web analytics
The Standard

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

  • How many victims missing out on protection?
    Hundreds of domestic abuse victims could be missing out on getting protection orders because they are unable to get legal aid, Labour’s Justice spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says.“In the last two years some 351 people who applied for legal aid for… ...
    21 hours ago
  • Government kicks hardworking whanau
    A major incentive to help young Kiwis and people on low incomes to start saving has been kicked out from under them with the National-led Government ramming through short-sighted legislation under Urgency today, Labour’s Maori Development Spokesperson Nanaia Mahuta says.… ...
    22 hours ago
  • Speculator tax political stunt gone wrong
    Bill English’s admission he doesn’t know whether National’s new speculator tax will have any effect shows last weekend’s announcement by the Prime Minister was a desperate political stunt, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “This Government is so desperate to… ...
    1 day ago
  • The value of parenting
    This week, as part of the Budget, the government introduced a bill to address child poverty. This bill will require parents receiving income support to look for part-time work once their youngest child is three years of age rather than… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    1 day ago
  • Another new tax, another broken promise
    National has unveiled yet another new tax in this budget – a rural broadband levy that will almost certainly result in an immediate price hike for internet and telephone connections across New Zealand, Labour’s ICT spokesperson Clare Curran said “The… ...
    2 days ago
  • Anniversary of Sri Lankan Tamil Massacre
    This is not going to be a happy story but if the Green Party of Aotearoa doesn’t want to know who else will? May 18th marks the anniversary of what is known as the ‘Mullivaikal massacre’ of Tamils in 2009 at… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    2 days ago
  • Labour MPs join youth to take part in 40 hour famine
    A team of Labour MPs took part in the 2015 World Vision 40 hour famine and we were told by World Vision and the young people, that it was the first time MPs had joined them and how appreciative they… ...
    2 days ago
  • Rodeo: ‘Family entertainment’ or animal abuse?
    Recently  TVNZ ran a story with confronting footage showing rodeo animals being punched, repeatedly shocked with electronic prods and having their tails violently twisted over their backs. It was clear that significant force was being used behind the scenes to make… ...
    GreensBy Mojo Mathers MP
    2 days ago
  • Budget puts the squeeze on police
    The Government has cut funding to the New Zealand police force in the latest Budget, says Labour’s Police spokesperson Kelvin Davis. “The reduction is a whopping $15.3 million that could put front line officers at risk. ...
    2 days ago
  • Crucial social services take another hit
    The Government looks set to slash half a million dollars of funding for critical social services, including Women’s Refuge and Barnados, says Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni “Taking $500,000 from organisations aimed at improving the lives of vulnerable families… ...
    2 days ago
  • Saying it Loud on Climate in Christchurch
    The Government’s Christchurch consultation meeting on New Zealand’s emission targets was inspiring – not for what was in the Ministry for the Environment’s (MFE’s) defeatist video about the obstacles to changing to a low carbon future, but for what the… ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage MP
    2 days ago
  • Budget silent on small business
    The Government has completely ignored one of the most important sectors of the economy – small and medium-sized enterprises – in Budget 2015, Labour’s Small Business spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says. "A stunning 41 per cent of jobs were created by… ...
    2 days ago
  • Thank you John, it’s been bloody marvellous
    The departure of John Campbell is a blow to current affairs investigative journalism, Labour’s Broadcasting Spokesperson Clare Curran says. “Campbell Live stood out in its field. Its axing comes as local broadcasting in New Zealand remains in a state of… ...
    2 days ago
  • KiwiSaver cut shows no long-term plan
    National’s cutting of the KiwiSaver kickstart is incredibly short-term thinking, typical of a Budget that is woefully short on ideas to generate wealth and opportunity, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says. “New Zealand’s savings rate is far too low. KiwiSaver… ...
    2 days ago
  • National hits the panic button for its 7th Budget
    National has hit the panic button for its 7th Budget in a desperate attempt to look like they’re taking action to reduce our shameful child poverty rates, but they are giving with one hand and taking with the other, Opposition… ...
    3 days ago
  • Panic and back-flips can’t hide twin deficits
    National’s token measures to fight fires they have left burning for seven long years can’t hide a Budget that is long on broken promises, short on vision and fails to reach surplus, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “After being… ...
    3 days ago
  • Auckland land measure seven years too late
    National are so desperate to look like they are doing something about the Auckland housing crisis they have dusted off Labour’s 2008 inventory of government land available for housing and re-announced it, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “Despite National… ...
    3 days ago
  • Access to gender reassignment surgery essential
    I was frankly disgusted to hear the Minister for Health say that funding gender reassignment surgeries is a “nutty idea”. A recent study found that in New Zealand 1% of young people identified themselves as transgender, and 3% were unsure… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    4 days ago
  • Global milk prices now lowest in 6 years
    The latest fall in the global dairy price has brought it to the lowest level in six years and shows there must be meaningful action in tomorrow’s Budget to diversify the economy, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Dairy prices… ...
    4 days ago
  • Big risks as CYF checks stopped
    Revelations that Child, Youth and Family is no longer assisting home-based early childhood educators by vetting potential employees should set alarm bells ringing, Labour Children’s spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says. “Doing away with an extra mechanism for checking potential new employees… ...
    5 days ago
  • Housing crisis about real people not numbers
    The Government’s continued failure to tackle the housing crisis is seeing thousands of vulnerable Kiwis being kept off social housing waiting lists, while others, who are on the list, are being forced to live in cars and garages, says Labour’s… ...
    5 days ago
  • Housing crisis about real people not numbers
    The Government’s continued failure to tackle the housing crisis is seeing thousands of vulnerable Kiwis being kept off social housing waiting lists, while others, who are on the list, are being forced to live in cars and garages, says Labour’s… ...
    5 days ago
  • State of origin
    Kiwis are increasingly concerned about the food they give their families. New Zealand consumers have the right to know where their food has come from, particularly when it involves animals, and should be able to expect our Government to label… ...
    GreensBy Steffan Browning MP
    5 days ago
  • Relationships Aotearoa
    It is disturbing that Relationships Aotearoa, a voluntary organisation set up in 1949 to help couples struggling with their relationships following the upheavals of World War II, may be forced to close, says Acting Spokesperson for the Voluntary and Community… ...
    5 days ago
  • An economy that is just working for some is an economy that is not working
    The National Party presents itself as a great manager of the economy, but if the economy is only working for some we really need to question that assertion. Alongside the perpetually elusive surplus, the levels of risk in our economy are… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    5 days ago
  • An economy that is just working for some is an economy that is not working
    The National Party presents itself as a great manager of the economy, but if the economy is only working for some we really need to question that assertion. Alongside the perpetually elusive surplus, the levels of risk in our economy are… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    5 days ago
  • House prices to a crack $1 million in 17 months
    The average Auckland home is on track to cost $1 million in 17 months’ time if nothing substantial is done to rein in soaring price rises, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “Auckland’s house prices have skyrocketed 63 per cent… ...
    5 days ago
  • Vital support services can’t be left in lurch
    The National Government has big questions to answer about how a provider of services to thousands of vulnerable New Zealanders is set to fold, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says. Relationships Aotearoa which provides support and counselling to families, individuals… ...
    6 days ago
  • Treasury and IRD on a capital gains tax
    Both the Treasury and IRD have been advising the National Government on the benefits of a capital gains tax. Documents released to the Green Party under an Official Information Act request show that John Key has been selective with the… ...
    GreensBy Russel Norman MP
    6 days ago
  • Charity legislation needs review
    It is unacceptable that the big corporate based charities claim  millions in annual income tax exemptions, while small community based and operated non-profit organisations  struggle to gain official charity status, Labour’s acting spokesperson for the Voluntary and Community Sector Louisa… ...
    6 days ago
  • John’s panic-Key response to housing crisis
    John Key needs to tell New Zealanders what caused his sudden change of heart that led to the Government’s scrambled and last-minute housing measures, Opposition Leader Andrew Little says. “The Prime Minister’s sudden rush of blood to his head followed… ...
    6 days ago
  • Keep our Assets Christchurch Campaign: An update
    I recently presented my submission to keep Christchurch Council assets at the Christchurch City Council’s public hearings on its 10 year plan on 13 May. The hearings are live-streamed and recorded so you can watch them on www.ccc.govt.nz. The Council’s… ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage MP
    6 days ago
  • John Key finally admits there’s a housing crisis
    John Key’s weak measures to rein in the astronomical profits property speculators are making are an admission – finally – that there is a housing crisis, Labour Leader Andrew Little says. “But yet again National is tinkering with the housing… ...
    1 week ago
  • Government stifles voices in CYFs review
    The Government’s exclusion of the Māori Women’s Welfare League in a panel on the future of CYFs is a cynical ploy to stifle views, says Labour’s Māori Development Spokesperson Nanaia Mahuta. “It's unbelievable that a significant review on the future… ...
    1 week ago
  • Speech to the Otago Chamber of Commerce
    Thank you very much for the opportunity to be here today. It’s a pleasure as always to be back in the town that raised me. Growing up in St Kilda meant that there was one thing that was a big… ...
    1 week ago
  • Key can’t just be Prime Minister for Parnell
    John Key must show New Zealanders in next week’s Budget that he is more than the Prime Minister for Parnell, and is also the Prime Minister for Pine Hill, Putararu and Palmerston North, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says. In… ...
    1 week ago
  • Stop the conversions
    This week, some Waikato locals took me and intrepid photographer Amanda Rogers on a tour of some  lakes and waterways in their region, and up to the massive dairy conversions in the upper catchment of the Waikato River. It… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    1 week ago
  • More regional jobs go in Corrections reshape
    News that 194 Corrections staff are to lose their jobs will have ramifications not only for them and their families but for the wider community, Labour’s Corrections spokesperson Kelvin Davis says. Prison units at Waikeria, Tongariro and Rimutaka face closure… ...
    1 week ago
  • Government’s climate meetings off to a bumpy start
    On Wednesday, I attended a hui and an evening meeting that the Government had organised in Nelson as part of its climate change consultation tour, to support the Nelson community telling the Government to take meaningful action on climate change.… ...
    GreensBy Steffan Browning MP
    1 week ago
  • Taxpayers the only ones left feeling blue
    Ministry of Social Development bosses could have saved themselves thousands of dollars in consultants’ fees by providing staff with rose-tinted spectacles, Labour’s State Services spokesperson Kris Faafoi says. A report out today reveals the Ministry is spending over half a… ...
    1 week ago
  • Why are the regions still facing restrictions?
    Labour's Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford is questioning why the regions should continue to be saddled with LVR lending restrictions announced by the Reserve Bank today. “Labour has been calling for the regions to be exempted from LVRs for the best… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • The high costs of weak environmental regulation
    Te Waihora/Lake Ellesmere is described on the Department of Conservation website as “Canterbury’s largest and New Zealand’s fifth largest [lake], and an internationally important wildlife area.” But the lake is also polluted by nutrients leaching from farms in the catchment.… ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Submissions to Wellington City Council on their Gambling Venues Policy
    Every three years Councils across the country are required to check that their gambling venue policies are still fit for purpose and they can choose to consult on their policy if they are thinking of making changes. Councils don’t have… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Reserve Bank action shows Govt out of touch and out of ideas
    The Reserve Bank’s unprecedented measures today show it understands the serious risks of the overheating housing market – in complete contrast to John Key’s refusal to acknowledge the crisis, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says. “The Bank is right to… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Send us your snaps: 25 Years of the Green Party
    This year we've hit a milestone. We're turning 25.To help celebrate a quarter of a century, please send us your photos from the last 25 years of the Green Party Aotearoa New Zealand! Note: Photos must be jpg, gif or… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • 25 Years of the Green Party
    This year the Green Party sends 25. To help us celebrate a quarter of a century please send us you photos of 25 years of the Green Party!Photos must be jpg,gif or png and smaller than 2MB. If you are… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Bay growth plan too little too late
    Today’s Bay of Plenty growth study from MBIE is another example of Government spin - lots of talk but little action, says Labour’s Regional Development spokesperson David Cunliffe.  “This is a region that desperately needs to develop the downstream processing… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Government bows to ACC pressure
     The Government has finally buckled to pressure from Labour and the New Zealand public in making a half billion dollar cut to ACC levies, but the full benefits are two years away,” says Opposition Leader Andrew Little.  “$500 million over… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • False figures cloud Auckland transport facts
    The Prime Minister should apologise and issue a correction after both he and Transport Minister Simon Bridges have been caught out misrepresenting facts on Auckland’s transport spending, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. "Both John Key and Simon Bridges have… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Govt books confirm National can’t post surplus
    The last publication of the Government’s books before the budget shows National will break its promise of seven years and two election campaigns and fail to get the books in order, says Labour’s Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson. “The Government is… ...
    2 weeks ago

Public service advertisements by The Standard

Current CO2 level in the atmosphere