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Key throws Thorn to the wolves

Written By: - Date published: 7:12 pm, August 1st, 2013 - 146 comments
Categories: brand key, Media - Tags: , ,

In a desperate move to stop the spygate political scandal from reaching into National’s political machine, Key has thrown Parliamentary Services head, Geoff Thorn, to the wolves (if you think he jumped I’ve got a bridge you may be interested in buying).

The question is, will it work? His attempt to blame some anonymous employee didn’t quell the media wolves but he’ll be hoping that with Thorn as a scapegoat he may be able to save his right hand man Wayne Eagleson (who holds his political operation together) and Speaker, David Carter (a man who has brought the bias back to the position).

But Key hasn’t stopped there. He’s also trying to wedge journalists against the public and each other with claims that non-Fairfax journalists were clamoring for emails he refused to release, and thrown in a weird Al Quaeda scare diversion for good measure.

In what can only be seen as a precautionary measure, he’s also put Eagleson up as the next sacrifice in line by making it clear he will appear before the privileges committee and that Key will not:

Key said his chief of staff, Wayne Eagleson, would almost certainly appear at the privileges committee. He had nothing to hide and everything he had done was totally appropriate… Earlier, Key signalled he would not appear before the privileges committee investigation into the accessing of Vance’s records.

If I were Wayne I’d be hoping like hell that Thorn’s scalp would be enough.

Thing is, I think this time the chaff and misdirection won’t work, and the focus will instead be on the man who is ultimately responsible for this massive attack on media freedom. The slippery PM himself.

146 comments on “Key throws Thorn to the wolves”

  1. pollywog 1

    Hope Thorn goes rogue…

    • Arfamo 1.1

      Wonder what they had on him…

      Or what the sweetener was …

      • McFlock 1.1.1

        The first. His career.

        Don’t give him enough to retire to the lifestyle to which he has become accustomed, so you can threaten to haul him before committees for public evisceration and screw future high-level job prospects.

        I’ve become quite cynical 🙂

        • Arfamo

          I’ve become quite cynical 🙂

          OMG. I could be heading in a similar direction. HTF did that happen?

        • Colonial Viper

          I hope you don’t turn your new found cynicism against the Labour leadership. Even with the latest polling set back they are doing notably better than the election result, and we should support them in their gallant efforts.

          • Arfamo

            No I’ve worked out it’s the Key government that’s been making me cynical. I’ll be voting against them to see if that cures it. I invite anybody else suffering from cynicism about anything to vote against the Key government. I reckon it’s the cure for cynicism and I’d like to see it tried by a really large group of sufferers to see if I’m right.

          • QoT

            It’s always second-darkest before the dawn?

          • geoff

            H a Fuckin Ha

          • McFlock

            I think I can safely promise that I won’t become a spoilt brat who throws 18-month tantrums because he doesn’t get his own way.

            At the moment I think the probability of you being a political genius who predicted Labour’s current situation based on his knowledge and experience is substantially lower than the probability that you’re a whinging, nagging, political loser who helped create it.

    • Alanz 1.2

      Thorn needs to give evidence before an independent Royal Commission of Inquiry.

    • Colonial Viper 1.3

      Hope Thorn goes rogue…

      Fucking brilliant. You made me think of something and this is what I found…

      12 December 2007

      Geoff Thorn, General Manager of the Commerce Commission, has been appointed General Manager, Parliamentary Service.

      He takes up the position on February 11, 2008. His appointment is for five years.

      Mr Thorn, Master of Business Administration (Distinction) and Master of Management (Economics), joined the Commerce Commission as an investigator in 1994. He held a number of senior management positions over the next 14 years, culminating in his appointment as General Manager in 2004.

      Before joining the Commerce Commission, Mr Thorn was the Manager of the Special Investigations Branch, Royal New Zealand Military Police. He was in the NZ Army for 20 years.

      The Speaker, Hon Margaret Wilson, said the committee which made the appointment was unanimous in its choice.

      • the pigman 1.3.1

        Aha, so it was all the fault of a Labour government-era appointee! I can see the RWNJs spinning this already.

    • tricledrown 1.4

      key throws army hero under a bus for carrying out his orders to the letter!
      Thorn takes one for the team is we johnny Keys scheme!
      From the liar with a haircut like a friar
      Arron Gilmore is sacked by key for an indiscretion similar
      key is so lame he has to shift the blame
      we could call key himmler
      he’s more like goebals with no balls
      for if we johnny had any he would resign
      we johnny has lost what’s left of his Integrity
      intimidating his staffers for political gain
      Poor we johnnys dreams of a knighthood are now all washed up
      the cover up lying and spying has all been in vain
      now the once media darling now has the media gnarling
      because of andrea vance a lynch mob of media will form
      calling john key a knob will be the norm!

      • Roy 1.4.1

        Only line I have a problem with is ‘we (sic) johnny has lost what’s left of his Integrity’
        Seriously, when did Key ever have any of that?

  2. BM 2

    The funniest thing about all this is the Rebekah Brooks clone Andrea Vance getting all worked up that her privacy has been breached.

    Fark me, she’d throw a small child to the wolves if she thought she could get a scoop, the woman is totally ruthless.

    • Arfamo 2.1

      the woman is totally ruthless

      There’s a lot of people like that about these days. Some of them sack public servants after they’ve heavied their underlings and then got caught out.

    • Colonial Viper 2.2

      Character assassination is such a transparent tactic

    • BLiP 2.3

      Do you think you’re being funny or did you just not read the OP again?

    • McFlock 2.4

      and you’re an angel who would avoid no-so-subtly implying that a journo hacks cellphones – oh no, wait…

      • One Anonymous Knucklehead 2.4.1

        That is one of the lenses I will be watching the media through. They may well turn on this awful government, but I very much doubt it will be with our interests in mind.

    • tricledrown 2.5

      berlusconi mugabi now john key

    • tricledrown 2.6

      Bullying Minion shifting the blame.
      sucking up to the smiling assassin
      murdochs illegal spying on a grand scale
      keys blaming terrorists is going to be a big fail

  3. Anne 3

    Wonder what they had on him…

    Or what the sweetener was …

    More likely what they had on him Arfamo. That’s the chief modus operandi of right wing political bastards and/or their establishment mates. Having been on the receiving end (knew too much for my own good) I know a bit about it.

  4. Zorr 4

    Honestly, I think this is the closest NZ has ever gotten to a true Watergate scandal and that, if the leads are followed, John Key will only find himself in ever hotter water.

    • Anne 4.1

      Yes it’s getting a real Watergate flavour about it.

      At the risk of upsetting all the ‘gate’ haters, I think Spygate may become the all encompassing title of this little mess.

    • Rhinocrates 4.2

      Indeed, has a bit of a smell about it… I’ve been thinking that personality-wise, Muldoon was NZ’s Nixon (the isolation, the paranoia, the rough populism), but politically (the corruption and emerging totalitarianism), it’s Key and he may in fact turn out to be that.

      I just hope we have a Woodward and Bernstein – Rodent-features Gower somehow doesn’t meet the standard…

      The trouble though is that Nixon’s disgrace damaged trust and participation in democracy itself – and I think that democracy requires faith and trust in democracy to ensure participation. If we become too cynical about politicians and cease to care, then the politician as technocratic manager wins.

  5. pollywog 5

    Key said his chief of staff, Wayne Eagleson, would almost certainly appear at the privileges committee. He had nothing to hide and everything he had done was totally appropriate…

    Nothing to hide, nothing to fear ?

    Then let’s see his emails then John.

    • bad12 5.1

      The 2 Eaggleson emails to Parliamentary Services have already been tabled in the Parliament…

      • Zorr 5.1.1

        How do we know that they are all the emails he sent without seeing his entire email history. What’s good for the goose should be good for the gander, right?

        Can we also have his swipe card access and 3 months of phone calls too please? John Key’s own hand picked inquiry head already set the precedent for this…

  6. bad12 6

    It’s far too late for this dirty little business to devour only the one public servant in the form of Thorn the General Manager of Parliamentary services,

    Even befor we get to the Privileges Committee hearing Slippery the Prime Minister is going to have to spin at yet unheard of speeds to be able to avoid releasing the 22 emails the Henry Inquiry sent to Parliamentary Services,

    As yet no-one has questioned Slippery in the House as to how Henry on behalf of the inquiry came to be able to question Dunne on specific conversations/text messages between Dunne and Vance on their respective mobile phones,

    To have this information with which to question Dunne, assuming He is being truthful, either the Henry Inquiry has approached the private provider(s) of Dunne and Vance’s mobile phone service,

    Or,the Prime Minister or servants of the Prime Minister such as the SIS or GCSB or Chief of Staff Eaggleson must have approached those private providers,

    LOLZ of course if the SIS,GCSB were already monitoring all the mobile phone traffic into and out of the Parliament precinct the private providers of Dunne and Vance’s cell phones would not have had to be approached…

    • Jackal 6.1

      Of course they’ve used the spooks to gain that information. Parliamentary Service doesn’t have the capability and the service providers simply wouldn’t release such information like that. Incidentally, Parliamentary Service cannot order the spooks around either, this is an instruction from the highest levels of government. Being that a warrant is meant to be provided and the Leader of the Opposition is meant to be informed of that warrant, there appears to be a raft of breaches of process by the Prime Minister. I will be surprised if Key wiggles his oily way out of this one.

      • Anne 6.1.1

        Of course they’ve used the spooks to gain that information.

        Yes. John rang his mate Ian at the GCSB and asked him to “see what he can do”?

        • Arfamo

          Jesus Jackal. That’s a bloody good point. Has Shearer brought this up in Parliament yet?

          • David H

            Nope, because NO ONE has written a decent question for him in years. It’s always the same ol’ same ol’ “does he stand by his statement” bullshit question.

    • David H 6.2

      Well as usual on a Thursday Shonky and his shadder Blinglish are missing from Parliament, and avoiding all those nasty searching questions, that would burn out Shonkey’s faulty pint of grey mush he calls a brain.

  7. Herodotus 7

    Wondering why and how a “contractor” would on their own volition obtain this data and how the “Now the Speaker and Prime Minister John Key claim a cock-up (by a low-level contractor) over conspiracy.” this person was able to retrieve this information and what authority he was under for the release ?

  8. BLiP 8

    You know what? I want those emails John Key presented independently tested for keystroke-by-keystroke parity with the originals. Given who and what we are dealing with in the wider context of this situation, I don’t believe a single word John Key says. He should step aside not only from his GCSB and Tourisim portfolios but also the Prime Ministerial role as well. Thus far, he has done nothing but bring our demoncracy, parliament, and good name within the international commjnity into disrepute. This latest coordinated attack on the freedoms of the Fourth Estate and the people of Aotearoa mark him out as singularly unfit for the job.

    • RedLogix 8.1

      Well actually Key’s doing the job exactly how he knows best…. as a senior executive in major corporation. He’s playing it by the same rules.

      • BLiP 8.1.1

        Yep, by the book: fuck over the staff, rort the local customer base, and sell the assets. Corporate Management Consultancy 101.

      • Draco T Bastard 8.1.2

        Yep and I think people are starting to realise that and that corporations are thus inherently corrupt.

  9. RedLogix 9

    What I want to know is whether Parliamentary Services got hold of Vance’s cellphone records. I can understand that the landlines within Parliament itself would be readily hacked … but surely Vance’s cellphone would be either on her own or Fairfax’s account directly with one of the three mobile suppliers.

    Could someone please clarify if this happened, and if so, how were they supplied?

    Ooops … I see bad12 has already asked this above.

    • karol 9.1

      Yes. But I think there’s an issue about her “landline”. Does that mean her home landline?

      Mr Key was questioned about another email in which the inquiry asked for records documenting any contact between ministers’ phones and Andrea Vance’s landline, her parliamentary extension, and her mobile. He denied that could have been misinterpreted as a order to release the journalist’s information.

      And as reported in the NZ Herald.

      But Labour and the Greens seized upon one of the emails – from the inquiry to the Parliamentary Service – which said it was “interested in any contact between the below ministers’ personal landlines and these numbers: 1. A Vance landline; 2 A Vance extension; 3. A Vance mobile.”

      • BLiP 9.1.1

        No, it means her office landline, for both outbound and internal extension-to-extension calls. Surely?

        Meta-data like each number dialed, duration of call, time of call, and aproximate location of cellphone(s) is routinely captured, largely, for billing and quality of service measurement reasons. I can’t quite see the GCSB or even the SIS turning its resources to providing the information collected on Andrea Vance at John Key’s direct instruction. But, maybe.

        Within the “Beehive Bubble”, is it true that Parliamentary Services lends cellphone for journalists? I think it is but I am not sure who pays the bill for them, the media organisation they represent, I guess. Another question this brings to mind is who “owns” that information – the provider of the cellphone service, the cell phone provider, or the bill payer?

        • karol

          By why mention her landline and extension separately? If it’s a work landline, doesn’t that include an extension as part of it? – just going by the work phones I use.

          • BLiP

            You are right but internal calls are different things to the external calls. Do you “Dial 1” to get out? Dialing out pops you over to another, separate part of the telephone communications infrastructure, both for engineering and billing purposes. Generally, all internal calling is free, or provided in bulk at a set price, while external calls are charged individually.

            • karol

              Hmmm. Yes I dial “1” to get an external line. Hmmm. But I think some phone lines are direct dial without dialing “1”, and I think they still can phone internal extensions – not sure though.. Not so much my phone.

              • BLiP

                Perhaps you might have a few “speed call” buttons set up which “Dial 1” automatically??

                • Tim

                  …although most call detail recorders – or at least the PBX stream that feeds them, produce xtn to xtn call data

    • bad12 9.2

      Red, i alluded to the Cell phone records of Dunne and Vance having been ‘reached’ a couple of times in the last couple of days in the ”This is Key’s scandal”post and posted another comment there after Dunne on Prime News tonight confirmed that Henry had approached him(Dunne) about the content of specific conversations/text messages between Him and Vance via their respective mobile phones,

      Maybe i should have been posting the ‘blow by blow’ comments over on Open Mike as that post is now a couple of days old and largely ignored,

      Do Not be surprised if the answer to Key being questioned about the Henry inquiry or Eaggleson to for that matter seeking access to those mobile phones from their cell phone coverage providers gains the answer of an emphatic NO from the Slippery one,

      I have the sneaking suspicion that the SIS/GCSB have been monitoring the mobile traffic in and out of a defined Parliamentary precinct for quite some time,(allow me the luxury of for now not saying on what i base that sneaking suspicion),

      i do not know yet whether or not to include in my sneaking suspicion the email mail traffic going into and out of that ‘defined’ Parliamentary Precinct( depending on the course of the next few days i might tho be able to ‘develop’ that sneaking suspicion)…

      • RedLogix 9.2.1


        Well if this is true that the GCSB have been monitoring Parliamentary precinct mobile traffic … and we can only speculate on the parameters of such an operation …. this uncovers an astonishing can of worms.

        No wonder Key so desperately needs the GCSB Bill to be passed. Retrospectively legalising his criminal actions over Dotcom may well be the tip of the berg.

        • bad12

          When/If the questions begin to be asked i am pretty sure that Slippery will first deny that His Office, ie: Eaggleson asked Vance’s or Dunne’s cell phone providers to supply information, the same for the Henry inquiry,

          I am pretty sure He will refuse to answer questions in the House on any SIS/GCSB involvement on the grounds of ‘National Security’…

      • Colonial Viper 9.2.2

        bad12…thanks for all your persistence and hard work.

        Can someone tell me what was meant by Vance’s “personal landline” also having been monitored, in addition to her PS supplied phone extension and her mobile phone?

  10. gobsmacked 10

    I’ll offer these questions for the opposition to use next week …

    1) To the Prime Minister: Does he take responsibility for his chief of staff?

    (then further supps to reinforce the message … e.g. Does the chief of staff act on behalf of the Prime Minister?), Use as many as you need. A dozen if you like.

    Finally: “So will the Prime Minister appear before the Privileges Committee, or will he send his fall guy?”

    (Carter will rule the last part out of order, but it doesn’t matter. The point that Labour MPs STILL don’t understand is that points of order and House rules don’t matter a damn – the idea is to get your line on the TV news).

    Repetition, repetition, repetition. Forget asking Ministers about roads or housing or whatever just because it’s somebody’s turn in caucus. Focus on the one target that matters. You get 2 days a week (on Thursdays Key isn’t there), use them. Be ruthless and sharp … don’t leave the chamber thinking “Ooh, I got off a good jibe at Gerry Brownlee, aren’t I clever” because NOBODY outside your tiny beltway world will ever hear about it.

    The privileges committe will be powerful telly. It did for Winston in 2008. There’s a long history (ask Washington and London) of pollies and crooks being brought down by live hearings on TV. It’s theatre. Make it work.

    Key must either front up to the committe (he won’t) or be made to say why he won’t. Make him splutter on TV. Make him look like he’s afraid (and if Shearer can’t hack it then just stay out of the way and let Peters and Norman bring him down).

    One target. No diversions. Seek and destroy.

    • Anne 10.1

      How about you email your last comment off to Fran Mold gobsmacked. She’s now Shearer’s chief of staff.

      • gobsmacked 10.1.1

        Thanks Anne, I rather gave up on that last term (tone of response: “We know what we’re doing”).

        But in fairness, Grant Robertson has been doing a good job this week.

    • BLiP 10.2

      What about: “Does he have confidence in his Chief of Staff’?

      • Colonial Viper 10.2.1

        Too passive. We want to frame it so that Key has ultimate responsibility for his staff.

        • BLiP

          That was done on Wednesday with the question which got John Key to confrim that when Eagleson speaks its like he’s speaking. The chain-of-command was made abundantly clear: John Key is running the show. Should have seen the wriggling involved in his explanation that, if such were so, then there was still no need for him to apologise to Andrea Vance. Apologising to “knuckleheads” is waaaay beneath him and he’s still not got over apologising to Mr Kim Dotcom, who he’d never heard of. Also, John Key apologising to a woman is beyond a National Ltd™ member’s ken.

          But yeah, he’s probably just answer: “within that context, as far as I know, based on the information available at that time, to the best of my recollection, so I understand”.

  11. RedLogix 11

    I wonder how many other senior public servants are feeling deeply uneasy about this resignation?

  12. RedLogix 12

    Dunne’s slithering on Campbell Live tonight was a sight to behold.

    Dunne’s claims that his amendments have ‘fixed’ the GCSB Bill are ludicrously feeble.

    • karol 12.1

      By the look on Campbell’s face he couldn’t believe the blatant slithering either. And Dunne said it all with his “I’m just being sensible” face.

    • Veutoviper 12.2

      Agreed, but he thinks that he is Mr Fix-it/ Mr Know-it all.

      He claimed that the objections to the Bill by the HRC, Law Society etc etc were to the original bill – not to his negotiated amendments to be presented as a SOP at the Committee stages next week.

      While we (supposedly know the general themes of the changes Dunne has negotiated, the problem is that the HRC etc – and the general public – will not get the opportunity to assess and comment on the specific amendments to the Bill as presented in the SOP. Only Parliament (MPs) will get that opportunity at the Committee stages debate, followed by the third Reading immediately after the Committee stages.

      Dunne is not a lawyer, nor an expert in constitutional law, or anything else – and does not have the resources to get that sort of advice. BUT he seems to think he is an expert in this area. He is off in Cloud Cuckoo land.

  13. tsmithfield 13

    Of course, a major problem for the left at the moment is that an issue they were gaining some traction on (non-resident property purchases) has now been replaced with a belt-way issue that the general public couldn’t give a flying fuck about.

    • gobsmacked 13.1


      History lesson: this was the timeline …

      – Watergate break-in
      – Beltway issue
      – Nixon wins 62% of vote
      – Hearings begin, staff resignations begin, story on TV daily
      – Nixon resigns

      It took 2 years from nothing to everything. Key won’t be forced out next week. But if the opposition and media do their job, he will go.

      • tsmithfield 13.1.1

        Gobsmaked, do you think there would be a public enquiry into this if National were worried the mud could stick to them?

        Zorr, you might be right. However, I think it will be seen as “a pox on both your houses” considering the same GCSB stuff has been going on under Labour as well.

        • Arfamo

          Even if dodgy stuff by GCSB was going on under Labour as well, that was under a different (Prime) Minister in charge and we now know it was illegal. Now we are dealing with THIS Minister in charge, and this doesn’t actually involve the GCSB. It’s an issue of Parliamentary Services being heavied into breaching privacy by the PM’s Chief of Staff.

          • karol

            It’s an issue of Parliamentary Services being heavied into breaching privacy by the PM’s Chief of Staff.

            Why did the PM’s office go to so much trouble over the leaking of a report that was going to be made public anyway?

            • RedLogix

              In order to compromise Dunne. Thus ensuring his compliance.

              • Arfamo

                I put it down to paranoia about a mole in or outside Cabinet. But maybe you’re right. It’s certainly resulted in a very compliant Dunne on the GCSB bill. I find the whole history of this saga bizarre.

                • Colonial Viper

                  But the Nats burn Dunne now in order to force his vote on GCSB…but what the hell are they going to do for the next 15 months? Doesn’t make sense.

                  • bad12

                    At a guess Dunne will be kept under control by the fact that He knows that Slippery and Co have the details of his conversations with/between He and Vance via the mobile phone network,

                    Mind you even what i say above seems a bit skewed because Dunne revealed tonight that Henry had approached Him and asked about specific mobile phone communications between him and Vance,

                    Take it as a given tho, after Dunne’s ”willing seller willing buyer” comment in His explanation of His still offering support to the passing of this Legislation, there is a payoff somewhere in the smoke and mirrors for Dunne,

                    We just havn’t seen what that payoff is yet….

            • mickysavage

              Agreed Karol we are in a huge klusterfuk over a report that was going to be released anyway. The only discernible difference is that Key had to come home from China early. Is this sufficient reason to trash a very important constitutional principle regarding the independence of the fourth estate?

            • Jackal

              Key was out of the country when the Kitteridge report was leaked a couple of weeks before it was due for release. It’s a report that is damaging to the Minister responsible, John Key. He had the most to gain by not being around to initially answer questions. You might note that the Henry inquiry was looking at National MPs. Dunne wasn’t even on the list of requested communications with Andrea Vance. Perhaps it was the spooks undertaking a wider investigation who subsequently turned up something on Dunne that Key is using to secure his vote? Clearly the bouffant’s reasoning on Campbell Live tonight doesn’t stack up.

          • North

            Additionally………THIS Minister in charge wants to legislate extra powers. It is said these extra powers would have limitless potential.

            This is THIS Minister’s response to a seriously illegal fuck up.

            This response is accompanied by THIS Minister’s deployment of a smelly appointment process to assist in the clean-up.

            Accordingly I cannot be untouched by protestations of clear and present danger from the Law Society, Human Rights Commission, Privacy Commisioner, Internet Society, Dame Anne Salmond, Ted Thomas QC (Supreme Court Ret.), Rodney Harrison QC, Geoffrey Palmer………. the list goes on.

            Rationally (viz. without “I disagree” shutdown), the clear and present danger existing in this instant simply must be the imperative. Way ahead of an historic moral conundrum in Helen Clark’s lap, or not. Besides, it’s THIS Minister wants the extra powers, not Clark.

            To pitch the argument at such an irrelevant level is to avoid addressing the obvious imperative. Pretty indulgent not to say unrobust of our ardent right-wing protagonists of democracy. We know them well, they dance all over this site.

            They know you see. They know, just like – “…….you know that I know, Prime Minister”. That accounts for the angry catatonics.

            “Well Blow Me Down !…….looks like Capt. Mainwaring’s just spotted bloody Al-Qaeda on the horizon………Mainwaring………sure they’re not boat people ?”

            “No Sir…….I’m p-r-e-t-t-y b-l-o-o-d-y
            s-a-t-i-s-f-i-e-d…….they’re Al Qaeda all right !

            “Don’t Panic Don’t Panic Don’t Panic……..”

        • RedLogix

          I’d agree that the creeping scope of technology and it’s attendant intrusiveness was a sleeper issue for a long time. The various spook agencies have always been a tricky act in a liberal democratic setting, but the advent of universal, ubiquitous digital communication has blown the issue wide open.

        • BLiP

          National Ltd™ is arrogant enough to think it can get away with “staging” an inquiry. Also, the inquiry drags things on for ages, serves as a great distraction from what’s really going on. Even if the mud sticks, it can be pre-spun well before any public announcement. Bit like the Henry inquiry which, of course, was an inquiry into another inquiry, each distrancing John Key from having done a deal with Warners to get Kim Dotcom, trash worker rights, and hand over millions just so John Key can get his image associated with “The Hobbit” and a cuppa with his great mate Obama. Must be the most expensive “product placement” in history, and we’re still paying for it.

        • gobsmacked

          do you think there would be a public enquiry into this if National were worried the mud could stick to them?

          The “public enquiry” is not National’s to decide. It is in fact, the Privileges Committee.

          Carter had no choice but to refer it to that committee. Just as Speaker Wilson had no choice in 2008, referring Winston. Clark and Key didn’t/don’t run Parliament, however much they might like to.

      • Paul 13.1.2

        Mmmmm..key words ‘if the media does their job’
        In NZ in 2013?

        • gobsmacked

          The media may not be “Woodstein”, alas, but this scandal is still the lead story on TV news, it’s still leading radio bulletins, it’s still important to Key not to have the “knuckleheads” turn against him.

          Andrea Vance is one of their own, so they won’t just give up on this easily.

        • Sosoo

          Actually, they seem to have woken up and started doing just that. I was quite surprised listening to talkback radio today.

          Much like 9/11, a threat, in this case to themselves, does wonders for media morale.

          • Colonial Viper

            You would have thought that after Key had TV3 offices raided by police. But no, just sleepy little hobbits trying to win the favour of Sauron.

    • Zorr 13.2

      This is the exact opposite of a Beltway issue because the unease that people feel against intrusion in to their private lives is making this a living, breathing, walking, talking example for every person who is against the GCSB bill to hold up and go “see, we can’t trust the fuckers”

      • BLiP 13.2.1

        I am coming to the realisation that, actually, most Kiwis don’t care at the moment. The framing of the need to pass the legislation is such that Kiwis aren’t worried about being caught up in “weapons of mass destruction”, “organised crime”, “associatiing with subversives” and the rest of the scare mongeriing because that’s not what most Kiwis do. It hasn’t yet sunk in that *everything* is being collected. The sheer volume of the data, the gutless unaccountability of those ostensibly monitoring the harvest, and even the actual mechanics of how it works means that there will be fuck-up after fuck-ip after fuck-up. Look what happened in Uruwera when the Police thought they had their very own internal terrorism threat. It won’t be until more and more innocents, and a few white, middleclass, respectables, find themselves wrapped up in some spy-vs-spy bullshit and get mangled that the consquences come home to roost.

  14. RedLogix 14

    Equally germane is that the left needs to deal with this issue decisively. Merely getting Key’s scalp is not and would not be enough. All that would leave is the lingering, and likely justified, suspicion in the mind of the public that “they’re all as bad as each other”.

    This goes way beyond a beltway issue … it’s going to define the debate around the relationship between the state and the individual for at least a decade to come.

  15. Fair call 15


    [lprent: Already banned and now subject to an extra 8 weeks ]

    • Zorr 15.1

      Somebody needs to get off the crack pipe…

      • Fair call 15.1.1


        [lprent: Already banned and now subject to an extra 8 weeks ]

        • Zorr

          Yeah, there are lots of those men – which one are we talking about again?

          He is only at home tonight because of political incompetence resulting in getting caught overstepping the bounds of parliamentary privilege. It’s his own fault and he gets no sympathy from me – maybe next time he’ll think before assisting with breaching someone’s privacy.

        • Pascal's bookie

          You might want to look at the news over the last few days and see who has been throwing the blame exclusively at PS. The opposition has been busy trying to find out what role the PMs office played.

          If you are saying that PS was innocent, then the blame for their head copping it falls on the National party chump.

        • RedLogix

          I can understand the sympathy for Thorne. I personally don’t know the man, nor do I have any specially blunt axe to grind with him. On the face of it’s a sad turn in his career given how he was most likely pressured by Key into making this mistake.

          But as to who threw Thorne overboard today … we’re not going to agree are we?

          • Tim

            But as to who threw Thorne overboard today … we’re not going to agree are we?
            It was the ‘smiling assassin’ that threw Thorne overboard – far be it for Key to break the habit of a lifetime.

    • karol 15.2


      This is the ZB print report.

      Independent MP Peter Dunne told Newstalk ZB’s Larry Williams the resignation is appropriate – but there are other people whose actions need to be questioned.

      “It’s perfectly clear now that, through whatever means, more information was provided than was ever required or sought.

      “And it’s perfectly clear now, that even though that information may have been sent back it was certainly accessed.”

      • Fair call 15.2.1


        [lprent: Already banned and now subject to an extra 8 weeks ]

        • Arfamo

          You’re right. Thorn’s resignation should not be accepted and he should resume his job immediately. John Key and Eagleson should resign immediately. That way no decent man loses a job over this.

          Bill English should become the PM and the contenders for Deputy should be locked in a small room with a sharp knife until the deputy is chosen by elimination. It will probably be Judith.

        • gobsmacked

          Can you explain how opposition MPs orchestrate a leak from Parliamentary Services?

          We know Key’s chief of staff contacted P-Services … are you saying others did AND that P-services obeyed?

          • Fair call


            [lprent: Already banned and now subject to an extra 8 weeks ]

            • gobsmacked

              No, playing “Deep Throat” ain’t good enough.

              Explain your reasoning.

              Did Winston hack into Parliamentary Services?

              Did he pressure PS?

              Either he got the info with or without their approval. If “with”, then of course the head of PS should resign. Who hands over stuff to opposition MPs for no reason?

              If without, then how?

        • RedLogix

          Well the only people who were likely to have released the report were either Winston or Key. That’s always been obvious.

          And if Dunne knows who, then this is what Parliamentary Privilege is for. (And some shreds of evidence always come in handy.)

        • BLiP

          That “decent man” has voted for the sale of more New Zealand-owned assets than any other politician. Remind me, how many political parties has he been a member of? Seems fitting he should be sold down the river. Now Thorn’s gone, next Eagleson, then John “Rob Muldoon” Key. I’m lovin’ it.

        • Hayden

          ..dunne make a deliberate slip..I know who leaked the report. (sic)

          He should probably have told David Henry then, before resigning from Cabinet in (supposed) shame.

  16. BrucetheMoose 16

    Here we go again. Johnny likes to play Kaptain Key in charge until the crap starts flinging, and then suddenly it’s Sargent Shultz time.

  17. Fair call 17

    [deleted] stupid stupid stupid

    [lprent Ah yes I agree. Bye bye. I see from your style (and IP) that you are currently under a ban under another name. Adding you to auto-spam. Deleting the contents of all of your comments. and doubling up another 8 weeks – starting AFTER the 21st – you can come back and comment after the 23rd of October. Next time I see you under any name before that date then it is a permanent ban. ]

    • gobsmacked 17.1

      You’ve been asked several times to back up your story.

      Do you have anything at all? (Obviousy not, but we might as well flush it out)

      Did. Winston. Get. Info. From. Parliamentary. Services?

      Yes or No?

  18. chris 18

    How on earth could Peters have leaked the report? My understanding is only the committee members and a few senior Nat MPs were given copies of the report…

    • Colonial Viper 18.1

      Who proofread, typed up, photocopied and bound the reports? Its like the Snowden incident. Once the machine starts turning against its own masters, the masters are fucked.

      • North 18.1.1

        “Once the machine starts turning……….”

        Yeah ! I like it.

        Democracy must surely be a spirit as well as a set of conventions and rules.

        Democracy’s spirit POSSESSES the INNATE power to stand up. It has made proud moments doing so.

  19. georgecom 19

    When I heard the news of the resignation I thought to myself “key trying to sweep the decks clean”.

    A phrase of Key from yesteryear comes to mind “Higher Standards”.

    Guess that isn’t important to him any more.

  20. Richard Christie 20

    Just an aside.
    I thought D Shearer performed well in today’s general debate, even scoring a decent TV sound bite over Key’s al Qaeda crap.

    • Arfamo 20.1

      Yes, I noticed that. TV One news at 6 made Key look bad, and spoke of him as in trouble and needing to answer some valid questions, made Shearer look good in the House – he sounded passionate and articulate on the clip shown, and made Russ Norman look good as well – his sound byte was excellent too. The overall effect was reporting very favourable to the opposition.

  21. logie97 21

    What goes around comes around …?
    I am sure Winston claimed years ago that Gaddafi was training cell groups up the Whanganui River.

    • Murray Olsen 21.1

      Muldoon mentioned Russian trawlers and submarines dropping off AK-47s out by Ruatoria somewhere, as far as I can remember. I jokingly asked an old SUP member if he could get me one. That went down like a cup of cold sick. It seems only the names change.

  22. Sable 22

    Really very predictable behaviour. Nixon did the same thing when Watergate broke, sacrificed the pawns to save his own skin.

    • Colonial Viper 22.1

      That proved effective, didn’t it.

      • Sable 22.1.1

        Well it did keep Nixon out of jail but beyond that it did not help his reputation. Times have changed however and acts that would once have seen a politician out of office now seem to be accepted as the norm.

  23. tracey 23

    tsmithfield. are you zayjng ghat anytime a govt doesnt order an inquiry they are worried about somethjng gettjng out?

    think I have a very good understanding of what he’s done and he’s done what everyone would have expected him to do.”Key said Eagleson had helped set up the inquiry, including writing the terms of reference on his behalf. Those conditions had then been put in the public domain, making it clear the inquiry was aimed at ministers and their staff.

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