Not Proven: Campbell Live still searching for conclusive evidence against Key, Fletcher and the GCSB.



WHILE IT IS ENTIRELY FITTING that we should congratulate TV3 and Campbell Live for the show they broadcast last evening, it is important to also acknowledge that they have gone about as far as they can go. John Campbell and his colleagues are now in the same position as the makers of the 1990 TVNZ documentary, For The Public Good, and they face the same hard choices. The evidence they have assembled is indisputably verysuggestive, but it is not even remotely conclusive.

Back in 1990, the makers of For The Public Good went ahead and drew conclusions anyway – and it cost TVNZ a great deal of money and most of them their jobs. To avoid a similar fate, Campbell and his boss, TV3’s Head of News and Current Affairs, Mark Jennings, had no option but to do exactly what they did last night – end their investigation into John Key, Ian Fletcher and the GCSB inconclusively.

Short of their very own Edward Snowden stepping forward with video, audio and written evidence of every word spoken by the main protagonists, Campbell Live’s investigation can progress no further. Yes, there are many questions that cry out for answers, but those in a position to do so cannot be compelled to testify. And if TV3 attempts to put their “best guess” answers in the mouths of the “Intelligence Community” they will be sued – and they will lose.

That’s why so few in the mainstream news media are prepared to take on these sort of stories. Every aspect of “National Security” stories is so wrapped in secrecy, and that secrecy is so powerfully protected by the Law, that making any kind of headway is extremely difficult. Nicky Hager or Jon Stephenson, remarkably talented and tenacious free-lance investigative journalists, might beg, borrow and steal the resources and time to track down and marshal conclusive evidence, but TVNZ and TV3 – networks with many competing claims on their time and resources – are required to consider the commercial, legal, and, especially on stories like this one, the politicalcost of proceeding. It is a huge tribute to TV3’s journalistic values that it was willing to let Campbell run with a story like this for so long.

Having led us this far, and having painstakingly constructed the time-lines so essential to the process, Campbell Live is leaving the business of speculation to us.


  1. Thanks Chris Trotter, for highlighting the glaring inadequacies of our risible version of democracy without actually mentioning them. Journalists can present facts, ask questions, highlight a problem, that’s their job. They can’t be council for the prosecution on matters of national security. Our PM is repeatedly deceitful – that needs no speculation. In spite of all the work stacking up, it would appear that by reason of our constitutional inadequacies, the prosecution job has vacancies.

  2. Not always protected by law because they can act above the law with impunity and when they are caught then the law is changed. For national security purposes of course. It’s the secrecy, lack of public accountability that protects stories of National security. Sort of catch 22. If it’s secret it’s not open to public accountability, if the organisation is not accountable then it’s secret. So we the public have to rely on the PM and the head of the GCSB to be our protectors. One who has trouble remembering and the other a childhood? friend. But yes, I think unless Campbell Live can sit in on the meetings it’s all supposition.

  3. Very disappaointed in your blog, Chris. Why are you not asking thse questions….

    What is behind the FACT that JK has now been proven to have LIED when he said that he “hardly knew Fletcher”, and that the State Services Commissioner came up with his name. Those two statements have now been proven to be a baltant LIE. So, why did he lie about that?

    And… why was Fletcher chosen anway? He had ZERO credentials for that job! There is a lot more going on there than what is being admitted.

    And, why was Gerry M suddenly shoved aside into the Gov General’s job, when he had only been GCSB chief for one month! And, how was that related to the secret visit to NZ by Clapper?

    And, why did Clapper fly all the way to NZ? Why did he not just pick up the phone?

    And, why did Fletcher’s former employers put an entry in their files that Fletcher was away for a week, “accompanying the Queensland State Deputy Premier on a visit to NZ”, when no such visit by the Deputy Premier ever took place???? Why was someone so desperate to hide the fact that Fletcher was coming over to NZ specifically in connection with his new job??? If it was just a routine briefing, why hide the fact that he was there???

    And, why did they try to hide the fact of the breakfast meeting between JK and Fletcher? Fletcher deliberately flew over to NZ, specifically for that one meeting, he did not just “happen to be in the country”, he was SUMMONED by JK to that breakfast meeting, and then they tried to hide the fact that that meeting ever took place. Why???

    There are far too many unanswered questions of a “mysterious” nature. If it was just one or two things, we could say it was just no big deal, but, if one looks at the whole sequence of events, all of those events being PROVEN to be FACTUAL, it stinks to high heaven!

  4. Leaving the speculation to us? I think my speculation about John Key being a liar about Fletcher is very high quality, platinum grade speculation.

  5. Campbell Live’s investigation can progress no further.

    Chris, this is such a silly statement I’m forced to conclude you mean that they *could* not progress further and include any conclusions from investigations to date.

    That might at least make sense, otherwise you appear to be claiming for yourself the powers of prescience. You can’t possibly know what revelations are or are not yet to be dug up.

  6. Looking at the way the press have handled this (ignoring it and then openly parroting Key’s line about Campbell being a conspiracy theorist), I would guess his career in journalism is living on borrowed time.

    What’s weird is that I don’t think Key gives a fuck. He thinks he can do whatever he likes, ignore all criticism, and avoid charges of inconsistency by pure audacity. It’s the same with Collins: other ministers would have been gone by lunchtime, but she appears to belong to a group that thinks it can do whatever it wants with impunity, and thinks it has sufficient allies in the press to do whatever it wants. It’s a more refined version of the way Cameron Slater behaves.

    They’re right. That’s exactly how it is. They are powerful enough that there is nobody who can hold them to account, and even if someone tried to, the public seems quite happy to retain corrupt officials in positions of power.

    The left is playing the wrong game here. The assumption has always been that if Key and co are caught with their hands in the cookie jar, that they are finished. What if that is not the case? It certainly seems not to be so.

    Bush and Blair caught lying about WMDs, and nothing. Bankers caught ripping everyone off, and nothing. News organisations caught in massive corruption and nothing.

    Sure, a couple of minions get thrown to the wolves, but otherwise it’s business as usual: the age of impunity.

    • Bang on Tom. Key doesn’t give a fuck – he can retire to Hawaii at any point when it’s convenient.
      Given JK’s veiled allegation that JC entertains conspiracy theories, this video is germane.

    • I like that ‘the age of impunity.’ And I agree totally with everything you said. I too fear for John Campbell’s future because he alone in the MSM is courageous enough to consistently present the other side.
      Basically ‘they’ can do anything – because they can. Audacious actions protected by the use of highly specialised technology, drugs, chemicals and oneupmanship psychology. With a clear mandate in place – to suppress and win. Makes it difficult to prove, difficult to fight and impossible to win. If they are challenged they lie about it and feign indignity. Could probably throw acting lessons in the strategy mix. It could also be the age of ‘think the worse of the powerful they’re doing it’. Coupled with the age of impunity we haven’t got a hope in hell. I also don’t think the NZ public is that stupid but the polls aren’t showing it. Mmmmm….

  7. “The evidence they have assembled is indisputably very suggestive, but it is not even remotely conclusive.”

    “And if TV3 attempts to put their “best guess” answers in the mouths of the “Intelligence Community” they will be sued – and they will lose.”

    A staunch defender of free opinion and the free press thou art at times, Chris Trotter, but also too easily frightened.

    This is exactly the kind of investigative journalism we need more of, even though there may not be that last essential bit of evidence. So far Key had to reformulate, reword, correct and adjust earlier statements, and it happened again today in Parliament.

    Surely there are too many dots lined up, to be merely “coincidentally aligned”.

    As for suing, yes that is what they do at times, when the truth is not supposed to come out, and it is also common in the corporate world, and in the medical profession, in business, and in administration and government.

    I am sure that is also why nobody in the MSM reports on stuff like this:


    First they try to ignore it, then they try to ridicule it, then they may attack it, and if that does not fix it, they will come and sue the sources that spread it, right?!

  8. All Campbell has proved is that the left is full of conspiracy theorists, it really was quite embarrassing watching him flush his credibility down the toilet while the producers were sniggering and looking forward to Paul Henry taking over the 7pm slot.
    Campbell could always find propaganda work in Iran or North Korea. Clark should have used the Key tactic over the non existent Corngate scandal which he made up.

    • Ha! some sanity at last.

      All Campbell had was inuendo upsupported by fact.

      A nasty piece of advocacy journalism for the Far Left which, thank goodness, the maintstream saw for what it was.

  9. No, Chris, you’re not too easily frightened, just realistic. Many years ago, during the Muldoon era, I made a doco about one of the big finance company collapses. We fact-checked it to death, cut and re-cut it, ran it past the lawyers, and eventually it went to air. Our facts were beyond dispute – investors had lost ten of millions – but we were hit with a $400,000 defamation claim for “imputing” that the main character behind the company was a hypocrite! That writ hung around for EIGHT YEARS before it finally dropped out of sight.

  10. If I were Key, Fletcher, and the rest of the sordid cast of characters in this wretched affair, I would be sighing relief that this is as far as Campbell has been able to take this issue.


    Were I Key, Fletcher, et al, I would be far from sleeping soundly as nights.

    Consider that New Zealand is a very, very small country. Many of us are one or two degrees removed from prime ministers, and others in power.

    And consider that all it takes is for one disgruntled employee, or one whose conscience suddenly comes to the fore, or one drunken night out with mates and a journo within earshot…

    Keeping a secret in New Zealand is like trying to stop weeds from sprouting. Eventually, the truth will out.

    But I suspect Mr Key knows this already…

  11. The dot com situation may only be part of the bargain. What else did clapper request and get given? Why did our relationship with the U.S. suddenly become dandy again? Many more questions which will probably not be answered for many years.

  12. Even if this evidence was true what would the be the raison d’être of it’s covering up? The ‘we report, you decide’ tatics aren’t good enough to hide the incompetencies of Labour.. at least for this election.

    I’m glad that you never seem to deceive yourself chris… keep it up 😀

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