It may have just been a stuff up

Radio NZ reports:

The latest update on MPs’ expenses, leaked to Newshub, shows the National Party leader spent nearly $114,000 on travel and accommodation in April and June.

The expenses were due to be released publicly on Thursday.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said she asked Ministerial Services to clarify exactly who had access to the National Party’s expenses, and it had been confirmed to her that only the National Party caucus did.

“We’ve had it confirmed that no-one in Labour ever actually had access to that information and it would be improper if we would have,” she said.

“The only groups as I understand who will have had access will be the opposition themselves and the Speaker.”

Ms Ardern said she has no need to seek assurances regarding any actions by Speaker Trevor Mallard.

“He is impartial. He doesn’t attend caucus. He presides as an officer of Parliament. It’s a really serious allegation to suggest he could be involved in any way.”

Mr Mallard denied being the source of the leak and was personally looking to ensure the information did not land in the hands of anybody it should not have.

I have no idea who leaked the info, but I would caution about assuming it was a deliberate leak.

I can recall at least two “” which occurred when someone left a folder by accident in the parliamentary cafe. Someone from the other party finds them, and gives to the media.

Or human error. An e-mail sent by accident to the wrong person. The fact the outcomes from the Knowledge Wave summit were pre-ordained was revealed because an e-mail from a Labour Minister was sent to my then boss by mistake.

Going further back, there was a glorious few months in the 1990s when Labour strategy documents were being regularly e-mailed to Mike Moore, the former opposition leader. Up until the meeting when he mentioned he wasn’t on e-mail and they realised they had been e-mailing them for months to a National Party staffer of the same name.

The best one though was when Parliamentary Service set up the printer options wrong for the Labour Whips Office. One of their printer options was for a printer that was actually in the National Whips Office. For many months the Labour Whips would print out documents and have them appear on the National Whips’ printer. Would have loved to have seen their faces when they realised it.

So it may be a deliberate leak from a PS staffer, or someone in National, or someone in the Speaker’s Office (no I don’t think it is the Speaker). But it may also just be someone was careless and they documents by accident got to the hands of someone who then gave them to Newshub.

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