Private investigators Thompson and Clark unlawfully accessed protestors' private information through motor vehicle register, Greenpeace claims

Controversial private investigators, Thompson and Clark are facing more flak.

The environment campaigners say the private investigators should be prosecuted. Source: 1 NEWS

There are calls from Greenpeace to prosecute the company for unlawfully accessing private information through the motor vehicle register (MVR).

Greenpeace Executive Director Russel Norman says: "Thompson and Clark are involved in this mass surveillance of protesters using access to this data base to identify people…. anyone that opposes oil companies or the Government's policy on climate change which is in my opinion an unlawful use of the register".

The MVR contains details of every vehicle and its owner. Details can be obtained by quoting a registration number plate.

1 NEWS has obtained figures from the NZTA under the Official Information Act that show a striking pattern. A spike in requests from Thompson and Clark to access the register coincides clearly with heightened activity from Greenpeace and other environmental groups.

For example in Jan/Feb 2013, the Rainbow Warrior was visiting New Zealand. In January 2014 there were extensive protests mounted when oil company Anadarko's drilling ship was in New Zealand waters.

Mr Norman says: "It's pretty plain that Thompson and Clark are using their access to the register as a kind of trawling tool to identify people who were involved in protest action".

While the MVR was once accessible to anyone prepared to pay a fee, since 2011 due to privacy concerns, only relevant groups like law enforcement agencies, car dealers, petrol stations and private investigators can access it, but with strict conditions.

Mr Norman says: "Thompson and Clark have got the right to access the register for very specific purposes like investigating criminal prosecutions".

He says accessing it to identify lawful protesters is not allowed. Nor can they pass that information onto a third party.

In March 1 NEWS revealed video of Thompson and Clark allegedly spying on Greenpeace as well as a trail of emails showing a close relationship between Thompson and Clark and a number of employees at MBIE. 

MBIE admits it's received newsletters from Thompson and Clark but refutes allegations from Greenpeace that those newsletters contain private information about environmental activists obtained through the motor vehicle register.

Thompson and Clark stopped accessing the register in April last year. NZTA won't say why but explain that often access is stopped when there has been inappropriate use.

NZTA says it would be up to the police to make a decision about prosecuting Thompson and Clark for any unlawful access or use of information in the register.

The maximum penalty is a $50,000 fine.

The Police say they haven't had any complaints brought to them over Thompson and Clark's use of the MVR.

Gavin Clark from Thompson and Clark has responded by saying: "The information we gathered was used as part of legitimate and lawful investigation work and no information was passed to third parties".

Mr Clark went onto say: "We followed the rules of access to the database. Our subscription to the database expired but we still have access to it on an ad-hoc basis".

A State Services Commission investigation launched in March into the relationship between Thompson and Clark and the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment is ongoing.



'Some links to the Mongrel Mob' – seven charged after BOP police sting sees guns, Hilux vehicles, $21k cash, drugs seized

Police have arrested and charged seven people after executing a number of search warrants in the eastern Bay of Plenty as part of Operation Notus II.

Speaking to media today Senior Sergeant Richard Miller said the operation had "some links to the Mongrel Mob".

Operation Notus II is the second phase of a long-running investigation, led by the National Organised Crime Group, into organised crime and the supply and supplying of methamphetamine and cannabis in the eastern Bay of Plenty region.

Acting Eastern Bay of Plenty Area Commander, Senior Sergeant Richard Miller briefed media today. Source: 1 NEWS

Search warrants were conducted this morning in properties in Kawerau, Whakatāne and Te Teko.

The seven are facing a number of charges, including possession for supply, and supplying, methamphetamine and cannabis, as well as firearms-related offending.

They will appear in Whakatāne District Court this afternoon.

Along with methamphetamine and cannabis, 26 firearms and more than $21,000 in cash has been seized.

Three stolen Toyota Hilux utes were recovered from one address in Kawerau, along with a number of power tools.

A stolen Toyota Hilux Surf and trailer were recovered from another address.

Operation Notus, launched in October 2017, revealed the Kawerau Mongrel Mob's involvement in the commercial distribution of meth and cannabis to the community.

As a result of the investigation, 48 people were arrested and almost $3 million in assets were frozen in March 2018.

Acting Eastern Bay of Plenty Area Commander, Senior Sergeant Richard Miller, said, "This was a major disruption to organised crime and methamphetamine supply in EBOP".

Guns seized during Operation Notus II in the Eastern Bay of Plenty
Guns seized during Operation Notus II in the Eastern Bay of Plenty Source: NZ Police

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Watch: 'Make it lit fam' - Andrew Little releases video appealing for 2019 New Plymouth youth MP

MP Andrew Little has released a video appealing for a 2019 New Plymouth youth MP.

In the video, Mr Little can be seen making digs at his political rivals - David Seymour, Gareth Morgan, Bill English and John Key - while attempting to appeal to the modern teenager.

"I'm Andrew Little. You may know me for such things as my cat (soz Gareth), beard polls, party hats and Dancing With The Stars. Just kidding. That's Not Safe for Twerk," the Justice Minister says.

"But if you're going to have a backing track, make sure it's pretty legal. So make it lit fam."

The MP can be seen making digs at his political rivals as he tries to appeal to the modern teenager. Source: Breakfast


Man in critical condition after stabbing at property near Opotiki

A man has been hospitalised in a critical condition following a stabbing at a property near Opotiki, in the Bay of Plenty, this morning.

The man has been transported to Whakatāne Hospital after he was stabbed at an address on Waiotahe Valley Road, in Waiotahi, at 7.25am.

The people involved in the incident are known to each other, police say.

Police know the identity of the suspect and are working to locate him.

A scene examination is currently being carried out at the address.

Source: 1 NEWS