Audrey Young is the New Zealand Herald’s political editor.

Audrey Young: John Key nailed it - almost

Prime Minister John Key.
Prime Minister John Key.

SCORE: John Key - 8. John Campbell - 3.

After last night's commanding performance on Campbell Live, John Key will be left wondering why he did not go on the show a lot earlier to defend the changes to his GCSB bill.

For the first time on national television, he said that in order for the GCSB to get hold of New Zealanders' metadata, it will need a warrant signed by the Prime Minister and the Commissioner of Security Warrants.

He has said it before - in the past few weeks. But he has not said it clearly enough or often enough, given that there is a perception that the GCSB is going to collect everyone's emails and phones records at whim.

Key might have scored 10 except for the fact he failed to pull up John Campbell on an error - the issue of section 14, which in the present law says the GCSB cannot spy on New Zealanders or permanent residents.

Why is it not in the current bill, Campbell demanded. It would have been a legitimate question if it were not in the bill - but it is, and has been from day one.

But it is true that the GCSB will be able to conduct surveillance on Kiwis in the area of cyber security, but again, that will require a warrant signed by the Prime Minister and Commissioner of Security Warrants.

Key's own error on the bill was in suggesting that, having acquired a warrant to intercept communications under its cyber-security function, the GCSB would not be allowed to look at the content. There's no such provision in the bill. If Key had front-footed the bill from the start, fewer people would have had concerns.

Debate on this article is now closed.

- NZ Herald

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Audrey Young is the New Zealand Herald’s political editor.

Audrey Young is the New Zealand Herald’s political editor, a job she has held since 2003. She is responsible for the Herald’s Press Gallery team. She first joined the New Zealand Herald in 1988 as a sub-editor after the closure of its tabloid rival, the Auckland Sun. She switched to reporting in 1991 as social welfare and housing reporter. She joined the Herald’s Press Gallery office in 1994. She has previously worked as a journalism tutor at Manukau Technical Institute, as member of the Newspapers in Education unit at Wellington Newspapers and as a teacher in Wellington. She was a union nominee on the Press Council for six years.

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