Chris Trotter, Key Apologist Again
At the beginning of last year Chris Trotter defended John Key's claim that he had a mandate to sell state assets. I strongly disagreed with that view and was disappointed that a political commentator who proclaims his commitment to the left side of politics would willingly provide support for such a damaging policy based on such flimsy arguments.
With a recent article Trotter has done it again. Just when Key was being exposed with some excellent journalism, he leaps to the Prime Minister's defense. According to Trotter, Campbell produced nothing conclusive and the Prime Minister and the GCSB director do not need to provide answers to the questions posed:
"The evidence they have assembled is indisputably very suggestive, but it is not even remotely conclusive."
"Yes, there are many questions that cry out for answers, but those in a position to do so cannot be compelled to testify."
At the very point when we needed to have some collective media strength to force Key into providing the New Zealand public with some convincing answers Trotter lifts the journalistic foot off Key's throat (please excuse the violent metaphor, I feel strongly about this) and allows him to breath easy again.
John Campbell's programme did more than suggest, it is conclusive that the appointment of Ian Fletcher as Director to the GCSB was at the Prime Minister's recommendation and that the PM lied about his relationship with Fletcher and the manner of the appointment. It is conclusive that leadership of the spy agency is no longer a military one but is now being led by a diplomat with a background in intellectual property and international trade negotiations. It is also conclusive that the Prime Minister refuses to question the US over the use of the spy data that we collect on its behalf and that illegal spying on ordinary New Zealand citizens has occurred during the Prime Minister's term of office. Surely this is enough 'conclusiveness' to demand answers and compel those responsible to 'testify'!
The Government and the Prime Minister should be working and making decisions for the collective good of all New Zealanders and while the details of the day to day operations of the GCSB and the SIS obviously need to be kept under wraps the broad nature of their work should be common knowledge and the terms of engagement with our Five Eyes partners should be publicly known.
Is the the GCSB involved in commercial and trade espionage?
Should New Zealand be complicit, through our spying activity and the data we share, in the execution of people outside war zones and, in the process, violating basic human rights?
What are the perceived international threats to the security of our nation, potential terrorists in Yemen or the protection of major corporates within the Five Eyes alliance?
New Zealanders should have strong assurances that our Government is advocating strongly on our behalf to maintain our national sovereignty and to actively defend the human rights of New Zealand citizens outside our shores.
Time and time again John Key and his Government have been allowed off the hook for some pretty appalling decisions and shocking mismanagement. At a domestic level Key has clearly shown that the plight of ordinary struggling New Zealanders are of no concern to him. His arrogant and evasive answers to Metira Turei's questions regarding excluding beneficiaries from accessing the parental tax credit were unacceptable. Key should be able to justify any decisions that negatively impact on large groups of New Zealanders and he should be able to justify and explain how this Government engages at a global level on our behalf.
Trotter's lack of real support for Campbell Live's success at shining light on the murky underbelly of international espionage and John Key's involvement is disappointing. We need more journalists and commentators stepping up to demand answers and not providing side exits and easy escapes for a Prime Minister who is skilled at spotting and using them.