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A Breakdown.

Written By: - Date published: 10:44 am, November 26th, 2014 - 25 comments
Categories: Abuse of power, blogs, corruption, john key, journalism, Judith Collins, national, phil goff, spin - Tags: ,


The SIS released information to John Key’s office. The information was inaccurate and maybe it should never have been given to the PM’s Office. That can be put down to mendacity or incompetence, but relates only to the SIS and how it operates.


John Key’s office passed the basic gist of information they’d received from the SIS onto Cameron Slater, and allegedly instructed him on how best to word OIA requests that would back up what they (the PM’s Office) were already telling him. Cameron Slater published blog posts, embarrassing to Phil Goff, off the back of that information.


Judith Collins was stood down from cabinet on the back of mere hear-say contained in an email from Cameron Slater to Jason Ede. This was only ever going to be a distraction from ‘Dirty Politics’, and an attempt to salvage the character and good standing of Judith Collin’s (and the National Party). Just about every-one took their eye off the ball – the allegations contained in Nicky Hager’s book – at the time she was stood down.


The only matter that should be concerning anyone in all of this is whether the PM’s office used information it had received from the SIS to undermine and smear the then Leader of the Opposition.

The accuracy and what not of the information from the SIS, and the systems of accountability or judgement in reference to the SIS, important though they may be, are secondary to the principle matter of a Prime Minister using information received from the SIS for party political gain.

Meanwhile, Judith Collin’s and her alleged desire to undermine Feeley, are entirely separate and irrelevant to a Prime Minister using information received from the SIS for party political gain.

So. Did the Prime Minister of New Zealand mis-use information, received from the New Zealand Security Intelligence Services, for party political gain? Any other questions? Not from me.


25 comments on “A Breakdown. ”

  1. Tracey 1

    Remember when REALLY important stuff had to be investigated by the police?


    before the apologists jump in, I consider it was foolish and deceitful to have done this. Bad judgment in a PM is NEVER a good thing.

    here is a piece from John Armstrong from back in
    the day, makes for interesting reading on the subject of alleged bias of the press BUT note his distinction between personal naughtiness and …


  2. Tracey 2

    Remember during election campaigns when the Herald journos would go the extra mile for a story?


  3. Weepus beard 3

    So here’s a simple, stripped back, breakdown.

    Did the Prime Minister of New Zealand mis-use information, received from the New Zealand Security Intelligence Services, for party political gain? Any other questions? Not from me.

    The question is too narrow and the breakdown too stripped back, I think.

    Key has already denied it and it appears to be unprovable under the rules which he himself drew up.

    The question should be wider to include, “Did the Prime Minister of New Zealand mis-use, or was he a knowing party to the misuse, by his office, of information received from…”

    • Tracey 3.1

      IF the PM had not deliberately changed the reporting lines between the SIS and the PM (as stated in the report) there would be no question that either Tucker or the PM is accountable for the release to Slater ahead of the journalists.

      This is a stark example of the two track politics described in Dirty Politics. The PM changed the reporting lines to enable him to be both knowledgeable of what was going on but not definitely accountable.

      Security was not uppermost in his mind but rather a political strategy. By doing so he put his own interests ahead of the country.

      • Macro 3.1.1

        “By doing so he put his own interests ahead of the country.”

        But Key’s relaxed about that Tracey…

        Sleep on NZ – We’re watching.

      • Bill 3.1.2

        If the SIS had released to journalists off their own back…or to Slater off their own back, then the story would be about their judgement in releasing politically sensitive material (as well as the accuracy of the material).

        But the point is that the PM (or his office, for which he’s responsible, and I don’t care much for whatever spin is put on the labels to create mythical distance for him), encouraged/engineered/deliberately put out there, politically advantageous information that they had and that came from the SIS.

        • adam

          May I point out, just incase anyone has forgotten – Where honest John Key works from the majority of the time is – The Prime Ministers Office. An office where by constitutional convention and realpolitik, he is responsible for, as Prime Minister. He can try to distance himself from this but, each time he does, I grin a little more – he is effectively undermining his own position as Prime Minister. If he is not working in or running the Prime Ministers Office, then he is nothing more than a head on a body with the title of Prime Minister.

    • aerobubble 3.2

      Am i missing something. Key used the smearing of Goff, knew about it, it was par for the course, that Goff had been gotcha-ed, looking either lying or incompetent by Tucker. Key knew, he’s a politician, he knew Tucker was unassailable hiding behind state secrecy, and Key did nothing. Even if he did not know, every day after the fact he was an accomplice to the state smearing the leader of the Opposition. Our democracy died when the PM failed to react and sent the clear message, opposition be damned, he’s the dictator now.

  4. Anne 4

    The more accurate question:

    Was the Prime Minister of New Zealand a knowing party to the misuse, by his office, of information received from the directorate of the NZSIS?

    The answer is an unequivocal YES.

    It was no coincidence the activity occurred while the prime minister was having a week’s holiday in Hawaii. That was to be his alibi.

    If the voters believe that then they are deserving of the contempt in which they are treated by this shabby spectacle of a government.

    • Bill 4.1

      It doesn’t matter a fuck where he was. He’s the one responsible for the actions of the office and the office staff. End.

      • Kiwiri - Raided of the Last Shark 4.1.1

        The buck stops with him. Full stop.

        • BassGuy

          Harry S. Truman was onto it – when you’re in the top office in the land, you are responsible for everything that happens in your government.

          That’s why they get paid the big bucks. Strangely, like so many employers today, they get paid the big bucks but shuffle the responsibility on to minions.

    • Macro 4.2

      He rang Tucker to confirm the matter – so obviously he did.

      But the buck must stop with Key. He played fast and loose with NZ security – passing over oversight to his political activist minions, and then is not surprised when they act in a partisan way for his benefit. (Would he sack de Joux, and Ede? No!)

      • Tracey 4.2.1

        Can you quote the paragraph which says Key phone Tucker. Hooton claimed this yesterday but the paragraph he relied upon appears to have ticker calling Key.

  5. Lanthanide 5

    Something I seem to have missed in all of this.

    How was the information inaccurate / misleading? Was Goff not in fact informed by the SIS about the Israeli terrorists at all, and then they said he was?

    • Bill 5.1

      Full briefing (would be remembered) versus passing mention (would not necessarily be remembered and may not even have registered).

      • Lanthanide 5.1.1


      • Bob 5.1.2

        So if it turns out Kim Dotcom was discussed with John Key in a ‘passing mention’ he would get the same leniency? Remembering Phil Goff was the leader on the opposition at that stage and therefore should be held to the same standards.

        • adam

          Pulling up Kim Dotcom at this point is weak. Dotcom, is not in any position to use any spy agency, for his own political ends. So Bob, you’re either trolling or you’re not understanding the fundamental power differential.

  6. Deceitful. That’s the word that should be used to describe John Key.
    Deceives – what he does.
    Deceived – what New Zealanders have been and are being.

  7. Bob 7


    Phil Goff passed the basic gist of information he’d received from the Gwyn Inquiry onto every journalist he could while it was still embargoed, and allegedly instructed them on how best to word the articles so they would back up what Phil Goff wanted it to say. Every half baked journalist that listened published articles, attempting to embarrass John Key off the back of that information.


    • adam 7.1

      You better offer some support for that statement there Bob. Because your looking like you really don’t know what your talking about.

  8. aerobubble 8

    The last few days prove Key cannot be trusted, even if he had nothing to do with the smear, his actions since say he is not fit to be PM.

    • b waghorn 8.1

      He has not been fit to be pm since he spread a heap of lies about Winston in 2008 that stuck long enough for him to win.

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