Tuesday, May 09, 2006


The draft of the Taito Field inquiry has been completed and is being sent to Taito Field MP for comment. This action indicates that some adverse findings have been made against him and the investigating QC, following the practice of "natural justice", is offering him the chance to respond. When will Taito respond and the report be released? Good question. There is no set time limit to respond so it could be another nine months before the QC decides that that Taito is not interested in responding and realses the report.

Judging from the careful responses to Question #3 in the House today, Helen Clark has not seen the draft but she has had a meeting with Taito about the report after he received it. However she's aware of the possibility that Taito is stupid enough to mislead her over the draft's content (a.k.a. doing a Benson-Pope) and so the situation is still uncontained.

Also in the House today (Question #1):
Dr Don Brash: If, as has been reported, Telecom has already provided the State Services Commissioner with information that includes the name of the leaker, why has that person not been suspended pending the outcome of the investigation, given that he or she is a significant security risk in the lead-up to the Budget?

Rt Hon HELEN CLARK: I am absolutely confident that if the State Services Commissioner had information that would identify someone who was indeed a risk to the security of the Government, he would inform people very quickly. But he has informed me that right now he has nothing relevant to report to me.

Confusing. How to reconcile it with Telecom's statement that the State Services Commission's investigation should be "swift"? I can only think of the following possibilities, none of them all that persuasive:
a) The SSC knows through Telecom where the report came from but not the identity of the person who leaked it.

b) The SSC knows who leaked the document but does not consider him or her to be a risk to the security of the government.

c) Helen already knows the identity of the leaker before the SSC reported to her so that her statement that he had nothing relevant to report is literally true.
In a press conference, Helen has said that she is taking a "hands-off" approach towards the investigation, which is a radical change from her documented practice during the Doone inquiry. Lastly contrary to earlier statements, it's now not clear that the document actually came from a minister's office. Helen understands that that particular document "went beyond minister's offices", whatever that is supposed to mean.