Written By: - Date published: 8:45 am, April 14th, 2013 - 55 comments
Categories: accountability, business, capitalism, democracy under attack, film, internet, john key, slippery, Spying, telecommunications, trade, us politics - Tags: ACTA, TPPA, warners
Under under John Key’s watch, the GCSB has become more focused on commerce and intellectual property issues (as I previously posted and reinforced by this speech last month by Ian Fletcher). The GCSB has also become more integrated with the domestic intelligence services (SIS). The moves towards these changes are evident since 2009, when Key claims he was first interested it attracting Ian Fletcher to a top publc sector job.
An underlying strategy of deal-maker, and ex-bankster, John Key, is to insert himself into networks of influence. His sister Sue once said that, when John was 10 years old, he decided to learn to play golf, because:
“He’d figured out that business guys have golf lunches,” says Sue. “He told us ‘I have to start working on those skills now so when I need them they’re in place’.”
As many news articles show, Key seems to have followed through with this plan. For instance. Fran O’Sullivan’s April 2012 article, reporting on Key’s visit to Indonesia, shows him to be in schmoozing mode with “top Indonesian politicians”:
“It’s what I used to do when I came here years ago for Merrill Lynch,” he explained after playing golf with Gita Wirijawan on his first afternoon in the Indonesian capital.
2009: Overseas connnections
Since the first year of his time in government John Key has been connecting with influential people involved in intellectual property and the entertainment industry in 2009. The same year he was surreptitiously reogranising the separate NZ intelligence services into one entity under his ultimate control, as explained by Chris Trotter.
In 2009, intellectual property was already a hot issue in NZ, in relation to the Internet, digital copyright and online file sharing. Writing on the TPPA in October 2012, Jane Kelsey said:
Hollywood is determined to succeed. The movie and music industries are the two most powerful copyright lobbies in America. Their dominance of the global entertainment industry is threatened by rapidly evolving technologies they cannot control and competing production centres in India, South Africa and Brazil.
To stem their decline, they have invested substantial financial and political capital in securing global rules that protect their power and profits into the 21st century.
The industry tried and failed to achieve this in hard fought negotiations for an international copyright agreement known as the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement or ACTA. After the secret text was leaked in 2009, massive protests broke out around the world, including in New Zealand.
In 2009, Key traveled overseas to several countries, no doubt,investing time on networking. He may have had the first of his more formal meetings over a meal with Ian Fletcher when he was in Australia in August 2009 .
In September 2009 when he went to the US, most of the press attention focused on Key meeting with Obama, appearing on Letterman, and visiting the UN. On September 26 he delivered a speech to the UN. On the same day, relatively unnoticed, Key was guest at a KEA (“NZ’s Global Network”) lunch. The KEA online report on this ends thus:
The World Class New Zealand event was held later that evening at Time Warner. The event was hosted by Mr. Mark D’Arcy and attended by the Prime Minister who was welcomed by Time Warner Chairman and CEO Mr. Jeff Bewkes.
This hook up with some Key Warners’ people occurred a year before the Hobbit dispute. D’Arcy is an ex-pat Kiwi high-flyers of the AUT alumni, who specialises in advertising. He was later part of the team of Warner’s execs involved in the Hobbit negotiations in NZ.
2010: international connections in NZ
In March 2010, back in Auckland, it is almost certain that Key nurtured his connection with Ian Fletcher when Fletcher attended a conference there (see my post, “The Key-Fletcher trail‘).
In October 2010, Warners’ execs (including D’arcy and top Warner’s exec Kevin Tsujihara) came to NZ for the Hobbit negotiations. This was one of two high profile times when prime minister Key, directly intervened in significant proceedings (the other was in relation to Fletcher’s appointment to the GCSB).
There is evidence of the way Key re-connected with previous contacts in the Hobbit negotiations, in his answer to a written question from Winston Peters:*
Rt Hon Winston Peters to the Prime Minister (27 Mar 2013): Who was the senior Warner Brothers executive he reportedly had a conversation with on 24 October 2010?–Rt Hon John Key (Prime Minister) replied: It is not recorded in my diary but to the best of my recollection it was Mark D’Arcy [Key’s KEA connection from September 2009 in New York].