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Beneficiary admits fabricating Bennett meeting details

Friday 30 Apr 2010 5:42p.m.

Beneficiary admits fabricating Bennett meeting details

By Rebecca Wright

More light has been shed on the meeting between Social Development Minister Paula Bennett and the solo parent who has taken a privacy complaint against her.

Tonight 3 News can reveal some of the emails our first story was based on, which indicated that monetary compensation was under discussion.

Now the solo parent who wrote them says money wasn't talked about, and admits she made those details up.

Ms Bennett and her press secretary met with Natasha Fuller and Ms Fuller's grandmother in Cambridge on Wednesday.

The meeting was arranged by the Privacy Commissioner and tonight 3 News can reveal the Facebook messages Ms Fuller sent to a friend about the meeting.

Before it, Ms Fuller’s emails show she was talking about money:

“Don’t no about millions but few thousands:-)... She needs me to drop my case and tell everyone how lovely she is ha ha.

“I don’t want to drop [my case] but they cut my payments right back...So be hard not to take a payout at this point as I also don't like media they mean.”

The Minister has forcefully denied that any financial settlement was ever discussed before or at the meeting with fuller.

After the meeting Ms Fuller claimed:

“Things went really well she wasn't that scary... I dropped the tears a few times and she felt sorry for me - wont put me back in the media and get me hurt again and willing to talk settlement.

“I’ve got a tough choice to make have two days to come up with what I want as a payment I don’t want to sound greedy but its hard to put price on what iv been through.”

3 News spoke to Ms Fuller today and asked her to explain the contents of the emails. 

She said she was “lying and joking” and that even thought the discussions were quite detailed - this was just “part of her personality”.

The Privacy Commission said today:

  • It commonly arranges these face-to-face meetings
  • Settlements include an apology, an assurance an action will not recur, modest compensation or personal gestures, such as flowers or vouchers
  • Settlements are kept confidential

The matter is close to resolution, but what the Privacy Commissioner has found may never become public. 

Ms Fuller told 3 News that Ms Bennett had apologised to her for breaching her privacy last year, but Ms Fuller made a point of saying that she hadn't asked for monetary compensation.

Ms Bennett says that a payout isn't going to happen.

Labour says Ms Bennett shouldn't be allowed to get away with resolving the issue behind the scenes and will pursue the issue in Parliament next week.

3 News

 
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