David Fisher

David Fisher is a senior reporter for the NZ Herald.

Man from ministry investigated over blog

Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater. Photo / Doug Sherring
Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater. Photo / Doug Sherring

A public servant is under investigation over allegations that he said beneficiaries were "stupid" for having children.

The man, who works for the Ministry of Social Development, has been suspended amid questions about comments he posted on the Whale Oil blog.

Those comments, posted under a pseudonym, included: "Why is it that people who are *already* poor then decide to have babies and expect that they will be able to make ends meet? Why are poor people so stupid?"

About 5800 comments were made under the pseudonym. The messages were linked to a server belonging to the ministry and include information which appears to identify him.

The messages were obtained from the Whale Oil site and made available to the Herald.

It is thought they were taken at the same time as information passed to Nicky Hager for use in his Dirty Politics book, but not by the same person.

Comments linked to the ministry's computer systems included saying "people who are so stupid (already being poor, they then have children) should not be allowed to vote". Other comments included attacks on Muslim immigrants, unions and Labour leader David Cunliffe.

The man declined to comment when contacted by the Herald.

Ministry of Social Development deputy chief executive Merv Dacre said the comments were being taken seriously and the staff member was "suspended while we formally investigate".

"Once we have fully established the facts, the appropriate action will be taken."

Mr Dacre said the staff member had signed a Code of Conduct pledging political neutrality in his professional role.

Social Development Minister Paula Bennett is aware of the case.

Meanwhile, Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater says police will soon be obtaining data from Google, Facebook and Twitter as they investigate his complaint over the hacking of his computer which yielded the messages Hager based his book on.

Slater was yesterday with Counties Manukau Police formally laying a complaint he first lodged by email from Israel. Back in New Zealand he was "just providing all the details to the constabulary".

"Once they've got a signed signature they can go to Google and Facebook and Twitter and go and obtain data. I'm completing the necessary paperwork to allow them to go and do it."

Slater said he would be telling police he believed Kim Dotcom was involved in the hacking due to "the fact that he was gloating, the fact that he's made comments prior to this happening, a whole lot of other stuff".

Slater was expecting more of his messages to be made public by the hacker.

"[On Wednesday] night at that meeting Hager was talking about 'there's more stuff coming out'. Well, how does he know?

"He's obviously got to be in contact with the hacker."

- NZ Herald

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