Friday, 8 May 2009


So what are these national secrets that are so secret that we are not even allowed to know why they are being kept secret?

The File on the Brash emails at Police National Headquarters.

Matthew Hooton has the whole saga into today's dead tree copy of the NBR. They wont put the column on their on line site. We reckon that's at Hootons request because he is trying to save the New Zealand Forestry industry. He does a bit of work for them from time to time... We digress.

Anyway - Hooton has a bit of a thing about the Stolen Brash emails that were used by Nicky Hagar to form his flight of fancy book - the Hollow Men. Brash remains incensed that the police never seem to consider it a high priority.

lodged an OIA in May 2007. Two years later and the police are about to release something. It will probably be blank papers, a radio transcript or two and some press clippings. And Hooton has been lucky enough to secure the services of Kensington Swan pro bono. They are well known Rottweillers on this sort of stuff so the story is so very far from over. Initially the police wouldn't release the file because they reckoned it would compromise the investigation.

Brash was told nine months into the investigation that those in receipt of the emails had not been interviewed because the police were a tad busy with APEC.

Then in April 2008 senior plod Harry Quinn closed the file and announced that to the media. He said to Brash he would send him the file. He never did.

Then in mid 2008 the police changed their story and told Hooton the file was still open.... This is the last few paragraphs of Hooton's Column today. Its better than a bloody spy novel.

After Mr Quinn’s announcement, my staff redoubled our efforts to obtain the file. In mid-2008, however, PNHQ changed its story, advising the chief ombudsman that the file, which they had announced was closed, was in fact open.

Initially, the chief ombudsman, then new to the job, was sucked in to the PNHQ position. Even when PNHQ later confirmed that the investigation was “inactive”, she claimed she should “err on the side of caution”, despite the law demanding a presumption in favour of release.

Her provisional opinion agreed with PNHQ that releasing the file would prejudice the maintenance of law in New Zealand. Even more extraordinary, she ruled that her reasons for reaching this view needed themselves to be kept secret. That’s when we called in the lawyers.

Conspiracy Theories

PNHQ’s bizarre behaviour has fuelled all sorts of conspiracy theories. Ms Clark spun the yarn that an MP’s spouse was responsible for the theft. The professionalism of the operation led some to speculate about the SIS. Marginally more plausible are theories involving rogue officers at the Government Communications Security Bureau, given author Nicky Hager clearly had a source within that agency for his internationally-acclaimed Secret Power. One of the Urewera 17 has also been mentioned in Wellington IT and legal circles.

It is not healthy in a democracy for such conspiracy theories to gain currency. It is more likely that a politically-motivated PNHQ simply decided it was better to let sleeping dogs lie, and even more likely that they just botched the investigation. Whatever the truth, there is a clear public interest in every comma of the file being released, just as it was for paintergate.

So like us we reckon at this point you will be a little more than concerned about just what is concerning the police and the ombudsman. But we will bet the house that Hooton and Kensington Swan will find out. And more importantly it is an issue that should cause the Prime Minister enough concern to call a full inquiry.


Barnsley Bill said...

Anybody else suspect that Broad is stifling this until he has started collecting his pension?

KG said...

I lve the smell of corruption in the morning.....

Pique Oil said...

I was reading a doom and gloom article about the impending collapse of the USA economy. It assumed that unpaid cops would begin graft and corruption in order to get paid.
Are we ahead of the USA in some areas apart from the time zone?
Cock ups and cover ups invariable explode in the face of those involved. This will be no different.
The real tragedy is that honest hard working cops will bear the brunt of it all.


Come on, the government should investigate and Crusher Colins could give Broad the boot.
But I suspect you are right Barnsley.
Well done BB for raising the issue too.