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Peter Dunne’s chance to shine

Written By: - Date published: 7:01 am, July 18th, 2013 - 27 comments
Categories: democracy under attack, john key, Politics, united future - Tags: , ,

Peter Dunne

National’s GCSB legislation’s path to enactment is hitting pothole after pothole.

Last Friday the Human Rights Commission had its funding threatened after expressing concern at the proposed reforms because, according to John Key, it missed the deadline and misunderstood the law.  The only problem was that its advice was provided to Key direct in accordance with one of its statutory functions and if anyone had shown a misunderstanding of the law it was Key himself.

Then on Monday Privacy Commissioner Marie Schroff urged that introduction of the GCSB amending legislation be delayed.  The Herald reported the following:

“Effective oversight is required to ensure that it is collected and used appropriately, not as the tool of mass surveillance that it has the capacity to be, if unchecked.”

[Ms Schroff] referred to leaks by former United States National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden about the widespread collection of data and British intelligence spying on G20 delegates.

Fallout from those revelations would not be answered for some time.

“There is, therefore, good reason to postpone consideration of this bill at least for a short time, to enable us to develop a clearer perspective on what powers New Zealand intelligence agencies should have to perform their functions.”

And then one of the major selling points, the saving of costs by removing duplication of resources with the SIS has hit a snag.  It appears the Government does not know how much it will cost for the SIS to do the spying instead of the GCSB.  If the GCSB does it there may be a cost saving but, and this is a big but, all of our metadata may be handed over to the Americans.  It would be good if the information concerning cost was available so that we could at least have a proper debate about whether our privacy was worth investing in.

Parliamentary support for the reforms is on a knife edge.  All eyes are on Peter Dunne to see what he will do.  After all he is rightfully upset that Key obtained his metadata without his permission.  And Andrea Vance’s metadata generated by her movements around Parliament was handed over to the inquiry.  MPs and Journalists ought to have their rights of privacy respected.  Because if the State does not do this then none of us are safe and whoever is in power will be able to learn huge amounts about each of us.

Dunne has said  that he wants to maintain his and others rights of privacy and I agree with him.  He was using his Parliamentary Services email to communicate with Vance and had thought that this email account was private.  He had reason to do so.  Parliamentary Services is not an organisation that the Official Information Act 1982 applies to and we ought to be able to send emails to MPs without worrying about who will read them.  I don’t think that we have as yet appreciated the significance of this.  I use a few MPs’ Parliamentary Service emails all the time to communicate with them on political issues and I am sure many others do as well.  We should all review this practice because it appears that the Executive may be able to demand to see what is in these emails or at least what metadata is attached to these emails.

And who authorised the use of Andrea Vance’s metadata?  The state keeping tabs on the movement of reporters for what appear to be political purposes should be sending shivers up our spines.

Peter Dunne is correct when he says there are principles at stake.  They first came for Peter Dunne because he was a United Future Party MP, then they came for Andrea Vance because she was a political journalist, then they came for … you know the rest.

The speaker is looking into issues around the use of Vance’s metadata.  So he should.  IS has persuasively argued that the use is a breach of Parliamentary privilege.

Dunne is negotiating with the Government on the terms of the bill.  I hope that he stands up for the rights of privacy of Kiwis and against the sending of our data to the US and opposes the bill.

Us lefties, myself included, have given Dunne a hard time.  The best approach may be to encourage and persuade him to staunchly defend our rights of privacy.  Peter Dunne, this is your chance to shine.

27 comments on “Peter Dunne’s chance to shine ”

  1. Santi 1

    Dunne is a sell-out. It’s desperation to put any hope in him, since the MP is as elastic as a rubber band.

    • + 1 Trusting Dunne is futile and a folly. He is negotiating – what? His move and seat with National? I don’t agree with the – he did the right thing for the wrong reasons so he’s a hero, line.

  2. Colonial Viper 2

    Some Labour supporters are going to rue the day they started dissing Dunne. We need his vote to sort out the excesses of this Tory govt.

  3. Santi 3

    CV, Dunne will sell his vote. Don’t you understand?

  4. framu 4

    “It appears the Government does not know how much it will cost for the SIS to do the spying instead of the GCSB.”

    doesnt that then mean theyve misled the house? (again)

  5. Ad 5

    Nice thought but tried it with asset sales.

  6. Chooky 6

    Dunne is a hero!…..He will go down in history as the man with his finger in the dyke !

    He kept John Key’s GCSB spying bill from washing all over New Zealand and violating NZers rights to freedom, to be New Zealanders, in our own created NZ decent society……Dunne saved us from domination by a most uncivil foreign secret society with hidden agendas not related to terrorism at all. He saved New Zealand from the wolves.

    (if you are not sure , just look at the attacks on him by the right wing!)

    ….the Human Rights Commission is also hero….and Anne Salmond…( and of course Winnie ….and the Greens and Labour and Mana and the majority of other parties ,truly representing NZers, which actively oppose this foreign bill to spy on NZers)…Where is the Maori Party? ….They are a disgrace.!

    • Veutoviper 6.1

      Re Dunne, I think you are counting your chickens before they hatch, Chooky.

      Dunne has not yet “kept John Key’s GCSB Bill from wahing all over New Zealand…” Personally I am not holding my breath on Dunne’s past performance.

      Re the Maori Party, IIRC they are opposed to the GCSB Bill – hence Dunne being likely to be the ‘decider’.

      • Sable 6.1.1

        Lets hope its not a “Dunne deal” .

        • Chooky

          Lets hope it is not a Dumb deal !

          Pleased to hear the Maori Party are against this bill also …but why aren’t they speaking out more?….unfortunately they are so tied in with propping up this Key Natgovt they are “tarred with the same brush”!

    • Sable 6.2

      Probably busy having a snooze, doing nothing is hard work.

  7. AmaKiwi 7

    Politics makes strange bedfellows.

    Lefties, don’t slam the bedroom door on Dunne. We need his vote.

    • Rosetinted 7.1

      Yes Dunne could be the ‘boy who stood on the burning deck’ or ‘the warrior that held the bridge’ – he has a chance to do a really important good thing that he will be remembered for. Winston and the Winebox is something I remember. It would be nice if Peter Dunne held to his principles and didn’t fold – good for the country.

  8. Sable 8

    I applaud Dunne’s stance but question his decision to get involved with Keys and co to start with. I hope hes learnt his lesson and will do what he can to block this appalling legislation.

    • Santi 8.1

      He’s learnt nothing. He’ll side with Key & co. Inevitable.

      • Sable 8.1.1

        I think you are right but hope you are wrong.

      • richard 8.1.2


        The guy is an untrustworthy disgrace.

        Well, that’s not totally correct. He can be trusted to do the “sensible thing” and back any legislation which favours big business and the right wing in general.

        • Chooky

          New Zealand business does not need this bill…..it will undermine New Zealand business!…

          If you are a New Zealander the “sensible thing ” is to oppose this bill.

  9. Rosie 9

    On the 9th July I wrote to Peter Dunne, as an Ohariu constituent and given his negotiating position with Key, expressing my concerns about the GCSB Bill. I also gave him a personal account of the legitimate, legal political activities I have been involved in over the years (not a huge amount) and how this bill may threaten some into submission because of it’s draconian nature, and could ultimately have a detrimental effect on our ability to participate fully in democracy -( that’s just a brief summary of the content of my email and only covers one aspect)

    The response I received from left me somewhat underwhelmed with enthusiasm for Dunne to do the right thing and not vote for this bill. In fact the response put me in mind of Pete George and something he would say. Something about sensible shoes also came to mind.

    I would love Peter Dunne to shine, and he may yet, but personally, I’m not holding my breath.

    • Veutoviper 9.1

      Good on you, Rosie, for writing to Dunne – but I am not surprised at what you have said about his reply.

      In light of what has happened over the last month or so re Dunne and his fall from grace, I suspect that the ‘current negotiations’ between him and Key etc cover matters in addition to the GCSB Bill ….

      I am not holding my breath either that Dunne will block the Bill and stand on principle.

      • Ed 9.1.1

        Dunne needs to distance himself at least a little bit from National if he intends to stand in Ohariu again. This would be a significant issue for National, but not one that would affect their neo-con economic policies or cost them real money, so he would be able to say that he could work with either Labour or National – even if neither side would really want him. This is in my mind more a test of whether he plans to retire, or thinks National will get back in – if he votes for this legislation he would not have any likelihood of getting another Ministerial position.

  10. The NSA 10

    Go Pete, do us proud!

    • mickysavage 10.1

      Aye NSA although I thought you wanted your supply of metadata to be unlimited and unrestricted?

  11. red blooded 11

    I hope Peter Dunne will do the right thing, but I’m sorry to say I believe he’ll choose the Right thing almost every time.

  12. Jenny 12

    In a statement which has clear implications for New Zealand, in particular the Dotcom case. (not to mention the illegal spying on another 88 New Zealanders).
    “Nakedly, aggressively criminal” Is how Edward Snowden describes the activities of the US NSA which is operationally linked to our own GCSB.

    “I did not reveal any US operations against legitimate military targets. I pointed out where the NSA has hacked civilian infrastructure such as universities, hospitals, and private businesses because it is dangerous. These nakedly, aggressively criminal acts are wrong no matter the target. Not only that, when NSA makes a technical mistake during an exploitation operation, critical systems crash. Congress hasn’t declared war on the countries – the majority of them are our allies – but without asking for public permission, NSA is running network operations against them that affect millions of innocent people. And for what? So we can have secret access to a computer in a country we’re not even fighting?”

    Edward Snowden

    Guardian Online Q&A with Edward Snowden

    It is no coincidence then that our own GCSB has been caught out in criminal activities. They all share the same culture of naked, aggressive criminality.

    Far from being censured for their law breaking, the NZ GCSB are to be given even more powers. Not only are they being encouraged by their foreign partners to behave illegally, they are being rewarded for their aggressive criminality by John Key’s National Government. It will take a lot for any politician to stand up to this overwhelming political pressure coming from the Nats and inside the State. If Peter Dunne can do it, then he is a far greater man than anyone has given him credit for……

  13. paul scott 13

    I bet that most of we New Zealanders do not give tinkers drum about all of this.
    I thought that I would join United Future via Internet to make sure they had the numbers.
    It was a hopeless task, the web site was linked to something called Pay Mate and it asked which State I lived in . I replied New Zealand of course, and it refused me
    As well it invited me to join my wife up at the same time.
    In other words buy membership votes here
    I think there will be a lot of water under the bridge yet, but I will repeat that
    I bet that most of we New Zealanders do not give tinkers cuss about all of this.

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