Step Aside From GCSB And SSC for Judicial Inquiry
Rt Hon Winston Peters
New Zealand First Leader
5 April 2013
Step Aside From GCSB And SSC for Judicial Inquiry Urges Peters
New Zealand First has called on the Prime Minister to step aside as Minister responsible for the Government Communications Security Bureau while an independent inquiry is held into the appointment of Ian Fletcher and John Key’s role in the process.
Rt Hon Winston Peters has also demanded that State Services Commissioner Iain Rennie step aside on the issue of Mr Fletcher’s appointment so the inquiry can find out why he failed to uphold a proper independent process for selecting a suitable candidate for the country’s top security job.
Mr Peters says Deputy Prime Minister Bill English should immediately act as the Minister responsible, and a top civil servant should be appointed to manage the State Services Commission’s (SSC) responsibilities in this matter.
“Mr Key claimed that a ‘change manager’ was required back in May 2011. Nowhere in the advertisements for a new Head of the GCSB is that specified.
“Why would it be when the Kim Dotcom matter had not broken at that particular time?
SSC head Rennie claims that the appointment occurred under a ‘well constituted board’ and further that there ‘was a comprehensive selection process’.
“Both claims are fallacious. The Chief Executive of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet Maarten Wevers chaired the board.
“The selection process interviewed only one person but we know of two who were not interviewed and there were at least half a dozen qualified candidates in Wellington who were never approached.
“We know of one candidate who was told ‘we have already selected the candidate’.”
Mr Peters says morale at the GCSB has never been lower.
“The head of the GCSB holds an extremely sensitive position dealing not only with threats to New Zealand’s security but also threats to our allies.
“There are many highly sensitive areas and managing them requires expert and knowledgeable leadership. You simply cannot appoint an old mate with a nudge, nudge, wink, wink approach.
“It is clear from the information becoming available that there are serious discrepancies in statements from the Prime Minister and the State Services Commissioner.
Mr Peters says the GCSB’s mission is to identify security threats to New Zealand and its allies.
“Unfortunately there are those that suspect that the biggest threats are the Prime Minister and the State Services Commissioner and their respective roles in this appointment matter should be immediately scrutinised by an independent senior judge.
“The Prime Minister had a right to choose the candidate in this appointment but he has no right to pervert the process by which suitable candidates contend for the position.