Who has not read about the Kiwi Spy; Out in the Cold? (1)

Tacky, at the very least.

My take on this “affair”; being a former officer in charge (Inspector) of police Criminal Intelligence Section (aka spies).   Afterall; this crap was going down – during my tenure (and I know 3 ex cops who defected to SIS in my time and 2 x SAS) – and subsequently.    And, it is the “subsequently” part that gets really very dirty.

Don’t want my take?  Don’t read.

As the rules pertaining to spies incorporated direct: “Thou shalt not tell.”

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Makes any NZ SAS misdemeanours in Afghanistan, look pretty rosy. 

Makes the Bad Cops look Good Cops in, “When Good Cops Go Bad” in which I have delineated with precision, rule of law subjugated to rule of the police. .

This latest chapter in who guards the guardians, also helps bring to life the fiction I penned in: Out of the Inferno

In this case:

Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security Brendan Horsley, the independent watchdog of the spy agencies, in his report into the case, of a SIS officer wanting to bring to the attention of the police, sexual abuse of the daughter of a target SIS had visited, (sic) said: 

“What are the ethical and moral standards we should expect from the SIS, an agency whose mission is to keep New Zealanders safe?

“What would you do if you found out a young woman was being sexually abused by her father?”

Question: What will New ZIlinders do now?   

Now they have been appraised of what I consider to be a, dangerous mentality pervading the bastions of our guardians.

It’s not the front-line staff who should face the guillotine.  Afterall, they merely follow orders and have the Nuremberg defence to fall back on.

Fact is: Fish Rots from the Head. (2)

When we have: 

  • a front-line staffer threatened with serious penalties by superior officers, because he tried to bring the sex crimes to the attention of the police?

When we have a memo arriving at the door of the front-line officer reading:

_ “As you will recall the obligation to protect classified information gained in the course of duties for the New Zealand Government is lifelong,” the letter began.

_ It was signed by SIS Director-General Rebecca Kitteridge and the sting was in the tail. The unauthorised disclosure of classified information could have “serious implications” for the government whether or not the information was current or historic, Kitteridge wrote.


_ “We take any failure to comply with undertakings to protect classified information very seriously. This includes consideration of referral to New Zealand Police for investigation of any criminal wrongdoing.”



_ Rebecca’s response of denial or obfuscation.  

To which the front-line staffer displays alarming fortitude:

_ “I interpret your letter to be intimidatory and threatening in nature, designed to encourage me to withdraw my complaint to the Inspector-General.”

I am compelled to say at this stage: I reckon the front-line staff has got – balls m8.    But, also integrity and moral decency. 

What do New ZIlinder’s do when they are presented with elevation of the behaviour of a State Agency above the rule of law, to which we expect all state agencies to be accountable?

Are we so pitiful a nation that we turn a blind eye?

The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars / But in ourselves, that we are underlings (3)

As PLATO once said: We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark. The real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.

This is what happens when there is no hand brake on state agencies which self-educate and foster their own culture of omnipotence, deep in the forest of intrigue, exaggeration and make believe (all for a cause mind you i.e., job security.)  

Time to stand tall fellow Kiwis.

PS In my view, police Commissioner Coster, emerged from the undergrowth of police culture- and has demonstrated commendable control over a police department which was before his arrival – going off the rails.

Maybe time to put him in charge of GCSB as well as police?


Ross Meurant, graduate in politics both at university and as Member of Parliament; formerly police inspector in charge of Auckland police spies; currently Honorary consul for an African state; Trustee and CEO of Russian owned commercial assets in NZ and has international business interests.

  • NZ Herald
  • A fish rots from the head down’? When an organization or state fails, it is the leadership that is the root cause.
  • Cassius, a Roman nobleman, uttered this phrase when he was talking to his friend, Brutus, in Shakespeare’s play Julius Caesar. The phrase goes, “The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars / But in ourselves, that we are underlings.” (Julius Caesar, Act I, Scene III, L. 140-141). He is, in fact, trying to persuade Brutus to stop Caesar from becoming a monarch — an act he thinks is in the best interest of the country. He is arguing that it is not fate, but their weak position, that is exploiting them to act against their will.



  1. You have us all at a disadvantage senpai, and you like it that way. From my point of view, I would’ve thought any spy who is halfway decent might take up the challenge of supporting a sexual abuse victim against the State (without detection) as a magnum opus. To die attempting to achieve great art would be a win in itself. A snitch, on the other hand, still believes in Queen and Country, is vulnerable to threats, and hopes only to reach a level where they can cover up their abuses for the gain of status. Learn to recruit better assets. As for the Nuremberg Defence, re-read the above, then check your calendar, then call AHC for clarification. I’m sure you’re allowed here only for something for people to swing against, and you like that too, but can you smarten up and enter the new millennium already?

  2. As PLATO once said: We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark. The real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.

    John 3:19, NIV: “This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.”


    A fish rots from the head down’? When an organization or state fails, it is the leadership that is the root cause.

    Sun Tzu said: “If words of command are not clear and distinct, if orders are not thoroughly understood, the general is to blame. But if his orders ARE clear, and the soldiers nevertheless disobey, then it is the fault of their officers.” So saying, he ordered the leaders of the two companies to be beheaded.

  3. Say it louder, Ross. This is an indefensible shocker. The bullying of the one honest spook, is possibly Upper Hutt High School dynamics – but very chilling, and of course, sinister. One or two similar things pop up in Dirty Politics, but not, as far as I recall, as bad as this – it could be the Key ethos lingering on like a bad smell.

    Were I younger and richer, I’d be looking at inviting Kitteridge into court and asking her to explain.
    The situation of a young woman enduring unspeakable violation, and another female failing to act knowing what was happening, looks like psycho territory to me. Oddly, perhaps, I can’t see a chappie in Kitteridge’s job going along with turning a blind eye to the violation of a woman, dunno, but there are a few around the place capable of the ‘ quiet or you’ll lose your job’ scenario.

    It does take courage for the one good man to speak up as he did, so thank you for highlighting this – we need to know that there are heroes out there.

    • Snow White: “This is an indefensible shocker.”

      Completely indefensible. I was appalled by this story: the callousness of the SIS in not reporting this to police at the time can scarcely be believed.

      “One or two similar things pop up in Dirty Politics…”

      Nothing quite as awful, as far as I recall. Though I said to a couple of Aussie tourists (who were singing Key’s praises) in Prague that if the government had an ounce of principle, the lot of them would resign. But they hadn’t and so they wouldn’t….

      (And I said that those Aussies were welcome to Key.)

      “….and another female failing to act knowing what was happening….”

      In fairness to Kitteridge, she wasn’t in charge when the break-in in question happened, and the abuse was still occurring.

      I remember that case, saw the TV documentary in which that woman participated. It was a vile story: the reason I’ve not forgotten it.

      But Kitteridge is surely in charge now. Threatening and attempting to intimidate an SIS officer over this in the contemporary environment is just unforgivable. What was she thinking?

      • “ What was she thinking ?” She may not be up to the job. I refuse to believe that it would not be possible to pass that information confidentially to the police for them to act upon, and am now left wondering about the relationship between the SIS and the police. If Kitteridge is not able to maintain a constructive relationship with the NZ Police, perhaps she should relinquish her job to somebody who can.

        When Kitteridge – who I think of as the spy with the pearl earrings – interviewed saying that she thought her dept’s work would make good reality television, I wondered about her priorities. But in this instance, threatening a staffer trying to do the right thing is worse than bullying, and I query her values. Her minister should be requiring a ‘ please explain’ on this issue.

        As a mother of daughters, I read this realising that none of us are safe when the power of the state colludes with the abuse of women, and that is scary, and that’s how it is.

        Obviously I hold that one good man in much higher esteem, than I do whoever tried to silence him. He himself was also put in an invidious position finding himself working for a morally dodgy outfit. It happened to me once, and I quit, and took legal action, and won, but this is a govt agency, and once again they appear to be no better than the private sector when they should be an example of rectitude. Stuff them.

  4. Caucus records should confirm that in 1989 during your first term as an MP, three papers submitted by you, were approved.
    (1) That National embrace Labour’s anti nuke policy (endorsed by Dunedin conference 1989)
    (2) Establishment of a Children’s Ministry (endorsed at the same conference)
    (3) Amalgamation of Transport Traffic cops with police (adopted during fist term of Bolger government)
    The paper you submitted in respect of (3) was supported by a serving chief inspector who was working with you.

    This record of ‘success’ suggests the substance of your proposals – had integrity.
    Maybe you should submit a paper to amalgamate police and GCSB?

  5. This is what I guess, Ross (with a little tongue in cheek).

    That with regard to attention (and attention seekers), just with the old adage that any advertising is good advertising, perhaps any attention by various surveillance agencies could be considered good attention by some who just cannot help expressing so much, albeit, episodically.

    Knowing that you are likely to be heard (as the subject of investigation considering you to potentially be a national security or national interest threat), it would give you a voice, kind of, (he writes, Giggling Out Loud).

    And it would certainly provide some comfort for those dark, lonely nights when a person suspects that most everybody else has run out of interest!

    You’re OK, Ross. You are a likable chap and a good all-rounder.

    I dare say that you’d initially raised a few eyebrows with that Russian association, but my view is that (in the modern, post Soviet era) pretty much anything goes just as long as it’s considered to be good for trade and commerce, and where various parties represented are not considered to be fundamentally, diametrically opposed to the general status-quo.

    Mark my words, you certainly don’t attempt to present like some Franklin zoo character.

    As a sideline comment, but relevant. Who’d really know whether various locally domiciled security agencies could have done more to avert the the Christchurch mosque shooting? It’s anybody’s guess.

    How well integrated are NZSIS, GCSB, DPMC and NZ Police (including NDIB)? Are there concerns regarding “demarcation” issues? Again, anybody’s guess.

    Like being wrongly accused of being a racist, and feeling the brunt of it, many feel wrongly accused of unacceptable religious beliefs, or having none at all. Many people fear fundamentalist Islamic extremism and do not believe that it is their obligation to become sycophants to any one particular religious philosophy simply out of (dark ages type) fear.

    Political government may deny targeting certain religious organization members locally, but this does not mean to say that various central government agencies would not have a legitimate interest by “checking in” on them from time to time, as they would surely, with many alternative groups.

    • Given the incredible journey which befell a kid from a lower socio eco wider family and who failed school certificate.
      And, Mistakes I’ve made (which for us all is what experience is made of).
      Passage of time and reflection permits most of us to re-set some ideas we were feed.

      With respect.
      As I say above : Don’t want my take? Don’t read.

  6. To put my last comment into context and in short;

    Specifically, in relation to reporting, mis-reporting, non-reporting, ambiguous or conflicting reporting procedures and protocol, failing to fully report or disclose, reporting that which one or another doesn’t wish to hear and not reporting when both specified directive and legislation prevents but where various parties (authoritative or otherwise) demand it, one can strongly suggest that it is a nation’s leadership and management which usually rots from the head down, Ross.

    I’ve observed enough legal professionals in this country who carry themselves as rotten, decapitated hapuka demanding respect where and when none is justified. And it is many of these fish who are in top level advisory positions.

    Of zoos, aquariums and aviaries.

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