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Key to make GCSB’s illegal spying legal

Written By: - Date published: 7:49 am, April 10th, 2013 - 171 comments
Categories: crime, john key, Spying - Tags:

So, the GCSB has been systemically breaking its own law by assisting the SIS and Police to spy on New Zealanders – a clear violation of the GCSB Act and, potentially, the Crimes Act. Key leaked the report revealing this while he was overseas so it would be ‘old news’ by the time he gets back. Now, he’s offered his ‘solution’ – make GCSB’s illegal actions legal, make it legal for the GCSB to spy on you.

Why’s that a problem?

The SIS and the GCSB are split and have different powers and capabilities for very good reasons. The SIS can spy on New Zealanders under very strict circumstances, the GCSB has pretty much a free reign to spy but only on foreigners. This split of roles is replicated in other countries – the CIA and NSA, for instance, can spy only on foreigners or Americans overseas in exceptional circumstances.

What Key is proposing to do is to unleash the powers and capabilities of the GCSB against New Zealanders, which is what they have already been illegally doing. Tools and powers that are intended to discover and spy on external threats to New Zealand and gain us advantages in trade will (and have been) instead turned on protesters and political dissents – as you know, the SIS spends a disturbing amount of its time spying on Kiwis who have done nothing but legally oppose the policies of the government of the day.

It’s almost funny. Here’s a government that’s making everything from party pills to sunbeds illegal (to a surprising lack of cries of Nanny fucken State from the Right) but when their spies are caught illegally spying on New Zealanders, then they rush to make a illegal legal.

171 comments on “Key to make GCSB’s illegal spying legal ”

  1. It is bizarre. Logically you would merge the two organisations (SIS and GCSB) and give the new entity a combination of powers rather than just increase GCSB’s powers. Maybe this is the plan?

    • Coronial Typer 1.1

      Agreed. A merger would be helpful, with legislative change and scrutiny that goes with it.
      Doesn’t say much for the Clark administrations’ drafting of the original legislation however.

      Satyanand needs the power to propose criminal prosecutions for spies who break the law.

      The Parliamentary oversight committee needs to be more specific about when breaches were made, and what sanctions were carried out as a result. Chapter and verse.

      Is Labour missing out on a broader “Big Brother” story here though – that this government is not digitally competent throughout so many departments and agencies and we cannot trust it with what is personal to us? Many activists have done stunning investigative work, but the Parlilamentary attack is not joining the dots yet. This should be a basic civil rights campaign: that National are creeps and we have a right to our own affairs.

      • Draco T Bastard 1.1.1

        Doesn’t say much for the Clark administrations’ drafting of the original legislation however.

        I’m sure you’ll find that Clark wasn’t in government in 1977.

        • Pascal's bookie

          There was a rewrite in 2003, which as far as I can make out got the usual tick from national and labour.

          I’m not sure what the problem with the drafting is though, other than it prohibits the GCSB doing whatever it wants.

          It’s very clear. the idea that no one picked up on the fact that it prohibits the GCSB from spying on NZers ever, when it is so very clear about saying that, seems remarkable if that isn’t what they wanted the legislation to do.

          • McFlock

            Especially as the chap who had a lot of involvement in the draft from the GCSB end was the same one who failed to understand the plain English prohibition against spying on NZers.

      • dumrse 1.1.2

        “Is Labour missing out on a broader “Big Brother” story here…” probably so why not invent one. Labour and its MSM do it all the time.

  2. One Anonymous Knucklehead 2

    Your expectation of ethical consistency from the Right is very touching.

    • Pascal's bookie 2.1

      Pretty sure Farrar et al will be putting up billboards comparing Key to the Stasi toot bloody sweet.

    • Tim 2.2

      John Saul’s definition of ethics seems remarkably apt in describing the current junta’s (and especially Wonder Boy’s) attitude to them:
      “A matter of daily practical concern described glowingly in universal terms by those who intend to ignore them”.

  3. notrotsky 3

    Got any links to back up your work of fiction ?

    [lprent: Stick to an identity please. Moderators are not here to release comments written by idiots playing games. Personally I’m just as likely to send you to autospam when I detect people being dickheads. ]

  4. vto 4

    This is no surprise. Helen Clark did the similar thing.

    Government is simply a big fucking bully boy, inhabited by lowly snivelling cowardly arse-lickers.

    • One Anonymous Knucklehead 4.1

      Wingnut No.1: “They discussed ways to conserve water and someone mentioned regulating shower-heads.”
      Wingnut No.2: “It’s an attack on democracy! They’re coming into my bathroom over my cold dead body! Have you heard the GCSB has invited me to bend over?”
      Wingnut No.1: “Really? That’s exciting!”
      Wingnut No.2: “Yes! I can’t wait, I’ve bought some vaseline and everything!”

      • vto 4.1.1

        see what i mean

      • Murray Olsen 4.1.2

        And there you see how NAct zealously guards your freedoms. A Nanny state would insist on water based lubricants, saying that petroleum based ones are bad for the environment and can cause degradation of condom materials.

  5. chris73 5

    Yeah it sucks when a government wants to change a law to suit themselves


    • r0b 5.1

      Governments change laws all the time. Almost every law change the Nats make is to “suit themselves”. That’s what they do.

      The issue here is who can spy on Kiwis. If you’re happy with another government agency being authorised to spy on you, well then bully for you.

      • chris73 5.1.1

        What I’m not happy about is the inference that this has only happened since National came in, like it didn’t happen Labour at all

      • dumrse 5.1.2

        The Nats will change it so that it will do what Labour intended it to…back in 2003.

    • One Anonymous Knucklehead 5.2

      “But but but Laaaaaabbbbbourrrrrr….he did it too, he did it too!”

      Feeble, and let’s all remind ourselves exactly what the Right thought of the “election funding controversy”. They wet their pants with rage and screamed the house down.

      If this “Chris73” is any measure of the average soldier no wonder the GCSB is such a shambles.

      • chris73 5.2.1

        What I’d like to know is how many Labour appointees are in the GCSB compared to National appointees, I think that’d give a clearer picture of whos to blame for this shambles

        • One Anonymous Knucklehead

          Military intelligence really is an oxymoron, eh squaddie.

          • chris73

            Gee thats original. Whats next, a comment about John Key being employed by Merrill Lynch?

            • Colonial Viper

              Hmmm, you really shouldn’t go out of your way to prove the old truism correct.

              • chris73

                So let me know what you think about Jerry Mateparae, Bruce Ferguson and Warren Tucker and their suitability to be the head (full time) of the GCSB

                • Colonial Viper

                  Shit dude all I know is you ain’t fit to lead it

                  • chris73

                    Wow! Thats amazingly insightful, got any more pearls of wisdom (is this the part where I say well neither are you?)

            • One Anonymous Knucklehead

              At ease, Chris. I’d prefer to have a discussion about the GCSB, and whether validating illegal behaviour is an appropriate response to the situation, but instead there’s a chorous of parched parrots feebly croaking someone else’s lines.

    • Matthew Hooton 5.3

      chris73, it can never be a defence of something John Key proposes to say Helen Clark’s monstrous third term regime might have done it too. Many of us were motivated to work extra hard to get rid of that regime because of the abuses of power that occurred in its third term and to prevent god-only-knows-what-would-have-happened in a fourth term (I believe she would have had a crack at media regulation, especially if still in cahoots with Peters).

      I think anyone can see that the PM’s response to an agency abusing its powers being to propose it be given more power is wrongheaded. The correct response to such an agency is to smack down on it and make it obey the law it is currently operating under. Only then, after a period of time of it proving it can behave, should any consideration be given to widening its powers.

      You comparison with the election funding controversy is also in error because what Labour did was to retrospectively declare legal its own actions that had been illegal. What Key is suggesting here is not as bad in the sense – as I understand it – he is only talking about making future spying on NZers legal not declaring legal the previous illegal spying. But, still, see my previous par – wrong response in any case.

      • chris73 5.3.1

        Key to make GCSB’s illegal spying legal

        – thats the header, it sounds like John is going to make illegal actions legal whereas the article sounds like hes going to give the GCSB new powers

        “chris73, it can never be a defence of something John Key proposes to say Helen Clark’s monstrous third term regime might have done it too.”

        – in the real world I’d agree but this is within The Standard blog site so yes it is a defence, if Helen Clark would change a law to suit her party after it got caught then its fair game for John Key to do likewise

        Good comments though

        • Colonial Viper

          – thats the header, it sounds like John is going to make illegal actions legal whereas the article sounds like hes going to give the GCSB new powers

          You’re not thinking it through. that legalisation IS giving the GCSB new powers and new scope over more people.

          • Matthew Hooton

            I think the issue is that the headline makes out that the PM is talking about legislating to make legal actions that have already occurred and which were almost certainly illegal. Whereas, I think the true situation is that he is only talking about making legal future such spying, while leaving the previous illegal spying illegal. That is an important difference.

            • Pascal's bookie

              Well, given he’s shown no interest in calling in the police or informing (let alone apologising to) the victims, I’m not so sure the difference is that important at all. How much importance have you seen the government applying to the distinction in terms of action?

              • Matthew Hooton

                An insufficient amount. He did however apologise to Kim Dotcom so I guess that sets a precedent that he will have to apologise to the others who have been illegally spied on. And I suspect that some of all of them will call the cops or take whatever legal action they are advised is possible.

            • Murray Olsen

              So Key knowing about illegal actions that have systematically taken place and not holding anyone to account is different from retrospectively making them legal? Funny definitions of responsibility and different that you RWNJs work under.
              When an organisation as powerful as the GCSB is caught systematically breaking the law, anyone and everyone involved should be brought to account. Instead, we don’t even see “Don’t do it again”. What we see is “Sorry for imposing restrictions on you. We’ll fix that immediately. Carry on, chaps.”
              To my mind this would be exactly the same as if the Clark government, on becoming aware of the instances of Police rape and violent behaviour, had said “Sorry for making you boys in blue subject to those laws. We’ll change them instantly, but don’t worry about what you’ve been caught doing.”
              Which of these regimes is monstrous? You are a low apologist for a police state, Hooton. What differentiates you from WhaleSpew?

              • Pascal's bookie

                You only have to imagine, for a second, what Hooten, DPF, Laughing Stock and all the rest would have been saying if H1 had appointed a sister of a schoolmate to make a clean sweep of the GCSB, pushing aside a well respected and newly appointed military man, kept it all secret, lied about her role in the matter, and not informed the parliamentary committee of a change of strategic focus in the intelligence services.

                And that’s without even getting into the illegal side of things, or having the deputy PM sign a rare order to hide things from the courts while she popped out of the country on personal business.

                You don’t want to think about it for more than second though. It’s ugly, ugly shit.

        • Draco T Bastard

          in the real world I’d agree but this is within The Standard blog site so yes it is a defence, if Helen Clark would change a law to suit her party after it got caught then its fair game for John Key to do likewise

          Except that’s not what she did.

          • Matthew Hooton

            Oh, ffs, that is exactly what she did. The real issue is that it was some years ago and we on the right need to see it as ancient history. Not a guide for the current government’s behaviour!

            • Colonial Viper

              Key is fucking with an institution of national security and some on the Right are trying to compare it to not setting the alarm clock right.

      • Pascal's bookie 5.3.2

        I believe she would have had a crack at media regulation

        Lol. I remember that. You mustered an argument that Clark was going to go after the freedom of the press based on Cullen questioning the logic of a NZH piece, and Clark saying something mean about journos. I can’t recall if she called them knuckleheads but it was something similar.

        The correct response to such an agency is to smack down on it

        Remember when Key said it was entirely appropriate for the police to be called in to investigate the DotCom fuck up? No?

        That’s because he said it wasn’t needed. You can thank the Greens for doing it for him I guess.

      • r0b 5.3.3

        what Labour did was to retrospectively declare legal its own actions that had been illegal

        What the government did was to retrospectively validate spending (a usual process), thus effectively declaring legal the actions of all parties (except the progressives) which had been illegal (according to one interpretation – not the interpretation of the people who wrote the Law e.g. Rod Donald because the Greens were also pinged). Not even ACT (one of the parties with “illegal” spending) voted against this validation.

      • One Anonymous Knucklehead 5.3.4

        It’s a sad day for the Right when Matthew Hooten’s principles-for-sale are the only cogent argument they can muster.

      • Draco T Bastard 5.3.5

        You comparison with the election funding controversy is also in error because what Labour did was to retrospectively declare legal its own actions that had been illegal.

        And all government back to 1990. All the political parties in government over that time had used the law in the same way and with the same understanding. If the law hadn’t been made retrospective all the laws passed in that time would have been made null and void and where do you think that would have left us?

        What Key is suggesting here is not as bad in the sense

        No, it’s far, far worse. He’s taking a agency that has clear delimiters on it for a purpose (protecting human rights) and removing the delimiters.

        • Matthew Hooton

          “If the law hadn’t been made retrospective all the laws passed in that time would have been made null and void and where do you think that would have left us?”

          What on earth are you talking about?

          If the law hasn’t been passed, the Labour Party might have faced prosecution. But I can’t see it would have invalidated 17 years of parliamentary activity. What do you mean?

          • McFlock

            Would national have faced prosecution, too?

          • Draco T Bastard

            It wasn’t just Labour that would have been prosecuted – National would have been as well and, in fact, every party that had been in parliament for the previous 14 years.

            I mean that every government for about 14 years would have been found illegal due to the political parties breaking the law. This would have invalidated all the law that had been passed during that time putting us into a constitutional crisis. To avoid this the Labour led government passed retrospective law validating all the illegal spending that had happened.

            Bit more complex than the ZOMG, Labour did wrong BS that we see from National and Act supporters.

            • Enough is Enough

              On what basis would the parties illegal spending have invalidated all the law that had been passed during that time putting us into a constitutional crisis???

              • One Anonymous Knucklehead


                • Enough is Enough


                  Me thinks Draco is talking out his arse. Where is Andrew Geddis?

              • Lanthanide

                No basis whatsoever.

              • Draco T Bastard

                Because they wouldn’t have been in government legally. Remember, can’t be an MP if you’re guilty of a crime with a maximum term of two years jail or more.

                Me thinks Draco is talking out his arse. Where is Andrew Geddis?

                I actually read it somewhere else at the time. I could be misremembering but I’m sure that was the gist of it.

      • SpaceMonkey 5.3.6

        “[Key] is only talking about making future spying on NZers legal not declaring legal the previous illegal spying.”

        Just wait… if it goes through it will be with retrospective legislation… not unlike the Police Spying Bill.

  6. muzza 6

    NDAA anyone!

  7. Lanthanide 7

    “Key leaked the report revealing this while he was overseas so it would be ‘old news’ by the time he gets back. ”

    Any evidence that Key or anyone in the government leaked it?

    When people make assertions in the comments, they are often asked by others to back them up. I don’t see why this shouldn’t apply to assertions made in posts, either.

  8. rosy 8

    So no arrests or prosecutions of those illegal spied on. So what was the justification for the spying in the first place? A zero percent hit rate.

    Did the police and SIS have search warrants before contacting the GCSB to do their work for them? Did they have enough legal whatever it is they need to get a search warrant in these cases? What is an SIS warrant, is it specifically a legal search warrant?

    Does the GCSB need search warrants, seeing as they’re only meant to spy on foreigners?

    I find it quite hard to understand. I mean if some of it was only search through phone records, why didn’t the police do it themselves?

    • Colonial Viper 8.1

      Basically Key is going to follow the US example, where they now legally attempt 100% interception of every phone call, txt, email, and other instant message communication made to, from and within the USA.

      The idea is that the government will not know in advance what it will find useful, or which people will become of interest, so they will simply seek to capture everything up front, and then have it available for search and analysis later when they want it.


      • rosy 8.1.1

        Yes. This. Are we looking at warrantless surveillance?

        Is using the GCSB a way of getting around the law? I mean, these people who were intruded on have not been found to have done anything illegal. Is Keith Locke correct, is it keeping tabs on innocent people?

        I guess it’s not just the GCSB breaking the law that bothers me (although it bothers me immensely), it’s whether the SIS and Police were using the GCSB to get around the law. And Why.

        And what does ‘legalise’ the surveillance mean? Would the GCSB have to follow the procedures the police and SIS have to follow – if their procedures are indeed different – or will it be legalising warrantless surveillance on New Zealanders?

        There could be a reassuring explanation in there somewhere, but there’s so much I don’t know about the legal niceties of surveillance.

    • One Anonymous Knucklehead 8.2

      When the police and SIS can get a warrant they rely on their own resources, when they can’t they use the GCSB. That’s what you’re saying Rosy?

      • rosy 8.2.1

        It’s what I’m asking. Has GCSB different legal options seeing as they’re not meant to be spying on NZers? And if so, is this what is going to be legalised?

        The news makes it sound like they were just looking at a few phone records. If that’s the case, why were they using the GCSB and not doing it themselves?

  9. Walter 9

    They should find who is paying for the bill boards going up in auckland supporting Len Brown, They may find it is being funded from a bank account in the USA.

    • One Anonymous Knucklehead 9.1

      And so what if they are? What’s your point? That it’s ok for the government to spy on you because Len Brown has supporters?

      A discussion of light-bulb regulation sends you wankers into a frenzy but illegal spying is fine because David Shearer has a bank account.

      There’s a gaping hole where your cogent argument should be, moran.

    • chris73 9.2

      Cake stalls and sausage sizzles 🙂

    • Colonial Viper 9.3

      You’re right. This is probably the kind of thing the GCSB has been doing,

      • chris73 9.3.1

        My guess is either Dotcom or Shearers hundreds of thousands is funding it

        • felix

          Your analysis is thorough and your reasoning is compelling.

          • chris73

            But seriously I’d be interesting to know whos underwriting it because I’m guessing billboards in Auckland arn’t cheap

            • One Anonymous Knucklehead

              What does this have to do with your lying Prime Minister and his desire to control a secret agency that can spy on New Zealanders?

        • One Anonymous Knucklehead

          My guess is that you got rejected for the position of intelligence officer.

          • chris73

            Well apart from never applying because who wants to sit around and read piles of boring paperwork when you can do far more interesting stuff.

            I’m guessing you’ve never done anything remotely interesting in your life which is why you’re looking down on those who have.

            • One Anonymous Knucklehead

              Well, you’d be guessing wrong, but this thread isn’t about me, is it, Chris? It’s about your lying Prime Minister, how he lied to Parliament and the public not once, but on several occasions, and who knows how many other times, and whether it’s a good idea to implement his authoritarian brainfart suggestion that we have a secret government agency with the power to spy on Kiwis.

              We could call it the Stanzi, perhaps.

        • BM

          Yep Dot com would be the best guess.
          I have a feeling Labour has him lined up as the next Owen Glenn, which is why they’re batting so hard for him.

          • Pascal's bookie

            Nah. He doesn’t need DotCom’s money. He’s the only game in town pretty much. Who’s the right’s candidate again?

            Anyone who wants to donate at the moment only has one option.

          • McFlock

            This would be the Owen Glenn who offered an election bribe live on a TV interview – in favour of National (rephrased later so tories can pretend it didn’t happen)?
            And the Dotcom who gave $50k to a current ACT MP?

            I’m not sure Labour would be overly keen on resting their hopes on Dotcom.

    • Murray Olsen 9.4

      Why don’t you find out and tell them, Walter? They might give you a job. Maybe as an internet troll.

  10. ak 10

    ….(to a surprising lack of cries of Nanny fucken State from the Right)

    Yep, it’s the old Projection thingy, innit. The “Nanny State!” misogynist grunting won them power, and now they’re tearing babes from DPB mothers’ arms and making literal nannying compulsory.

    And this one explains poor wee burt’s 4967 whines about retrospective validation

    It’s almost funny.

    Almost. The closest that the heartless and empathy-free will ever get to humour.

    • prism 10.1

      Talking about tearing babes from DPB mothers got me thinking that the NACTs are fast creating the sort of conditions that spawned Minnie Dean’s baby home.

      Poor young women couldn’t get a job requiring good standards and morality if they had a baby out of wedlock. If they had no reliable help at home they would pay Minnie to care for the child and hope they could reclaim their little ones when in a fortunate future, their situation improved. Bet they soon stopped paying and moved so would be untraceable, with Minnie literally holding the baby and not much more money than they had. She probably had to keep expanding all the time to get sufficient income from the new mothers, an enforced and sad ponzi scheme actually. And we know that she received major condemnation and was killed by the State.

      And we are progressing along this road. It is poverty and no hope for a better future that wears people down. 25% of our children are living in poverty on Radionz this morning. But as I have mentioned before, no concern for the difficulties of Parents, no talk about assisting them with their task. We have got really low in social respect for each other when the only way we can get emotional feeliings of kindness and support for others is to wrap concern around children only.

  11. Private Baldrick 11

    As long as there’s no plans to seize my prize turnips I’m OK with it.

  12. ianmac 12

    “It is quite hard to define and prosecute Domestic Abuse,” said Mr Key.
    Mr Key’s response: “We will make Domestic Abuse legal to remove ambiguity.”

  13. Paul Campbell 13

    So a dumb question – the GCSB has been found to have broken the law 85 times – we’re continuously told that ignorance of the law is never an excuse – so there will be 85 charges being laid by the crown prosecutor right?

    • Pete 13.1

      There’s no penalty in the GCSB Act against this conduct (although there is for wrongful communication by a GCSB employee – might be a bit of a stretch, that). It just says it’s illegal. I suppose a civil action could be brought in the courts, though.

      • One Anonymous Knucklehead 13.1.1


      • Pascal's bookie 13.1.2

        Unlawfully spying on people is covered in the Crimes Act. GCSB can be exempted from that under certain conditions, if they don’t meet the conditions, they lose the exemption and are liable.

        • One Anonymous Knucklehead

          There might be enough wriggle room. But there shouldn’t be. The cops might have to spy on citizens from time to time. A secret agency that answers only to a politician? Not so much.

  14. Walter 14

    Nanny state is what the left love, we belive in Free markets, financial discipline, firm control over public expenditure, tax cuts, nationalism, self-help , privatisation.

    The sooner the left understand that the government has no money and that it is taxpayers money the better.

    • framu 14.1

      Strange then that you support a govt that is centralising power, dismantling democratic representation (chch), bullying local govt, picking winners in the private sector, giving favours to foreign corporates, and running one of the most fiscally irresponsible economic platforms in recent history (remember debt has skyrocketed, new taxs, gst increases, unaffordable tax cuts, dodgy bailouts, dodgy financial rumors in CHCH)

      i know we like to call righties a bit thick, but you dont have to go and prove it now do you?

      • chris73 14.1.1

        Much like the lefties moan on here about Labour not being a true “left” party under Shearer its really the only option you have (the greens will never be one of the big two) we on the right have to make do with National though we’d much rather have a greater swing to the right

        • felix

          Sure chris. A swing to the authoritarian right with an ever stronger nanny-state is just a stepping stone on the way to smaller govt and greater personal freedom.

          • Colonial Viper

            Yep a strong state citizen surveillance and security apparatus is absolutely the hallmark of a free democracy.

          • chris73

            I dont think a major political party can be centerist, it waters down both left and right policies which doesn’t help anyone, at least not in NZ

            • felix


              Have another coffee mate, but this time don’t put any meth in it. You’re simultaneously arguing for a stronger, more intrusive govt with greater powers of coercion and a free market liberal paradise.

              • chris73

                Policies based on whats best rather then ideology is an interesting concept

                • felix

                  Would you care to further describe this free police state for which you long?

                  • chris73

                    Don’t know that there is, always liked Singapore after working with a few of them of course that might also have something to do with the excessive beers and chili eating contest we had

                • One Anonymous Knucklehead

                  First sensible thing you’ve said in a long time.

                  Are you really supporting evidence-based policy? The Baloney Detection Kit applied to politics?

                  It would make a refreshing change.

                  • chris73

                    It’s a nice thought but the reality is National, Labour and the Greens are bound by ideology so nothings going to change

                    • felix

                      Nah, things change all the time. Why just yesterday, John Key kicked open the door to allow a govt spy agency to open all your email and listen to all your phone calls.

                      That’s quite a fucking change, chris.

                    • One Anonymous Knucklehead

                      As Felix pointed out, facts aren’t on your side, so, given that change happens all the time, and you live in a representative democracy, and you support the idea of evidence based policy, what’s your excuse for supporting this government?

                    • locus

                      c73 – consider just for a moment what it means to have government agencies able to collect and listen and read everything you or any other kiwi communicates privately…

                      Remember it’s only a matter of time before a left wing government is elected…

                      Do you really want to support these kind of powers for the state?

        • One Anonymous Knucklehead

          …with a nationalist free market in illegal spying.

        • framu

          sure – but i dont think walters actually saying that

          “we’d much rather have a greater swing to the right” – i hope you dont mean the act party (because the dont actually stand for what they claim to)

          • chris73

            I think he is but for myself I’d suggest to the money behind Act to:

            Remove John Banks
            Convince Stephen Franks to stand in Epsom (why would he though)
            Promote the younger talent in the parties activist ranks
            Stop hanging out with the SST
            Go back to promoting the core message

            • Pascal's bookie

              Problem is no one likes their core message. They do all that other stuff to get votes, not many votes I’ll grant you, but it’s more than the core message gets.

            • framu

              “I think he is” – really? I cant see the bit where he says, or implies, that national arent perfect but its the best choice he has.

              Can you point it out? or are you “reading between the lines”?

            • One Anonymous Knucklehead

              They should be hanging out with the SFO, not the SST.

              • Te Reo Putake

                I always thought it ironic that Employers association in Auckland’s two biggest neighbours were Ak Grammar and Mt Eden jail. That’s the life cycle of an Actoid superman in 3 short steps.

            • felix

              You’ve highlighted the two major problems that ACT has never found a way around.

              Problem 1 is this “core message”. It’s so extreme that it appeals to only a couple of percent at most, because it benefits only a couple of percent at most. But the real problem is that the core message is absolutist. So you can bolt on the Laura Norda stuff, the truther stuff, the CCD stuff, the anti-maori stuff, but none of it compliments the core message. It only weakens it at the philosophical level. It’s all such blatant grasping and clawing to find a 5% demographic and it’s no more convincing than Peter Dunne developing a sudden interest in hunting and fishing. A principled core-ACT-message oriented party wouldn’t have a bar of any of that shit, and everyone can smell it.

              Which leads to problem 2, the talent pool. It isn’t deep. And if you want people who can simultaneously promote the “core message” stuff and the bolt-on populist stuff, then almost by definition they’re going to be either complete morons or fundamentally dishonest. And that’s exactly what we’ve seen from every member ACT has ever thrown up – a hideous mixture of dishonesty and stupidity.

              Those are your options at this point though: A sub-2% principled fringe party for the greedy and the greedy alone, or a slightly-over-5% conglomerate of disgraceful morons with special interests.

              Good luck with that.

          • walter

            I am saying that and id love to move further to the right.

            • felix

              You’re also saying you want the govt to have more power over you, and that you want less privacy.

              I think these are the bits people are getting stuck on, walter.

        • Draco T Bastard

          …we on the right have to make do with National though we’d much rather have a greater swing to the right

          Yes chris73, we’re quite aware that you’d prefer to have Mussolini in charge.

      • walter 14.1.2

        Not as bad as buying an over priced and under preforming rail business in ones last weeks of power.

        Iv learnt the left are full of double standards.

        • framu

          wow walter – stunning effort at deflection there. Are you at all interested in addressing your own double standard?

        • prism

          walter You’re getting boring and repetitious. Go back to kiwiblog or your easy chair at the retirement home or? You just take up space without having any real substance.

    • felix 14.2

      You believe in nationalism and free markets?

      Also you forgot to add “illegal spying” to your list.

    • One Anonymous Knucklehead 14.3

      Financial discipline” 😆

      We need better wingnuts.

    • Colonial Viper 14.4

      The sooner the left understand that the government has no money and that it is taxpayers money the better.

      Money is authorised and made legal by the Government.

      The only way the Government can do this is if the Government controls the supply of money. Which they do. (Sadly they have abdicated this role to the private banks…)

      Put another way, citizens may have money, but they don’t create or authorise it – the government does. If you have any doubts about this, please try and print your own $50 notes, and see what happens to you.

      • walter 14.4.1

        only a lefty could raise such a stupid view .

        • One Anonymous Knucklehead

          Walter, do you have anything substantive to say? Your comments are vacuous and devoid of even the feeblest of arguments; straw men, zombies, unsupported assertions, transparent lies, and not an original thought among them.

          The below-average IQ of the Right, on display for all to see.

        • Colonial Viper

          only a lefty could raise such a stupid view .

          Another fact is that dollar notes and coins make up maybe 2% of the money supply in NZ. The rest of it is sloshing around as electrons in electronic computerised records.

          The Government can create new money nowadays not with a printing press, but by pressing a keyboard and crediting their own accounts.

    • Sanctuary 14.5

      “discipline” “firm” “self-help”

      Let me guess, you played a lot of soggy biscuit at a strict English boarding school.

  15. Colonial Viper 15

    Western civilisation is on a long slide back to absolutism.

  16. Well what did yous expect dear John to do?

    The ruling class has to rule you know. Otherwise what’s the point? Your either for us or agin us.

    If it is facing a global rise in ‘terrorism’ then it has to have a ‘counter-terrorism’ that includes illegal spying, rendition, torture, grand juries, extradition, lies, death by drone, genocide, no limits implied.

    Anything that is necessary to maintain ‘social order’ (that’s where Thatcher was wrong).

    If you find this distasteful by some standard of ‘civilisation’ or ‘natural justice’ then what about questioning the system that justifies ‘counter-terror’?

    That is capitalism and its ruling class that enriches itself grotesquely in the name of justice, while destroying nature in the name of civilisation.

    That’s something to get on with. Expect that your every action will be scrutinised, circumscribed and cauterised so don’t look for protection from the HRA or any other tissue of delusions, and organise en masse.

    Can’t wait for the remake of ‘Blake’s Seven’.

  17. Northshoreguynz 17

    This is what section 14 of the Government Communications Security Bureau Act 2003 says:

    Neither the Director, nor an employee of the Bureau, nor a person acting on behalf of the Bureau may authorise or take any action for the purpose of intercepting the communications of a person (not being a foreign organisation or a foreign person) who is a New Zealand citizen or a permanent resident.

    Hat tip to Scott Yorke.

    I am really struggling to find how the above section is ambiguous. Especially as it seems it was drafted by a GSCB employee.

    • Pascal's bookie 17.1


      the “or take any action” part kills it really.

      Unless there is another section that says 14 doesn’t apply to when they are helping SIS or the cops, I can’t see any ambiguity at all.

      “or take any action”, No means no son.

  18. gobsmacked 18

    I think we should support Key all the way on this.

    Then when Hone Harawira becomes Minister of Truth in 2014, he can get to work eavesdropping on all our favourite righties (I have a little list …). And if anyone asks any impertinent questions, Trevor the Speaker can shut them up.

    There’s probably somebody, somewhere in the National caucus who can work out the future dangers here, but don’t expect them to speak up. National MPs: stupid or spineless, take your pick.

    • idlegus 18.1

      thats what think, abut alot of stuff the current govt are doing, not answering questions taking the piss rushing laws under urgency…arnt they just setting a precedent for future govts? stupid, spineless & bum kissy.

  19. vto 19

    I don’t get it. When people listened in on John Key’s ‘private’ cup of tea conversation with John Banks just before the election didn’t John Key go running straight to the police without hesitation?

    Why isn’t John Key upholding the same primciple?

    Is it because some pigs are more equal than others?

  20. McFlock 20

    Just like they did for the SIS after its burglary of Aziz Choudry’s house.

    Only in that case they could at least argue an implicit understanding, whereas here the GCSB violated an explicit prohibition.

  21. One Anonymous Knucklehead 21

    So, the official story goes that the GCSB were only spying on Kim.com because they were unaware that he is a New Zealand resident, and they’d been doing it for years under the mistaken impression that they were allowed to.

    One of those explanations must be false. So which is it?

    • McFlock 21.1

      well spotted

      • One Anonymous Knucklehead 21.1.1

        Perhaps each explanation came from a different source and each decided the other didn’t need to know. It’s a clusterfuck, and I don’t know which is worse: the fact that Key seems to think the right thing to do is make it legal, or the fact that it went on for at least five years under a Labour led government.

        This town needs an enema!

        • emergency mike

          I think the official line is that they thought they could spy in Dotcom because they wrongly thought he was not a permanent resident, whereas in the other 88 cases they thought they could spy on them because they were helping the SIS or police.

          What a croc it is. Anyone who thinks that the GCSB couldn’t figure out who they were legally able to spy on is naive.

          • One Anonymous Knucklehead

            They were helping the police in this case too.

            And residency status was brushed aside in 54 other cases.

            • emergency mike

              I think I see what you’re saying:

              “We were helping the police spy on Dotcom, but we didn’t realize he was a permanent resident, so we broke the law. Silly us.”

              “We spied on 88 New Zealanders, but we thought it was legal if we were helping the police. Wait, is it not? We’re confused.”

              Doesn’t really work.

              • One Anonymous Knucklehead

                What a tangled web they have woven for themselves.

                I still don’t get what motivated Key to lie repeatedly to Parliament over it though. Utter contempt of the highest court in the land.

                • McFlock

                  trouble is, between being the pm and having a blatantly partisan speaker, he’ll probably get away with it.

                  History will be his only judge, and he obviously doesn’t give a shit about that.

                • Arfamo

                  I still don’t get what motivated Key to lie repeatedly to Parliament over it though.

                  Habit. I really think he’ll say anything without being much bothered whether it’s true or not. And afterwards, he really just does forget whatever he did say. Not important to him. He’s only in the job for a short time anyway, getting what he wants first. Looks to me like he’s getting bored and pissed off.

                  • MrSmith

                    “And afterwards, he really just does forget whatever he did say.”

                    No, No, No he doesn’t forget, but he’s intent on turning our Country and Parliament into a second rate comedy act though.

  22. NickS 22

    Time and time our intelligence services have shown they don’t want to follow NZ law, while the police happily try and provoke left wing groups into breaking the law. So instead reforming due to these failures, our braindead government is going to legalise the GCSB illegal acts, thus rewarding their stupidity.

    This sort of shit should have ended with the cold war, and yet the state grows ever more paranoid and controlling it seems.

    And ironically, all these increases in SIGNET (signals intelligence) are near fucking useless due to the shear amount of data and the presence of very simple counter SIGNET methods (code words, p2p onion routing/darknets, sneaker-nets, virtual machine set ups etc) that have made HUMINET (human intelligence) resources extremely important in monitoring Islamist and right wing militia groups properly. Sure, you’ll catch the amateurs, the legitimate protesters, the braindead skinheads, but not the real threats let alone the industrial espionage attacks. Nor will it catch lone-wolf style attacks, due to the usual lack of clear indicators*. Which makes this sort of legislation look more like a means of cracking down on protesters and curtailing their basic civil rights to protest.

    *i.e. communications, such as letters, emails, postings and phonecalls need to be collated and checked and added to behavioural indicators to detect the threat, and despite having the resources to do this, in the US it’s usually the public warning the cops or the FBI that stops lone-wolf attacks. That’s only if anyone close to the attacker notices behavioural warning signs that is…

    • One Anonymous Knucklehead 22.1

      I think you mean humint and sigint, Nick, but I take your point.

      I’d like them to keep a closer eye on politicians with stronger allegiances to foreign political doctrines or companies/industries than they have to New Zealand. Like John Key, for example.

      • NickS 22.1.1

        derp, ty.

        This is what I get for drinking in the afternoon…

        I’d like them to keep a closer eye on politicians with stronger allegiances to foreign political doctrines or companies/industries than they have to New Zealand. Like John Key, for example.

        Oh they do, but they’re mainly interesting in the left and right wing groups that fall outside the “mainstream”. But for any parties within the mainstream, it would have to be pretty dodgy to start even basic surveillance, and for the party of government, forget about it completely…

        • One Anonymous Knucklehead

          From the point of view of those who might benefit from owning a few NZ politicians, what on Earth would be the point of buying unelectable ones?

          “No Brash, no cash” ring a bell?

          PS: bad example, Brash being unelectable and all that…

  23. 10 April 2013

    ‘Open Letter’ / Privacy Act Request to the Director of the GCSB, Ian Fletcher from Auckland Mayoral Candidate, Penny Bright.

    Dear Director,

    I am concerned that I may be one of the 88 New Zealanders who has been unlawfully spied upon by the GCSB.


    This morning I contacted the Prime Minister’s Department, to find out the proper process to follow, in order to find out if I was/am one of the 88 New Zealanders who has been unlawfully spied upon by the GCSB.

    I was advised to make a Privacy Act Request directly to the GCSB, to the following email address: info@gcsb.govt.nz

    Under the Privacy Act, I hereby request copies of all information held by the GCSB about myself – Penelope Mary Bright (aka Penny Bright).

    I look forward to your prompt response.

    Yours sincerely,

    Penny Bright
    ‘Anti-privatisation and anti-corruption campaigner’

    2013 Auckland Mayoral Candidate

    Occupy Auckland Appellant (in my own name)

  24. NickS 24

    Gah, got a comment stuck in moderation :/

  25. BLiP 25

    Heh! I’ve always got time to take a look at Bryce Edward’s “Political Round-Up” and good on The New Zealand Fox News Herald for giving him some space . . . but I had to chuckle at his description of the then unravelling GCSB story . . .

    . . . Certainly when the micro-scandal arose, Key dismissed in Parliament the idea of the two being ‘mates’, saying that he only ‘vaguely’ knew Fletcher, but admitting their mothers had once been ‘best friends’. Key also claims to have advised the State Services Commission of the relationship. So for Browning to continue to label the situation as ‘very, very disturbing’ seems somewhat hyperbolic. While there is certainly room for investigations and questions about New Zealand’s Establishment (the interlocking company directorships, relationships between politicians and bureaucrats, business power, and social connections), it seems a bit underwhelming to use examples emanating from Burnside High School. What’s more, the Labour-Green attack has allowed various rightwing blogs to say what most of the public are already thinking: ‘this is getting silly’ and the Opposition is grasping at straws – see, for example, David Farrar’s Scandal – their mothers were friends and Keeping Stock’s Grasping at straws . . .

    . . . micro-scandal ; )

    Interesting glimpse into the role Kiwblog has been playing in attempting to play down the situation and, when that didn’t work out, to position John Key outside of the appointment scandal and into the role of Mr Fixit.

    • Pascal's bookie 25.1

      Yeah. The story today from dpf is that John key is going to fix everything, just a few technical problems in the legislation there really, while Whale is running that altogether dafter ‘OMG this gonna blow up in labour’s face any minute!’ line.

      Can’t see either of them taking.

  26. Lloyd 26

    I’m totally in favour of all this spying by our public servants.

    Let’s make everything accessible.

    Let’s start at the top.

    Lets start with tapes of conversations of politicians having cups of tea.

    How about phone conversations recommending people to apply for jobs?

    What about chats swapping a convention centre for pokie machines?

    How about full disclosure of all the Prime Minister’s conversations, on-line, live, 24/7?

    How about all Gerry’s conversations sorting out his own insurance in Christchurch?

    How about chats asking foreign (sorry resident) businessmen for political donations?

    Any conversations estimating the % of foreign ownership of privatised electricity generators in five years?

    I do so want the GCSB to find all this out and release it to the public.

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