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Man At Centre Of "Op Leaf" Inquiry Makes Statement

Man At Centre Of Inspector General's Inquiry Issues Statement

Scoop co-editor's note: Gerald Thorns, the senior figure named in Inspector General Justice Neazor's report into claims that the New Zealand SIS had bugged Maori has emailed Scoop a statement, responding to claims he is a "conman" and detailing his background within the New Zealand Labour Party.

His statement includes descriptions of his executive staff roles in the Lange Labour government and prior while Labour was in opposition.

On release of Justice Neazor's report on Monday (April 11), New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark referred to Mr Thorns as one of three "conmen" and went on to say: "The Inspector-General has found no evidence that these people had any connection with the Security Intelligence Service. He does not believe the claim made by Scoop that its source has standing in government and intelligence circles. He says the three people are not credit worthy on this matter."

Scoop here reproduces Gerald Thorns' statement.

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I have known Helen (New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark) personally since 1977 and her husband for longer. Indeed Peter (PM's husband Peter Davis) was one of my supervisors for my first Masters degree, my MA Hons [1st class] thesis. I am not bothered by any personal animosity that Helen Clark may have had for me and if she so wishes to try and demonize me by calling me a "con man" so be it. What, or whom I am supposed to have been conning Heaven knows since I have neither sought nor received any pecuniary gain.

The truth has no special advantage in the world of politics, except that, in the fullness of time, when hurt feelings and fragile emotions return to equilibrium, it sometimes gets re-discovered because it is the truth.

What else do I have to say? Plenty...I could write a book about it.

I was closely associated with the so-called "fish and chip gang" from my early years working as a researcher for Labour dating from February 1977, while Helen was just another "chardonnay socialist" who wasn't even at that point an MP.

I met and talked to them all, including Rob Muldoon, Jack Marshall [who taught me for my Master of Public Policy degree], Norman Kirk, Bill Rowling, Jim Bolger [if you go back to NBR in 1984 you will see an article from me predicting his assuming the Leadership of National and eventually the Prime Ministership] and of course David Lange and Mike Moore...

I have no such illusions and got out of politics because I was sick of the hypocrisy of it all... I associated with the "right wing"... I lost my lucrative PR contracts with the Housing Corporation as soon as Helen became Housing Minister.

It's all very well for Phil's office (New Zealand foreign affairs minister Phil Goff) to say cryptically that "he worked for the Minister of Housing for three years" "never worked for Foreign Affairs"... what is not said is far more important... by 1984 I had already been " on the inside" plotting and planning for almost 8 years... I was a political appointee... not a hack civil servant. [We politicized the civil service and tossed out the riff raff who pretended to be politically neutral].

Phil asked me to be a kind of political advisor {"make sure you tell me if you think I am getting out of touch"}. Years later he called me in Spain when it looked like he was going to lose in Mt Roskill and asked me to come back, other Ministers chose their equivalents.

I traveled widely on a diplomatic passport, I was engaged to help "sell" GST to the union movement, I helped the former Government Statistician [a Labour supporter, obviously] as a personal assistant to do all the calculations to best represent Labour's interests for the Electoral Boundaries Commission and I was a key person running "Data Research" to conduct electorate by electorate polls... A little more than someone who just happened to work in "the Minister's" office for 3 years, many years ago... Yes, I was also the liaison person for the so-called "Labor Attache" at the US Embassy... in other words a CIA spy... I could go on but to no avail... why bother?

Politics is no more, no less than the {skilled} art of impression management... we gain mere fleeting respectability for our ideas and then fade away, in my case voluntarily... Do you really think that this "inquiry" asked the right questions, the right people and drew the right conclusions?

Sure the SIS know who I "was", if not what I am now... they ought to have because they had to send lots of eager beavers around to interview all my friends to make sure that I wasn't gay, financially unstable, or otherwise susceptible to "black mail" since I had access to every level of Cabinet paper at the time on every topic of political concern, not just housing, tourism, environment, or other portfolios in which Phil worked... He may be loath to be drawn on talking about it now... but that doesn't change the truth...

No, nothing more to say at this point, unless you want me to prove as much as possible by feeding all the appropriate questions through someone like Keith Locke... I wonder if they would dare to actually "lie to Parliament" or more likely, fob it all off by saying we have no records on all this.

The truth eventually comes out in the wash.

Best Regards, GT.

ENDS

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MORE:

  • Sunday Star Times Accepts Justice Neazor’s Conclusions

  • PM Slams SIS Maori Bugging Spooks Scoop

  • Scoop Report: Prime Minister’s Post Cabinet Presser April 12

  • Prime Minister - SISIG's Report on Alleged 'Operation Leaf'

  • Full Text - Newspaper Allegations Concerning Activities By The SIS (.pdf format 6.4Mb)

  • Background - Scoop Special Feature: Spooks
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