Southern Response spied on Canterbury earthquake victims

'Disturbing' behaviour revealed by spying investigation - PM

The State Services Commission investigation into the use of external security companies reveals disturbing and unethical behaviour, says the Prime Minister.

The inquiry was critical of private security firm Thompson and Clark, which was found to have used an unlicensed private investigator and recorded closed meetings without the consent or knowledge of attendees.

From 13 March 2014, Thompson and Clark, working on behalf of Southern Response, the government's insurance agency working for claimants of the Canterbury earthquakes, attended and recorded several closed meetings of insurance claimants.

Ms Ardern said the problems highlighted by the report need to be rectified.

"Look it does demonstrate some pretty disturbing behaviour, unethical behaviour, behaviour that we would not expect as part of the work commissioned by the public service."

The spying by the quake claims settlement company was on claimants who organised information evenings for those struggling to settle their claims.

The commission says this breached its code of conduct and may have been done illegally.

Full story here: https://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/378570/disturbing-behaviour-revealed-by-spying-investigation-pm


Southern Response boss resigns before meeting with Minister

Andrea Vance, The Press

The Thompson & Clark scandal has claimed its first scalp with the resignation of Southern Response chair Ross Butler.

Butler has stood down before a planned 'please explain; meeting with Greater Christchurch Minister Megan Woods on Tuesday night.

It came after an unflinching State Services Commission report detailed how the private investigation firm spied on Canterbury earthquake victims, at the behest of the government-owned insurer. 

State Services boss Peter Hughes laid a complaint with police after it emerged an unlicensed investigator attended and recorded meetings with disgruntled claimants.

Full story here: https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/109458104/southern-response-boss-resigns-before-meeting-with-minister

 

One News

 

Press Editorial

The inference that otherwise apolitical earthquake victims could be put in this category and seen as a security concern has shocked many observers, and not just in Christchurch. 

Read here: https://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/opinion/109463498/editorial-more-questions-about-spies-and-the-public-service?rm=a

Simon Darby