Police Minister Stuart Nash has been caught out quibbling with words and semantics rather than admitting to the public a secret list of more than 100 people being actively monitored by police has been leaked to media, National’s Police spokesperson Chris Bishop says.

“This is a very serious matter. Yesterday Mr Nash was repeatedly questioned in Parliament about the disclosure to Stuff of a top-secret watch-list of more than 100 people being actively monitored by police post the events of 15 March.

“Rather that confirming the leak, expressing concern and ordering an inquiry, Mr Nash essentially denied a leak had taken place.

“Mr Nash could and should have told Parliament yesterday that the Commissioner of Police had that morning ordered an investigation into the matter – but he didn’t.

“The Police Commissioner this morning confirmed the unauthorised disclosure of the list to media, by saying ‘the disclosure of this information is of significant concern to Police and we are taking this matter very seriously.’

Unlike the Police, Mr Nash is not taking this matter seriously at all.

“Mr Nash’s performance in Question Time today beggars belief. He justified his answers yesterday on the basis that the information was not ‘top-secret’, quibbling over the precise terminology applied to the information, and said that the disclosure to media was not a ‘leak’.

“Mr Nash needs to stop playing semantics and be up front and honest about exactly what has happened. This is a deeply concerning matter, as the Commissioner says. Why did he wait until Wednesday to finally confirm the leak, and why isn’t he taking it seriously? Why didn’t he tell Parliament yesterday an inquiry was underway – or did the Commissioner order it and not tell him?

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