Was the Prime Minister’s Office aware of the NZDF spying on a NZ journalist?



US spy agencies eavesdrop on Kiwi
The New Zealand military received help from US spy agencies to monitor the phone calls of Kiwi journalist Jon Stephenson and his associates while he was in Afghanistan reporting on the war.

Stephenson has described the revelation as a serious violation of his privacy, and the intrusion into New Zealand media freedom has been slammed as an abuse of human rights.

The spying came at a time when the New Zealand Defence Force was unhappy at Stephenson’s reporting of its handling of Afghan prisoners and was trying to find out who was giving him confidential information.

I had heard this allegation last month and asked on social media what would happen if the MSM found out the GCSB had spied on journalists – now the claim has been made public, it’s time for the MSM to stand up for their rights.

The mainstream media’s lack of genuine critical focus on Key and his policies must surely fall away now the media can clearly see the utter contempt Key and his intelligence apparatus have for them and their craft.

What makes the hung jury result in the recent Jon Stephenson defamation case against the NZDF so chilling however is that Jon’s peers seem to have no problem whatsoever at siding with the Military even when they are caught red-handed lying about a Journalist in a clear cut disinformation campaign, mirrored in the one Journalist Jeremy Scahill had to endure.

When the Public of NZ are so willing to trust authority over those exposing authority, we have failed in our responsibilities as citizens.

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The NZDF have manipulated and hidden what our troops have really been doing in Afghanistan, especially our SAS and their involvement with American death squads like JSOC. When journalists like Jon Stephenson expose our soldiers handing civilians over to known torture units in a clear breach of the Geneva Convention, we as a public need to demand accountability from our leaders and their complicity in war crimes, instead we hang Stephenson out to dry while acquiescing to the GCSB being able to expand these types of dirty spying tactics on the NZ population as a whole.

The media must now start sniffing around to see how much involvement the Prime Minister’s office had with this NZDF decision to target Stephenson, because that’s where this story flows to.

Having the NZDF identify and target critical journalists is a breach of every social contract a civilized democracy should enshrine, if the PMs Office had any involvement in that decision making process, it must be exposed.


  1. “The mainstream media’s lack of genuine critical focus on Key and his policies must surely fall away now the media can clearly see the utter contempt Key and his intelligence apparatus have for them and their craft” – highly unlikely.

    Don’t ask me why. I just KNOW it won’t have any impact whatsoever. Maybe it’s because other than National Radio (which much surely be feeling the pressure), there isn’t much in the way of free media in NZ anymore. Newspapers are struggling to survive and mostly focusing on local community stuff. The standard of journalists isn’t particularly high. Mostly new graduates on their way to other careers or mediocre long termers focusing on soft lifestyle stories. Sports journalism is probably about as investigative as they would get these days.Plus no time or probably enthusiasm for investigative journalism.

    Not much to say about TVNZ news of course, given it is owned by the government and main purpose is to earn advertising revenue.

    Most of the real investigative journalism is coming from exceptional individuals like Jon Stephenson, bloggers like No Right Turn and Martyn B, and the Green Party.

  2. Just out of interest, under what circumstances can an election be delayed / postponed / cancelled ?? As we have no formal constitution I think I have read somewhere that this is possible. I can see a “Smith’s Dream” situation arising if the govt & the people they are working for (not us !!) feel under enough pressure. After all it’s happened before, in Chile and other countries.

    • Don’t give them ideas! That is just too awful to imagine as we are all hanging out for the election.

  3. Between Martyn and Fambo you both just about sum up the state of play and it is not pretty. A P.M. who acts like a spoilt rich kid from down south who, when challenged, throws a hissy fit, name calls, and if he doesn’t get his own way, sulks and then does his, “I’ll show those bastards who is in charge around here” like the petty dictator he is becoming. No saying, “Whoa there, they are on to me, or, maybe I need to re-think what I am doing, just maybe I am going down the wrong track here ? I am ready to fall about laughing with that last comment 🙂 His head is so far up Uncle Sam’s arse we are wasting our time thinking he will have a change of heart and do the decent thing – scrap the GSCB Bills before parliament and get rid of the bloody agency altogether. All we are doing is with this agency is supporting US dirty, illegal, immoral wars……and soon to be TPP Corporate Wars for our resources.

  4. WHo knows what John Key is aware of any more. I mean, when it comes to his own portfolios, its apparent he’s just stumbling from one “brain fade” to another. Consider for a moment his statements in regard to the GCSB:

    Iain Rennie came to me and recommended Fletcher for the GCSB job

    I told Cabinet that I knew Ian Fletcher

    I forgot that after I scrapped the shortlist for GCSB job I phoned a life-long friend to tell him to apply for the position

    I told Iain Rennie I would contact Fletcher

    for 30 years, or three decades, I didn’t have any dinners or lunches or breakfasts with Ian Fletcher

    I did not mislead the House (14)

    I have no reason to doubt at this stage that Peter Dunne did not leak the GCSB report

    I called directory service to get Ian Fletcher’s number

    the new legislation narrows the scope of the GCSB

    the GCSB has been prevented from carrying out its functions because of the law governing its functions

    because the opposition is opposed the GCSB law ammendments, parliamentary urgency is required

    the increasing number of cyber intrusions which I can’t detail or discuss prove that the GCSB laws need to be extended to protect prive enterprise

    it was always the intent of the GCSB Act to be able to spy on New Zealanders on behalf of the SIS and police

    National Ltd™ is not explanding the activities of the GCSB with this new law

    cyber terrorists have attempted to gain access to information about weapons of mass destruction held on New Zealand computers

    the law which says the GCSB cannot spy on New Zealanders is not clear

    the illegal spying on Kim Dotcom was an isolated incident

    first I heard I heard about Kim Dotcom was on 19 January 2012

    first I heard about the illegal spying on Kim Dotcom was in September

    I did not mislead the House (6)

    I won’t be discussing Kim Dotcom during my Hollywood visit.

    The Human Rights Commission couldn’t get its submission on the GCSB legislation in on time.

    it would cost too much to for the police and SIS to carry out the spying on New Zealanders that this new legislation will permit

    critics of the GCSB legislation, including the Law Society, the Human Rights Commission, and the Privacy Commission, are all uninformed

    we do not spy on journalists

    I wasn’t aware that my own Chief of Staff was instructing Parliamentary Services to hand over information concerning journalist Andrea Vance

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