A Whangarei man taking a case to the Human Rights Review Tribunal is claiming $50,000 because the district council breached his privacy.

Wayne Deeming said Whangarei District Council passed on information concerning a complaint he made about a sports club to the club and others.

Mr Deeming is seeking a declaration that his privacy has been interfered with by the council, $40,000 for hurt, humiliation, loss of dignity and injury to feelings and aggravated damages of $10,000.

The matter will be heard by the tribunal in the Whangarei District Court on November 30.


Mr Deeming alleges the council breached Principle 11 of the Privacy Act by disclosing to a third party (or parties) that he had lodged a complaint with the then Mayor of Whangarei, Stan Semenoff. But the council says any disclosure of Mr Deeming's complaint was for a proper purpose.

The complaint related to an incident at the Mid-Western Rugby Club on August 8, 2009, which, in Mr Deeming's view, raised issues about the club's adherence to the provisions of the then Sale of Liquor Act 1989 administered by the WDC.

Mr Deeming says he sought an investigation into the Mid-Western Rugby Club by the District Licensing Agency.

In doing so he relied on a policy by which the WDC protected the identity of complainants.

His case is that his complaint was sent by the mayor's assistant Ford Watson to Councillor Shelley Deeming who, in turn, sent it to the president of the Mid-Western Rugby Club.

As a result, Mr Deeming says, he was harassed at his home and other places, causing him to fear for his safety, and received a life-time ban from the club.

He said media reports on the complaint in the now defunct NZ Truth newspaper led to hurt and humiliation to Mr Deeming and to his family. Mr Deeming says in his statement of claim that Mr Watson assisted the author write the article.

He said he was constantly referred to as "puerile" and a "viper" and other demeaning names by Councillor Deeming and Mr Watson in correspondence he received from the council under the Official Information Act.


Mr Deeming said he continues to feel hurt and humiliation together with ostracism from his community as a result of the council disclosing his complaint to others.

The council is defending the claim. In its statement of reply it said Mr Deeming had not sought identity protection and said he would take action against the club if the council did not.

The council said disclosure was valid, appropriate and necessary to obtain a proper response, and disclosure was for a proper purpose. The council said the tribunal did not have the jurisdiction to hear some of Mr Deeming's claims and had no authority to award aggravated damages. It also said Mr Deeming's claim for $40,000 in damages was grossly excessive.