There’s now three major inquiries underway in relation to the e-mails published in the Nicky Hager book, and subsequently.
Here’s my take on them.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 Whale Oil? 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.