Alf gets a big buzz when he sees the Labour Party feverishly digging itself into a hole as an instinctive response to the prospect of political embarrassment.
Declining to comment helps to fuel the party excavator.
Lo and behold, Labour Party president Moira Coatsworth is quoted by the HoS as saying she could not discuss the issue of some stuff leaked to or otherwise obtained by The Whale until she had spoken to party secretary Chris Flatt
… then later refused to comment.
Australian Labor Party activist Sandy Rippingale, asked if she was working with our Labour Party on election campaigning, said:
“I can’t make comment on the relationship between the two Labour (Labor) parties.”
Denial helps to drive the machine.
Labour MP Darien Fenton is reported to have denied the party used Parliamentary Services to fund campaign or party business.
She said minutes of meetings were taken by volunteers and could contain errors.
But Alf reckons Labour has only just started to dig.
A teaser at Gotcha yesterday gives the whiff of the prospect of a much bigger hole being dug.
The HoS followed up on the hint.
Today it is reporting that a major security lapse within the Labour Party
…appears to have exposed top secret political information and personal financial details.
The information has fallen into the hands of Cameron Slater, who publishes the Whale Oil blog.
Slater said he had emails, financial details, party planning information and membership data.
“Nothing illegal was done to access the information. The information is freely available to anybody who knows where to look.”
Slater generously supplied the HoS with a sample of the information he has obtained.
The proof was a copy of the minutes of a “Labour North” meeting held on May 25 this year, serving the party’s candidates for the five electorates north of the Auckland Harbour Bridge.
The minute stated the “Labour North” collective should “use Parliamentary Services for best outcome of LP (Labour Party)”.
As the HoS points out and as Labour people should know, Parliamentary Services rules strictly forbid the use of services for campaigning purposes.
Slater accordingly is telling us the document has proved the Labour Party was using taxpayer money to run its own business.
The minutes also disclose the presence of the aforementioned Sandy Rippingale at the meeting.
Slater reckons this shows the party was subject to foreign influence.
But guess what?
Despite trying to fog things by suggesting the minutes might be inaccurate, Darien Fenton conceded there had been pressure to use a Parliamentary staff member for party business.
“It has been an area of tension. It is an ongoing discussion with them about how we protect the role of the staff member and the MP.
“I’ve said they can’t use the office for a whole range of things. I’m really confident I’ve done nothing wrong.”
We learn a bit more from The Whale on his blog.
He explains why he gave David Fisher, from the HoS, a small taste of what he will release in the coming week of documents about the Labour Party.
I decided to release one document early to the HoS because they followed up my teaser of yesterday.
He is chuffed that he has been leaked documentary evidence of Labour party people wanting to use parliamentary services to benefit not the constituents of their electorates but the party itelf.
Oh, and he responds to Darien Fenton by noting that one of the attendees at the meeting – and one of those in the circulation list for the minutes – is Gina Giordani, a parliamentary services worker in her electorate office, “who uses, and continues to use a parliament.govt.nz email to do Labour party business on”.
The Whale intends writing to Speaker Lockwood Smith and to the General Manager of parliamentary Services asking for a full inquiry of the use of parliamentary services staff and resources for the benefit of the Labour Party.
He promises more disclosures including the naming if names.
Alf especially enjoys these things when there is the naming of names.