Adam Bennett

Adam is a political reporter for the New Zealand Herald.

Peters: No need to meet PM over bill

Winston Peters says it's better to work calmly through the GCSB legislation. Photo / Mark Mitchell
Winston Peters says it's better to work calmly through the GCSB legislation. Photo / Mark Mitchell

NZ First leader Winston Peters is playing it cool over Prime Minister John Key's offer of a meeting to discuss law changes which will clarify the electronic eavesdropping agency GCSB's ability to spy on New Zealanders.

The Government plans to introduce the legislation and complete its first reading this week and is likely to put Parliament under urgency to do so.

Mr Key on Monday released a draft version of the legislation which essentially legalises surveillance of New Zealanders in certain situations.

In a significant gesture of co-operation to NZ First, Mr Key said he was seeking a meeting with Mr Peters to discuss the bill.

While Mr Peters has said the law needs to be changed quickly, he said yesterday he would not meet the Prime Minister to discuss it.

"Why would I do that? We can work this through on the facts and on the legislation, we don't need to have to go and have a private sitdown like some parties want to do every five minutes."

He said NZ First had also been offered a briefing on the bill from officials, but said: "Those are the same people who screwed it up in 2003 and screwed it up in 2009 and onwards so we don't think that's going to be very helpful.

"It's better we just work our way calmly through the legislation ourselves and say what we think."

Mr Peters said the draft bill was defective in its proposed oversight regime for the surveillance of New Zealanders. NZ First wants a three-person panel to review warrants for the GCSB to spy on New Zealanders.

- NZ Herald

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