In view of Gravedodger's post below claiming that John Campbell got his arse handed to him by the PM in this interview about the GCSB legislation, I felt obliged to offer an alternative view. I've watched the interview, in which Campbell does indeed struggle to pin down a very slippery corporate-weasel-turned-politician, and note the following points about how cleverly Key manages to sucker the more simple-minded of Campbell's viewers.
01:00. Key defends his view that the media should be concentrating on snapper quotas because it's a more popular issue. Well, duh - anything that will directly affect you personally is more important to you than arcane constitutional issues, but so what? A quick perusal of Stuff's most popular stories over a few days should be enough to demonstrate that by Key's definition, the truly important issues of the day are celebrity gossip and anything involving tits.
01:30 - 01:48. Campbell suggests Key's finally agreed to appear and answer questions because National's internal polling shows people aren't happy with his "snapper" blather. Key says that's wrong because their internal polling shows they're still on 49%. It sounds like an answer but actually isn't - excellent politician/corporate weasel response.
02:55 - 03:40. Key claims wholesale spying on NZers isn't possible because it requires a warrant. Campbell points out the warrant is issued by the PM and someone appointed by the PM. Key avoids dealing with the issue by pretending Campbell is accusing him of corruption. Again, very deftly handled.
04:20 - 04:30. Key claims it's OK to have the PM and his appointee issuing warrants for the GCSB to spy on NZers because there is an inspector who can review things upon request, so any unlawful spying would be revealed. This is very, very clever weaseling. First, a person has to know they've been spied on to request a review, and second, the spying won't be unlawful because the PM and his mate have issued a warrant for it. But how many viewers noticed?
04:50 - 07:00. Removal of section 3.14 prohibiting the GCSB from intercepting the communications of NZers. Key makes a big deal of how the legislation was passed by Helen Clark's government, which is true but irrelevant. Then he enters a complicated argument about how interception of Kim Dotcom's communications was illegal under section 14 of the old law because he's a permanent resident, and it would be just as illegal under the new law. By the time he gets to the end of it you've lost track of where the start was, which makes it very hard to catch the grift - the grift being of course, that section 14 is removed from the new law so how exactly would spying on Kim Dotcom still be illegal under it? I'm no lawyer and for all I know Key is right that the spying would still be illegal under the new law, but his answer doesn't give us any reason to assume that.
07:25. Key says lawyers understand the horrendous ambiguity of the new legislation. The Law Society says they don't - but what would they know, right?
08:10 - 08:45 Key falls back on them not being able to parse the contents of your communications, just store the metadata. Then he heads off on a red herring about the GCSB's role mainly being to protect NZ's communications, much like anti-virus software, which is again true but irrelevant.
10:47 - 11:00 After Campbell shows a couple of clips of people saying this legislation is rushed, Key brushes it off with the claim that there was nothing in the public submissions that warranted slowing things down. I guess he would say that, having declared at 10:04 that the Law Society, the Privacy Commissioner and the Human Rights Commission were all wrong in their concerns about the bill.
In the next few minutes there are questions about which tools the GCSB is using, which are of interest to Campbell because some of the available tools would allow spying on NZers without breaking NZ law. Key says this won't happen, but of course can't say whether GCSB is using those tools or not.
15:00 - 15:50 Campbell points out the NSA lied to Congress about wholesale spying on Americans under similar legislation to Key's. Again, Key avoids the issue by pretending Campbell is accusing him of something.
16:00 Key offers a reductio ad absurdum, saying how much it would cost to intercept the communications of everyone in the country - which of course isn't and never was the issue.
17:00 - 17:10 Again, very clever weaseling. According to Key, it doesn't matter what techniques GCSB is using, as long as what it's doing is legal. To a chump, this all sounds very reasonable. However, to see the grift, recall what the subject under discussion actually is. The question of exactly what it should be legal for the GCSB to do is the very point at issue.
Anyone who could watch that and not see a consummate weasel in full control of his craft is either a National Party partisan or just not very bright. And for those reassured at the thought of Key and one of his mates issuing warrants for who can be spied on, picture for yourself a future Labour/Greens coalition and see if you're still chuffed at the idea.
21 minutes ago