Well, now it comes out that Key met with Ian Fletcher on several occasions before
and immediately after Fletcher was appointed to the top job at the GCSB. As I argued previously, in “Networks of influence”. Key works to make the most of the (not unusual) strategy of cultivating networks. For Key, he cultivates certain kinds of networks related to wealth, power, the entertainment industry and intellectual property.
Yesterday, as reported by Andrea Vance, the State Services Commission released information about some meetings between Key and Fletcher, and they are significant in how they slot into the timeline of the appointment of Fletcher to the boss of the GCSB.
March 12, 2010 - breakfast Hyatt Regency in Auckland. *
June 14, 2011 - Key signed off interview panel
“Three days earlier, Mr Key had signed off on an interview panel for the job, which included then Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet boss Maarten Wevers. Mr Fletcher was the only person to be interviewed for the post, after a shortlist of four other candidates was rejected”
May 2011 - GCSB job advertised
July 2011 - Key calls Fletcher to tell him about the GCSB job
August 3, 2011 -
Key phoned FletcherRennie phoned Key to update him after hisFletcher's interview
October 3, 2011 - Key and Fletcher both attended dinner at the residence of the British High Commissioner
So, this reinforces just how much Key took a special interest in appointing a crony and a person who had specialised previously in intellectual property and commerce, as well as intervening in the appointment process. Now Key wants to legalise surveillance of New Zealanders by the GCSB. The proposed changes to the intelligence services have been criticised by a professor of cyber security and forenics as being “a step towards totalitarianism” and “comparable to Big Brother.”
The Andrea Vance article ends with a list of all the times Key had changed his story over his meetings with Fletcher and his intervention in the appointment process. Key was clearly covering up the extent of his friendship because of what it reveals about the cronyism, the unusual prime ministerial intervention and Key’s preoccupation with intellectual property, commerce, and the refocusing of the GCSB on such matters.
* And for those that claimed I was making dubious and fictional connections by saying that Key had almost certainly met Fletcher in Auckland around 11 March 2010 – I said it was logical based on the evidence, and so my “almost certain” turns out to be proved certain.