Dotcom will dominate Parliament, media while other issues go begging

Prime Minister John Key will correct previous statements on Kim Dotcom when Parliament re-convenes this afternoon.

Again.

The statement is not likely to add to anything New Zealanders do not already know, but because it is happening in Parliament at question time it will be reported breathlessly across all media.

In essence, Mr Key will be restating his press release of October 3, when he revealed his earlier claim he had not heard of any Government Security Communications Bureau investigation into Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom until September 17 was not, in essence, correct.

In fact, the investigation had been mentioned during a visit on February 29.

Everyone who takes even a passing interest in New Zealand politics is already aware of this, but parliamentary rules require Mr Key makes this statement to Parliament again, today, as his previous statement was in the House.

And Bowen Triangle convention, a looser and less principled arrangement than parliamentary rules – and that is saying something – requires the whole thing gets raked over again with all the usual melodramatic striking of attitudes and faux-outrage.

Mr Key’s statement is not likely to say anything different from his press statement of October 3 on the matter.

“It will not be making an apology, as some people are reporting,” the prime minister’s chief press secretary Kevin Taylor told NBR ONLINE this morning.

Overshadowing today’s parliamentary theatre is the subsequent claim by Labour leader David Shearer about a mysterious recording of Mr Key referring to the Kim Dotcom investigation during his February 29 visit.

According to this, Mr Key addressed GCSB staff in their tearoom and someone recorded this speech – in which he is alleged to have mentioned the Kim Dotcom surveillance. 

If the prime minister did make such a reference at that time it would prove he did know about the Kim Dotcom investigation at the time of his February visit and that the “brain fade” with which he excused the earlier memory lapse was a fairly major one.

What is not disputed is Mr Key spoke to GCSB staff in their cafeteria during his February visit.

Whether he was recorded in doing so, and whether he said what Mr Shearer says he said, is a more open question. No one from the PM’s side of things can remember any official recording, and they do not appear to have noticed any clandestine ones being made.

None of the his staff nor the GCSB spooks noticed any unusually or suspiciously large asparagus rolls in the vicinity of the PM; no one cried out “that is a recording device”, as Mr Key did at the end of the infamous "teapot tape" recording.

While the "teapot tape" affair which dominated last year's election campaign actually existed, it is not clear the Asparagus Roll Tape actually does, or ever did. 

Mr Shearer – whose source is understood to be the ex-GCSB employee and partner of his chief press secretary, Fran Mold – claims it did, although he has never seen or heard it himself. 

Today’s statement will be followed by question time, which will be dominated by the question of whether Mr Key’s brain fade is bigger than he is letting on, and whether Mr Shearer’s certainty that the recording of the PM was not only made but stored on  several of GCSB’s has any substance.

There is no sign of those tapes now, and GCSB also says there is no sign of them ever have been on its computers. Nor is there any trace of such files having been there and having been deleted – something an IT technician with even a fairly basic level of skills can pick up.

That led to Mr Key essentially delivering a “put up or shut up” message yesterday. “I've waived all of my legal rights. If he's got a clandestine tape, he should feel free to go and release that tape."

The whole saga has dominated politics over the recent parliamentary recess and looks likely to dominate Parliament this week.

Meanwhile, issues such as the economy, government spending, the unusually high tax take (an extraordinary 15% surge in the tax take from corporates over the last year, at a time the nominal GDP was less than a third of that), the hike in local government spending and its burden on businesses, all attract comparatively minimal attention, except here.

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21 Comments & Questions

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Most of the 'reporters' working for the mainstream media are only capable of covering trivial side issues. I've always taken the coverage of the NZX
on TV1's 6.30 news as an indication that they don't even have anyone on their reporting staff with the intellect to interpret what these figures actually mean. Why not play a bit of background music instead!

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Nice Piece Rob - I agree, having worked in a newsroom and seen how editors hyperventilate when the PM sneezes, I am guessing that this tired story will be banged on by most media outlets ad infinitum.

Will labour win any votes come the election, I doubt it. In fact their leader is a complete nobody says to me that instead of throwing rocks at National is a waste of time when Shearer should be getting out amongst voters now rather than when every polly and their cracker is leading up to the election.

Dot com has been an amusing distraction, but folks, the high dollar is stiffling manufacturing. People are begging on our city streets and the exodus to Australia continues unabated, all while John key fiddles as rom burns so to speak. How about we just put Kim Dot com on a plane and be done with it?

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Of course they dont - Next time you watch one news or 3 news - try to guess the age of the reporter - TVNZ and TV3 are hiring journalism school grads and paying peanuts. If brains were gunpowder, the editorial staff at both networks couldnt blow their noses

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Send Dotcom home. He is a distraction to the governence of New Zealand. If all had been disclosed he would not have got residency with his criminal background.
The media are so easily distracted by his rubbish.

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True Kiwi huh? Well Dotcom has a couple Kiwi children who are born here. Doesn't that make them true kiwi's too? The NZ government pointed loaded assault rifles at these true kiwi kids in an illegal dawn raid.

The difference between Dotcom and most other accused criminals is he had paid qualified lawyers who have uncovered gross abuse by the NZ Government of the NZ Bill of Rights.

This story is not about a chubby German who ran a website that may have helped people copy music and movies (in addition to substantial non illegal uses).

This story is about a culture in Government circles that they are above the laws of the land. This is a story of dialing back the commando cops dragging innocent kiwi from their beds. This is a story about holding every single public servant accountable for their actions and demanding they uphold the standards possible.

Wouldn't a True Kiwi want to know why a District Court and a High Court Judge found every action taken in the Dotcom raids to have been illegal, how the GCSB has been illegally spying on Kiwi's and why the PM lied about what he knew and when?

Dotcom is not the issue. The slipping standards of of public service is the issue and that my True Kiwi friend is an issue that needs to be addressed.

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Dotcom wasn't born here, neither was his wife. He has residency but even if he had a NZ passport, as an alien (not born in NZ) both can be cancelled if he behaves in a manner which damages NZ.

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Whilst I am inclined to agree about the impact on Kim Dotcoms kids. He should never have been allowed in to NZ in ther first place and we need to look at how this happened and prevent it from happening agiain.

That we have "forgetful" prime minister and a complete nobody in opposition doesn't help matters either, but this is potentially a huge issue given how easy it obviously is for such people to set up shop in New Zealand

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You are so right. And all the while, with a weak leadership and a lack of urban experience at the top and in Auckland, the cops are out of control, without any comeback.
I recently took two young constables to court, supposedly to teach them a lesson in good manners and judgment .... after I'd 'flagrantly driven through a yellow light,' after being (by mutual agreement) 20M from the intersection......and was well through same and gone before the red light came on. I could prove that mathematically but that doesn't matter with the new law. [That's the latest stupid law to be slipped through to boost revenue, in case you were unaware.]
These two youngsters lied more times than you've had breakfast, contradicted each other on virtually everything...and were rewarded with an afternoon in court, and defending a $150 fine!!
It was shameful stuff. And they have started on the road to stitching up
truly innocent people(technically I was guilty and paid quite happily) but these two, relatively decent youngsters, by my judgment, are already corrupt.....and due for promotion, since neither the top Auckland cop or their recently promoted-further station commander has done anything about their truly flagrant disregard of the TRUTH.
Sad

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Your opinion is understandable for someone who cant see the bigger picture and is prepared to overlook the illegalities of the state agencies and their conduct in this country. I am sorry the continued focus on Dotcom is upsetting you and your pals in power but that is the price of democracy.

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Let's look at this a bit harder - how did a former crim like Kim Dotcom get into NZ in the first place. If he got in, how many other wealthy similar people have also slipped in, and what damage are they doing under the radar.

I think it could be time for a review of our immigration practices and policies.

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"issues such as the economy, government spending, the unusually high tax take (an extraordinary 15% surge in the tax take from corporates over the last year, at a time the nominal GDP was less than a third of that), the hike in local government spending and its burden on businesses, all attract comparatively minimal attention"

Labour could win points by targetting the big issues but instead they focus on the small gotcha issues.

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Is NZ Prime Minister John Key going to face 'Contempt of the House' proceedings for 'misleading the House' over his knowledge of the Kim Dotcom investigation by GCSB - for which he is the responsible Minister?

If not - why not?

Penny Bright
'Anti-corruption campaigner'

www.dodgyjohnhasgone.com

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I think John key wears teflon underpants and thinks himself above the laws that govern the rest of us. Make him accountable

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Gives us a break, the average Kiwi thinks that DotCom is a joke.
The media hacks are after this one like a dog worrying sheep and we all know what happens to those dogs.
What has happened to the investigative journalism in this country?

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The Prime Minister misleading Parliament is not a major issue? The NZ media needs to take its collective head out of its collective a*se and see daylight.

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The media are having a feast on Mr. Kim Dotcom while things far more important are not being reported on at all. He is just a distraction and we need to be getting on with job creation, balancing the books, rebuilding Christchurch, issuing shares in our energy supply, giving a liveable pension to those who have done their bit for this country - patching up the Novopay issues, leaks of personal information, and growing our economy.

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How can we grow our economy when we have not invested int he right skills to do so? The architects and accountants we seem to crank out of our universities in a near endless stream are parasitic occupations that do nothing but re-arrange papers on their desks whilst charging outragious fees. New Zealand isnt a nation of builders and doers, but of beauracrats and paper shufflers. Meanwhile we continue to export dead animals and trees with little to no value add.

I doubt one fat german will change that

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As I understand it GCSB helped the Police identify where the subjects of the extradition requests were likely to be - hardly a major breach of average kiwis rights.
And as for the PM, all he has done is say he cvan't remember GCSB telling him about it - I guess he gets told many things in support of a main point - so what if they told him or not!

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The rumours that John Key is an American CIA sleeper are gaining credence every day. If he is happy to lie for them in Parliment there is a lot more to this story than we now know. Americans have never none any favours to NZ in the past and are unlikely to in the future. Sadly for many older europeans Asia is our destiny which will for many of the current generation bring financial disrumption and in some cases poverty.

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The Government has brought this problem on itself by allowing a non-extradictable offence, copyright violation, to be gratuitously inflated by hanging money-laundering on top of it.

This, together with the destruction of a business before trial and conviction, was simple abuse of process for which it is now paying the price. I have no sympathy at all. It will reap the consequences of gross incompetence and the sooner it cuts its losses the better for NZ taxpayers.

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Rob, good commentary - agree, lets get on with what really matters. Unfortunately the opposition and their followers have nothing of value to contribute at any level other than a time wasting and expensive worthless sideshow.

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