The presumption of Westminster Government ever since the 1688 Bill of Rights used to be that anything was allowed citizens except what was prohibited by law, while nothing was permitted government except what was permitted—with one important corollary therefrom that while citizens should be safe from intrusion into their privacy and property except by due process of law, government itself should be transparent.
That presumption is dead.
Apparently when it comes to privacy and property, politicians think they are our masters and not our servants. One rule for them, and another for us, it seems.
This view is confirmed today in the questioning of David Henry by parliamentarians over his cavalier release of emails between Peter Dunne and journalist Andrew Vance.
“I found it quite chilling that the private emails and communications of ministers and staff were treated with a contemptuous attitude,” says Judith Collins, who this afternoon will file into the Ayes lobby to vote to treat our own private communications with unutterable contempt.
“Don’t you realise that communications between ministers and journalists are sacred,” says Gerry Brownlee, who after lunch will shuffle down to the Chamber to make all communications between you and I profane.
These two slugs recognise the chilling effect of making private communications public—they understand their sanctity.
But only when it comes to themselves.
They are, in a word, disgusting.
UPDATE: John Banks compounds the disgust, suggesting during his own line of questioning that the Henry inquiry had “trampled on the rights and freedoms of Members of Parliament and the fourth estate in a very cavalier manner.” This afternoon this sorry excuse for a human being, whose one vote will get the National bill through the House, will confirm his lack of any credentials to lead a supposedly liberal party by agreeing to trample on the rights and freedoms of every New Zealander.”
He is, in a word, a hypocrite.