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Written By: - Date published: 8:30 am, April 3rd, 2013 - 288 comments
Categories: corruption, john key, Spying - Tags:

You know, when it came out that Key was good mates with his new GCSB spy boss, Ian Fletcher, (a man who was appointed despite lack of experience in spying or the NZ public service), I kind of thought ‘so what’? People know each other. But then I gave Robertson enough credit not to be raising this if he didn’t have a killer punch waiting. Today, he landed it.

Key not only knew Fletcher, he personally called Fletcher and asked him to apply for the job after the existing shortlist was mysteriously rejected. Fletcher was the only person interviewed to run the department for which he mate is minister.

Key’s tried to say Fletcher and he hardly knew each other as adults but, in fact, they had become reacquainted and started dining together about the time that Key became PM. This wasn’t Key calling up someone he vaguely knew to inform him there was a job that suited him going, this was Key calling up a mate with no spy experience to give him the fast track to the most powerful spy job in the country.

All this raises another question – did Fletcher really not mention the GCSB’s illegal spying on Kim Dotcom to his mate and minister for all those months? The GCSB internal review says ‘not really’ (if you ignore the fact Dotcom was pictured in a slide in a presentation to Key) but when Fletcher conducted that review in a job that his mate and minister had handpicked him for, how can we really know?

288 comments on “Cronyism”

  1. I posted this in open mike.

    Yep a week ago Key said:

    “The board and the panel knew. I didn’t undertake the recruitment, that was fully done by the State Services Commission, so you really have to say, in a small country like New Zealand … would the criteria be that no-one could get hired because I might know them?,”

    He is certainly telling fibs by omission and if you think that him ringing Fletcher and suggesting that he applies for the job is taking part in the recruitment he is lying by commission.

    Link is at http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/8485154/Key-Green-MP-needs-to-pull-his-head-in

    Methinks that Key’s pants may be on fire.

    • Roy 1.1

      Key lies so much, I’m sure he wears asbestos pants and sprays his pubes with fire retardant.

  2. BM 2

    Anyone who reads that article wouldn’t see an issue, Key explains what went on and it all seems reasonable.
    Once again it just looks like Labour whining and making up stuff.

    • framu 2.1

      “it all seems reasonable”

      well apart from the bit where key rings a mate and tells him to apply, the shortlist is thrown away and then key goes “oh look, theres only one applicant!”

      yeah totally reasonable

      and thats not even getting started on the ongoing self contradictions from key on how well he knows fletcher

      • BM 2.1.1

        That’s not how the article reads though.

        • framu

          the story is more than one article though isnt it

          regardless the article pretty clearly states that only one person was interviewed – the guy key gave a phone call to, who was his mate, but not really, just sorta, possibly, i think i remember him from school – or was that his brother?, but was hanging out with heaps of times. mum knows him or something

          you seem to have some strange notions about due process and governmental transparency

          • Pascal's bookie

            Leave it Framu. You’re confused.

            BM isn’t talking about the issue, or about what actually happenned; he’s talking about how he reckons the great ‘they’ will percieve the story based on that one report.

            I know that sounds really stupid, and it is really stupid, but it’s not BMs fault. Some fucker said ‘perception is reality’ in BMs presence one time and now his brain is a wee bit broken.

            • framu

              heh heh – yeah i kinda got that, so not that confused. but wise advice none the less. 🙂

    • felix 2.2

      “it all seems reasonable”

      Then you’ll have no trouble explaining to me whether Key called Fletcher or not. Go ahead.

      • BM 2.2.1

        Yes, Key called Fletcher, I still don’t see a problem.
        From the linked article

        “What happened was the State Services Commissioner came to me because I’m the minister in charge of that,” Key said.

        “So we had four recommendations that came from the head hunter and [Rennie] said none of those I would recommend that you appoint.

        “So I said ‘what do you want to do’, and he said ‘we need to find someone else’.”

        Fletcher was not the only person contacted after that discussion.

        “In the end Ian then went through the process, was interviewed by the panel and the panel said he was the best person for the job and has proven in my view to be a very good person for the job,” Key said.

        “So there’s nothing untoward or unusual about that.

        Seems above board to me.

        • felix

          The article quoted Key saying Fletcher called him you half-wit.

          • BM

            No, I quoted the reason why Key called Fletcher.

            • felix

              Read the article again, moron. Key says Fletcher contacted him.

              • BM

                I must need glasses, I just reread the article and I can’t see any mention of Key saying Fletcher contacted him.

                • felix

                  No, you need reading lessons.

                  John Key: “There are plenty of people that contact ministers of the Government and we tell them to go through the process. Ian was just one of those people”

                  • BM

                    Think he’s talking about Iain Rennie not Ian Fletcher.
                    The reporter has spelt Iain Rennie name wrong.

                    • felix

                      Oh, was Rennie interviewed for the job? No? Then you’re still a moron.

                      Full quote from the article, which you’ve already read at least twice:

                      “In the end Ian then went through the process, was interviewed by the panel and the panel said he was the best person for the job and has proven in my view to be a very good person for the job,” Key said.

                      “So there’s nothing untoward or unusual about that.

                      “There are plenty of people that contact ministers of the Government and we tell them to go through the process. Ian was just one of those people.”

                      Or he could’ve been talking about “Australian Ian” I suppose.

                    • freedom

                      BM, buddy, you have it wrong. Just for once in your life admit you are fallible

                      the article and Key’s own statements plainly state the order of things.

                      It was out of line for Key to call anyone, especially a mate, re the position.
                      If he had an idea of good people then he has this amazing thing called a Staff who then call the State Services Commission and they call the individual.

                      It is not rocket science but i understand, the system has gotten so screwed over that people no longer care. The endless decades of creeping cronyism have grown so heavy on the verge that the road to transparency is choked with bracken. That you seem to see the inappropriate step of the PM making first contact with a potential candidate as not worthy of concern, is exactly my point.

                    • Chris

                      Has the article changed or something because it doesn’t seem to say what you quoted above?

                    • felix

                      Yes Chris, the entire article seems to have been re-written since the press huddle yesterday.

                      I wish they wouldn’t fucking do that, it makes it impossible later to discover how a story developed. They’ve even changed the headline.

                      Just write a new article you track-covering record-burning inept journo scum.

              • One Tāne Huna

                Where, Felix?

                “Key then contacted Fletcher, who was subsequently the only candidate interviewed.”

                Seems pretty clear…

        • Dv

          “So there’s nothing untoward or unusual about that.

          SO why didn’t he say that last week?

          • McFlock

            Silly. He quietly overlooked all of this stuff last week simply because he knew the plebs wouldn’t understand that it was perfectly proper and natural for their betters to divvy up jobs via a system of cronyism and patronage, thus ensuring only the best quality people are employed in high office.

            Good god, if the HR system were left to its own devices then the resulting officials might be competent and experienced in the field, but they might not have gone to the right school. Hell, we might not even know them at all!

    • Richard 2.3

      State Services Commissioner: “We need someone to run the GCSB, handling top secret information and NZ’s most sensitive affairs”.
      John Key: “Oh how about my childhood friend…..his mum and my mum are friends too. He’ll do.”

      No worries BM, move along please. Nothing to see here.

    • Draco T Bastard 2.4

      The Authoritarians
      The interesting bit in that book that relates to your defense of Key is how authoritarians will always leap to the defense of their leaders – no matter how corrupt they are and how obvious that corruption is. Just like you’re doing now with Key.

    • emergency mike 2.5

      “Key explains what went on and it all seems reasonable.”

      Not a bad effort, but not quite as dumb as Nevil Gibson’s instant classic: “I would advise people not to listen to any political statements, and instead listen to what John Key is saying.”

  3. Michael Bott 3

    NZ views itself as being one of the least corrupt countries in the world. I suppose if you never have any mechanisms to ensure transparency, a Govt that deliberately flouts OIA requests or any watch dogs funded sufficiently to do their jobs you will never identify corruption.

    So the short list drawn up by the panel was dispensed with following Key ringing up his “non-mate” & telling him to apply. Apparently the job wasn’t guaranteed, he had to have an interview – & of the people interviewed, he got the job. Here’s the catch – he was the only one interviewed. Looks more & more like Fiji everyday …..

    • Wairua 3.1

      There was once a show called ‘Monty Python’ which specialised in gags like that.


      • Ordinary Bloke 3.1.1

        What we need here is a good stand-up comic. I sense a television series in the making ..

    • ianmac 3.2

      Michael: “So the short list drawn up by the panel was dispensed with following Key ringing up his “non-mate” & telling him to apply. ”
      The order that that happened would be interesting.
      Ringing before dispensing,
      or dispensing before ringing.
      Suppose we could just ask Mr Key. He is the PM so his word will be reliable.

      • Chris 3.2.1

        Going from the article its pretty clear that Key contacted him after the shortlist was dispensed with. While it doesn’t explicity say so it is implied that this is backed up by Rennie

  4. karol 4

    Eddie: But then I gave Robertson enough credit not to be raising this if he didn’t have a killer punch waiting. Today, he landed it.

    Also, when being interviewed on Morning Report this morning Robertson said that:

    I think the prime minister and the state services commissioner had rejected this shortlist.

    Compare this with Rennie’s reported comment in the Stuff article:

    The short list, drawn up by a recruitment company, was rejected by State Services Commissioner Iain Rennie.

    Rennie said in a statement last night he advised the prime minister that in his judgement “none of the potential shortlist was likely to operate at the required level and therefore should not be considered by the panel. The prime minister accepted that advice.”

    So how much say did Key have in the rejection of the original candidates?

    And at the end of the MR interview, Robertson points out how Key’s comments on how well he knew Fletcher had been shifting since last Wednesday.

    Edit: I give up – tried several time to use the codes to embed the link – no success


    • Question 1 is why would you use a recruitment agency to draw up a list of candidates for one of the most important security organisations in the country.

      Question 2 is what agency was used and what links do they have to Key/National party.

      Question 3 is who were the other candidates? Were they are hand picked pack of numbys?

      • Colonial Weka 4.1.1

        “Question 1 is why would you use a recruitment agency to draw up a list of candidates for one of the most important security organisations in the country.”

        Is it likely that NZ recruitment agencies have the necessary experience to recruit for this job? Or did they use an overseas agency?

      • SHG (not Colonial Viper) 4.1.2

        Knowing nothing about the details of this particular case, all I can say is that when I hear “recruitment agency” in conjunction with a government job, I assume there’s a fuckup coming.

  5. felix 5

    Anyone see the glaring inconsistency in this Suff/DP article?


    Compare the statement in the headline with the reported statement from Key:

    There are plenty of people that contact ministers of the Government and we tell them to go through the process. Ian was just one of those people

    Who writes this shit? Here the PM directly contradicts the entire story by saying Fletcher contacted him.

    Either Key is lying or the whole article is wrong. Has to be one or the other. And Stuff/DP don’t think that’s worth a mention?

    • framu 5.1

      it even contradicts their own headline – sheesh

      • Ben 5.1.1

        I’m waiting for someone to ask Key who phoned whom and for Key to answer “I can’t remember – there was a phone call, I don’t know who phoned whom.”

        And if Key says Fletcher phoned him, was the hunt for a new GCSB director public knowledge at that point?

    • karol 5.2

      Key’s statement is confusing. Does it mean that Ian was one of the people who contact ministers of the government? Or does it mean Ian was one of those people who went through the process?

      • felix 5.2.1

        Well let’s be specific. In English it doesn’t say anything about Ian going through the process, but it does say Ian made contact and was told to go through the process.

        In Keyspeak, who the fuck knows what it means. And that’s the reason for Keyspeak.

        • Pascal's bookie

          It’s classic key Bullshit.

          At this point in his telling, he is ignoring the part where he calls Fletcher to say he should apply for the job, and is picking up the story at the point where Fletcher, as advised, called the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet.

          At this point Fletcher is told about the process just like all those other people who ring up govt minister’s looking for jobs.

          Meanwhile, in the next paragraph:

          “In a statement last night, Key said he told Fletcher to call Sir Maarten Wevers in the first instance – Wevers was head of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet at the time.”

          He didn’t lie to anyone, just smothered everything in bullshit. ‘I called him, he called us and the normal process for people calling us was followed.’

      • Arfamo 5.2.2

        Mainstream media are only repeaters. If they get given contradictory information they simply publish it. Campbell Live is better at getting to the bottom of these things lately.

    • One Tāne Huna 5.3

      What’s the source? The article is contradictory.

      Oh, and does this mean Key misled the house?

      Grant Robertson: In light of the Prime Minister’s answer to the last supplementary question, when he introduced the nature of his relationship with Ian Fletcher, can he enlighten the House as to whether he has had further contact with Mr Fletcher since their school days, perhaps in London?

      Rt Hon JOHN KEY: Well, I cannot recall particular occasions; I am sure I may well have done so. What I can say, if the member wants to know, is that my mother was best friends with Ian Fletcher’s mother. If that makes a conspiracy, fair enough.

      Answer: no, he very carefully allows a tiny bit of wiggle room: he “cannot recall”.

      His memory must have come back to him. Or he’s a practised liar.

      • rosy 5.3.1

        If someone is going to have to make a correction in parliament I guess he’ll blame a brain fade – ‘forgot I called my old mate Ian when I said I didn’t have much contact with him.’

        Not sure who’ll pull him up on that brain fade, but.

        • felix

          I take it you’re referring to National’s new answer to everything “but but but Shearer forgot his bank account!!!”

          I don’t see why Labour should let National get away with this. Off the top of my head a good response might be (don’t use these actual words, David) “Well you forgot the Springbok Tour you fuckwit.”

          If he brings it up again, say “You forgot 100,000 Transrail shares you pompous shit.”

          Next time say “You forgot you own a vineyard you jumped-up yuppie scum.”


          Given the amount of ammunition Key has provided over the years, a competent well run opposition should have no trouble shutting down this line of attack.

          Ah, I see the problem now.

          • logie97

            … and Geppetto’s creation’s little nose would appear to have grown a little bit longer …

            How many Tranzrail shares?
            Who met Lord Ashcroft?
            Discussions over cups of tea?
            Dotcom (never heard of him until …)?
            Ministry appointments … ?

          • rosy

            Yes, I don’t see why Labour should let Dunnokeyo get away with it either. I like your scenario.

            “Given the amount of ammunition Key has provided over the years, a competent well run opposition should have no trouble shutting down this line of attack.”

            Yep. You’d think.

          • SHG (not Colonial Viper)

            Key has a get-out-of-jail-free card on anything to do with memory while Shearer remains Leader of the Opposition.

          • Murray Olsen

            I wish your last line didn’t make me laugh, Felix.

      • freedom 5.3.2

        R: ” can he enlighten the House as to whether he has had further contact with Mr Fletcher since their school days”
        K: “I cannot recall particular occasions;”

        Robertson asked a simple enough question. If the PM cannot recall any contact with Fletcher regarding his Employment as the top Spy in the country I yet again find myself calling bullshit.
        I am not alone. This is not asking him to recall details from ancient history or testify to specific dates, it was as general an enquiry as you could imagine and the PM simply blatantly and cowardly lied to Parliament. Proven by his own statements these past couple of days.

        It is now one more story questioning the integrity of our PM. One more layer of obfuscation for our Country to waste precious resoruces on dissapating. One more distraction from the growing chaos that is fast becoming a wildfire throughout New Zealand.

        Key is one man, but he is as destructive a force as you could ever fear. In four short years he has single-handedly destroyed the hard won admiration and widely respected reputation the World and more importantly New Zealanders once had for the office of The Prime Minister of New Zealand.

    • What Key said was ambiguous. “one of those people” could refer to people who contact ministers or to people who go through “the process”. Going through “the process” was part of the immediate context, but your quote doesn’t show this.

      Ambiguity in language is an essential part of the fraud perpetuated by the state.

      • Pascal's bookie 5.4.1

        There are plenty of people that contact ministers of the Government and we tell them to go through the process. Ian was just one of those people.

        It isn’t ambiguous at all in the way you suggest.

        He doesn’t refer to ‘people who go through the process’ he only refers to ‘people that contact ministers of the Government’ and says that they are told to go through the process, and that Fletcher was one of them.

        • Ugly Truth

          It’s ambiguous if you look at the context. Key sets up the context for the person here:

          “In the end Ian then went through the process, was interviewed by the panel and the panel said he was the best person for the job and has proven in my view to be a very good person for the job,”

          And then Key affirms that it’s O.K.

          “So there’s nothing untoward or unusual about that.

          Then Key changes the context to people who contact ministers, but refers back to “the process”, which has no reference to Ian contacting a minister.

          “There are plenty of people that contact ministers of the Government and we tell them to go through the process. Ian was just one of those people.”

          The ambiguity of the person is part of the semantic game that is being played here.

          • felix

            Nah, you can’t separate “There are plenty of people” from “Ian was just one of those people.”

            They’re part of the same statement in the exact same context.

            • Ugly Truth

              It’s true that there’s no ambiguity for “people” vs “one of those people”. The ambiguity happens when “people” is qualified by “and we tell them to go through the process”, where “the process” was the one which occurred after Ian had been contacted.

              What’s happening is that Key is splitting the episode into two separate descriptions. The first describes Ian begin contacted by Key, while the second describes people (including Ian) contacting ministers. The ambiguity is that the same process is linked to these two contradictory descriptions.

              This can be interpreted as being a truthful statement if Ian contacted the ministers after Key contacted Ian. This semantic game avoids the problem of Key initiating contact with the man who got the job despite having no experience in espionage and there being family connections. The fact that Key is dancing around this point suggests that the point is an important one.

              • felix

                There’s no ambiguity there whatsoever. You’re trying to link two different quotes on two different subjects.

                Key is trying to imply that Fletcher contacted him. That’s a lie, not an ambiguity.

                • You_Fool

                  That is what he wants you to infer from his statements, bu he is not lying he is just using the ambiguity to cover up the omission of facts, which if he didn’t would either be an admission of wrong doing or a lie, depending on what he said… So he hasn’t lied but would if he told the whole story he is trying to infer in his comments…

                    • karol

                      Yes…. hmmmm what employer would draw up a shortlist and then say they wouldn’t recommend any of them?

                      Contradicting himself, much, in that video of Key.

                    • Yep, sure looks like it.

                      Key said: “There are plenty of people that contact ministers of the government and we tell them to go through the process. Ian was just one of those people.”

                      But in the video, Key’s recollection of his call to Ian Fletcher was: “I rang him and I said look I think you might be interested, if you are interested in finding out about the job you should go to speak to Maarten Wevers who is the head of DPMC and see if that job interests you”.

                      Is Maarten Wevers a minister or is he a public servant?

                      Questions from the video:

                      Q: Who put Ian Fletcher’s name forward first, was it you or Mr Renning?
                      A: Ian Renning put it to me.

                      but later

                      Q: Who first mentioned Ian?
                      A: Well I would have mentioned it to him, sure.

                • Anything that can be interpreted in more than one way is ambiguous.
                  What do you think the significant differences are between your two subjects?

                  Key said that Ian contacted a minister (or ministers). This does not imply that Key was the minister that Ian contacted. Also it would be illogical for Key to suggest this when he had explicitly stated that he had contacted Ian.

                  • freedom

                    Ugly ugly ugly, why why why
                    watch the video of the press huddle,
                    now at 25 seconds it is one story,
                    at 1:28 it is another story.
                    See it, good,
                    That is called a contradiction.
                    and Key is the only one involved, his words, his huddle, his lie

                    • Colonial Viper

                      There’s blood here, let’s see how many true sharks there are left in the MSM

        • One Tāne Huna

          Tv1 also reports the discrepancy: from Key’s appearance on Breakfast this morning. He contradicts himself.

          Key defended the appointment on TV ONE’s Breakfast this morning, insisting the State Services

          Commissioner, Ian Rennie, could not recommend any of the four candidates put forward by a headhunter.

          “The way it works with GCSB is the State Services Commissioner makes a recommendation to me, so I said: “what do you want to do?” and he said “we need to find someone else”, so Ian was one person we contacted.

          “There were other people we contacted and in the end Ian went through the process, was interviewed by the panel who said he was best person for the job and he has proven in my view to be a very very good person for the job.

          “There’s nothing untoward or unusual about that, there’s plenty of people that contact ministers or the Government and we tell them to go through the process, Ian was one of those people.”


        • One Tāne Huna

          Here’s the thing: he also says “Ian was one person we contacted”.

          I’m sure there nothing unusual about people approaching Key looking for favours – Sky City, for example, but how unusual is it for the PM to go phoning his old mates offering them?

          • You_Fool

            Also it makes it look like there were multiple people contacted, but no actual statement confirming that…

  6. Roy 6

    The really depressing thing is how little outrage there is over this. I came to this website this morning to find some healthy outrage because the rest of New Zealand seems not to care. Certainly the MSM seem to accept Key’s lame excuses.

    • MoiMoi 6.1

      Most are actually condoning it – ‘they all do it, they all lie” is their excuse.
      Well, more stupid to them and to Key who appointed Fletcher as the ‘most suitable person for the job’. That ‘most suitable person for the job’ approved illegal spying on Dotcom and everyone in and around the case suffered massive amnesia.

    • SHG (not Colonial Viper) 6.2

      No, it’s that the Opposition are so f*cking useless that the MSM have tuned out. It’s not that NZ assumes that Key’s explanations are truthful, it’s that NZ as a whole now assumes that Labour is making a big deal about nothing. Because it usually is. Labour has gone full-rabid-attack-mode on Key over nothing time and time again and been shown to be full of shit; so inevitably when something comes along that deserves close scrutiny, the MSM don’t care.

  7. Ordinary Bloke 7

    I hate to boring, but what is new here ?


    [text of the abstract]

    “The abiding interest of researchers to explore the nature of political communication
    continues to provoke lively debates about who controls the moveable feast of the news
    agenda – politicians or journalists. This article argues that despite journalistic claims of
    impartiality, a careful, multilayered analysis of print and broadcast news of a general
    election (New Zealand, 2008) and, more specifically, reportage about the leaders of
    the Labour Party (Helen Clark) and National Party (John Key) demonstrates clear
    bias against the long-serving (older female) incumbent in favour of the (younger male)
    challenger. This bias is manifest in several ways, including the visibility of the two leaders
    measured by column inches, their uses as quoted sources and the tone and tenor of
    reportage. Whilst we found few examples of explicitly sexist commentary, there were
    numerous ways in Clark’s personal attributes, including her sex and age, were slyly used
    to undermine her continued suitability for the top job.”

    Remember the job they did on Helen ?

    • prism 7.1

      Ordinary bloke
      Very interesting. Most of us may feel this but don’t get around to doing the work to prove it.

    • Colonial Weka 7.2

      Just reposting the text with format fix.

      “The abiding interest of researchers to explore the nature of political communication continues to provoke lively debates about who controls the moveable feast of the news agenda – politicians or journalists. This article argues that despite journalistic claims of impartiality, a careful, multilayered analysis of print and broadcast news of a general election (New Zealand, 2008) and, more specifically, reportage about the leaders of the Labour Party (Helen Clark) and National Party (John Key) demonstrates clear bias against the long-serving (older female) incumbent in favour of the (younger male) challenger. This bias is manifest in several ways, including the visibility of the two leaders measured by column inches, their uses as quoted sources and the tone and tenor of reportage. Whilst we found few examples of explicitly sexist commentary, there were numerous ways in Clark’s personal attributes, including her sex and age, were slyly used to undermine her continued suitability for the top job.”

    • karol 7.3

      I linked to the full text of that article (and the earlier version of it) under the Sexing of Politics post at the weekend.

      Full text here

  8. chris73 8

    “Rennie said in a statement last night he advised the prime minister that in his judgement “none of the potential shortlist was likely to operate at the required level and therefore should not be considered by the panel. The prime minister accepted that advice.”

    – So none of the applicants were good enough, so far so good

    “In the end Ian then went through the process, was interviewed by the panel and the panel said he was the best person for the job and has proven in my view to be a very good person for the job,” Key said.”

    – So went through the process, interviewed by the panel, panel said hes the best person for the job and works well with the PM

    All good

    • Colonial Weka 8.1

      You missed out the bit where Key phones up is mate and offers him teh job.

      • Colonial Weka 8.1.1

        his mate, “a man who was appointed despite lack of experience in spying or the NZ public service”.

        All good?

        • chris73

          If the panel were ok with it then who am I to disagree, now if you can point out proof that the panel doing the interviewing weren’t up to it then thats a different story

          • Colonial Viper

            What qualities would make up for such a total lack of experience? You do know that your mates could be sent in to die based on the output of this ‘inexperienced’ guy, right?

      • rosy 8.1.2

        And you missed the bit where the original process seems to have been through a recruitment company and this process was through the Prime Minister’s department, with a call to the head, Maarten Wevers, who then sat on the interview panel.

        • chris73

          So the process needs to be looked at it, maybe

          I think most peoples main concern would be if hes doing a good job or not

          • Pascal's bookie

            how did he react when the GCSB were found to have illegally spied on a resident, did he immediatly let the PM know? Or did he decide the PM didn’t need to know?

            • One Tāne Huna

              Plausible deniability, old chum.

            • Colonial Viper

              chris73’s weak statement that the “process needs to be looked at” ignores a simple fact – the PM should not be shoulder tapping mates. It’s the PMs arrogant misjudgement which needs looking at.

              • karol

                Well the GCSB is due for a shake up, it has been reviewed, but guess who is in charge of that?

                The Prime Minister says the findings of a report on the Government Communications Security Bureau is not controversial but the agency is in for a shake-up.
                John Key has received Cabinet secretary Rebecca Kitteridge’s report on the Government spy agency but says he will not release it until he returns from China in about two weeks.
                He says he will show the report to Parliament’s intelligence committee before making it public.
                “The best way to characterise is it’s been a very thorough report. It’s identified some weaknesses. Those weaknesses have been long-standing and it has a series of recommendations that the Government will need to address.”

                • Raa

                  Two weeks is a long time in politics ..

                  • TruthSeeker

                    Could the release of the Kitteridge report be deliberately timed to coincide with Dotcom’s next court hearing?

                    • Kea

                      I don’t know, but it would enable Key’s PR team to present himself as doing something about it .. it would naive to think National Party polling and media advisers are not thinking along these lines.

                      They would not not want to lose this governments best electoral asset .. ‘that nice man John Key’.

                      But to paraphrase Dr. Seuss, ‘has the Yeti lost its zing ?’.

          • freedom

            creates biggest illegal spying fracas in NZ history


          • Murray Olsen

            I don’t define sending his spooks to illegally spy on residents at the behest of Washington/Hollywood as doing a good job. Sounds more like doing favours for an old mate and ignoring the law of the land.
            I also think that what sort of job he’s doing is totally irrelevant to whether or not the Prumstah lied to Parliament. In my opinion, he did.

      • chris73 8.1.3

        You missed this part:

        “In the end Ian then went through the process, was interviewed by the panel and the panel said he was the best person for the job and has proven in my view to be a very good person for the job,” Key said.”

        • One Tāne Huna

          That’s not what happened though. He was the only one interviewed. To be the “best” there has to be a comparison.

          He got the job because he’s Johnny’s mate. If Johnny didn’t know him he wouldn’t have got the phone call.

          Sometime look up the Ombudsman’s advice about perceived conflicts of interest. It’s a hoot!

          • UpandComer

            No. He wouldn’t have got the ‘opportunity’.

            Appointment wasn’t automatic.

            Also you can’t just dismiss four other people who were rejected. That kind of is relevant, and rebuts your criticisms.

            • Colonial Viper

              Rebuts criticisms that the 4 initial candidates were rejected out of hand so that the PM’s personal choice could have clear sailing?

              How does it do that?

            • One Tāne Huna

              Not according to Bruce Ferguson. He said the whole Shonky mess is “disturbing”. Who to believe, a lying wingnut like you, or Bruce Ferguson? Jeez, that’s a toughy.

            • karol

              They weren’t rejected initially. The 4 were shortlisted and informed of such. Then at least one was told not to come to an interview, because someone else had been chosen. Sounds like none were interviewed, but were rejected before the proper process had been carried out.

        • rosy

          You missed this part:

          Even if you have no problem with the PM shoulder tapping someone for a top civil service job, the person Fletcher was advised to call… ‘Hi, John told me to call you about this job I might like’… was also on the panel that interviewed him.

          There is no way on earth that Wevers would not have known Fletcher was shoulder tapped by Key, and therefore he should have excluded himself from the interview panel.

          And/or at the very least, the whole process should have gone through a neutral body, not the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.

  9. tinfoilhat 9

    Look if you want to stop this sort of behaviour vote Green. National and Labour are just as bad as each other at this type of thing………. I mean how many boards was Mike Williams appointed to ?

    • chris73 9.1

      Don’t bring that up, its not helpful.

    • Joe Bloggs 9.2

      tsk, tsk, such poor form to bring up examples of cronyism on the left! For shame. (was it 5? Or 6 boards Mike was appointed to?)

      Isn’t Clark fortunate that Owen Glenn’s appointment as Arch-Consul to Monaco fell through – otherwise the RWNJs would be having a field-day with this post.

      • Pascal's bookie 9.2.1

        So tell me, did Mike ever have to go through an organisation with a fine tooth comb to see if video evidence existed that the person who suggested he apply for the job was lying about how much he knew about illegal activity? And did he then fail to find such evidence?

        No worries though. We should just trust everyone eh. Process never matters

        • Joe Bloggs

          I don’t know Pascal but what you describe sounds suspiciously like Mike Williams’ trip to Melbourne searching for an elusive H-Fee scandal…

          Anyway Dear Leader Shearer knows more about fictitious videos than I do

  10. Raa 10

    There is one other issue no one seems to have broached.

    NZ is part of a number of international information sharing agreements
    with agencies led by professionals .. afaik.

    The fact that their mothers were friends may not cut much ice and be a reflection of Key’s MO .. but don’t hold your breath waiting any public appraisal.

  11. vto 11

    All of this is just the weekly reason to not trust government or authority – leave that to the foolish. Other examples include;

    1. GCSB knowingly breaking the law.
    2. John Banks lying through his teeth.
    3. Private information spewed all over the public estate by govt depts.
    4. EQC shutting up shop (I suspect for reasons more than email etc. They are running scared now, hence the razor wire to protect their offices).
    5. Police knowingly breaking the law.
    6. Theft of democracy by farmers (via their nat arseholes).
    7. lies
    8. lies
    9. more lies.

    If those at the supposed ‘top’ routinely lie, knowlingly break the law, and misuse their power, then what is expected from those ‘below’?

    and a p.s. : who filled in their census forms believing the lie that the information will be kept confidential?

    • chris73 11.1

      I helped deliver the census forms and pick them up, it was an interesting experience

      • Tiger Mountain 11.1.1

        Well good for you 73, there were so few questions let alone useful ones in the delayed census it suggested to me the Nats don’t realy want to know the actual state of the nation. The census used to be majorly used for forward planning of resources and infrastructure.

        But who needs a plan if you are shrinking the state and flogging off citizens assets.

      • ianmac 11.1.2

        Me too chris 73. Very interesting meeting a wide cross section of the population. Some volunteered commentary on “the Government” in rather unflattering terms. Me:non-committal. Accused of being Anti-Christ by one agitated man. 3 women at different houses in clearly agitated state unrelated to census. And how proud some dog owners are of their slobbering angry mutts!
        Some very pleasant charming folk live in our town.

        • chris73

          Sounds like you had an interesting time, I only got told to fornicate off once. I’ve got to say though that Hornby is not too bad a suburb to live in, Hornby represent!

          Although there was one section of flats down a lane that I was pretty sure was the hub of criminal activity in the area…

          • Te Reo Putake

            Had a beer in Temp’s just the other day, Chris, top joint. Dressmart, the Hub, shopper’s paradise! And Anika Moa’s from Hornby, so you just know it’s a classy ‘burb.

            Not so keen on Sockburn though.

            ps, while I was in Temp’s I got chatting to a local guy about life in Chch. He volunteered that he had a great job in a supermarket distribution centre (you’ll know the one). I asked him what was so good about it and he said “The union”. Classic!

          • ianmac

            The house with some very savage dogs made me wonder just what the man had to hide. I just had to rattle the gate and the dogs would leap round the corner of the house and drooling offer to eat me.

      • karol 11.1.3

        And what a flawed process collection of the forms is. I completed the forms on Census day, and left them by the door waiting for them to be collected. No one came for the next few days. i went away for a few days and found a card under my door saying that the census collector had called (more than once), and suggesting I go online to fill out the forms.

        My response was “F*** them. I’ve already filled out the forms. Why should I do it again?” And I don’t trust the online systems.

        Then I was mostly home for the next few. However, the collector happened to call again during one of the times I was out. The notes seem to suggest that I was the problem.

        This time, however, they left me an envelop to post the forms in. Why didn’t they do that the first time?

        • felix

          Because for accuracy it’s preferable that the collector picks up the forms while you are there.

          If there are any discrepancies between (for example) the number of people listed on the dwelling form and the number of forms returned, or if you’ve omitted anything on the front of the individual form, it’s easier to reconcile it on the spot while the collector is on the doorstep.

          Posting the forms is a last resort option for this reason so envelopes are not issued unless they really need to be.

          Yes I agree though, the whole process is far from perfect.

          • Colonial Weka

            “If there are any discrepancies between (for example) the number of people listed on the dwelling form and the number of forms returned, or if you’ve omitted anything on the front of the individual form, it’s easier to reconcile it on the spot while the collector is on the doorstep.”

            So will they be able to tell that from the people that fill in the forms online? Hands up who trusts the government computer systems?

            • McFlock

              Talent2 notwithstanding, form validation is a basic function of designing online forms. And they’d match the unique id from each person form to the uid of the residence, and ISTR they also required like a phone or way of asking you if they needed additional info (i.e. something didn’t tally).

            • felix

              “So will they be able to tell that from the people that fill in the forms online?”

              Yep, but again if anything needs reconciling someone has to come back and try to contact you again, and as Karol points out that’s not always easy. Much better to do it at the time.

              So yes, collecting paper forms in person still works best in many instances.

          • James Thrace

            I don’t understand why they needed one to include ones name. What statistical use is name collection used for? Perhaps if the census was a truly anonymous representative snapshot of life in muddle New Zillund then maybe some of us might feel more comfortable filling out such a form. As it is, my collector told me to put myself down as Mickey Mouse, but qualified by saying I didn’t hear it from her.

        • chris73

          Well I don’t know about the others but I had a little over 200 houses to visit in my area so theres the time factor. I worked out it was roughly 5 minutes to visit each house taking into account the walking to each house, talk and explaining, checking the forms etc etc

          Then of course the the window of opportunity to talk to people and when they’re likely to be home can be small

          You visit a place three times but you only (well should only) drop the envelope off on the third visit so it was just unlucky the collector called while you were out

          I used the email process as it was faster and easier then doing it by hand

          • karol

            It’s kind of unbelievable, considering I am home during the week more often than most people – I work more at weekends. Or do they just assume Monday-Friday work times.

            • felix

              No they don’t assume Monday to Friday 9 to 5, they’re going by whatever you told them when they dropped off the forms.

              But you have to remember that we’re talking about one person, on foot, covering 2-3 hundred properties making the best use of time they can. If you’re home in the daytime but most of your neighbours aren’t, it might not be efficient to make a special trip to your house until there are a few more to visit on the same walk.

        • Colonial Weka

          There does seem to be a bit of confusion within the census takers about what the system actually is.

          It’s a bit of a worry the change over to postal/online. I thought in previous censuses, the point was that the census collector had to pick them up – this was a way of making sure people actually filled them out. Otherwise how would they know? And how many people just won’t bother?

          A friend of mine was told to fill in the forms online, and when she said she didn’t have any internet, she was told to go to an internet cafe.

          I’m still waiting on my forms.

          • ianmac

            When forms were done online, the Collector for that area was sent a text detailing the ID number and number of forms received. This was duly marked off in the official book.
            The catch with online was that there was a couple of weeks over which the online could be done, rather than the traditional 8pm on due date.
            I had 248 house to visit so the chance of your being home when I called was chancy. Hence 3 visits at varied times am, pm, evening, weekend. If all else fails use the freepost envelope after 3rd visit.

        • xtasy

          Hah, Karol: I know for a fact my neighbour gave them wrong information, as she has had many more people stay with her (extended family from Samoa) for months, but the census officer that called, when asked re that by me, said only so many forms were given her for that place.

          Maybe she should not even have said it, but she did.

          So I told her the info must be wrong. I wrote an email to their census office, and as far as I know, nobody ever bothered to re-check re the forms filled out and incorrect info on them.

          The Census is a joke, for sure. Any person who may also not be legally in NZ, and any person who may “assist” such persons, will NOT declare the truth.

          On the other hand they ask more and more from us honest ones, but what do they do with it?
          I have once worked for Statistics NZ, and what I saw there was, they never get every survey right, they “round” the figures, as some (a fair few) respondents refuse to give info, or intentionally give wrong info.

          Take it all with a grain of salt, the census that is!

        • Raa

          I did it online. No sweat. Easy. No stress .. completed it before the sun went up .. then calmly continued with other things. I enjoyed it. There was a campaign encouraging online application.

          You are certainly computer literate, Karol.

          Que pasa ?

    • Treetop 11.2

      I’ll fill in 7, 8 & 9 as 5 is a bit vague.

      7. Teina Pora left to rot in jail.

      8. Hutton let off the hook for planting a cartridge case. (Johnson died in 1978).

      9. Rio Tinto will be covered up.

  12. freedom 12

    call me old fashioned but it bears repeating, one more time

    Why is our top spy, not a spy?

    how can we expect real co-operation from the cadres of long standing relationships in the global spy vs spy networks when we throw in a guy who is not one of them? Trust and personal knowledge are still hugely important commodities in intelligence, even in these days of data mining. So why is our top spy not a spy?

    Or, is he,

    on a lighter note
    credit where its due Mr Key
    when it comes to crony politics and coprorate manipulation of a democracy

  13. Did NZ Prime Minister John Key, deliberately ‘mislead’ the House over his involvement in the appointment of Ian Fletcher as Director of the GCSB?

    If so – is NZ Prime Minister John Key ‘in contempt of the House’, and will action be taken in the House, in order to hold him accountable?


    PM plays down friendship with GCSB boss
    By Adam Bennett
    5:03 PM Wednesday Mar 27, 2013

    Prime Minister John Key has downplayed the closeness of his relationship with GCSB director Ian Fletcher after Labour’s Grant Robertson suggested the two men were friends of long standing before Mr Fletcher’s appointment.

    But Green MP Steffan Browing claims Mr Key has had a close ongoing friendship with Mr Fletcher which has “sinister” implications for the oversight of the spy agency.

    In an ill-tempered session in Parliament this afternoon, Mr Robertson quizzed Mr Key on what role he played in recommending Mr Fletcher as director of the Government Communications and Security Bureau.

    Mr Key replied that Mr Fletcher was appointed by State Services Commissioner Iain Rennie, “but if the member is trying to make some other allegation, yes I knew Ian Fletcher”.

    “I went to school with his brother. His brother was way brighter than Grant Robertson.”

    Mr Key said he couldn’t recall particular occasions when he’d met Mr Fletcher subsequent to their school days.

    “I’m sure I may well have done so. What I can say, if the member wants to know, is my mother was best friends with Ian Fletcher’s mother.

    If that makes a conspiracy, fair enough.”

    Mr Key later told reporters he knew Mr Fletcher only “vaguely” before his appointment to the GCSB job.



    Labour: Cronyism in spy job appointment
    8:17 AM Wednesday Apr 3, 2013

    Opposition parties say revelations that Prime Minister John Key shoulder-tapped his friend Ian Fletcher personally for the top job at the country’s spy agency points to a lack of transparency in the appointment process and creates concerns over continuing accountability.

    Mr Key phoned Mr Fletcher, a longstanding friend, after a shortlist of candidates for the job as head of the Government Communications Security Bureau was rejected by State Services Commissioner Iain Rennie, Fairfax media reported today.

    Mr Fletcher, who had been working in Australia at the time, was the only candidate to be interviewed for the position.

    Mr Key said that after he and Mr Rennie agreed to look elsewhere, the Prime Minister phoned Mr Fletcher, Fairfax said.

    Mr Key last week downplayed the closeness of his relationship with Mr Fletcher after it emerged in Parliament but revealed they knew each other as children and that their mothers were good friends.

    Mr Fletcher was appointed in late 2011 following a panel interview by head of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet Sir Maarten Wevers, Defence Secretary John McKinnon and deputy State Services Commissioner Helene Quilter.

    Mr Rennie confirmed to Fairfax yesterday that he had rejected the shortlist drawn up by a recruitment agency and that the panel was unanimous in finding Mr Fletcher suitable for the appointment.

    Labour’s deputy leader Grant Robertson said today that Mr Key’s intervention in the appointment process reeked of cronyism and was further evidence of a disturbing lack of transparency.

    “This looks like a jack-up to get John Key’s mate appointed as our top spy. He was not even an applicant for the job, and ended up being the only person interviewed. The public of New Zealand deserve far better than this kind of cronyism, especially in a sensitive position such as this.

    “Are John Key and Iain Rennie really trying to suggest that Mr Fletcher was the only person who deserved to be interviewed? And why was the position not re-advertised if the shortlist of applicants was rejected? That’s certainly what would normally happen in those circumstances.”

    While Mr Key had told Parliament the appointment was made by the State Services Commissioner, it was very clear the Prime Minister’s role in the appointment was significantly greater than he was letting on, Mr Robertson said. …”



    Conduct of Ministers
    2.52A Minister of the Crown, while holding a ministerial warrant, acts in a number of different capacities:

    in a ministerial capacity, making decisions, and determining and promoting policy within particular portfolios; in a political capacity as a member of Parliament, representing a constituency or particular community of interest; in a personal capacity.

    2.53 In all these roles and at all times, Ministers are expected to act lawfully and to behave in a way that upholds, and is seen to uphold, the highest ethical standards. Ultimately, Ministers are accountable to the Prime Minister for their behaviour.

    So – what happens when it it the Prime Minister who is not behaving in a way that upholds, and is seen to uphold, the ‘highest ethical standards’?

    Is the NZ Prime Minister John Key – going to tell himself off?

    Did Prime Minister John Key, deliberately ‘mislead’ the House, in relation to this matter?

    If so – is Prime Minister John Key ‘in contempt’ of the House?

    If so – WHICH MP / MPs will initiate proceedings for ‘contempt of the House’, in order to hold Prime Minister John Key accountable?




    Deliberate misleading of the House

    It is a contempt deliberately to attempt to mislead the House or a committee, whether by way of a statement, in evidence or in a petition. [98] This example of contempt, while always potential, was given explicit recognition in 1963 when, following a political cause célèbre (the Profumo affair), the House of Commons resolved that a former member who had made a personal statement to the House which he subsequently acknowledged to be untrue had committed a contempt of the House. [99] It has been submitted that there is an established constitutional convention that Ministers should always tell the truth to Parliament as far as this is possible without harming national security. [100] Whether this type of contempt embodies a convention or not, regarding lying to the House as a serious transgression of parliamentary etiquette (quite apart from any moral considerations) has been said to be the only way for Parliament to keep a check on the executive. [101]

    The contempt can be committed by anyone taking part in parliamentary proceedings. It consists of the conveying of information to the House or a committee that is inaccurate in a material particular and which the person conveying the information knew at the time was inaccurate or at least ought to have known was inaccurate. [102]

    Members deliberately misleading the House

    Most commonly allegations that there has been an attempt deliberately to mislead the House involve statements made by members in the House – whether by way of personal explanation, in the course of debate or in replying to a question.

    There are three elements to be established when it is alleged that a member is in contempt by reason of a statement that the member has made: the statement must, in fact, have been misleading; it must be established that the member making the statement knew at the time the statement was made that it was incorrect; and, in making it, the member must have intended to mislead the House. The standard of proof demanded is the civil standard of proof on a balance of probabilities but, given the serious nature of the allegations, proof of a very high order. [103] Recklessness in the use of words in debate, though reprehensible in itself, falls short of the standard required to hold a member responsible for deliberately misleading the House. [104] The misleading of the House must not be concerned with a matter of such little or no consequence that is too trivial to warrant the House dealing with it. A misunderstanding of this nature should be cleared up on a point of order. [105]

    For a misleading of the House to be deliberate, there must be something in the nature of the incorrect statement that indicates an intention to mislead. Remarks made off the cuff in debate can rarely fall into this category, nor can matters about which the member can be aware only in an official capacity. But where the member can be assumed to have personal knowledge of the stated facts and made the statement in a situation of some formality (for example, by way of personal explanation), a presumption of an intention to mislead the House will more readily arise. [106]

    PS: Who is holding the Prime Minister, and Ministers accountable to their statutory duties arising from the Public Records Act 2005, in order to ensure genuine ‘transparency’?


    3 Purposes of Act

    The purposes of this Act are—

    (c)to enable the Government to be held accountable by—

    (i)ensuring that full and accurate records of the affairs of central and local government are created and maintained; and
    (ii)providing for the preservation of, and public access to, records of long-term value; and

    (d)to enhance public confidence in the integrity of public records and local authority records; and


    Shouldn’t ALL meetings between the Prime Minister and Ministers, on affairs of state, be minuted?

    Are they?

    If not – WHY NOT?

    Especially given that New Zealand is ‘perceived’ to be the ‘least corrupt country in the world’ (along with Denmark and Finland according to 2012 Transparency International ‘Corruption Perception Index’).

    Shouldn’t we therefore – be the MOST ‘transparent’?

    Pity about New Zealand’s corruption REALITY.


    Penny Bright
    ‘Anti-corruption campaigner’
    2013 Auckland Mayoral Candidate.
    Appellant – Occupy Auckland vs Auckland Council Appeal
    (CIV 2011- 404 -8284)


    • Ugly Truth 13.1

      Who is holding the Prime Minister, and Ministers accountable to their statutory duties arising from the Public Records Act 2005, in order to ensure genuine ‘transparency’?

      Who should be holding them accountable?

    • Joe Bloggs 13.2

      I hope that you’re not paying by the column centimetre for this post Penny otherwise there’d be nothing left to pay your rates

      • handle 13.2.1

        A moderator could insist on linking rather than copy-paste dumping.

        [lprent: We often do. The key point in most cases is
        1. if we notice it (we are not omnipotent). That usually means we notice it if it long.
        2. if we can find another source on google (because we tolerate a lot of origional material).
        3. if we find the material of interest. ]

        • Kea

          True, but there are some links in there .. and lawyers tend to be a bit pedantic, but Penny’s heart – I’m sure – is in the right place.

    • xtasy 13.3

      Penny Bright: Rather long again, but I accept, you know what goes down, and you have made it known for a long, long time.

      Pity is the sheeples still rather believe their crap media, reporting to much crap each day in and out, and hence most cannot see the truth.

      Keep at it, keep digging, keep voicing what needs to be voiced!

      NZ is not the clean, honest and reputable society that our governments of late try to present it as, it is run by old boys and girls networks, and it is a network in power, throughout the systems.

      This is REAL stuff to be concerned about!

    • Kea 13.4

      Penny, I have just read your piece and agree that you raise some very serious issues. One thing which struck me in a blog you linked to was the need for an Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) in Aotearoa – which NSW set up on the Hong Kong model some decades ago – having both educative as well as investigative functions.

      What we need now is some action on this issue.

      I don’t think it will happen under the current leadership of this government.

      Cheers ..

  14. Ordinary Bloke 14

    A vote of no confidence in the (lower) house ?

    What are the numbers ?

    • xtasy 14.1

      Hah, liars rely on liars, add one John Banks to the equation, and another Dunny Dunne, who always keeps the ones feeding him in power, and the game is LOST!

  15. freedom 15

    “Chris …3 April 2013 at 1:22 pm
    Has the article changed or something because it doesn’t seem to say what you quoted above?”

    without doubt a serious issue that is now a regular editorial policy that print news addresses yet on-line publications seem to think bears no import.

    Reprinted hard copy is just that, hard copy, We can return to it to verify the continuity of topic. With net news a simple sub-line that the article has been edited from a prior version (with link to version) is far more honest than a time stamp which simply notes, well, the time it was last changed, let alone any reference to how many changes have occurred since initial publication.

  16. Andrea Vance in Stuff is using the “l” word …

    She obviously thinks his pants are on fire too …


    • One Tāne Huna 16.1

      If she were really going after him she’d have said something like “Mr. Key, who has a history of failed attempts to deceive Parliament and the public…”

    • One Tāne Huna 16.2

      “Key says he disclosed his links to Rennie during the appointment process”

      Yeah, I can imagine:

      “Hey Iain, I told my mate Ian Fletcher to call you about that GCSB job.”

  17. Populuxe1 17

    In a population of just under 4 million people and 2 degrees of separation I think you’re kidding yourselves if you think the country would continue to operate without a certain amount of built in and relatively benign cronyism. The other side of that coin is that in this country we have unprecedented direct access to the political machine. There aren’t many countries in which you can relatively easily get face time with your local representative or even get a response from a ministerial office. And calling Key and Fletcher “good mates” is an exaggeration.

    • Colonial Viper 17.1

      What you say is true, in some sense.

      But do those reasons satisfactorily explain why only one person was ever interviewed for such a high paying job, and that happened to be the one person who was personally shoulder tapped by the PM?

      • Populuxe1 17.1.1

        It’s a fairly specialised and important job – it actually wouldn’t surprise me at all. (1) it would make no sense to put a foreign national in charge of your intelligence service. (2) I seriously doubt there would be enough qualified people in NZ to make a shortlist of 5, little own 10. (3) You can’t treat it like a normal civil service job, so don’t even try.

        • Pascal's bookie

          Oh ffs, they haven’t had any problems filling it in the past. Jerry Mateparae had the job up until he was offered the GG role.

          If there was no-one else that could be GCSB head maybe they should have left him where he was.

          • Populuxe1

            Given that Jerry Mateparae had previously been the Chief of teh Defence Forces, I’m not entirely sure I see your point.

            • Pascal's bookie

              Ok, I’ll hold your hand. Could you try and keep up?

              This is in response to your argument that my comment was in reply to.

              1)There have been many heads of GCSB and other spy agencies in the past, when NZ was even smaller than it is now.

              2)The GCSB had a pretty new guy in the role who was qualified , no? Or are you saying Jerry Mateparae wasn’t qualified?

              3)The PM offered Jerry Mateparae a new job.

              And then, oh no! there’s only like fuck all people left in the whole country who could possibly do the job!

              My point is that there are probably more people around than you seem to think who could do the job, seeing we’ve never had any problems finding people in the past, and if it really is the case that there are so few people who can do the job, then wasn’t appointing Jerry Mateparae to the GG role a bit stupid?

              • UpandComer

                In terms of people who can do the job I think you’re wrong. If the person fulfilling the HR role dismisses all four of the applicants, that would indicate there is a dearth of people to fill a very complex role.

                If you can get over Key knowing Fletcher’s brother and mum and maybe having a dinner with him once in the past 10 years, you see a CV that is pretty much superlative, unique, and very, very unlikely to be surpassed.

                Who else can you appoint, a foreign national? The head of TVNZ? a random member of the defence force?

                If there were plenty of people who could take the role, then the independent appointment board wouldn’t have dismissed all those who were put forward.

                Also, even if JK shoulder tapped Fletcher to apply, or if Fletcher ran in past JK’s office, appointment is still independent. Appointment is still independent.

                Unless you can say that JK say, bribed the independent appointment personnel, and I’m sure you will say that, but it’s untrue, then there is no issue.

                I’m surprised at the apparent sensitivity arising here when I remember well when Mike Williams was the head of 5 separate boards. At the same time. As Labour party President. I will say that was hilarious. I’m pretty sure his various enormous salaries were funding the Labour party at that time.

                Similarly to the turnaround on Kiwisaver percentages. That’s a doozy too.

                Also, trying to compare this to Tariana is a but nutty, unless acquaintances = relatives.

                • karol

                  If the people on the shortlist weren’t up to the job, why were they shortlisted and notified that they had been shortlisted? Then one was told not to come to an interview because someone else had been chosen.

                  If it’s all above board, why was Key trying to keep his involvement in the recruitment secret?

                  Why did Ferguson come forward to Campbell Live tonight and say that something isn’t right, and that things are not good at GCSB right now? People are demoralised.

                • One Tāne Huna

                  TripandFallonface, remind me when Mike Williams got up in Parliament and lied and lied and lied.

                  Because that’s what this is about, not legitimate political appointments, but the Prime Minister telling lies to Parliament.

                  Or are you going to be a snivelling hypocrite about that?

                  • freedom

                    You are right One Tāne Huna, this is more than questionable “legitimate political appointments,” or “the Prime Minister telling lies to Parliament.” lest we forget this is the PM feigning even more of his patented hands off unawareness of a Ministry he is not only responsible for, but specifically directed to have control of.

                • Pascal's bookie

                  Jesus fucking wept.

                  After holding one clowns hand through it, I get this guy sugesting i need to hold his dick while he takes a piss.


                  The govt had only just appointed a head to the GCSB a few months before. They well knew the talent pool right/ That’s pretty simple to understand right?

                  So why would you move the brand new head of GCSB over to Government House if you knew the talent pool for the job you only just appointed him to was so shallow?

                  How does that make any sense at all?

                  It would make no sense.

                  So either the talent pool isn’t that small, or the people who moved him to GG were incompetent for not realising their stunning blunder, or something else.

                  So let’s be hearing your ‘something else’ theory.

                  Pro Tip, you better not make it, “they needed to shift Mateparae out because he fucked up on DotCom” coz that would be an even bigger scandal.

    • Colonial Weka 17.2

      You are missing the point Pop. It’s not that Key and Fletcher know each other that is the problem, it’s the process that was used (or wasn’t used). Even if Key were a man of principle that didn’t lie or cheat, it still wouldn’t be ok. Someone in his position has to follow the processes that eliminate any real OR perceived conflict of interest. As it is, how many people will trust him or his appointee?

      There is also a hypocracy here. Remember when Tariana Turia got pulled up for employing relatives? The cries of outrage were far louder than today.

      • Populuxe1 17.2.1

        To my mind it’s actually kinda stupid to try and apply the usual civil service process to the highest intelligence/national security role in the country. It’s not a normal job, why treat it like one?

        • RJL

          If it’s true that head of GCSB is such an exceptional position, then surely that should mean that it is even more important that there is no appearance (or fact) of cronyism.

          Maybe the normal civil service process is not appropriate (although I disagree with that), but if so it should be swapped for an even more rigorous process. Not given to the PM’s mate.

          • Pascal's bookie


            The GCSB are trusted to do pretty sensitive stuff, and the potential for abuse is high. The only people with any real oversight are the director and the PM.

            It’s vestal virgin level of purity that’s not only required, but seen to be in place. Otherwise how can we trust the oversight of the GCSB?

        • Colonial Weka

          I also wasn’t talking about civil service process. I was referring to people in positions of powerm, authority and responsibility understanding what ethical boundaries are and how not to breach them.

          As has been pointed out, it’s not just Key being a liar and a fool that is the problem here, it is that society seems to not be that bothered. But if we give this up, the requirement that the PM act according to high ethical standards, then corruption is not far behind. Not that we didn’t know that already before today with the current NACT govt.

    • RJL 17.3

      Of course, people know people. Which is why there is a proper process for such appointments. So that it is transparent that person A did not in fact receive any special treatment due to whom she knew.

      Oh wait…proper process wasn’t followed!

      And even worse, Key tried to obfuscate about his relationship with Fletcher when asked previously.

      And, oh gee, Fletcher failed to find some videos last year that might have shown Key speaking to GCSB staff about Dotcom.

      • Colonial Viper 17.3.1

        And, oh gee, Fletcher failed to find some videos last year that might have shown Key speaking to GCSB staff about Dotcom.

        I’m sure that was just a co-incidence. Really sure.

    • xtasy 17.4

      Populuxe1: “The other side of that coin is that in this country we have unprecedented direct access to the political machine.”

      Sorry mate, but that is how it once used to be. Did you ever try writing to or contacting an MP over recent years, and get a proper response?

      I fear the system is not allowing much direct access anymore, well, even if there is access, it is mostly not listened to and largely ignored now.

      They are sitting on another cloud, most of them, once they become MPs, and certainly so once they are ministers.

      You must be kidding with this comment. I am used to better ones from you.

      • Populuxe1 17.4.1

        Um, actually yes, on a regular basis. Indeed of many parties. (possibly not being a crackpot has something to do with it). Not just the local ones. Including ones who weren’t family friends, involved in projects I am involved with, or otherwise frequently seen at functions and gatherings. Also, they are legally obliged to respond to inquiries addressed to them, even by crackpots. Maybe you live in a cave or something – I don’t know – but you are talking bullshit.

        • xtasy

          Been waiting for a response from Peter Dunne for ages. I am not living in a cage, take great interest in affairs and tend to get to the point.

          But even the sensible pollies, like Kevin Hague, took months once to respond, while others (Metiria Turei) never did.

          So maybe you have a true name that is more known and respected, I do not get the same treatment, nor do many others I know, certainly not being abusive or unreasonable.

          Count yourself lucky, but you are not representative.

        • xtasy

          Also OIAs to MSD have delivered “bullshit” to me and others, asking for info on Dr David Bratt, Principal Health Advisor, comparing beneficiaries to drug addicts and the likes, he never replied, they dodge the questions, refuse to make certain info available and so it goes on.

          Do not dare to tell me I bullshit, I am real, and I raised honest and real questions, which have to date NOT been answered by the bullshit agencies responsible to answer.

          With your comments on me, dear Pop, you have just discredited yourself!

  18. fender 18

    I haven’t had time as yet to read all the above comments so forgive me if this has been mentioned already but TV3 said the other day that Susan Devoy was Tony Ryalls neighbour, and that explained everything regarding her appointment as RRC.

    • Hami Shearlie 18.1

      Yes, I saw that too Fender, on Campbell Live!!! No-one does nepotism and cronyism like the Natz!!! Wonder why nobody seems to have a problem with this. Is everyone asleep?? NZers really are very passive about Governments who seem to indulge in this kind of shady stuff. If this was Australia, the fur would be flying!!

  19. Te Reo Putake 19

    That application form in full:

    Position applied for: Head Spook.

    Civil Service experience: ………………………………. 5pts if Yes.
    Spying experience: ………………………………………. 5pts if Yes, 10pts if candidate refuses to confirm or deny.
    NZ Resident ……………………………………………….. 5pts if Yes.
    Friend of PM ………………………………………………. Million points, end of interview process.

  20. karol 20

    Interesting to look at the videos on TV3 news’s website. They show what Key said last week and compare it with the statement from Key’s office that O’Brien says, admitted that Key called Fletcher.

    This video from last week: Note @ about 1min 20, when Robertson asked what role Key played in the appointment, Key actually diverts the answer onto the fact that he knew Fletcher – sneaky. And note when reporters asked him about Fletcher, he gives short answers and resorts to his matter-of-fact-down-playing-it voice.

    And this video with O’Brien’s report, comparing previous answers from Key with the statement from the PM’s office today.

    • yeshe 20.1

      Such an outright liar; even his eyes say he is lying darting back and forth. One thing about Teflon is when finally it begins to break down, it tends to go very quickly. May this be exactly the case with this rotten-to-the-core man who shames us all as he destroys the country.

    • ianmac 20.2

      Thanks karol. Pretty damning. It might just be my imagination but it seemed that Key’s upper eyelids were sort of hooded in the last week interview as he “downplayed” his involvement.
      Good to know that TV News is on the ball!

      • karol 20.2.1

        Yes, ianmac. And then he goes into a longer statement and becomes animated when diverting the conversation onto Fletcher’s background and qualifications for the job.

  21. Treetop 21

    Garner reckons that Key not remembering ringing Fletcher prior to the job being advertised is the biggest hit to Key’s credibility since being elected. I gather this development occurred today.

    • Pascal's bookie 21.1

      Key’s story is that he knew Fletcher and remembered him from his childhood, followed his career, met him a few times as an adult, forgot about those few times while remembering him well enough to ring him about the GCSB job, then forgot he called him about that, then remembered everything yesterday afternoon.

      What’s the problem?

      • yeshe 21.1.1

        Thank you, PB

      • Treetop 21.1.2

        “What’s the problem?”

        Key could not remember ringing Ian Fletcher in 2011 until Key was backed into a corner in the last week. To me it does not matter whether Key rang Fletcher before or after the short list of four was rejected by the State Services Commissioner Ian Rennie. Fletcher was the only one interviewed and got the job in late 2011 and started the job in February 2012.

        21.2 I know about Garner’s affiliations, I tend to listen to all sides to establish what the best jab is. When the right is jabbing there is a smoking gun.

    • xtasy 21.2

      Forget Garner, he will hold an interview with Key and allow him to explain his way out. Garner is a Nat favouring journo, there is NO doubt about it. He will not want to see this government gone.

  22. yeshe 22

    And sadly, we can be assured David Carter will protect him in the House next week. It’s such a contradiction .. which is it ? Key called Fletcher about the post because he was a ‘mate’, or worse, he called him about the position when, according to Key, he really didn’t know him that well at all !!

    ( As a wicked aside, anyone else think that Speaker Carter bears strong resemblance to Richard Nixon ?? It’s all I can see when I watch him on Parliament tv. Poor man.)

    • veutoviper 22.1

      Well timed by Key – he is off to China on 5 April with a large trade contingent


      “…. Mr Key will depart New Zealand at midnight on 5 April. Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully will also travel to the Bo’ao Forum. Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce, Trade Minister Tim Groser and Māori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples will accompany the business mission delegation in China. Mr Key will return to New Zealand by Royal New Zealand Air Force 757 on 13 April.”

      So, if he survives the next two days, Key is out of the country for the next week so will not be in Parliament next week….

      PS – unfortunately I think he will survive the next two days….. but this trip comes at a good time for him.

      • xtasy 22.1.1

        So where does this leave the NZ useless media then?

        Are some of them not accompanying him, or are they all foot servants, overly grateful to be allowed to accompany our great, grand leader, Kim John Key???

        I suppose the media will be fed what they are supposed to be fed, and raise no issues, thankful for a free trip to China, meals included.

      • Anne 22.1.2

        Oh I dunno veutoviper. When the cat’s away the mice play.

  23. xtasy 23

    Yes, NO SURPRISE to me!

    I have been saying this in recent comments, and it is FACT: NZ Aotearoa is virtually being run like a dictatorship, at least one system, where a selected elite, who are mostly well-connected, through business, political activities and senior administration, actually are running the place. Regrettably most of them are to the political RIGHT, and they favour Key, and he and National are their choice.

    This goes through all the institutions, ministries and departments, and the same applies to the agencies in charge of health and welfare.

    Also have media been selected and favoured under this government, hence the abolition of public broadcasting, the restrictions on the remnants of TVNZ to run on making money, the focus on commercial interests and so forth.

    Why is there NO reporting on the most radical, draconian, unjust and extreme, in part illegal welfare reforms? Because it is NOT WANTED.

    So people out there, and those who read this, go home, sit down, do NOT turn of the telley or radio, take some serious time out, think, think, and think again, reflect, and ask questions, seek answers, and do analysis and research, you will find, there is a connected network of people with similar interests in charge all over the place, and they generally are kind to National, ACT or any organisation that likes to work with them.

    This is serious stuff, it is not a democracy, where people are not being properly, independently informed. And while we today learn about Key having basically invited Fletcher to become head of the GCSB, ask the next questions, can it be for real, that they did not realise Dotcom and one of his close staff were NZ residents???

    If GCSB is so incompetent (which they are NOT), they should not exist. It was all known, and I bet you, I am being observed by the SIS also, but who cares.

    Most people will hear this on the news and think, so what. And it will not be reported on too much either, you can bet on it. This one slipped out because Robertson had some info up his sleeve. Good on him, I hope there is more to come. When the truth comes out, even the lying, pretentious bullshit media cannot deny the truth anymore.

    No media commented on stuff I revealed about MSD, Dr Bratt and so, but nobody either said it was not true. Kiwis, NZers, YOU have a chance to wake up and prove you can reclaim democracy!

  24. Wayne (a different one) 24

    A bit rich coming from the Labour Party – whose catch cry was “Cronyism, we love it, bring it on.”

    You just have to take one look at Labour Party past President Mike Williams – what was it, 5 Board appointments under the leadership of Helingrad – just to name one out of numerous “cute” appointments made under the last Labour Govt.

    Be very careful before throwing stones – remember the old adage around glass houses.

    • Um Wayne

      So when did Helen say porkies about not knowing Williams or making sure that he was the only one on the list?

      Besides being a director on Transit is a world of difference from being the head spook doncha think?

    • One Tāne Huna 24.2

      Remind me when Mike Williams had to investigate illegal activity in the person who hired him’s department. And forgot to mention it.

      Oh, and just so I know you aren’t behaving like a typical wingnut and lying through your teeth, remind me how many of those appointments were the responsibility of the state services commissioner.

    • Tim 24.3

      Please Wayne – let it all out! I dare ya

    • xtasy 24.4

      Wayne (a different one): What are you on about?

      Under this government there have been heaps of re-appointments on endless boards in admin, in Ministries, Commissions and so forth, far more than at any time under Labour.

      The bias in appointments is clearly showing, it is disgusting.

      So while you go on about a few appointments under Labour, you are just trying to distract. Get real, please.

  25. One Tāne Huna 25

    He says he forgot.

    We all know he’s lying, but he prefers to look negligent.

  26. karol 26

    That politican got amnesia again!

    Key’s latest line is he forgot that he phoned Fletcher:

    Asked today why he hadn’t mentioned his phone call to Mr Fletcher about the GCSB job Mr Key said: “I’d forgotten that at that particular time”.

    He said he had initially brought up Mr Rennie’s name during a “brainstorming” session with Mr Rennie after the initial shortlist was rejected. Mr Key said he also called another man whose name came up during that session.

    However, he said the phone call to Mr Fletcher “wouldn’t make any difference” to his answers about his role as he did not regard it as part of the appointment process.

    “In principle the decision to appoint someone to the GCSB is actually a matter for the minister but we ran it through the process because in the end we wanted someone good.”

    • xtasy 26.1

      Yes, let us replay this again, it is so timely and appropriate, yet again:

      Amnesia, amnesia, amnesia, ‘The John Banks Song’ all over again!

    • McFlock 26.2

      Mr Key said he also called another man whose name came up during that session.

      Well, who was the other person Key suggested while “brainstorming”?
      Someone with appropriate experience, or another old school tie?

      If the former, why was Fletcher chosen;
      if the latter, why are the only people key can recommend for an advanced position personal cronies?

      Cushy jobs for the boys, while hundreds of thousands of New Zealanders he didn’t go to school with do without or are employed and paid below their worth.
      Loathsome corruption, and my bet is that Key’s that far gone he can’t even see what he’s done wrong.

      • One Tāne Huna 26.2.1

        This what wingnuts mean when they say they’re going to cut through the red tape.

        It means the rules don’t apply to them, and I’m afraid provides yet another example of the stupidity endemic on the right. Key doesn’t understand why the rules are there at all.

    • marty mars 26.3

      My gods how much mud has to fly before some of it sticks – how bloody long are we going to have to wait – he lies, he lies about his lies, he lies again – jeepers I’m sounding like vto now 🙂

    • Blue 26.4

      Only 51 years old and his memory has more holes than swiss cheese. Isn’t it about time he got medically certified as still being fit to run the country?

      • xtasy 26.4.1

        Certified to be NOT FIT to run the government, that is what a medic has to deliver us.

    • Kevin Welsh 26.5

      What worries me is how Key just happens to know AT LEAST two people who would be suitable to be New Zealand’s chief spy.

      Where do you meet people like that?

    • Populuxe1 26.6

      Sort of like Shearer’s bank account then?

      • fatty 26.6.1

        that there is the problem with all of this isn’t it?…John Key can just say “I forgot” and the opposition now have no comeback.
        John Key’s weakness is no longer an issue. Someone needs to dig up dirt on Shearer, and it needs to be filthy, and it needs to be done very soon, otherwise its 3 more years

        • Pascal's bookie

          only if you think a PM smirking and saying ” But he did it too” over and over about something way less important will play well out in punter land.

          maybe it does, maybe it doesn’t.

          I wanna see polling before it’s called fact though.

    • Treetop 26.7

      GCSB job advertised in May 2011
      Fletcher appointed in September 2011
      Fletcher started job in February 2012

      How long are top government positions usually advertised for?
      When did Rennie dump the short list of four?
      When was Fletcher’s Aussie job due to finish and how long had he been employed there?

      • marty mars 26.7.1

        I’d love to know who was on that shortlist.

        • Treetop

          “I’d love to know who was on that shortlist.”

          The Wizard of Oz
          Yogi bear
          Donald duck

          None of these were available after all for an interview due to work commitments in Disneyland or Hollywood.

      • Treetop 26.7.2

        Fletcher was interviewed in July 2011.

    • emergency mike 26.8

      I can’t believe he’s pulling out yet another brain fade. But I love how words mean whatever is convenient for John Key to decide they mean in any given moment.

      In the house he was asked what role he played in the appointment of Ian Fletcher, and we are supposed to believe that his personally calling Fletcher up to invite him to apply for the job wasn’t part of the process.

      Which is weird, because it seems that John Key in a different moment thinks differently in this video:

      Journo A: “Who recommended Ian Fletcher for the job as GCSB director?”

      Key: “Iain Rennie State Services Commisioner recommended him to me. There was a process as you’re aware of that I rang him, and said look….

      At 0:25:

      Journo A: “Who put Ian Fletcher’s name forward first, was it you or Mr Rennie?”

      Key: “Iain Rennie put it to me.”

      At 1:35:

      Journo B: “Who first mentioned Ian [Fletcher]…”

      Key: “Well I would have mentioned it to him [Rennie] I’m sure…”

      Journo A: “Sorry didn’t you just say that it was Iain Rennie who first put forward Ian Fletcher’s name?”

      Key: “He put the name to me, in the recommendation.”

      Journo A: “So you suggested it first?”

      Key: “I’m sure I probably would’ve.”

      John Key gives a whole new weasel to ‘weasel words’.

    • Mary 26.9

      Key certainly had his liar’s face happening on tele tonight.

    • Penny Bright 26.10

      Where were the ‘minutes’ of this purported ‘brainstorming’ meeting?

      Where is the TRANSPARENCY?


      Penny Bright
      ‘Anti-corruption campaigner’

  27. Smith 27

    Do the accusations of cronyism extend to the State Services Commissioner and the independent panel of three who interviewed Fletcher?

  28. felix 28

    This new line of Key’s – that he “forgot” in parliament last week and only remembered today after checking his records – doesn’t wash at all when you consider that this question was on notice:

    28.3.13 – Question 12: Grant Robertson to the Prime Minister

    Was Ian Fletcher the candidate or one of the candidates named in the report to him from the State Services Commissioner following the panel interviews for the position of Director of the GCSB; if not, who suggested that Mr Fletcher be considered for the position of Director of the GCSB?

    Now I realise that the question was answered on his behalf, but is it credible that he wasn’t consulted on the answer considering that he is the only person who could be expected to know it? And even if he wasn’t, someone had to go look at those records last Thursday.

    Is it credible that whoever looked at those records last Thursday didn’t tell him he had misled parliament?

    If he was consulted – and I’m sure he was – it starts to look as if not only has he lied, but he has also instructed Brownlee to lie on his behalf.

    • marty mars 28.1

      It seems labour had the dirt on this because of the line of questioning – I wonder what else they may have and why they don’t bring the hammer down while he’s reeling.

  29. freedom 29

    same article as linked by karol but this one has video of the huddle attached
    Key contradicted himself in the huddle, and he knows it
    moments of interest at 0:25 + 1:30 for the time constrained

  30. dumrse 30

    The appointment is history, get over it. If you can’t, then lets see some discussion aimed at how Mike Williams managed to get appointed to five boards.

    Political appointments will not go away so let’s breathe some life into something else.

    • One Tāne Huna 30.1

      Yes, of course you get to choose the longevity of this story.

      Of course you can pretend that this is a political appointment, as opposed to the supposed responsibility of the SSC.

      Of course you can whine and bleat and try and divert and say “but he did it too!” like a credulous gimp.

      It’s just that your opinion is worthless on all counts. Sob.

      PS: Hint: no-one would give a toss about the appointment if Key had followed due process and not exposed himself to an obvious conflict of interest over such a massively sensitive appointment, especially in light of the stink of corruption surrounding John Banks.

      • dumrse 30.1.1

        Very good. A full and frank reply however shame on you or not attempting to address the issue of Robertson giving FIVE board appointments to Mike Williams. Same shit different people.
        Still, the saving grace is its not as bad as having secret overseas bank accounts.

        • One Tāne Huna

          Hey, nice but dumb, did you understand the point I made about political appointments by comparison to SSC ones? Are you really that terminally ignorant?

          No wonder scientists say low IQ predicts for conservatism.

          PS: I’ll be charitable and take your word for Williams’ appointments, but just one thing. Remind me when Robertson misled Parliament and lied and lied and lied about his lies about said appointments. What’s that? He didn’t? Well then you’re dribbling again, aren’t you.

        • trickldrown

          Dumrs Pinokeyo constantly lies shearer told the truth

        • trcaey

          Did robertson pretend to forget though??? Why would you pretend to forget if it was above board?

        • Frank

          Sometimes Dumb Arses need sense punched into . keep it up.

    • xtasy 30.2

      dumrse: I find your chosen pseudonym very appropriate, and it shows again in the lack of quality of your comments.

  31. xtasy 31

    Listening to Nicky Hager on Checkpoint now, he is onto it, Key knows more, and it raises issues re the Dotcom case. This is high level bending of rules, dishonesty, lies and worse.

    When do the stupid other NZ bloody media report the damned truth???

    Dictatorship Aotearoa NZ is alive!

  32. ianmac 32

    John Campbell has an item on Campbell Live tonight. I don’t expect Mr Key will front this time.

    • xtasy 32.1

      Naturally HE did NOT! But another gentleman, who once worked for GCSB, made clear that another applicant with good qualifications and credentials was fobbed off, that they already had chosen one candidate, and that otherwise it used to be one from military or similar background, who would best qualify. That though did not happen this time. Now Fletcher fits none of the latter by the way, and it is fishy how he was picked.

  33. gobsmacked 33

    2 questions for Key’s apologists on this thread.

    a) Did you see former GCSB head Bruce Ferguson on Campbell Live?*

    b) Was he wrong?

    (* if not, TV3 website will have it for you).

    • One Tāne Huna 33.1

      Bruce Ferguson is obviously a raving communist: everything about that interview screams “commie”. He thinks the rules should be followed. Only a commie thinks like that.

      • gobsmacked 33.1.1

        Also, he had a parking ticket in 1982 or something (see all right-wing blogs, soon).

        So let’s be fair and balanced and say “We just don’t know who to believe”.

        • Colonial Viper

          Ferguson is of course a secret union sympathiser and commie wingnut

          • One Tāne Huna

            He’s an Activist Spy. “Red Fergie” they used to call him.

            • xtasy

              He may even be associated with Al Qaeda, I suppose, on Bin Laden’s payroll now, aye???

            • xtasy

              I suppose at one stage he visited a communist country, that makes him guilty, for sure, for being untrustworthy and biased. No, we cannot have that, rather ask Rodney Hide for qualified independent advice.

        • TruthSeeker

          I would suggest that Key has more to fear from Sir Bruce than Sir Bruce has to fear from them.

    • karol 33.2

      Key said that he didn’t see very much of Fletcher but earlier in the interview played on CL, he said he knows Fletcher’s phone number so that’s how he could phone him.

      • ianmac 33.2.1

        Sir Bruce Fergusson seems credible but as OTH and Gobsmacked point out, the National machine will set out to destroy his reputation.
        In the news clip following the Fergusson interview, Key said he had not known Fletcher since he was 18 but then he also says elsewhere that he has had several meals with him.
        Strange how Key turns the question into a Labour plot to get him since they have not been able to nail him over Dotcom. Really?

        • One Tāne Huna

          His response to Robertson in the House was telling: “no conspiracy here” says Key.

          Memo to the PM:

          No-one said there was. What people are saying is that you didn’t follow a robust process when you shoulder-tapped your unfriend, oh and why are you lying and lying and lying about it?

          • TruthSeeker

            Yeah, I noticed that too. He has done it on a few occasions. It could be some form of psychological projection…

          • Green machine UpandComer

            It’s more of the same, ‘neutron bomb’ stuff that ironically was from the large man who epitomises cronyism’ finding a conspiracy where there is none etc etc, throwing dirt at John Key because he drives lefties mad for some reason. The head of the state services has straight out called this whole issue a political disgrace, so what now, is Labour going to go after the state services commissioner? I suppose it will have a huge precedent for when Labour purged the public service and fired people for having National voting boyfriends or staff etc etc 🙂 boy was that unpleasant and disgusting. Poor Miss Setchell.

            • Colonial Viper

              WTF are you on?

              Key shoulder tapped a mate with no relevant experience for a top job, and then lied about it. A mate who now has the top job in the spying organisation central to the Dotcom mess and central to Key’s involvement in it.

              All your other shit is irrelevant.

              • Green machine UpandComer

                wtf are you on?

                He suggests to a guy he knew ages ago with a stunning civil service career to apply for the job. It’s not that unusual for very successful individuals in NZ to have crossed paths.

                No one else in the universe looks at Fletcher’s curriculum Vitae and thinks he has ‘no relevant experience’. That’s absurd. I suppose Hoover would have been nice, but he isn’t alive.

                The states Service commissioner has actually called the attacks on the appointment baseless, and appalling. Thus the attack now has to be on the civil service. It’s amazing how Labour can switch so fast to attacking things and people it was lauding just a few months ago. I suppose it’s the same thing as asset sales, and tax cuts, and kiwisaver.

                It’s the same mud slinging rubbish that is all Labour has been good for since Cullen started to defer to his colleagues. This pathological reaction to JK is puzzling.

                No one outside of the beltway or this blog, or the leftie journalists, thinks this is an issue or agrees with you.

                And what I say about Labour’s past purges, stacking of the civil service, and proxy funding of it’s party through it’s president’s board appointments is highly relevant, because it serves as a point of comparison. A lot of us out there remember all of that stuff. They’re also going to remember that half a million sitting stupidly in a foreign bank account that isn’t paying off the mortgage just ain’t going to sound good mud-slinging or attacking someone for not remembering things.

                • One Tāne Huna

                  Yeah whatever.

                  You missed the justification for John Key lying to Parliament and the media.

                  • Pascal's bookie

                    And that the now ‘outraged’ Rennie failed to mention last week that Fletcher had been brought up by Key.

                    And apparently Ferguson is some screaming leftist, as is the DomPost Editorialist, and so is John Armstrong, along with pretty much every other member of the gallery, with the possible exception of Paddy Gower.

                • ak

                  Hoover would have been nice,

                  Random keyfellater unwittingly highlights most concerning issue.

                  A born liar’s always gonna lie, that’s just the truth. And the Right has always owned the media.

                  But when he builds his own wee J Edgar, and stops even trying, start to worry.

                • gobsmacked

                  @ “Up and Comer”

                  Could you please answer the questions I asked at #33?

                  It would save you a lot of time and embarrassment, especially if you’re going to keep up this “mud-slinging lefties” line.

                  (Sir Bruce Feguson was on Radio Live again this morning, making the same very reasonable points. Care to rebut?).

        • karol

          Actually, I think in the CL video tonight, Key said he hadn’t seen Fletcher since he was 18 until as far as he can remember he (Key) he was 48.

          • logie97

            … I heard that as well, yet he has apparently had several meals with him in the last months or so … go figure.

            • TruthSeeker

              He said “from the age of 45, 48” or words to that effect. I note that he became leader of the National Party in 2006, aged 45.

      • trcaey 33.2.2

        despite not seeing him since he was 18???

        • Anne

          There was a curtain drawn between them so they couldn’t actually see each other.

      • xtasy 33.2.3

        Key does not have phone numbers, because he would not remember them, karol!

    • Treetop 33.3

      Morale is the lowest it has ever been at GCSB according to Ferguson. I do not think it is due to the impending shake up, more like the power play between Key and Fletcher. Fletcher will either cover for Key or admit he kept Key out of the loop re illegal spying.

      Will Fletcher resign?

      Will Key keep dodging the truth?

      • Arfamo 33.3.1

        Morale in all government departments is low. They have been whipping boys and targets for bad government decisions ever since the Bolger administration. But the Key administration would be by far the worst. The level of competence at senior levels is abysmal. Most of them seem to have no idea of what their staff actually do.

        • Colonial Viper

          Staff are there to do as they are told.

          • Arfamo

            Staff often haven’t got a clue what management are talking about (neither have the management, it’s just the latest management fad being parroted to them) and just want to be allowed to get on with doing their jobs instead of having to waste time listening to so much bullshit.

            • Colonial Viper

              I believe you need to attend some more seminars on productivity improvement and team work.

              • Arfamo

                Ok. Sounds good. First we need a series of meetings of managers to decide which company we will get to come in and interview the staff and disrupt their work to find out what they do and then to design a training programme which the staff will have to review and correct, which will disrupt their work, and which the management will then change because the CEO doesn’t like it. Then we will have to schedule training sessions for the busiest part of the working year. Then when these are completed we will have to start over again because the department is downsizing and restructuring and has a new CEO because productivity dropped under the last one and the new CEO has a new management plan and it involves everyone being positive and embracing new opportunities for personal growth.

          • xtasy

            “Morale” was “high” in the Berlin bunker of the Fuehrer!

      • trcaey 33.3.2

        If fletcher resigns it will be with a fat golden handshake.

        Kiwis must be going to wake up to this guys “I forgot: nonsense one day?


      • TruthSeeker 33.3.3

        Key has dismissed any suggestion that Fletcher should have briefed him on operational matters. He went even further today and said Fletcher is doing a good job. There is no going back now. Fletcher’s resignation would undermine the official line. We can be almost certain that Fletcher is protecting Key. But now Key must protect Fletcher. Or else their cover story unravels. But they have seriously miscalculated the cost of throwing the GCSB under a bus.

        • Colonial Viper

          Reminds me of “Brownie, you’re doing a heck of a job!” lol

        • Treetop

          I agree that Key has to protect Fletcher because Fletcher is the one who could ruin Key. Key has stated that the GCSB need to be over hauled, this is under Fletcher’s watch.

          Do not take your eye off the ball when it comes to the police as they could blow it for Fletcher. As well further Dotcom hearings have not taken place and perjury is highly likely to occur from the GCSB and OFCANZ.

          There are people in the police and GCSB who know stuff but probably want to protect their family. NZ is a small place.

    • rosy 33.4

      I was surprised that the short-list was still ‘live’ until after the interview with Fletcher. Key earlier had given the impression that the short-list had been dismissed before he called Fletcher.

      More questions…

      -On what grounds did Rennie say he couldn’t recommend any of the short-listed candidates?
      – If you’ve a short-list how can you say no-one is suitable unless you’ve interviewed? You’ve all must have had suitable cv’s to survive the long-list.
      – And even if you do decide that you can decide without the interview, how come no-one thought to tell the those on the list until after the Fletcher decision was made when, according to Ferguson, at least one person had his interview appointment revoked?
      – How was this interview process proper process?

  34. One Tāne Huna 34

    What gets me is the wilful wingnut blindness. People screw up; they come with biases, heck, look at us lot. They have embarrassing things in their personal lives, or tend to favour people who agree with them, or sometimes, they’re actual real life criminal baddies.

    So processes like the appointment of civil servants are designed to protect us from becoming the victims of our own human nature, and they work, imperfectly, but a lot better than “this is my mate from school and he’s pretty good”.

    The GCSB, as we have seen, is a serious piece of government apparatus, with more than the usual set of powers.

    If this were Shonky’s vineyard there’d be nothing wrong with it, but this ain’t Shonky’s vineyard.

  35. Zola 35

    We can talk – he can talk – but in the end – he can’t hide those lying eyes.

  36. trcaey 36

    And he forgot he rang his childhood friend to suggest he apply for a job in a department he heads. Someone call for him to resign on the basis that he must be developing some kind of early onset dementia which cannot possibly make him fit to lead….

  37. freedom 37

    sarc (recommend read in your best Peter Cook as a Rector voice)
    breaking news:
    partial transcript recovered of the GCSB lunchroom ceremony – that we never got to see:

    Oh yea, we stand here, astounded by the legitimacy and suitability for all action and authority the peasants have twice bestowed on thee. We are struck, as stone hit by lightening, to witness here in this humble chamber the vainglorious corpulence that is the generosity of our great leader John Key. The pork pies are particularly tasty.

    Our very presence besmirching his radiosity and blackening the light and the truth that is his omnipotence. With an imperious sense of duty, his unwavering opportunism and affluence only clarify the rightfulness of his supreme excellence in all things and our unworthiness to breathe his exhalations. Today, as Bankers around the World await his return, we are a chorus of celebration. We wilfully surrender in the throes of ecstasy, prostrate at the Prime Minister’s decree of unfathomable magnificence that he has placed in the hands of the newly anointed Director. It is with such orgasmic blissitude that our day has witnessed the Prime minister’s presence and now we humbly scatter into our burrows uttering only the new mantra of life on Earth

    may the wealth be with you

  38. http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/8500613/Fletchers-appointment-defended-by-SSC-boss

    errr…. Where are the minutes?

    Why aren’t proper written records being kept so that the ‘memory’ of NZ Prime Minister John Key doesn’t have to be relied upon?

    (Given that it has proven to be so ‘shonky’? )

    Who is holding the Prime Minister, and Ministers accountable to their statutory duties arising from the Public Records Act 2005, in order to ensure genuine ‘transparency’?


    3 Purposes of Act

    The purposes of this Act are—

    (c)to enable the Government to be held accountable by—

    (i)ensuring that full and accurate records of the affairs of central and local government are created and maintained; and
    (ii)providing for the preservation of, and public access to, records of long-term value;

    Doing deals over dinner, and over the phone, may be how it works when you’re Head of Derivatives for Merrill Lynch, or as a Foreign Exchange Advisor for the New York Federal Reserve – but surely this is NO WAY to run a country – especially New Zealand ‘perceived’ to be ‘the least corrupt country in the world’?

    How do these corporates / businesspeople/ ex-Wall St bank$ters ‘transmogrify’ into ‘public service’ mode – where the laws / rules and culture arguably are so different?

    Oh – that’s right – they don’t.

    They continue to look after themselves, and their mates…..

    That’s how I for one ‘perceive’ it.

    Penny Bright
    ‘Anti-corruption campaigner’

    2013 Auckland Mayoral Candidate

    Appellant – Occupy Auckland vs Auckland Council Appeal
    (CIV 2011- 404 -8284)


  39. Murray Olsen 39

    Given what usually happens when Key stuffs up, I can’t wait to see what loathsome policies Bennett or Collins announce this week. I’m glad I’m not a beneficiary and feel very, very sorry for those who are.

    • xtasy 39.1

      Thank you for your empathy, Murray! I live in constant fear, as long as Bennett remains in charge.

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  • Future secured for Salisbury School
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  • Criminal Cases Review Commission established
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