidence under oath, using the new powers granted by this Government and Parliament.

    3. These are not new powers. The power to summons witnesses, to take evidence on oath and penalty of perjury, and to obtain documents are unchanged since the Office of Inspector-General was created.

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  32. MikeG (425 comments) says:

    Farrar seems to forget the hysterics he went into over a painting signed by Helen Clark.

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  33. publicwatchdog (2,593 comments) says:

    Keep trying to make light of dirty, despicable politics, and defending what is indefensible to DECENT New Zealanders, which you anonymous, gutless right wing smear attackers obviously are NOT.

    Keep going …….

    Kind regards

    Penny Bright

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  34. rouppe (971 comments) says:

    If we can get to the position where every communication to and from every MP and staffer in government is able to be examined I’d be in favour of that. That would make some blowhards close their mouths pretty quick

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  35. alloytoo (540 comments) says:

    NEWS FLASH!

    Penny Bright denies any secret meeting with specifically David Cunliffe.

    Further differentiates her position from that of the PM by demonstrating a complete obviousness to satire.

    She can also use her own name quite safely because centralist commentators have this tendency to obey the law, constrain their commentary to online forum and avoid harassing people going about their everyday business.

    They also pay their rates and don’t squat on public property causing hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of damage.

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  36. virtualmark (1,523 comments) says:

    What I find worrying about the legal situation with Slater’s stolen emails is the legal opinions that emails aren’t property and so receiving stolen emails is not a crime.

    What then if hackers to steal emails from a company and then pass those emails to a competitor? And then this competitor were able to win contracts away from the company who had been hacked?

    Would that be “legal”?

    We have laws against theft of people’s property, we have laws against illicit video surveillance (i.e. laws to protect your privacy from video) … but we don’t have effective laws to protect our communications???

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  37. AG (1,827 comments) says:

    @Colville

    So you are happy for me to get a mate to hack Cun*liffes computer ?

    If you want to be a party to a crime carrying a jail sentence of up to 2 years (and by “a party”, I mean someone who can be prosecuted and punished) in order to prove some point, then knock your socks off.

    Just for clarity, if “Rawshark” (the hacker of Slater’s computer) is ever identified, he also ought to be prosecuted.

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  38. alloytoo (540 comments) says:

    @Penny

    Do you think it’s appropriate for the leader of the opposition to bully public servants into delaying the release of legally requested information?

    Isn’t this an area a legitimate public watchdog would be attacking with vigor?

    Less of watchdog, more of a leftest poodle.

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  39. AG (1,827 comments) says:

    @virtualmark,

    The difficulty with the law as you outline it is you quickly evolve to parties employing foreign hackers (i.e. outside the jurisdiction of New Zealand law) to hack computers located in New Zealand, and then pass the information to local “journalists” (and I don’t believe Hager is a journalist at all) who can publish while they act like they’re the only virgin in the brothel.

    Oh, agreed. Data security in an interconnected world is a big, big problem. My point simply is that a rule that criminalises what Hager did also would effectively end the practice of leaking, full stop. And that would not be a good thing.

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  40. louie (96 comments) says:

    I was amazed by Goff and his shameless lying on Morning Report this morning over OIA issue. Half expected to hear him repeat the famous depends on what you mean by ‘is’ as he twisted, distorted and exposed the appalling double standards of the modern left.

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  41. AG (1,827 comments) says:

    @virtualmark,

    What then if hackers to steal emails from a company and then pass those emails to a competitor? And then this competitor were able to win contracts away from the company who had been hacked?

    Would that be “legal”?

    Nope. It would be a breach of confidence, for which the company that had its emails hacked could sue the competitor. And the competitor would have no defence, meaning that the company could claim damages for the lost contracts.

    Not all “unlawful” things are “criminal”.

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  42. virtualmark (1,523 comments) says:

    @AG,

    So if, for example, someone was to hack Andrea Vance and David Fisher’s emails and pass those to hacked emails to Cameron Slater that would be alright then? Because it would just be a variation of “leaking”? And banning such behaviour would be a bad thing.

    The journos are all piling into Slater largely I sense because of schadenfreude. Their employers are dinosaurs who are under pressure from new media, with Slater being one of the more aggressive of that new media camp here in New Zealand. So I suspect the journos see this as being long-overdue retribution.

    But to me that just exposes how ignorant and naive journalism has become. If they think what’s happened with Slater is okay then, as I said before, Pandora’s Box is open and it is only a matter of time before they are a catcher not a pitcher.

    But then no doubt that will also just expose how inconsistent and hypocritical journalism has become. Because no doubt they will squeal like stuck pigs when it happens to them. I for one will have no sympathy. Live by the sword, die by the sword.

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  43. virtualmark (1,523 comments) says:

    @AG,

    Nope. It would be a breach of confidence, for which the company that had its emails hacked could sue the competitor.

    So why should we have a law that values commercial information differently from private communications? Really? Is that where we want to be?

    I have no great truck with Cameron Slater. He’s been a very effective blogger, and is miles ahead in “new media” thinking and practice than any of established media companies are. I give him kudos for that. But personally I find him to be a blowhard with a much more black-and-white outlook on life than I feel comfortable with.

    But I am intensely uncomfortable with the prevailing mindset that says its acceptable to hack someone’s private communications and then turn them over to media companies to publish.

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  44. Milk Me (157 comments) says:

    Coleville: Have you (or anyone here) ACTUALLY read Hagers (as in Lager) book? I have.
    I suggest everyone whether they like it or not reads the damn thing and then sits back and have a think about what you have just read.
    It is a disgusting torrid read and one should keep a bucket nearby. It is also the truth, and that is why the frothing right refuses to read it. You can only hide your head in the sand for so long before one needs to come up for air. And now with the enquiries, well now, that should be revealing eh?

    Roll on 15th Sept. when we learn what Key really knew. I would suggest he has a pre booked flight out on NZ7s evening flight home.

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  45. AG (1,827 comments) says:

    @virtualmark,

    So if, for example, someone was to hack Andrea Vance and David Fisher’s emails and pass those to hacked emails to Cameron Slater that would be alright then? Because it would just be a variation of “leaking”? And banning such behaviour would be a bad thing.

    Not sure what you mean by “OK”? The hacking would be a criminal offence, which should be investigated and prosecuted (as with “Rawshark”). Slater’s possession of those emails may well then be a breach of the Privacy Act (as may Hager’s of Slaters – this has yet to be played out through the Privacy Commissioner). And depending on what the emails disclose, Slater may or may not be justified in publishing them (justified in a legal sense of not facing civil liability for his actions).

    I get what you’re saying. You are saying that if everyone hacks everyone, then the world will be a worse place. But, equally, if we make it a rule that obtaining/publishing material that was accessed by hacking (or any other unlawful means?) is a criminal offence, then the world will be a worse place. So pick your poison – that is all.

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  46. virtualmark (1,523 comments) says:

    Anyone else catch Winston Peters on Morning Report, saying a bottom-line for any post-election deal with NZ First will be having a Royal Commission of Inquiry into the “dirty politics” allegations?

    It was a surreal conversation (I use “conversation” loosely given it was with Winston …). I seriously think Winston is starting to slide into dementia. I see him around Wellington and the guy does not look well. I see him on Parliament TV and some of his performances are shambolic.

    Once upon the time the guy was a great politician. I’ve never agreed with his politics, but I do respect his cunning. But that seems to be fading fast.

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  47. virtualmark (1,523 comments) says:

    @AG,

    I do agree that “Rawshark” needs to be identified and prosecuted. If they’re convicted and punished and then stand on the steps of the court saying “It was worth it” then fine. But a crime has been committed, in a hugely public way, with the ability to influence a general election. Someone needs to be held to account.

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  48. Pete George (23,558 comments) says:

    @rnzgalleryliz

    Labour lays complaint with police over @JudithCollinsMP and SFO/FMA allegations:”Conspiring to defeat course of Justice..”

    @ninetonoon

    David Parker of @nzlabour requests urgent police investigation over @JudithCollinsMP and SFO/FMA allegations

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  49. AG (1,827 comments) says:

    @virtualmark,

    So why should we have a law that values commercial information differently from private communications? Really? Is that where we want to be?

    We don’t. Slater, etc are equally free to sue Hager for breach of confidence. He’ll then argue that there was a public interest in his disclosure (as well as arguing that because the information discloses wrongdoing, it shouldn’t be protected in the first place). If that defence fails, then Slater can get damages against Hager for the loss that his disclosure has caused (as well as costs against him for having to bring the case – which would likely bankrupt Hager).

    However, most lawyers will tell you that Hager’s defence in this situation is pretty strong … unlike the example of the companies you used above, where there is no “public interest” in using the hacked emails for personal commercial gain. Similarly, if Hager had used all the purely personal stuff contained in the emails/facebook messages in his book, then he also would have no defence available.

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  50. Chuck Bird (4,880 comments) says:

    “You want to outlaw publishing information in the public good? You do realise how almost all decent journalism/reportage works, right? Case in point … a public servant photocopies several documents showing that a Labour Minister of Finance is cooking the books and passes them on to a newspaper.”

    @AG

    In some cases I would like to outlaw it. The case in point sounds reasonable. However, when it involves physical theft particularly involving a break in it it should be illegal. Deliberate hacking especially involving a DOS attack also should be illegal.

    Do you think it would be okay to for example to hack Peter Davis’s email as many people belief Helen Clark helped him get out of the US on a diplomatic passport because he was suspected of committing a criminal offense. Ian Wishart has written about it extensively. Do you think it would have been okay for him to have hacked of paid someone to hack emails to obtain evidence or is it only okay when the left do it?

    I would not email Slater but I have emailed David Farrer. I find it outrageous that my emails to him may have been read by some hacker.

    Do you think it would be okay if someone hacked your email in the public interest?

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  51. AG (1,827 comments) says:

    @virtualmark,

    But a crime has been committed, in a hugely public way, with the ability to influence a general election. Someone needs to be held to account.

    I don’t know what this means. Are you saying we should invent a criminal charge and backdate it just to get utu? That’s not how the law works, sorry.

    Anyway, you can hold someone to account! The best response to Hager, if you think he’s done something completely awful, is to work your socks off to get National reelected.

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  52. Chuck Bird (4,880 comments) says:

    “But, equally, if we make it a rule that obtaining/publishing material that was accessed by hacking (or any other unlawful means?) is a criminal offence, then the world will be a worse place.”

    @AG

    That is a shocking view for a law professor. Using you logic anyone would be justified in hacking your email.
    Who are you voting for – Dotcrim?

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  53. georgebolwing (844 comments) says:

    We are seeing in NZ what has been evident in other countries for some time: the development of politics as a profession.

    Nicky Hagar’s book has lifted the lid on a small part of what is happening. There is more, across all sections of the political classes.

    This should result in what has happened in other professions, the development of professional standards to ensure that the consumers of the professional services on offer get value for money. Unfortunately, the people with the power to impose these standards are also the people upon whom the standards will be imposed and doing so will come at some cost to them. Thus, they have no interest in imposing those standards.

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  54. AG (1,827 comments) says:

    @Chuck Bird,

    Do you think it would have been okay for him to have hacked of paid someone to hack emails to obtain evidence or is it only okay when the left do it?

    Who has said it was “OK” to hack Cameron Slater? That was an illegal action, for which the person responsible should be prosecuted and punished.

    Do you think it would be okay if someone hacked your email in the public interest?

    No. That would be an illegal action. The real question, however, is what should the law say about how information gained through illegal actions may subsequently be used. And a blanket rule that says “it is a criminal offence to possess or use illegally obtained information” is too crude, and leads to undesirable consequences. Because, let’s say the hack on my emails disclosed that I was working with some corrupt cops to run a drug distribution ring in my University … are you really saying that a journalist should not be able to write a story about that without risking criminal prosecution and punishment? Why would that be a good thing?

    You may also want to read my thoughts here: http://pundit.co.nz/content/in-defence-of-kiwiblog

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  55. Pete George (23,558 comments) says:

    Labour Party shadow Attorney General David Parker’s letter to Police Commissioner Mike Bush

    1 September 2014

    Mr Mike Bush
    Commissioner of Police
    New Zealand Police
    180 Molesworth Street

    Wellington

    Mike.bush@police.govt.nz

    Dear Sir

    Conspiring to defeat the Course of Justice and other matters

    You will be aware of allegations against the former Minister of Justice Hon Judith Collins, Cameron Slater, Carrick Graham and others concerning:

    · Undermining of the Serious Fraud Office

    · Undermining of the Financial Markets Authority

    · Undermining of the head of the SFO

    · Intimidation of witnesses, including Mr Gapes,

    in relation to the SFO and FMA investigation into the affairs of the Hanover Group of companies and their directors.

    You will also be aware of allegations against the former Minister of Justice, Cameron Slater, and others concerning:

    · Use of personal information regarding Simon Pleasants to incite threats

    · In respect of the Minister, the corrupt use of personal information regarding Simon Pleasants to obtain an advantage (section 105A of the Crimes Act)

    · Use of that information (section 105B of the Crimes Act)

    You will also be aware of allegations against Jason Ede, Cameron Slater, Aaron Bhatnagar, and others concerning:

    · Accessing the Labour Party computer system in breach of section 249 and 252 of the Crimes Act

    · The use of dynamic (ie changing) email and computer addresses to avoid detection

    These are serious matters that go to the heart of administration of justice in New Zealand and public confidence in democracy and the rule of law.

    I would ask that you urgently investigate these matters. I am concerned that there is evidence, including computer records that urgently need to be secured and preserved.

    In making this request, I am aware that you exercise your role independently, and that these decisions are yours to make.

    Yours faithfully

    Hon David Parker
    Shadow Attorney General

    One point on “The use of dynamic (ie changing) email and computer addresses to avoid detection” – dynamic IP addresses are common, it’s just what happens unless you pay more for a static IP address. But the service provider can still identify who has used what IP on any connection.

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  56. AG (1,827 comments) says:

    @Chuck Bird,

    That is a shocking view for a law professor. Using you logic anyone would be justified in hacking your email.

    No its not. It’s pretty much what any law professor/lawyer would say. Graeme Edgeler may pop up later to prove my point.

    And no – using my logic, hacking is a criminal offence that is not “justified” in the public good. Using information gained by hacking is a quite separate issue.

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  57. Sporteone (43 comments) says:

    AG

    I think your might be a bit wrong here.

    “The hacker more likely faces 2 years under s.252. And Hager hasn’t “received stolen property”. Emails, etc aren’t “property” in terms of s.246 (which is why, you might recall, there were no charges laid against him for The Hollow Men).”

    I would suggest that the hacker will get more than 2 years as you have suggested, due to the releasing of the documents and the manner in which it has been done.

    And you ARE wrong when you say that emails cannot be stolen. An email is a document, under the crimes act, whether it is electronic or in hard copy. As an ex fraud squad detective I prosecuted a number of people for exactly the same thing, whether receiving the document or stealing it. The crimes act was amended back in the late 1990’s to cover this.

    The problem that would occur with Hager, as it did with earlier emails and Don Brash, is that to be guilty of receiving, you have to receive the actual stolen item. If it is a copy of the electronic document is is not receiving. The law had not kept up with this. I would suggest that Hager has received an abridged version of all the electronic media that was stolen and so would have a copy of the emails and so cannot be receiving.

    If Hager knew anything about the hacking before it happened and had discussed the hacking with the Hacker, then he may be guilty of a conspiracy with the hacker. What ever the outcome is, he is still a slimy piece of work. Maybe someday he will get hacked.

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  58. trout (939 comments) says:

    So Hotchin hired a PR flunkey to have a go at Feeley – so what . You have a short memory DPF if you do not recall how Feeley was grandstanding all over the place; feeding the press information, and generally acting in a way designed to undermine Hotchin’s credibility. How he forced the freezing of Hotchin’s assets (Hotchin was the only executive restrained in this way) and undertook some kind of vendetta against him. This was in the course of ‘a long involved investigation that was going to get a result’. Feeley left the SFO before the investigation concluded at which stage the SFO found no grounds to prosecute Hotchin. A damp squib you might say. I have no doubt that Judith Collins would have been unimpressed with Feeley’s prima donna behaviour and made it clear ( this on top of his purloining of Bridgecorp assets for a celebration). He was probably made aware that he was unsuitable for the job so he left. That said I have no truck with Hotchin or his offsider Eric Watson but let’s have some balance; an ingredient of commentary in short supply right now.

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  59. GPT1 (2,121 comments) says:

    Data is not “property” so although the hacker can be charged for “taking” data there does not appear to be a receiving equivalent from my brief look. Which seems to be an omission.

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  60. xy (187 comments) says:

    trout: You should send Hotchin an invoice for your advocacy! I reckon that post is worth about $5.

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  61. AG (1,827 comments) says:

    @Sporteone,

    Well, I’m not sure how s.249 has been breached, given the definition of “property” in s.2 and the difficulty of showing how Slater has suffered a “loss” as a result. But I’m prepared to accept I may be wrong on this.

    And I do stand corrected on the receiving point – I wrote in haste and so was sloppy. Thanks for putting me right. But it appears that you agree with my basic point … DPF is wrong to suggest that Hager might be prosecuted for receiving in this case.

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  62. Mr_Blobby (173 comments) says:

    The rats are starting to eat each other.

    My personal opinion of the racist piece of shit Hone (john Hadfield) and his criminal family is very low.

    In the wake of Whalegate he is staring to look like a credible candidate, all he needs to do his keep his mouth shut.

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  63. Chuck Bird (4,880 comments) says:

    @AG

    If there were no fences there would be a lot less theft. If there were not sickos who would pay to view child porn there would be a lot less victim.

    People publishing material obtained by an illegal act I view as accessories and should be treated as such.

    Too many on the left consider the ends justify the means especially when it benefits them.

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  64. Chuck Bird (4,880 comments) says:

    “DPF is wrong to suggest that Hager might be prosecuted for receiving in this case.”

    With all due respect, what a stupid statement from a law professor even a left wing one.

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  65. AG (1,827 comments) says:

    @Chuck B,

    Just so we’re clear … the journalist who uses my hacked emails to write a story about the drug ring I am running with the help of corrupt cops should be prosecuted, convicted and punished for doing so? That’s your position? It’s important to get that on the record.

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  66. AG (1,827 comments) says:

    @ChuckB,

    With all due respect, what a stupid statement from a law professor even a left wing one.

    With all due respect, it wasn’t my statement. It was what Sporteone, “an ex fraud squad detective”, said at 9:45 am.

    But I guess everyone else could be completely wrong and you might be right. That could be a possible world. Unlikely, but.

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  67. Jack5 (5,137 comments) says:

    AG (10.25):

    Hacking seems pretty much to me to be electronic burglary. Do you think the journalist stalking your drug czar should be free to burgle premises to get evidence?

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  68. Richard (855 comments) says:

    Meanwhile somewhere out there are issues that affect peoples lives- employment, education, economic growth, housing, taxation etc. The chances of these issues ever being talked about again in this election are now zero. Nick Hager, KimDotcom, Left Bloggers- I congratulate you, you’ve managed to achieve this.

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  69. Chuck Bird (4,880 comments) says:

    Hopefully the SIS have checked all Hager and Dotcrim’s emails and any other communication. This would be justified in the national interest as we have a subversive trying to bring down this government to prevent him facing justice in the US.

    The same dopey judges that let Stephen Dudley’s killer off scot-free seems to have helped this crim with legal nonsense. Why is a Degree of common sense not a prerequisite to becoming a judge?

    This may be a little of the end justify the means but any mature adult realizes Dotcrim is a subversive.

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  70. AG (1,827 comments) says:

    @Jack5,

    Do you think the journalist stalking your drug czar should be free to burgle premises to get evidence?

    For the umpteenth time, hacking is a crime, just like burglary is. A journalist or other individually is not legally allowed to do this for “the public good”. But that’s not the important question. The important question is, what should/shouldn’t journalists and other investigative writers be permitted to do with information that others have obtained unlawfully?

    So – answer me this, Jack5 … if a burglar goes into my home, discovers a torture den in which I’m holding small children, and then tells the police, should they be able to use that “unlawfully” obtained evidence against me in court? Well then, what if the burglar steals papers revealing my participation in a drug ring with corrupt cops (so that reporting it to the police would be useless) – if a journalist is given those papers and publishes a story based on them, should she/he be prosecuted, convicted and punished? If not, why not? And if so, why is that “a good thing”?

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  71. trout (939 comments) says:

    @xy you missed the point. I am not advocating for Hotchin; I am advocating for the principle that if the State comes after you and persecutes you in the court of public opinion you must be able to push back. The idea that some Govt. department (in this case the SFO) or their CEO should be insulated from criticism and not be held to account for behaving badly is unacceptable.
    Hotchin was painted as public enemy number one – he may or may not have deserved it – I don’t know – but the SFO could not pin anything on him after spending a zillion dollars on the investigation and dragging his name through the mud.

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  72. GPT1 (2,121 comments) says:

    Interesting debate wish I had time to be more involved. Dixon v R [2014] NZCA 329 seems to have deal with a number of the issues on point.

    It seems to me that the hacker is in the gun but Hager cannot be prosecuted for receiving, further there does not seem to be a “receiving” equivalent for “stolen data”. Happy to be corrected.

    https://forms.justice.govt.nz/search/Documents/pdf/jdo/ff/alfresco/service/api/node/content/workspace/SpacesStore/d792618a-4399-47eb-901a-7a3ac25f0439/d792618a-4399-47eb-901a-7a3ac25f0439.pdf

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  73. emmess (1,428 comments) says:

    I was amazed by Goff and his shameless lying on Morning Report this morning over OIA issue. Half expected to hear him repeat the famous depends on what you mean by ‘is’ as he twisted, distorted and exposed the appalling double standards of the modern left.

    Yeah, that’s right
    Goff was completely pathetic

    Yeah,I was briefed but either I forgot or it wasn’t a very big briefing so it doesn’t count as a briefing

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  74. virtualmark (1,523 comments) says:

    I’m with trout on the Hotchin case.

    Personally I think there were some unsavoury aspects of Hanover. But I also think they were too smart to do anything illegal. And it seems so now does the SFO, since they closed their investigation into Hanover and declined to lay charges – this in an environment when many other finance company directors had been pursued through the courts.

    With all these allegations we need to look back at the context of the time (3-4 years ago). Phil Goff had lied about the SIS briefing. Cameron Slater may have got incredibly rapid service on his OIA request. But is that a crime??? And does that require some sort of ministerial interference??? Or just a Government department feeling unfairly slated (pun!) by a Leader of the Opposition with a history of lying???

    Meanwhile, Adam Feeley did do some odd things when heading up the SFO. Stealing wine from someone you’re investigating isn’t the behaviour we expect from the police. The pursuit of Hotchin, and the unusual freezing of his assets, always looked odd, even at the time. Frankly, if I were the minister responsible for the SFO I’d have wanted some answers, and possibly been thinking Feeley wasn’t the right man for the job.

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  75. GPT1 (2,121 comments) says:

    AG – re your balancing exercise isn’t that what s30 of the Evidence Act does in criminal proceedings? It’s a balancing exercise taking into account the nature of the impropriety and the offence. So to use your kidnapped tortured child example that is likely to be admissible (and for a search warrant) but stolen emails that allow you to embarrass the writers? Is that really in the public interest?

    The elephant in the room for drawing the line has to be the Feeley email (not in Hager’s book) which (although I suspect a fair bit of bluster and bullshit) raises the spectre of Perverting the course of Justice.

    But for me I err on the side of not using stolen data.

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  76. Chuck Bird (4,880 comments) says:

    AG, the Listener puts things much better than me. It you vote left you’re are supporting a sociopathic criminal.

    The enormity of it

    Kim Dotcom’s simultaneous glorification of hacking and slamming of state surveillance is blatant hypocrisy

    http://www.listener.co.nz/commentary/editorial/the-enormity-of-it/

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  77. emmess (1,428 comments) says:

    Kim Dotcom’s simultaneous glorification of hacking and slamming of state surveillance is blatant hypocrisy

    Yeah, I saw that Internet Mana had a billboard up saying that they are going to massively cut jobs at our spy agencies.

    Oh yeah, why is that?
    So Kim Dot Com can hire them all on the cheap?

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  78. AG (1,827 comments) says:

    @GPT1,

    re your balancing exercise isn’t that what s30 of the Evidence Act does in criminal proceedings? It’s a balancing exercise taking into account the nature of the impropriety and the offence.

    That’s precisely my point. We don’t have (and shouldn’t have) a hard-and-fast rule saying “possessing or using unlawfully gathered information is a criminal offence”. We have a series of balancing tests – s.30 in regards criminal trials, the “public interest” defence in regards breach of confidence, etc, etc. This recognises that sometimes the possession and use is “a good thing”. Other times it isn’t.

    And that is all I’m saying.

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  79. Chuck Bird (4,880 comments) says:

    @AG the downside of unnecessarily complicated legislation is that it is a form of social welfare for lawyers and judges.

    “Well then, what if the burglar steals papers revealing my participation in a drug ring with corrupt cops (so that reporting it to the police would be useless)”

    New Zealand is not corruption free. There are corrupt police, politicians, lawyers and judges. However, I do not believe that there is a corrupt group of senior police with political connections working together as in many other countries. Do you?

    It seems to me you are putting forth a highly unlikely scenario to justify aiding criminal behaviour.

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  80. DJP6-25 (1,386 comments) says:

    southtop 7:14 am. You’re right. It should be a standing commission too.

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  81. Black with a Vengeance (1,861 comments) says:

    Goff was completely pathetic

    Yeah,I was briefed but either I forgot or it wasn’t a very big briefing so it doesn’t count as a briefing

    Maybe his office was briefed but he wasnt. Seeing as how they’re interchangeable, it’s all good in the hood.

    What’s good for the goose…

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  82. DJP6-25 (1,386 comments) says:

    Anyone who has used a US domiciled email service such as Gmail, or Yahoo should complain to the FBI. There are some pretty stiff penalties there for tampering with mail. I hope the law has been updated to deal with electronic mail, and not just snail mail.

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  83. Ross12 (1,425 comments) says:

    AG

    Using your example

    “Well then, what if the burglar steals papers revealing my participation in a drug ring with corrupt cops (so that reporting it to the police would be useless) – if a journalist is given those papers and publishes a story based on them, should she/he be prosecuted, convicted and punished”

    In my view the responsible thing to do would be to go to the Police , not a journalist. ( and if I did not think the police would take it seriously because of the corrupt cop , I’d take a lawyer along with me when I took the material to the police)

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  84. RightNow (6,994 comments) says:

    ” David Cunliffe is calling for a Royal Commission of Inquiry into basically the entire Hager book”

    I think there should be a wider inquiry, and it should include investigation into all political parties. Submissions from the public should be accepted, with amnesty offered.

    If we really want to clean up politics in NZ it needs to be across the whole spectrum.

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  85. Ross12 (1,425 comments) says:

    I agree RightNow. Slater has decided not to release other emails because he does not want to compromise his sources ( that is fair enough –it is his ethical decision ). But if the Inquiry had the power to call him and order him to release them to the inquiry then he would and then the cat would really be out of the bag.

    PS. Cunliffe is desperately trying to keep the book in the news. He is too stupid to understand most voters have had enough of the BS and it is yesterday’s news to them.

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  86. goldnkiwi (1,303 comments) says:

    A.G. re the journalist being charged and taken to court for releasing ‘hacked’ or ill gotten information, I think they should be answerable then a court could decide the very ‘subjective’ in the ‘public interest’

    Currently it seems that it is up to an individual of no particular calibre to decide what that interest is, especially if they stand to benefit financially from the disclosures.

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  87. Alan Wilkinson (1,878 comments) says:

    Hager knows who the hacker is and has concealed the criminal. He must be guilty of the same crime as anyone else who harbours or conceals a criminal.

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