Chris Lynch

Chris Lynch is a journalist, videographer and content producer, broadcasting from his independent news and production company in Christchurch, New Zealand.

Twelve agencies, including police are investigating Te Pati Maori data allegations.

Acting Public Service Commissioner Heather Baggott said that action was underway to ensure the serious allegations involving the misuse of personal data during last year’s general election are thoroughly investigated.

Te Pati Maori’s president John Tamihere has strongly denied the claims, calling them frivolous and baseless.

Heather Baggott said, “Today I convened a meeting of the heads of Stats NZ, the Ministry of Health and Health New Zealand, the Ministry of Social Development, the Ministry of Justice, the Department of Internal Affairs, Te Puni Kokiri, Oranga Tamariki and the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.

“The Electoral Commission and NZ Police were also in attendance. The meeting was a first step to ensure that all relevant agencies are acting to examine the recent allegations. It has been alleged that personal information was improperly shared and used at last October’s general election. It is also claimed that taxpayers’ money may have been misused.

The following actions are underway:

  • Stats NZ has initiated an independent investigation and assurance review into the allegations of misuse of the census data. The Terms of Reference will be released today.
  • The Ministry of Health and Health New Zealand are seeking urgent assurance that Covid and other immunisation information has been appropriately used and managed.
  • Oranga Tamariki have processes underway to provide assurance that data provided to Manurewa Marae has been appropriately used and managed.

NZ Police have received complaints and they have an investigation underway.

The Privacy Commissioner has been notified by Stats NZ and has also requested information and assurances in relation to the reported allegations.

“These are serious allegations that go to the core of trust and confidence in our public institutions and our democratic processes.

“If true, the allegations represent a serious misuse of citizens’ personal information and an unacceptable breach of public trust.

“It is important for all involved that the facts are established. I encourage anyone with relevant information to contact the appropriate authority.

“It is essential New Zealanders can trust their personal information is secure and not exploited, and trust the integrity of our electoral system.”

Te Pati Maori President John Tamihere issued a statement.

The recent attacks on Te Pati Maori and its MPs are part of a continuing narrative of attack on all matters Maori.

If we could respond to baseless inuendo [sic] we would. If there is any evidence then show us so we have a reason to engage in a conversation.

The fact of the matter is, as usual Maori are being used as a scapegoat to cover up and deflect from what is really going on in this country. This Coalition Government has been brought hook, line and sinker by cigarette and tobacco barons; by pharmaceutical barons; by landlords and by mining barons through fast tracked legislation and more importantly, it continues its constant attack on all matters Maori all of the time.

The Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister has advised France that when dealing with New Caledonia issues they must be aware of the indigenous Kanak rights of self-determination. Yet he has the audacity to deny his own whakapapa and his own people the same discussion in Aotearoa.

The only activist party in our political landscape is Te Pati Maori. We are the only Pati that will unapologetically speak our truth. We make absolutely no apology for ensuring that we will overturn every piece of legislation when we form part of a new Government. So the message to rich landlords (me being one of them) is you will pay your fair dues when we take power.

The message to mining magnates that got through fast tracked procedures is, we will unwind you. We will unwind everything this Government has done to us because we are an everlasting, dependable movement for indigenous peoples. Of greatest importance is we have to express our manaakitanga which is to protect all peoples.

Te Pati Maori are endlessly attacked and the matter is being made into a race debate through no fault of our own. We are the real opposition to this Government. We are a rights based Pati not a race based [sic]. Racism was imported by colonisers. We consented to Colonisers by signing a Treaty.

We are the only activist party because when our legislation to remove GST off all kai came before The House, everyone including Labour and The Greens voted it down. We are the only activist party because when we say something, we mean it. When Labour and The Greens get into power, everything is about surrendering to the altar of incrementalism rather than actually changing things for the betterment of the majority of our citizens.

So let’s confront the real issue. During and after the pandemic huge websites fully funded by the rich appeared knowing there is only one activist group left in Aotearoa and it is us Maori, the Indigenous people. We are here to protect our environment; there to protect the benefit of the majority of citizens and to tax the two per cent that control 50 per cent of our wealth.

They are on notice as are their friends at the New Zealand Taxpayers Union; their friends at Curia Polling; their friends at Hobson’s Pledge; their friends at Federated Farmers and their friends at Employers and Manufacturers. They all have to accept the fact that we are never surrendering and we grow stronger every day.

It must amuse our people to watch a National Party MP in Taranaki hide $180,000 worth of expenditure, not report it and nothing happens. When Te Pati Maori made a late filing the Police were immediately called to investigate and we are sent to the Serious Fraud Office. This shows one law for some and one law for others.

We are sick and tired of being beaten up for speaking our truth on our own whenua. That is why there can be no reliance on media and I attach my response to STUFF as evidence.

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