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PM’s word on illegal spying can’t be trusted

Labour Leader

PM’s word on illegal spying can’t be trusted

New Zealanders are losing trust in John Key’s word after revelations he knew Kiwis may have been illegally spied on but failed to put a stop to it and covered it up for months, says Labour Leader David Shearer.

“In his own press statement, John Key revealed that he was told about a ‘potential issue’ relating to legality in July last year. At the time, he shrugged it off and told his chief spy to just ‘keep me informed’.

“What he should have done was immediately shut down the spying until the legal position was crystal clear. The fact he did not do that is a dereliction of duty.

“The Prime Minister has sole democratic oversight of our spy agencies. He is responsible for protecting New Zealanders’ right to freedom and privacy. He has let them down.

“Bill English’s excuse today for John Key’s behaviour was that while there were red flags, the spies were confident they hadn’t broken the law. But that doesn’t make sense. If it was okay to keep snooping, why did they suddenly suspend operations in September when in the Prime Minister’s own words the issue of legality was still ‘unresolved’?

“The Prime Minister only acted when the political heat went on over the Kim Dotcom debacle. He has failed to be upfront with New Zealanders. He knew about the illegal spying concerns for nine months but only told the truth about it yesterday. He covered it up and is now trying to do a snow job on New Zealanders by ramming through legislation to allow GCSB to conduct the same questionable spying in future.

“A quick fix band aid approach won’t work. It won’t restore New Zealanders’ confidence in our spy agencies. A thorough independent review of all our intelligence agencies is necessary before any reform takes place,” said David Shearer.


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