Friday, September 24, 2010

The outlaw Paula Bennett

Increasingly, it seems that Social Welfare Minister Paula Bennett considers herself above the law. There was her leaking of beneficiary details which has led to a complaint being made to the Privacy Commissioner.  Shroff concluded that the complaint against Paula Bennett had "sufficient substance" and referred it to the Director of Human Rights Proceedings.

No Right Turn has shown the contempt with which the minister treats Official Information Act requests:
Paula Bennett does not appear on the table because she refused to cooperate with the project, offering various excuses before ultimately claiming that compiling the data would not be in the public interest. Her refusal is now the subject of a complaint to the Ombudsman.

John Drinnan now reports that Bennett successfully wrangled an extension to the time limit on BSA complaints:
More obscure than the sex complaints - but in many ways more intriguing - was the BSA decision from an obscure interlocutory hearing that bent the deadline for a complaint by Social Development Minister Paula Bennett.

Drinnan goes on to note a motive for this unique relaxation of the rules:

But a parliamentary source said that the Bennett complaint had support elsewhere in Cabinet - and there was more at stake than one story on 3 News. National believed that the complaint had a good chance of being upheld and reflected concern about TV using what was regarded as flimsy source material from social media sites such as Facebook.

TV3 look like appealing and fair enough. Join the queue. Just because the Nats are stacking their mates in various tribunals, it doesn't mean they can break the rules because the minister is a slack bastard. And good luck trying to suppress social media. News is three quarters corroborated gossip anyway.