More than 18 months since its launch and costing hundreds of thousands of dollars, an inquiry into leaks at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) is set to send ripples through the Wellington bureaucracy.
The report, due for release today, is expected to point the finger at a clerical worker as the main suspect behind a Cabinet document leak.
This is a key piece of information. Labour tried to portray the leaks as coming from disgruntled diplomats who were personally affected by the proposed restructuring. And while it would be wrong for them to leak also, you have more sympathy for a leak if it comes from someone who is personally affected by some propsoed action.
But as far as I know this clerical worker was not affected by the proposals. In fact he didn’t even work for MFAT. So his motivation for leaking was not to fight the proposed restructuring which could affect him. So what was it? Well my guess is that it was pure partisan politics – to help the Labour Party. Because while I don’t know for sure who Person X is, the name that has floated around is that of a former Labour Party parliamentary staffer. Now if this is correct, that means that this leak was indeed all about partisan politics, and nothing to do with MFAT restructuring.
The court challenge, taken by someone known as Person A, is understood to relate to a person who will be named as Person X in today’s report.
Person A has had heavy suppression orders throughout, including around his present and former places of work, but the Court of Appeal allowed news media to report that he was a clerical assistant.
People may wonder how a clerical assistant can afford to fund legal action all the way to the Court of Appeal. Maybe a certain political party helped pay the bills? Could they have even used their parliamentary budget to do so? I don’t know, but a question worth posing to Labour is whether they did, and can they confirm Person X used to work for them?
Also as far as I know, Person X does not have name suppression – they just have not been named. There is nothing preventing the media in asking certain people if they are Person X, and printing their responses. I was wrong. He does have name suppression in relation to he court case, so the name or details that identify him can not be made public. Am unsure if media will try and get name suppression lifted through the court.
Anyway I look forward to reading the report, and the 16 pieces of circumstantial evidence that point to Person X.