Key and Mass Surveillance: Was this the reason for the Golriz distraction?

Written By: - Date published: 7:42 pm, November 29th, 2017 - 98 comments
Categories: Abuse of power, Dirty Politics, International, john key, national, Politics, same old national, surveillance, the praiseworthy and the pitiful, us politics - Tags: ,

Doncha love the media and the right’s ability to throw them tidbits and getting some of them barking and howling and chasing cars?  When more important stories involving serious journalism are somehow put into the background mainly because the stories are complex and cannot fit in a tweet or your average Facebook post?

Such a story emerged today.  Despite repeated denials and promises that he would resign if the New Zealand Government engaged in mass surveillance it appeared that the former Government under Prime Minister John Key did indeed engage in mass surveillance, or at least was getting ready to do so even though he said it was not.

From David Fisher at the Herald:

Sir John Key’s story of how and why he canned a “mass surveillance” programme are at odds with official papers detailing development of the “Speargun” project.

The issue blew up in the final days of the 2014 election with Key claiming the programme was long-dead and had been replaced by a benign cyber-security system called Cortex.

Key always claimed the Speargun project to tap New Zealand’s internet cable was stopped in March 2013.

But new documents show development of Speargun continued after the time he had said he ordered a halt – apparently because the scheme was “too broad”.

Instead, they show Speargun wasn’t actually stopped until after Key was told in a secret briefing that details were likely to become public because they could be in the trove of secrets taken by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.

With days to go until voting in 2014, Key found himself accused by some of the world’s most high-profile and outspoken surveillance critics of secretly developing a mass surveillance system with the United States’ National Security Agency.

It was high stakes for Key, also Minister of the GCSB, as he had previously promised the public he would resign as Prime Minister if there was ever mass surveillance of New Zealanders.

Fisher does an outstanding job of explaining exactly what happened.

At the Kim Dotcom-organised “Moment of Truth” event, journalist Glenn Greenwald and Snowden claimed our Government Communications Security Bureau spy agency had developed the “Speargun” project to tap New Zealand’s internet cable and suck out masses of data.

Key denied it, saying Speargun had been canned in March 2013 because it was too intrusive.

He said: “We made the call as government and I made the call as the Minister and as Prime Minister, that actually it was set too broadly.

“What we ultimately did, when it comes to Speargun, in my opinion, I said it’s set too far. I don’t even want to see the business case.”

The NZ Herald has found – after three years of refusals and information going missing – that the former Prime Minister’s version of events doesn’t match that of documents created at the time.

Wooah you mean he was not telling the truth when he said Speargun had been canned in March 2013?

Hampton’s response to a recent OIA request stated that on March 28 2013 there had been a meeting with someone – not Key – from the Prime Minister’s office and GCSB staff, including the assistant director responsible for Speargun.

“While there is no written record of the discussion, the understanding of GCSB officials who attended the meeting is that (the Prime Minister’s office) considered that the (detailed business case) should not be brought forward to Ministers at that time until broader questions about legal authorities and the policy framework had been answered.”

Maybe Key did not know what his staff member said?  To that I say you should always follow the money …

Cabinet documents from April 2013 then show Speargun – or Initiative 7418 – had its funding extended through to June the following year.

And it seems that Key was told about this.

When the information was eventually released, it appeared to show the Speargun project was still active when part of a critical briefing given to Key in July 2013.

To add to this Key was told that the information may have been leaked.

At [a briefing given to Key in July 2013], Speargun was raised with the Prime Minister during a “briefing on leaks of alleged intelligence documents” – information taken by Snowden from the NSA.

It means that Key knew more than a year before the “Moment of Truth” event that it was possible Snowden would release details of a project intended to scan all internet traffic coming into New Zealand.

The background is described in this post written by Anthony Robins in the Standard back in 2014.

Last night Dotcom made a complete mess of his personal “big reveal”. He should have backed up the letter leaked earlier that day to The Herald. He didn’t, and that can only lead to increased doubts over its authenticity. That story will play out over time, of course, but it created a diversion on the night which distracted from the main message.

In other respects it was a brilliant event. All of the speakers had their strengths, but Snowden was particularly compelling, setting out his personal testimony – New Zealanders are under mass surveillance. Here’s how Key’s “story” with respect to such claims has evolved – from:

Greenwald has had access to leaked documents provided by whistleblower Edward Snowden, and he says he will release a report that would show the GCSB has been conducting mass surveillance on New Zealanders — a claim Mr Key strongly denies. “There’s no ambiguity. No middle ground. I’m right. He’s wrong,” Mr Key told reporters today.

to:

Mr Key said Cabinet signed off a proposal for the GCSB to investigate a business case for widespread cyber protection of New Zealand entities, but he personally stopped the work in March last year because he thought it was a step too far. “In the end, that never even got to a business case.”

to:

Mr Key today acknowledged the GCSB had indeed tapped into the cable, but for the purposes of a cybersecurity programme. However, Mr Key said concerns the project would be perceived as mass surveillance led to it being scaled back to a much narrower programme.

…to the pure distraction of the release of hastily declassified documents that relate to something else entirely (CORTEX).

The Greenwald / Snowden revelations (no need to repeat them, go read the originals here and here) relate not to CORTEX but to Speargun and XKEYSCORE, about which Key says – nothing:

”we don’t discuss the specific programmes the GCSB may, or may not use”

So from Key we have changing stories, irrelevant distractions and refusal to comment. From Snowden we have compelling first person testimony and supporting documents (uncontested by any other Five Eyes leader). New Zealand is under mass surveillance. “If you live in New Zealand you are being watched”. Changes to the GCSB legislation were part of a planned expansion of that process. Time for Key to make good on his promise:

Prime Minister John Key says he and the head of GCSB would resign if the spy agency were found to have conducted mass surveillance.

So three years later and after the involvement of the Ombudsman the information finally comes out.  There should be big political damage for this sort of deception but regrettably there won’t.  Too many media are following right wing trails of meat leading to a young Iranian refugee who is now a Member of Parliament to notice the really big story, that the last Government’s promises it would not engage in mass surveillance of New Zealanders cannot be trusted.

98 comments on “Key and Mass Surveillance: Was this the reason for the Golriz distraction?”

  1. Zorb6 1

    Maybe this is the reason he resigned and handed over to Bill English.

    • Nah personal hygiene reasons

    • Anne 1.2

      Quelle surprise – not.

      It was my contention back in 2012/13 that John Key was – at least in part – manoeuvred into the job of PM by off-shore entities (code for NSA, CIA, GCHQ and probably other agencies) for the purpose of setting up these shadowy surveillance and other associated measures inside the GCSB. The hiring of Ian Fletcher to head the GCSB – someone whose background was closely linked to British Intelligence – was part of the deal.

      It’s interesting that both Fletcher and Key did not see out their respective contract/term in government. They both resigned with little warning citing… more time to be with their families. Maybe once their part in the scheme was complete they lost interest in the job and decided to quit. It’s probably unlikely to have been quite that simple.

      I, too have been wondering why the Nats have turned into such a seething mass of hysteria over what amounts to piddling stuff. Setting aside they’re still miffed at losing, it’s starting to look like there might be more to it.

      • SpaceMonkey 1.2.1

        Maneuvered into the job, yes, and by off-shore entities, but not necessarily by those agencies. I believe it was by extremely wealthy individuals in and around big finance. John Key was in the upper echelons of Wall St – first name terms with people like Jamie Dimon and Lloyd “doing God’s work” Blankfein who head up some of the most insidious and corrupt organisations on this planet.

        But those individuals benefit from the information those agencies collect, and so understand their value. Key would’ve had no problems responding to requests from those agencies because his corporate handlers would’ve already given him the thumbs up.

        If ever there was a time that NZ could be considered a banana republic (or in NZ’s case a milky constitutional monarchy), it was during the last 9 years under John Key’s National.

        • Anne 1.2.1.1

          Yes Space Monkey I’m sure the off-shore corporate world was involved in his rapid rise to power in NZ. In my comment I used the words ‘entities’ and ‘agencies’ the wrong way round. I was meaning the financiers when I said… “and probably other agencies”. Should have been ‘entities’.

          What we are both saying is: in the first instance, Key was never working for NZ and NZers. We were only of secondary consideration in the scheme of things. That is why he had to lie so much because had he told the truth many more people would have started to smell a rat. As it was many of us did, from the start, but the corporate-backed media made darn sure we were rarely heard.

          It is incumbent on Andrew Little to publicly respond to the revelations, although I would expect him to make further inquiries first. I hope that is what is currently happening.

          • SpaceMonkey 1.2.1.1.1

            Then we agree. And as he was never working for NZ, by definition he was committing treason. That said, he’s got some very powerful friends and therefore a lot of protection. The likelihood of him ever being arrested and tried for treason is about… zero. The corporate-backed media is owned by the same entities who own John Key.

        • Greg 1.2.1.2

          Agree he was sent. Similar to your contention my take was he may have sent to bring TPPA

      • Brigid 1.2.2

        ” ….John Key was – at least in part – manoeuvred into the job of PM by off-shore entities ”
        With considerable assistance from Michelle le Boag
        A person could have felt pity for Brian Neeson being unceremoniously kicked out of Helensville in preference to Key in 2002.

        • SpaceMonkey 1.2.2.1

          John Slater, ex-National Party President (and father of blubber boy), was also instrumental in John Key returning to NZ and being catapulted into the National Party leadership.

    • Cinny 1.3

      It may well be one of the many reasons that he quit.

      Tis nothing new for national to deceive and distract, that’s how they roll.

      Sure is a relief not to have such a twisted crooked government anymore, and it sure is a relief not to have some kind of pervert as PM

    • millsy 1.4

      Doubt it. Key could probably do anything and get away with it.

  2. It seems a stretch to say the rabid dogs were unleashed to protect the already protected John. He’ll just shrug his little shoulders, put the thick expression on his face and his face with murky smile and go dunno, dunno, dunno.

    I think the gnats are just acting like the wankers they are rather than some big plan.

    It would be great to see john Key in the stand though getting grilled by a lawyer or judge.

    • mickysavage 2.1

      Not to protect JK because he is completely expendable. But I am struggling to work out the justification and the timing of the attack on Golriz.

      • Ed 2.1.1

        Just the drip drip drip of negative reporting to change the thoughts of ordinary New Zealanders.

      • Enough is Enough 2.1.2

        Its politics Greg. Thats the justifcation. National will attempt to take out their enemies whenever the opportunity arises. Thats how they think and operate.

        Just think back to the despicable way they treated Marion Hobbes, Taito Phillips Field, David Benson-Pope, Wiston Peters during their last spell in opposition.

        They are nasty

      • Sacha 2.1.3

        Piggybacking on Manus in the news?

        • mickysavage 2.1.3.1

          Yep in politics the front foot is the best place to be.

          • Macro 2.1.3.1.1

            One wonders what nasty piece of faux angst they will come up with next week. They have no morals and could not care less how many lives they damage and the suffering they cause with their filthy lies and smears. All to gain power, which the use only to enrich themselves.

      • Ross 2.1.4

        I am struggling to work out the justification and the timing of the attack on Golriz.

        Maybe the timing was random.

        • Incognito 2.1.4.1

          I struggle to believe that when you (can) control the story, the narrative, and the framing you cannot control the timing …

          • Ross 2.1.4.1.1

            But doesn’t that also apply to the David Fisher story? I mean he says he’s been waiting a few years for the info…why not simply publish the story after the Ghahraman story has died a natural death? What’s a few more days in the context of a few years?

            • marty mars 2.1.4.1.1.1

              + 1 yep clear air would be best for these revelations.

            • Incognito 2.1.4.1.1.2

              With respect but you’re comparing apples with oranges; these two ‘stories’ are completely different in almost every relevant aspect and thus incomparable IMO.

              One is a sloppy slanderous smear campaign, a hit job by somebody who long ago went off the reservation. Its ultimate aim appears to be to undermine the democratically elected coalition government.

              The other story is an ongoing deep investigation by a (international) team of very highly respected professional and investigative journalists into mass surveillance of New Zealand citizens and alleged lies and Dirty Politics claims that apparently went all the way to the top of the former PM’s Office.

          • Matthew Whitehead 2.1.4.1.2

            Backing up the possibility of coincidental (I wouldn’t say “random”) timing is the background of Phil Quinn, the guy who’s pushing this story. There’s no way he would sit on this so the only way the timing is engineered is if he was tipped off and isn’t saying it.

            I won’t rule that out as a possibility, but it’s not entirely naive to be open to the possibility that the timing is in fact a coincidence.

        • dv 2.1.4.2

          BUT the herald editors knew about the ‘problem’, cause they edited out of the report by Kirsty Johnston cause not enough space!!!

          That is sorta weird.
          Are the editors saying its not newsworthy (before the election).
          OR was it held back of more impact latter?

          • solkta 2.1.4.2.1

            I’ve not seen anything to say that the editors removed content but rather the implication that Kirsty didn’t include it herself due to space and the presumption that it was not necessary:

            “To clear things up: I interviewed @golrizghahraman about six weeks before the election, we openly discussed her time in Rwanda as a defence intern. It (like much of her story) didn’t make my final story due to space.”

            “But we used it when she was elected. Call me naive but I assumed getting defence experience was normal, not a big deal, and there were other more relevant things to include.”

          • Stephen Doyle 2.1.4.2.2

            I do despair for the likes of Kirsty Johnston, Matt Nippert, and David Fisher at the Herald. Great journalists doing great work. Buried under the dross that is the bulk of NZME.

      • McFlock 2.1.5

        I thought maybe they had some larger objective, but I think now that they’re just using any handy opportunity to stir shit. And if one doesn’t present itself, they’ll puff something up as much as possible.

        I think they’ll wear out their newsworthiness, though – if this government does well, the nats will need more than faux outrage. Turei made them think they were giant-killers, but frankly they just got lucky.

    • mary_a 2.2

      Marty (2) re your final paragraph …

      “It would be great to see john Key in the stand though getting grilled by a lawyer or judge.”

      Absolutely it would. However, if such a situation arose, I’d say Key is still protected by the high and mighty, so there’d be a media blackout on the case! Can’t show the greatest hoax forced upon the country, to be looking bad in the public eye can we?

  3. Ed 3

    I do wonder whether people like Quin and Soper have stuff on them…..
    so they write what they’re told when they’re told.

  4. mosam 4

    Key and others should be held accountable !!!!!!!!!

    Cmon Andrew Little…..do the RIGHT thing.

    http://norightturn.blogspot.co.nz/2017/11/key-lied-about-mass-surveillance.html

    Justice now !

    Key and others must be impeached.

  5. Marcus Morris 5

    I have cut and pasted a post I put up earlier today so I am delighted that this thread is now running.

    “Let’s shift the debate to the disclosure in yesterday’s Herald under the heading “John Key, mass surveillance and what really happened when Edward Snowden accused him of spying”. As I read it, the article reinforces what many of us have suspected for a long time, that the former Prime Minister (I find it distressing to give him his full title) was more than economic with the truth, and that is putting it mildly. Golriz has done absolutely nothing wrong but sadly the issue is exposing once again the dark underbelly of a society that likes to proclaim to the outside world that it is one of openness and fair-mindedness .”

    Several days ago I also gave a reference to an article by Bryan Gaynor which highlighted the folly and appalling cost of Muldoon’s Superannuation scheme.

    Both revelations are shocking examples of National Government corruption and the Left should be giving them maximum exposure.

  6. mosam 6

    It is a travesty that Key and others aren’t prosecuted for crimes against New Zealanders.

    http://www.legislation.govt.nz/act/public/1961/0043/latest/DLM328520.html

    Key and his abuse of power should be added to this list under treason of the crimes act.

  7. mosa 7

    It is a travesty that Key and others aren’t prosecuted for crimes against New Zealanders.

    http://www.legislation.govt.nz/act/public/1961/0043/latest/DLM328520.html

    Key and his abuse of power should be added to this list under treason of the crimes act.

  8. Ed 8

    No wonder there was all that noise about Golriz.
    This story is dynamite.

    Edward Snowden alleges ‘cover up’ over mass surveillance in New Zealand

    ‘Edward Snowden says new evidence shows former Prime Minister John Key lied to New Zealand about mass surveillance plans.

    “A Lie, a Cover-Up, and a Stolen Election: @nzherald’s new evidence shows former PM of New Zealand John Key lied to his country about mass surveillance plans in the final days before the vote — and won,” he tweeted on Wednesday.
    A Lie, a Cover-Up, and a Stolen Election: @nzherald’s new evidence shows former PM of New Zealand John Key lied to his country about mass surveillance plans in the final days before the vote — and won. #nzpol https://t.co/NIdGlJwprq

    — Edward Snowden (@Snowden) November 28, 2017

    http://www.newshub.co.nz/home/new-zealand/2017/11/edward-snowden-alleges-cover-up-over-mass-surveillance-in-new-zealand.html

    • In Vino 9.1

      Don’t get too happy, Ed. I suspect that too few NZers care about serious things like this. The Media will downplay it, distract, etc… it will be forgotten soon like so many other reprehensible DP.
      A legal case has to be put before the court. Without that, this will slide into oblivion.

  9. Brian Tregaskin 10

    Too be fair its not all bad ….
    NSA do a lot of good work too
    xkeyscore does identify ISIS potential recruits for example.
    good read here
    https://www.theguardian.com/world/interactive/2013/jul/31/nsa-xkeyscore-program-full-presentation
    As much as i dislike National there is no way they would have used xkeyscore via GCSB
    to spy on political opponents. It simply would not have happened or be allowed under the 5 eyes agreement.

  10. So can we assume that with stage 1 of the Spear Gun project in place the interception – I understand a probe on an undersea cable is tapped and available allowing information retrieval in the way that Edward Snowden described in video segment on the Herald article and which is described in more detail here. https://theintercept.com/2014/09/15/snowden-new-zealand-surveillance/

    Stage two is some other aspect perhaps to do with NZ capability or training but the hardware is in place. From my reading this is not made explicit in David Fisher’s article but it is in Edward Snowden’s testimony.

    • RedLogix 11.1

      Yes, an astute question Jan. This new govt need to appoint someone independent of the GCSB to take a good hard look at exactly what happened, when and what the current status of all its components is.

      Just saying ‘the program was shutdown’ doesn’t tell us enough about what happened next. Given the history of this whole affair there’s a residual political risk of buried hand grenades blowing up at some point in the future if they’re not safely dealt to.

      • Anne 11.1.1

        This new govt need to appoint someone independent of the GCSB to take a good hard look at exactly what happened, when and what the current status of all its components is.

        Couldn’t agree more. Further to that, it is in everybody’s interest including the GCSB. Until such a time it occurs, there will always be a shadow of doubt hanging over them and they can thank the previous government – and John Key in particular – for landing them in this mire.

      • Jan Rivers 11.1.2

        Thanks. Implementing the recommendations of report by Sir Michael Cullen and Patsy Reddy into law would go some to doing this as many of its them were ignored and the resulting law leaving it profoundly undemocratic. One of the complaints was that Russel Norman could be regarded as the agent of a foreign power in his role as head of Greenpeace but there was plenty more. There was also an argument that making public informaton about the methods of surveillance being would help wrongdoers avoid them – so effectively we are all in the dark. Even US citizens have more information about the surveillance they are subject to that we in NZ do.

    • Carolyn_nth 11.2

      I seem to remember that around the time of the Moment of Truth, some people were talking about an intercept at the location where the southern cross cable makes landfall: ie around Northcote in Auckland, I think. Or is my memory wrong?

      Edit: It’s not exactly that, but something similar. This article from soon after the Moment of Truth (NZH):

      Renegade former American intelligence analyst Edward Snowden claims the US National Security Agency, for which he used to work, has a facility in Auckland and another in the north. “You are being watched.”

      “There are actually NSA facilities in New Zealand. One of them is in Auckland, another is in the north of the country.”

      He said a NSA slide published on his Intercept website yesterday showed the first phase of the so-called “Speargun” programme — tapping the Southern Cross cable — was completed in mid-2013.

      He claimed another slide showed the GCSB was awaiting the passage of the legislation before proceeding with the second stage, inserting a “metadata probe” that would allow the collection of data.

      • Jan Rivers 11.2.1

        Thanks for the reminder. The new law came into effect in March this year. It seems to allow “things that would otherwise be illegal” and the creation of warrants for classes of people, things and places. Is it this that was being awaited?

    • Paul Campbell 11.3

      I’m not sure they actually need to tap it underwater … by some mysteriously incredible freak chance one cable from Oz cable passes through Whenuapai airbase

      • Carolyn_Nth 11.3.1

        Thanks, Paul. That’s the sort of thing I was remembering from around the time of the MoT.

        Basically, there’s a couple of places where the southern cross cable surfaces on land in NZ, after making landfall at Takapuna – one is at Northcote where there is some kind of datacom centre – likely place for siphoning off data. And there’s another further inland – must be Whenuapai – then it goes back into the sea around Murawai.

        And that would probably fit with Snowden’s claims of there being some sort of NSA centres in NZ – in Auckland and in the north.

      • Jan Rivers 11.3.2

        Thanks. In my mind it’ll still be 007 types with flippers,masks and aqua lungs with secret, special underground welding equipment testing every 3 months for corrosion. :-0 Whenuapai makes much more sense!

  11. savenz 12

    When are we getting proper NZ focused media (also on TV) so we can start to get local news again ? Should be first thing for the opposition or at least a clean out at TVNZ. I’d like to see John Campbell back replacing awful Hoskins.

    As for Liar Key, it was always obvious he was lying and he paid for that game of golf with Obama by selling out Kiwi’s privacy to foreign recipients under bogus pretences. Control freaks always want to surveil. All the dictators do it.

    I feel sorry for Dotcom and the persecution that he’s been put under for pointing it out – turns out Sony lawyers were right, there was no copywrite crime, but again most people already would have known about that if they bothered to check the You Tube case.

  12. peterh 13

    Dotcom is rapt, now he can see his day in court with Key

  13. Grantoc 14

    I wouldn’t have thought that there is any connection between Key and mass surveillance, and Golriz. Or that anybody on the right decided that by highlighting Golriz’s story it would conveniently muddy the waters.

    Golriz’s story stands on its own merits, or demerits, depending on your point of view..

    Apart from yourself Micky, and Fisher, and a few that you’ve fired up here, the rest of the nation is treating the surveillance story with a big yawn.

    It seems to me that you’re trying to create a diversionary conspiracy in an attempt to take the heat off Golriz. Desperate stuff Micky

    It’s already yesterday’s news.

    • David Mac 14.1

      The traction a story gets often relates to how well it meshes in with our emotions.

      ‘Green MP defends bad buggers like the ones Bruce Willis fights’ is a jolly good punt at pushing our buttons. But that’s all it is.

      Hopefully the devil’s advocates will latch onto another cause soon because at this rate they’re all going to heaven.

    • Carolyn_nth 14.2

      So an PM lying to the public, and his team deliberately hiding the evidence from the public, about something of legal and ethical significance, beginning before the 2014 election, is no big deal?

      Interesting ethics.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 14.3

      treating the surveillance story with a big yawn.

      cf: Boiling a frog.

      Andrew Little is now in charge of surveillance. I’m pretty sure that according to wingnut 101 that means the unions are now in charge of surveillance.

      I think you can probably stumble the rest of the way on your own.

      • David Mac 14.3.1

        Hotline to Stalin.

        It’s hard not to wonder how many times “We can’t tell him about that” gets said prior to Andrew’s primary portfolio briefing.

        • One Anonymous Bloke 14.3.1.1

          Like should’ve happened with Winston Peters’ pension details, for example?

          • David Mac 14.3.1.1.1

            Paula’s such a classic Westie, when she’s out the back hanging up the washing she can’t help from having a chin-wag over the back fence.

            You’d think she would of learned. The little whisper Humphrey has in her ear needs to stay private.

    • Ant 14.4

      Heat off Golriz? Also yesterday’s news.
      Quin has already apologised for wrongly labelling her a genocide supporter and the Law Society has upheld the integrity of her actions.

    • Incognito 14.5

      The connection between the stories is people like you. The people who badly want to be misled by some ambiguous language and choose to ignore the contradictory & inconsistent facts that were easily & openly available and beat themselves into a frothing frenzy calling for the witch to be burned are the same people who would walk through fire for Saint John. If you cannot see the connection you are the connection!

  14. Philg 15

    “Mr Key declined to comment when contacted by Newshub.

    Newshub. ”
    Says it all, really. I note the honorific is not used. The joke is on us folks. It’s Not The Truth, the Whole Truth and Nothing but The Truth. Justice delayed is justice denied. Ask Pike, Christchurch CTV building Victims Etc. It ain’t justice folks. What is it then…?

  15. Tanz 16

    Key is the best PM we ever had, after the sensible, experienced and decent Bill English.
    That is why National outpolled both Labour and the Greens, by a country mile, even after nine golden years in office. NZ is now on top of the world because of Key and English, and anyway, Key is now out of politics, so he has no need to need a side
    issue. Key was never there for the power, he was there to help New Zealanders succeed. He didn’t need to spy on anyone, and he was never ever a control freak.
    He even had the intelligence to rule WP out at the last election, the one thing English probably should have done (thereby retaining the few swinging votes they needed to push it over the line, all the same, English deserves a medal, he did a fantastic job at getting National their election win), despite MMP or Mickey Mouse Politics. Never mind, WP is goneburgers already.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 16.1

      Why did he lie about it then?

      What you’re currently experiencing is called “cognitive dissonance”. Wait a moment for your amygdala to reassert control of your bodily functions.

    • It’s now proven that John Key lied to us and you’re still so much of a sycophant that you think that’s Ok.

      Typical authoritarian follower who will defend the actions of their leaders no matter how despicable and morally reprehensible.

    • tracey 16.3

      Do you get a good price on your Koolaid? Do you buy online or use a kiwi retailer

  16. Tanz 17

    And Ardern hasn’t lied? (after saying she wouldn’t). Already she is in the news for not releasing the coalition agreement, despite Winston’s promises to the public.
    So, there must be something to hide, or she would release it. The public have a right to see it, after all, the voters are supposed to own our democracy rather than the politicians, despite the ‘that’s mmp’ apologists.

  17. Tanz 18

    Winston and co are hiding something though, even Barry Soper, leftie that he is,
    seems to think so. The public has a right to know what is in the agreement,
    MMP was never supposed to be about secret deals behind closed doors, ever.

    The reason National is not the govt today is because they did not sell their souls to Winston just to retain power. As English alluded, Peters had only 7 per cent support
    and he had no right to ask for massive baubles of office. On the other hand, Arden gave him whatever he wanted, and the Act party are saying that eventually, it will be
    the Prime Ministership, the role he has always hankered after. The Coalition Agreement must be highly embarrassing and potentially damaging also, or surely it would be released. By refusing to do so, Arden and Peters are simply adding fuel to the fire. Completely shady and non-transparent, but why would I expect anything different. When you deal with Peters you deal with fire, and this is already proving to be the case.
    National are principled, open and honest, whilst the govt toys with the voters’
    patience over their integrity, or rather, lack of. If there is one thing Kiwis loathe,
    it’s a secretive, lying, backsliding and power hungry government. A couple of months in, what an utter disgrace so far. The leaks and scandals are happening already, just as Sir Richard Prebble predicted.

  18. Tanz 19

    I notice No Right Turn have a post up about the lack of this govt’s transparency also.
    One of the few left wing blogs that actually at times know what honesty is. How very refreshing.

    • Incognito 19.1

      Which post are you actually referring to as NRT has written quite a few posts on government transparency? You may also have noticed, or perhaps not, that government transparency is of great concern to many commenters here on TS so you are in very good company here; could this be the reason why you keep coming back here?

    • tracey 19.2

      I also posted on wanting this govt to be transparent so I am not sure what your point is? Did kiwiblog post alot in the last 9 years about lack of transparency, honesty and stuff? How are they going on the MP who lied to get PR? Writing lots about Key lying in election 14, Joyces imaginary hole? Am surprised they hsve time to write about a lawyers CV.

  19. Tanz 20

    No Right Turn did post on the lack of transparency of this new govt just the other day.
    Two posts on it actually. Yes, I know you only like people who agree with the left coming here, but then I notice a lot of lefties commenting on kiwiblog, are you one of them? (Ztev, maybe…).?

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