A legal analysis of the NZF complaint

As people will have read, NZ First is outraged that the has revealed to the that the evidence given by Peters and Henry is false. I mean shame on the SFO – how dare they reveal the truth. What sort of law enforcement body do they think they are.

So NZ First have complained to the Police about the SFO. Now this is of course a media stunt -designed to maybe convince the most stupid 5% of the electorate. For the benefit of the other 95%, I’ll link to Dean Knight – a public law specialist at Victoria University.

Dean makes four points:

  1. s39 of the Serious Fraud Act does not apply as the information given to the SFO was not protected under some other Act (which is linked to the SFO’s coercive power to require information protected under other legislation)
  2. s36 might apply as it refers to a wider set of information but 36(2)(e) allows the Director to disclose to “any person who the Director is satisfied has a proper interest in receiving such information” and Dean says a committee of Parliament fits this definition
  3. Regardless the letter to the Privileges Committee is covered by parliamentary privilege under the Bill of Rights 1688
  4. Those complaining about the letter may be in contempt of Parliament as Standing Order 400w includes ” assaulting, threatening or disadvantaging a person on account of evidence given by that person to the House or committee”

So Peters and NZ First may be in contempt of Parliament (again) due to their attacks on the SFO for telling the truth to the Privileges Committee. If Parliament wasn’t about to dissolve, it would be worth an MP writing to the Speaker about!

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