Whose election is it?


Prime Minister John Key will declassify sensitive documents to prove the GCSB pulled the plug on plans to spy on New Zealanders.

The Prime Minister has admitted for the first time that New Zealand spies did look into a form of mass surveillance on Kiwis, but never actually went through with it.

John Key was responding to the arrival of journalist Glenn Greenwald, with thousands of documents taken by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden that he says prove New Zealanders have been subjected to wholesale spying by the Government.

Mr Key has always said that he would resign if that was proven, but tonight he’s launched a counterattack.

Mr Greenwald claims he will produce evidence that could take down the Prime Minister, but just a short while ago Mr Key hit back and upped the ante big time, promising to get ahead of Mr Greenwald and declassify top-secret documents that will prove him wrong.

Mr Key has repeatedly denied spy agency the GCSB conducts mass surveillance of New Zealanders, even saying he would resign if it were prove, and he was standing by that today. . .

“Kim Dotcom is a man who is trying to gerrymander the election,” says Mr Key. “He’s paying a guy who’s coming to New Zealand to make claims.”

Mr Greenwald denies he’s being paid by Kim Dotcom to be here and says he’s donating his fee to charity.

But Mr Key had little charity for Snowden, describing him as a hacker, not a whistleblower.

“Unfortunately he may have hacked some information, but not all of it,” says Mr Key.

Mr Key says that bit they missed is what he’s about to release.

Mr Key has admitted for the first time that yes, New Zealand spies did look into what he calls a “mass protection” option that he concedes could have been seen as “mass surveillance” or “wholesale spying”, but that, and this is the important bit, he says it never actually went ahead.

Mr Key has revealed that after two major cyber-attacks on New Zealand companies, in late 2011 and early 2012, the GCSB stared to look at options with the help of partner agencies like the NSA.

But Mr Key says this idea never got past the business case stage because he deemed it too invasive.

This was before the Snowden leaks, and Mr Key says the fact he said no is why he has been able to be so resolute that there was no mass spying on Kiwis. . .

Who do we believe?

The answer to that probably depends on our political views.

Those of us who know and trust the PM will believe him.

Those on the left of the spectrum won’t. They’ll back the hacker with the half-truths.

Those who aren’t political tragics might well be asking whose election is it?

Ours or that of a foreigner with a very dodgy background who’s admitted:

“I hacked our German credit rating system and put our Prime Minister’s credit rating to zero because I didn’t like the guy,” said Dotcom. “You have all figured by now there’s another Prime Minister I don’t like.”

Yesterday Paul Thomas wrote: Millions have been splashed out and a pigsty’s worth of mud slung but what have we actually learned from this election campaign?

. . . A number of individuals, ranging from Colin Craig at one end of the socio-political spectrum to the mystery hacker Rawshark at the other, have set out to influence this election in ways and to degrees not previously seen in this country.

History may show the overwhelming focus was on the least significant and troubling of the various interventions and that Whaledump was exactly that: a cloud of waste matter floating through the (air)waves.

Within hours we had revelations from another foreigner paid by Kim Dotcom in an attempt to influence the election

Accusations of big money buying elections usually come from the left.  How ironic that this time it is the puppets in Internet Mana who’ve allowed themselves to be bought.

Scarfies or barfies?


Monday’s ODT welcomed students to Dunedin with an editorial headlined Dunedin’s lifeblood.

It noted a welcome decline in anti-social behaviour though cautioned:

Those so inclined might well find that there are consequences and that leniency from university authorities and the courts is harder to gain than they expect.

Columnist Michael Guest also sounded a cautionary note in his ode to students:

Welcome back, it’s good you’re here,
The year’s about to start.
But listen up and heed this well,
Take this advice to heart.

20,000 students,
The good old days are gone.
The sheer amount of numbers mean
That leniency’s a con.

. . . A rowdy night of fun and games,
Some disorderly dereliction.
You plead before a heartless Judge,
But no discharge without conviction.

With degree in hand, you’ll want some fun,
With international travel.
Canada’s closed, that’s just the start
Your plans will soon unravel.

. . . You’re all scrubbed up with suit and tie
You think your lawyer’s plucky
But discharges and suppression
Are only for the lucky.

You’re bullet proof? You’re fancy free?
It’ll be OK on the night?
The Judge will smile down on you?
And let you off? Yeah, Right!

This may be prophetic because while there was little sign of  Tuesday’s mayhem in George Street yesterday afternoon, retailers I spoke to were furious, as they had every cause to be.

Exactly who is to blame is a moot point, it may not only have been students and it definitely wasn’t only the first years. At least some of the trouble came not from those in the toga parade but by-standers  and as as today’s ODT editorial  points out there actions weren’t spontaneous:

  . . . it is beyond most people’s comprehension that anyone could actually plan to throw buckets of vomit and faeces at participants in the parade.

But first-hand witnesses are adamant it happened – and how else can you explain it other than premeditation? How else could such material be collected for that use? It is beyond abhorrent.

 The woman who organised what is thought to be the first toga parade, former Dunedin City Council events manager Islay McLeod,  is sad the event has become become nothing more than “an initiation rite through a sewer”.

Ms McLeod said the parade, which started in 2001, was initially called the first day parade and was created to welcome students the same way as graduands were farewelled.

It had gone from “scarfies to barfies in less than a decade. . .”

It’s difficult to understand how supposedly intelligent people could behave this way and this quote from a first year student who was caught up in the violence raises more questions than it answers:

“I think some ground rules need to be laid down for this event for it to be safe and enjoyable,”

Ground rules? We already have laws which protect people and property from disorderly behaviour, including casting offensive manner, but people who disregard them are hardly likely to be deterred or controlled by ground rules.

And one of the reasons for that is that on top of the total disregard for other people, their property, society’s norms and the law ,those responsible appear to have no sense of shame.

Paul Thomas  points out in another context:

The virus attacking our capacity to feel shame mutated into a more aggressive form and the unwillingness to accept responsibility became a refusal to acknowledge error or harm done, let alone atone for it.

 Commenting on that Macdoctor says:

Our sense of shame is derived from society. As society ceases to define what is acceptable conduct, people start stepping through the invisible, ill-defined boundaries at will. Society then feels outraged by this behaviour, because it is so far “beyond the pale”.  The look we receive back is one of incomprehension.

It doesn’t matter who they are or what they wear – gang members in patches, students in togas, business people in suits – when they behave badly we’re all outraged, but outrage  is impotent when faced with an absence of shame.

P.S. Dave Gee has photos of the parade/riot

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