Former Labour PM disagrees on party call for Dotcom inquiry but predict big damages claim
Former Labour Prime Minister Sir Geoffrey Palmer does not support the party’s call for an inquiry into the GCSB affair.
Speaking this weekend on TV3’s The Nation programme at the weekend, Sir Geoffrey said “you have to be very careful about this.” He said the GCSB was an intelligence agency.
“You can't have an open inquiry like a commission of inquiry with evidence in public about that, because these agencies will cease to be any use if their secrecy is not preserved.
“They can be held to account in the courts and no doubt they will be in relation to what happened here. No doubt there will be civil legal actions and possible criminal proceedings brought as a result of what happened here."
Big damage claim ahead
Asked if he thought Kim Dotcom would bring a civil action for damages, Sir Geoffrey replied:
"Yes, actions for damages, because what has happened here is clearly a serious breach of privacy at the very least, and that is now a tort in New Zealand, a civil wrong, for which you can get damages.
"It seems to be that there will be quite large legal proceedings that follow from all of this. Mr Dotcom is the stuff out of which leading cases are made."
Regardless, he had a lot of good words for the GCSB.“This agency can be very helpful for a lot of things that the New Zealand government does,” he said.
“When in 1976 there was a difficulty with the Security Intelligence Service, the Chief Ombudsman was asked to conduct an inquiry into that, and he did so, and that is a possible way of conducting an inquiry if that was desired.”
Sir Geoffrey said the GCSB had been helpful to him when he was prime minister and had provide him with catch details of fishing boats in the Pacific when he was campaigning at the United Nations against drift net fishing in 1989.
The GSCB intercepted fishing boat captains' reports home on what they actually caught, which helped Sir Geoffrey in negotiations.