Peters wants journos to pay damages over pension leak

Peters wants payment for privacy breach. 

Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters wants journalists to pay damages for leaking information about his overpaid pensions, one of the accused reporters writes today.

Newsroom editor Tim Murphy, one of nine potential defendants in Mr Peters’ fishing expedition, says the foreign affairs minister wants damages from himself and Newshub’s Lloyd Burr, who reported the seven-year overpayment of his superannuation.

The former NZ Herald editor-in-chief says Mr Peters wants him and Mr Burr to hand over phone records, notes and documents relating to his superannuation windfall story but to pay him "general damages" as compensation for allegedly breaching his privacy. 

According to Newsroom, Mr Peters claims the "public concern of the intended plaintiff's private MSD information does not outweigh the intended plaintiff's right to privacy of his private [Ministry of Social Development] information."

He argues in his draft statement of claim the media "owed him an obligation to protect his privacy unless they had information that entitled them to assert that [his] conduct as disclosed in the private MSD information "was of public concern and could be published."

Earlier this month, at the parties’ first court hearing, Mr Peters’ lawyer, Brian Henry, said he wants to argue the reporters were “charading” as journalists and therefore may not be able to claim usual media protections under the law.

The other potential defendants are National Party MPs Paula Bennett, Steven Joyce, Anne Tolley and Bill English, as well as party staffers of the time, Wayne Eagleson and Clark Hennessy. The chief executive of Ministry of Social Development, Brendan Boyle, is also a potential defendant.

A full hearing on the matter is not expected until next year.

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