Gov-Gen's time as top spy questioned
Thu, 11 Oct 2012 6:04p.m.
By Tova O’Brien
The Prime Minister is one of just two people responsible for holding the GCSB to account. The other is retired judge Paul Neazor, the GCSB watchdog.
But why doesn't Mr Neazor know anything about three cases of potentially illegal spying that he's supposed to be investigating? Especially given one of those cases could involve the Governor-General?
As the Queen's representative in New Zealand the Governor-General is symbolically the most powerful person in the country.
Sir Jerry Mateparae's last job wasn't bad either – as director of the GCSB, he was our top spy.
He held the post for just under five months in 2011 – the same year the GCSB undertook a potentially unlawful operation. And for Green Party co-leader Russel Norman, that raises some worrying questions.
“The Governor-General needs to be beyond reproach,” Mr Norman says. “If it was found that the Governor-General in a previous role had overseen unlawful spying on New Zealanders, it's bad news for the Governor-General’s office.”
When the GCSB revealed it had illegally spied on Kim Dotcom at the request of police, it was forced to review all joint operations over the last three years.
Three cases were identified which raised potential legal issues, including one in 2011. Mr Neazor was invited to investigate last Wednesday, but when 3 News contacted him he couldn't recall the cases.
“I'm sorry you've lost me completely, I don't know what you’re talking about,” he says.
“I can't put my finger on what you're asking me about. I'm not prepared to say what I'm doing at the moment.”
Mr Norman wonders who is keeping watch on the GCSB.
“We have an organisation which knows no effective oversight because the Prime Minister doesn't want to know,” he says. “The GCSB gets to do what it likes.”
The Government, the GCSB, police and the Governor-General's office have closed ranks over the 2011 case. They don't want to tell us if Sir Jerry's involved.
John Key says “let’s wait and see”.
“I wouldn’t jump to conclusions. I haven’t had any nasty surprises yet.”
Yesterday Mr Key didn't know, because he hadn't asked.
“I don't know, honestly,” he says.
And today he says his spies are still trying to work out the date.
“I don't know – what I do know is that GCSB is looking at the issue now.”
But New Zealand First leader Winston Peters says it’s a cover up.
“I believe that the Prime Minister does know and that he's covering this up.”
As another high profile figure is pulled into the maelstrom that is the Dotcom scandal, there’s yet another example of the Prime Minister insisting he doesn’t know.
The question now is – if Mr Key doesn't know and neither does Mr Neazor, who does?
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15/10/2012 3:05:19 p.m.
The GGs just a quango party puppet now.I argue we live in a paralimentary tyranny. Time for the GG to go, and we validate our own laws through a real consitution.
12/10/2012 9:43:26 p.m.
Sam Kiel wrote:
And Kiwi's are expected now to respect and obey the law and our country's main institutions of govt.? How can our confidence in the system be restored?
12/10/2012 9:35:07 p.m.
Rosey Tangaroawhai wrote:
OF COURSE its a cover up. Its corporatocrasy. They ALL must be made accountable.
12/10/2012 4:09:01 p.m.
I tried saying the Governor-General was the most powerful person in New Zealand long ago but the comment was censored. Interesting how 3news just admitted it in this article. John keys is-int lying he really doesn't know much about whats going on. Did you really think this was some type of democratic government?
12/10/2012 2:47:53 p.m.
Governor General is the Queen's representative. May be the Queen should ask him if he spied on his own people.
Sir Jerry Mateparae is a knight. He is a honourable person. Why not ask him direct if he was responsible for any illegal activities in GCSB. May be things happened during his time but without his knowledge. I am sure he will issue a statement. He is a honourable soldier and not a politician for god's sake.
12/10/2012 12:12:27 p.m.
This is why i don't live there anymore. NZ is a JOKE!!
12/10/2012 12:08:48 p.m.
Ian Fletcher should lose his job. a british civil servant???
11/10/2012 8:03:48 p.m.
Clive Denson wrote:
Just wondering how much of the $50 million goes towards payment for them too keep their mouths shut,so the PM can put the country into more crap,before his departure in 2014 or if not sooner.
11/10/2012 7:30:51 p.m.
Where is our govenor general on all this? Why have they not called the prime minister and the last governor general out on this and asked for an inquiry? This is just not acceptable and about high time our leaders prove they are innocent of any wrongdoing or step aside.
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