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Networks of influence

Written By: - Date published: 8:45 am, April 14th, 2013 - 55 comments
Categories: accountability, business, capitalism, democracy under attack, film, internet, john key, slippery, Spying, telecommunications, trade, us politics - Tags: , ,

Under under John Key’s watch, the GCSB has become more focused on commerce and intellectual property issues (as I previously posted and reinforced by this speech last month by Ian Fletcher).  The GCSB has also become more integrated with the domestic intelligence services (SIS).  The moves towards these changes are evident since 2009, when Key claims he was first interested it attracting Ian Fletcher to a top publc sector job.

An underlying strategy of deal-maker, and ex-bankster, John Key, is to insert himself into networks of influence.  His sister Sue once said that, when John was 10 years old, he decided to learn to play golf, because:

“He’d figured out that business guys have golf lunches,” says Sue. “He told us ‘I have to start working on those skills now so when I need them they’re in place’.”

As many news articles show, Key seems to have followed through with this plan.  For instance. Fran O’Sullivan’s April 2012 article, reporting on Key’s visit to Indonesia, shows him to be in schmoozing mode with “top Indonesian politicians”:

“It’s what I used to do when I came here years ago for Merrill Lynch,” he explained after playing golf with Gita Wirijawan on his first afternoon in the Indonesian capital.

2009: Overseas connnections

Since the first year of his time in government  John Key has been connecting with influential people involved in intellectual property and the entertainment industry in 2009.  The same year he was surreptitiously reogranising the separate NZ intelligence services into one entity under his ultimate control, as explained by Chris Trotter.

In 2009, intellectual property was already a hot issue in NZ, in relation to the Internet, digital copyright and online file sharing.  Writing on the TPPA in October 2012, Jane Kelsey said:

Hollywood is determined to succeed. The movie and music industries are the two most powerful copyright lobbies in America. Their dominance of the global entertainment industry is threatened by rapidly evolving technologies they cannot control and competing production centres in India, South Africa and Brazil.

To stem their decline, they have invested substantial financial and political capital in securing global rules that protect their power and profits into the 21st century.

The industry tried and failed to achieve this in hard fought negotiations for an international copyright agreement known as the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement or ACTA. After the secret text was leaked in 2009, massive protests broke out around the world, including in New Zealand.

In 2009, Key traveled overseas to several countries, no doubt,investing time on networking.  He may have had the first of his more formal meetings over a meal with Ian Fletcher when he was in Australia in August 2009 .

In September 2009 when he went to the US, most of the press attention focused on Key meeting with Obama, appearing on Letterman, and visiting the UN. On September 26 he  delivered a speech to the UN.  On the same day, relatively unnoticed, Key was guest at a KEA (“NZ’s Global Network”) lunch. The KEA online report on this ends thus:

The World Class New Zealand event was held later that evening at Time Warner. The event was hosted by Mr. Mark D’Arcy and attended by the Prime Minister who was welcomed by Time Warner Chairman and CEO Mr. Jeff Bewkes.

This hook up with some Key Warners’ people occurred a year before the Hobbit dispute. D’Arcy is an ex-pat  Kiwi high-flyers of the AUT alumni, who specialises in advertising.  He was later part of the team of Warner’s execs involved in the Hobbit negotiations in NZ.

2010: international connections in NZ

In March 2010, back in Auckland, it is almost certain that Key nurtured his connection with Ian Fletcher when Fletcher attended a conference there (see my post, “The Key-Fletcher trail‘).

In October 2010, Warners’ execs (including D’arcy and top Warner’s exec Kevin Tsujihara) came to NZ for the Hobbit negotiations. This was one of two high profile times when prime minister Key, directly intervened in significant proceedings (the other was in relation to Fletcher’s appointment to the GCSB).

There is evidence of the way Key re-connected with previous contacts in the Hobbit negotiations, in his answer to a written question from Winston Peters:*

Rt Hon Winston Peters to the Prime Minister (27 Mar 2013): Who was the senior Warner Brothers executive he reportedly had a conversation with on 24 October 2010?
Rt Hon John Key (Prime Minister) replied: It is not recorded in my diary but to the best of my recollection it was Mark D’Arcy [Key’s KEA connection from September 2009 in New York].
Key then met Kevin Tsujihara at Premier House on 26 and 27 October 2010. On 27 October the memorandum between Key’s government and Warners was signed.  The next day, “the SIS lifted a hold on Kim Dotcom’s residency application.”
Beyond 2010
For John Key, networking with the wealthy and influential is now almost second nature.  Since becoming PM in 2008, this has been applied to his focus on the entertainment industries, intellectual property, commerce and national security.   Yet, prior to 19 January 2012, when he was briefed on the impending arrest of Kim Dotcom, Key seems to haveshown remarkably little curiosity about a big German internet entrepreneur, living in his own electorate.
Perhaps Key just decided the big German was more interested in playing Internet games than golf?
Questions, questions, questions…..
* The links/URLs to Peters’ questions for written answer were working up to last night, but don’t seem to be working this morning.


55 comments on “Networks of influence”

  1. ianmac 1

    Great stuff again Karol.
    “The next day, “the SIS lifted a hold on Kim Dotcom’s residency application.”
    I have read that several times and cannot quite see why it is significant.
    Is it just that Mr Key must have then known about Dotcom?
    Is it because they wanted Dotcom to be resident and therefore within their zone to be able to pursue ?

    • Anne 1.1

      I, too am confused about this ianmac.

      The Andrew Williams press release states:

      Mr Key met with the SIS on 12 October 2010. That was a day before the SIS put a hold on Dotcom’s residency application.

      We can take it then that John Key DIRECTED the SIS to put a hold on Dotcom’s application?

      Then Key meets with Warners on the 26th & 27th October 2010 and a memorandum between the govt. and Warners is signed on the 27th. Then a day later (must have been the 28th Oct.) the SIS lifted its hold on the residency application.

      We can take it that John Key also DIRECTED the SIS to lift the hold?

      So the hold on Dotcom’s application lasted 15 days and is clearly closely linked to the timelines above?

      Is it now the role of the PM to directly interfere with specific day to day SIS operations based on nothing more than political expediency and – in all probability – some sort of personal gain for Key et al?

      In my view, this goes to the heart of the matter, and once again we’re indebted to karol for putting these timelines together in such a cogent form.

      Edit: it still doesn’t answer why the ‘hold’ was lifted immediately following the meeting with Warners. later in the month.

      • ianmac 1.1.1

        But why would Mr Key want to “lift the hold?” I still don’t get it.

        • Anne

          I added an edit saying the same thing. Why? If someone knows please enlighten us. 😕

          • felix

            Why did Key want Dotcom to be here? So he could be caught here.

            To the Industry groups Key was helping, it doesn’t matter whether they nab Dotcom in NZ or in Guatemala.

            But to Key it does.

        • joe90

          But why would Mr Key want to “lift the hold?” I still don’t get it.

          Like the hïnaki, a tight entrance with the bait within.

          • ianmac

            Do you mean Mr Key wanted him in the country so that the system could “get him?” If residency had been with-held wouldn’t it be even easier to “get him”?

            • Anne

              Did the FBI (and Warners) want him to stay in NZ because Key et al were playing ball on the matter so it suited them to have the ban lifted and he become a NZ citizen. They could then do anything they liked and the NZ Govt. could be trusted to turn a blind eye?

              For what its worth that’s my best and only guess 😕

            • rosy

              Do you mean Mr Key wanted him in the country so that the system could “get him?””

              I’ll go with the simpler theory they wanted him in the country because he was a high net worth individual that is targeted for residency by the government. Key would have known the German living in the Chrisico property in his electorate not as Mr Dotcom but as Mr Loadsamoney.

          • joe90

            Yeah, I reckon that the shyster in chief guaranteed his masters that end runs could be made around legislation so residency was granted to deliberately lull KDC into a false sense of security.

      • Draco T Bastard 1.1.2

        Edit: it still doesn’t answer why the ‘hold’ was lifted immediately following the meeting with Warners. later in the month.

        It would ensure that the FBI initiated raid on .com was carried out in NZ. The question then becomes: Why was in seen as being necessary that the raid occur in NZ? Was it because the National led government were on the side of Big Business and not Kiwis?

  2. dumrse 2

    Conspiracy, the theory to use when all else fails.

    • joe90 2.1

      Nah, not a conspiracy, just business as usual.

    • ianmac 2.2

      Conspiracy? Avoidance of accountability? Remember how though Mr Key was filmed meeting the Bretheran, he escaped accountability? Mr Brash didn’t.

    • Anne 2.3

      Actually dumrse is spot on.

      There was a conspiracy between the FBI, Warner Bros. and John Key (with input from Joyce and Brownlee) to put down a savvy NZ citizen of German birth who was threatening their global and financial hold on copyright and other related issues… and was using one of our security agencies to gather the so-called evidence against him. At the same time our govt. lied through their teeth about what was going on, and in the process pulled the wool over our eyes.

      Yep. I call that a conspiracy.

      • One Anonymous Knucklehead 2.3.1

        Specifically, a conspiracy to commit offences under the Crimes Act (illegal surveillance) and to subvert the provisions of the GCSB Act.

        Oh, and unlike most “conspiracy theories”, this one comes with sworn evidence.

    • vto 2.4

      if you think about it dumrse you will realise that conspiring is the first and oldest play in pretty much every event to occur in the history of manwomankind.

      would you agree?

  3. infused 3

    And you lot think the anti-climate change skeptics are crazy…

    • One Anonymous Knucklehead 3.1

      Not crazy: lacking the cognitive capacity to recognise their own incompetence. Typical wingnuts, in other words.

    • Murray Olsen 3.2

      Climate change sceptics – some are crazy, some are just dumb, some are happy to spout crap for reward, some have no idea but think they are being anti-establishment, and some have absolutely no expertise in the area, which they compensate for by speaking more loudly.
      Infused – a mixture of dumb and annoying.

  4. starboard 4

    “An underlying strategy of deal-maker, and ex-bankster, John Key, is to insert himself into networks of influence. ”

    But you gota admit…he’s doing bloody well especially with the Chinese..it all bodes well for NZ inc.

    • Draco T Bastard 4.1

      …it all bodes well for NZ inc.

      No, it doesn’t.

    • vto 4.2

      Yes starboard, why would you think it bodes well for NZ inc.? Got any specifics? Like reasons and evidence in support? Or just empty nothings?

      • starboard 4.2.1

        Looks all good from here…


        Now you can tell me why its not good?

        • Anne

          What’s that got to do with Warner Bros., FBI, Hobbit saga, Dotcom saga and the GCSB?

          Nothing! A wingnut attempt at diversion?

        • MrSmith

          Or you could argue we/he are now reaping the benefits of the last governments hard work, and as this goverment likes to blame the last government for just about every pot hole they fall into then don’t you find it funny how they are very quiet about yelling about the great free trade agreement with china.

          But really Key is up to his eyeballs in this and now people are really starting to dig.

          • starboard

            yes, credit where credit is due..Thank you Labour for laying the ground work..

        • Draco T Bastard

          Because free-trade actually causes us to be worse off – as we’ve come to know over the last few decades.

  5. Populuxe1 5

    The only things missing are the Atlantean Illuminati, aliens, the Bilderberg and the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. This is some seriously imaginative paranoid shit.

    • felix 5.1

      “This is some seriously imaginative paranoid shit.”

      Which part, precisely?

    • Colonial Viper 5.2

      Don’t you believe in influential people networking and co-ordinating in order to make best use of business opportunities?

      Did you grow up in a convent?

      • Populuxe1 5.2.1

        No, but I didn’t grow up in a paranoid cult either

        • felix

          Have you found an example in the post of “seriously imaginative paranoid shit” yet?

          • Pascal's bookie

            “Have you found an example in the post of “seriously imaginative paranoid shit” yet?”

            I’d like to see that too.

            I wonder if it’s more paranoid and imaginative, or less, than the idea of North Korea launching an attack on New Zealand and the UN not responding because we aren’t a part of NATO.

        • Colonial Viper

          What’s paranoid about influential people networking and co-ordinating?

          What do you think all those business conferences and board meetings are for?

          It’s really just business as usual mate.

          • karol

            Yep – and it’s not just business people that do coordinating & networking – sheesh, we’ve been told by our managers that we are encouraged to attend xxxx meeting, and that it will be a great opportunity for networking.

            What’s interesting about Key is the specific networks he likes to engage with, nurture and draw on for his policies – as with us all, it says a lot about his values, preoccupations and aims. As with everything, he treats government as a corporation rather than being by for and of the people.

            And I’ve tried to put it in context of relevant things happening around the same time, in politics, etc.

            I’m not close enough to the activities of the significant people to do more than that. However, there’s questions to be answered, and I’m interested to see what others come up with – lawyers, politicians etc.

            • ghostrider888

              you write pretty Close Up most of the time karol, just no cigar required.

  6. Epping Road 6

    In March 2010, back in Auckland, it is almost certain that Key nurtured his connection with Ian Fletcher when Fletcher attended a conference there (see my post, “The Key-Fletcher trail‘).

    Wrong Karol. Your earlier post provides no such almost certainty. You earlier post claims that Fletcher was in Auckland, and that Key might have been in Auckland. Nowhere in your post is there evidence that Key was even at the Conference. Yet again you are making very dubious connections, and now you are claiming certainty over those connections. Dodgy writing from you.

    • Anne 6.1

      Yes, Epping Road you are right to be worried. There’s more to come too. Not looking good for wingnuts.

    • karol 6.2

      Epping, Key has stated that he met with Fletcher for some meals since some time around 2009. For that to happen the two men need to be in the same city. The most likely time for one of those meals is when Key and Fletcher were both in Auckland at the same time, in early March 2010. It doesn’t require that Key have attended the conference.

      Not dodgy, just simple deduction based on the known facts.

      • Epping Road 6.2.1

        In that case Helen Clark may have met George Bush when they were on the same continent and secretly hatched a plan to invade Iraq, there is no record of any of their conversations on this but it is as plausible as your silly claims.

        • One Anonymous Knucklehead

          Apart from the lack of any statement from Clark that they did so, in contrast to Key’s statement that he and Fletcher met for breakfast.

          As for the rest, the increased GCSB focus on intellectual property is a matter of public record. Unless you think Fletcher was making it up, that is.

  7. The Devil's Advocate 7

    What other country lends it’s spy agencies out to private enterprise? That seems just plain wrong. Especially in exchange for favourable consideration in having the hobbit movies made here.

    Selling out our citizens to over sea’s corporations for profit is not what these agencies were set up to do. Judas John Key should be ashamed of himself for even considering it, let alone actively doing it.

    He’s too corrupt, he’s been caught out and is now so desperate that he’s pulling the “weapons of mass destruction” trick.

    He must go

  8. The Devil's Advocate 8

    It makes you wonder what other little missions he’s been sending our spooks on?. An inquiry needs to be set up. With full disclosure to those who have had their privacy breached, as is their right under law.

  9. My two cents on the subject but hey conspiracies don’t happen right?

    To Conspire comes from the Latin word Conspirare which in its essence means: to breath together.
    John Key knows a lot about breathing together. Every time he meets his mates in back rooms at breakfast or tea tables ( here, here and here) they breath together and funny stuff happens such as this and this and perhaps this. So when John Key says they didn’t TALK about important stuff remember this: They did BREATH together and formed a united front and communal story and you and me are losing out because of it!

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