Dalziel, “Unless We See It”

Kathryn Dalziel is the lawyer Swimming New Zealand (SNZ) has hired to defend the charge that they have interfered in my privacy. I have said before that there must be something in the Marris Report that SNZ are desperate to hide. Certainly SNZ has employed the best privacy brains in the country in an effort to get them out of trouble. As someone recently said in the United States, “You don’t plead the Fifth Amendment if you are innocent.” In this case the equivalent of that is, “You don’t employ Kathryn Dalziel unless you’ve got something to hide.”

She is the best. Whenever Stuff or Radio NZ or TVNZ or the NZ Herald want an expert legal opinion on privacy matters, the lawyer they call is Kathryn Dalziel. She has commented recently in the main stream media on privacy problems associated with the Christchurch earthquake, filming inside pub toilets, Aaron Smith’s indiscretion in an airport toilet, the couple who had sex at work with the windows open and the lights on, the woman who decorated a cake insulting her employer, privacy in the credit industry and a hundred other issues.

Even YouTube has three clips featuring Dalziel’s opinions. One, that I found particularly interesting, was an event called the Privacy Forum 2016. In it Dalziel and two other lawyers discussed the topic, “Principle 6 Requests. What do they reveal for business?”

Much of the discussion had no relevance to my Marris Report case. But, as one would expect from a lawyer of her class, the opening sentence of Dalziel’s presentation cut right to the chase. In ten words she said perfectly what my 60 page submission to the Human Rights Review Tribunal will be trying to say. She said,


Isn’t that just the point? We cannot control our personal information unless we see it. For four years I have been trying to convince SNZ of that case. For a year the Privacy Commissioner tried to convince SNZ of that case. Through all that SNZ said, “No.” And now SNZ are about to spend $400 an hour paying for Kathryn Dalziel to argue that she didn’t mean David Wright should control his information by seeing it.

What she really meant was the person who paid the most should control David Wright’s information by seeing it. At least that’s the way SNZ want it to work in this case.

You see there are two ways this case can go. Either the principles of the Privacy Act, either the principle of seeing my information, either what Dalziel knows is right and honest can win or money can buy some slippery deal, some underhand legal trick in order for SNZ to flout the law. As expected the path SNZ has taken is to try and buy their way out of trouble. My belief in justice says they will not be successful. I hope Dalziel’s sense of honesty reaches the same conclusion.

While Dalziel’s talents and legal mind are first class, I’m not so sure about her buddy in this case – SNZ’s Approachable Lawyer, Michael Smyth. Just about everything he sends out has a mistake of some sort. He has employed Dalziel to help him on this case. What he needs is a third-grader who can read. The submission he sent me today told the Tribunal this case was “BETWEEN DAVID ALEXANDER WRIGHT ANS SWIMMING NEW ZEALAND”. Oh, I know it is a small thing, but added to the double negatives – remember when he told us all, “It should not be unsurprising to you that a lawyer should use the word in this way.” – the misspellings and general mix ups that have gone before, you do begin to wonder.

Anyway we are all due to meet on the telephone next week. Sadly it will be the first time I’ve heard him speak. I can’t wait. I say sadly because one other point Dalziel made in her YouTube discussion was the importance of complainants and agencies, “dealing directly”. Well, that advice has gone by the board in this case. Apart from required legal transactions, in four years SNZ have sent me two emails. No phone calls, no meetings, no “can we sort this out?” – just two emails. Dalziel is right again of course. Those she deals with are the problem.

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