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Chauvel: Compensation Claim Followed Legal Advice

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Charles Chauvel
Charles Chauvel

Wellington, May 27 NZPA - Solo mum Natasha Fuller asked for compensation from Social Development Minister Paula Bennett after seeking legal advice, Labour MP Charles Chauvel says.

Ms Bennett's office said they had received a letter from Privacy Commissioner Marie Shroff's office suggesting the minister pay $15,000 in compensation for making Ms Fuller's welfare information public.

The office was passing on the request from Ms Fuller, who went to the office after Ms Bennett released her details to news media after she complained about cuts to her training incentive allowance.

Mr Chauvel told NZPA the commissioner's office had asked Ms Fuller what she wanted to resolve her complaint.

Originally she asked for a public apology and an assurance Ms Bennett would not make anyone other welfare information public.

She had since sought advice from a Hamilton lawyer and was told financial compensation was normally asked for, Mr Chauvel said.

"If she's asked for a bit of compensation I have to say I sympathise with her."

It was difficult to put a price on what Ms Fuller has gone through, he said.

"This is a person who every time there's publicity about the case gets vilified as a gold digger on talkback radio, her kids get called names at school, and this all stems from the Minister of Social Development's decision to breach the Privacy Act."

He said Ms Bennett was "obviously" trying to portray Ms Fuller badly by releasing information about the compensation request.

The privacy commissioner's office was not commenting while the resolution process continued.

They said past settlements had included "modest compensation", an apology, an assurance an action will not recur, or personal gestures such as flowers or vouchers.

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