Thursday, August 15, 2013

So much for the Campbell Live campaign

TV3's John Campbell and his fellow travelers have been trying to get John Key to come on the show for a few weeks to ambush him over the GCSB Bill. Yesterday they took to social media to advise that the Prime Minister had agreed to come on the show.

John Campbell may now be wishing that they hadn't tried so hard. Here's a link to the video of the interview, followed by TV3's overview of it:

Campbell Live has devoted much of this week to the GCSB bill. We're on a nationwide road trip, finding out whether you support or oppose the bill or even if you feel informed.
We've asked Prime Minister John Key to appear on a number of occasions to discuss the bill. He's always declined, until tonight.
"We got 124 submissions on the GCSB bill, and 30,000 on snapper," he says.
Mr Key says he spends a lot of time touring the country, but the GCSB bill is not a topic that comes up in his discussions.
"People do not raise GCSB. I have public meetings, I have question sessions at everything I do. I probably have half a dozen meetings a day with public engaging with people…People don't raise this issue," he tells Campbell Live.
The Prime Minister says under the changes, the GCSB will need to obtain a warrant from the Commissioner of High Security Warrants – a retired court judge appointed by Mr Key.
"[The surveillance of] Kim Dotcom was illegal under the old law, which is why I apologised, and it's illegal under the new law," Mr Key says.
Mr Key says some discussion around the bill has been misrepresented, and the organisation will not be able to spy on New Zealanders.
"The point here is that you're going into a shop, or you're going down the main street of New Zealand, and you are saying, 'Do you want to be spied on?' If you come and ask me that question the answer is no. But you cannot do that under Section Eight," he says.
Mr Key says the GCSB stopped surveillance of 88 New Zealanders last year under advice from lawyers.
"I'm a bit busy running the country…so I don't need to go in there and read out a pro-former second reading speech," he said when asked why he did not show up to the committee stages or second reading of the bill, before accusing Campbell Live of creating stories around the Dotcom saga.
"You've done so many stories which are absolute nonsense and you know they are, and I've actually answered those in the past," he says.
Mr Key says the original problems with the GCSB stem from a section passed by the Labour Government in 2003.

We didn't see the interview the first time around. But when we checked our Twitter feed around 7.30pm, there were all sorts of comments going on from some very unlikely sources about how John Key had schooled John Campbell, so we made sure that we watched the TV3 plus one channel at 8pm when Campbell Live replayed.

We know that we are biased, but John Key was absolutely masterful last night. Those who dismiss him as a lightweight could not be more wrong. He was factual, he refused to let John Campbell cut him off and/or speak over him, and he answered Campbell's questions at length and with detail.

And he made a very valid point; watch the video from around the 2 minute mark where Key talks about some of the misinformation in the public arena about the GCSB Bill. Key confirms that the Kitteridge Report identified 88 occasions between 2003 and 2012 where the GCSB may have acted unlawfully by providing support to external agencies; on average each year ONE for every HALF-MILLION New Zealanders.

The Left is trying to paint the GCSB Bill as giving the GCSB the power to undertake mass surveillance of New Zealanders. Patently that is fiction, and John Key exposed that fiction last night in a very powerful manner. The fact is that the GCSB's powers will be little different to what they were under Helen Clark, but they will be more clearly defined and less ambiguous, and they will be subject to considerably more scrutiny.

If John Campbell was hoping to ambush the Prime Minister last night, he will be awfully disappointed. We would go as far as to say that last night's interview was as good as any that John Key has given in his five years as Prime Minister.

And the Labour Party must be desperately worried. John Key regularly took on Sir Michael Cullen's rapier-sharp wit when he was Opposition finance spokesman and later Leader of the Opposition. In 2008 he went head-to-head with the formidable Helen Clark, forcing Miss Clark to resort to a jibe about Key shouting his family down. And in 2011 Key was all over the experienced Phil Goff in the televised leaders' debates. How could they even consider putting the gaffe-prone David Shearer up against him?

In 17 minutes last night, John Key went a long way towards answering criticisms of the GCSB legislation. Sure, the extreme activist element will continue to beat this up, but John Key is dead right; far, far more people care about how many snapper they can legally catch than whether the state will spy on them. No amount of beating up of the GCSB issue by John Campbell, David Fisher, Kim Dotcom et al will change that.


Lindsay Mitchell said...

Note the transcribing of Key's words as

"...a pro-former second reading speech..."

Whoever wrote that has no idea what pro forma means. Nicely analogous of this whole debate. Or perhaps the more accurate word is 'debacle'?

Keeping Stock said...

Quite so Lindsay. I noticed that last night, but did not correct the error when I copied and pasted from the 3News website.

Perhaps the web editor at 3News also works for the NZ Herald ;)

Quintin Hogg said...

I see the online herald has a blog on the interview where comments are sought.
the "blogger" sees the interview through rose tinted glasses from Mr Campbells perspective...when really the PM owned him

Keeping Stock said...

Is the "blogger" David Fisher by any chance?

Nick R said...

Masterful? Another interpretation might be "dodgy as hell". Constantly trying to blame everything on the last Government, as if he hasn't been PM for nearly 5 years, and claiming that we can trust him with oversight of the GCSB when he hasn't done the job properly up to now. Probably because he is more interested in fish than safeguarding the public against illegal surveillance.

Keeping Stock said...

Nick R:

Fact #1 - the original GCSB legislation was passed by Helen Clark's government in 2003.

Fact #2 - no-one (including Helen Clark) understood until Rebecca Kitteridge investigated the GCSB that it had been acting unlawfully.

Fact #3 - the Kim Dotcom situation came about because the police did not realise that he was a NZ resident when they asked for the GCSB's assistance. John Key has already apologised for that.

Fact #4 - 99.999% percent of New Zealanders have NOT been spied on by the GCSB. Under the changes to the legislation, 99.999% of New Zealanders will not be spied on by the GCSB.

All this talk about mass surveillance is nothing more than scaremongering by the extreme Left.

jabba said...

did Nick R watch the interview??
calling Dotcom his mate was brilliant .. campbell got pissed over that.
Campbell "Live" has been average for awhile now and it took John Key just over 15min to show why.

Euan Mason said...

The Hon. John Key obfuscated on the metadata question. Metadata and the PM's control are the troublesome issues here. Metadata would allow the GCSB to identify journalists' sources. The PM could authorise this. Metadata could be used to blackmail opponents. A future PM might not shirk from such activities, and they would be "legal" under this bill.

The watchdogs are all appointed by the PM.

The Law Society's submission should not be dismissed.

Would MPs provide to leaders of other political parties a log of all their phone calls, all their email correspondents, and all the websites they visited? If not then they shouldn't be voting for this bill.

Anonymous said...

I don't watch Campbell Live but this reminds me of the aruments for and against ID cards in Britain. In the cold war days they were evil because the bad soviet guys had them and we needed to show we were better off and freer than them because we lived in the free west.

Now the cold war has long gone and we are all living happily everafter its suddenly all OK to peek into everything and have an ID card because why? Just because they want to snoop?

Carlos said...

To be fair to Campbell, this interview was almost a model of how an interview should be conducted. It became not about Campbell's view of the legislation, but about the Prime Minister's response to all of Cambell's questions. Key was given the time to explain everything about the legislation that was asked of him. He did so with clarity. Most people who watched the programme have stated that they are much better informed as a result. That is the mark of successful interviewing. Those who fall into the other camp identify themselves by the need to call the Prime Minister a liar. This camp will never be satisfied. Fortunately, for them, the Campbell Live programme will allow their view much more airtime from here on in, especially when Campbell's Poll results are announced.

Anonymous said...

There seems a very large gap between Key's interpretation of the bill and what others are saying.

I thought the courts would have the final say on matters of law, given evidence from both sides.

Official information act adequate for that?

Anonymous said...

"To be fair to Campbell, this interview was almost a model of how an interview should be conducted."

Bryan Edwards, JC's "biggest fan" thinks you're being far too generous.