Winston acts against Bennett et al for breaching his privacy

As predicted here over the past weeks, Paula Bennett’s day of reckoning has come closer. Winston Peters has decided to proceed with a breach of privacy tort against Paula Bennett, Brendan Boyle and Peter Hughes: Quote:

Deputy Prime Minister and New Zealand First leader Winston Peters has begun new legal action seeking $450,000 for alleged breach of privacy in relation to the leaking of details of his superannuation overpayment, including against the Ministry of Social Development.

He is going after the chief executive of the Ministry of Social Development, Brendan Boyle, State Services Commissioner Peter Hughes, the Attorney-General on behalf of the Ministry of Social Development and Paula Bennett, the former National State Services Minister.

Hughes and the Ministry of Social Development are new targets in Peters’ legal action.? ?

The timing of Peters’ action is extraordinary given that he about to become Acting Prime Minister in the next week or so when Jacinda Ardern takes leave to have her baby.

All targets of his action are entitled to apply to the Cabinet to have their legal fees paid – the Cabinet which Peters will be leading.

Some previous targets in Peters’ witch-hunt are not named in this action, namely former National Party leader Bill English, former minister Steven Joyce, former chief of staff Wayne Eagleson, National Party staffer Clark Hennessey and former Minister of Social Development Anne Tolley.

Peters has targeted journalists Tim Murphy, editor of Newsroom, and Lloyd Burr, a former political reporter at Newshub, in action for discovery but is not pursuing them.

It is understood that papers were lodged today in the High Court in Auckland. End quote.

Note how Steve Joyce, Bill English and Wayne Eagleson aren’t in the firing line. That is because they’ve left the field of play.

Paula Bennett is now severely compromised. National should be looking at selecting a new deputy leader quick smart as this is going to become very distracting. The Herald does have their facts slightly wrong. Anne Tolley is being sued, and so is the Attorney General on behalf of the MSD. Obviously Audrey Young was only given a short briefing by her National party sources. The copy of the statement of claim that I have obtained clearly names Anne Tolley as the third defendant and Chris Finalyson as fourth defendant..

The MSD and Peter Hughes had no business in disclosing private details and certainly none in passing them on to Paula Bennett and Anne Tolley. ‘No surprises’ should not apply to opposition MPs and so any attempt to use that for a defence is somewhat forlorn. If that is accepted then there politicians will be able to use information that comes to them from civil servants in a politically damaging fashion. That should send a chill through everyone.

This will be interesting to watch unfold.