Vance asks the right questions on Key cronyism

Written By: - Date published: 8:07 am, April 4th, 2013 - 64 comments
Categories: corruption, john key, Spying - Tags:

Key’s adopted what Andrea Vance labels his “so what demeanour” as he tries to shrug off his highly irregular and inappropriate role in the selection of Ian Fletcher to head the GCSB. But whether or not Key was too involved in getting his mate a job is only the first round of this – the next calls into question the reliability of both Key and Fletcher’s account of the Dotcom saga.

Here’s Vance:

Mr Key is expecting the public to swallow another brain-fade in the epic Kim Dotcom chronicle. He couldn’t recall a briefing on Dotcom in February last year.

Now – even under scrutiny from the Opposition and journalists – we must accept that he “forgot” he called a childhood friend to suggest he apply to lead New Zealand’s foreign spy agency.

In light of this latest revelation, can we still be confident in the assertions that Mr Fletcher – only in the job a matter of weeks – also forgot Dotcom was raised at the February 22 briefing?

One of his first jobs was to attend a joint police-GCSB debrief on the raid on February 16. It’s hard to fathom why he wouldn’t be keen to play up that perceived success to his new boss.

And would any rookie not feel it prudent, or at least cautious, to alert the prime minister to the potential illegality of the GCSB’s work on the Dotcom raid which was, after all, making headlines around the world?

Mr Key has been forced to repeatedly insist he told the truth about the Dotcom case. But with every episode like this, his denials appear less plausible.

64 comments on “Vance asks the right questions on Key cronyism”

  1. ghostwhowalksnz 1

    Forgetful ?

    More like he isnt up to the job. let alone what he was doing playing recruitment headhunter.

    My guess is that is the part of the job Key likes, lining up jobs for his mates

  2. Kim Dotcom, the gift that keeps on giving …

  3. LynWiper 3

    One ‘shrug off” too many? The final shrug?

  4. Craig Glen viper 4

    What it makes me wonder is just how long the political Journalist will go on protecting John Key when he is obviously telling lies. Key’s list of brain fades is as bad as many Alzheimer’s patient’s I have ever assessed. Oh and before anyone says what about Mr Shearers brain fade with a certain bank account let me be clear I think that is total bullshit as well and is quite frankly not good enough.

    It concerns me greatly that we expect/accept such low standards from these so called leaders. This National Government reeks of deals for your mates, its time we had a clean out in Parliament on both sides of the house.

  5. triicldrown 5

    PinoKeyo’s lies don’t pass the sniff test!
    You tell a lie you have keep telling bigger lies to cover the original lie!
    Key has painted himself into a corner on many fronts!
    A new ERA in accountability no golden hand shakes Elder and longstone!
    Asset sales the wheels are not going to be economically viable not that they were in the first place especially as Niwa and even bungling blinglish have said drought will be the new norm!

  6. karol 6

    I have struggled to find the words to exactly describe Key’s slippery manner when he’s confronted with legitimate criticisms. Vance nails it with far fewer words than I ever used.

    The “so what demeanour”! Exactly!

    • wyndham 6.1

      Karol.

      Another simple word is “arrogance”. It is a quality that has seen the downfall of many persons far better than Key.

      • karol 6.1.1

        It’s not just arrogance, it involves a slipperiness. And Vance’s nailing of his demeanour shows she’s one MSM jounro that is not taken in by his conman style. In another article today, Vance also identifies inconsistencies in the Team key statements and non-statements. Some of the things in her article:

        Despite his insistence that he had seen Mr Fletcher for just two business breakfasts and a lunch, Mr Key said: “I know his number.”…

        He also rejected the suggestion that the director of GCSB should come from an intelligence or military background. Former GCSB head Sir Bruce Ferguson said the standard process of appointment was not run as normal.

        He said he was aware of one of the candidates, who was “eminently suitable” for the job. Sir Bruce, also a former Defence Force chief, headed the bureau for four years but his term of appointment was not continued by the Government in 2011.

        Last week, Mr Rennie put out a media statement to provide “further detail” on the appointment process. The statement made no mention of Mr Key’s involvement.

        But Mr Rennie’s office could not provide answers to questions last night. Mr Key denied he had asked Mr Rennie to release the statement.

        Interesting about the discontinuing of Ferguson in 2011 as GCSB Head. This was followed by the Key-favoured appointments: first Mateparae who was quickly moved on to governm=or general, and then replaced by Fletcher.

        Last night I was looking unsucessfully for an update on Rennie’s statement of 28 March, which strategically omits crucial details of the appointment process.

        Rennie has, in fact, released a statement last night (though I can’t see it on the SSC website). I still don’t see any increase in the amount of details he is providing beyond saying the process was all good.

        he omits to deal with a significant revelation by Ferguson: that at least one of the shortlisted candidates knew they had been shortlisted, and then was told s/he wouldn’t be called to interview because someone had already been chosen.

        Sir Bruce told Campbell Live last night he believed Mr Fletcher did not go through the same selection process as he and previous heads had.
        He says he knew of one of the people who was shortlisted for the job by the State Services Commission, but “then at the 11th hour was told ‘don’t come to an interview, we’ve already selected a candidate'”

        • Blue 6.1.1.1

          Don’t give Vance too much credit. She’s also been responsible for some of the fluffiest pro-Key bullshit going.

          • freedom 6.1.1.1.1

            put it this way Blue

            should not every warmonger be made welcome at the peace table

            • karol 6.1.1.1.1.1

              Agreed. And several are questioning Key’s integrity as it has become hard to deny his slipperiness over the Fletcher issue.

              John Armstrong says Key’s body language contradicts what he said.

              Claire Trevett says key is highly skilled in the science of obfuscation.

    • geoff 6.2

      It’s that glazed look he gets when he knows he’s been caught out. He sort of looks like he’s slightly drunk, others on here have described it as the ‘hooded eye’ look. I like to think that during those moments he’s transporting himself to Planet Key, where they never have troubles, at least very few… (apologies to Dr Suess)

    • triicldrown 6.3

      Con Mankey

    • emergency mike 6.4

      It’s been referred to here as ‘Tranzrail eyes’ for some time, I also like the ‘not bovvered shrug’. But the ‘so what demeanour’ is good. Key is trying to imply that A) there’s nothing to see here, B) he’s the big man so if he’s not bovvered about it then you shouldn’t be either C) its all a media/Labour/Greens beat up (playing the victim).

      In saying ‘so what’ he also knows that most of the dumbed down public are too cognitively lazy to actually come up with any meaningful inference themselves. John Key knows his audience.

  7. quartz 7

    When Key did his stand-up on this yesterday he made the same nervous high-pitched noise that he made when he was trying to explain how he couldn’t remember what side he was on during the ’81 tour.

    • geoff 7.1

      Hah! Yes that was hilarious, I think it was good old Brent Edwards of RNZ with the question that prompted that from Key.

      Somebody needs to make a montage of all those moments.

  8. karol 8

    Paul Buchanan was interviewed on RNZ this morning. He says the appointment of Fletcher doesn’t pass the sniff test.

    He says the spy chief doesn’t need to be a military person but it is better if they have an operational background in signals intelligence. He says the summary dismissal of the shortlist, no doubt drawn up for a considerable amount of money, is odd. He thinks the shortlist would have been very suitable for the job as far as intelligence operational matters and experience goes, but must have been rejected for some other reason. Buchanan would like to know why. It does signal a shift towards more of a focus on business matters.

    Buchanan also makes connections with the Dotcom case; says Fletcher would not have had the practical and intelligence background to know that surveillance of Dotcom was illegal; Fletcher as appointed before the Dotcom case hit the headlines; it would be highly likely that Fletcher was briefed on the Dotcom case months before Dotcom was arrested.

    Sometimes I just can’t get the embedding of links to work, even with several efforts:
    http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/morningreport/audio/2550983/'economics-of-spying'-could-be-clue-to-gcsb-appointment.asx

    • geoff 8.1

      Karol, I’ve always found that you just paste in the link to the mp3 file for RNZ audio. Let’s see if it works for me…

      [audio src="http://podcast.radionz.co.nz/mnr/mnr-20130404-0809-economics_of_spying_could_be_clue_to_gcsb_appointment-048.mp3" /]

      • Ben 8.1.1

        Very interesting interview, essential listening.

      • Anne 8.1.2

        geoff: Can you explain in layman’s language exactly what you did to get that link?

        • geoff 8.1.2.1

          Sure.
          1. Navigated to this page: http://www.radionz.co.nz/national.
          2. Clicked on morning report from the ‘TODAY ON NATIONAL’ scroll box.
          3. Scrolled down to ”economics of spying’ could be clue to GCSB appointment’.
          4. Right clicked on the link to the MP3 file underneath it.
          5. Clicked on ‘copy link location’ in the menu that pops up (I use firefox, if you use a different browser your menu may differ slightly)
          6. Pasted the link into my Standard post.

          hope that helps.

        • Draco T Bastard 8.1.2.2

          Find the actual program page, then ignore the bloody stupid Play (Windows) link and copy the Play (Other) (right click on the link and choose Copy Link) and then just paste it:-

          [audio src="http://podcast.radionz.co.nz/mnr/mnr-20130404-0809-economics_of_spying_could_be_clue_to_gcsb_appointment-048.mp3" /]

          [lprent: And there are some other tricks with MP3’s as well. I keep meaning to document some of them, but never do. ]

          • geoff 8.1.2.2.1

            Yup, the ‘play other’ link is a link to the MP3 file. As long as what you have is a link to an MP3 file then you should be good to go, The Standard should do the rest.

            • Anne 8.1.2.2.1.1

              [audio src="http://podcast.radionz.co.nz/mnr/mnr-20130404-0809-economics_of_spying_could_be_clue_to_gcsb_appointment-048.mp3" /]

    • freedom 8.2

      you are not alone karol,
      I regularly get errant commas apostrophes and spaces appearing, even when doing a straight copy-paste from FAQ and not being a coding person i get bored/frustrated/homicidal remembering exactly what to remove and what to keep and thus drop basic links instead.

      This in no way is a criticism of the site, purely an expression of camaraderie to those who understand that computers, as much as we love them, are sometimes difficult

  9. prism 9

    The interview with Paul Buchanan was illuminating and he was direct in his opinions. Quite a difference from listening to pollies.

    To get a rounded picture on this don’t miss reading karol’s piece from yesterday – The CV of a spy boss.

  10. ianmac 10

    Does anyone else note the connection between Key’s “funny”answers to questions in the House, the protection given him by the Speaker in spite of Opposition protests, and the difficulty Key finds himself in as he fluffs reporters questions?
    (Note by the way Adam Bennet’s column in the Herald and John Armstrong’s.)

    • freedom 10.1

      “Key’s “funny”answers to questions in the House”

      Various people have talked of ‘missions’ Standardistas can engage in to re-activate political awareness in New Zealand, here is a simple one.

      Encourage your friends and families and enemies and that guy across the street with the interesting hat, encourage all of them to watch Question Time in the House. If we can successfully motivate people to sit and watch the behaviour of John Key [et al] in the House, the reaction will be consistent and damning regardless of their political persuasions. The last decade has seen an obvious slide into buffoonery on far too many occasions and with an increasing regularity.

      Exposing the reality of the circus is essential to mitigate the cost to Democracy and re-educate the Representatives of the People that they are there to do a damn serious job and they need to pull their collective heads in.

    • ianmac 10.2

      And Claire Trevett in the Herald.

  11. Jono 11

    I note Ian Rennie’s statement reported this morning that Fletcher was employed as a “change-manager” ie restructuring, redundancies, outsourcing, loss of institutional memory, low morale, blah blah blah Same shit, different department!

    • geoff 11.1

      Yeah this is what I was driving at when responding to one of Karol’s comments yesterday. I don’t think GCSB morale will be low just because of the dotcom case, I think there will be a feeling that some of them could lose their jobs.

  12. prism 12

    I despise ‘change managers’ as they have been utilised since 1984. They seem to be just mechanical brooms sweeping all before, as Jono noted.

    They get paid quite high salaries to do this and are in effect foreign mercenaries. They can be foreign even if in their own country because they are foreign to the ethos built up. Objectivity, analysis and a bigger vision are the advantages an organisation can get with a new manager, but ‘change managers’ it seems are totally laxative.

  13. SpaceMonkey 13

    John Key… “do you even lift?”

  14. North 14

    Thanks to the people on TS who have closely followed and reported every inch of this extraordinary moving feast.

    Makes the reflexive Key apologists like Chris73 and a few others look bloody ridiculous actually.

    Ha ! Shonkey Donkey Deep !

  15. Penny Bright 15

    .http://www.nbr.co.nz/article/rennie-defends-fletchers-appointment-gcsb-director-ck-138073#comment-612751

    Where is the WRITTEN RECORD of these significant affairs of State?

    Where are the diary notes /memos/ MINUTES – the ‘full and accurate records’ that are required by statute under the Public Records Act 2005, so that we do not have to rely upon the proven unreliable memory of ‘shonky’ John Key?

    How is this a proper way to run a country?

    Penny Bright
    ‘Anti-corruption campaigner’
    2013 Auckland Mayoral candidate.

    • infused 15.1

      Paid your rates yet Penny?

      • felix 15.1.1

        Penny’s non-payment of rates is to make a political point, in public, a perfectly valid form of protest for which she risks prosecution and other sanctions against her.

        Your comment is meant to imply that she isn’t paying because she’s shifty, dishonest or self-serving.

        It says far more about you than it does about her.

        • infused 15.1.1.1

          You’ve read far too much in to my simple question.

          • felix 15.1.1.1.1

            No, I’ve read into it exactly what you intended to imply but were too cowardly or inarticulate to say.

      • trickldrown 15.1.2

        pathetic confused at least your the only ring wing idiot to put your head up but take it out of your rs first

  16. veutoviper 16

    Gordon Campbell’s excellent post on Scoop is well worth reading – both for his take on the appointment process; and his amusing linking of the bird flu scare in Beigjing to Key’s departure to China tomorrow night for 8+ days!

    http://gordoncampbell.scoop.co.nz/2013/04/04/gordon-campbell-on-the-gcsb-appointment-and-bird-flu-scares-in-beijing/

  17. The bigger picture is that this is not about Key, his brainfade, or his school mates.
    Cronyism is only the appearance for what is an underlying concentration of power in the Executive.
    The NACTs are concentrating political power so they can drive through their rip, shit, bust agenda to maximise their profits as their whole system is in danger of crashing.
    The NACTs are no more than an agency for US control and Key an ‘asset’ of the US executive.
    We have seen parliament reduced to a powerless charade while the executive drives thru new laws and regulations to rip out resources willy nilly. Canterbury, CERA, RMA etc.
    The bureaucracy has been beheaded and political appointees put in to fast track privatisation in education, health, energy, transport etc etc. Ministers now run the bureaucracy directly.
    When ministry heads don’t play the game they are removed with big handshakes.
    Dotcom has brought a lot of this to the light of day and it remains to be seen if the Supreme Court is capable of resisting politicisation by hearing a Dotcom appeal.
    My pick is if the Supreme court does come down against Dotcom’s extradition it will be trumped by a rapid signing of the TPPA that shifts intellectual property sideways into an extra-judiciary tribunal of the big monopolies.

  18. karol 19

    Now Rennie is departing slightly from key’s line and saying it is normal for the PM/minister to vet the shortlist.
    Claire Trevett reports:

    He said all short listed candidates knew there was a chance they might not make the interview process and that the Prime Minister would have some input.

    “Those who were shortlisted were told the PM had considered their applications and they were declined at that point.”

    He had offered advice to the Prime Minister on that short list, saying he did not believe they were best placed to take the role given the changes that were needed at GCSB at the time.

    • ianmac 19.1

      Yes Karol. Mr Rennie seemed to be saying “Those who were shortlisted were told the PM had considered their applications and they were declined at that point.”

      And that means the story has shifted significantly – again. Because Mr Key has been saying that it was Mr Rennie who turned down the short list but Mr Rennie is saying that it was Mr Key who did so.

      And surprise, Mr Key’s choice got the job. Huh???

  19. ianmac 20

    NRT has an interesting post up explaining just how the Appointments are supposed to work under the the State Sector Act. He comments on Mr Rennie’s statement given to the press today. NRT is a very interesting read as usual.

    http://norightturn.blogspot.co.nz/2013/04/not-ok.html

  20. peterlepaysan 21

    Key is an American working to wall street and Washington rules.

    I cannot wait until we become another state of the USA. Yeah right.

  21. Lloyd 22

    Why doesn’t Key support his real principles and bring in a Bill abolishing the Queen and replacing her with the US President?

    • Draco T Bastard 22.1

      Because I suspect you’ll find that Key doesn’t support the US presidency. What he supports and represents is Big Money.

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    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Visit to advance trade agenda with Europe and the Commonwealth
    Minister for Trade and Export Growth David Parker leaves tomorrow for Dubai, London and Berlin for a series of meetings to advance New Zealand’s trade interests.  In Dubai he will visit New Zealand’s Pavilion at Expo 2020 where construction is underway.  There he will meet Minister of State for International Cooperation, Her ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • More cancer drugs confirmed – even more on horizon
    Confirmation that PHARMAC will fund two new cancer drugs is further evidence of the good progress the Government is making to improve the treatment of New Zealand’s leading cause of death, Health Minister David Clark says. From 1 December PHARMAC will fund alectinib (Alecensa) for ALK positive advanced non-small cell ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Boost for women in high performance sport
    An additional $2.7 million has been announced for the Government Strategy for Women and Girls in Sport and Active Recreation on the first anniversary of the strategy’s launch. Sport and Recreation Minister Grant Robertson gave the opening address to the first Sport NZ Women + Girls Summit in Wellington today, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Parent support to help retain skilled migrants
    As part of its work to ensure businesses can get the skilled workers they need, the Coalition Government is re-opening and re-setting the Parent Category visa programme, Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway says. The move will: support skilled migrants who help fill New Zealand’s skills gaps by providing a pathway for ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Senior NZDF Officer to lead Peacekeeping Mission in the Sinai Peninsula, Egypt
    Minister of Defence Ron Mark has today announced Major General Evan Williams of the New Zealand Defence Force has been selected as the commander of a significant, longstanding peacekeeping mission in the Middle East. In December, Major General Williams takes over as Force Commander for the Multinational Force and Observers ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Nurses star as Govt rebuilds health workforces
    A record number of nurses are now working to deliver health services to New Zealanders as the Government’s increased funding and new initiatives rebuild key workforces start to show results, Health Minister Dr David Clark says. •    1458 more DHB nurses since the Government took office •    106 more midwives ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New agricultural trade envoy appointed
    Farmer and former Nuffield scholar Mel Poulton has been appointed New Zealand’s Special Agricultural Trade Envoy, Minister for Trade and Export Growth, David Parker, and Minister of Agriculture, Damien O’Connor, announced today. The position supports key Government objectives, including raising the value of New Zealand agricultural goods and services. Mel is ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Pacific and Māori voyaging heritage celebrated for Tuia 250
    New Zealand’s Pacific and Māori voyaging heritage is acknowledged and celebrated today as waka of the Tuia 250 voyage flotilla arrive in Tūranga / Gisborne. “Today we celebrate Tangata Whenua, the first people of Aotearoa, and the triumphs of the voyaging tradition that brought our ancestors here from Polynesia 1000 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Pacific languages are a root from which prosperity will grow
    “Fijian Language Week starts on Sunday and the theme reminds us how important it is that we each have something to anchor ourselves to, something that can help us pause and feel in control in a rapidly changing world,” says Minister for Pacific Peoples Aupito William Sio. “Family, culture, faith, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • NZ Government establishes innovative, industry-focused Airspace Integration Trials Programme
    The Government is establishing an Airspace Integration Trials Programme to support the safe testing and development of advanced unmanned aircraft and accelerate their integration into the aviation system, Research, Science and Innovation Minister Megan Woods announced today. The Government will work with leading, innovative aviation industry partners to test and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago