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Yes or no John Key – is X-Keyscore spying on New Zealanders?

Prime Minister John Key must explain revelations this evening that the GCSB operates X-Keyscore in New Zealand and is conducting mass surveillance on New Zealanders without their knowledge, said the Green Party.  

“Yes or no John Key, is X-Keyscore spying on New Zealanders?” asked Green Party Co-leader Dr Russel Norman.

“Revelations from Edward Snowden that X-Keyscore is operating on the Southern Cross cable, collecting both metadata and content, and that he has seen that data, need to be explained.

"Prime Minister John Key has no choice but to start answering questions about what it means for New Zealand to be a member of the Five-Eyes network, and what the specifics of the Five-Eyes spying is.

“John Key’s document dump and obfuscations over the past 48 hours have been a red herring. Snowden’s allegations around X-Keyscore have nothing to do with Cortex or cyber protection.

“John Key is trying to purposefully mislead people by focusing on Cortex and cyber protection. What he must come clean on is X-Keyscore and declassify all information relating to it.

“The one thing that needs protection is New Zealanders’ privacy and rights. It is critical there is a public debate and public acceptance of this kind of mass surveillance before it is done. It cannot be secretly imposed on us. 

"New Zealanders have the right to know what our spy agencies are up to, and what this means for our private information.

"It's becoming increasingly implausible for Mr Key to claim that New Zealand is not participating in the type of activity that the other Five-Eyes partners have been found to be undertaking, when over and over again we're seeing evidence to the contrary.

“The Snowden allegations strike to the heart of the John Key’s honesty and integrity. If the allegations prove true John Key has, at best misled, and at worst lied to the New Zealand public on a fundamental issue of privacy.

"We need a wide ranging independent inquiry into New Zealand's intelligence agencies to understand what John Key has got us into.

“We need to change the Government. Our spy agencies need proper oversight and public agreement of their functions and John Key has proven himself not to be up to the job,” said Dr Norman.