Questions remain over Southern Response scandal

Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Wednesday, 19 December 2018, 9:26AM
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says the inquiry has revealed some disturbing and unethical behaviour. Photo / Getty Images

Southern Response chairman Ross Butler has fallen on his sword following a damning report which detailed how the organisation hired investigators to spy on Canterbury earthquake victims.

It has been uncovered Thompson and Clark, who were hired by the government owned insurer Southern Response, was using private investigators to spy on quake claimants, politicians and activists, such as the Green Party and Greenpeace.

Forest and Bird believe the report shows Thompson and Clark categorised environmental advocates as the enemy.

Geoff Key is a member of Forest and Bird and told Tim Dower alarm bells have been ringing since the report was released, and it shows a deeper problem into the organisation.

“It’s pretty bad, what it shows is that Southern Response isn’t the only government agency to go off the rails. This is not the first time there has been problems with Thompson and Clark, they have a very strong ideological bend.”

When asked if there was any particular interest in Forest and Bird, Key said he wasn’t 100% sure but it wouldn’t surprise him.

"I don’t know at this stage, they had a broad brush. A lot of their focus was on Greenpeace because of them protesting the oil and gas exploration. When you look at the approach they took, everyone was caught up in it."

Southern Response originally hired Thompson and Clark after "issue motivated groups" were seen as a security threat.


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