Green Party asks Chief Archivist to investigate ‘text-gate’

The Green Party has today asked the Chief Archivist to look into the maintenance of public records by the Prime Minister and his office in the wake of admissions by the Government the Prime Minister deletes all his texts.

The Green Party has today asked the Chief Archivist to look into the maintenance of public records by the Prime Minister and his office in the wake of admissions by the Government the Prime Minister deletes all his texts.

Yesterday Steven Joyce revealed, during question time, that John Key deletes texts messages he receives in his capacity as the Prime Minister, and the Prime Minster said he receives 1000 texts a day.

“The fact that Prime Minister deletes messages is very concerning, they are not his to delete, they are public records,” said Green Party open government spokesperson James Shaw.

“There would be a public outcry if John Key delated all his emails or burnt his briefings papers; texts are official communications in the same way.

“There is a worrying thread of the Government deleting official documents.

“The Inspector General of Intelligence and Security identified that Jason Ede was undertaking government duties on his private computer and he deleted emails that were pertinent to the inquiry.

“As the Prime Minister so often says; you have nothing to fear if you have nothing to hide; so he must be fearful of the content of his texts if he is deleting them.

“We want the Chief Archivist to look into this matter and provide advice on whether the destruction of texts is legal.

“The Chief Archivist has the power to carry out inspections under s29 of the Public Records Act 2005 and we believe it is warranted in this case.

“The text messages are a public record under s4 of the Public Records Act; and disposal of these texts messages is contrary to s18.

“The laws are there to protect our democracy.

“The National Government has been eroding our democracy and this needs to stop.

“The erosion of our democracy is why we need the Chief Archivist to look into this issue and provide guidelines.

“The Chief Archivist must look into the issue especially given how much modern technology has changed the way Government carries out its day to day business,” said Mr Shaw.

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