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An analogy

Written By: - Date published: 10:29 am, April 11th, 2013 - 65 comments
Categories: accountability, crime, democracy under attack, john key, Spying - Tags:

Before the soft-headed repetition of the Nats’ line goes on too long, here’s an analogy.

The GCSB Act says “Neither the Director, nor an employee of the Bureau … may … intercept the communications of … a New Zealand citizen or a permanent resident”. The Land Transport Act says “A person may not drive a motor vehicle on a road without an appropriate current driver licence”.

The GCSB’s justification for their illegal spying, that they knew they weren’t allowed to spy on New Zealanders but thought it was OK if they were acting on behalf of another agency that could, is like you not having a driver’s licence but saying it’s OK for you to drive if someone with a licence asks you to.

Try it next time you get pulled over. Tell the copper that John Key says its OK and he’s going to change the law to ‘clarify’ that.

Of course, it won’t work. In John Key’s New Zealand, it’s only the security agencies and ministers who are above the law.

65 comments on “An analogy ”

  1. Matthew 1

    The best part is, next time my GF accuses me of lying to her, I can just say “No i dont believe I have” & It will all be ok. I wont have to explain why I think that or anything. As long as I keep repeating it verbatim, its all good. Even if I change my story on a daily or weekly basis.
    Life is good.

  2. aerobubble 2

    Before the GCSC legislation, argued a govt minister, they did whatever they liked. So I guess its okay to break any law before, because people did whatever they wanted before the law was introduced.

    Might I remind people, that if Adolf Hitler run for parliament and became PM, and selected Goebells as hie chief spy master, then turning an external agency around to look internally, would hand unfettered power to the PM. That’ Key ‘s govt is actively considering letting GCSC doing so should shake their party to its core. Not one mention of the historical dangers. Not one of 59 politicians have any problem with their leader.

    Bridges on TV suggests that its all okay, as opposition critics have found a pesky lawyer to give a contrary position. I like to known the lawyers who are advising the government so come the
    inevitable fully parliamentary inquiry we can laugh them out of their jobs and then start questioning the competence of the universities that produced them, for their advise to Bridges is abysmal – whatever that is, even if it is well thought out.

    • North 2.1

      Come on…….Wee Simon is nothing more that a snotty-nosed punk ex-Crown prosecutor.

      Up-Himself little fuck with whom the tutors at Crosby Textor must be very pleased.

      Would love to see him try that shit with any one of several judges who come to mind.

      “Into Chambers Mr Bridges……..NOW !”

      • Ennui 2.1.1

        Simon sounds like he has a decided bias toward the prosecution which as we know is decidedly dangerous to justice in a judge or Minister of Justice.

        It is a bit of a worry every time something does not go a governments way it is used as an excuse to legislate. Precedent and history, and respect for hard earned “rights” get sacrificed very quickly to get a “result”.

  3. This whole issue shows to what depths politics in NZ is sinking to. As Eddie notes section 14 is very clear. The GCSB is not allowed to intercept communications of a Kiwi or permanent resident.

    There are further requirements, unless the interception is otherwise authorised the GCSB has to obtain a warrant, and the Minister (ie the PM) has to authorise the issuing of a warrant.

    A purpose of the GCSB is to cooperate with other public entities in the pursuit of its objectives but the act is very clear and unambiguous.

    Any director would realise that if they stumbled onto communications of a Kiwi or permanent resident they have to desist and destroy any information that they have.

    Key’s response is appalling. It is clear he knew that GCSB was trespassing into an area that it should not, and he did nothing. And the attempted manufacture of an opinion to somehow justify the spying on Dotcom is bizarre.

    Sounds like there will be more information released by Dotcom next week. This steady drip, drip, drip of damaging information from his camp is wonderful to watch …

    • DH 3.1

      The editorial in the Herald from their resident Nat apologist beggars belief.

      Editorial: GCSB law demands clarification


      They quote the relevant law and there’s clearly no room to manouvre on it, you can’t interpret it any other way than what it specifically says. Where is there the slightest hint that working for other agencies might exempt them from that piece of law? What’s there to clarify?

      • Pascal's bookie 3.1.1

        The contrast between that and Armstrong’s piece today is severe. Armstrong has the advantage of doing some basic background work on the question, so it could be argued that it’s an unfair comparison. But only if you think that practicing beforehand is cheating at sport.

        • DH

          It is severe, hadn’t read Armstrong’s article. He’s displaying a better grasp of right & wrong than his bosses, the editorial is the ‘Herald’ view. He’s an odd one, sometimes his articles on the Govt seem so fawning & obsequious you’d think he was up someone’s bum but other times he rips into ’em.

  4. North 4

    Great simile there Zet. Seems it’s only John Key and his ministers and the security agencies who struggle with Plain English in this country.

    We wouldn’t let kids in primary school get away with this bullshit. It’d be a report home to the parents – “Johnny must learn to tell the truth”.

  5. BM 5

    So if the government needs to spy on any New Zealander it’s ok if it’s the SIS but bad if it’s the GCSB?

    I don’t get it.

    • fender 5.1

      Having wasted time reading your comments over time, it’s obvious there’s much you don’t get.

    • Clockie 5.2

      Who says it’s OK if the SIS spy on NZ citizens? They’re another bunch of fuck-knuckles, lacking a moral compass, with a long history of overstepping their remit and embarrassing cock-ups.

    • North 5.3

      It’s manifest that you don’t “get” much BM.

      A government security agency breaks the law. Variously, its self-contradicting minister obfuscates, apologises, and calls for greater powers.

      What I “get” from your contributions BM is that you do not value democracy or the retention of a functioning civil society.

    • vto 5.4

      Yes you don’t get it.

      The issue is the government breaking the law, not that what you waffle about there.

      think man think

    • Colonial Weka 5.5

      “So if the government needs to spy on any New Zealander it’s ok if it’s the SIS but bad if it’s the GCSB?

      I don’t get it.”

      Actually, it’s a valid question, and I’d guess most NZers don’t know the answer. Leaving aside the issue of the GCSB having acted illegally against its own legislation, why is the SIS allowed to spy on NZers but the GCSB isn’t? If Key is to be stopped from changing GCSB legislation, then this needs to be well understood by the public and MSM.

      I’m guessing (but don’t really know and hope someone can clarify) that there are at least two reasons:

      1. it’s best for democracy to keep international spying separate from investigation of one’s own citizens.

      2. the SIS has different levels of oversight, legislation and process, making it more accountable to the special need of protecting NZ citizens. I don’t know what that oversight is though.

      • Pascal's bookie 5.5.1

        Yep on 1 and 2.

        An analogy could be that most everyone thinks it’s ok for the State to have a police force, a military and some prisons. They also think that it’s good they are all governed by different rules about what they can each do.

      • Huginn 5.5.2

        Grant Robertson explains that the GCSB isn’t allowed to spy on New Zealanders because the GCSB shares information with foreign powers.

        Of course, that’s exactly what may happened with Kim Dotcom if the information that the GCSB provided to the police was passed back to the FBI.


      • vto 5.5.3

        I say ban all spying in New Zealand.

        Problem solved.

  6. BM 6

    But isn’t this what this bollocks is all about.
    The police thought the fat German was a foreign citizen so the GCSB had to be involved, if they knew he was a NZ citizen then they would have done it themselves and there would have been no issue.

    It’s all very pedantic and there’s a serious whiff of emperors new clothes to the whole affair.

    • Macro 6.1

      and the 88 others – also nz citizens?
      You are so blindfolded BM – you are unbelievable!!

      • BM 6.1.1

        Might need to ask Grant Robinson about the other 87.
        He was working with the previous PM when all this shifty stuff was going on.

        • Pascal's bookie

          You should probably just ignore whale to be honest BM. There’s no shame in reading him of course, but repeating his logic outside his walls is pretty embarrassing.

        • framu

          so your saying the gcsb went rouge under helen clark, then stopped for several years, then got going again with dotcom?

          you also seem to be saying that govt agencies such as the police, sis and gcsb dont have the ability to contact immigration NZ and enquire about someones status. Which isnt true, they do it on a daily basis

    • felix 6.2

      Lolz. So you reckon the GCSB knew all along that it was illegal to spy on residents?

      • Pascal's bookie 6.2.1

        The diff between DotCom and the other 88 has yet to be explained really. We’ve been told it’s different, but not how.

        They thought they could spy on DC, the story goes, because they didn’t think he was a resident, (in spite of the SIS clearing him for residency and the big fireworks display and and all that they can’t be expected to remember evrything, jeez).

        But the 88, they are claiming they think they are ok because they were covereed by SIS or police warrants.

        Why they don’t think that latter excuse covers them for DotCom is a mystery.

        • One Anonymous Knucklehead

          Yeah, surely the extradition request requires an arrest warrant, in which case they could follow the normal (illegal) procedure and just go ahead and spy on him because OFCANZ asked nicely.

          (Incidentally, if there’s a technical function that only GCSB staff can perform why don’t they second a staff member to the SIS or police when there’s a warrant for the work? Make it “legal” without bringing in outsiders.)

          And why is Key telling so many fibs about it? Why didn’t he just front foot it from the start and look big and statesmanly? Shoddy.

          • Pascal's bookie

            Ok, I think I’ve got it now.

            The difference is that in the DotCom case the police didn’t have a warrant, and that’s why they asked for assistance, as a run-around the courts. The police didn’t want to ask for a warrant, and GCSB thought they could spy on him because he was a foreigner.

            In the other cases they are saying that the police/SIS warrants were all they needed.

    • Pascal's bookie 6.3

      hahahahahhahahahahahhahha no.

      Firstly, DotCom is a foreign citizen. There is no argument about that. He is also a NZ resident, which means, (read the act) the GCSB can’t spy on him Everyone has admitted this. All the elements of a crime under the crimes act have been admitted by the GCSB with regard to their unlawful spying on DotCom.

      Secondly, the police have jurisdiction to work in NZ. They are not limited to targeting NZ citizens you nonce. How would that work? Think about it for just a moment or two.

    • freedom 6.4

      dear BM, GCSB had already been spying, most likely at the behest of their masters, the (insert name of any number of foreign corporative slave governments) then came the call to arms from the FBI which required Police involvement (let us just overlook for now the true Public Inquiry that little action should have). The Police involvement is how the intial law breaking came to light, even though it had been previously placed on a shelf in a cupboard under the stairs in the flooded basement of a locked building with a due for demolition sign on the door. You really are a fake 3w bulb sometimes it is so boring.

      and PS as we are discovering there is no reality in any of this, especially when the Ketteridge report was not tasked with investigating issues relating to the DotCom affair in the first place.

      P.P.S. Bill English is an embarrassment beyond belief if he thinks his answers in the House today were worthy and convincing

  7. ‘Open Letter’ / Privacy Act Request to the Director of the GCSB, Ian Fletcher

    “It appears that I was given an incorrect email address for the GCSB by the Prime Minister’s Office – info@gcsb.govt.nz – when the correct address is Information@gcsb.govt.nz

    Following is my ‘Open Letter’ PRIVACY ACT (NOT Official Information Act) request, for which I would appreciate a prompt acknowledgment of receipt thereof.


    10 April 2013

    ‘Open Letter’ / Privacy Act Request to the Director of the GCSB, Ian Fletcher from Auckland Mayoral Candidate, Penny Bright.

    Dear Director,

    I am concerned that I may be one of the 88 New Zealanders who has been unlawfully spied upon by the GCSB.


    This morning I contacted the Prime Minister’s Department, to find out the proper process to follow, in order to find out if I was/am one of the 88 New Zealanders who has been unlawfully spied upon by the GCSB.

    I was advised to make a Privacy Act Request directly to the GCSB, to the following email address: info@gcsb.govt.nz

    Under the Privacy Act, I hereby request copies of all information held by the GCSB about myself – Penelope Mary Bright (aka Penny Bright).

    I look forward to your prompt response.

    Yours sincerely,

    Penny Bright
    ‘Anti-privatisation and anti-corruption campaigner’

    2013 Auckland Mayoral Candidate

    Occupy Auckland Appellant (in my own name)

  8. Poission 8

    the legislation precludes the gathering of information by the GSCB on new zealanders and permanent residents.As they are precluded to gather information a priory, they cannot gather or impart information to a third party even if requested end of story.

  9. Pascal's bookie 9

    LOL Q3 GRANT ROBERTSON to the Prime Minister: Did the acting Prime Minister inform him that he had signed a Ministerial certificate suppressing details of the involvement of the GCSB in Operation Debut when he returned from his overseas trip in August 2012; if not, why not?


    ACTING PRIME MINISTER BILL ENGLISH, Speaking on behalf of the PRIME MINISTER: “Erm no the Acting PM did not inform him about that because he’s a fucking idiot or some shit I don’t know”

    • Colonial Viper 9.1

      That was funny.

      • freedom 9.1.1

        What I don’t get is the mindset that makes supposedly talented professionals expose their true spineless identities. Where do these people get so brainwashed they believe it is acceptable that in order to defend the lies of others, they belittle their own abilities and thus insult the integrity and expectations of the office they hold?

        Of course in Blinglish’s case we have the exception to whatever rule might cover that scenario

        reminds me of a comment made on Tuesday night by a guest here at the studio.
        “Parliament should be professionals working with professionals in a professional manner”

        Watching House activities of late I don’t see it happening. The Opposition (and i specifically call out Labour who by far are creators of most of the noise) need to pull their head in a bit and be a lot more constructive. Strategy in QT seems a shadow of what it once was and I often feel I am watching auditions for guest spots on Seven Days. It is Parliament, and sure a bit of steam needs to be released now and again. the problem is the consistency of the boorishness. With growing regularity people are stating simply that they would appreciate our elected representatives grow up and do the job they are handsomely paid for. Then perhaps the ineffective Speaker would have less reason to be pissing all over them during QT.

        • ghostrider888

          read today a suggestion that they could improve Seven Days by letting go at least two of the presenters.

          • freedom

            -have only ever watched a couple of shows, so perhaps i am being harsh but thought it was just a half hour of predictable dumbing down of serious stuff to entertain and distract, if i want that i watch Parliament TV

  10. ianmac 10

    The SIS requires a warrant to spy.
    The GCSB apparently can spy without a warrant.

    • Clockie 10.1

      Did they require a warrant to spy on Keith Locke? Sutch? numerous unionists, political activists and members of Socialist Action etc? If so, on what possible grounds might those warrants have been issued? Does their right to spy under warrant include breaking and entering? Just wondered…

      Sorry. Just remembered, ellipses is frowned on by some… Obviously can’t be fans of e.e.cummings…

      • ghostrider888 10.1.1

        e-llipses preferable to e-lisps, Morrissey and Capote excepted; interestingly, MacGowan and Strummer were also rhotacists (like many Asian folk) go figure, a man ya don’t meet every day, sadly, due to an unfortunate boating accident. sigh.

    • ghostrider888 10.2

      you might be surprised how much time (and “hard-earned taxpayers money” spooks and stalkers appear to be able to waste on their fetishes; the colors pink and red get them going every morning).

      • Clockie 10.2.1

        Hence the meat pie and a penthouse in the briefcase. Class of ’81..

        • ghostrider888

          “Class of 1984” before American History X (I remember the briefcase, the face is coming 🙂 )

          • Clockie

            I wonder how many people remember that the 10 yr old boy who found the briefcase handed it to his mother, one Fran O’Sullivan…


            • ghostrider888

              a further musing; still spying on “pro-Chinese” groups are they? guess they were not provided with suitable background reading material. We Watch on with interest more diligently than they do it seems. 🙂

            • freedom

              Clockie, as a personal friend of said child i urge you to refrain from further trying to identify him as it has absolutely nothing to do with him and should not be brought to affect his life as an adult

              • freedom

                there was still ample time on the clock, why am I denied permission to edit my own post ?

                i can edit this one but not the one above?

              • Clockie

                freedom. I was not “trying to identify” anyone. The information I referenced is freely and publicly available online at the link I cited. It is part of the encyclopaedia of NZ. I think it’s too late to put that particular genie back in the bottle. I also think The “child” in question should be able to cope with this very minor infringement on his privacy at this stage of his life don’t you?

                • freedom

                  Yes he is more than capable of dealing with it, but that is what friends do right, look out for each other.

                  let’s just say I like to err on the side of caution on that particular story and although the breadcrumbs are there to collect, best they are covered by the falling leaves

    • One Anonymous Knucklehead 10.3

      Is that what the SIS & police have been using them for? Situations where they can’t get a warrant?

      Or is there a technical function only the GCSB can perform?

      And why has the Prime Minister been telling lies about it?

      • framu 10.3.1

        “Is that what the SIS & police have been using them for? Situations where they can’t get a warrant?”

        going by NRT, thats exactly what theyve been doing

  11. ghostrider888 11

    as an aside from the clock-tower, a 16-year-old crop circle Pt.7 : LOudon and Unclear

  12. http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/8538432/Ask-for-your-GCSB-file-Shroff


    If you think YOU may have been one of the 88 New Zealanders upon whom the GCSB has unlawfully spied – here’s how you contact them:

    Email: Information@gcsb.govt.nz

    Phone : (04) 472 6881

    (These GCSB contact details are correct – I know because I’ve used them.
    I have had a formal acknowledgment from the GCSB that they’ve received my Privacy Act request, and I will hear from them in ‘due course’).


    Penny Bright
    ‘Anti-corruption campaigner’
    2013 Auckland Mayoral candidate

    • Jackal 12.1

      I’m not sure that advocating for people to contact the GCSB to see if they have been illegally spied on is a very good thing… It might be OK for activists who are already publicly known, but for activists who have reason to believe the GCSB might want to spy on them, alerting the GCSB to that fact isn’t very advantageous, especially if they aren’t one of the 88.

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