It has been revealed that spy boss Ian Fletcher applied for the top job at the GCSB after a phone call from Prime Minister John Key, and he was the only candidate interviewed for the post.
A shortlist of four others had earlier been rejected by state services commissioner Iain Rennie, which Labour deputy leader Grant Robertson says raises questions about the process.
"I find it very hard to believe there is only one person in New Zealand or Australia who was up to being interviewed for this job," he said on Firstline this morning. "I am sure there were people around who could have been interviewed."
Mr Fletcher took up the role early last year, as the spy agency became aware it may have illegally spied on Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom.
Mr Roberston says Mr Key has been trying to downplay the nature of his relationship with Mr Fletcher, who he has known since childhood.
"I think the Prime Minister needs to front up about this relationship. He spent a lot of energy last week trying to diminish his friendship with Ian Fletcher – we can see why now, because clearly he did intervene in this process.
"I have to say it just reeks of cronyism."
Green party co-leader Russel Norman agrees the relationship between Mr Key and Mr Fletcher should be examined.
"Now that we know that the GCSB conducts illegal activities, is it really the best situation to have someone who's so close to the minister as head of that department?
"That’s really where the question lies."
3 News / RadioLIVE