Today the government announced a major shake up of the laws covering the New Zealand spy agencies. The changes were outlined at the post-Cabinet press conference yesterday by Prime Minister John Key and the minister in charge of the agencies Chris Finlayson. The changes would allow the GCSB to spy on New Zealanders.
“These changes are in the interests of national security,” Key told the unquestioning journalists, “There are so many threats out there from terrorism, ISIS, terrorists, scary people, people who wear masks and terrorists. It’s important we make these changes so we can deal with these people as the need arises.”
When questioned on why the changes were being brought in now the prime minister was adamant.
“At the moment it is illegal for the GCSB to spy on New Zealand citizens. What if there are kiwis out there who are threats to national security? How can we find out who they are if these agencies aren’t able to listen and trawl and phish for stuff?”
Someone asked the Prime Minister for an example of what he would consider a home-grown national security threat.
“Let’s say the government announce a policy. Let’s say that policy is to bring back funding choices for schools that will allow them to choose whether they spend their money on teachers or other stuff. Let’s say the teachers don’t like this policy. How are the government meant to find out what they’re up to if we can’t spy on them? Teachers are notorious for their militancy and threatening the very fabric of our society – especially when National is in power. They are the very kind of national security threat we are talking about.”
When Key was asked to give other examples he suggested the GCBS could “look through the election results” to match up who people didn’t vote for National and cross reference them with union membership, protesting and Māori sovereignty campaigners. He also said the government could set up an 0800 number that concerned citizens could ring to inform authorities of any suspicious activities because, “it worked so well in East Germany during the 70s and 80s.”