- Date published:
1:22 pm, August 15th, 2013 - 272 comments
Categories: accountability, crosby textor, democracy under attack, john key, slippery, spin, Spying, tv, us politics - Tags: campbell live
This is a work in progress – taking some time to write up the transcript and my not finish it in the next few hours. So I’ll update it later today, along with further comments. Transcript completed.
The interview of John Key on Campbell Live last night [Wed 14 Aug 2013] was an important one for many reasons. It showed how slick, slippery John Key can be – a formidable PR opponent, and not to be underestimated by the likes of Team Shearer (as Martyn Bradbury points out in his post on the interview.)
On the one hand, Key’s interview highlighted how his media training is perhaps slicker than any previous leader we have ever had and that Shearer is going to have to start injecting steroids straight into his brain stem if he has any hope in the debates next year.
The following is as far as I’ve got with the transcript – important for looking closely at how Key operates in a contest: and it was a contest, between the usual politician aim to ignore probing journalist questions and make their prepared points; while the journalists tries to provide a challenge to such points.
I’ve added my comments in brackets.
JC: We’ve devoted much of this week to the GCSB Bill. We’re on a nationwide road trip finding out whether you support or oppose the Bill or even if you feel that informed about it. We’ve asked the prime minister to appear on a number of occasions to discuss the Bill. He’s always declined until tonight. He is with me in the studio. I am delighted to have you here Prime Minsiter. Welcvom.
JK: Great to be here. Thanks very much.
JC: Excellent. When Rebecca Wright our reporter asked you on Saturday at the National Party conference to discuss this issue you raised snapper quota. You were fairly contemptuous of Rebecca’s question line. You said no one gives a damn and you also said you probably wouldn’t come on our show. What’s changed since then?
JK: Well firstly I’m right. Nothing’s changed about the snapper. Umm. We got a 124 submissions on the GCSB Bill and 30,000 on snapper. You’re going up and down the country this week. Fair enough. Well. I go up and down the country every week. And today was the Waikato. Yesterday was Oamaru and Dunedin and the likes. And people do not raise GCSB. I have public meetings. I have question sessions in everything I do. I probably have half a dozen meetings a day with public, engaging with people.
[karol: Who are these meetings with? Public? Really? Or various select sections of the public?]
JK (continues) There is confusion about the GCSB,. I’m prepared to accept that. But actually people don’t raise this issue. They certainly raise snapper. Secondly. Why did I come on the show. Well I said I probably wouldn’t, but, but actually there is so much in this information and so many things the shows got wrong,[JC going “Well”] I felt a responsibility to come on and try and correct those.
JC: Well well that’s excellent. I wish you’d come on around the time of the first reading.
JK: Sure! No problem. [karol: Emphatically – as though in agreement. So why didn’t he go on before?]
JC: That would have been fantastic- 3 months ago. Because we’ve asked you numerous times. And it seems to me and I’ve heard that there’s been internal polling, that people didn’t like your response to Rebecca Wright. And maybe this is damage control coming from you, coming on tonight. Is that not the case [?]?.
JK: Nope we polled, ah, as we poll every week and we poll Monday and Tuesdays and our polling last night was the same as the week before and the week before and the week before – 49%.
[karol – but Nat support could have stayed the same, but there still could have been a lot of people expressing dis-approval of Key’s comments on Snapper-GCSB comments – if it was the same questions as every week, how would that get a response about the snapper comments?]
JC: Whatever. It’s great to have you here. What have we got wrong?
JK: Well you got a number of things wrong. I mean firstly. The question you’re wondering into cafes and things around the country – and basically put, the proposition you’re putting to people is that under the GCSB law ah the government effectively through GCSB will be able to wholesale spy on New Zealanders. Factually totally incorrect. OK. So the only thing GCSB can do, under the law, which is actually with much greater clarity and far better oversight than the previous law, is 3 things: 1) foreign intelligence gathering. Nothing to with New Zealanders. 2) It can provide assistance to SIS, defence and police – that’s a narrowing of
JC: That’s 8C. Yeah great
Jk: Do you know how many cases are involved in that?
JC: No I don’t.
JK: OK. OK The Rebecca Kitteridge Report outlined the total number of times assistance was provided over the last decade – there were 88 individuals. 9 a year. So that is not wholesale? That’s 1 for every half a million New Zealanders.
[karol: but some of those individuals could have been spied on over a number of years –so – 9 a year? And, as I understand it while it involved 88 individuals, that doesn’t tell us how many times the GCSB provided assistance over all]
JC: Let’s that, let’s set that aside because I don’t think very many people are objecting to 8C. Those who know what 8C is.
JK: [keen to get on with his 3rd point] The last point is cyber security.
JK: OK. So that, under cyber security for a start off, GCSB, A has to get a warrant.
JC: From who?
JK: OK the warrant, like all warrant, is the same as the warrants from SIS
JC: From who?
JK: have to be signed by the Commissioner of Security Warrants, which is a retired high court judge.
JC: Appointed by who?
JK: By me. Has been
JC: Who is the other person who signs the warrants?
JK: OK Me right
JC: So you and a person that you have appointed sign the warrant.
JK: OK. Let’s take the first step back. [karol: a sign of a Key diversion when he is under pressure] Sir John Jeffreys was actually appointed by Helen Clark. His just retiring.
JK: Now Sir Bruce Robinson taken over. But Sir Bruce Robinson was the president of the court of appeal. They are independent. Are you really, seriously going to tell New Zealanders that the way the government is going to get round this
JC: Prime Minister
JK: is to corrupt a judge [JC protesting] That’s a very serious allegation, and not correct.
JC; No wai, wait a minute. You’re putting words in my mouth.
JK: Well you just said who appoints them.
JC: Well, you do appoint them. That’s a statement of fact. There’s no allegation inherent in that [karol: Well, at least no allegation of corrupting a high court judge. It’s an allegation that someone appointed by Key will be sympathetic to Key’s politics]
JK: OK But let’s take the UK as an example, just to give you an example of that [karol: diversion coming up]
JC: I don’t want to take the UK as an example. I want to talk about New Zealand
JK [interrupting] OK
JC: Hold on Prime Minister, I want to read you 8A, because you’ve just raised
JK: No. Can I just finish one last point on this? OK. Cause it’s really important. It’s why I’m on the show. It’s to get the information out. You can say whatever you like. Unfiltered for days on end on your show. So. [karol: attack the person asking uncomfortable questions]
JC: Prime Minister, hold on. We’ve asked you on numerous times. Numerous. [JC looking and sounding weary at John Key’s diversions, and mis-directions]
JK: [ignoring JC’s last point, and ploughing on] OK. So then after those two people, myself signs a warrant. And it’s signed, well it’s actually it’s actually constructed by the Commissioner, which is a former, either High Court of Appeal Court judge.
JC: Appointed by you.
JK: OK It all has to be reviewed, or can be reviewed at any time:
JC: After the fact.
JK: by the inspector. OK So, for a start off, if any, if any unlawful behaviour was taking place, all of that is reviewed, which it would be anyway, but would be reviewed by the inspector. Now with the increased oversight, the inspector’s office has considerably more powers, is much more transparent, the director of the GCSB and SIS have to appear before the public
JK: So, so
JC: Prime Minister, I want to come back to the
JK: Can be no wholesale
JC; I want to come back to the mistake you say we are making. The big difference between this legislation and the 2003 Act that this is amending, is absence of section 14. Dan can you whack up the graphic. I’m going to read this out. So this is section 15:
Neither the Director, nor any employee of the Bureau, nor a person acting on beg=half of the Bureau may authorise or take any action for the purpose of intercepting the communications of a person who is a New Zealand citizen or a permanent resident.” That has gone hasn’t it?
JK: OK so that was passed by Helen Clark, OK?
JC: Why has it gone?
JK: OK, so that legislation was passed, but what you’re forgetting is, section 8 of the old Act. So what happened was, Helen Clark passed that law:
JC: Why has that gone?
JK: OK so what happened was, Helen Clark passed that law with section 14. But she did everything that is being proposed [karol: the “they did it too”, gambit.] She’s been doing. She did that. By the time she was Prime Minister, and I followed on. And had been done prior to that, because under section 8. A reading of Section 8, allowed the GCSB to provide assistance.
JC: Although, that was an incorrect reading, wasn’t it? It was illegal and in the Kim Dotcom case you came out and apologised.
JK: no, no. Quite wrong. Actually, quite wrong. It was not illegal. What the lawyers did when they looked at , and some time ago.
JC: Why, why did you apologise to Kim Dotcom?
JK: OK let me come back to Kim Dotcom in a moment. So what the lawyers did, was they had a look some time ago, in fact actually the Inspector General, and said, “I’m just not quite sure about the way section 14, which is specific, works with Section 8, which is the general”
JK: OK. So basically, when the lawyers went and looked at it, they came back and said, “We think it’s probably lawful, but it’s subject to difficulties of interpretation.” OK. So take Kim Dotcom. OK. Kim Dotcom was illegal under the old law, which is why I apologised [karol: wait – didn’t JK just say it was either legal, or open to interpretation?] and it’s illegal under the new law.
JK: No, no no no. Don’t say [hello?] No no no. Let me finish. So what happened under Kim Dotcom was nothing to do with getting it, whether it was section 14 or section 8. The police went to GCSB. They said to GCSB, “Kim Dotcom is a foreigner. Under your foreign intelligence powers. Which sit there – which are the ones you’re talking about under Section 14 – we want you to undertake this work.” They said, “He’s a foreigner.” But actually, he was a resident class visa holder and they were totally wrong. They were wrong.[JC: “absolutely, OK” trying to interrupt] They were wrong then and they’d be wrong now.
[karol: but what about the 88 New Zealanders spied upon by GCSB? And did the GCSB know but ignore the fact that Dotcom was a resident, because they thought it’d be OK to spy on a resident?]
JC: OK. I want to read you 8A, Prime Minister, 8A: Information and Assurance and cyber security. Right?
JC:OK “The function of the Bureau is to cooperate with and provide advice and assistance to any public authority, whether in New Zealand or overseas or to any other entity authorised by the Minister on any matters relating to the protection, security and integrity of communications.” Goes on: “To do everything that is necessary or desirable to protect the security and integrity of the communications and information infrastructures referred to in paragraph A” – Which was the first paragraph
JK: Ok so let me just tell you
JC: That is
JK: what it means
JC: It’s meaningless
JC: It’s so broad
JK: OK. No, it’s not meaningless. The lawyers absolutely understand that. It’s in the departmental report.
JC: The lawyers don’t understand it – the Law Society has strongly opposed this Bill.
JK: OK, we’ll come back to the Law Society in a moment. So what happens under that provision is, if the GCSB wanted to provide cyber security support to an agency – let’s take IRD and its facility – OK? So that’s the provision, under which again, they’d have to go through that process of getting a warrant by the inspector or by the Commission, by me, subject oversight of the commissioner – OK, the inspector – OK. Fine. So, that’s the first thing. You have to get a warrant. Do you know what happens under that? They cannot look at the content of
JK: anything in there. All they can do, is protect you. So it’s against malware, or against a vrus. So you have on your computer
JC: Can I ask
JK: No, let me finish, cause it’s really important people understand this. So on your computer at home, you almost certainly have Norton anti-virus.
So far this takes us up to about 8 minutes into the video. To be updated….
John Key rattles off his facts and spin so quickly, it’s hard to respond immediately to the mis-directions, failures of the facts to support the claims, and the diversions.
[Transcript added 10.44mins]
JK: No, let me finish, cause it’s really important people understand this. So on your computer at home, you almost certainly have Norton Anti-virus. Or you have some sort of anti-virus thing that you’ve downloaded and paid money for. That is exactly what that is at a much higher level.
JC: OK. Well then
JK: Understand absolutely. Understands
JC: That’s the kind of vacuuming that’s going on.
JK: No. The point, the point here is that, you’re going into a shop. Or you’re going down the main street of, of New Zealand, and you are saying “Do you want to be spied on?” If you come and ask me that question, the answer John is “No.”
JC: No we’re not
JK: But you cannot do that
JC: We’re not asking people if they want to be spied on.
JK: under Section A.
JC: I’ll tell you what. Let’s play you some of the experts that are not experts. We’ve got 2 here ready to go. Sir Bruce Fergusson former head of the GCSB; Geoffrey Palmer former head of the GCSB because he was a Prime Minister like you. Listen to what they’ve said:
BF: I really I can’t get to grips with why it has to be rushed through so much, particularly given there is a large public concern about this.
GP: I think the manner in which the legislative process has been handled has been ur, pretty diabolical actually. It seems to me that we needed to go into it in much greater depth. That we needed to look at the legislation much more thoroughly. That we needed the debate to be elongated, not cut off.
JK: OK. So, let’s go through those points. Firstly, is it rushed? A year ago, when we got advice from the lawyers, that at least there was difficulties of subject to interpretation around Section 14 versus Section 8, of Labour’s law, that they passed in 2003. OK?
JK: we said, “Well, we gotta stop providing that assistance”. So that’s the 88 individuals in those cases. That’s what stopped. It physically stopped.
JC: Yeah. Are you saying Sir Bruce Fergusson, Sir Geoffrey Palmer and the Law Society and the Privacy Commissioner and the Human Rights Commission are all wrong?
JK: Yep. OK
JC: And Anne Salmond New Zealand
JK: No no. Let me finish. No. Let me just finish.
JC: Sure. Absolutely
JK: So, what they are, what happened was, we stopped. So the only assistance that was being provided by GCSB, under warrant, signed by all these individuals, for very serious issues. People with links to terrorist activities; people who may have been involved in either providing information that could have been used for weapons of mass destruction; all of these things.
JC: You genuinely believe those people live in New Zealand
JK: Absolutely. Yeah. Absolutely. I’ll come back to that in a moment. Those 88. Those 88 cases over 10 years – 9 people. That assistance stopped. We then went about putting clarity into the law. So people say it’s been rushed. That’s what Sir Bruce is saying, what Geoffrey Palmer is saying.
[Next section transcribed]
JC: The Law Society, yeah.
JK: OK Well. Is it rushed? OK. For a start off, the legislation’s been out there for some time. Secondly we ran a public hearing. Thirdly, there is nothing that’s come up in any of the 124 submissions that hasn’t been answered off in the departmental report. There’s great understanding that if you read that report
JC: [talking over JK] Prime Minister you [?] it. You are a [?] politician
JK: No I’m not.
JC: Yes you are. You’re doing a wonderful job on the show tonight. [JK talking over JC] You did rather hope that this would sneak through under the radar. You haven’t fronted. You weren’t in the House for the committee stages. You weren’t there for the second reading. You have been conspicuous by your absence.
JC: You had one select committee day that you were there. I want to go through, can I ask yo…?
JK: Can I just go through those, just while we’re here.
JC: I want to ask some quick questions to get yes or no answers.
JK: No, no. no whoa, whoa, whoa just let me finish my points.[both talking, hard to make out what they are saying]
[karol: the last section was a contest where each tried to get in their points. JK wanted to keep reeling off his points. JC was attempting to ask some challenging questions. The ever competitive John key would not allow it, and wave down JC’s protests with his hands. JK won. JC gave way.]
JK: OK, so, for a start off, I’m a bit busy running the country. So I don’t need to go in there
JC: But this is major legislation.
JK: OK, I don’t need to go in there and read out a pro forma second reading speech. By the way, Helen Clark didn’t appear in the parliament to read any of those statements or go to the committee stage. What I did do was in public hold those sessions. And by the way, when your mate Kim Dotcom said, “Oh John Key won’t front ever”, even though it was a sideshow, I actually sat there.
JC: Can I say something? I’ve never so much as had a cup of coffee with Kim Dotcom. I’ve done stories on him.
JK: Yeah but you’ve done so many stories which are absolute nonsense, and you know they are and I’ve actually answered those in the past.
JC: Prime Minister, feel free to sue us, go to the BSA, and [JK protesting] make a formal complaint
[both talking at the same time]
JC: Have you ever made a formal complaint?
JK: I don’t bother complaining because when you weave your web and do all those little things
JC: Prime Minister, I tell you what
JK: none of those are factually correct and you know that.
JC: you, you play the man and not the ball. I want to ask you some questions
JK: No I’m just saying facts.
Well, that last part was SO testy – and I actually don’t think in retrospect, that JK looked better than JC. And as for Key turning up to the public hearing, even though he thought it was a sideshow? Seems like Key can resist a personal challenge. And,a s i recall, during the first public hearing session, Key did not engage, but only spoke to tell people their time was up.
JC: Can I have some yes or no answers on this?
JC: Is the GCSB using or does it have access to XKeyscore?
JK: Well, I’m not going to answer those questions.
JC; Why not?
JK: Because I don’t go into, and no prime minister has ever gone into, what techniques they actually use.
JC: So I’m I taking that as a yes.
JK: No don’t take it, no don’t take it as a yes. What I’m saying to you is, we have, we have, in 88 occasions in a decade used um basically the assistance [JC talking over Key] of GCSB
JC: Because you see the thing is, you’re sitting here, making very good reassurances, and telling us we’re fine
JK: I’m telling it because it’s correct
JC; But if the GCSB is using or has access to XFscore, then all of the stuff in your legislation is absolutely meaningless.
JK: What I’m telling you is, everything that GCSB does, is legal. So what is legal is that they can provide
JC everything that GCSB does in New Zealand is legal,
JC: are our partners able to do stuff that is illegal?
JC: the NSA, the GCHQ
JK: Well, I can’t talk about what they do in their own country and with their own legislation. That’s a matter for them, although I have seen president Obama on TV, saying that what he does is, what the US do is legal. But if you’re asking us, “Do we in New Zealand go around the back door and ask our partners to do things for us that would be otherwise not legal for GCSB to do?” The answer’s unequivocally, “No”.
JC: Will the, great! thank-you. Will the GCSB operation, once this legislation is passed, involve, or be connected to the collecting or harvesting of New Zealand’s metadata whether under warrant or not?
JK: Wha what
JC: Yes or no?
JK: No. Not in the way that you would say that. So my
JC; Potentially inadvertently?
JK: No what, it’s important that you understand what we are saying.
JK: The only ways that they can provide information of metadata, because under the law metadata’s treated the same as content, right? So there’s no differentiation in the law. So to go and look at someone’s email, is the same as collecting their email, right? So under the law, the only way they can do that is providing assistance, and the only way they can do that is for those 3 agencies , [?ing] the SIS, of which they did 9 people per year over the last decade, right? OK, so there’s
JC: So why do you need, why do you need this legislation?
JC: Because on the one hand you’re standing saying we need it [JK talking at same time] because the because of terrorist, on the other hand you’re down playing it [?] a number of times.
JK: let me finish my last point. So OK, some people would say in cyber security because you have the protection where you can’t see the information, but you’re protecting – some people might say it’s metadata – but it’s not reading information, it’s not collecting the the detail.
JC: So you will be accessing that?
JK: No. What I’m saying is, we provide protection.
JK: like the Norton Antivirus. We do not go and [?]
JC: OK. Is the GCSB using, or does it have access to PRISM?
JK: Again, I don’t go into those individual points and the point here is, it doesn’t matter what they actually use.
JC: No, it does.
JC: You are the minister. Because what we have seen, in the United States, contrary to what James Clapper told Congress, is the wholesale accessing of metadata – emails, phone records –all sorts
JC: Completely against the knowledge of the American people, under similar legislation
JC: that you are drafting
JK: Well, for a start off you’re making a very bold statement, which is not correct.
JC: No, I’m stating fact.
JK: No you’re not.
JC: Am I wrong?
JK: Yes you’re wrong.
JC: What was wrong in that statement? That the NSA was doing that?
JK: No, because you’re saying that we are proposing to do things which would be illegal.
JC: No, I’m not. I’m saying it took place in the United States.
JK: OK the onl, OK, I can’t talk about the US’s legislation. But under New Zealand legislation – to go back to the point, the only time they can look at people’s metadata and their information, in the context that you’re talking about, is when they have a warrant. There’s 9 cases. OK, so let’s give you this example: if GCSB this afternoon, were to decide they’re going to listen to every phone call, and read every txt message in New Zealand, do you know how many people that would take? A hundred and thirty thousand people, is the estimate they’ve given me, and cost 6.6 billion dollars. You are frightening people.
JC: No I’m not, Prime Minister.
JK: Yes you are.
JC: Are you telling me
JK: [?] directly and [?] you are frightening people.
JC: No, I’m not
JK: You are.
JC: Prime Minister, ah. Will the XKeyscore. Am I making that up? Its abilities? Tempore [sp?] which the G ah, which the British are using? Am I making that up? PRISM, am I making that up? The NSA activities: Am I making that up?
JK: You may as well read out what’s on a James Bond movie. Look for goodness sake
JC: Yes or no? Does XKeyscore exist? Yes or no?
JK: I don’t answer those questions because they don’t
JC: I’m not asking, I’m not asking. I’m asking if it exists?
JK: Well, it may well exist overseas, but I don’t go into what our partners use or don’t use. What I’m saying to you is – it’s like saying, how did I get here? It doesn’t matter whether I – no, let me finish. It doesn’t matter if I got here in a bus, I came here in a taxi, or I came here in a crown car. What matters is I got here. It doesn’t matter what techniques GCSB use, or don’t use. What matters is it’s legal. If it’s legal, then what I’m telling you is, the only legal things they can do, is provide assistance – of which it’s about 9 people a year. And anything else they might do in cyber security would require a warrant, would not have access to content, and is essentially like a virus protection. That’s it.
JC: Prime Minister, thank-you for joining us. I’m sorry it’s taken you so long to get in here.
JK: I’m more than happy to come. But the point is, you know, we’ve gotta have decent stuff to debate. We’ve been going through a process, I can’t come on your show until we go through the proper process going through. But what I can tell you, is the same thing I’d tell any New Zealander whose watching this show. They have absolutely nothing to be worried about. The security risks that New Zealanders face are real
JC: Prime Minister,
JK: But they have to be protected properly.
JC; The security risks New Zealanders face are real and that’s.
JK: Absolutely. And that’s what that law does. Protects them properly.
JC: I’d like to talk to you at a later stage about what those security risks are.
JK: Sure. Yeah. No problem
JC; Prime Minister thanks so much for joining us. Really appreciate your time. Lovely to have you in here with us.
JK: Nice to be on the show.
[JC finishes urging people to vote on their poll]
Well, if I knew how long it’s take to transcribe this interview, I’d probably never have started. And just when I thought Campbell was winding up the interview, Key just would not be quiet – has to have the last word, repeating over and over again his main spin lines – like the guy bending your ear in the pub who won’t go away.