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Campbell Live connects the GCSB dots

Written By: - Date published: 7:20 am, July 11th, 2013 - 116 comments
Categories: accountability, International, Spying, us politics - Tags: , , ,

Excellent reporting on Campbell Live last night, with a detailed look at the timeline of events surrounding the GCSB Bill, the Kim Dotcom raid, the appointment of Key’s school chum to head the GCSB, and certain visits between Washington and NZ. See the video here – well worth watching. Cambell ends the piece by asking:

Why are we giving our spys so much more power, so hastily, with so little meaningful scrutiny. And who, exactly, are we doing it for…

The clear answer to the final question is “America”.

All New Zealanders should ask our government two simple questions, one, what do they need the new spying powers for, and two, where are our security threats?

Heavily featured in the piece was Robert Amsterdam (Human rights lawyer and now part of the Dotcom legal team). Here he is at 11:00:

This bill condones the illegal invasion of the privacy of each and every person in New Zealand. This bill is not constitutional. It is not consistent with human rights. It is a grotesque violation of the commonwealth principles that were enunciated in Harare.

And later:

This is an administration that doesn’t mind kissing the feet of Washington.

Amsterdam recommends that every New Zealander reads the Law Society white paper on the GCSB Bill – you can find it here (pdf). See also their short summary:

Expansion of GCSB intelligence gathering intrusive

The Government Communications Security Bureau and Related Legislation Amendment Bill is intrusive and no clear justification has been provided for the extraordinary extension of powers of the GCSB to conduct surveillance on New Zealand citizens and residents, the New Zealand Law Society says.

Law Society spokesperson Rodney Harrison QC says the bill empowers the GCSB to spy on New Zealand citizens and residents. He says the new objectives and functions for the GCSB effectively transform it from an agency which gathers foreign intelligence to one which also obtains domestic intelligence.

“This is inconsistent with the rights to freedom of expression and freedom from unreasonable search and seizure under the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990 and with privacy interests recognised by New Zealand law,” he says.

Privacy under attack.

116 comments on “Campbell Live connects the GCSB dots”

  1. North 1

    How is it that on the strike of 7pm TV3 travels a universe from the lowest standards in political journalism (Potty Gower – “I’m angry”) to the excellence of Campbell ?

    • Anne 1.1

      Here are the time lines:

      15 July 2011- Finlayson meets US Attorney General, Eric Holder.

      22 July 2011 – Key meets Obama.

      Maarten Wevers (former chief of the Prime Minister’s department) heads off to Washington with Key.

      Sometime in July 2011 Key rings Fletcher about GCSB job.

      Maarten Wevers returns from Washington July 2011 and interviews Fletcher the following day.

      Grant Wormald is contacted by FBI and starts working on Dotcom case around August 2011.

      Williamson grants Kim Dotcom consent to purchase Chrischo mansion in April 2011.

      Simon Power overturns consent 3 mths later around July/August 2011.

      Conclusion: John Key knew about Kim Dotcom in July 2011 at the latest.

    • saarbo 1.2

      Campbell Live has turned into a must watch.

      Gower is a lightweight, I suspect his eyes would cloud over when he watches Campbell Live…most would go straight over the top of his head. I suspect that Gower and Garner get off being on TXTing terms with John Key, he’s got them tied around his finger. That sort of strategy isn’t going to work with a professional like John Campbell.

    • Tim 1.3

      @ North
      It’s because Campbell is ‘salable’ in his own right, whereas Gower is a Garner (still with trainer wheels – he’s got the hand and arm movements just about down pat), and Garner and Espiner have always been ‘bromancers’ – and in the case of Espiner – (Houghton Bay and all) – probably sommit more.
      Right now, the only thing I feel sorry for is an e-spinner’s woif.
      Anyway – I’m off for a grandpa sleep – shit – maybe it’s a narcoleptic sleep – still working that out (possibly with the aid of Jim Mora)

    • Martin 1.4

      they transcended themselves? 🙂

      It was very good. Worth a thousand of the tired others.

  2. vto 2

    John Key is a stooge


  3. geoff 3

    Yeah it was a really good piece. Let’s hope some incriminating evidence comes out before the election. I’ve got my hopes pinned on the Kim Dotcom, hopefully he’s not full of shit with regard to the ‘you know I know’ business.

    • geoff 3.1

      Incriminating is the wrong word, there has already been plenty of incriminating evidence. What is needed is evidence that Key can’t dismiss with his wormy excuses.

      • AmaKiwi 3.1.1

        John Campbell has pointed us to what Dotcom may know and how he knows it. In my opinion:

        Bureaucrats keep meticulous records. I suspect one of them (NZ, Australian, Canadian, UK, or American) wrote a report which says the NZ Prime Minister was consulted (as early as July 2011). I suspect Dotcom has a copy.

        Far too many people were involved for this enterprise to remain secret forever.

        I repeat, this is conjecture. I do NOT have proof. Until proven, Key would be correct in saying this is a conspiracy theory. But IMO all the pieces fit together.

        I used lots of qualifiers to keep The Standard out of legal trouble. When you comment, please do the same.

        • North

          Yeah, members of the present executive do so well with their defamation suits, don’t they ?

      • Draco T Bastard 3.1.2

        The only reason why Key has got away with his wormy excuses is because the MSM haven’t a) Reported on the incriminating evidence properly and b) bought the excuses to the point where they report them as fact rather than the truth.

    • Sanctuary 3.2

      Running in parallel to all this is growing US impatience with popular hostility to it’s proposed IP provisions in the TPPA. Clearly, Kim Dotcom and our leaky civil service have become a focus of US anger over it’s failure to exercise total hegemonistic control in areas it considers to be in its national interest.

      It is clear that in Key and his government of neo-liberal technocrats like Finlayson the USA thinks it has found the perfect willing local Quisling regime, and it is equally clear Key is lying through his teeth when he says he had never heard of Kim Dotcom until the day before the infamous raid.

      Any commonsense interpretation of the timeline of events above in comment 1.1 by Anne tells you that the Key government were given its orders by the US administration over spying and over Kim Dotcom (who it seems Eric Holder personally wants to make an example out of as a warning to everyone else as to the power, determination and extent of the United States global reach to protect it’s interests) in July 2011.

      It is impossible for any fair minded observer not to conclude, given the sequence of actions and events put in train by the Key’s ministers and Key himself since July 2011, that John Key is a) trying to engineer a secret coup against the sovereignty of the New Zealand state by converting it into little more than a compliant client surveillance state totally supine to the interests of it’s US puppet masters and b) that Kim Dotcom was not mentioned to him as a specific example of the need for him to try and quickly carry out this coup.

      The raid on Kim Dotcom and the subsequent refusal of our courts to grant carte-blanche to illegal government spying has thwarted Key, so this part at least of his agenda has been flushed out into the open by the need to change multiple laws.

      These conclusions are clear to any common sense analysis. Let’s hope the evidence can be produced so that Key can be found to have lied over his knowledge of Dotcom, because that will bring down his government.

      I am reduced to seriously wondering if we have a actually have someone who would meet a dictionary definition of a traitor (“…One who betrays one’s country, a cause, or a trust, especially one who commits treason…”) running our country.

      • Anne 3.2.1

        Thanks Sanctuary. A brilliant summation.

        I am reduced to seriously wondering if we actually have someone who would meet a dictionary definition of a traitor (“…One who betrays one’s country, a cause, or a trust, especially one who commits treason…”) running our country.

        When are the voters going to wake up? Never?

        • Colonial Viper

          Is Labour going to seriously oppose the furthering of the surveillance state? Unlikely at this time, in my view, as I see the major status quo parties as being, ummm, part of the status quo.

          If you look at Germany, France, their political leaders spouted outrage at the idea that their citizens were being surveilled…but their own intelligence services and officials have been completely in on it.

          • AmaKiwi

            CV, you are spot on. Information is power.

            When Labour becomes government they are NOT going to give up these ill-gotten spying powers. They will use them to spy on National and its friends.

            Think about that you National supporters and backbenchers.

            • Draco T Bastard


              Labour will use these powers that they’ve been given rather than give them up as they should.

              • One Anonymous Knucklehead

                No. The Hollow Men emails, not mention Simon Lusk and Kim.com, demonstrate quite clearly that the National Party is a bought party.

                They are precisely the sort of threat that the SIS and GCSB are supposed to protect New Zealand from.

                • Draco T Bastard

                  Oh, I agree but will Labour get rid of the legislation once they have power? That is where the doubt is. I’m reasonably sure that they won’t.

                  • One Anonymous Knucklehead

                    I think there are legitimate rôles for the security services.

                    Two questions:

                    1. Can the corruption in the National Party be destroyed without them?
                    2. Will the job be finished by the time the National Party regains the Treasury benches?

                    If the answer to the second question is no, then they should be disestablished along with their powers.

            • Yoza

              When the SIS were caught breaking into Aziz Choudry’s house the National party in collusion with the Labour party retrospectively chanced the law making it legal for the SIS to break into people’s houses.

              Don’t kid yourself. The Labour party and the National party are happy to sit back and permit this country’s security apparatus the right to harass and abuse those who are political dissenters. The only time the likes of the GCSB will go after a billionaire like Kim Dotcom is when they are acting in the interests of richer and more powerful billionaires – in this case it was the media corporations that own film and recording studios.

      • Draco T Bastard 3.2.2

        I am reduced to seriously wondering if we have a actually have someone who would meet a dictionary definition of a traitor (“…One who betrays one’s country, a cause, or a trust, especially one who commits treason…”) running our country.

        I’ve been thinking that for a long, long time.

        • yeshe

          do we have any process to deal with it other than general election ? wish Mae Chen woujld apply her brilliance to it …

          • Anne

            +1 yeshe

            Instead she sits firmly and squarely on the fence. Get off it Mae Chen and speak up. You would be doing the country a huge favour if you did so.

          • North

            Don’t mean to be churlish about Ms Chen but I’m afraid………the High Court/Court of Appeal/Supreme Court probably seems far more attractive. That’s the way it is. From day one lawyers are schooled in all that personal superiority stuff.

            For those very talented (as doubtlessly she is) who see acknowledgment of that quite early in the legal career, well……ask yourself.

            I recall hearing years ago that before he even sought the electoral verdict of The People Geoffrey Palmer (Ms Chen’s law partner maybe now one of several – Jordan Williams I pray not), he, Palmer, as much as tossed a coin to determine whether it was National or Labour under whose banner he proceeded.

            He ended up a Labour prime minister, if only on a caretaker basis, succeeded by that pathological mainchancer Mike Moore.

            Who could blame Ms Chen ? No need to engage the bullshit. No need to summon up politically powerful response to intellectually inferior dolts like ShonKey Python and Potty Gower. I make no assumption as to her colours but you get my point yes ?

            Chen Palmer also has a how lucrative I couldn’t guess account wiv da gubmint. I believe.

            5 hundy an hour would be concessional.

    • North 3.3

      As I’ve said before – Sir KKDC’s excellent counsel Paul Davison QC conceives the tactics and writes the script, not because he’s particularly politically interested but because he’s the excellent lawyer excellently advancing his client’s interests. The archetypal brief.

      Without serious ammo in the magazine Davison simply would not have permitted his client to spiel off as unambiguously as he did in the select committee (face-to-face remember), or on Campbell Live.

      Add to that the chronology set out by Anne @ 1.1 above.


      Where does Simon Power’s sudden departure fit into all of this ? Constructive if not actual knowledge of illegality, crookery, lies and all that ?

      Call me DungCan Garner or Potty Gower if you must but just think about it……..

      What’s the bet that on some specious pretext ShonKey Python gets called in pre ’14. You know – “I’m not well……doctor’s advice……family considerations…….whatever” ?

      • Anne 3.3.1

        It was widely suspected at the time that Simon Power was unhappy about something and decided to get out of politics altogether. He came across to me as a conservative politician who had certain principles below which he would not sink. Once upon a time the National Party had quite a few of those types in parliament.

  4. Tinfoilhat 4

    If anyone is pinning their hopes on Kim Dotcom to cause of change of government we really are fucked.

    • Molly 4.1

      … more likely, that given the focus of MSM on Dotcom – the inconsistencies, lies and actions of the PM come under wider scrutiny.

      And that scrutiny, by exposing the truth of what is going on – leads to a change of government.

    • Santi 4.2

      Not at all. I’m counting on David Shearer to lead Labour to victory.

    • North 4.3

      TFH…….you seek to portray that conclusive proof of a prime minister deliberately misleading parliament is a mere trifle ? Of little consequence ? Not a gamechanger all on its own ?

      Don’t bother coming back bleating – “there is no conclusive proof…..”.

      There IS going to be conclusive proof. Look at everything. Not the least of which is the excellent figuring of Sir Paul Davison QC.

      I know that if ShonKey Python told you the Earth is flat you’d stoutly deny Mt Everest and be all “Sir Ed who ?”……..but really……..where you gonna go when (not if) Vesuvius blows, Oh Shiney Sombrero ?

      Maybe we just bang a gong in your mouth and you can piss off to Hawaii as Sir ShonKey’s Shiney Batman Sir………

    • AmaKiwi 4.4

      +1 Dictators have an enormous array of tools at their disposal for staying in power.

  5. Polish Pride 5

    Wow a tiny smidgen of all but destroyed faith in MSM restored. This was an excellent piece of journalism. We need more like this that hold government to account and protect kiwis from our government.

  6. gobsmacked 6

    The evidence finds Key guilty.

    Unfortunately the evidence is only as good as the prosecutor who then presents it to the jury.

    The opposition didn’t hire a prosecutor, they hired a law student, and told us “Don’t worry, wait till he’s qualified”.

    So while we wait for him to pick up his papers which he’s dropped on the floor (“Hang on, I’ve got the smoking gun, I had it this morning, oh no I must have left it on the kitchen table …”), the jury dozes off and the criminal smiles, knowing he will walk free.

  7. johnm 7

    Like I’ve always said: Key is:

    El gringo Yankey john

    Or to translate he’s a U$ NeoLiberal for the 1% for U$ hegemony for privatisation and selling off our commonwealth U$ asset, to put it mildly and the surveillance is all part and parcel of the U$ police state.

  8. johnm 8

    Like I’ve always said: Key is:

    El gringo Yankey john

    Or to translate he’s a U$ NeoLiberal for the 1% for U$ hegemony for privatisation and selling off our commonwealth U$ asset, to put it mildly and the surveillance is all part and parcel of the U$ police state.

  9. yeshe 9

    Not meaning to change topic, but expanding within it … do you think also that Key also is ‘owned’ in regard to TPPA ?

    So much money spent bringing experts to promote GMOs as completely safe and harmless and Amy Adams now interfering, banning local councils from having their own bylaws re GMOs — also part of this ?

    And they have muttered about changing nuclear-free legislation along the way … good luck with that one at least. And is Pharmac truly safe ?

    Are we completely screwed now on TPPA ?

    Thank you, John Campbell, and all your team.

    • Draco T Bastard 9.1

      Yes, to all of the above. John Key’s mission for his owners was to sell out NZ and National have helped him do it.

    • Wayne 9.2

      Will Labour vote against the TPP?

      I appreciate that the above comment is not a GCSB issue, but really, unless John Campbell and Dotcom have got a real smoking gun, the GCSB issue is going nowhere. So far as I can tell, outside the Beltway no one seems to really care. I imagine the fact there were 88 interceptions of NZer’s over 10 years tells you why.

      Apparently Sir Bruce Fergusson has contributed to a seminar setting out the modus operandi of the 88 interceptions, and it all seemed pretty mild. Kiwiblog has a good post on it. Apparently DPF was involved in the seminar.

      And it is worth recollecting that it seems that all GCSB has done vis a vis Dotcom was to work out the location of his cellphone. This was done at the Police request. Well, given the furore, I bet the Police have now got that technology!

      • Pascal's bookie 9.2.1

        What did Sir Bruce say about the bill at Nethui Wayne?

        The panel he was on all agreed that the bill goes too far and and is being pushed through too fast with too little discussion.


        So far as I can tell, outside the Beltway no one seems to really care.

        from a former parliamentarian is contemptible, but sadly expected. What is your opinion on the actual issues Wayne? It doesn’t really matter if it has ‘traction outside the beltway’ or whatever. The government is going to pass it.

        Here is the opinion from that panel Sir Bruce was on, as described by someone who was on it:

        There was general consensus on a number of things. Which is unusual when you get a highly decorated military man, an expert on geopolitics, a lawyer, and a technologist in the same room.

        Everyone agreed that there was a need for surveillance and though all differed on exactly how much surveillance was ok, all agreed that what was proposed was too much.

        There was consensus that the law as proposed allows for too much “overreach”, Michael Wigley pointing out that “extending GCSB and SIS powers runs serious risk of encouraging extra-judicial overreach” along with the idea that “the idea that the existing GCSB law is unclear is patently false, and second-year law student could understand the law.”

        There was consensus that the oversight proposed was inadequate. When we took about oversight we are talking about who monitors the GCSB to make sure that they are not up to extra-judicial and, or, illegal activities. Sir Bruce took issue with the appointment of the head of the GCSB and that it should “not be an old chum of John Key’s.”

        The consensus was that the legislation was certainly far too important to rush through and at least two of the panel called, again, for an inquiry and a stop to the current legislative process while that is carried out. Something that I personally agree with.


        Does any of that bother you, or are you purely interested in the electoral politics of the matter?

        • Wayne

          My views on the detail of the Bill are contained in the LAC submission to the Bill, but that should speak for itself.

          Yes, my comment on this site was essentially an electoral one.

          But I agree the Bill needs to be tightened up in the ways the LAC submission sets out, which I had a substantial hand in preparing.

          • Pascal's bookie

            Thanks 🙂

            For folks wondering what the LAC reckoned, Herald report on their appearance at the committee, here:


            • Anne

              Yeah, well Appeal Court Judge, Sir Grant Hammond didn’t add much to the sum total of the over-riding concerns re- the bill. By all means let them discuss the semantics of what constitutes a private communication, but to be effective it must be in the context of a full public inquiry into our security services… as ‘pleaded for’ by almost all the submitters and, it would seem, former GCSB boss, Sir Bruce Ferguson.

            • Wayne

              The LAC is a committee of specialists, mostly from private practise and the universities appointed by the Attorney General, plus some government agencies, which reviews all legislation. It provides an independent check, somewhat removed from govt.

              The GCSB submission is one of our longer submissions, covering a lot of specific issues. The main purpose of the submission was to make the Bill much clearer and tighter, what could be accessed by GCSB and what could not be. I will link the submission tomorrow when I can access it.

              Actually there was a lot of similarity between the NZLS submission and the LAC submission when it came to the detail of the drafting of the Bill.

              The LAC role is not to comment on policy as such, but there is a specific remit for the LAC to consider the compliance of Bills with the NZ Bill of Rights Act.

              Thus, having the GCSB provide technical support for a police surveillance warrant meets that test, since a warrant can only be granted through a judicial process when the police have prima facie evidence of the commission of a crime. Arguably this technical support should be reserved for serious crimes only. By and large the police should have their own capability, but there will be cases where very specialist equipment is required where it would not be practical for the police to have (too expensive when only needed rarely)

              Arguably it is the second Bill which is more interesting, since that one relates to cyber security and the interaction of GCSB with Telco’s and ISP’s.

      • lprent 9.2.2

        And it is worth recollecting that it seems that all GCSB has done vis a vis Dotcom was to work out the location of his cellphone. This was done at the Police request. Well, given the furore, I bet the Police have now got that technology!

        I’d be completely surprised if they didn’t have access to it already. It isn’t hard to do technically, can only be done easily using the mobile companies equipment, and therefore would require a specific warrant. I suspect the latter was the problem. Instead of the police having to put a application in front of a judge explaining why they wanted that power, they asked their mates at the GCSB instead using a more general search warrant as a figleaf.

        The police tech unit up the road from my place should have been able to communicate with techs at the telco even if the police were too illiterate.

  10. mickysavage 10

    Good stuff. Labour could follow Campbell’s example and instead of talking about having a full inquiry or a partial inquiry they oppose the bills because they do not see the need to hand over to Americans ordinary kiwis’ metadata.

    • AmaKiwi 10.1

      Precisely. Like the fact that I regularly consult websites pertaining to my medical problems or my sexual preferences or how to cultivate pot at home.

  11. Tom 11

    What I don’t understand is Key’s motivation – what he gets out of it. He already has more houses than he can use, more beds than he can sleep in, more jeans than he can wear.

    Ego ? Accountants and FX traders think in terms of $.

    As PM he is duty bound to put NZ interests first, not those of any other country.

    • Colonial Viper 11.1

      What I don’t understand is Key’s motivation – what he gets out of it. He already has more houses than he can use, more beds than he can sleep in, more jeans than he can wear.

      That’s not how these people think. The koch brothers did not accumulate tens of billions of dollars simply by thinking, hey, I’ve got enough for a Beamer, Bach and Boat.

      Think Peter Jackson. Jackson is wealthy enough to own and fly the best of private jets.

      Shonkey still has to fly First Class with the commoners.

      • AmaKiwi 11.1.1

        Henry Kissinger: “Power is the greatest aphrodisiac.”

      • North 11.1.2

        Endless oxygen to endless greed is an end in itself for various sociopaths. Wall Street the movie ?

      • Tom 11.1.3

        With respect, I think you may be mistaken.

        His wealth is – no doubt conservatively – stated as NZ$50mil for NZ tax purposes. One could assume that it is somewhere north of that in real terms making a private jet affordable, but what is the point of having one if it is going to mostly gather dust in a hangar ?

        There was once a time when the NSA and GCHQ were tasked with interception of electronic emissions outside their host countries .. until 9/11 after which it was turned on its domestic population as described in ” The Shadow Factory: The Ultra-Secret NSA from 9/11 to the Eavesdropping on America By James Bamford in ‘Body of Secrets’ (relevant links below)



        .. but we have had no 9/11 in NZ.

        John Key owes us an explanation and a justification for turning a technology designed to intercept enemy or unfriendly signals – onto the people who voted him and his party into office.

        • Colonial Viper

          With respect, I think you may be mistaken.

          His wealth is – no doubt conservatively – stated as NZ$50mil for NZ tax purposes. One could assume that it is somewhere north of that in real terms making a private jet affordable,

          Key could certainly get a small second hand private jet and operate it.

          However Peter Jackson’s private jet is rumoured to have cost $80M. Expect annual operating costs to come in at 10% of that. $8M pa running costs, Shonkeys “fortune” would be gone very quick.

          • Tom

            Probably .. but any competent opposition would be hammering away at his reasons for turning GCHQ onto the people who voted him into office.

            • Colonial Viper

              No disagreement there. Looks like the main Opposition party has plenty of distractions on at the moment, however.

            • AmaKiwi

              The most recent NZ “terrorist attack” was against the Rainbow Warrior, by the French GOVERNMENT.

              • Colonial Viper

                Unless you count the use of unjustifiable state force against civilians like Kim Dotcom and the Urewera Four.

                • AmaKiwi

                  Those, too. Terrorism is a tactic, NOT an ideology. The only practitioners of Terrorism in NZ are governments.

                  Obvious conclusion: Terrorism in NZ is used by those who control the state against those who disagree with them.

                  Excuse me. I have to go. We (the Committee for Violent Non-Action) are building a drone missile in my garage. A disclaimer note for the SIS and GCSB: my drone is for peaceful purposes: killing possums.

    • Sanctuary 11.2

      What is Key’s motivation?

      You’ve got to take an historical view of Key. The economic age we live in is similar to the international situation that existed in the three or four decades that preceded the Great War. For example, global trade as a percentage of global GDP did not match or exceed pre-WW1 levels until the middle of the first decade of this century. Then, the British Empire championed the ideas of capitalism, free trade, enforced labour, rigid hierarchies, the criminalisation of the poor, and severe and almost unquestioned divides between those who had and those who did not have, both at home and and as a justification for their empire abroad. These values were shared more or less by an entire globalised class made up of the aristocrats of Europe and fabulously rich industrialists. Economically, this era was characterised by massive boom-bust cycles, in 1857-8, 1867-69, and 1873-96 (the “long depression”). Although Socialism was abroad (in Europe at least) the hegemony of capitalism had no serious challenges. The Great War, with the shattering of Empires, the descrediting of the elite classes and the rise of serious competitors to democracy and capitalism, both of which were widely regarded as failed ideas in the 1920s and 1930s, put an end to all that. Capitalism was forced to adapt, to curb it’s excesses and empower it’s populations to survive the challenge from Fascism and Communism, and so it remained throughout the cold war. The end of the cold war and the fall of the USSR removed the constraints on the global capitalist elites, and they’ve spent the last quarter of a century rebuilding the economic order of the world that existed in the sixty years prior to the Great War. In many ways, we are not living in the American empire, we are living in the second gilded age of the Anglo-Saxon Empire, with it’s capital city moved West to Washington.

      Placing Key in his historical context informs us of his motivation. For Key, it is class war pure and simple. Key’s values are those of the boardroom of the Anglo-Empire oligarchy. He is a multi-millionaire ex-currency trader for a multi-national corporate. He prefers to spend his leisure time in Hawaii. He purrs when he rubs shoulders with celebrities. He identifies with the global elite capitalist class, where celebrities play the role of the vanished European nobility. He is a handsomely rewarded member of this new/old, globalised supra-national elite class whose interests are not bound by old-fashioned notions of loyalty to the nation state. I don’t even think Key is particularly pro-US in the sense he holds a particular set of American values to be superior to Kiwi values. He serves the class to which he belongs, that simple reincarnation of the old, gilded age class that moved so smoothly around the old European and American empires.

      • Tanz 11.2.1

        A brilliant summation, Sanctuary. Absolutely spot on. King Midas, but luckier.

      • Draco T Bastard 11.2.2

        In many ways, we are not living in the American empire, we are living in the second gilded age of the Anglo-Saxon Empire, with it’s capital city moved West to Washington.


        And the new aristocrats want all the power that the ones in feudal times had.

        • Macro

          As did Napoleon.
          I wonder again – when will Key crown himself Emperor?
          Or will he institute a new division of Lords or Earldom for himself? Obviously the Order of NZ is not enough. He had to revert to the nonsense of “Sir” at the very least.

          • Draco T Bastard

            when will Key crown himself Emperor?

            He won’t. He’s a lackey and knows that he’s a lackey but he’d probably be happy with a baronet or Governor General. Something with aristocratic overtones anyway – it’s why he brought back the royal honours system.

          • Tom

            True, but in reading his biography it was argued that he did it so that he could negotiate with the crowned heads of Europe as an equal. A pragmatic argument, in age when many people were struggling to out of feudalism .. which seems to be returning.

            • North

              Tom @ above – who wrote his biography ? Bill Ralston ?

              Oh, sorry, I see, you mean Napoleon’s biography. Do you ? You sure ?

              Oh well, same question – was it Billy ? I mean……it’s only the titans get a go at the big jobs.

      • Tom 11.2.3

        So what does that make Peter Jackson?

      • RedLogix 11.2.4


        Thank you for the excellent summation. I’ve read many, many comments from you over the years and without exception they always resonate with me. Often you write exactly what I wish I had been able to say … but this one crowns them all.

        My next questions are:

        Why is humanity so vulnerable to these class systems taking root in our social body?

        It took the immense catastrophe that was the Great War to discredit capitalism and the elite class system the first time around. What would it take to discredit it forever?

        • saarbo


        • Draco T Bastard

          What would it take to discredit it forever?

          For us to remember that the rich and powerful care nothing about the rest of us and always want more power and wealth for themselves.

        • Puddleglum

          Hi RedLogix,

          This is an interesting article from New Zealand researchers on why belief in a just world might undermine collective responses to things like inequality.

          • RedLogix

            Thank you PD. It seems to be behind a paywall.

            • Puddleglum

              Yes, unfortunately it is (although the abstract is visible).

              Essentially, the finding is that the more people believe that the ‘world’ (e.g., their society) is just the less likely they are to be politically mobilised in the face of inequality (relative deprivation). The authors suggest that this might help to explain why there has been so little collective mobilisation against the effects of increasing relative deprivation.

              This (internet) accessible paper about the ‘just world hypothesis’ shows how it links to political ideology and policy preferences. Similar analysis, just not in the NZ context.

        • Yoza

          Why is humanity so vulnerable to these class systems taking root in our social body?

          It took the immense catastrophe that was the Great War to discredit capitalism and the elite class system the first time around. What would it take to discredit it forever?

          I’m guessing the disintegration of our ecosystem during the imminent catastrophic rise of the global temperature. The inability of this planets climate to conform to corporate/elite ideology should discredit the contemporary elite class system permanently, unfortunately it will do in the most of the rest of us at around about the same time.

        • UglyTruth

          Why is humanity so vulnerable to these class systems taking root in our social body?

          Because it looks to government for protection.

          • weka

            If the government was doing its job properly we wouldn’t need protection.

          • karol

            Great. So, in your view, us women should look to the likes of you for protection instead? Sorry, I’d rather engage in what democratic processes we have at the moment.

          • North

            Ugly Truth – thanks for the non-sequitur @ above.

    • Tanz 11.3

      He is motivated not by money but by ;power and celebrity. Full gloating celebrity. It is always on his face, he thinks he is important.

  12. exitlane 12

    There is much more to the new spying powers than cosying up to the US, important as that is to Key. As this Guardian article points out — the surveillance state is in part to control dissent and anti-government activism over climate and energy shocks – which the US and UK (and presumably our ?) military have already identified as looming. Think of the unrest in Egypt — in large part due to that nation reaching peak oil and having to import oil with resulting unaffordable fuel and food prices


  13. Treetop 13

    NZ and its dirtiest PM is what I saw on Campbell Live last night. Key has certainly underestimated Dotcom and Key was in it from day 1. To now manage the situation Key wants total control of everyones private correspondence. This is only a front so he can financially paralyse Dotcom.

    Dotcom vs John Key 4 July 2013 1:17pm Treetop@39
    “The GCSB legislation should be called the shut down Dotcom legislation.”

    “Key is only really interested in having power over those who fit his agenda.”

    The PM of NZ is a dictator. Another example is that the speaker of the house has stated that the Auckland convention centre is a conscience vote and Key expects every National MP to tow the party line, this applies to Dunne and Banks as well.

    Key is saying that I own your vote, he has stopped short of saying what the consequence will be.

    NZ has become rotten and there is nothing clean or green when it comes to Key’s leadership, just a stinking silage pit down at the beehive.

  14. Galeandra 14

    Key is simply the political face and expression of a power class, one which has its share of entrepreneurs, bureaucrats and military high rankers. It’s not hard to see that as some mid century Brecht suggested, there are vested interests which can survive only if the masses are muzzled and rendered impotent as Sanc suggests.
    A comedic version of this viewpoint was expressed in Adams Stark at least 20 years ago.

    • Draco T Bastard 14.1

      A comedic version of this viewpoint was expressed in Adams Stark at least 20 years ago.

      You mean this one? Which isn’t by (Assuming Douglas) Adams.

  15. peterlepaysan 15

    First and foremost Key is American ( as in USA Wall Street, Hollywood’ Washington DC. He lives in Hawaii for God’s sake and purports to be the Minister for Tourism for NZ?)

    Key is a puppet for his US cronies and backers. He does not care about NZ. He only cares about himself.

    This GCSB legislation is to ensure any links remain buried, including National Party funding.

  16. Blogpost tomorrow on TDB – two last “dots” connected.

  17. And yes, I agree with Anthony – this was the best piece of journalism I’ve seen for a very, very long time…

  18. RedBaronCV 18

    Just as a matter of interest does John Key have an American passport or permanent residence in the USA? I assume he is eligible for a British passport through his father and possibly some other european passport thr’ his mother.

    • yeshe 18.1

      I just wish he didn’t have a New Zealand one.

    • Wayne 18.2

      It is against the law for an MP to apply for any passport except a NZ one. If you already have a foreign passport when first elected it can run through to the expiry date, but it cannot be renewed.

      • the pigman 18.2.1

        [citation needed]

        [lprent: in this case you can take it as read. He is a ex-MP, a lawyer, and last time I looked, was on the law commission. ]

        • the pigman

          At risk of you banning me, I’m a lawyer too, and as someone who proudly “hates idiots” and doles out bans on that basis, you should champion the principle that factual assertions should be supported by evidence.

          With respect, I think Wayne (Mapp?) might need to review the Electoral Act, which relevantly provides:

          55 How vacancies created
          (1) The seat of any member of Parliament shall become vacant—
          (c) if he or she does or concurs in or adopts any act whereby he or she may become a subject or citizen of any foreign State or Power, or entitled to the rights, privileges, or immunities of a subject or citizen of any foreign State or Power; or
          (ca) if he or she ceases to be a New Zealand citizen…
          (2) Notwithstanding anything in subsection (1)(c), where a member of Parliament marries a person who is a subject or citizen of a foreign State or Power and the laws of that foreign State or Power confer on that member of Parliament by reason of that marriage, citizenship of that foreign State or Power or the rights, privileges, or immunities of a subject or citizen of that foreign State or Power, the seat of a member of Parliament shall not become vacant by reason only of the marriage.

          55AA Dual or multiple citizenship permissible in certain circumstances
          Despite section 55(1)(b) and (c), the seat of a member of Parliament does not become vacant by reason only of the member—
          (b) renewing a passport or travel document that was issued to him or her by a foreign State or Power before the member took office

          So Wayne is correct that the act of applying for citizenship of a foreign power would require that MP to vacate their seat, however renewing an existing citizenship (that the person held before taking office) is legal pursuant to s55AA. In fact, in addition to Harry Duynhoven, I believe you’d find other examples of Pasifika (and European) MPs who hold dual citizenship and would had to have renewed their passports during their terms in office.

          TL;DR – it’s perfectly possible that John Key held US or UK citizenship before becoming an MP, and has renewed it during his term in office.

    • the pigman 18.3

      Come to think of it, wasn’t he actually born in Kenya?

      I wouldn’t go down this track, folks. US puppet he may be, but I don’t think his passport status has any bearing on that.

      IMHO it is only marginally less ridiculous than the whole birther movement..

      • Rosetinted 18.3.1

        the pigman
        It’s not the same as the Kenya business and Obama. That’s a crazy USA delberately confusing political beatup.

        It would be interesting to know where Jokeyhen’s base is, which country he sees as his home. Is he truly a man-of-the-world, the one that has a strata of lifestyles where you can float to the top, and playing with figures can mean anything goes. Is this period in NZ just a little interlude in his vision of a stellar career for himself – striding the world like Mick Jagger strides the stage?

      • Huginn 18.3.2

        +1, here. Avoid the Birther Strategy.
        But I do think that the Kim Dotcom scandal raises questions about Key’s loyalty to NZ.

      • RedBaronCV 18.3.3

        Oops, there was no devious motive behind my question. I was vaguely wondering if JK would go and live in Hawaii when he quits politics and figured he’d need a passport or some such if he was to stay there.

  19. rosy 19

    Prime Minister quits over spy scandal after a parliamentary report concluded the security agency was engaged in illegal activity and misusing public funds.

    A parliamentary report found he had:
    – failed to curb the abuse of power of the spy agency
    – only limited control over the service, despite being the minister responsible.
    – failed to inform the parliamentary committee of control or the justice department about problems the parliamentary report investigated. [these included spying on politicians, the purchase of cars for private use and favours in exchange for access to officials].

    Unfortunately it was the PM of Luxembourg.

    • Tom 19.1

      I am reading ‘Rome’ by Robert Hughes – the last thing he wrote before he died, worth reading for his wit and art and architectural critique even though it has received mixed reviews in other areas.




      I have just read him describe the evolution of the Roman senate which was intended to curb the excesses of people such as John Key.

      NZ once had an upper house called the Legislative Council which was abolished in 1950.


      It may be time for its reintroduction, given that strengthening of the select committee system and the introduction of proportional representation have not provided adequate checks and balances.

      • Rosetinted 19.1.1

        I have had wishful thinking about an upper house but the perceived value of it is based on having politicians or functionaries who can provide a judicial restraint on ill-conceived political ploys. But I think you get a bunch of conservatives who aren’t well informed and who would only read the summaries explaining the Bills then look at the money to be spent and have No as their default position. They would likely have less interest in what the country needs as well as wants than the first house or commons.. We would probably swing away from one extreme to another – from going into emergency at the drop of a hat to stasis.

        If we limit with rules the way that government can act making sure that emergency cannot be used ever, and for real emergencies a special regime be followed, and that everything has to go before select committees properly conducted and heard, our system would probably improve 100%. How I don’t know? Getting a good constitution would seem to be impossible after hearing some of the right wing bigots that want to dominate the Constitution Conversation.

        • Rosetinted

          Submitted above and then got message – Connection closed by remote server or something.
          I thought I would note this each time.

        • Colonial Viper

          But I think you get a bunch of conservatives who aren’t well informed and who would only read the summaries explaining the Bills then look at the money to be spent and have No as their default position.

          Conservatives are amongst the best informed people in the electorate. How do you think they manage to get so much done in their own interests?

          Also – true conservatives would never ever sanction a surveillance state. They may like law and order, but they also like democracy and for neighbours to keep their noses out of their business.

          • Tom

            CT, I would probably agree, depending on how you frame ‘conservative’.

            Aotearoa is a larger and more complex country than it was in 1950 when the upper house was abolished, and will probably stay on that path given hiccups related to the odd volcanic burp and tremor.

            I think there is a valid and increasingly strengthening argument that the unicameral system needs to be reviewed given population growth, increased proportional representation, civil rights, and changing dynamics related to Te Tiriti o Waitangi.

          • Draco T Bastard

            Conservatives are amongst the best informed people in the electorate.

            That would be true of some of them – the rest are ignoramuses that take their leaders word as gospel.

            • karol

              I’ve known one or two conservatives who have been very “informed” in an NZ Herald kind of way, but still ignorant of many things.

          • Rosetinted

            Colonial Viper
            Well what should I name the group I attempted to describe as conservative and abused that word apparently?

            • Colonial Viper

              Oh they are likely to be conservatives of a type for sure, but conservatives come in many different species, and we will need the decent ones on side for the future. And there are many of them.

              But we won’t need the selfish ignorant vulgar elitist oafs you are probably referring to.

    • Veutoviper 19.2

      Thanks for that link and info, Rosy – if only….

      FYI Radio NZ News have now reported this resignation today


  20. Rosetinted 20

    And same again. Tata.

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  • Investment in New Zealand’s history
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  • Rotorua tourist icon to be safeguarded
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  • $14.7m for jobs training and education
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  • Is it time to further recognise those who serve in our military?
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  • Paving the way for a fully qualified early learning workforce
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  • Sport Recovery Package announced
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  • Major boost in support for caregivers and children
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  • Great Walks recovery on track for summer
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  • Māori – Government partnership gives whānau a new housing deal
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  • Legal framework for COVID-19 Alert Level referred to select committee
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