The corruption inside this Government just more and more filthy – we now have an ex-Customs Lawyer quitting after being told to bury information that could embarrass the Government, specifically to do with Kim Dotcom…
Curtis Gregorash said he was told by senior Customs executives to refuse Official Information Act and Privacy Act requests, which he believed was at the direction of former Customs Minister Maurice Williamson.
It comes at a time the Prime Minister’s office is under inquiry over the release of intelligence material through the OIA and accusations that former Justice Minister Judith Collins was manipulating OIA responses for political purposes.
Mr Williamson – who resigned as a minister in May after contacting police over a National party donor who was facing domestic violence charges – rejected the claim last night, as did the legal services chief at Customs.
Mr Gregorash quit his role as Customs’ chief legal counsel in March this year after more than a decade as a government lawyer.
The lawyer turned whistleblower said: “I’ve sat on it for a long time. But the story itself is so awful it needs to be told. I think people really need to see what ministers and some senior executives do.”
He had decided to speak because he believed the alleged instruction “was unlawful”, undermined the way the public service was meant to operate and was given for what was ultimately political reasons.
“The direction came down (from the minister) through the CEO (Carolyn Tremain) and group manager (of legal services) Peter Taylor to me saying ‘you don’t release anything – I don’t care what the OIA says, I’d rather fight it in the courts’.”
Mr Gregorash said it was as if ministers were prepared to say: “F*** the OIA, I’d rather fight it through the Ombudsman because it takes three years.”
Mr Gregorash said the alleged instruction came during a briefing from Mr Taylor to the legal team in which he referred to Ms Tremain and meeting with Mr Williamson.
“I resigned over it. I couldn’t stare my staff in the face and say this is actually serious conduct that’s being presented to you in a lawful way.”
Mr Gregorash said the alleged instruction to withhold information was general – but became specific in relation to “sensitive” issues, including entrepreneur Kim Dotcom, wanted for copyright violation in the United States.
…will John Armstrong or the rest of the press gallery focus on this as much as they focused their attacks on Kim Dotcom’s decision to take his fight to Parliamentary Privileges?
Of course they won’t. As far as most of the mainstream media are concerned their role is to make apologies for Key. When it came to dirty politics, their claim was ‘politics is dirty, everyone does it’, despite Key’s bare faced lies and the seriousness of the allegations, when confronted with mass surveillance their response is ‘everyone spies, so what’, despite the Key’s barefaced lies and his daily change of story.
We have been as betrayed by our fourth estates inability to critique the Prime Minister as we have by the National Party.
This rot has to stop – join the other half million NZers who have early voted – vote now!