Govt 'go-to' girl rides shotgun on GCSB/Dotcom probe

The lawyer investigating the Government Communications Security Bureau spying on Kim Dotcom already holds a swag of government appointments.

Kristy McDonald QC was today appointed to look into Green co-leader Russel Norman’s complaint to the police that the GCSB had breached the Crimes Act by snooping on Mr Dotcom and an associate, Bram van der Kolk.

Police Commissioner Peter Marshall announced Ms McDonald’s appointment “to provide an overview of this assessment and resultant investigation".

"This will lead to Ms McDonald's review of any recommendations that may arise. She will then make her own recommendations to the Commissioner's office.”

The matter is to be treated with urgency, he says.

That will mean Ms McDonald – seen as a leading government  "go-to" girl – will have to juggle the job with a number of other government roles. Last month she was appointed to the board of the Accident Compensation Corporation after ACC ministerr Judith Collins'  boardroom cleanout earlier this year.

She has run the government’s case at the Pike River inquiry, representing the Department of Labour, the Department of Conservation, the Ministries for Economic Development and the Environment at that hearing.

She also sits on the Crown prosecution panel in Wellington and the Serious Fraud Office prosecution panel.

Further back, Ms McDonald also carried out a report for then Justice Minister Simon Power on convicted murderer Scott Watson’s application for the royal prerogative of mercy to be exercised in his case, giving it the thumbs down.

She is also chair of the Real Estate Agents Authority and the Judicial Control Authority for Racing.

Prime Minister John Key described Dr Norman’s complaint as “a stunt” but says the police still have to investigate it.

Dr Norman – whose complaint is the source of the inquiry – welcomed Ms McDonald’s appointment, but Labour leader David Shearer says this, and other recent inquiries, do not go far enough.

The report by Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security Paul Neazor was “a whitewash” and the appointment yesterday of Secretary of the Cabinet Rebecca Kitteridge to review the GCSB is too secret, he claims.

“We don’t need a piecemeal mish-mash of reviews and reports, we need a proper independent inquiry. 

"We need an inquiry that can look at all our intelligence agencies, whether they are operating within the law… Anything less is just a shabby cover-up.”

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9 Comments & Questions

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There is only 24 hours in a day
Very suspicious but not unusual
Too many appointments but too little time

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Something dosn't sound right here. Sounds like the busiest lady on the planet and to do a half competent job for any of these roles would need as the earlier comment rightly pointed out more hours than any day.

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With Kristy McDonald QC boarding the gravy train, it's akin to her being given a blank cheque, and setting her loose on a spending spree at a L.V store.

Honestly, this Dotcom fiasco is taking on the appearance of Alice having fallen down the rabbit hole. Does anyone realise how ridiculous this is all becoming? Enquiry heaped upon enquiry, is farce heaped upon farce. The amount of taxpayer money, Key is throwing at this, would make what Kim Dotcom spent on his fireworks display seem like a couple of sparklers on a drizzly winter's night.

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I used to respect Russell Norman. He is turning into a Winston Peters style whinger looking for dirt where there isn't any, and for no other reason than political gain. Poor form. Paul Neazor, as Norman has acknowledged, is as straight up as they get. How do you do a 'transparent' not "too secret" enquiry into an agency that deals in secrets? That is Neazor's role. Why bypass it?

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Neazor's job was to review and monitor the GCSB to make sure they where obeying the laws of NZ at all times. It would appear based on information in the media that this aspect of his job was not followed up in enough detail.

Asking Neazor to inquire as to why he failed to do his job is a clear conflict of interest. It simply lacks independence. Additionally if there was a failing of the Minister, the police, or OFCANZ I had a feeling that was outside the scope of his mandate also.

So his hands where tied into the subject matter in to which he was able to inquire and he was also tasked with a conflict of interest in having to inquire if he had failed in his job.

These reasons should be enough for the justification of an independent investigation, which the Police are now conducting with a respected QC into the possible criminal misconduct of civil servants.

What the latest Police investigation won't explain is why English and Key apparently did not discuss the acting PM's suppression warrant and how the PM who is tasked with "control" of the GCSB allowed it to get out of control.

The Sir Geoffrey Palmer interview was interesting in it gave a perspective from somebody who was the PM and also acted under Helen Clark. Previous PM's have apparently been more "involved" in what the GCSB have been up to. Key seems more interested in dinners with big wigs and holding the Tourism ministry than "control" of our countries spys. If he isn't interested in "controlling" the spys then he isn't doing his job and should step aside as it is a critical function of the position of PM of this country.

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"looking for dirt when there isn't any"
How do you know because unless you were there, you don't know. Your comments just parrot John Key.

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What is suspicious - is in this area, with Banks, the Police Raid and now the GCSB is that it all revolves around 1 man - too many issues arising out of this single person.

I suspect this ladies investigations will be rather easy.

There will be a single underlying issue and it will probably be rather easy to spot.

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When English signed the suppressed warrant as acting PM in an attempt to cover up what is a scandal, he did so on behalf of Key. When Key returned from the US, English would have briefed him on significant matters, of which this was one. With every denial, Key’s credibility diminishes along with any dignity and integrity that he had (or perhaps appeared to have!)

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In my opinion, Kristy McDonald is not the right person to investigate anything to do with Police, as she has a cozy relationship going back many years and this is a serious conflict of interest. There are other QC's out there that are neutral and aren't in the pocket of the police lol

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