Now Goff has admitted, after meeting the SIS Director this morning, that he was briefed in March. He says it must have been insubstantial as he doesn’t recollect it. More likely is he was distracted by the Darren Hughes scandal at the time.
This is incompetence of the highest level. Sure we can all forget things, but forgetting an SIS briefing?? Worse though, Goff could have checked his diary or checked with the SIS. Instead he accused the Prime Minister of lying, and impeached the integrity of the SIS.
Let us look at his words. First Danya Levy in the Dom Post reports:
I was not aware of the allegations.
And then today TVNZ reported:
Goff is furious over the Prime Minister’s entire handling of the affair, including claims yesterday that the Labour leader was kept in the loop.
Goff insists he was not briefed before, during or after the investigation and says he has texted the head of the SIS to complain about John Key’s comments.
And further he said:
He said the prime minister has to understand the responsibilities of his office and cannot “mouth off” without checking his facts first.
This is especially ironic. Goff now stands as the one who mouthed off, can’t even recall an SIS briefing and was too lazy or too incompetent to even check his diary or with the SIS, before he repeated his claims.
Goff incidentally did not just falsely attack the PM, but also attacked the integrity and independence of the SIS. Section 4AA of the NZSIS Act says:
(3) The Director must consult regularly with the Leader of the Opposition for the purpose of keeping him or her informed about matters relating to security.
So Goff effectively accused the Director of breaching his statutory duty. A very serious charge. Again someone with an ounce of competence would double and triple check before claiming he “was not aware of the allegations” and that he was “not briefed before, during or after the investigation”.