Speaker by Various Artists

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Speaker: Naked Inside the Off-Ramp

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  • Pete George,

    Labour have also created substantial problems for themselves. There have already been campaigns proposed to make this an election issue for Labour candidates, forcing them into pro or anti GCSB camps.

    If about survive that and are in a position to form a coalition it would have to deal with possible three parties - Greens, Maori and Mana - who oppose the GCSB and SIS. If Labour joined that position it would be a major reversal of Helen Clark's position on national security.

    And if they manage to survive coalition negotiations they are forced to have an inquiry - it's in the new legislation and they have promised it. If the inquiry recommends to scrap the GCSB and SIS that's a big problem for Labour if they want to maintain credibility in the centre.

    If the inquiry recommends to retain the GCSB and SIS, perhaps with law tweaks, then Labour would have to go to National for support. which is back to where both National and Labour should have been over the last two months.

    Dunedin • Since Dec 2011 • 139 posts Report Reply

  • Thomas Beagle,

    I suspect Key has also miscalculated in one other major way - this issue isn't going away. Normally when you pass a law the debate dies out and people move on. The electorate's memory is short, etc, etc.

    But Snowden and Dotcom should keep the issue hopping along. (The TICS Bill should keep the technorati going for a while too.)

    Snowden (or Greenwald) still apparently has a lot more documents to release. This should keep the issue of govt spying going in the international media - plus there's still a good chance that some of those releases might further explore the relationship between the NSA and the GCSB.

    Kim Dotcom has proven he's good at getting media attention and he still has a high profile court case - plus various accusations against John Key, the GCSB and others. There's obviously a lot to go on with here.

    Then there's TICS, various other little sordid spying stories like the Henry investigation, etc, etc.

    Each time these issues come up the media will be mentioning the GCSB, and the electorate will be reminded that John Key and the National govt expanded their powers rather then trying to rein them in.

    The opposition may find that spying is the gift that keeps on giving.

    New Zealand • Since Nov 2007 • 46 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Pete George,

    If the inquiry recommends to retain the GCSB and SIS, perhaps with law tweaks, then Labour would have to go to National for support. which is back to where both National and Labour should have been over the last two months.

    I would be astonished if the inquiry recommended the abolition of the GCSB and SIS. That's not the way Shearer has framed it at all, and the chances of it happening are less than zero.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22749 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Thomas Beagle,

    Snowden (or Greenwald) still apparently has a lot more documents to release. This should keep the issue of govt spying going in the international media – plus there’s still a good chance that some of those releases might further explore the relationship between the NSA and the GCSB.

    The Guardian’s GCHQ stories look to me to be quite different to the low-hanging fruit of Greenwald’s first couple of NSA stories – they’ve clearly taken some development by Guardian journalists. I would think there’ll be similar work in putting together a GCSB equivalent. But Key’s non-denial of NSA funding for GCSB (such funding is the meat of a couple of the Guardian stories) certainly opens a path. Perhaps a subversive journalist or two is already working on that.

    Kim Dotcom has proven he’s good at getting media attention and he still has a high profile court case – plus various accusations against John Key, the GCSB and others. There’s obviously a lot to go on with here.

    He’s also promising his lawyers will be able to demonstrate that Key was lying about his foreknowledge of the original raid. That remains to be seen, but if that happens, things will really kick off.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22749 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen R, in reply to Russell Brown,

    I would be astonished if the inquiry recommended the abolition of the GCSB and SIS.

    As would I. Although I could imagine a political case being made that the GCSB shouldn't be feeding data to the Five Eyes network any more... Think of it like the privacy version of the nuclear free campaign.

    Wellington • Since Jul 2009 • 259 posts Report Reply

  • bob daktari,

    I loathe the use of the term inside the beltway, it supposes the general public don't care or understand... which simply isn't true - its elitist and condescending

    as for the passing of this bill - those opposed/concerned won't be forgetting this issue nor the bullying and arrogant nature of the govt.

    auckland • Since Dec 2006 • 537 posts Report Reply

  • Carol Stewart,

    This is a very elegant commentary, Jon, thank you.

    Wellington • Since Jul 2008 • 821 posts Report Reply

  • Pete George, in reply to Russell Brown,

    I would be astonished if the inquiry recommended the abolition of the GCSB and SIS. That's not the way Shearer has framed it at all, and the chances of it happening are less than zero.

    I agree. Shearer even proposed supporting the bill with a sunset clause. But Greens, Mana and Maori don't like the GCSB or SIS and are unlikely to vote for the likley outcome of any inquiry that isn't stacked in their favour (and that shouldn't happen).

    So Labour will need National's support. Back to where they should have been, co-operating on it two months ago. And if that works I doubt we will have anything much different to what we had or we now have, incuding a very irate left.

    Dunedin • Since Dec 2011 • 139 posts Report Reply

  • Euan Mason,

    The PM has demonstrated that he doesn’t understand the political process. He apparently views NZ as a kind of corporate entity, where the executive should have control not just over policy discussions but also ultimately over people’s rights to express opinions or mount arguments against the status quo, and where economic performance is paramount. The new act’s emphasis on “economic damage to New Zealand” speaks volumes. Where are the references to social damage, environmental degradation or threats to our freedoms?

    Canterbury • Since Jul 2008 • 258 posts Report Reply

  • linger,

    However, the actual story of King Canute may not be the best reference point for Key's behaviour. Far from actually claiming omnipotence, Canute was demonstrating to his supporters that he wasn’t all-powerful.

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 1887 posts Report Reply

  • Greg Dawson, in reply to Euan Mason,

    where the executive should have control not just over policy discussions but also ultimately over people’s rights to express opinions or mount arguments against the status quo

    Something like "You've had your debate. There's no need to write any more." ?

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 294 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz, in reply to Russell Brown,

    I would be astonished if the inquiry recommended the abolition of the GCSB and SIS

    Could you justify why not, in particular:

    - why IT security coordination is best conducted by a secret, unaccountable organisation rather than an open public body?

    - why we need parallel policing bodies outside the normal oversight and accountability frameworks such as the IPCA?

    - why we should persist with a framework that has never apprehended and convicted anyone and conspicuously failed to detect both the Rainbow Warrior bombings and, more recently, the Mossad passport fraud attempt?

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • Keir Leslie,

    Pete George, is, of course, a pompous old windbag with no clue.

    If there’s a credible independent inquiry into the security services, the spectacle of the National Party lining up to vote it down will be so damaging and ludicrous that of course they won’t (and if they do, well, that’s fine by me). Likewise, the Greens would love to get some serious reform here, and they won’t waste that chance — it’s the only one they’ll get for the next twenty years.

    ETA: Also, while I doubt there'll be a recommendation to abolish the security services, I wouldn't be surprised if there was a serious look at the form they take.

    Since Jul 2008 • 1452 posts Report Reply

  • Jon J.,

    Pete George - Labour haven't given themselves any problems at all. It wasn't their bill. They've instead been gifted greater flexibility through their opponent's action freely taken. I imagine that Labour and the Greens promising a review of our intelligence services, alongside a promise to deliver on the MMP Review, will offer an appealing contrast and choice for many voters.

    Wellington • Since Aug 2013 • 3 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic,

    Some tightening of national security policy across the globe was to be expected following 9/11. But when such measures are tightened far beyond their original intention - and/or far beyond their use-by date - it's tantamount to a permanent state of emergency, which from past historical precedent is an early sign of dictatorialism.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5416 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to linger,

    What a complete Cnut...

    Far from actually claiming omnipotence,
    Canute was demonstrating to his supporters
    that he wasn’t all-powerful.

    oops, I forgot that, when I used the analogy elsewhere.
    but it still makes a mockery of Key's 'I can foretell
    what future decision makers will do' stance
    because he can't - perception is everything...
    ... and wilful blindness can strike politicians!

    :- )

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7887 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    ...a framework that has never apprehended and convicted anyone and conspicuously failed to detect both the Rainbow Warrior bombings and, more recently, the Mossad passport fraud attempt?

    On the face of it, we obviously need someone to be watching our 'friends' more closely ...

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7887 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Keir Leslie,

    Pete George, is, of course, a pompous old windbag with no clue.

    I'll let this stand, but continuing in this vein would be unhelpful.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22749 posts Report Reply

  • Pete George, in reply to Jon J.,

    I imagine that Labour and the Greens promising a review of our intelligence services...will offer an appealing contrast and choice for many voters.

    A contrast? A review of our intelligence services is already promised in the new legislation. Plus subsequent reviews every 5-7 years.

    Greens have been clear about their opposition to the GCSB. Shearer was prepared to support the bill that's just been passed with a sunset clause. While it's unclear what Labour actually want other than an inquiry if what they put in place and supported under Clark is anything to go by they will want something quite different to the Greens.

    Dunedin • Since Dec 2011 • 139 posts Report Reply

  • Andre,

    My worry is that if neither Labour or National hold a majority after the election and the Greens win 20% or more and hold the balance of power that the Right wing Labour faction of Robertson et al will push for a coalition with National to set us back on the centre-right path of Helen Clark. The main laws we need changing to counter the inter-generational theft that has occurred for the past three decades are policies proposed almost solely by the Greens and adopted by Labour only at the last minute when they have no choice. It may look easier for Labour's ruling clique to join National instead of taking an honest look at the situation we are in. Patsy's to the USA and international money-lenders, desperately selling our property to foreign non-residents so that over-65's can take overseas holidays and continue working while paying themselves $16500 each a year regardless of how much money they have in the bank. That is why it is so important to them that the foreigners can keep us safely under surveillance and under control. Just don't get me started on the leaky homes crisis or self-regulation of the dairy industry btw...

    New Zealand • Since May 2009 • 350 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Pete George, is, of course, a pompous old windbag with no clue.

    I'll let this stand, but continuing in this vein would be unhelpful.

    Presumably because it's impolite rather than untrue.

    Maybe since he's chosen to engage here, he could justify his man Dunne selling his vote and tell us what he got for it? Ambassadorship? Ministerial seat back? Clear run at the next election? Or just hard cash from some US-backed 'trust'?

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell, in reply to Kumara Republic,

    Some tightening of national security policy across the globe was to be expected following 9/11. But when such measures are tightened far beyond their original intention - and/or far beyond their use-by date - it's tantamount to a permanent state of emergency, which from past historical precedent is an early sign of dictatorialism.

    I think it's an indication that the terrorists are winning and we (the western public) are losing

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2606 posts Report Reply

  • Grant Taylor, in reply to Euan Mason,

    Key has always impressed me as behaving like a CEO rather than a PM. There are some parallels between the leadership of a large corporation and a nation and between shareholders and citizens. Perhaps in the current climate of international finance and global economics, the subtle but important differences between Cabinet and Board, PM and CEO, citizens and shareholders, Constitution (implicit in our case) and Realpolitik are lost to him. These differences may also not be sensed or articulated by many New Zealanders, which would explain why he appeals so successfully to the pragmatism in NZ culture in which a high placing on some leaderboard is sufficient proof of a successful strategy.

    Auckland • Since Jul 2012 • 24 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole,

    Paul Buchanan has a good discussion of the actual possibility of leaving Echelon over here. It's worth a read, particularly since it's the kind of area were he's absolutely an expert.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • Pete George, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    Your snideness despite Russell's request, and your accusations like "Or just hard cash from some US-backed ‘trust’?" (presumably totally without foundation) suggests that genuine engagement is not really your intention.

    It's not for me to justify what Dunne did, that's up to him. He's tried to do that.

    In my opinion it simply reflects political reality, it's far more complex inside Parliament than many realise. Dunne initiated a number of worthwhile amendments to the bill, more than anyone else managed, but one person versus 59 can only do so much.

    Dunne's decision to back the bill was no more politically motivated than Shearer's actions, or Winston's actions.

    Dunedin • Since Dec 2011 • 139 posts Report Reply

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