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English and Key face attack over Dotcom

Wednesday 26 Sep 2012 5:55 a.m.

More details about the Kim Dotcom spy saga are expected come out when he appears in the Auckland High Court today.

The Government's intelligence agency the Government Security Communications Bureau (GCSB) is facing an inquiry over illegal spying on Dotcom who is facing extradition over alleged internet piracy and money laundering.

The GCSB is not allowed to spy on New Zealand residents without permission, but a Crown law memo shows police wrongly told them Dotcom was not a resident.

Yesterday it was revealed Deputy Prime Minister Bill English knew about the operation before Prime Minister John Key, but didn't pass on the information.

Mr English isn't commenting on the development, saying he wouldn't want to give the sense he can recall details that he can't.

Mr Key is now urging opposition parties to wait for the inquiry report on the GCSB's illegal spying on Dotcom before accusing the Government of incompetence, but they're in no mood to wait for answers.

Labour, the Greens and NZ First think they've got the Government on the ropes and they're going to launch another attack in Parliament today.

They want to know why Mr English last month signed a suppression order to keep the spying secret but only told Mr Key on Monday night.

"Wait for the report before jumping to conclusions," Mr Key told Parliament yesterday as he fended off a torrent of questions about the GCSB's actions.

Mr Key expects to have the report by Friday.

The opposition parties also want to know how the GCSB could have believed Dotcom was a foreign national when it spied on him in December and January, although he threw a $500,000 fireworks party in November 2010 to celebrate gaining residency.

Only the Security Intelligence Service is allowed to spy on New Zealand citizens and residents, and it needs a ministerial warrant to do that.

"There is incredible incompetence at the highest level of Government," Labour leader David Shearer said.

NZ First leader Winston Peters says the working relationship between Mr Key and Mr English is "woefully dysfunctional... This is evidence of a complete breakdown in communications".

NZN / 3 News

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