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Truth about illegal spying dragged out of PM

David Shearer
Labour Leader

9 April 2013

Truth about illegal spying dragged out of PM

John Key’s failure of leadership over our spy agencies has been exposed with his admission today that he was briefed about the potential illegal surveillance of New Zealanders in July last year but took no action, says Labour Leader David Shearer.

“The truth has to be dragged out of John Key these days. He’s claimed for months that he knew nothing about illegal spying until September 2012. Yet he’s now suddenly remembered that he was actually told about concerns two months earlier in July 2012.

“John Key is treating New Zealanders with contempt by being loose with the truth. This is about our national security and people have a right to expect our Prime Minister to take it seriously.

“It also defies belief that at the July briefing Kim Dotcom’s name was not mentioned, given it was the very reason spy chiefs were debating the legality of their surveillance in a broader sense.

“John Key’s oversight of these agencies has been appallingly lax. He knew there were serious questions about illegal spying, yet he just sat back and waited for the GCSB to ‘keep me informed’. This is not good enough. It’s further evidence that his hands-off approach to leadership has gone too far.

“There are also serious questions about why the Kitteridge report does not delve into the Kim Dotcom affair, given it was commissioned in the wake of it. It also doesn’t deal with the issue of accountability given that the Prime Minister has sole democratic oversight of the GCSB. This is a snow job from the Prime Minister to avoid further embarrassment.

“This all adds weight to my call for a thorough independent review of all our intelligence agencies. Public confidence will only be restored when this happens,” said David Shearer.

ENDS

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