Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | News Flashes | Scoop Features | Scoop Video | Strange & Bizarre | Search


Watching The Buggers (Part 10 Of 12)

Watching The Buggers (Part 10 Of 12)

by Tim Barcode

A play about the 2004 investigation into allegations of bugging the Maori Party.

This play is being serialised in 12 parts on Scoop. See CLICK HERE for links to all parts of the serial published so far.

Anyone wanting to perform it simply has to ask the writers permission and donate a tenth of the profits of any performances to the Ahmed Zaoui Support Fund

Westpac Queen Street, Auckland,
Account Number: 03 0296 0076601 00
Account Name: Zaoui Support Fund.


  • Coates - a spy? - 30s

  • Paul –waiter? - 60s

  • Forbes – a spy? – 40s

  • Jane – a public servant employed by the Department of Conservation? 30ish.

  • Madonna – front counter worker at Gibson’s Drycleaners in Levin! – 19?

  • Paul – an Inspector General and retired High Court Judge? – 60s
  • The story so far…
    Gordon Coates, the SIS officer who apparently authorises interception warrants has been summoned by the Inspector-General of the SIS to answer questions on the bugging of leaders of the Maori Party.
    From the Huka Lodge, to a train shelter in Masterton, and a Levin drycleaners a mystery man called George Forbes has pursued Coates.

    The waiter at the Huka Lodge, Paul claims to be none other than Justice Paul Neazor, the SIS Inspector-General and owner of the Levin Drycleaners,a front for the investigation. Hon. Neazor is now interviewing Coates on what he knows while ‘Forbes’ hides and listens to the evidence.

    There is no sign yet in Levin of the DoC worker Jane who took a strong liking to Coates in the Masterton train shelter.


    Forbes, still hiding from the audience, looks pissed off.

    Paul: . . . . My witness. So Mr Coates. I put it to you that the accounts receivable team leader is a chap called Dunn.

    Coates: . . . . You shouldn’t have told me that.

    Paul: . . . . Oh yes sorry. I’ll investigate that breach of security later; once I’ve determined some secret terms of reference.

    Coates: . . . . So who is he?

    Paul: . . . . What Forbes? You don’t know?

    Coates: . . . . No sir.

    Paul: . . . . And you left him in the bar drinking?

    Coates: . . . . Yes.

    Paul: . . . . Sounds like a journalist. He’s not Nicky Hager?

    Coates: . . . . No. Not even in a fat suit, a wig, and a business suit could make Nicky Hager look like that.

    Paul: . . . . Three years as an MP could.

    Coates: . . . . Is Forbes Government Communications Security – GCSB? Or Military intelligence?

    Paul: . . . . We have to push on. Silence in the Court!

    Coates: . . . . Yes sir.

    Paul: . . . . We’ll come back to Forbes. Now I need to remind you you’re under oath.

    Coates: . . . . I’m not.

    Paul: . . . . Clerk!

    Coates: . . . . You haven’t got me to take an oath.

    Paul: . . . . Where’s the clerk of the court gone? All right you can take an oath. It’s in the act.

    Coates: . . . . I know sir.

    Paul: . . . . Bible or oath?

    Coates: . . . . Bible.

    Paul: . . . . ( rummaging around for bible) Not Destiny Church are you?

    Coates: . . . . No.

    Paul: . . . . The bad news is Drycleaners don’t routinely stock Bibles so you’ll have to swear on this.
    Paul hands Coates a book.

    Coates: . . . . Well given the nature of this enquiry it’s appropriate.

    Paul: . . . . What.

    Coates: . . . . It’s a stain removal guide.

    Paul: . . . . Place your hand on the book.
    Coates does.
    . . . . Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help you God?

    Coates: . . . . I do.
    Forbes is now scribbling notes as he hears the discussion.

    Paul: . . . . Mr Coates would you state your full name.

    Coates: . . . . Joseph Gordon Coates.

    Paul: . . . . Occupation?

    Coates: . . . . I can’t confirm anything.

    Paul: . . . . Mr Coates the proceedings of this inquiry are held in private. Your occupation.

    Coates: . . . . I’m an agent with the Security Intelligence Service of New Zealand. But everyone who knows me calls me Gordon the spy.

    Paul: . . . . I understand you are the SIS officer who manages the interception warrants once they are authorised by a judge. You also monitor the warrants to ensure they stay in place for the length of time that is authorised, and then ensure any interceptions and equipment used for interceptions are terminated.

    Coates: . . . . I can’t confirm that.

    Paul: . . . . Excellent.

    Coates: . . . . Are you taking notes?

    Paul: . . . . None of the proceedings of this inquiry can be released… And do you remember at any time an application for any warrants or actioning any warrants in 2003 or 2004 that covered any leaders of the Maori Party? This could include Tariana Turia or Pita Sharples.

    Coates: . . . . I can’t confirm that.

    Paul: . . . . No further questions.
    Forbes can stand this no longer and springs up.

    Forbes: . . . . So Mr Coates.

    Coates: . . . . ( stands up) You!

    Paul: . . . . Sit down!

    Forbes: . . . . Thank you your honour.
    Forbes puts on a dressing gown from one of the racks of clothes. Paul stands behind the counter and presides over his court.

    Coates: . . . . But your worship!

    Paul: . . . . Any more outbursts from the witness and I’ll have the court cleared.

    Forbes: . . . . Now Mr Coates… by your own admission you organise all the SIS’s bugging?

    Coates: . . . . Do I have to….

    Paul: . . . . The defendant will answer the question.

    Coates: . . . . Defendant?

    Paul: . . . . Silence.

    Forbes: . . . . Thank you M’Lud. So Mr Coates by your own admission you’re the Government’s chief bugger?

    Coates: . . . . Yes, No… I can’t answer that.

    Forbes: . . . . And do you deny there were warrants issued on Maori Party leaders?

    Coates: . . . . I can’t say.

    Forbes: . . . . I remind the defendant you are under oath.

    Coates: . . . . I honestly can’t say.

    Forbes: . . . . I put it to you – you have seen such warrants!

    Coates: . . . . I can’t say.

    Forbes: . . . . Your honour I put it too you that the defendant simply replying to every question learned Council gives him that he ‘can’t say’ makes a mockery of this drycleaners and, may I suggest, your honour, your authority.

    Paul: . . . . Sustained. The defendant won’t say ‘I can’t say’ again.

    Forbes: . . . . Thank you your worship. Mr Coates have the leaders of the New Zealand Maori party been bugged or in any other way the subject of interception warrants by the Security Intelligence Service?
    The door opens and someone walks in with some drycleaning. The person looks at the scene in front of them and then walks over to Paul behind the counter and hands him the drycleaning.
    Paul writes a docket.

    Paul: . . . . Tuesday okay?
    Person nods.
    Paul hands him the receipt.

    . . . . It’ll be ready by midday.
    Person leaves via the main door.

    (Continuing tomorrow…)

    See for links to all parts of the serial published so far.

    © Scoop Media

    Top Scoops Headlines


    Werewolf: Living With Rio’s Olympic Ruins

    Mariana Cavalcanti Critics of the Olympic project can point a discernible pattern in the delivery of Olympics-related urban interventions: the belated but rushed inaugurations of faulty and/or unfinished infrastructures... More>>

    Live Blog On Now: Open Source//Open Society Conference

    The second annual Open Source Open Society Conference is a 2 day event taking place on 22-23 August 2016 at Michael Fowler Centre in Wellington… Scoop is hosting a live blog summarising the key points of this exciting conference. More>>



    Gordon Campbell: On The Politicising Of The War On Drugs In Sport

    It hasn’t been much fun at all to see how “war on drugs in sport” has become a proxy version of the Cold War, fixated on Russia. This weekend’s banning of the Russian long jumper Darya Klishina took that fixation to fresh extremes. More>>


    Binoy Kampmark: Kevin Rudd’s Failed UN Secretary General Bid

    Few sights are sadder in international diplomacy than seeing an aging figure desperate for honours. In a desperate effort to net them, he scurries around, cultivating, prodding, wishing to be noted. Finally, such an honour is netted, in all likelihood just to shut that overly keen individual up. More>>

    Open Source / Open Society: The Scoop Foundation - An Open Model For NZ Media

    Access to accurate, relevant and timely information is a crucial aspect of an open and transparent society. However, in our digital society information is in a state of flux with every aspect of its creation, delivery and consumption undergoing profound redefinition... More>>

    Keeping Out The Vote: Gordon Campbell On The US Elections

    I’ll focus here on just two ways that dis-enfranchisement is currently occurring in the US: (a) by the rigging of the boundary lines for voter districts and (b) by demanding elaborate photo IDs before people are allowed to cast their vote. More>>

    Ramzy Baroud: Being Black Palestinian - Solidarity As A Welcome Pathology

    It should come as no surprise that the loudest international solidarity that accompanied the continued spate of the killing of Black Americans comes from Palestine; that books have already been written and published by Palestinians about the plight of their Black brethren. In fact, that solidarity is mutual. More>>


    Get More From Scoop

    Top Scoops
    Search Scoop  
    Powered by Vodafone
    NZ independent news