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More on Fletcher GCSB appointment

  • April 5th, 2013

Interesting to see even the sophisticated Peter Cresswell parrotting the establishment line that Ministers should stay out of appointing their own direct reports.

But disconcerting that he casually throws in "separation of powers" as if Key has infringed some constitutional principle.

Peter that convention/principle urges separation and mutual respect and a balance between the Executive, the Judiciary, and the Legislature.

The Prime Minister is the leader of the Executive. He should have a vital interest in who reports to him, in every portfolio. The current convention that Ministers get a veto power after an independent vetting process is not prejudiced by a Minister shoulder tapping candidates to suggest they put themselves forward. Separation of powers is an important constitutional protection. It is cheapened by attempted application to criticise actions entirely confined to the Executive.

The weak link in our defence of appointment quality is the SSC. If the SSC does not have enough mana to insist on its standards in the vetting and short-listing there is ample room for the appointment of incompetent cronies whatever the formal restrictions on Ministers.

The media lapping up the opposition line should think to ask Mr Robertson "what would stop a future government ensuring that a third party does the shoulder tapping of favoured candidates, if it was true that a Minister should not do it directly?".

Our media promote pathetic debate.


  • Al McWhinnie
  • April 5th, 2013
  • 8:29 am

Spot on Stephen!!


I’m not sure you get to call the opposite of the line being used by the Prime Minister and the State Services Commission the “establishment line”.

If anyone is supporting the establishment line, it’s you (and incidentally, me as well).

  • Roger Strong
  • April 5th, 2013
  • 9:49 am

The media often actively discourages debate-The NZ Herald this week has managed it on several occasions. One headline has it that if you don’t agree with the changes to the names for the North and South Island then you are automatically a ‘redneck’! The other is the complete suppression of any mention at all of Lord Monkton’s visit to this country. They disagree with his views so simply don’t report at all on his visit. How is this not censorship?

  • jeremy
  • April 5th, 2013
  • 11:13 am

The reality is the internal applicants were – like so many others in the mess that is the NZDF / GCSB nexus – dead wood incapable of change and clearly not up to it. Looks to me like the SSC is unwilling or unable to weed out the inept applicants.

The interview on RNZ, the go-to media cronies for Labour MPs struggling to make an impression and Unions living in the dark ages, with Robertson was a new low in another dead wood organisation incapable of changing with the times.

  • Robert Miles
  • April 5th, 2013
  • 9:00 pm

Agree with Jeremy. Would a former CDS as head of the GCSB put the nation and governments interest ahead of those of the UK and US. Someone like Lindsay Ferguson, knowing more would probably ask less questions. On military and intelligence matters, NZ independence has always been limited.
Nicky Hager and Plunket expose themselves as basically touts for the left and labour and people who put such interests well ahead of the truth, peace and national security interests. That is not to say that somesort of qualifying relationship dosen’t exist between the US and Hager as it did with Clark. It was not their primary loyalty, but noone should imagine that professional politicians and commentators can operate without debts and no go areas.
Key was sensible to put Fletcher in as he needs a reliable ear in that position. NZ has little real control of Wahopai whoever nominally heads the base and GCSB. The surveillance targets and analysis is conducted elsewhere, a lot of it in the past in Canada and by Canadians.
Canada has always been a priority spy target for the Soviets and Russians and they have had many succesful penetetrations. The latest Canadian spy scandal resulted in admissions in Canada that a huge amount of critical NZ human and military intelligence had gone to the Russians. What exactly would be a much better question for a parliamentary enquiry than the legitimate appointment of Fletcher.

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