Prime Minister John Key says he and the head of GCSB
would resign if the spy agency were found to have conducted
Mr Key made the comment to reporters at Parliament in the
light of assurances that changes to the GCSB Act 2003 would
not mean mass surveillance of New Zealanders.
Asked if he and GCSB chief Ian Fletcher would resign if there
was mass surveillance, he said yes.
"But the facts of life are it won't happen."
For that to happen, the GCSB would have to undertake illegal
Mr Key later clarified, saying "both" would resign if there
was mass surveillance.
"If I wholesale blatantly flout the law as Prime Minister I'm
never going to survive anyway."
The Government Communications Security Bureau and Related
Legislation Amendment Bill will be debated in Parliament this
Labour plans to move an amendment to try to get written into
the law a policy statement by Mr Key last week. He said he
would not grant warrants to the GCSB to look at the content
of New Zealanders' communications under the cyber security
function in the first instance but if the agency detected a
serious cyber intrusion, it would have to come back to him
for a second warrant.
Labour would require the leave of the House to introduce such
an amendment because the part it relates to has already been
Mr Key indicated that National would oppose leave for Labour
to do that, saying it was not necessary.
Meanwhile, Justice Minister Judith Collins has confirmed that
police have, in the past, used the GCSB's specialist
capability to intercept the communications of paedophiles.
Such assistance to other agencies has been on hold since
September last year, pending the current bill passing which
will unequivocally give the GCSB the legal power to spy on
New Zealanders in certain circumstances.
- By Audrey Young of the New Zealand Herald