Bryce Edwards is wrong – GCSB Director got job after call from Key



It is not often that I disagree with the Blog God Bryce Edwards, but his recent wrap up of the blogs last week left a very unsavory taste in my mouth.

Mr Edwards. You are wrong.

His assertion last week that there wasn’t really anything wrong with the Prime Minister and the Director of the GCSB being childhood friends is the sort of naivety reserved for first year Young Nats studying in his class, it most certainly is not the sort of intellectual depth of a politics lecturer at Otago University.

While there is certainly room for investigations and questions about New Zealand’s Establishment (the interlocking company directorships, relationships between politicians and bureaucrats, business power, and social connections), it seems a bit underwhelming to use examples emanating from Burnside High School. What’s more, the Labour-Green attack has allowed various rightwing blogs to say what most of the public are already thinking: ‘this is getting silly’ and the Opposition is grasping at straws

For evidence, Edwards links to a climate denial artist and the Government’s pollster as proof.

Quoting Farrar and that clown at Keeping Stock are hardly Quod Erat Demonstrandum are they?

Why is it completely unacceptable that the Director of the GCSB and the Prime Minister are childhood friends? Because these two men wield vast power. The Director answers to the PM in the only democratic check and balance we have to the secret intelligence services of this country.

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These two roles must be beyond reproach in terms of their professionalism and execution of their duties because of the very nature of the power they deal in. We, the people upon whose taxation such State apparatus is built are forbidden from seeing into this world yet it is also we the people who ultimately pay the highest price in the loss of our civil rights, freedom and liberty when those State apparatus are turned against us.

In the fiasco case of Dotcom, the GCSB Director, Ian Fletcher, provided Key with deniability by choosing not to inform him of the illegal spying operation being conducted.

Did Ian watch out for his childhood friend or did he hide from the Prime Minister an illegal spying operation aimed at one of our permanent residents for fun? We don’t know.

To simply shrug as Bryce Edwards does is as unacceptable as Fletcher getting the job in the first place.

Yes NZ is small, yes there are many examples of friends knowing friends and people getting appointed because of that friendship, but in the case of the Prime Minister of this country and the Director of the bloody spy network, there can be no acceptance of the two having any past history whatsoever.

The fact that we have only just found this out shows how questionable the two having a history is.

What we now know is that Ian Fletcher got his job AFTER a phone call from John Key…

Spy boss got job after call from PM
Spy boss Ian Fletcher was not short-listed for the top job at the Government’s foreign spy agency – but applied after a phone call from Prime Minister John Key.

…cue open mouthed shock look now.

NZ deserves better than that, and Bryce Edwards is better than this.


  1. I’m glad Bryon Richards was able to pick up the salient issue. I would have missed it otherwise.

  2. If memory serves, a stroll through The Standard archives will reveal that in 08 Edwards not only ripped into Helen Clark and Labour with such vim that he was feted on the right-wing sewerblogs as a prize left-wing academic who had seen the light, but he also erroneously accused the Standard of being run by the evil epmu.

    Soon after, he was welcomed in various media and the Corrupt! Corrupt! Corrupt! Helen was gone.

    I suppose that a Prime Minister appointing a personal lifelong friend to the head of a basically omnipotent secret security agency – and then lying about it – is nothing to worry about.

    Take careful note of any WTF moments. Corruption and arrogance at this level cannot persist for long.

  3. All of this should have been on the public record. While it’s true that we do live in a small country and people at the top will sometimes know each other, this just makes it more imperative that processes be open and transparent. What Key has done is little different to what US presidents do, except that they hold confirmation hearings. If he wants to so slavishly copy the US and A, he should go all the way.

  4. The question on my mind is; what else is Key keeping from us? what are secrets are there to uncover? Secret dinners with “players”? Activities which, in the light of day would be dodgy as f**k?

    Unfortunately, Key never left his corporate background behind him when he entered politics. He brought it all with him.

  5. Oh dear god it just gets worse. And if you saw 3 news tonight, it is clear that Shonkey was caught out AGAIN because last week he never mentioned that he phoned his mate…. it was appointed through the usual public service channels. They shortlisted four applicants, appointed none, then Shonkey made a call to his mate and presto! New GCSB head. How many more hits can this teetering rickety house of cards take before it all comes crashing down around the bastards. The glow in the dark from Wellington that we can see is the whites of their knuckles as the Nats cling to power.

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