Truth a long time coming

TRACY WATKINS
Last updated 07:07 31/07/2013

Related Links

Phone records given to inquiry

Relevant offers

Opinion

Key opts for state of state houses over state of the nation Little gets message across, but questions remain Duncan Garner: Driven to distraction - the issue is safer roads, not foreigners NZ First MPs make most of summer lull Vernon Small: RMA reforms no long-term solution John Key: Mr Nice Guy's unbelievable aura of serenity Smith lays some bait lines on RMA remodelling A game-plan that may just work for Little Guardians of rights need shielding too History in bin when the PM deletes texts

OPINION: Speaker David Carter's admission that Parliament supplied a ministerial inquiry with Fairfax Media journalist Andrea Vance's phone records is a bombshell.

It comes on the back of Parliament's admission that Vance's movements were also tracked as part of the Government's efforts to find the "mole" who leaked her a report on the Government Communications Security Bureau.

Fairfax Media got wind something was up when Vance was hastily summoned to the Speaker's office yesterday morning.

A deeply embarrassed Carter owned up to the breach and offered Vance an extraordinary apology.

Only days ago, Carter gave Parliament an assurance that the phone records were not handed over.

The admission raises more questions than it answers - including why it has taken so long for the truth to come out.

The other burning question - on whose say-so was the information handed over - has also gone unanswered.

In the case of the phone records, Carter says that the information was supplied by a low-level contractor without first checking with either himself or Parliamentary Service general manager Geoff Thorn.

Carter says he can't explain why it happened when apparently the inquiry - headed by former public servant David Henry - never asked for Vance's telephone records.

That suggests either an extraordinarily cavalier attitude towards media freedom, or a culture in which reporters are considered a fair target for investigation.

The latest, equally sinister, revelations that the Defence Force lumped journalists in with subversives and extremists such as al Qaeda suggest the latter.

That should be deeply disturbing to everyone. Journalists working in the parliamentary precinct deal regularly with sensitive information provided by confidential sources.

Their ability to hold MPs and the Government to account would be seriously compromised if neither they nor their sources can have any faith that their every move and phone call is not being tracked.

Ad Feedback

- The Dominion Post

Comments

Special offers

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content