Parliament Techsploded!

, posted: 4-May-2006 18:32

From the Hansard, Question Time in Parliament :
Hon BILL ENGLISH (National—Clutha-Southland) to the Prime Minister: How did Telecom New Zealand Ltd obtain a copy of a commercially sensitive Cabinet document?

Hon STEVE MAHAREY (Minister of Broadcasting) on behalf of the Prime Minister: The State Services Commission is being asked to investigate the issue.

Hon Bill English: Has the Prime Minister seen reports that as long ago as last week, weblogs were speculating that the Government will “actually do something about it next week”, that local loop unbundling is on the table, that a structural separation of Telecom’s retail and wholesale operations is included, and that local loop unbundling is apparently a firm decision, but structural separation may be jettisoned, all of which is a very accurate description of what was in the commercially sensitive Cabinet paper?

Hon STEVE MAHAREY: On behalf of the Prime Minister, I am aware of all sorts of speculation, none of which I am responsible for.

Hon Bill English: Has the Prime Minister heard reports that the Minister of Finance told a reporter that Telecom had known too much about the Government’s considerations on broadband for some time, and the report that leaking could have been going on for months or years; and, if she has heard those reports, why does she believe that the Minister of Finance took no action when he knew leaking was a threat?

Hon STEVE MAHAREY: On behalf of the Prime Minister, not only am I aware of the reports, but also I have a report in my hand. It is from Duncan Garner. There are no quote marks in it. It is Mr Duncan Garner talking about the issue.

Hon Bill English: What does it say to the Prime Minister about the state of her Government when senior politicians, or senior advisers and staff, were willing to leak a highly confidential Cabinet document in a fashion that is unprecedented, and does she realise the seriousness of this leak for confidence in her Government?

Hon STEVE MAHAREY: In response to the last matter, confidence in this Government is staggeringly high. On the first issue, an investigation is being prepared by the State Services Commission, and I have no intention of prejudging what it will do.

Hon Bill English: Will the Prime Minister’s inquiry include the matter of which Minister is ultimately responsible for this unprecedented leak, and will she therefore require the resignation of that Minister, after the style of Roger Douglas—in the only vaguely similar precedent—who offered his resignation when material that was less sensitive than this was leaked, although not by him?

Hon STEVE MAHAREY: On behalf of the Prime Minister, I have no intention of prejudging this inquiry.

Hon Bill English: Why can the Prime Minister not come to a conclusion and judge the reported comments of the Minister of Finance that he believed Telecom knew too much about the Government’s considerations on broadband, given that the Minister of Finance had a chance to do something about that but he did nothing, and that the result was an unprecedented leak of commercially sensitive information?

Hon STEVE MAHAREY: On behalf of the Prime Minister, as I pointed out before, I have the report that the member is referring to in my hand on my desk here. It is Mr Garner talking; it is not the reported comments of the Minister of Finance.

Hon Bill English: So he made it up?

Hon STEVE MAHAREY: I am just saying that they are not the reported comments of the Minister of Finance.

Hon Bill English: If the Prime Minister is unwilling to prejudge the outcome of an inquiry, why can she not give a judgment on the event that has actually occurred, regardless of who leaked the paper, which is that a highly commercially sensitive Cabinet document was leaked, according to Telecom within an hour of the end of the Cabinet committee meeting, and that that kind of leak is unprecedented in the New Zealand Government?

Hon STEVE MAHAREY: On behalf of the Prime Minister, I seldom do things to please Mr English.

Hon Members: How does that address the issue? How does that address the question?

Madam SPEAKER: Would members please just be silent for a minute. Would the Minister like to add to his answer.

Hon STEVE MAHAREY: On behalf of the Prime Minister, the member asked whether I would do something. I am saying that I will seldom do anything to please him.

Madam SPEAKER: I must say that he did phrase his question in that way. It may not be a satisfactory answer, but maybe the member would like to ask a more specific question.

Hon Bill English: Can I take it from the Prime Minister’s answer that she does not realise that this leak is unprecedented, and that she does not realise that now no one can trust the decision-making process of this Government to protect information that is highly sensitive and ought to be kept secret?

Hon STEVE MAHAREY: People do know that they can trust this Government to act in a very capable and competent way. An investigation is being arranged now. I ask the member not to prejudge things, as he always does, but to wait for the results of the inquiry.


Humm... shame English didn't provide a trackback.

Other related posts:
TDD vs FDD for LTE
Huawei TDD LTE demo aboard the Shanghai MagLev train
Apropos that new Telecom logo






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