National MP Maurice Williamson was forced to resign as a minister after he contacted senior Police over an operational matter.

The Labour leader at the time said:

Labour Leader David Cunliffe said Key lived in a state of denial about the actions of his ministers until they were made public and there was no way out.

 “National ministers seem to believe they don’t have to follow the same rules as everyone else. John Key once had high standards for his ministers. The cases of ministers breaking the rules for their friends are mounting up. Maurice Williamson now joins the ranks of the disgraced behind Richard Worth, Pansy Wong, Nick Smith, John Banks, Peter Dunne and Judith Collins.”

Interest.co.nz

Breaking the rules for their friends is also highlighted by this story at Newshub:

Kiwi rapper Tom Scott has shared private Twitter messages he received from Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern about an armed responder squad trial.

Over the last week, Scott has posted several tweets criticising the arming of police.

“More police does not fix the problem,” he said on Wednesday. 

On Thursday, he wrote: “Honestly, we gotta do something about this. i’m not crying wolf. this militarisation of the police has to stop. 

“Someone hit me up and let’s do something. we gotta go rally at the bee hive or something. this is just not the one.”

He also shared a screenshot of two Twitter messages he received from the Prime Minister appearing to relate to the six-month trial of Armed Response Teams (ARTs) announced in October. 

The units are composed of three Armed Offender Squad members with a specialist vehicle equipped with tactical options. They are running in Counties Manukau, Waikato and Canterbury.

Their focus is to respond to “events where significant risk is posed to the public or staff and supporting the execution of pre-planned and high-risk search warrants, high-profile public events and prevention activities”.

In her messages, Ardern says the Government can’t tell police what to do “operationally”. 

“The trial they’ve been running around on call armed offender squads? The trial will end after a few months and then they’ll stop and go back to communities to talk about how it went,” she said.

“We can’t tell the police what to do operationally, but a few of us did meet with the Commissioner recently and share our views on it.”

A second message said: “I’ve also said publicly many times, I don’t support the general arming of the police. Never will.

Newshub

Now bear in mind that the person the Prime Minister is chatting with is the same person who wrote about killing John Key and raping his children.

She feels free to chat with him about meeting with senior Police and “sharing [her]views” about operational Police matters. This now makes this story a constitutional matter, about the separation of powers.

The Prime Minister can’t share her views about these sorts of things because of the power imbalance that exists. Her sharing her views gives Police a very strong hint that they should accede to the whims and wishes of the Prime Minister. There would be a very strong inference that to do otherwise may well be career limiting.

It will be interesting to see what OIA requests about the full context of the Twitter direct messages will show, and also the OIA for the meeting minutes of her chat with the Commissioner.

Labour and the media set the precedent for looking into private messaging when they went after the text messages of John Key. Now we know the PM uses Twitter for direct messages and so all of those are now subject to the OIA. Again, it will be interesting to see who else she direct messages with and what about.

Meanwhile, I think this story is somewhat larger than reported so far. If only there was a competent opposition to pursue this.