10 biggest NZ political scandals and scams of 2017

By   /   December 19, 2017  /   18 Comments

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2017 has been a year of swollen lies and political scandals. What was most concerning wasn’t that we didn’t have media who could unearth these outrageous abuses of power, but that we didn’t have a media who could spend the time to focus on them.

2017 has been a year of swollen lies and political scandals. What was most concerning wasn’t that we didn’t have media who could unearth these outrageous abuses of power, but that we didn’t have a media who could spend the time to focus on them.

With our 7pm public squares filled with the likes of Hosking and diluted by the pettiness of The Project, there was no ability to take these scandals and make them wide spread movements of outrage once the enormity and ramifications of them were explained to the public.

The 24 hour news cycle has been reduced to the 15 minute news cycle. Filled by the never ending social media feeds of a million different voices all screaming something different, our attention span has been fractured and the things that really matter are eclipsed by whatever self personalised clickbait bullshit is now trending.

These were the top 10 biggest NZ political scandals and scams of 2017 which still demand our attention.

10: The Saudi Sheep Bribe

So we got this whitewash report in 2016 that Murray MCully kinda acted within the law in regards to the Saudi Sheep bribe. Nothing to see here folks, just a Senior Minister paying an $11.5 million dollar bribe to a Saudi Businessman in the sad hope that we can get a free trade deal with Saudi Arabia, a country with one of the worst Human Rights records on the planet and who is also one of the biggest funders of extremism.

You know, just another day in NZ. No one checked if McCully’s claim of a $30m legal threat was even real, no one has seen an assessment of the money used, no one can explain why so many of the sheep died and no one can explain what ongoing benefit this breeding program gives NZ.

We just trusted Uncle Muzza with $11.5 million to try and cut a dodgy deal for reasons that are mercenary and without any actual ethics. Yay!

So what Official Information Act revelations did we get from MFAT in 2017?

Saudi sheep deal: MFAT didn’t provide legal advice on lawsuit risk

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade did not provide legal advice to the government on the risk of being sued by a disgruntled Saudi Arabian businessman, documents reveal.

The admission that no legal advice on the lawsuit threat ever existed directly contradicts comments in 2015 by then-Foreign Minister Murray McCully that the ministry had taken advice on the issue.

The National government did an $11.5 million deal with Saudi businessman Hamood Al Ali Al Khalaf after Cabinet was advised in February 2013 that the Al Khalaf Group was threatening to sue New Zealand for $20-$30m. Mr Al Khalaf had invested heavily in New Zealand and believed New Zealand’s 2003 ban on live exports had left him misled and out of pocket.

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Labour’s David Parker Photo: RNZ / Demelza Leslie

The deal included using taxpayer funds to build Mr Al Khalaf a $6m agrihub farm in the Saudi desert, as well as flying in over 900 sheep and handing over $4m in cash.

The government argued that the deal saved New Zealand from the risk of being sued for a much larger amount.

However, MFAT and Mr McCully have long refused to release any legal advice it relied on in doing the deal.

In a 2015 interview on TV3’s The Nation, Mr McCully was asked repeatedly what the advice said and whether he would release it.

He replied “it’s the ministry’s advice” and “I’m not going to release the ministry’s advice”. When asked if there was any legal basis for a lawsuit, he said “the advice was that those circumstances did provide such a basis”.

Yet an Official Information Act response from MFAT “following discussion with the Chief Ombudsman” has revealed “it did not seek or provide advice on the extent of the risk of a claim in the New Zealand courts for compensation from the Al Khalaf Group against the government”.

“Effectively, the minister had misled the public,” said Labour’s David Parker.

…well, well, well. So there actually wasn’t any investigation whatsoever of McCully’s bullshit claims that we were on the hook for a $30million dollar legal case if we didn’t bribe this businessman which means there was no justification whatsoever which means McCully lied to us and his own Caucus.

The issue was not that Murray McCully and the National Party are unethical pigs who’d sell their own grandmothers into slavery if it meant making a buck, the issue was why the Christ we were trying to bribe a Saudi businessmen to trade with the worst human rights abusers on the planet?

 

9: NZ is not a tax haven

Remember when the Panama Papers were released and they proved NZ was a tax haven built by John Key’s personal lawyer?

Remember how John Key declared that NZ wasn’t a tax haven?

Remember how Key’s own lawyer bullied then-revenue Minister Todd McLay into dumping an IRD review into foreign trusts?

Remember how fast those secret Trusts were built under National…

…remember when this was the quality of political journalism while Key was Prime Minister…

…remember all that?

Well, if NZ wasn’t a Tax Haven, how come all the Trusts have fled since the law was tightened up?

Foreign trusts ‘fled’ from the sunlight – Labour

At the end of last year there were about 11,750 foreign trusts in New Zealand. Following the introduction of tough new rules, fewer than 3000 applied to register with Inland Revenue. Another 3000 told the tax department they did not want to be part of the new regime, and some 6000 are unaccounted for

…it turns out the only thing John Key could build was tax havens.

He lied to our faces, again.

 

8: National Party nothing more than a front for Chinese business interests and a Chinese Spy inside their Party

After Canterbury University Professor Anne-Marie Bradley’s brutal research into how the National Party is nothing more than a front for Chinese business interests, you would think the sleepy hobbits of muddle Nu Zilind would wake up.

They didn’t.

The National Party itself is now wedded and compromised personally to wealthy Chinese interests.  Jenny Shipley, Don Brash, Ruth Richardson and Chris Tremain are Director’s of the China Construction Bank, Judith Collins interaction with Chinese Officials to help her husbands Chinese Company, Oravida, to gain more Chinese money  and Maurice Williamson’s love affair with  Donghua Liu saw him become Liu’s personal handyman when doing up Liu’s batch and heavying the Police to drop domestic violence charges.

The National Government are as dependent on their Chinese friends as the entire property speculating middle class have now become and that’s why National are still over 44% in the polls.

What was most astounding is that 44% of NZ still voted for National despite a Chinese Spy being outed as a senior member of the National Party.

I love how foreign media covering this story always seems bewildered and bemused that NZers haven’t done anything about the outing of a Chinese Spy in their own Government.

 

7: Steven Joyce’s naked lie about an $11.7billion hole he actually dug

The most disgusting part of the 2017 election was Joyce simply lying straight to the face of NZ and pretending there was an $11.7 billion dollar hole in Labour’s budget.

Here is who agreed and disagreed with him…

…so 2 people in NZ agreed with Steven, Bill English and Steven Joyce himself.

The lie worked, it spooked back male voters in the closing weeks of the election and made the election far closer than it would have been.

So what could be worse than lying about a $11.7billion hole that didn’t exist? Why actually creating an even bigger $20billion hole that Steven himself dug…

Govt accuses National of leaving $20bn hole

Finance Minister Grant Robertson told Parliament this afternoon that National failed to put aside the money for its promised big ticket Defence Force upgrade.

“As one commentator has said, the National Government never accurately costed it and made no provision in any of its long-term forecasts to pay for it.

“This is far from providing certainty.”

Government officials are now reviewing the programme to look for better value for money, he said.

“This is the responsible thing to do given the mess left by the previous government,” Mr Robertson said.

…so despite all the fanfare when National launched their Defence Force upgrade, Steven Joyce didn’t actually budget any money for that upgrade!

National are liars and manipulators of the worst kind, first they lie about a deficit in Labour’s budget that never existed, then boast about upgrading the Defence Force, then not budgeting for any of the upgrade they had just boasted about!!!!

 

6: The Todd Barclay scandal 

So let’s get this straight.

Barclay lied for months about secretly taping a staff member. Bill English first didn’t know anything, then did know something, then questioned if any such tape even existed and then admitted to being asked to listen to the tape that never existed while National Party Board members bullied staff and made veiled threats.

On top of that, English fought tooth and nail to hide his involvement and leaned on the Police to ensure that happened.

Oh and it turns out Bill sent 450 text messages to the staff member in question but he “wasn’t involved”.

If this is all sounding unbelievable, let’s remind ourself of the 5 defences that National have used so far to explain that there’s no story here…

1: “We didn’t know secretly recording a conversation was illegal”

COME ON! How is this absurdity even allowed to stand? The fucking Nats had Radio NZ, the NZ Herald and Fairfax searched by the bloody cops chasing copies of the Teapot Tape recordings for fucks sake! They didn’t know doing what they accused Bradley Ambrose of doing was illegal? But they called the cops on him and the entire mainstream media of NZ!!! How the Christ can they now claim they fucking forgot that it was illegal? Are they goldfish? Does Bill English have the memory of a small child with learning difficulties? This is such horse shit it is utterly unacceptable as an answer.

2: “The Barclay tapes are less like established facts and more like Yeti, as in that they are not yet proven or discovered”.

Despite telling the Police that Todd Barclay told him that he had secretly recorded staff, Bill’s tried to claim on the Nation that actually the tapes are less like established facts and more like Yeti, as in that they are not yet proven or discovered. This as an assertion is almost vomit inducing in terms of its audacity because Bill English was told by Todd Barclay that Todd Barclay secretly recorded staff!!!!

3: “I forgot that I talked to the Police”.

When Bill English wasn’t aware the media had his text message that he tried to hide, he claimed he couldn’t remember who had told him what or whom he may have talked to in regards to secret tapes that may or may not have existed. When it became apparent that the media had his text message saying that Todd had told him the tapes existed and they had made a huge pay out, the Prime Minister suddenly remembered! How miraculous for Bill to remember he was being untruthful and evasive when being untruthful and evasive was no longer an option.

4: “When I said I spoke to the Police, actually they spoke to me”.

After insinuating to Parliament that he had spoken to Police as a pro-active step to help investigate Barclay, it then turns out that what really happened was that the Police had to go to Bill English as part of their investigation, he didn’t go to them with what he knew. The PM effectively sold being forced into answering questions to the Police as an act of leadership, he misled the Parliament and now faces calls to be disciplined by the Speaker for his ‘imprecise’ language. 

5: “My Office didn’t ask for the Police to censor what they released but we did suggest it”

The most outrageous of all these lies is that when the Police released their information to media, they redacted Bill’s damning text message. They did this after they contacted the PMs Office to see if the PM wanted that damning piece of evidence censored. The PMs Office replied that while it was totally up to the Police to release what they wanted, in the context of the text message being a private communication it was best they didn’t do that. So effectively, the PMs Office let the police know what the outcome they wanted was, the Police censored the text message and we wouldn’t even know all these lies and cover ups had occurred if the Journalists breaking the story didn’t already have the text message.

So why did Bill protect Todd? The answer is obvious.

National only have the barest of majorities in Parliament, here is a list of the legislation National have managed to pass by protecting Barclay…

  • Housing Legislation Amendment Bill
  • Social Security (Extension of Young Persons Services and Remedial Matters) Amendment Bill
  • Trade (Anti-dumping and Countervailing Duties) Amendment Bill
  • Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement Amendment Bill
  • Employment Relations (Allowing Higher Earners to Contract Out of Personal Grievance Provisions) Amendment Bill (National Party members bill)
  • Social Security (Stopping Benefit Payments for Offenders who Repeatedly Fail to Comply with Community Sentences) Amendment Bill (National Party members bill)
  • Children, Young Persons, and Their Families (Oranga Tamariki) Legislation Bill
  • Local Government Act 2002 Amendment Bill (No 2)
  • Employment Relations (Allowing Higher Earners to Contract Out of Personal Grievance Provisions) Amendment Bill (National Party members bill)

…this protection of Barclay has occurred because it allows National to keep passing laws. This abuse of power has occurred to protect National’s agenda.

 

5: NZ war crimes personally signed off by John Key

Nicky Hager teamed up with Jon Stephenson to produce a compelling prosecution of a war crime that John Key signed off on.

It is alleged with clear precision that John Key green lighted  a revenge mission for the death of a NZ SAS soldier and because it was poorly planned and knee-jerk we have targeted and destroyed 12 houses, killed 6 innocent civilians (including a school teacher and a child) and seriously injured 15 others.

The targeting of civilians and gross incompetence marks this out as a possible war crime.

The former defense minister described the incident as the, “biggest and most dangerous operation in Afghanistan, a fiasco.

NZDF realised that the raid had gone wrong but instead covered it up and lied to media about what actually happened.

We, the people of New Zealand must demand an independent inquiry into what the fuck has happened here. Why were we lied to? Who did we kill? How did it happen? Have we committed war crimes? Will John Key be charged for these war crimes if they are war crimes?

If we as a country are going to cheer when our troops go to war to fight ‘da terrorists’ then we have to demand accountability when they kill civilians! We deserve to know the truth before John Key steps away from NZ altogether – did he or did he not order a poorly planned strike that killed 6 civilians?

To date, no one has been held account for this massacre.

 

4: The Meth testing industry of fraud   

All that media inspired meth contamination hysteria to protect boomer rentals and state houses turned out to be bullshit!

Millions wasted on meth testing, minister says

Mr Twyford apologised on Checkpoint with John Campbell today for the treatment of a man who spent 58 weeks in emergency housing in a motel – costing the government $44,000, after traces of methamphetamine were found in his home.

Mr Twyford pledged to make changes to the existing regime.

Last night Checkpoint reported that Robert Erueti was evicted from his state house where he lived for more than 15 years in February last year.

Mr Twyford said yesterday Mr Erueti should never have been evicted from his HNZ home.

“I wanted to tell him that Housing New Zealand are changing their policy and they are moving to a new approach for dealing with this issue that I think is more compassionate and more considered.”

The minister said if methamphetamine traces were found now support, not eviction, would be the first approach.

“Over the last three years Housing New Zealand, on behalf of the tax payer, has spent $75 million on testing and remediating houses that are or were allegedly contaminated.”

Mr Twyford said this had left hundreds of properties empty.

…lap it up sleepy hobbits, $75million on bullshit meth hysteria propagated by ex-Police ‘clean up teams’ who have done everything in their power to demonise beneficiaries and renters.

How many were kicked out of homes for this self-interested spite?

Oh the hilarity of watching Landlords caught up in the P contamination hysteria…

Exclusive: Landlords omitting P history to protect property values 

Some landlords with meth-contaminated houses are avoiding telling local authorities to ensure their houses don’t lose value.

The investors say having the information on their property’s council file – even if the chemical residue is later removed – carries stigma, and will put buyers off. While the behaviour is not illegal, one home-owner’s association said it was “unscrupulous to say the least” not to report contamination, as that meant any future owners or tenants were denied access to the property’s full history.

“I think a lot of landlords are scurrying around trying to keep things under the radar because they don’t want to spend the money to properly remediate a contaminated home,” said Home Owners and Buyers Association (Hobanz) president John Gray.

“But there’s a line that has to be drawn somewhere.”

The Herald first found evidence of the trend in online property investors’ forums, where owners were discussing how to get the council to help evict tenants without the contamination going on a Land Information Memorandum (Lim) report.

Hobanz and Auckland Council confirmed they were aware of the behaviour.

Auckland Council’s regional environmental control manager Marcus Herrmann said people avoided reporting contamination for a variety of reasons, including uncertainty about remediation requirements, and the effect on their profits.

“They believe the stigma attached to having the information on their property file will affect the value of their home,” he said.

Herrmann said while there was no legal obligation, it was appropriate for landlords to inform the council to ensure health and safety of tenants and prospective owners. Methamphetamine is considered a health risk.

If a house has been a lab, police usually inform the council which then undertakes testing. However, health authorities or private owners who become aware of contamination are also expected to pass on any information.

…the truth of course is that the vast majority of houses where P is only smoked and not cooked in are not dangerous at all…

The first time I half-heard a news report about Housing New Zealand tenants “contaminating” homes by smoking methamphetamine in them, I assumed it was a mistake. Clandestine labs, sure: they can leave behind some some hazardous chemicals, depending on the actual process employed. But a dwelling being rendered uninhabitable and needing to be torn apart simply because meth was consumed in it? It didn’t seem possible.

It isn’t possible.

…as Russell Brown painstakingly points out, houses that test positive for P being smoked in them are not the health issue that the moral panic over P has produced.

The exact same dodgy standards for testing meth are prevalent in our drug testing for workers, as Jarrod Gilbert pointed out this year…

The primary method of drug testing is the urine test, but this is a terribly blunt tool.

Favoured because it’s quick and low cost, it tests for the metabolites of drugs rather than the chemicals themselves and as such it fails to differentiate between on- and off-the-clock use. That means occasional marijuana users test positive for a week or more after a single smoke.

Tests that treat recreational use as being the same as use on the job are a problem. While marijuana affects a user’s ability to work or drive safely at the time, occasional use has no lingering effects beyond a good night’s sleep. While the metabolites remain in the system for long periods, the drug’s narcotic effect is gone within a few hours. Testing for after-hours use is essentially little more than a test of character – something that can be better accomplished without chemistry.

…in NZ we are simply too immature a culture to be able to have adult discussions on drugs and effective standards for those drugs. We see the drug as illegal and ANY suggestion that it is being taken becomes the rational for firing someone or demolishing a house. We are too juvenile to comprehend that simply testing positive for a drug isn’t impairment, add to this  former Police Officers keen to cash in on drug moral panic by becoming ‘drug testing companies’ and we get a perfect storm of policy designed by morons.

How many millions have been wasted on this hysteria? How many lives destroyed by throwing people out not the street?

Remember – any beneficiary caught testing positive were banned from Housing NZ for 12 months – no wonder we had 40 000 homeless and a motel policy that blew out to $50 million.

This is NZ in the 21st Century, a selfish child easily spooked into spite.

 

3: Police, GCSB and SIS abuse of power

The SIS, who effectively get to write the laws they are supposed to follow, were caught out illegally taking data for over 17 years and they have done everything in the power to hide that…

Spies slammed by watchdog for ‘unlawful’ access of database which includes most Kiwis

In a report released today, Gwyn has spelled out her belief that the NZSIS unlawfully access Customs’ data for 17 years.

She details how the service had access to a Customs’ computer terminal, which allowed agents to do a massive trawl of information that “detailed the movement of 11 million passengers each year”.

She said the resulting database would include “data relating to a large proportion of New Zealanders”.

She said the NZSIS had ignored requests for information on how much data it held and she had asked again for it to be provided within three months.

…look at the lengths the Secret Intelligence Service went to avoid scrutiny…

The NZSIS had access to the data since 1997 through a “CusMod” terminal in the service’s offices.

It allowed intelligence staff to create a travel alert for an individual by entering a name and other identifying features, or to search past travels to gather information.

A halt was called to access to the terminal to gather data on November 24, 2014.

“This was the result of concerns identified by various Government agencies involved as to the legal basis upon which NZSIS access occurred,” Gwyn’s report said.

On December 12, 2014, a new law came into effect leading to an agreement that allowed NZSIS access to the terminal under strict conditions. It lasted a year.

The new rules limited to five the number of intelligence service staff who could access the terminal, limited use to counter-terrorism investigations and also restricted the amount of information NZSIS could access.

Gwyn found, and the NZSIS conceded, that the rules were never followed.

Contrary to its undertaking, the NZSIS pulled details “about particular individuals’ travel movements”, never set up access rules around the terminal allowing continued broad use of it and sought data other than for counter-terrorism investigations.

The NZSIS then went on to ignore a Memorandum of Understanding it signed in August 2015, under which it agreed to provide a list of those who would access the terminal.

On June 15, 2016, NZSIS was again told to stop accessing Customs’ data.

Gwyn said the access to the terminal before 2014 was unlawful – but that the NZSIS carried on acting unlawfully even when told what it had to do to stay inside the law.

An investigation by the NZSIS internal team that monitors compliance with the law, took place between June and August 2016, after which limited and legal access to the data took place.

Gwyn said she had no idea how much data the NZSIS had “unlawfully obtained” and how it was intending to handle that data.

She said she gave the NZSIS a report in May 2016 detailing why accessing Customs’ data was unlawful, with a recommendation it report on how much information it held.

She said the NZSIS had not provided her with any information on that. She said the service had also ignored recommendations to talk with her office and the Privacy Commissioner over the “unlawful” access to data.

…they view the law and the rules as a joke they don’t have to laugh at. Remember, this is the same Secret Intelligence Service who colluded with John Key’s Office to falsely smear the Leader of the Opposition, Phil Goff, months before the 2011 election. They have shown they have no problems interfering with NZ elections and with the extra resourcing and powers they’ve been given, they seem to be a law unto themselves.

How does this mass surveillance and breach of any checks and balances over their power make any of us safer?

It’s not just the upper echelons of our Intelligence Community that is drunk on their own power, look at what the Police are trying to get away with…

1080 threat suspects shocked to discover their house was bugged
A Golden Bay couple suing police for being wrongly targeted in a 1080 blackmail investigation have been shocked to discover their home was bugged.

Rolf and Ute Kleine, who run teahouse and bakery Takaka Infusion, obtained police documents through their lawyer in November that reveal their house was bugged with a surveillance device 20 days prior to a police search of their home in 2015.

The Kleines have lodged a statement of claim with the Nelson High Court and are suing police next year.

They say both searches and their warrant applications were unlawful and illegal, and they had been inaccurately profiled by police seeking those responsible for a threat to Fonterra to put 1080 pesticide into baby milk formula.

…this illegal bugging follows the same tactics by Police spying on prison activists.

I myself have had my civil rights breached by the Police as part of their failed Nicky Hager witch hunt.

We have Police and Intelligence Agencies stepping well outside the law and not getting punished for it.

This is a deeply concerning slide towards huge Police State powers with no ability to reign them in.

 

2: Key lied about mass surveillance 

David Fisher must be in the running for best Journalist 2017 with this extraordinary investigation into how the sleepy hobbits of Muddle Nu Zilind were played and conned into believing Key was being honest when he claimed there was no mass surveillance plans for New Zealand…

John Key, mass surveillance and what really happened when Edward Snowden accused him of spying

Sir John Key’s story of how and why he canned a “mass surveillance” programme are at odds with official papers detailing development of the “Speargun” project.

The issue blew up in the final days of the 2014 election with Key claiming the programme was long-dead and had been replaced by a benign cyber-security system called Cortex.

Key always claimed the Speargun project to tap New Zealand’s internet cable was stopped in March 2013.

But new documents show development of Speargun continued after the time he had said he ordered a halt – apparently because the scheme was “too broad”.

Instead, they show Speargun wasn’t actually stopped until after Key was told in a secret briefing that details were likely to become public because they could be in the trove of secrets taken by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.

…Fisher’s conclusion is damning…

It means that Key knew more than a year before the “Moment of Truth” event that it was possible Snowden would release details of a project intended to scan all internet traffic coming into New Zealand.

…Key knew Snowden knew the NZ Government were planning a mass surveillance program that would be controlled by the NSA and he lied directly to NZ to hide this fact.

Remember, the NSA were still using remote surveillance of Dotcom even after NZ intelligence agencies had switched them off…

Judge: Dotcom spied on two months longer than previously admitted

The illegal spying which earned Kim Dotcom an apology from former Prime Minister Sir John Key went on two months longer than previously admitted, according to a High Court judgment.

The revelation – if accurate – would open a can of worms over sworn admissions the GCSB has made in the High Court and the Court of Appeal over assistance given to police ahead of the FBI-inspired 2012 raid which saw Dotcom and three others arrested.

It could also raise the possibility of a fresh apology to Dotcom because Key’s apology was in the context of spying from December 16, 2011 through to January 20, 2012.

Questions have been asked of Prime Minister Bill English but he has not responded. A spokesman for GCSB Minister Chris Finlayson referred questions to the GCSB, even though previous issues around the illegal spying have been handled at ministerial level.

Remember the timeline here…

March 8th 2011 – Jerry Mateparae is stepped down as head of the GCSB.
March 15th 2011 – Top NSA spook, James Clapper, flies to NZ to meet with Key to discuss ‘synchronicity’ between the NSA and GCSB.
March 22nd 2011 – High level intelligence meetings
May 2011 – McCully visits Washington
June 17th 2011 – Key meets with Ian Fletcher for breakfast at Stamford Plaza.
July 22nd 2011 – Key is invited to Washington as pay back for this new ‘synchronicity’.
July 26th 2011 – Key side steps normal protocols and appoints his old school friend Ian Fletcher to take over at the GCSB.
October 2011 – John Key, the head of the SIS and NZDF join Ian Fletcher, the MFAT Head, and the DPMC boss for a secret dinner at the British High Commissioner’s home
December 8th 2011 – A letter states that Key is going to meet Ian Fletcher on 12th December
December 12th 2011 – Key meets with Ian Fletcher.
December 14th 2011 – The Police boss responsible for spying on Dotcom meets John Key with other intelligence agencies present.
December 16th 2011 – Kim Dotcom starts to be illegally spied upon.
January 2012 – Raid on Kim Dotcom. Spying supposedly ends.

Operation Speargun was set up to tap our Southern Cross cable and was waiting for the new GCSB law to pass, the GCSB law that Key claimed stopped mass surveillance, yet every other legal expert said would allow for mass surveillance. So the evidence is that Operation Speargun was running and was simply waiting for the legislation to pass, the very legislation that the GCSB went and briefed the NSA on. The documents Key released claiming that he stopped this plan show nothing of the sort.

This concentration of power follows a very clear path set out upon by National.

Remember:

  • National gave the Police vast new retrospective surveillance powers
  • National rammed through legislation under urgency allowing the State to force civil telecommunication companies to build backdoors to their networks and not tell their customers that the State had breached their privacy.
  • National rammed through legislation under urgency allowing the State to spy on NZers
  • The GCSB went from $80m to $140m in budget per year
  • The SIS were ‘rewarded’ with a huge increase in powers and budget.
  • The SIS colluded with John Key’s Office to falsely smear the Leader of the Opposition Phil Goff months before the 2011 election.
  • Warrantless spying

And National gave these security agencies even more powers that will allow…

…and these powers are being considered while there is an investigation under way that..

After getting caught illegally spying, after being caught being racist, after being caught abusing their power, after being given vast new mass surveillance powers, after having huge increases in budget – after all that, they still can’t keep all this information they now have on us secure in even the most basic ways. 

So what conclusions can we draw here about the mass surveillance state in New Zealand?

The unbelievable way New Zealanders and the mainstream media framed the Moment of Truth as a giant waste of time because Kim didn’t prove Key knew about him before he claimed shows the juvenile nature of our news culture.

Let’s remind ourselves what the great luminaries of our mainstream media had to say about the Moment of Truth…

Prime Minister John Key will be relieved the much talked about Moment of Truth passed by without seriously damaging his credibility.

There was no great reveal, no smoking gun, nothing to make New Zealanders believe they are being illegally spied upon.

Otago Daily Times

Mr Key said neither had provided any actual evidence of their claims and said it was simply rhetoric.

“What they’re doing is making unsubstantiated claims. The Government has provided evidence that shoots down their arguments. If they want to provide evidence that supports their claims, last night was their chance and they failed to produce anything other than rhetoric.”

Claire Trevett, NZ Herald

The initial fallout from last night’s meeting was very much, where was the bombshell? It was a question Dotcom did not answer adequately, choosing instead to attack the standard of journalism in this country.

Stuff

Last night’s events were nearly overshadowed by the lack of information around an email which Kim Dot Com claimed showed John Key was involved in a plot with Hollywood company Warner Brothers to have him extradited to the US. Dot Com has long said Mr Key knew of his existence long before the raid on his Coatesville mansion. Warner Brothers swiftly denied that the email is real, as did the MPAA.

The event had been billed for months as showing proof of this plot, but it didn’t warrant a mention on stage last night, and  Dotcom refused to answer questions on the email, saying it has been referred to Parliament’s privileges committee.

The Wireless (RNZ)

3 News political reporter Brook Sabin says last night’s Moment of Truth at the Auckland Town Hall was a mixed bag.

Notably absent was Kim Dotcom’s proof that Prime Minister John Key knew about him before the raid in January 2012.

Internet Party leader Laila Harre says it was left out under legal advice – but its omission made this part of the event a “bellyflop”, says Sabin.

TV3

Mark Sainsbury: Truth be told, many of us are over MoT

Mark Sainsbury

The Internet Party’s ‘Moment of Truth’ rally has wrapped without any bombshell being dropped on the Prime Minister.

NBR

Dotcom’s Moment of Truth ‘no king hit’

Rebecca Wright, TV3

Reject foreign attempt to hijack election

Matthew Hooton, NBR

“at the end of it things had not changed that much from when it began”

John Armstrong, NZ Herald

“there was barely any fresh substance to chew on.”

Toby Manhire, NZ Herald

“he has not provided evidence beyond circumstantial that the GCSB is actually conducting mass surveillance on New Zealanders.”

Audrey Young, NZ Herald

“The mass surveillance issue was always a red herring, Glenn Greenwald and Edward Snowden presented no concrete evidence of privacy breaches, Julian Assange was a sideshow. Snowden’s revelation that the NSA had an operation in Auckland has to be followed up.”

Fran O’Sullivan

For now, however, those questions are likely to be overshadowed by Dotcom’s spectacular failure to prove his central claim that John Key lied about his knowledge of Dotcom before a raid on the German’s Coatesville mansion.

Tracy Watkins

National can take some vindication that issues like Dirty Politics and the Internet Party’s “Moment of Truth” were distractions.

Patrick Gower

The vast majority of the mainstream media in NZ all decried the Moment of Truth as an enormous fail and wrote it off.

The Moment of Truth had Assange, Greenwald and Edward Snowden prove without a shadow of a doubt that John Key had lied through his teeth about mass surveillance. It showed the NSA and CIA have staff here, it showed they planned to spike the sea cable and steal data directly from that feed and it showed that our GCSB went and met with the NSA to assure them the law Key had just pushed through allowed for mass surveillance despite Key telling the NZ public that it didn’t.

But what did NZ focus on? Kim not proving Key knew he existed before he claimed to have known.

We are our own worst enemies.

You were conned New Zealand.

 

1: The NZ mainstream media utterly missing in action for 9 years

The greatest fraud in the BIMS reports that highlight the horror of National’s 9 years in power is that the NZ mainstream media unquestioningly allowed these scumbags to get away with it for a decade!

Where the hell was the NZ media for the last 9 years when the conclusions of the BIM reports were so obvious to everyone else?

Let’s call the last 9 years of National’s rule what it really was – class-austerity. A draconian policy that destroyed the most vulnerable but because media are middle class they never saw it and allowed them to get away with it.

How can we have such an apocalyptic conclusion of 9 years worth of policy failure and the vast majority of NZ media not pick up on the enormity of damage being perpetrated?

How did this all go unnoticed for so long?

The biggest story for the mainstream media this year was demonising and destroying Metiria Turei for having the audacity to tell her story of misleading Social Welfare to feed her child with her chin up.

We don’t just need a new Government, we desperately need a new media!

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18 Comments

  1. Marc says:

    And ALL this barely worth much of a mention by our MSM, too busy reporting on the wedding plans of Harry and his bride to be.

    What do they put into the water, or the food in this country, I wonder? Nobody seems too bothered, except a few, who stay tuned in.

    • Ed says:

      A nation of sheep.

    • WILD KATIPO says:

      Im sensing another massive book , by Nicky Hager ,… or some such other to collate , categorize and retain this 9 year era of the National party for future reference in political science classes.

      It would serve as a strong reference point in defining red flag threats to a democracy and the methods used by the perpetrators.

      Each case to be defined separately , analysed and commented on similar to the rise of fascism in Europe , or even the advent of dangerous cults are now.

      This is what is needed.

  2. Kim dandy says:

    Your last line speaks volumes!
    To many scandals – not enough accountability!
    The sooner the NZ media gets a full shake up the better.
    When is Winstons ad-free public channel going to kick off?

  3. ropata says:

    Fantastic piece. Bomber for President! You’ve been doing the job of 10 MSM journalists…

  4. Paul says:

    Brilliant.

  5. Louis says:

    Yeah totally agree with that Ropata and Paul, this is a brilliant coverage of National’s scandals by Martyn, who is doing the job that msm should have done, but wont.

  6. bert says:

    And the fuckers can’t understand why they weren’t re-elected. They really are thick!

  7. Shona says:

    Awesome work Bomber. Never give up .
    Compliments of the season to you and your family.
    Next year is going to be a hard slog if the BIMs are any indication of how far up shit creek we really are.
    Enjoy the summer you are going to need all your strength from now on.

  8. Phil says:

    I don’t know who is more corrupt the National Party or NZ’s MSM .

    • Priss says:

      The National Party.

      The msm are simply fixated on click-bait, easy head-lines, and a 2 hour news-cycle. Not exactly designed for critical analysis, Phil. That’s been relegated to blogs to carry out

  9. Castro says:

    Number 8 is actually number 1, with a bullet, and then some. Think about it, really. “Our” parliament is nothing more than a shell front under the de facto control, and beholden to, a lebensraum-seeking, repressive and expansionist foreign DICTATORSHIP. Nothing to see here. Yeah, right.

  10. Thank you Martyn – brilliant work. Take care and have a good Christmas and New Year. Kia kaha.

  11. Strypey says:

    Sometimes I despair when I see how hard so many smart, well-informed activist work opposing this shit, and how much of it still goes on regardless. But then I start to think about how much worse it could be without the work of all those activists, and that really sends shivers up my spine. Kia kaha whānau, don’t let the corporate clobbering machine grind you down.

  12. Well reported, Martyn! And very valuable as a reference source for other bloggers (and any real journos interested in these issues) for future analysis…

  13. Priss says:

    Who saw the Kim Dotcom special on TV1 last night? One thing that came out was Key looking uneasy and dodgy. The clips in the doco may well be setting the narrative for his “legacy”; as a dishonest con-man.

  14. Max says:

    Truly remarkable. A long list of scandals, and all of them perpetrated by the Right……… oh dear.

  15. RR says:

    Brilliant! I wish the general public were aware of the depths the last govt were capable of and how certain journalists were complicit!
    .