Interview: Winston Peters Says Public & National Interest Demands A Broad Inquiry Must Be Initiated Into GCSB, Police, & Prime Minister’s Handling
In this Triangle TV interview between Winston Peters and Selwyn Manning, Mr Peters says a broad independent inquiry must be held, not only into the Government Communications Security Bureau’s unlawful surveillance of Megaupload boss Kim Dotcom and his crew, but also into the Police, its responses to questions in the High Court, and into an apparent cover-up where the GCSB requested from the Prime Minister’s department a suppression warrant.
That suppression warrant, by way of a Ministerial Certificate, was worded to prevent the Police from having to reveal the GCSB was involved with surveillance during the Police-led raids during Operation Debut.
Throughout the past three weeks, Prime Minister John Key insisted he was not made aware of the GCSB surveillance during Operation Debut, only to last week reveal that his statement to Parliament where he insisted he was not made aware was incorrect, that he had been told of the surveillance back in February 2012, but could not remember that briefing.
In the interview (see above) Mr Peters compares John Key’s performance as Minister in charge of the intelligence security agencies against the standard set by his predecessor prime ministers.
“I have never heard of a prime minister not taking this seriously. And I believe that the [Prime Minister's] claim to have not read them [the intelligence briefing] is the same claim as in the Banks case: he deliberately did not read the Police report in the Banks case…,” Mr Peters said.
“You can pose as the ‘oh shucks’ prime minister, the sort of good ole boy, with a beer in the hand at the barbecue, but the fact is you are the prime minister and I believe he did know. You would have to be totally beset with amnesia and total unawareness to [not] observe that this man (Kim Dotcom) was in your electorate,” Mr Peters said.
In Parliament Winston Peters called for the Prime Minister John Key to sack himself due to his poor performance as the minister in charge of the GCSB.
Considering John Key’s predecessor prime ministers, David Lange, Sir Geoffrey Palmer, Jim Bolger, Jenny Shipley, Helen Clark: “That’s the precedent, numerous precedents, and none of them would have behaved in this way. So, he (John Key) is in serious trouble now, because he has posed as the great manager.”
In this interview Mr Peters examines the inquiry options he sees as necessary to satisfy the National and Public interest regarding this scandal.
Mr Peters said a broad independent inquiry must be led by an Ombudsman or a person who enjoys the confidence of the public such as former Governor General Sir Anand Satyanand, GNZM, QSO, KStJ.
The interview scans the multiple investigations/inquiries into the GCSB surveillance of Kim Dotcom and his crew.
Winston Peters is questioned on whether he believes the New Zealand Police’s lead officer in charge of the Organised and Financial Crime Agency (OFCANZ) operation, Detective Inspector Grant Wormald, committed a possible perjury while giving testimony in the High Court when he was asked by Dotcom’s counsel Paul Davison QC: “So apart from the surveillance which might have been going to undertake on your behalf was there any other surveillance being undertaken here in New Zealand to your knowledge?” Detective Inspector Wormald replied: “No there wasn’t.”
Mr Peters said: “It means DI Wormald and the Police will have a very hard job to dislodge the allegation that this was perjury.” And he added that it was premature of the Police Commissioner Peter Marshall to have come out in support of DI Wormald and his team prior to any inquiry or investigation into their conduct. The Commissioner was reported by Fairfax Media as: stating speculation around Wormald’s actions while the case is still before the court is “deeply concerning”. That Wormald’s evidence was wrongly interpreted, “not untrue” and that officers involved have his “unequivocal support”.
Renowned Queen’s Counsel and defence lawyer Peter Williams QC said in his interview with Selwyn Manning (click here for the interview) the questions put to Police Detective Inspector Grant Wormald by Kim Dotcom’s defence counsel were not specific enough to tie the officer down, which gave the Police officer an avenue within which he could answer in a way without committing perjury. But Mr Williams added that it is reasonable for the public to form a view that the Police officer was not responding in an open manner – in essence, the Police got off the hook.
So will this scandal die and fall from the public gaze? Mr Peters: “This story is very much alive because the public interest is not satisfied. It is not going away because of that. The public knows there is much more and what is being used by way of constructive devices to avoid disclosure and to avoid further inquiry has only exacerbated the situation.”
Reports and Reviews ordered by the Prime Minister John Key:
TIMELINE OF EVENTS:
We are into the third week of this issue where we became aware of unlawful GCSB surveillance of Kim Dotcom and his crew.
Are we any closer to the real truth of what went on?
Question 2: What more should the Prime Minister John Key do to satisfy the public interest, the national interest, in this whole shambles?
Question 3: What kind of inquiry do you believe is necessary to satisfy the public and national interest – not just in how the GCSB has been operating – but also how the Security Int Police is operating in the security intelligence arena, and also whether the Prime Minister has been providing adequate governance oversight on such matters?
Question 4: In Parliament you called for John Key to sack himself over this issue. Has his performance really been so woefull that he should stand down?
You have been a member of Parliament since 1978, you were Deputy Prime Minister and Treasurer 1996-1998, Minister of Foreign Affairs 19 October 2005-19 November 2008.
Question 5: How do you rate John Key’s performance as Prime Minister this year compared to his predecessors on ministerial responsibility?
Question 6: If you consider that timeline of events, what do you make of this?
Question 7: Is it reasonable for the New Zealand public to wonder if an attempted cover-up took place here?
Question 8: Do you believe the Police officer in charge of the Organised and Financial Crime Agency (OFCANZ) operation Detective Inspector Grant Wormald committed perjury when he replied “No there wasn’t.” when asked “was there any other surveillance being undertaken?”
Question 9: In your view, do these defences justify – when Wormald was asked in the High Court: “was there any other surveillance being undertaken here in New Zealand to your knowledge?”… Detective Inspector Wormald responded: “No there wasn’t.”
Question 10: You have been around politics for a long time now, will the New Zealand public get the inquiry they deserve into this affair?
The Beatson Interview is broadcast weekly on Triangle TV and is webcast on LiveNews.co.nz.Interview: Winston Peters Says Public & National Interest Demands A Broad Inquiry Must Be Initiated Into GCSB, Police, & Prime Minister's Handling,