Spy agencies used for personal gain, again

New Zealand’s spy agencies are once again being used to further the personal ambitions of Cabinet Ministers, the Green Party said today.

New Zealand’s spy agencies are once again being used to further the personal ambitions of Cabinet Ministers, the Green Party said today.

Documents released today, by the Herald, show the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) was spying on Tim Groser’s rivals for the position of the director-general of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

“It is a dangerous slippery slope when the GCSB is used to gain a Cabinet Minister a personal position,” said Green Party security and intelligence spokesperson Dr Kennedy Graham.

“We cannot have Ministers using spy agencies as their private recruitment manager.

“The personal use of the GCSB is total political abuse of an agency that is meant to be working in New Zealand’s national interest.

“The GCSB is meant to be working in our national interest, not the private interest of the National Party.

“It is hard to argue that Tim Groser being the head of the WTO would gain any advantage for New Zealand, as the position demands neutrality as a fundamental requirement of the role.

“This begs the questions why is the GCSB spying for Groser and where is the legal justification.

“The Inspector General of Intelligence and Security’s 2014 report showed that John Key had previously used the Security Intelligence Service to gain political advantages in the  2011 General Election. Now we see his Ministers using it to gain personal advantages such as distinguished jobs in international organisations.

“John Key needs to front and tell us if the GCSB also spied on rival candidates during our bid for a seat on the Security Council.

“The Green Party has always maintained the laws that govern the spy agencies are too broad and they need to be tightened.

“The upcoming statutory review needs to address this issue and rules must be changed to ensure our spy agencies are not used to further the personal interests of Ministers.

“It is not good enough to mar New Zealand’s reputation and breach diplomatic conventions to give Cabinet Ministers a leg up in a recruitment process,” said Dr Graham.

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