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New Zealand PM requests inquiry into illegal Megaupload wire tapping (beehive.govt.nz)
181 points by polemic on Sept 24, 2012 | hide | past | web | favorite | 37 comments

The sad thing isn't that we found out they used an illegal warrant, they had suspicious motives, or used illegal wiretapping, but that this comes out purely because this is such a public case. Just think if so much shady business goes on in a case they know will be high profile, how widespread and commonplace these practices must be all around. How many other cases we won't ever hear about because they aren't so scrutinized? Are we yet at a place where officers breaking the law is so commonplace they just don't care or even think about it anymore? Is going by the book something we tell children about, but we all know it never happens?

See also MP John Banks' “I can only help you if your donations to me are anonymous” to Dotcom. This case is making public a whole lot of what looks like routine corruption.

Yet NZ is supposed to have next to no corruption. OK...

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corruption_Perceptions_Index

Same goes for Sweden with their totally non-corrupt investigator who just happen to get a high paying job from one of the parties days after the case.

It's funny. I know of numerous cases of borderline corruption here. They may be legit, but they sure as hell run close to the line. I struggle to imaging what happens in a country considered to be 'actually corrupt'.

Same goes for Australia, there's a high level of corruption in the form of donations to politicians.

Theres no way to avoid the sort of "corruption" that you speak of - when an individual (or entity) has money, it can be translated to power thru the use of it.

The difference is that at least donations are (supposed to be?) listed and tracable, and can be scrutinized if necessary.

Compare it with the sort of corruptino you find in countries like india, and china, where you _have_ to give money to the official to get your paper signed to do somethign that ordinarily you should'nt have to (e.g., may be you'd like to open a car import/export business. you'd be paying quite a few visites to gov't officials with expensive gifts or unmarked bills).

That's an index of visible corruption.

Quibble: perceived corruption isn't the same as visible corruption, things that are disguised are visible, but one may not perceive them as the things they are, rather as the things they disguise themselves to be.

Takes a little bit of epistemology to make sure that what you think you perceive is in fact what is really going on (how do I know what I know?). Corruption may be going on all around people, but they see it as "business as usual" or it's built into the "lawful" system, so isn't perceived as corrupt (though it is visible).

Some people expect a certain amount of "low-level" (harmless?) corruption, so reserve their identification of corruption to particular visible or impactful events.

Well, "next to no corruption" is still within bounds...

John Banks (along with Winston Peters) are the two politicians in NZ who appear to abide by their own set of values, doing whatever it takes to get elected. Essentially everyone else, especially from the National, Labour and Green parties are on a higher plane. We may not enjoy everything they say and do, but in NZ politics smells a lot less from personal ambition than elsewhere, and anything as small as a favour to a mate is seen and exposed as corruption. Our tolerance for corruption is extraordinarily low, which is why this case is causing such issues.

It is great to see that there are still "somewhere" in the world high level politicians who take these kind of things seriously. Judging by the coziness of the US administration with the Entertainment industry and its lacking willingness to clean up issues such as the Fast and Furious/AFT gunwalking scandal, I very much doubt that this would have happened in the US.

It's worth noting that in NZ, the Prime Minister is also the Minister overseeing the GCSB. He has to sign off on all surveillance warrants, too. So at the very least it's a huge and public failure in his department; at the worst, he's complicit in illegal surveillance.

It's yet to be seen what his involvement is, but his whole involvement in this case has reeked of ass-covering and distancing. It'll be interesting to see the outcome of this inquiry.

If you read this article http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&obj... he specifically states "Prime Minister John Key has revealed the GCSB was acting without his sign-off".

As Sir Humphrey Appleby says, never hold an inquiry unless you know what its outcome will be.

Check your facts, please. ATF has its own share of assholes, but from personal experience I'm inclined to attribute its failings to incompetence in upper ranks rather than malice.


Makes me proud to be a kiwi. Aside from the initial raid, I think the systems have held up well despite lots of 'international pressure'

Unlawful actions make you proud to be a Kiwi? This whole ordeal reminds me of the BP oil spill, sure they'll help clean up, but lets not ignore what lead us to this situation in the first place.

Yes - it's similar to after the Rainbow Warrior bombing. The French were able to perpetrate a terrorist act, but they were comprehensively caught amidst a sense of nationwide outrage.

The copyright lobby and elements of the USG were able to apply to pressure to a few individuals, but after the back helicopters that sense of outrage and strong internal systems are kicking in hard.

I like your comparison, but it doesn't quite work, as New Zealanders actually did the door kicking dirty work. But another parallel is sure to emerge - those who were/are responsible, get a slap over the wrist. I hope the footnotes to the Ranbow Warrior saga dont pan out - The Rainbow Warrior bombers who committed murder were basically treated as heroes and given medals once home - while France savaged New Zealand industry as some kind of punishment.

Aside from the initial raid, and the illegal surveillance, and the invalid warrants, and the illegal seizure of evidence. Sure.


NZ should never have gone along with it - just trying to please the US.

That's what I hate about my country right now. We're seemingly bending over to all the whims of the US. Not cool. We're supposed to be independent little hobbits, not getting in the affairs of things that don't concern us.

I found the John Campbell interview the hardest to watch. after most of his interview he hits him with "...are you a very a naughty man?"

And just as importantly: "Mr Key says he has also asked the Inspector-General to recommend any measures he considered necessary to prevent the issue from happening again."

As this government would do absolutely anything to get closer to the US, I suspect you're not right. Even the previous government tried fairly hard (troops to Afghanistan for example), but this time it's shameless.

Sorry, terrible phrasing, and I can't seem to edit it. >>As this government would do absolutely anything to get closer to the US, I suspect nothing will come of any investigation. Even the previous government tried fairly hard (troops to Afghanistan for example), but this governments pandering is shameless. The Dotcom case being a prime example.<<

Meh, nothing is going to happen. We'll probably never hear the results of the outcome of the inquiry. If NZ Police are involved, they'll just take their sweet merry time until we all forget about it and then move onto something else.

It's performed by "The Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security", a DoJ appointment who must have been a High Court judge, and who has complete access to the documents, premises and staff of the NZSIS and GCSB.

So, there is some hope!

A lot more information on this can be found in the NZ Herald (Major newspaper) here: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&obj...

It seems 'Democracy' will be coming to NZ soon.

All that democracy provides for (in this case) is that no one is above reproach or accountability. It doesn't mean that officials are sanctified and immaculate and won't work in opposition to jurisprudential values (ie, won't be corrupt). If officials couldn't be taken to account (in an functional civil court), then you can wonder about the state of the nation.

The fact that New Zealand is looking into this is proof that democracy is working there.

What are you talking about? New Zealand has a flourishing democracy.

Or is this supposed to be some kind of hip/ironic comment suggesting... what, that the US is going to invade NZ?

This is an example of why political articles foster commentary that is... less than stellar.

The US sphere of influence is very well maintained and the US Government will not tolerate deviation, it would be surprising to not see diplomatic pressure applied onto New Zealand. The US may not invade NZ in the sense you're thinking but NZ going to get the US Government's attention (which is rarely a good thing).

New Zealand has certainly 'deviated' in the past:


Copyright stuff is small potatoes compared to the US Navy.

And yet... they didn't get invaded, did they?

Hand waving makes for poor, ill-informed debate.

Given that New Zealand scoffed at allowing US nuclear powered vessels to harbor at their ports, it is unlikely that anything short of direct military intervention will sway the New Zealand attitude. Any politician who is seen appeasing the US would likely answer to the electorate in the next cycle.

Sort of. Please excuse the excess of history if you are familiar with it. Prior to changing their leader, the National party (who now govern NZ) leader said to an American senator that our nuclear policy would be 'gone by lunchtime' if the National party got into power. www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10008905 It did and Brash was elected, but Brash has somewhat cooked his goose since then. The pressure from the US remains however, and the law remains unchanged. www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10836045

Edit: spelling

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