Speaker refers Leigh case to Privileges Committee

Speaker Lockwood Smith has referred the Erin Leigh case to the Privileges Committee.

The Supreme court ruled that advice from officials to ministers was not covered by absolute privilege, Dr Smith said the issue raised serious matters which he would refer to the privileges committee for consideration.

The court ruling allowed Ms Leigh to sue for defamation. That doesn’t mean she was defamed but it leaves her free to take a case but unfortunately the cost of doing that has stopped her taking the matter any further.

I hope the Privileges Committee not only looks at the implications of the ruling but at the behaviour of the MPs and state servants which prompted the case.

A report on the court decision is here.

Kiwiblog has a Q&A from Ms Leigh.

Duncan Garner says she deserves an apology, and a payout to not only cover costs, but  to reflect damages.

5 Responses to Speaker refers Leigh case to Privileges Committee

  1. gravedodger says:

    In the light of the Supreme Court decision the very least the government should do.
    Well done Mr Speaker.


  2. Inventory2 says:

    Agree wholeheartedly. The bullying of a public servant for political purposes and with the protection of parliamentary privilege was a low point of the previous Parliament.


  3. Well done? I’m pretty sure the reason for referring it is to consider whether there needs to be a legislative change.

    The Speaker was arguing before the Courts that people in Erin Leigh’s position shouldn’t be able to sue.


  4. Sinner says:

    money, apology… and Trev’s head on a plate.

    The govt should pass a bill removing Mallard from parliament and banning him from any further involvement in politics by reason of corruption (Parliament of course being the highest court, not to so-called “Supreme Court”).

    Oh, and cancel his 300,000 p/a parliamentary super.

    ACT & Maori party & probably the Greens would support this bill through all three readings tomorrow.

    If Key had the guts, it would be the end of the Mallard.

    Frankly, there’s a case to go the whole hog and just deregister Labour.


  5. Erin Leigh says:

    Yes I agree – it would be great if Mallard was finally held accountable for his actions. But unfortunately he won’t be. David Parker is on the Privileges Committee so obviously he’s not going to ask for Trevor Mallard’s actions to be looked at – nor will his friend Charles Chauvel who is the Chairperson of the Privileges Committee. In fact both of them are unlikely to even declare a ‘conflict of interest’ so the Privileges Committee will be one-eyed from the very start. Therefore the Privileges Committee will just be looking at it from the perspective of how MP’s are going to cope – now that senior members of Government Departments will be reluctant to lie for them (as they can no longer hide behind Parliamentry Privilege). The Speaker of the House (who I actually highly rate as a Speaker) and the Attorney General joined the Ministry for the Environment and Lindsay Gow in trying to stop me from winning my case and spent hundreds of thousands of taxpayers dollars doing it. They refused to consider settling out of court and apologising to me for what happened. Now they are scrambling around feeling sorry for themselves because I won my case and now Govt Departments will actually have to tell the truth when briefing a Minister; and that’s a major inconvience for MP’s. But, they bought it upon themselves. The matter never had to go all the way to the Supreme Court in the first place. A full retraction and sincere apology immediately after I was wrongly defamed in the House would have settled this case four years ago. The term ‘making a rod for your own back’ comes to mind. Still waiting for that apology……..


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