web analytics

NRT: So much for Parliamentary oversight

Written By: - Date published: 1:23 pm, February 24th, 2014 - 13 comments
Categories: john key, Spying - Tags: , , ,

no-right-turn-256It appears that parliament doesn’t have a need to know on our security services for something so basic at their funding? As usual John Key was lying. No Right Turn describes how the lie was revealed.

Last year John Key passed a spy bill granting vast new domestic spying powers to the GCSB. But he said that we wouldn’t have to worry, because they would be coupled with greater Parliamentary oversight through the Intelligence and Security Committee.

As usual, he was lying:

The Government’s spy agencies have refused to tell Parliament’s intelligence and security committee if they receive funding from the United States.

[…]

The agencies’ responses to questions were provided to the committee late last week.

Both GCSB and the SIS refused to answer questions about funding from the United States Government, or any other nation which is part of the Five Eyes spying alliance.

US whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed last year the National Security Agency provided $200m in secret payments to the British GCHQ to secure access and influence.

Both agencies cited legislation which forbids the ISC enquiring about matters which are ”operationally sensitive” and that relate to ”intelligence collection and production methods or sources of information.”

They also refused to say if any foreign government, or the NSA, paid for any position within the bureaux, or if there were any secondees.

Where the money comes from and what it is spent on is the cornerstone of Parliamentary accountability. But the GCSB apparently thinks that doesn’t apply to it. And this doesn’t just raise questions about their loyalty to New Zealand but also to our democratic system.

It may also breach the Public Finance Act. The cornerstone of that Act – and of our constitutional tradition since the C18th – is that public money cannot be spent without the authorisation of Parliament. Which means that Parliament controls what the government can do by holding the purse strings. But secret bribes from the NSA would permit the GCSB to circumvent that control, to do things not authorised by Parliament, to run riot in our name.

This isn’t acceptable. If GCSB isn’t accountable to Parliament, then it cannot be permitted to exist. ISC, which has financial oversight of the GCSB and is the only body which sees its appropriations, needs to conduct a line-by-line review of its income and spending, to ensure that they are obeying the Public Finance Act. And if the GCSB is not willing to submit to it and disclose totally the sources of their funding, then they need to be terminated as an organisation: their budget cut, their statute repealed, their staff sacked, and their equipment destroyed.

 

=============================================================

Of course it could be because of the significiant denial that NRT has also pointed out..

“An operational matter”

When the GCSB refused to reveal whether it was being bribed by the NSA, it hid behind a clause in the Intelligence and Security Committee Act that the ISC could not inquire into “any matter that is operationally sensitive, including any matter that relates to intelligence collection and production methods or sources of information”. So what’s “operationally sensitive” according to the GCSB? Looking at the questions and answers received, there’s an interesting pattern: Whether the GCSB spies on all our metadata is not “operationally sensitive”. Neither is whether it spies on the citizens of other Five Eyes partners – things you’d expect to go to the core of their operations. But when Parliament asks about whether it is obeying the Public Finance Act, or whether it has formal NSA moles in its organisation, then suddenly its an “operational matter” which they can’t answer. The natural conclusion: they do and there are – because if either allegation was false, they’d just deny it.

13 comments on “NRT: So much for Parliamentary oversight”

  1. One Anonymous Bloke 1

    The Snowden Files, chapter 4,773, Miscellany.

    cable from NSA HOS Australasia

    to HQ.

    re. 50M pesos NZ$ payment.

    Advise codename Masters of Cyberspace for sale in exchange for a lifetime subscription to Hustler and open account at “the pie cart”. Query action re pesos NZ$

  2. Tracey 2

    ” Round, blank boyish face. Dead eyes. You see him and you just don’t trust the guy.
    …. Something detached and distant, cold and submerged, like an iceberg. ” SST 23 Feb 2014

    John key’s government and the IRD… who’s telling the truth?

    ” Kiwis could be forced to surrender their private details to United States authorities as part of a deal to combat tax-dodging.

    Those affected could include high-profile New Zealanders in entertainment, sports and business who have previously lived in the US.

    The Government has stressed the law changes to override New Zealanders’ privacy protections will affect only expat Americans..

    However, Inland Revenue has confirmed it could include collecting and passing on the private details of New Zealand citizens to US tax authorities.

    The move is part of the US’ controversial global push to catch tax dodgers, known as Fatca, by requiring all banks and financial institutions to supply US tax authorities with account details of “US persons”. Many countries, including Britain, have reached deals similar to the one between the US and New Zealand. “

    • veutoviper 2.1

      Tracey, I assume this is the SST article that you are referring to

      http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/money/9755430/American-tax-grab-may-target-Kiwis

      While it relates to the passing of information to the US tax authorities, it does not relate directly to the subject of this post which is the accountability of the GCSB (and other intelligence agencies) to Parliament and the NZ public.

      The legislative changes currently before Parliament which the above SST article refers to are contained in the Taxation (Annual Rates, Emplyee Allowances, and Remedial Matters) Bill which was introduced on 22 November 2013 and had its first reading on 10 December 2013. The Select Committee considering the Bill is currently considering submissions which closed on 5 February – ie there was a very short period only for submissions, although the Select Committee is not due to report back to the House until 10 June 2014.

      The relevant changes in this Bill would override NZ privacy laws to force banks and other financial institutions in NZ to comply with US government requirements to provide the US with private financial and other details of people in NZ subject to US taxation requirements.

      It does not relate directly to the role and activities of the GCSB (or SIS etc) although IMO the proposed changes in this Bill relate to the inciduous undermining of NZ domestic law, and the privacy of NZ citizens and residents.

      I commented on this Bill back on Open Mike on 4 Feb when an earlier article appeared on Stuff, but Alwyn was the only one who responded to my comment.

      http://thestandard.org.nz/open-mike-04022014/#comment-768181

  3. Macro 3

    This isn’t acceptable. If GCSB isn’t accountable to Parliament, then it cannot be permitted to exist. ISC, which has financial oversight of the GCSB and is the only body which sees its appropriations, needs to conduct a line-by-line review of its income and spending, to ensure that they are obeying the Public Finance Act. And if the GCSB is not willing to submit to it and disclose totally the sources of their funding, then they need to be terminated as an organisation: their budget cut, their statute repealed, their staff sacked, and their equipment destroyed.

    Hear! Hear!

    That shower need to be taken in hand – they are out of control and the Minister responsible (yes we’re looking at you Key) held to account

  4. blue leopard (Get Lost GCSB Bill) 4

    There are so many untruths spewing forth from this government it really is hard to keep them all in mind.

    This is a tactic – one of overwhelming the public – it is all turning into a blur – hard to mobilise against -but let’s not forget that it is time for this government to gothey are not to be trusted

    Take a look at it: those currently in power are even so cynical that they are using the public perception of ‘politicians are untrustworthy’ to attack Labour, the Greens and Mana – so that the public ‘run toward the chains that bind them’ i.e National – the unholy liars that they are – get in again.

    Time to stop swallowing the misinformation spewing forth from this incompetent mickey mouse set up of a government

    Time to vote more trustworthy people to represent our interests.

    • adam 4.1

      But Blue, a vote will not do much to change the real structural problems we have in our society. Why do you think so many people have given up voting? If voting changed anything when a system is sick and squeezed as this one – you know they’d make it illegal.

      Yes vote (if you must) , but we need to do so much more at this point. It is not enough when our fundamentals which drive our society are now so out of whack. Our economy is about feeding the rich as quickly as possible and damn anyone who gets in the way. Why do they need the spies – they know its wrong and people are not as stupid as they want.

      And the lies that national tell are the lies people want to hear. They want good news, no matter what. And Key, lying bugger that he is – is good at telling positive lies. Along side this – have you forgot our economy is smaller than Krafts and they hold the key to many jobs and the keys to Keys office – along with a few other lobbyists.

      • blue leopard (Get Lost GCSB Bill) 4.1.1

        I’m not talking about structural problems though am I? I’m talking about a reasonable expectation from our politicians that they show a principled respect for the existing system and for the peoples’ interests they are elected to represent.

        Those not voting out of a principled belief the system is faulty are just allowing the worst of the worst to stay in power.

        I would prefer the best of the bunch on offer to be in power while waiting for the revolution – and good luck with that – I’m not holding my breath on that one – we appear to live in a country where most are content with smoke and mirrors and sweet sweet lies rather than addressing real issues.

  5. Philj 5

    Xox
    Failure to answer to potential USA funding of our Government security Agencies? Unbelievable. I cannot comprehend this being the situation, and what it represents.

  6. Murray Olsen 6

    Get rid of them. The GCSB do about as much for Aotearoa as a parliament full of Tories and Rogernomes does.

  7. shorts 7

    I am all for disbanding the GCSB and if necessary replacing them with a smaller and more accountable agency

    I’d be very interested to see a political party raise this as a action they’d pursue if put into power – ie a potential vote catcher, if handled correctly (ie can over come the without the gcsb terrorism call that would come from the minister in charge)

  8. Tracey 8

    Key is taking us down the usa path. paranoia driven policies to spy on ordinary people. by kow towing to the usa, key is allowing their paranoia to drive his oversight of gcsb. tge usa has managed to convince itself that some ordinary folks require surveillance. key appears to need little persuasion.

    anyone who thinks that our security services have not been consistently used for political means and to single out imagined as well as real threats have closed their eyes to history.

    keith locke spied on from the age of 11!

  9. captain hook 9

    anyone who listened to Jack Hitt this a.m. on 9-noon will have heard him assert that Washingotn is now run by banal poltroons. This is exactly the same thing that has happend here in New Zealand. Parliament is being suffocated by overeducated nitwits who dont know anything.
    The more these post modern fools whose wind the thing into a ball of wax and inanity the more we can expect to see idiocy prevail.
    I nearly puked when I listened to David Cunliffe go on about the team.
    fuck the team.
    where are the jobs?

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Saudi sheep deal still stinks
    Documents released today confirm Treasury were not aware of any threat of legal action from a Saudi businessman to justify the Government handing over millions of dollars in taxpayers’ money, Labour MP David Parker says. “Almost $12 million has been ...
    10 hours ago
  • Assaults up over the past year
    The Government needs to take a good look at the latest statistics  out today from the Statistics Department that shows there were 3,000 more assaults in 2015-16 than the previous year, says Labour’s Police spokesperson Stuart Nash.  “That  is a ...
    11 hours ago
  • More last minute policy from a Government with no housing plan
    Paula Bennett’s policy to fund $9 million worth of support services is much-needed help for the homeless but smacks of yet another last minute, short-sighted and piecemeal decision, Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little says. “Funding services for two years ...
    15 hours ago
  • SFO given more info on ex Ministry staffer
    More information on the background and past activities of a former senior Ministry of Transport manager, being investigated for alleged fraud, is coming to light, Labour’s Transport Spokesperson Sue Moroney says. “Today, I have ensured that information on Joanne Harrison’s ...
    17 hours ago
  • Petition for free vote on Shop Trading Hours Bill
    “Labour is petitioning the Government to allow National Party MPs to have a free vote over Easter shop trading legislation, says Pacific Island Affairs spokesperson Su’a William Sio.  “The Bill which allows shop trading on Easter Sundays has just had ...
    1 day ago
  • Council must build on heritage, not destroy it
    Auckland Council must move to ensure there are heritage protections in place following recommendations that demolition restrictions be tossed out, Labour’s Arts, Culture and Heritage spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says. The panel considering the Unitary Plan has recommended removing partial protections ...
    1 day ago
  • Numbers of Māori waiting for homes grows
    With the number of Māori households waiting for homes increasing by more than 20 per cent in the past year, it’s time the Māori Party admits its support of the Government’s state house sell-off has made life worse for whānau, ...
    1 day ago
  • Children’s ministry, but only for some
    The Government is stigmatising a whole cohort of young New Zealanders while leaving others behind with its creation of a Ministry for Vulnerable Children, Labour’s Children’s spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says. “Confirmation of the move by Hekia Parata, an acting Minister, ...
    2 days ago
  • QUESTIONS FOR (ORAL) ANSWER – Thursday 28TH OF JULY
    While Parliament might be in recess, there are still plenty of things that Ministers need to answer for. So the Labour team has put together six of the best questions that the Government should be answering today (plus a special ...
    2 days ago
  • Fee fi fo fum…tax swindle comes undone
    At the same time the Government is looking to pump more cash into private schools the IRD is investigating several over a tax swindle which allows parents to falsely claim private school fees as donations and claim a rebate, Labour’s ...
    2 days ago
  • Government scuppers affordability requirements
    The Government must explain why the panel considering Auckland’s unitary plan removed affordability requirements at the behest of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment and Housing NZ, Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little says. “Labour welcomes the Independent Hearing ...
    2 days ago
  • National pushes on with failed state house sell-off
    Merchant bankers, overseas companies and property developers will be lining up to buy 364 state houses in Horowhenua during two days of “market sounding” meetings starting tomorrow, Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little says. “Despite a housing crisis and families ...
    3 days ago
  • QUESTIONS FOR (ORAL) ANSWER- WEDNESDAY 27TH OF JULY
    While Parliament might be in recess, there are still plenty of things that Ministers need to answer for. So the Labour team has put together six of the best questions that the Government should be answering today (plus a special ...
    3 days ago
  • Andrew Little’s International Affairs Speech
    Tena Koutou Katoa Can I begin by acknowledging: Sir Doug Kidd, President, NZ Institute of International Affairs Maty Nikkhou-O’Brien, Executive Director, who did all the organising for today’s event. Labour’s foreign affairs spokesperson David Shearer. Victoria University of Wellington law ...
    3 days ago
  • Inquiry into surgical mesh needed now
    The Government must urgently launch a Ministerial inquiry into surgical mesh after more than 500 patients have lodged claims of complications with the ACC, say Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King.  “This is the most widespread crisis involving surgical devices in ...
    3 days ago
  • Crime on the increase yet again
    Police Minister Judith Collins’ contention that crime is falling has proven to be wrong yet again, with latest Police statistics showing an increase in most crimes, Labour’s Police spokesperson Stuart Nash says. “Figures for June 2016 show an increase in ...
    3 days ago
  • Major reform of careers and apprenticeships to meet Future of Work
    The next Labour Government will transform careers advice in high schools to ensure every student has a personalised career plan, Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little says. “Today I am announcing the next Labour Government will commit to a major ...
    4 days ago
  • DOC struggles on the pest front undermine Nats’ predator-free promise
    The Government’s planned predator-free initiative comes at the same time as the Department of Conservation is facing major challenges to keep pest numbers down, says Labour’s Conservation spokesperson Nanaia Mahuta.  “DOC’s annual report shows it failed on 5 out of ...
    4 days ago
  • QUESTIONS FOR (ORAL) ANSWER- TUESDAY 26TH OF JULY
    While Parliament might be in recess, there are still plenty of things that Ministers need to answer for. So the Labour team has put together six of the best questions that the Government should be answering today (plus a special ...
    4 days ago
  • Unfunded CYF a ticking time bomb
    The Ministry of Social Development is sitting on a ticking time bomb with Child, Youth and Family out of pocket by $56 million despite increased demand for its services, Labour’s Children’s spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says. “The new entity that’s replacing ...
    4 days ago
  • Lack of any real funding in predator free proposal
    Predator Free New Zealand is a laudable idea but the Government has not committed any real money into killing New Zealand’s pests, says Labour’s Conservation spokesperson Nanaia Mahuta.  “The $28 million earmarked for this project is just to set up ...
    4 days ago
  • Andrew Little Speech to LGNZ Conference
    Thank you for having me here today. Local Government New Zealand’s work of advocating for New Zealand’s 78 local councils is critical as we upgrade New Zealand’s economy, and make sure it’s delivering for all our people. Whether in Auckland, ...
    4 days ago
  • John Key must sack out-of-depth Trade Minister
    The Prime Minister must sack Todd McClay for failing to do his job as Trade Minister and be on top of a significant potential threat to some of our biggest exporters, Opposition Leader Andrew Little says. “Todd McClay is clearly ...
    4 days ago
  • 45,000 Kiwis sent back to their GPs
    Last year nearly 45,000 Kiwis were sent back to their GPs without getting to see specialists they were referred to, says Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King. “This is a shocking figure and underlines how far the cut of $1.7 billion ...
    5 days ago
  • Half a million smells like pure cronyism
    The National/ACT Government’s decision to pump hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars into a new lobby group to advocate for charter schools shows just how much of a failure their ideological experiment has become, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. ...
    5 days ago
  • Select committee changes Kermadec/Rangitāhua Ocean Sanctuary Bill
    Photo by Tom Hitchon Parliament’s Local Government and Environment Committee has made many changes to the Kermadec/Rangitāhua Ocean Sanctuary Bill in response to public submissions, particularly submissions from iwi authorities and Te Ohu Kaimoana.   Read the amended Bill and the ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage
    6 days ago
  • Housing map a hit as crisis spreads across NZ
    More than 55,000 New Zealanders have used Labour’s interactive housing map in its first week to see how the housing crisis is affecting their local community, Labour Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “Our innovative map shows the housing crisis is ...
    1 week ago
  • Bridges must come clean about fraud within transport
    Hundreds of thousands of dollars of public money have gone missing and  the Minister of Transport, Simon Bridges must come clean after the Labour party revealed that a senior manager is being investigated for serious fraud, says Labour’s Transport Spokesperson ...
    1 week ago
  • Labour supports Spencer victory
    Labour congratulates Margaret Spencer for her tireless efforts in challenging the Government over family carer rights, says Labour’s Deputy Leader Annette King. ...
    1 week ago
  • US Warship visit welcomed by Labour
    Labour sees the United States warship visit as a red letter day for New Zealand’s non-nuclear status, which is core to our identity and has defined us a nation for 30 years, says Labour’s Deputy Leader Annette King. ...
    1 week ago
  • Time for honest dairy sector conversation
    ...
    1 week ago
  • What next? Dog kennels?
    Social Housing Minister Paula Bennett needs to explain why the Government thinks it is acceptable for it to refer families to live in garages and sheds, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “This is a new low, just when you ...
    1 week ago
  • Banks bust a move, Government possum in the headlights
    Three of the big four banks have acted responsibly by bringing the shutters down on property speculators earlier than required by the Reserve Bank, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “It’s a shame the Government isn’t as motivated to act ...
    1 week ago
  • Latest OECD dairy forecast raises serious questions for economy
    The latest global dairy price forecast shows that New Zealand dairy farmers will not reach a break-even payout before 2019 at the earliest, and will not reach the dairy price factored into this year’s Budget until after 2025, Labour’s Finance spokesperson ...
    1 week ago
  • National’s reckless, out of touch approach to economy exposed
    Today’s economic assessment from the Reserve Bank highlights the danger to the New Zealand economy from a National government that is recklessly complacent in the face of a housing crisis and a struggling export sector, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says. ...
    1 week ago
  • GP’s visits get more expensive
      Visiting the GP is set to become more expensive after the Government ignored warnings that people were not receiving access to affordable  healthcare, says Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King.  “Over 400,000 New Zealanders who should be able to access ...
    1 week ago
  • Farm prices bear brunt of dairy downturn
    The slump in dairy prices that has seen farm prices drop to their lowest level since 2012 and down a third from their peak in 2014 will be of concern to farmers, banks and our overall financial stability, Labour’s Finance ...
    1 week ago
  • Reserve Bank “gets on with it”, National carries on in denial
    The proposal by the Reserve Bank to tighten loan to value ratios for investors shows they are prepared to do their bit to crack down on speculators, while National is still stuck in denial mode, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Housing crisis holds up interest rate cuts
    The housing crisis that National still wants to deny is stifling the New Zealand economy, says Labour’s Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson. “The latest Consumers Price Index shows that all prices excluding housing and household utilities decreased 0.5 per cent – ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Housing crisis holds up interest rate cuts
    The housing crisis that National still wants to deny is stifling the New Zealand economy, says Labour’s Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson. “The latest Consumers Price Index shows that all prices excluding housing and household utilities decreased 0.5 per cent – ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Govt’s state house sell-off ramping up
    Government plans to ramp up the state house sell-off by selling another 1000 houses in 2016/17 will mean more families in need missing out, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. “New figures show the Government plans to sell 1000 ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Govt’s state house sell-off ramping up
    Government plans to ramp up the state house sell-off by selling another 1000 houses in 2016/17 will mean more families in need missing out, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. “New figures show the Government plans to sell 1000 ...
    2 weeks ago
  • National must reassure exporters on dumping case
        The National Government needs to show our key exporters that they are in control of any anti-dumping case against China before it damages some of our most important industries, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says.     ...
    2 weeks ago
  • National must reassure exporters on dumping case
        The National Government needs to show our key exporters that they are in control of any anti-dumping case against China before it damages some of our most important industries, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says.     ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Papers describe litany of incredulity
    Treasury documents which slate the Government’s plans for a national bowel screening programme confirm the proposal was nothing more than a political stunt to cover up underfunding of the health sector, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette Kings says.  The papers were ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Effect of rampant house prices widens
    The latest house price figures from REINZ show the housing crisis expanding throughout the country, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “We are seeing steep increases in median house prices in Central Otago Lakes – up 42.4% in the last ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Public invited to have say on homelessness
    People who are homeless, those who were once homeless, those working with the homeless and concerned New Zealanders are being asked to share their experiences and solutions to this growing issue with the Cross-Party Homelessness Inquiry. This inquiry was launched ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Sorry seems to be the hardest word
    An apology from Hekia Parata to the people of Christchurch is long overdue, Labour's Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. "As if the earthquakes weren't traumatic enough, Hekia Parata and the Ministry of Education then attacked the one thing that had ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Housing crisis affecting more than 98 per cent of NZ
    Labour’s new housing map shows the housing crisis is now affecting more than 98 per cent of New Zealand, Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little says. “Housing pressures have seen house prices rise faster than wages in all but four ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Uber might not be a taxi firm but it must pay tax
    Uber needs to explain how it paid only $9000 in tax when it earned $1m in revenue and is one of the fastest growing companies in the country, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Uber New Zealand appears to be ...
    2 weeks ago

Public service advertisements by The Standard

Current CO2 level in the atmosphere