Peter Dunne used to be opposed to the GCSB spying on New Zealanders:
The GCSB should not spy on New Zealanders ”under any circumstances”, Dunne said.
Such comments were widely reported, e.g. by RNZ:
Mr Dunne says the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) should not be able to spy on New Zealanders, even on behalf of police or the Security Intelligence Service.
Dunne’s claims were specific, definite, and completely meaningless, because he is now going to vote for the GCSB to be able to spy on New Zealanders. Peter Dunne has made himself a hypocrite and a liar. His behaviour is getting the savaging it deserves. From Andrea Vance (ouch!):
Dunne turnaround on spy bill
To the surprise of absolutely no-one, Peter Dunne performed a U-turn on his flip-flop and agreed to support the expansion of the GCSB’s powers to spy on New Zealanders.
None of the concessions he claimed to have won on the proposed Government Communications Security Bureau and Related Legislation Amendment Bill, address his repeated assertion that only the domestic Security Intelligence Service should be allowed to spy on Kiwis.
…In the long term, his support for the bill, may only cement the view that he is prepared to trade principles for pragmatics to secure his political future. With that in mind, pundits will watch keenly for any signals of electoral accommodations by National in Dunne’s Ohariu electorate next year.
From Gordon Campbell:
Gordon Campbell on Peter Dunne’s illusory gains on GCSB Bill
In a week that will see nationwide protests against the GCSB, the politics of the passage of the agency’s governing legislation remain as polarized as ever. Now that Peter Dunne has re-assumed his usual posture as the government’s reliable footstool, this has given Prime Minister John Key the one vote majority he needs to get the spy agency’s new legislation through Parliament. The changes that Dunne has won as a pre-condition of his support could hardly be more token – apparently there will be warranted provision for such surveillance activities (always a rigorous process, right?) after-the-fact annual statistics on its spying actions, and an “independent” review of the legislation in 2015, and every five years or so thereafter. A review appointed by government, naturellement. Oh, and such things as medical records will apparently be exempt from the GCSB’s surveillance – unless of course, the needs of national security require otherwise.
Talk about a missed opportunity. Dunne could have demanded a coherent rationale for why the GCSB needs to be empowered to spy on all New Zealanders. Yet from asset sales to spying, Dunne has never been in the business of holding the government to account. In this case, almost all the gains by Dunne are retrospective in nature, even though they relate to forms of mass surveillance that infringe on the rights to privacy and the presumption of innocence that should exempt ordinary citizens and their phone, email and Internet activities from the attentions of the security services. In the light of such extensions of state power, Dunne’s gains look entirely cosmetic.
So – why did Dunne sell out? What was his price? 3 News asks…
The Government gets Mr Dunne’s vote, which will allow them to pass the bill. But what does Mr Dunne get, exactly? Campbell Live wanted to ask him today, but he was too busy doing whatever he does to be interviewed. So reporter Rebecca Wright looked at the press conference he gave yesterday in search of an explanation. ….
Despite a lot of amusing 007 imagery, 3 News does not succeed in answering its own question. One possible answer is proposed in a piece in the NBR:
Cynics will also wonder Mr Dunne’s email exchange with reporter Andrea Vance around the time of the Kitteridge Report leak is now less likely to see the light of day.
A “featured comment” reaches the same conclusion as Vance (already quoted above):
“Call me a cynic, but I suspect we’ll see the trade off for our privacy is a deal in the next election: it’s the only way Dunne will get back in.”
Another electoral deal (like John “teapot” Banks) does seem most likely. But whatever it was he got, Peter Dunne sold out the rest of us to get it.