Insurance spying scheme labelled quake claimants 'anarchists'

Peter Glasson is a company director, a victim of the Christchurch earthquake and an insurance claimant - he's also a victim of spying.

A Newshub investigation has revealed that Government-owned insurer Southern Response employed private investigators from Thompson and Clark to run a spying operation against claimants.

Peter Glasson believes its agents infiltrated meetings with him and other claimants.

"They were simply spying on us," he said. "They were gathering information about us to take back to Southern Response."

The operation ran for over three years, costing the taxpayer almost $180,000.

Invoices show agents from Thompson and Clark flew to Christchurch on the same day as a claimant meetings in March 2014, August 2014 and June 2015.

"They've certainly walked in the door, sat down and listened - and presumably probably tape-recorded the meetings," Mr Glasson said.

The meetings were held to discuss a class action - a group legal action against Southern Response.

Both Southern Response and Thompson and Clark refuse to confirm or deny infiltrating the meetings, but Peter Glasson says potentially hundreds may have been monitored or spied on

"Could be many, many hundreds of ordinary Christchurch Southern response claimants," he said.

He has used the Privacy Act to force Thompson and Clark to admit monitoring him.

The investigators told him: "Thompson and Clark is aware of you and your association with Southern No Response Group".

Thompson and Clark does not retain information which is no longer relevant to its tasks, so all open source documentation that it may have acquired would have been destroyed.

Mr Glasson believes this means other evidence could be destroyed too, which he says he's "flabbergasted" by.

Newshub was on Thursday allowed to view a threat assessment. This was on a read-only basis and under supervision of a lawyer at Bell Gully.

The threat was called a 'code yellow', which means "escalated".

While it says there was "no immediate threat", it compared the claimants to "anarchists" and "activists", saying they "require ongoing monitoring to mitigate" any threat.

Peter Glasson says this is ridiculous.

"These are normal average Kiwi people seeking a fair resolution to their claim," he said.