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Five Eyes, One Network

Written By: - Date published: 12:32 pm, March 12th, 2014 - 59 comments
Categories: accountability, democracy under attack, john key, slippery, Spying, us politics - Tags: ,

The continuing revelations coming from Edward Snowden have revealed that internationally linked state surveillance, dominated by the US NSA (National Security Agency) has become intensive, pervasive, and somewhat devious.  This is to be expected in the shadowy world of state run espionage.  Some of this is necessary for security reasons.  However,it has now reached the stage that officially sanctioned surveillance has become democratically unaccountable and far too powerful.

GCSB Key

The latest Snowden revelations specifically accuse the NSA (the US National Security Agency), or its proxy, of pressuring the New Zealand Government to make law changes for the benefit of the US agencies.  General Keith Alexander of the NSA, who has been a key figure working on offensive cyber surveillance operations to protect US “trade secrets”, has been a regular visitor to NZ.  John Key has confirmed some of these visits, and tried to deny others.  John Key would have had to approve Alexander’s visits.

Gen Keith Alexander NSA stop spying on US

General Keith Alexander, “Big brother” – see Stuff article by Daniel Rothkopf, CEO and editor at large of Foreign Policy

Alexander sees the 5 Eyes network as one network rather than being made up of separate spy networks for the individual countries – this network includes the spy agencies of the US (NSA), New Zealand (GCSB) the UK (GCHQ), Australia and Canada.

The latest Snowden revelations

Yesterday David Fisher reported in the NZ Herald,

NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden says the United States’ spy agency has helped find or create loopholes in New Zealand law to enable widespread spying.

In testimony to the European Parliament, the exiled former NSA worker said the agency’s Foreign Affairs Division put pressure on other countries to change laws to create legal gaps through which mass surveillance could be carried out.

Fisher quotes a Tech Liberty spokesperson who identities such a law change most likely happened last year:

In listing New Zealand among countries targeted, he said: “Each of these countries received instruction from the NSA, sometimes under the guise of the US Department of Defense and other bodies, on how to degrade the legal protections of their countries’ communications.”

Cyber rights group Tech Liberty’s spokesman Thomas Beagle said the new laws introduced in New Zealand last year appeared surprisingly quickly.

“It was like someone had it sitting in a drawer ready to go. Who is really writing these laws.”

The 2013 speedy changes to NZ surveillance laws

InternetNZ and Tech Liberty had previously published their concerns about failings, loopholes and inconsistencies in the Bills.

It is hard, if not impossible to identify when and how such a US-led change to NZ law happened.  However, it is useful to provide a timeline.  The timeline below implicates Key’s government, while Key himself often takes the familar “I know Nuzzink” line.

Two relevant law changes passed pretty quickly through parliament last year, apparently in response to revelations about illegal spying on Kim Dotcom. On April 15 2013, Key announced proposed changes to the GCSB Bill, as reported by 3 News.

Proposed changes to the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) Act include the ability to spy on New Zealanders on behalf of other Government agencies.

On April 17 2013, Adam Bennett reported in the New Zealand Herald that the government had announced proposed changes to to the TICS Bill.  This was being done in conjunction with the amendments to the GCSB Law.  As well as allowing spying on NZ, it also draws the police, the SIS and the GCSB into interlinked sate surveillance operations. It includes the need for collaboration with these agencies by telecommunication network operators.

The new law effectively formalises what the GCSB had been doing anyway, officials told reporters this morning.[…]

The new legislation will expressly allow the bureau to eavesdrop on New Zealanders when assisting those agencies or when it is conducting information assurance or cyber security functions.

However, the ban on spying on New Zealanders remains when the bureau is conducting its foreign intelligence operations. Officials said any involvement by New Zealanders in matters it is investigating as part of its foreign intelligence operations will be referred to police or the SIS for further investigation. However, that investigation may include those agencies obtaining a warrant allowing them to use the GCSB’s advanced eavesdropping capability.

The GCSB Bill became law in August 2013.

GCSB protest-17

Timelines & NZ-US collaboration

So it is useful to look back at some timelines.  Andrea Vance provided a timeline in April 2013. TV 3 news provided a timeline in August 2013. I have used, often directly copied the wording of these.  I have then added to them, to construct a timeline that incorporates the activities of John Key, the NSA, and other US and NZ agencies.

May, 2011Signal Online reports:

Gen. Keith Alexander, USA, director of the National Security Agency and commander of U.S. Cyber Command, is calling for greater international cooperation on cyber defense. “We don’t have a U.S. network, a Canadian network, a Mexican network. It’s all one network. We all operate that, and we have to have international partners to protect it,” Gen. Alexander emphasized.

Dec 16, 2011: GCSB begins spying on New Zealand residents Kim Dotcom and Bram van der Kolk.

Jan 19, 2012: Prime Minister John Key is briefed on Operation Debut, the police investigation into Dotcom, on the eve of the scheduled raid on his Auckland home.

January 20, 2012 – Raid of Dotcom Mansion.

January 25, 2012 – Kim Dotcom is denied bail.

January 29, 2012 –Ian Fletcher, an old friend of Prime Minister John Key, is appointed as director of spy agency the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB).

Feb 16 2012: Police inform GCSB the spying on Dotcom may have been illegal.

Feb 22 2012: The Organised and Financial Crime Agency New Zealand (Ofcanz) contacts GCSB regarding Dotcom’s residency status.

Feb 29: Key visits GCSB offices for a briefing. The presentation shown includes a reference to Dotcom’s arrest. Key initially did not remember the briefing, and said the first he learned of GCSB’s involvement was in September.

June 2012 – High Court judge rules police used wrong type of search warrants to enter Dotcom’s property, meaning the raid was carried out illegally.

Aug 17, 2012 – With Key out of the country on a family holiday, Bill English is called on to sign a ministerial certificate suppressing GCSB’s involvement in the Dotcom case.

Sept 17, 2012 – Fletcher advises Key that GCSB unlawfully spied on Dotcom and Van der Kolk.

September 24, 2012 – The Government admits the GCSB illegally spied on Dotcom, a New Zealand resident.

September 25, 2012 – It’s revealed that Deputy Prime Minister Bill English and Police CommissionerPeter Marshall both knew about the illegal surveillance. A Government document reveals the mistake was made after the Organised and Financial Crime Agency of New Zealand told the GCSB the surveillance was legal.

October 1, 2012 – A review into the GCSB is announced, despite Mr Key denying an inquiry was needed.

Oct 2, 2012 – Cabinet Secretary Rebecca Kitteridge is seconded as associate director of GCSB to review the agency.

5 October, 2102: NBR report on John Key’s visit to Hollywood.

November 5, 2012 – GCSB confirms acting director at the time of the Dotcom raid – Hugh Wolfensohn – knew about the illegal surveillance of the internet tycoon.

November 20, 2012Stuff report on John Key’s quick chat with President Obama, in a “pull aside” before TPP talks in Phnom Penh. Key reluctantly hints Dotcom was discussed.

November 2012 – Reports of a US diplomat visiting Wellington.  Key says he knows nothing about it.  In January 2013, it is confirmed that the visitor was National Security Agency director General Keith Alexander.  He visits NZ fairly regularly and these visits would be approved by John Key.

December 4, 2012 – One News reports, ‘PM confirms spies met in Wellington‘, the previous week.  However, denies he knows the identity of the top US official who visited.  He also denies the meeting was a “5 Eyes” meeting.  However, the article says that when Keith Alexander was in NZ in 2009, Key confirmed it.

February 20, 2013White House announces strategy to protect US trade secrets from theft, in a joint press conference that includes General Keith Alexander.

March 7, 2013 – Dotcom is granted the right to sue the GCSB.

March, 7, 2013 – John Key, on a visit to Latin America, strangely refuses to go to Hugo Chavez’s funeral.

March 14, 2103Report that “top US intelligence officials” had announced that week, “setting up military units to wage offensive cyber war”. Keith Alexander explained its purpose to a Senate Committee.

April 8, 2013 – Reports of the GCSB’s alleged illegal spying on New Zealanders emerge after the Kitteridge report is leaked to media.

April 9, 2013 – Report by Rebecca Kitteridge officially released. The report finds problems with the GCSB’s structure, organisation, and the way staff are dealt with. It lists 88 cases of potentially illegal spying.

April 15, 2013 – John Key announces overhaul of GCSB legislation, including making it legal for the agency to spy on New Zealanders

April 29, 2013 – A 3 News/Reid Research poll finds 48 percent of those surveyed believe Dotcom should not be extradited.

April 2, 2013 –  Key confirms he has received Kitteridge’s report and will release it once he is back from China and has shown it to Parliament’s security and intelligence committee.

May 29, 2013 – Winston Peters accuses Peter Dunne of leaking the Kitteridge report, a claim denied by Mr Dunne.

July 9, 2013 – Whistleblower Edward Snowden reveals details of links of intelligence gathering between the GCSB and the United States’ National Security Agency (NSA).

August 19, 2013 –John Key walks out of his weekly post-Cabinet press conference instead of answering questions on the bill.

 

 

59 comments on “Five Eyes, One Network”

  1. Sosoo 1

    All of this shit may have started to unravel.

    Dianne Feinstein just threw the CIA under a bus.

    • ghostwhowalksnz 1.1

      Just another day, another critic for the CIA.

      For some strange reason the CIA only has issues that create a public storm when they dont know about some seminal event.

    • Colonial Viper 1.2

      Meh Feinstein has been one of the strongest advocates of the surveillance state. She’s only pissed off now because she’s realised that the work of her committee may also have been surveilled or interfered with by the very shadowy surveillance apparatus that she used to be keen on.

      • Sosoo 1.2.1

        Uh… yeah… that’s kind of the point. They’ve now pissed off one of their strongest defenders. She could have decided to deal with this through back channels, but she threw them under the bus.

        She’s gone much further than complaining about surveillance of herself, she’s publicly accused them of torture:

        Now, the leader of the Senate intelligence committee, Dianne Feinstein, has provided stark and convincing evidence that the C.I.A. may have committed crimes to prevent the exposure of interrogations that she said were “far different and far more harsh” than anything the agency had described to Congress.

        http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/12/opinion/the-cia-torture-cover-up.html?hp&rref=opinion

        I was astonished that she would say what she has done, given who she is. If not the first domino, it’s getting close to being the first domino.

        Karol hasn’t really done enough in this post. Adam Curtis has a better go of it here, although even he admits its just a start.

        http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/adamcurtis/posts/WHAT-THE-FLUCK

        It’s getting pretty obvious that we as a society have a real problem with illegitimate uses of information technology not just from state agencies, but from private corporations. If our little old government is balls deep in this, it’s reasonable to think that large corporate actors are too. After all, they would be remiss to their shareholders if they did not, as corporate espionage is more or less necessary these days. The data and metadata we leave on the internet is simply too valuable to too many people to be left alone.

        • karol 1.2.1.1

          There’s a limit to what can be covered in one post.

          I agree my post is one part of a bigger picture – and I have posted many times on various angles of that bigger picture, including how the Key government has moved the role of the GCSB into protection against “economic” threats in support of big overseas corporates, as well as the role of multinational corporates in relation to the Kim Dotcom saga, and the Hobbit Law, etc.

          You do not explain how that very long Curtis piece, while worthy in its own right, adds very much to the topic of my post – it looks like a diversion.

          In this post I aimed to review the timeline for the NZ GSCB-TICS Bills as implicated in reports of the latest Snowden revelations: ie that the NSA had a strong hand in the over-hasty formation of those Bills.

          You seem to want to discuss anything but the implications re NZ and the NZ government.

          • Sosoo 1.2.1.1.1

            Curtis is not making a diversion, but making tentative suggestions about how things might be moved forward via a comparison with an historically similar situation. I think he may have a point.

            I have posted many times on various angles of that bigger picture, including how the Key government has moved the role of the GCSB into protection against “economic” threats in support of big overseas corporates.

            Have you ever thought that you might be guilty of a causal inversion here? I can’t recall any New Zealand government in my lifetime standing up for individual rights against transnational spy agencies.

            As for John Key, for the record I dislike him and hope his nob falls off.

            • karol 1.2.1.1.1.1

              I’m not saying Curtis is creating a diversion – how could he as he is not commenting on my post? I agree his article is worthwhile. You still haven’t specifically stated how the Curtis piece relates to the latest Snowden revelations and NZ’s related law changes.

              I am saying you are diverting from the main focus of my post.

              Yes, earlier governments have supported the US-dominated 5 Eyes network.

              However, what is at issue here is how much John Key and his government have acted as enablers to extend the powers of mass surveillance in and through New Zealand.

              • Sosoo

                Curtis’ point, as I read it, is that just as the railroad and other associated technologies allowed a small group of people to corrupt existing institutions and make war on the common good, information technologies have done more or less the same thing to us, and our institutions have been similarly impotent to do anything about it.

                What he doesn’t say – and what for me is an obvious difference – is that 100 years ago the problems created weren’t as globalised as the current ones, and weren’t quite as pervasive of society. The similarities are certainly there: in particular a bought and paid for media parroting oligarchical bullshit at every opportunity.

                Now we could try to do something about this in New Zealand, but without real change in the more powerful countries, we would just find ourselves being Whitlamed (or in the worst case scenario, Allended).

                Neither Labour nor the Greens have adequately responded to the Snowden revelations. Why should I trust them?

                • karol

                  I think the broader left are more concerned about the role of corporations in the surveillance state – and certainly more than Nats and right wing libertarians..

                  I’m also concerned that Labour would roll over for the NSA and US surveillance state if they gain power later this year. I think they and the Greens did argue against the GCSB and TICS Bills.

                  For instance, Russel Norman’s speech against the GCSB Bill at Auckland Town Hall.

                  • Sosoo

                    I guess I won’t be happy until Waihopai is a pile of rubble.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      If there’s a counter-argument it looks something like this:

                      Why destroy Waihopai?

                      It’s a valuable piece of hardware, especially considering that people over whom we, nor our government, nor the US government have no control, are spying on everything in exactly the same way as the 5-Eyes do?

                      Our military capabilities are a large part of the reason we have democracy.

                      If our military capabilities are insufficient to protect us against “cyber-threats” – and they are, why should we deny our military the same capabilities “the enemy” has?

                    • @ One Anonymous Bloke

                      One day you’re going to look back at this remark and say: What was I thinking?!!!

                    • Sosoo

                      I’d rather take my chances against the “enemies”* thank you very much, but I never seem to be offered the option.

                      *NZ doesn’t really have any enemies worth that amount of effort.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Then why do we have an army?

                      Do you think that when we send our troops into harms way we should deny them intelligence capabilities?

                      Do we just forget about chapter 13?

                      Hostile armies may face each other for years, striving for the victory which is decided in a single day. This being so, to remain in ignorance of the enemy’s condition simply because one grudges the outlay of a hundred ounces of silver in honors and emoluments, is the height of inhumanity.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      @travellerev, I know exactly what I’m thinking, thank you very much, and I doubt I’ll ever change my opinion about the use of spies, but if I do, you’ll be the first to know.

                    • Sosoo

                      We have an army because we need to send UN peacekeepers out occasionally and because someone has to help clean up the mess when Tonga/Samoa/etc. have a bad cyclone.

                      We have a Navy because we need to shoot Koreans who poach here.

                      We have an air force… well, we don’t really have an air “force” anymore, we just have an “air”.

                      Nobody is going to invade NZ. It’s too far away from anywhere and has no strategic value. It would be cheaper for a would be invader to simply buy what they want than fund a war.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Sosoo, you’re ducking the question. Why shouldn’t our troops have state of the art intelligence capabilities?

    • One Anonymous Bloke 1.3

      They must be rogue elements of the CIA 😉

  2. Oh Gen, Alexander who thinks that journalists should stay schtum on all things five eyes and NSA? That General?!

  3. Colonial Viper 3

    Simply outstanding work karol. We no longer live in a democratic state when politicians take their marching orders from shadowy unelected and unaccountable figures.

  4. Tracey 4

    Wow karol. Great stuff. This is what national fights hard against… joining the dots. They rely on each thing being seen in isolation.

    • Sosoo 4.1

      It’s not National and it’s not a domestic issue. This is everywhere. We are on the periphery of the storm.

      • karol 4.1.1

        So you have no inertest in the implications for NZ, or in how much our government has been a willing enabler of selling out Kiwis and our democracy in relation to the bigger picture?

        Or are you just trying to divert from the Key government’s actions in this regard?

        • Sosoo 4.1.1.1

          If there’s anything that demonstrates the impotence of national politics, it’s this issue.

          • Tracey 4.1.1.1.1

            We should just ignore it then.

            • Sosoo 4.1.1.1.1.1

              Or you could approach it from a more internationalist angle. Is the greater good to be achieved by attacking this for the transnational problem that it is, or by focusing on using it for local political purposes by getting one over on Donkey and his gang of Merry Thieves?

          • blue leopard (Get Lost GCSB Bill) 4.1.1.1.2

            I agree SoSo, with what you are acknowledging.

            I believe we in NZ have more of an opportunity to turn things around – because we are on the periphery, and because of our lower population – when compared to US or Great Britain.

            We are a small country and it requires less people to get the word out in order to get good pressure occurring for a real change. When a small country makes a change – it can positively affect the perceptions and awareness on issues of people in larger countries.

            I realise the powers creating these types of anti-democratic dictatorship effects in each country are huge – we cannot afford to give in – perseverance and numbers will win and always have won the day.

            It has been predicted that this election would be very dirty – and that is one of the biggest reasons why. The international vested interests that don’t want change wouldn’t want NZ to be giving a good example to other countries.

            This is also the reason the media have got particularly dreadful – they are owned by such interests.

            • Sosoo 4.1.1.1.2.1

              I agree. I just don’t want this to become a partisan political issue. Like the Iraq war, there’s common cause to be made here with the anti-authoritarian sectors of the libertarian right (of which I am not one).

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                The Libertarians have lost the Right to the Authoritarians. ACT’s comprehensive humiliation is testament to that.

              • Murray Olsen

                I think there are only about three people left on the libertarian right, and they’re more interested in incest and Second Amendment issues than anything else. Given that they don’t even seem to know what country they’re in, it might be difficult to make common cause with them on anything.

                Anyway, I agree with you that this is an international issue, but we on the periphery are uniquely placed to fight it here. We did it with apartheid and nuclear ships and that spirit must still be alive in some of us.

                • karol

                  Also, let’s not forget that Nicky Hagar publicly outed the whole 5 Eyes-“Eschelon” network through his investigations of the Waihopai base and people working there. The smallness and peripheral position of NZ gave him a unique way into investigating the system.

                  It is well worth looking at how the interaction between the likes of the top people at the NSA and NZ people. It is also important for Kiwis to know exactly what is being done in this regard by our government.

            • Anne 4.1.1.1.2.2

              Spot on blue leopard. Never have truer words been spoken.

              That is the value of a small country like NZ. We’ve done it time and again in the past 100 years and ALWAYS under Labour governments.

              The best more recent example was our anti-nuclear stance in the 1970s/80s.It rocked America and Britain (under M Thatcher) and the French didn’t take kindly to it either. We ended up making a huge impact around the world – far greater than our size would normally anticipate. The Yanks hated us for it because it didn’t fit in with their strategic plans but in the end we were proven right and they were wrong.

              We can do it again!

              • Populuxe1

                It was the New Zealand Liberal Party which passed universal suffrage, and it was National that passed marriage equalisation. Labour IV was also a wee bit tardy with the homosexual law reform act

                • karol

                  Hahaha…. whose Bill was the marriage equalisation one?

                  National pushed through the NSA’s GCSB and TICS amendments.
                  And Cunliffe has promised to repeal the GCSB law changes – Greens also for that.

                • Anne

                  Universal suffrage? I’m talking about within the past 100 years not 150 years. Last I heard, universal suffrage was granted in NZ sometime in the 1890s. Twat!

      • Tracey 4.1.2

        What?

  5. blue leopard (Get Lost GCSB Bill) 5

    John Key and this rotten government are sell-outs.

    They sell out our interests, our assets and our rights to the lowest bidder.

    Vote them out

    • vto 5.1

      Yes, vote them out

      vto

      .. but I actually mean all of them………. the entire spectrum

      • blue leopard (Get Lost GCSB Bill) 5.1.1

        You may not be joking there vto – yet your comment is rather amusing and gave me a laugh just the same!

  6. politikiwi 6

    Is there any information about when a planned law change was announced and when the new law was first available?

    Is the advice sought during construction of the law OIA-able? Or does that fall into the “free and frank advice” category?

    And is there any way to request the GCSB legal team’s interpretation of what powers the new law grants them? There could be all sorts of smoke-and-mirrors, a la the NSA’s definition of “collection.”

    • Tracey 6.1

      Oia and see what the response is.

      Hansaard and legislation.govt.nz should help you on first para.

    • karol 6.2

      Good questions. In researching this I was not totally clear when there first was public information about these Bills. In my post I went with the reports on when the Bills were introduced – around April 15, 2013.

      But I also found this dated 6 March 2013 – it is the analysis of the Bills by Crown Law.

      So, presumably the Bill had been developed some time before the conclusion of the Kitteridge report (April 8/9, 2013)- or maybe started at the same time as the beginning of the Kitteridge investigation(?), October 1, 2012…. or any time thereafter.

    • Tracey 6.3

      There might be a regulatory impact statement too?

      • politikiwi 6.3.1

        Good thoughts. I’ll chat to some lawyer friends and see what can be dug up.

        No harm in asking.

  7. Michael Timmins 7

    Fantastic article. Important to keep this on the radar.

  8. MrSmith 8

    Lets hope there is a river of this all year, go Edward Snowden you good thing, nobody likes working with someone looking over their shoulder (except John Key) and now we have Uncle Sam, Key and his mate Ian Fletcher, along with the Poms and the relatives of criminals across the Tasman watching us day and night.

    Where is the revolution! Once upon a time the kids would have been in the streets protesting about this but Generation 0 appear to be living up to their name the bunch of subordinate ass kisses.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 8.1

      A revolution to deliver what? Democracy is a revolution and you want to replace it?

      • MrSmith 8.1.1

        “Democracy is a revolution and you want to replace it?”

        Now your putting words in my mouth.

        Does this democracy you seem to think I want to replace apply to these spy agencies at present.

        “A revolution (from the Latin revolutio, “a turn around”) is a fundamental change in power or organizational structures that takes place in a relatively short period of time. Aristotle described two types of political revolution:”

        So “a fundamental change in power or organizational structures that takes place in a relatively short period of time” to these organizations would do.

  9. xtasy 9

    Given the brainwashing by the majority MSM and also political establishment in NZ, I am not at all surprised about the new Snowden revelations.

    There is much more that should be revealed, but it will never happen.

    Too many vested interest parties have too much to lose, so they will rather kill certain individuals, than allow the full truth to come forth.

    That is the society we live in, and you have to be totally ignorant also, to not realise that we have major players in the internet and online business, who do something very similar to what NSA and other agencies do, just for commercial gain and control.

    While you click here and read this, you can expect that your browser data will go to Google, Facebook, Twitter and many other enterprises, to be “encoded” and then on-sold for nice profits, to expose you for targeted advertising.

    George Orwell was even too far behind of what is going on now. We are all controlled, some ways or another, and we have little autonomy and say on anything. That is wanted!

    So enjoy the last few days of “comparatively free” internet here, it will never be the same in future.

    Freedom and democracy are a total farce now, and the “virtual technology” and “online” “social media” revolutions proved to be FARTS into the air, nothing else. You are all sold out to corrupt and dominant businesses, and are told that you are “free” to choose, which is a joke.

    Depending on technology is not the freedom it promises, it is an illusion, for the ones thinking it makes them more free.

  10. Huginn 10

    Thanks for the work you’re doing on this, Karol.
    Now we’re beginning to see clearly why how Key ended up promoting legislation that he didn’t understand.

    Key is a sock puppet for US intelligence, as crudely conflates security with US economic interests – and carelessly wrecking the Internet on the way.

    • karol 10.1

      Now we’re beginning to see clearly why how Key ended up promoting legislation that he didn’t understand.

      Thanks. You reminded me that when I posted on the GCSB when it was before the House (“Bad law making – GCSB Bill”, 21 Aug 2013), I found it to be strangely convoluted – one section referring to another section, which in turn referred to another section.

      And I wrote this about how Key had to explain the cofusing bits in the law:

      John Key, in claiming the Bill will not enable wholesale spying on New Zealanders, issued a statement pledging he would not allow that to happen in practice. He did this in an email to Audrey Young and subsequently reported on in her article in the NZ Herald. This is bad law making. Instead of Key sending the Bill amendments back to the drawing board, he now says he will issue a statement before the 3rd reading in the House today, which will clarify his intent. Opposition parties say, this is not good enough – it needs to be made explicitly clear in the Bill.

      • Mike S 10.1.1

        “I found it to be strangely convoluted – one section referring to another section, which in turn referred to another section.”

        All statutes are written like this and are extremely difficult for most people to understand. That is the whole point of ‘legalese’, to make the ‘law’ so difficult to decode that people have to use lawyers and can be tricked into believing anything.

        For example, from a report on NZ statutes:
        ( I haven’t bothered to count how many words are in section 1 which is one sentence, but I’m sure that it’s way too long!)

        (1) Where any real or personal property has been or is hereafter acquired by or on
        behalf of any religious denomination, congregation, or society, or any body of
        persons associated for any charitable purpose, and the conveyance or other
        assurance of that property has been or is taken to or in favour of trustees to be
        from time to time appointed, or any parties named in the conveyance or other
        assurance, or subject to any trust for any such denomination or congregation or
        society or body of persons, or for the individuals comprising the same,
        the conveyance or other assurance shall not only vest the property thereby conveyed
        or otherwise assured in the parties named therein, but shall also effectually vest
        the same in their successors in office for the time being and the continuing trustees
        (if any) jointly, or if there are no such continuing trustees, then in their successors
        in office for the time being chosen and appointed in the manner provided or
        referred to in the conveyance or other assurance, or in any separate deed
        or instrument, declaring the trusts thereof; or if no mode of appointment is therein
        provided or referred to, or if the power of appointment has lapsed, then in such
        manner as may be agreed upon by such denomination or by a body constituted to
        represent them, or by such congregation, society, or body of persons.
        (2) The said property shall be so vested without any conveyance or other assurance
        whatsoever upon the same trusts and with and under and subject to the same
        powers and provisions as are contained or referred to in the conveyance or other
        assurance, or in any separate deed or instrument upon which the property is held
        so far as the same may at the time of vesting be subsisting and still capable of
        taking effect, anything in the conveyance or other assurance or in any separate
        deed or instrument to the contrary notwithstanding.
        (3) Nothing in this section shall restrict the effect of any appointment of new trustees
        or of any conveyance or other assurance or vesting of any property.

        Fucked if any of that is comprehensible, let alone understood in a legal sense, which is entirely different from understanding as most people would take it to mean.

        When people tell me they have to pay income tax I ask them why they have to pay it and if they have read the income tax act so that they can verify where it says that they are required to pay income tax. Well it’s around 4,000 pages long and almost impossible to understand so I guess you can’t blame them.

        The trouble is that the old Roman legal maxim still applies today. That is “Ignorance of the law is no excuse”. Which means that not understanding something which is impossible to understand is no excuse for not complying with that which is impossible to understand.

        Question. Under New Zealand legislation, in legal terms, in relation to driving motor vehicles, is an accident an intentional collision ???

  11. Clemgeopin 11

    There is some hope if Labour leads the next government. If not, the chance to amend the spy laws may be lost forever for NZ.

    Listen to this very good interview of Mr Cunliffe on TV3 this morning. Towards the end, he was asked about the Snowden’s revelations about NSA and the NZ spy law. Stangley TV3 left out Mr Cunliffe’s excellent response and important commitment in its transcript below the video!

    Here is the video:
    http://www.3news.co.nz/Sack-Collins-over-Oravida-Cunliffe-tells-Key/tabid/1607/articleID/335554/Default.aspx

    And here is Mr Cunliffe’s unequivocal response:

    “Labour is absolutely right to have made a commitment to a digital bill of rights which will protect New Zealanders rights and freedoms in cyber space. We have previously said and I will repeat again today that we will repeal the GCSB law and replace it with one that protects New Zealanders privacy and which requires a warrant before any intercept of New Zealander’s communications”

    I think that is a very clear statement and should be given very wide publicity often through out this election period. I think a vast majority of Kiwi’s will support this fair and enlightened policy.

  12. geoff 12

    Nice work, karol!

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  • Trade dumping bill could hurt NZ industries
    The Commerce Select Committee is currently hearing submissions on the Trade (Anti-dumping and Countervailing Duties) Amendment Bill. This bill worries me. I flagged some major concerns during its first reading.   I am now reading submissions from NZ Steel, ...
    GreensBy Mojo Mathers
    6 days ago
  • Just 8 per cent of work visas for skills shortages
    Just 16,000 – or 8 per cent – of the 209,000 work visas issued last year were for occupations for which there is an identified skills shortage, says Labour Immigration spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway. “The overwhelming majority of the record number ...
    6 days ago
  • Hard won agreement shouldn’t be thrown away
    The Government should ignore talk across the Tasman about doing away with the labelling of GM free products, says Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King. “Labelling of genetically modified products was a hard won agreement in 2001 by Australian and the ...
    6 days ago
  • National’s privatisation Trojan horse
     The National government is using the need to modernise the school system as a Trojan horse for privatisation and an end to free public education as we know it, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says.  “There is no doubt that ...
    6 days ago
  • Shameless land-banking ads show need for crackdown
    The fact that more than 300 sections are shamelessly being advertised on Trade Me as land-banking opportunities during a housing crisis shows the need for a crackdown on property speculators, Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little says. “Of the 328 ...
    6 days ago
  • Standard and Poor’s warning of housing crisis impact on banks
    The National Government’s failure to address the housing crisis is leading to dire warnings from ratings agency Standard and Poor’s about the impact on the strength of the economy and New Zealand banks, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Standard ...
    6 days ago
  • Ihumatao needs action not sympathy
    The Petition of Save Our Unique Landscape (SOUL) calling on Parliament to revoke Special Housing Area 62 in order to protect the Ihumatao Peninsula and Stonefields, has fallen on deaf ears, says the Labour MP for Mangere Su’a William Sio.  ...
    6 days ago
  • Another delay to justice system reform for victims of sexual violence
    I believe most, if not all, New Zealanders would expect our court system to uphold the dignity of complainants, hold perpetrators to account for crimes including sexual and domestic violence and uphold the crucial right to a fair trial. Yet ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    6 days ago
  • Another delay to justice system reform for victims of sexual violence
    I believe most, if not all, New Zealanders would expect our court system to uphold the dignity of complainants, hold perpetrators to account for crimes including sexual and domestic violence and uphold the crucial right to a fair trial. Yet ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    6 days ago
  • Student visa fraud & exploitation must stop
    The Government must act immediately to end fraud and exploitation of international students that threatens to damage New Zealand’s reputation, Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little says. ...
    7 days ago
  • Government needs to show leadership in reviewing monetary policy
    The Reserve Bank’s struggles to meet its inflation target, the rising exchange rate and the continued housing crisis shows current monetary policy needs to be reviewed - with amendments to the policy targets agreement a bare minimum, says Labour’s Finance ...
    7 days ago
  • Local democracy under threat
    The National Government is in the process of gutting our local democracy through it’s Local Government Act 2002 Amendment Bill (No 2). We’ve been hearing submissions from councils, and a few community members, all around the country who are deeply ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    7 days ago
  • Local democracy under threat
    The National Government is in the process of gutting our local democracy through it’s Local Government Act 2002 Amendment Bill (No 2). We’ve been hearing submissions from councils, and a few community members, all around the country who are deeply ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    7 days ago
  • Slash and burn of special education support
    Slashing the support for school age children with special needs is no way to fund earlier intervention, Labour’s Education Spokesperson Chris Hipkins says.  “National’s latest plan to slash funding for children with special needs over the age of 7 in ...
    1 week ago
  • National’s Pasifika MPs must have free vote
      Pacific people will not take kindly to the Government whipping their Pacific MPs to vote in favour of a  Bill that will allow Sunday trading  at Easter, says Labour’s Pacific Island Affairs spokesperson Su’a William Sio.  “We are seeing ...
    1 week ago
  • Maritime Crimes Bill – balancing security and free speech
    Parliament is currently considering the Maritime Crimes Amendment Bill, which would bring New Zealand up to date with current international rules about maritime security. The debate around the Bill reflects two valid issues: legitimate counter-terrorism measures and the right to ...
    GreensBy Kennedy Graham
    2 weeks ago
  • Rio Olympics captioning – setting the record straight
    In the House on Thursday, my colleague, Labour Party spokesperson on Disability Issues, Poto Williams asked a great question. After which the Minister, Nicky Wagner, stood up and finally publicly acknowledged the National Foundation for the Deaf for funding the ...
    GreensBy Mojo Mathers
    2 weeks ago
  • Rio Olympics captioning – setting the record straight
    In the House on Thursday, my colleague, Labour Party spokesperson on Disability Issues, Poto Williams asked a great question. After which the Minister, Nicky Wagner, stood up and finally publicly acknowledged the National Foundation for the Deaf for funding the ...
    GreensBy Mojo Mathers
    2 weeks ago
  • Teachers’ low wages at the centre of shortages
      Figures that show teachers’ wages have grown the slowest of all occupations is at the heart of the current teacher shortage, says Labour’s Education Spokesperson Chris Hipkins.  In the latest Labour Cost Index, education professionals saw their wages grow ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Government’s Tax Law undermines common law principles
    A tax amendment being snuck in under the radar allows changes to tax issues to be driven through by the Government without Parliamentary scrutiny, says Labour’s Revenue spokesman Stuart Nash. “The amendment allows any part of the Tax Administration Act ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Government slippery about caption funding
      The Government has refused to apologise for taking the credit for funding Olympic Games captioning when the National Foundation for the Deaf  was responsible, says Labour’s spokesperson on Disability Issues Poto Williams.  “This shameful act of grandstanding by Ministers ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Default KiwiSaver investments should be reviewed
    The investments of the default KiwiSaver providers should be reviewed to make sure they are in line with New Zealanders’ values and expectations, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Most New Zealanders would be appalled that their KiwiSaver funds are ...
    2 weeks ago
  • New ministry should look after all children
    The Government has today shunned well founded pleas by experts not to call its new agency the Ministry for Vulnerable Children, Labour’s Spokesperson for Children Jacinda Ardern says.  “Well respected organisations and individuals such as Children's Commissioner Judge Andrew Becroft ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Triclosan – nasty chemical will be reassessed
    Last week my campaign for this chemical to be reassessed by the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) took another step forward. After many months of waiting, the EPA have agreed that triclosan needs to be reassessed. Triclosan is an ingredient in many ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    2 weeks ago
  • Triclosan – nasty chemical will be reassessed
    Last week my campaign for this chemical to be reassessed by the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) took another step forward. After many months of waiting, the EPA have agreed that triclosan needs to be reassessed. Triclosan is an ingredient in many ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    2 weeks ago
  • Ratification okay but we need action
    Today’s decision to ratify the Paris agreement on Climate Change by the end of the year is all well and good but where is the plan, says Labour’s Climate Change spokesperson Megan Woods.  “The Government’s failure to plan is planning ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Stats changes can’t hide unemployment reality
    Today’s minor drop in unemployment numbers is nothing to celebrate given the changes made to the official numbers that cut thousands of people looking for work out of the jobless rate, says Labour’s Employment spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Making any comparisons ...
    2 weeks ago

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