It is an occasional hobby of mine to search out names that have been suppressed in New Zealand, just to see if I can. Although I never do anything with the names I uncover, this is partly a symbolic act of resistance because in spite of so-called reforms, name suppression is still sometimes abused in this country to protect the privileged.
Today I spotted a big article on RNZ about a doctor whose name we in New Zealand are not allowed to know, in spite of the fact that the doctor practises here and the name was published overseas. I could not resist this challenge so I immediately looked up the name, using the details helpfully provided in the RNZ article. Since it wasn't actually a secret, I found it almost immediately. I also learned that the doctor actually works for my very own health practice here(!), though my GP is a different one from that practice.
I was able to download a full account of a disciplinary hearing about that doctor, which resulted in the doctor's temporary suspension. The issue was not the doctor's competence or ability, but rather a single matter of dishonesty on an application form. The lie was actually a relatively minor one, and did not in any way affect the doctor's patients. The only issue is that the doctor lied at all.
This may well be a case where revealing the doctor's identity could do more harm than good. We all make mistakes, and this one could not have endangered anyone. But if that is true, then the article should not have been published at all, because it completely undermines the name suppression that is in force. This is a big part of the reason I strongly object to the way name suppression is used in this country. Either there is a good reason for it in specific cases, in which case it should be fully respected, or there is not, in which case it shouldn't be employed at all.
It is ridiculous, and invites contempt for the law, when names are suppressed here that can easily be found elsewhere. The fact that other countries do not have the same standards of name suppression that we do, suggests to me that our rules are still silly and out of date. With just a few exceptions, like perhaps the doctor above and instances involving children, there should be no name suppression here at all. Sparing a bigwig embarrassment or saving a lucrative career should not be the business of the courts. If someone doesn't want to be outed for something they know they shouldn't be doing, then they shouldn't do it.