National on the ropes | The Jackal

31 Jul 2013

National on the ropes

As I'm sure my informed readers are aware, there has been some rather serious developments in New Zealand recently concerning freedoms that most of us used to take for granted...freedoms that I'm sure many Kiwis will wish to defend, including hopefully our mainstream media.

Yesterday it was revealed that Parliamentary Services had acquired the phone records of an investigative journalist, Andrea Vance, and subsequently handed these communications onto David Henry who was investigating how exactly the confidential Kitteridge report (PDF) into the GCSB had been leaked. That report highlighted widespread and illegal spying on at least 88 New Zealand citizens.

Prime Minister John Key has tried to distance himself from the latest debacle with the Speaker of the House, David Carter, after misleading parliament, claiming that Parliamentary Services acted under its own volition. This passing of the buck seems hard to believe, being that Parliamentary Services usually only acts with direction from politicians. They likely don't have the capability to access a private persons communications either, so who really gave the order to breach Vance's privacy and who exactly has the capability to do so? All evidence in this case points to further undemocratic interference by the Minister of spooks, John Key.

David Henry has also claimed that he didn't request such information, although the now disgraced Peter Dunne has refuted this claim. The United Future Leader had to resign from his Ministerial responsibilities because he failed to comply with all the inquiries demands. Strangely the Dunce is still willing to support a government determined to further undermine our hard won right to privacy.

Also of relevance was the recent revelation that another investigative journalist, Jon Stephenson, was being spied on by NZ Defence Force personal and possibly the NZSIS and GCSB, simply because they didn't like his reports from Afghanistan. The NZDF clearly didn't appreciate the award-winning journalist standing up for his rights by taking a defamation case against them, and there have been allegations that a senior serving officer has threatened Stephenson’s life. A NZDF manual that labels certain journalists as subversives that need to be watched was also unearthed. It's been condemned by certain editors who clearly don't appreciate such archaic directives. The current Minister of Defence, Jonathan Coleman, has quickly moved to change the Manual in order to try and quieten down media discontent.

Such revelations couldn't come at a worse time for the government, with the GCSB amendment bill proposing to dramatically extend spying legislation that would see mass warrantless surveillance commonplace. Obviously the government needs the journalists on side now more than ever to help sell the highly controversial law changes that have received a huge amount of academic attention and caused well-attended protests across the entire country. Another recent protest against animal testing clearly shows that the mood is turning against National, who are doing their best to ignore such widespread opposition to their defunct regime.

Unfortunately for John Key (but fortunate for the rest of us) the media appears to finally be waking up to Nationals undemocratic governance, with some excellent articles being published that specifically highlight the numerous flaws in Nationals reasoning and excuses. Even some of the governments most ardent propagandists have started to question John Key's administration, which doesn't bode well for his reelection in 2014.

Clearly the majority of New Zealander's have had enough of the cloak and dagger bullshit and the resulting stench emanating from the halls of power. We have simply had enough excuses and inquiries into inquiries that are a waste of our scarce resources, taxes that could obviously be better spent elsewhere. In a free and open democracy such issues of numerous privacy breaches and coverups should simply not arise. The fact they have means serious changes are required...changes that should start with certain government officials being sacked forthwith. Unfortunately, bar a full scale revolution, this isn't likely to occur anytime soon. Such is the arrogance of the Prime Minister I suppose.

Update: It appears that Key's office did in fact order Parliamentary Services to release Andrea Vance's records. The Prime Minister has blatantly lied.