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Inquiry into SIS disclosures the right decision

Inquiry into SIS disclosures the right decision

Labour MP Phil Goff says the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security has done the right thing by launching an inquiry into the disclosure of SIS documents about a meeting between himself and the agency’s former director-general.

“This inquiry is necessary for the public to be confident the SIS was not manipulated by the Government to serve its own political purposes.

“Given the seriousness of the allegations in Nicky Hager’s book Dirty Politics, it should be thorough, wide-ranging and completed urgently.

“Questions which must be answered include: whether Cameron Slater was tipped off by National to specifically request a document; why the director general saw fit to release the document immediately; and why preference was given to Cameron Slater’s request ahead of similar requests from the news media.

“Briefings to me as the then Leader of the Opposition were required to be held in confidence. The rules were that no notes were to be taken, no documents held and no one else to be present at the meeting. The long-standing convention was that I make no public comment on what was disclosed.

“John Key himself dismisses requests for comment on matters relating to the SIS with the response that he never comments on security intelligence.

“Therefore questions must also be asked about why John Key brought this case into the public arena, what communication he had directly or indirectly through Jason Ede or other staff with the Whale Oil blogger and what expectations he placed on the director general.

“Journalists and others who regularly make requests under the Official Information Act know how rare it is to receive any documents requested earlier than the statutory 20 working days allowed. What was exceptional about this case?

“These are the questions the Inspector-General will need to find answers to,” Phil Goff says.

ends

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Gordon Campbell:
On First Time Voting (Centre Right)

For the next two days, I’m turning my column over to two guest columnists who are first time voters. I’ve asked them to explain why they were voting, for whom and what role they thought their parental upbringing had played in shaping their political beliefs ; and at the end, to choose a piece of music.

One guest columnist will be from the centre right, one from the centre left. Today’s column is from the centre right – by James Penn:

As someone who likes to consider himself, in admittedly vainglorious fashion, a considered and rational actor, the act of voting for the first time is a somewhat confusing one. I know that my vote has a close to zero chance of actually influencing the outcome of Parliament. The chance I will cast the marginal vote that adds to National or Act’s number of seats in Parliament is miniscule. The chance, even if I did, that doing so would affect the government makes voting on a strictly practical level even more spurious as a worthwhile exercise.

But somehow I have spent a large amount of time (perhaps detrimentally so, depending on the outcome of my upcoming exams) agonising over how to cast my first vote in a national election. More>>

 

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