Red Alert

“Arguably” Bulls**t

Posted by on May 22nd, 2013

Apparently, according to a six line news brief on page seven of the New Zealand Herald today, the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security’s report into the possible unlawful spying on New Zealanders has cleared the GCSB of any illegality. That’s it, nothing to see here, move on everyone.

Except that the New Zealand Herald would have to be clairvoyant to actually make that claim, because John Key has decided that the report will not be released because its not in “New Zealand’s interest” to do so. Instead we must rely on a media release from Ian Fletcher the Director of the GCSB, who tells us that Paul Neazor has found that the actions of the GCSB were “arguably” legal. Presuambly this means they were arguably illegal as well?

The Inspector=General is meant to be our watchdog on these agencies. Frankly I couldn’t care less what John Key’s family friend thinks about the report. New Zealanders deserve to see it. It must be made public if there is any hope for New Zealanders to regain a shred of confidence in our intelligence agencies. That must be followed by a full inquiry into our intelligence agencies.

The lack of transparency around this government is now reaching crisis levels. Denying Parliament access to information about the legal consequences of the mean spirited carers legislation and the legislating away of rights of appeal, missing BORA reports and Regualtory Imapcts are the new normal under National.

Bear in mind that the Office of the Ombudsmen, the agency charged with dealing with complaints about government actions, has a backlog of thousands of cases, and is actually investigating a number of government agencies about their non-compliance with the Official Information Act. That is how bad things have gotten under National.

This government is riding roughshod over our constitutional norms and practices of good governance. This cuts to the heart of our system of democratic government. It might not rate as a nightly news story, and for people struggling to make ends meet it will be at the bottom of their list of problems. But it does matter, because transparency of government is at the heart of the social contract of our liberal democracy. Without it, government loses legitimacy. They must not, and will not, get away with this.

5 Responses to ““Arguably” Bulls**t”

  1. rob says:

    So true. The moon is ‘arguably’ cheese and the Prime Minister ‘arguably’ a Vogon.
    The only time a court got near ruling on the legality of GCSB spying on NZers or NZ residents- the Kim Dotcom case – they didn’t have much trouble saying it was illegal.
    I bet Mr Key thinks that ruling- like the ruling on paying family-carers- is “not in NZ’s interest.”
    Trouble is, Key is hardly a ‘disinterested’ party. That’s the role of the courts. Or at least its meant to be. He’s probably dreaming up legislation that will ‘fix’ that too…

  2. Rich says:

    Might Labour do some of the things it shied away from last time if re-elected?

    Like making BORA supreme law rather than an increasingly pathetic joke?
    Or requiring a supermajority in the house for urgency?
    Or setting up a proper regulator for intelligence agencies with power to enquire and prosecute?

  3. bbfloyd says:

    Would it be credible to assume that the raiding party has an agenda which, if the true consequences were understood, would see them rendered unelectable?

    And, if that is the case, is the overloading of every watchdog agency with work, and cutting their funding at the same time, simply part of the plan to stop the knowledge from getting out before the damage can be done?

    We can safely assume the “fourth estate” will go out of it’s way to cover for the raiding party… The sheer volume of syncophantic drivel the “tv journalists”(oxymoron) are babbling at present, combined with pointedly political articles appearing in the fairfax newspapers, tells me there is a concerted effort being made to protect johnny sparkles from any responsibility…

    I can smell the fear..Fran O’sullivan has gone into “election” mode already…

    The real question should be, are they going to succeed in wrecking nearly a century of progress toward egalitarian democracy,before the rug gets pulled out from under them?

    Remember, the minute a labour government is elected, the fourth estate will go on the attack, and won’t let up, EVER!!! so the battle to rebalance the damage will be an uphill one from day one….

    My feeling is that the next government is going to have to be another “savage” type government… The sheer volume of work required to just get back to square one will take a government with a similar clarity of purpose, forward thinking, and bravery…

  4. GeoffCartwright says:

    If the corporate Tories steal the next election game over for us poor kiwi’s.
    This is the true face and intent of the inter connected corporate pollies – everything is being corrupted to favor the few.
    Will the key ism shine fade quick enough for the people to see the king without his spun clothes or will the worsted red green brown brigade gather enough support to see these carpet baggers off…or maybe thing will get worse and the people power will rise…

  5. Anne says:

    Thank-you Grant Robertson! This situation is “arguably” the most serious we have faced thus far under the NAct govt. I’ve been waiting for a Labour MP to post on it.

    …a media release from Ian Fletcher the Director of the GCSB, who tells us that Paul Neazor has found that the actions of the GCSB were “arguably” legal. Presumably this means they were arguably illegal as well?


    Well, he would say that wouldn’t he. He is, after all, John Key’s personal ‘plant’ in the security services.

    You have ably reported the facts of the case so there is no need to elaborate except to say:

    we rely on the security agencies to keep our country safe from hostile activity etc., yet the actions of the current minister in charge is, in my view, devaluing their contribution and bringing them in to disrepute. At the same time he is undermining the democratic principles that are at the very heart of our governing system.

    I am relieved to hear that Labour is not going to let John Key and his merry band of helpers get away with it.