Winston’s trial this week should be a wake up call for everyone

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2051

Monday marks the start of a three week hearing in the Auckland High Court over the leak of Winston Peters’ superannuation overpayment to the media. Winston has been greatly offended, to the tune of $1.8 million dollars and wants to get it at the taxpayers’ expense. 


The Deputy PM wants $450,000 in damages from each of the named defendants, meaning a total of $1.8 million if he pursues all of those monetary claims listed in early court documents. Any damages awarded would be covered by the taxpayer under an arrangement authorised by the Cabinet. Taxpayers are also paying for the two Queens Counsel and legal teams.”

He claims he is the wounded party. How dare his integrity be questioned? The amount in question is $18,000 over 7 years.  Annually this is just $2571 and seems to have arisen because of the difference between the single sharing and married rates of NZ Super:

 “Couples where only one partner qualifies for NZS may choose not to undergo the income test. In this situation the eligible person receives the married rate, which is half of the couple rate, and their non-qualified partner does not receive NZS.”

The distinction between the rates that gave rise to this absurd waste of money is at the heart of this problem, along with the question-why we are so kind to the wealthiest in this country? 

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Charitably, we might understand what has happened: Winston is part of the group of very highly paid and wealthy superannuitants who would not have spent a second even thinking about how much he was getting, wouldn’t be able to tell you how much he was getting, would not have noticed the winter energy payment got added on for a few months and then removed, would have ignored the letters that everyone gets to verify their relationship status. 

He may have thought that since his partner was not on Super that he was single for the purposes of NZS Super. Let’s forgive him and move on. He needs to say sorry, and also move on for all our sakes. A hurt pride is no reason to commit taxpayers to a wasteful three weeks in court and heaven forbid an actual settlement of up to $1.8 m.  The courts are not coping with the real life, much more serious cases right now.

Perhaps he could turn his mind to supporting better retirement income policies including aligning the single and married rates as the RPRC has recommended in their paper for the Current Retirement Incomes review on fiscal sustainability.

The Ministry of Social Development uses weak 19th century logic to defend the difference in rates. They say with a straight face: 

A married couple: 

  • could be able to enjoy lower accommodation costs than two single people 
  • could be able to have their personal household effects on one insurance policy whereas two single people who are sharing accommodation would be more likely to have separate insurance costs totaling a higher amount 
  • could share vehicle expenses, while two single people may be more likely to have their own individual transport and vehicle costs 
  • could generally share meals, while two single people sharing accommodation may not have merged their lives to that extent.

What does it take for common sense to prevail?

 

46 COMMENTS

  1. Winston has feed from the public trough for years and as this comes to an end this would be a good retirement fund.

  2. Trevor said; Winston has feed from the public trough for years

    So did Anne Tolley and Paula Bennefit remember?
    Bennett was a solo Mum on the dole firstly then joined national.
    Anne trolley was the deputy Mayor of Napier city Council in 2001 and after joined national.

  3. Whatever we think about Winston and his wealth and his oversight etc, the fact remains that he is suing those responsible for releasing his private details to the media. I hope he succeeds and they get what they deserve.

    • Give the court a ring and show them your proof so the trial can end today.
      The longer the case runs on the less money there will be for fixing the fast growing number of poor and homeless.

        • That’s got nothing to do with Winston Peters taking a perfectly legitimate case against the Nats and the media who have defamed him and breached his privacy.

  4. Whatever we think about Winston and his super overpayments is not the point. He is suing the lowlife who leaked his private details to the media as an act of political spite, and I hope they are nailed.

  5. Wrong issue, Susan, and Winston Peters has nothing to apologise for. This is not simply wounded pride.

    A singularly unpleasant govt dept cocked up, and all of a sudden it’s the victim’s fault ? I don’t think so.

    Information was provided to the New Zealand media that Peters had been overpaid NZ Super.

    The implication of this was that Peters had been made making false claims even if the tipsters’ intent was just to engineer negative publicity for Peters, and to cause him stress and strife- its called dirty politics- it works.

    Because Peter’s extra $2571 a year divided into 26 separate payments paid in fortnightly, would go unnoticed in Winston’s and many people’s accounts, this should not be used to clobber him.

    That Peters is rich, does not affect his NZ Super entitlement, and should not be used to clobber him.

    That I, or any, may think that NZ Super should be means tested, in no way affects Peter’s or others’entitlements. Any question of means testing rests with the NZ Parliament.

    The impact and implications of that first public announcement that Peters had been overpaid his NZ Super will be the one that has stayed with many people – that Winston Peters committed or tried to commit some sort of fraud – and he is entitled to clear his name.

    There are people capable of believing the Peters would commit a criminal act for 100 odd bucks a week – we know that there are many dumbed down NZ’ers who don’t realise that “the news” is more entertainment than fact, and they’re mainly right wing

    The issue of the MSD internal processes which led to Peters being publicly demonised, simply must be addressed, and urgently actually, before someone else gets hurt.

    Peters is lucky he’s rich and resilient, but not all WINZ’s casualties are. Given that Paula Bennett may be a creature who uses the media as a weapon of destruction, the best outcome of her role in this grubby mud bath, would be if she can grow up a bit. Unfortunately I can’t see it happening, but if any large swathes of money get paid out, then it might just curb one or two dirty peoples’ vindictive behaviour.

    • There are people inside the retirement sector that is reconstructing the industry so that it will be ideologically driven to switch from compulsory contributions to voluntary contributions. The claim that the retirement industry is unsustainable is if contributions dip below the 12%. There’s a whole bunch of jargon like 3% default rates. The ideal superannuation client that those who are ideologically opposed to the industry desire is someone who doesn’t engage. There the people with multiple superannuation accounts and as each account is forgetting about the fees eat away at it then blows up the account because there’s no new money going in. When you look at those who are ideologically apposed to the industry and what they are trying to achieve its just retarded really. They literally want you to burn $100 thousands dollars of your own retirement savings.

        • I guess I was talking about the Australian system.

          But just to reiterate in a different. The retirement age is being debated in New Zealand and those who believe superannuation is unsustainable so there for raise the retirement age. Those people believe the premiss is small government and getting the government out of people’s lives so people can make there own decisions.

          In my experience it’s like 3 people for raising the age against 7 who think it’s should be 60-65. But these people are not looking to care for the elderly they just want to raise the age just because. Y’know, they say it’s unsustainable and then when pressed for a reason it’s always because choices or what ever. It’s never because taking care of the elderly is something the workforce should be doing. These people are mostly National MPs and supporters of course. The National Party still has a policy of raising the regiment age: https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/political/397551/prime-minister-jacinda-ardern-firm-on-keeping-superannuation-age-at-65

          So I’m saying that there are people appointed to working groups and committees and there are people with in the industry who just disagree that the government should be contributing to people’s leisure time and I’m like no! It’s to give old people dignity in death. Y’know dying alone, broke and with no one around kind of sucks, can’t afford basic medicines, can’t afford basic food or shelter. Implying that all this is unsustainable is just some bullshit.

          So I really hope Winston can really put the screws on these wankers Y’know? It’s not a conspiracy anymore. These ideological muppets who are hell bent on destroying the retirement savings industry have outed themselves and I want there punishment to be the shame and extra scrutiny.

          • Sam: “it’s like 3 people for raising the age against 7 who think it’s should be 60-65. But these people are not looking to care for the elderly they just want to raise the age just because. Y’know, they say it’s unsustainable and then when pressed for a reason it’s always because choices or what ever.”

            I agree. There is no reason at all that the pension age has to be raised for future generations. It’s up to younger people to advocate with governments for their rights in this regard. Nobody should just accept uncritically assertions of this sort, whoever makes them.

    • Applewood: I agree with everything you say here.

      More power to Peters: I’m completely on his side in this matter.There’s no doubt at all that this was an instance of the dirty politics for which the Natz had become notorious in the preceding few years.

      If he can slap a few utterly unprincipled people about the ears financially, tant mieux, as les Froggies say. It will just possibly protect the rest of us beneficiaries from unwarranted intrusion into our private lives.

    • I don’t know how you can be so sure it was the department. This is a very very complex case. I agree that the real issue is around who did the leak. If we had better policy he would not have been overpaid in he first place

      • Susan St John: “I don’t know how you can be so sure it was the department.”

        I can. Because the department was privy to this information. It was leaked. Ergo, the department is distally, if not proximally, responsible.

        “I agree that the real issue is around who did the leak.”

        It is.

        ” If we had better policy he would not have been overpaid in he first place”

        Irrelevant. It’s not clear why you keep raising this issue. Many of us don’t give a good goddamn about it, because it isn’t what’s of moment in Peters’ case.

  6. The measly $20/week from the winter energy payment was like gold to this beneficiary (it provided for some basic essentials), so I just can’t see how the government can be so dumb or greedy and not raise the base benefit levels by this amount for starters. I agree that the wealthy or even the middle class would probably not think twice about spending twenty on a coffee and muffin every day but I want to see Winston stick one up National and their cabal, the optics would be damaging as would revealing the issues of privacy, accountability, cronyism and jingoism.

    • Jody – “I want to see Winston stick one up National and their cabal..” ditto. The feedback about Joyce, Tolley, and Bennett that weekend sounded like a bunch of over-excited third formers – that’s the scariest thing, that they’re politicians partaking in making big decisions, but behaving like silly little brats.

      It’s important that Peters has taken this action, because nobody is immune from being damaged by WINZ – except the noble wealthy old bloke who decided to decline to receive NZ Super – and has only ever existed in my head.

      • Pip: “….except the noble wealthy old bloke who decided to decline to receive NZ Super – and has only ever existed in my head.”

        Hahaha! Nice. But that’s the whole point of a universal system, isn’t it: it gives pension to the just and the unjust alike. To paraphrase the Bible…

  7. And it is not “Winston’s trial” – he is not on trial. He is taking a case – a different thing altogether.

  8. Good stuff Sam, Pip and Jody your insight is brilliant Winston needs his recompense given him as he should be given his privacy and respect.

    WINZ is in need of an overhaul after this.

  9. What about the scumbags in the so called fourth estate that released this information not knowing if it was true or false.

    Doing Nationals dirty work is becoming an all too familiar occurrence by the media hit squad which is designed too destroy peoples reputations for political points like the recent accusation that Adern covered up the sexual abuse case in the Labour party.

    I am no fan of Peters but this information leak was designed too damage him and his party ahead of the 2017 election.

    It has all the hall marks of Key’s dirty politics goon squad like Gower who called Cunliffe a liar on national tv over Wah lui.
    When Cunliffe was shown too have misled no one the damage too his credibility was complete , again before the 2014 election.

    Money aside there are serious issues at stake here and i hope these people are exposed.

  10. Totally agree mosa, lets not forget that benefit has a track record for releasing peoples private information to the media. Like you i am no fan of winston’s, but what he is doing will hopefully slow the leaks from winge and other govt. departments for political purposes. Just maybe, the scum that are responsible for the leaks may realise that if he knew who they were and was suing them instead, they and not us would be paying any damages.

  11. I heard jhonkey the 2nd (luxon) talked about principles well tolley and pulla don’t seem to have any principles they breached Winstones privacy this ain’t having principles. And as for pulla she has a track record for doing this. Pulla and tolley thought they were going to get away with this because they have done this before. They have done this to beneficiaries who have no power or money to fight them in the courts. But now they seem to have a fight on there hands because they have someone that can stand up to them. Its about time as these two have abused there power and they need to be sanctioned for this.

    • @ Michelle Agree 100%. Most people cannot afford to challenge bruising behaviour from officialdom.

      Luxon was reported saying that John Key was the best PM NZ has ever had. I was flabbergasted that a person who identifies as a church-going christian, knowing the dirty politics which seeped like a leaky sewer from PM Key’s office, could still think JK the best. We owe Peters for exposing both the MSD, and the Nat shysters.

  12. “…why we are so kind to the wealthiest in this country?”

    As others here have pointed out, this isn’t the issue; it makes no difference to what’s at the heart of the matter, which was the prurient exposure of Peters’ private information.

    As we all know, the universal superannuation isn’t means-tested; for which, I’d add, we ought all to be very thankful. The fact that the very rich also get a benefit is a small price to pay for being shot of the injustices which dog a means-tested system.

    Some of us are old enough to remember the dark days of the 1990s, when the pension was means-tested. Those were terrible times for the unfortunates badly affected by it. Great was the relief when the incoming Clark administration abandoned the entire concept, deeming it too complex and prone to unjust outcomes.

    What we now have is relatively simple to administer and therefore cheaper than the old means-testing regime. There are certainly issues with it, not least being that it isn’t enough to live on, if one must rely solely on it, as many people do, through no fault of their own. The egregious cost of housing – and pretty much everything else in this benighted little country – really hits pensioners hard.

    When this government came to power, there was a lot of fine talk about alleviating poverty. I and many others expected that the Ardern administration would implement the recommendations of the welfare working group, especially that relating to raising benefit levels. That was probably the single most important thing that they could have done. Have they done it? Not a bit of it: far too radical a step, seemingly. Cowards….

    Advocates need to apply constant pressure to the government on raising benefit levels. If there were to be a signal that they’d implement this recommendation, if not this term, then the next, I just might consider voting for them again. However, as things stand, there’s not a chance of that. And – except for the dark years of Rogernomics – I’ve been a Labour voter since I came of age a lot of years ago.

  13. From what has come out in court today it is clear that the motivation in informing the media was to damage Peters politically, and that that came from National Party sources.

    If the Nats are as dumbed down as all that, then they must never get back into power again, ever.

    The fact alone that anyone would think that Peters would mislead WINZ for a small – in context- amount of money is extraordinary, and plain dumb.

    Profile of Nat wannabees :

    Small minds, vulgar, loud, covetous, bugger all money, jealous, and living proof that eugenics have not been practised in NZ. Peters’ culprit : Likely a young male offspring of solo mum who did her best but her only kid has a chipped shoulder. Otherwise Bennett.

    • Applewood: “…Likely a young male offspring of solo mum who did her best but her only kid has a chipped shoulder.”

      Hahaha! Very neat: I wish Id thought of that.

      So: where do I cast my vote next election? Labour has been a crushing disappointment this term. What is it the Texans say? All hat and no pants…

      • D’Esterre – I’ve not worked out the actual amount Peters was being over-paid, but it was less than $100 weekly, and only a moron, would think that a politician, and very much a senior statesman (Is there another anywhere ?) in the NZ Parliament would intentionally attempt to defraud NZ super of such a paltry sum of money.

        Hence my conclusion that it was likely some obnoxious junior Nat type, to whom that is big bucks. Bennett, of course, will always be suspect, as she has form with the media, but she can handle it – she’s a big girl – or was. (Could be again. It happens.)
        The sad, the so terribly sad thing, is that even if she swears on the bible that it wasn’t her, there could be one or two who just don’t believe it. That’s why I’m quietly sobbing into my Earl Grey tea.

        However if it was Bennett or Tolley sneaking around like Angela of the Lower Fourth Form, buying a disposable phone to make heinous accusations to the media painting a political opponent a petty thief, then they should be booted right out of Parliament, if only for being a moron. A nasty moron. One or two Central or South American countries might welcome them.

        The other really cute thing is the memory recall of x number of NZ Super employees who have such wonderful photographic recall of whom exactly came to Peter’s WINZ interview nine years ago, and everything that was said nine years ago. And here was I thinking that WINZ needs a total overhaul.

        Up and down NZ, people whose experience tachycardia every time a dreaded MSD envelope appears in their letterboxes, will be saying, “Thank you, Winston”. He has probably never been more loved, by so many, for socking it to them.

        Keep your eye on TOP – or emigrate. Everyone’s doing it – it’s gone all global.

        • Applewood: “….Tolley sneaking around like Angela of the Lower Fourth Form….”

          Haha, very good! Being old enough – and familiar with the British schoolgirl “Mallory Towers”-type books that were brought into our house by older siblings when I was a child, I get the allusion. Sundry members of this household, however, do not: they looked blank. Heh!

          And now it turns out that it was indeed Angela of the Lower Fourth who blabbed (in the parlance of that time). Well: who’d a thunk it, huh? I’d have put money on it having been Bennett, given that she has “form” for that sort of thing.

          However: I heard on RNZ this afternoon Tolley’s account. It seems that she was – er – tired and emotional (or something): a euphemism from British politics meaning “drunk”. That figures….

          “Keep your eye on TOP – or emigrate. Everyone’s doing it – it’s gone all global.”

          Ha! Also very good. I note TOP’s resurgence; let’s hope that it turns into something we can feel confident in voting for. I’m thinking of ACT: at least Seymour will guard our free speech rights.Though I admit to concern that a vote for ACT will pitchfork the Natz back into government. And who could take them seriously, with a leader who sounds like a petulant schoolboy, Mr Potato Head having just got the nod for Albany, and Angela of the Lower Fourth? On the bright side, Maggie Barry is outta there. And no loss… But no word that Bennett is intending to decamp. Nor Crusher. None of them fills me with confidence.

          Emigrate? Join the great tide of humanity washing around the planet. It’s a thought, but for better or for worse I’m a NZer. My parents, grandparents, one lot of great-grandparents, are all buried here. And although the British patrial laws allow me to have an Irish (and a EU) passport, the old country isn’t home. Besides, I doubt that the UK would welcome any of us, though some years ago, Ireland put out the welcome mat for members of the diaspora. But I’m too old to relocate to a different culture, for all that the idea has its attractions. I’m stuck here. Maybe ACT and TOP?

          • I believe Ms Tolley has said enough to make her continuing presence in Parliament untenable. She received personal information and whatever the reason(s), passed them on to others. That makes her unfit to be anywhere near the coridors of power.

            • Frank Macskasy: “…Ms Tolley has said enough to make her continuing presence in Parliament untenable.”

              Yup: you’ve nailed it here. And now we’ll all watch as she does the right thing and resigns. Yes?

              Lord, was that a pig that just flew overhead?

          • D’Esterre – I’m stuck here too – should have gone 10 years ago. We can go anywhere that has portability with NZ Super. Off the top of my head I think that’s : Australia, Samoa, England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales and Holland. I’d thought of Holland as it’s in continental Europe which I like, and I also love the Dutch Old Masters more than the art of lovely Italy. But I am told that the Netherlands are very cold – colder than here.

            I’ve have dual passport entitlement too, and one side of my family is from France, but there’s no portability there – I don’t know how superannuated Brits toddle off to Spain (also nice – has soul*) and Italy (maybe nicer) or whether Brexit will affect that. Paris is a bit of a social mess, but I don’t think that it has the phallic shard-like buildings now disfiguring the skies of London.

            If we can get rid of the patently inadequate apologies of human beings in Parliament (Bennett? Bennett !) and pathetic plethora of under par little blokes squeaking away like church mice, things could improve – but the humpty dumpty lookalike just parachuted into Auckland has made me seriously consider drinking alone. Not tea.

            * PS Monseratt Caballe singing Casta Diva…

            • Applewood: “We can go anywhere that has portability with NZ Super.”

              We can. But I doubt that such countries would view kindly hordes of older pakeha descending upon them. Australia? I have family there: the place is burning up. And – as Bill Bryson famously wrote – the rivers run underground and every critter is venomous.

              Scotland and Ireland? One would have to contend with the winters. Not quite so bad in southwest Ireland, but Scotland….no thanks. I’m not surprised my ancestors decamped. Yorkshire: just beautiful, but I doubt old Blighty would welcome us back, even if it felt like home. Which it doesn’t.

              As for Europe: a member of my family was born there, but cannot get a EU passport, unless they’re prepared to relinquish NZ citizenship. I, on the other hand, can get either an Irish or EU passport without giving up my citizenship. That’s the patrial laws for you. An accident of birth, of course: my generation is the last in my extended family which can qualify, because our grandparents came here in the 19th century.

              Paris was amazing, a few years ago; regrettably, the Islamist massacres have changed things there. It’s not what it was, I believe.

              Netherland is indeed cold. And crowded. Not for me. Amsterdam was worth the visit, to go to the Rijksmuseum and to see the Rembrandts. And such of the Van Goghs that weren’t on tour at the time. Think that they were then in the US.

              Central Europe is first-world territory. I love to visit, would happily live there at least part of the year, but not full-time. The winters again… though in truth we found Yorkshire colder by far, even though there was no snow in or around York itself.

              “If we can get rid of the patently inadequate apologies of human beings in Parliament (Bennett? Bennett !) and pathetic plethora of under par little blokes squeaking away like church mice, things could improve – but the humpty dumpty lookalike just parachuted into Auckland has made me seriously consider drinking alone. Not tea.”

              Heh! I completely agree. Mr Potato Head in Botany: isn’t it a tragedy? I won’t vote for Labour again (under par little blokes and all that, not to mention equally under par blokesses), and I can’t vote for the Natz with him in the party, along with Angela of the Lower Fourth and the petulant schoolboy soundalike. What to do, what to do?

              Montserrat Caballe: ah, the talent of those Catalonians, huh?

              • D’Esterre – Oymyakon in Siberia is stunningly beautiful and tranquil – sparsely populated. Possibly one would need different genetic coding to live there – and a decent fur coat.

                Smoke spirals up from all the chimneys throughout the night and – sometimes all day – different aesthetics can be spiritually nourishing –
                and Sth Island fire police would not be receptive
                to such suggestions.

                Not understanding what the politicians are saying can only be conducive to unimaginable peace of mind.

                • Applewood: “…. a decent fur coat.”

                  Heh! Got one. Well: not fur, but karakul. Sort of central European version of the great NZ sheepskin coat. Got one of those and all.

                  That karakul came in handy in central Europe; even more in Yorkshire, which was FREEZING, even though there was no snow in York city itself.

                  “Not understanding what the politicians are saying can only be conducive to unimaginable peace of mind.”

                  True: and knowing that, if I did understand them, they’d make more sense than do the muppets which infest our Parliament, would be even better….

        • Applewood: “The other really cute thing is the memory recall of x number of NZ Super employees who have such wonderful photographic recall of whom exactly came to Peter’s WINZ interview nine years ago, and everything that was said nine years ago. And here was I thinking that WINZ needs a total overhaul.”

          Heh! I had meant to say earlier that I’d also noticed this. Cutesy cutesy and utterly remarkable: as if the entire interaction had been videotaped and then archived, for later reference. Wouldn’t surprise me to hear that it was; in which case, the skulduggery going on in MSD is even greater than we realised. Unless they do it to all of us, against the day on which it might prove useful. And if that’s so, MSD could have given the Stasi lessons, couldn’t it? On the other hand, were it the case that MSD employees were relying on memory alone, I’d call bullshit on the veracity of their evidence.

  14. I agree with Applewood and RosieLee. I don’t think it’s about the money and agree with whoever said that Winston would never set out to defraud. He standing up against some shabby tricksters who thought they could demean him politically in a way that’s unethical. Paula Bennett’s record in publicly releasing private information on beneficiaries is well known. Any decent political party would have got rid of her as a liability, but instead she is deputy leader of the GNats. I hope she emerges from this court case with what she deserves, evil woman.

    Go Winston

    • Janio – I have always thought that the reason Bennett was raised high in a lowly political party, is that she was so very easy for two small men, Key and English, to feel superior to.

      Now she may fall in love with Luxon’s brain, like she did Bill’s, and stomp off in the costly shoes she vulgarly broadcasts the price of, to have another gastric bypass.

      {Apologies for misplaced prepositions, but it could easily be worse.}

  15. Yes, all power to Mr Peters for going after these malicious skunks.

    Never mind talk about ‘taxpayers money’ for this, – the issue is about setting a precedence and bringing these gutless skulker’s out into the open. The NZ public see’s FAR TOO LITTLE of this. And there is no way on this earth these depts, MP’s or anyone else should get away with flouting our laws for either their economic or political gain.

    Laws have been broken , – Privacy ones for a start.

    And Mr Peters being a lawyer himself,… knows only too well the sort of skulduggery he is now about to disclose.

    Good on him.

    • Wild Katipo Tolley shouldn’t be in Parliament at all. She’s reported today as telling two family members about Peters over-payment, to show that Peters wasn’t very nice – or something like that.

      In my book that makes Mrs Tolley a thoroughly bad little bitch.

      I spent many years as the wife of a professional man subject to confidences which I never once repeated, and many of which I have now forgotten. Not once did I break a confidence.

      I already knew that Bennett is a bit of bitch, as we know her by her actions; Tolley has always looked like a cheap-looking bar-room girl from some poor decaying town somewhere, but by golly the molls of history are the honest women with hearts of gold, while here in real life, is a politician, holding high office, and carrying major responsibilities, and indiscreetly dishing out the dirt to her relatives, who seem receptive to it. Disgraceful all around.

      None of us are safe if this is the sort of level these so-called politicians function at, but this disgusting woman is more than likely admitting how very loose-lipped she is, simply to try to deflect, and to spread the attention from her and Bennett, as the main petty culprits in the pro-active persecution of Peters.

      She should resign, now. Not because she’s a bitch, but because she is unreliable, and socially unacceptable at every level.

  16. Anne Tolley, just like Bennett , has had a gastric bypass operation, being another majorly ex-overweight woman.

    When gastric bypass ops were first started at the Wellington Clinical School, all candidates were assessed by a multi-disciplinary team, including a psychologist, to ascertain their suitability for this costly process; they weren’t just carried out because the patient was morbidly obese. It is likely that anything which differentiates people from others, has a psychological impact – I guess we all know that.

    I researched Tolley on learning her looseness, and find she has a Diploma in Computer Programming – it doesn’t say where from. I’ve got one of them, which I’ve never bothered putting on my CV – it was from some private business outfit in the CBD. From what I can see, Tolley is a relatively uneducated woman, with zero tertiary education. And she became Minister of Education. A controversial one.

    I was trying to ascertain what sort of person goes blurting damaging matters to her sister and her husband, because professional people are generally very discrete – nor would they survive otherwise.

    I am so glad that Peters has brought these people into a public forum, because, as with Martyn Bradbury’s
    police ordeal, with Key at the helm of the sinking National ship, it could be a long time before the full extent of some extraordinarily bad Beehive behavior is known, but worse it seemed to have established unacceptably low standards as a norm among the shonkey National establishment.

  17. I have sat now through quite a lot of the hearing this week and had a chance to examine some of the evidence. It is an excruciating cat and mouse ‘who dun it’ that has more to play out yet.
    My own view is that WP is understandably upset by the wrong use of his information and there are political implications and dirty politics that may be good to be exposed. But many many beneficiaries have had their privacy breached in ways that are highly damaging because the fall foul of relationship rules in the judgement of WINZ. They cant afford to sue and in any case the courts are not the way to go. We may see WP case backfire and the nats come out smelling of roses. Had I been WP’s adviser I would have said when the story broke in 2017 that he should take a really aggressive stance against the stupidity of the partner rules he inadvertently breached. It is clear from the badly designed form he filled that the mistake occurred innocently and that the WINZ person that processed the form did not do a good job of checking it. No intent to defraud was found so he could have shut the slurs immediately.
    Over the years we have written, lobbied,blogged, complained about how relationship status is treated in the welfare system. Where it impacts on superannuation such as for the spousal provision ( deduction for a partner’s overseas pension we have had limited if any support from NZ First. Now WP has an inkling of the harm it can do to people’s lives I hope he will actively support reform.

    • “But many many beneficiaries have had their privacy breached in ways that are highly damaging because the fall foul of relationship rules in the judgement of WINZ. They cant afford to sue….”

      Indeed. Which is why many beneficiaries are cheering Peters on. Lucky him, having the dosh to have a go at throwing the book at these people. Let’s hope that they learn the lesson Peters is giving them.

      “….when the story broke in 2017 that he should take a really aggressive stance against the stupidity of the partner rules he inadvertently breached.”

      Without a doubt, the rules are stupid. But again: that’s not the point of Peters’ court case. His privacy was egregiously breached; the Privacy Act applies to all of us, the just and the unjust alike. There isn’t an exception made for pollies, even if people don’t like them, as seems to be the case with Peters. He has as much right as the rest of us to expect that MSD would treat his personal information with the respect due to all of us.

      I heard reportage of Hughes’ evidence; it was unconvincing. We can be forgiven, I think, for concluding that he was being disingenuous. Some might even say that he was indulging in a spot of arse-covering.

      We expect better of senior officials and state servants.

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