Wellington Scoop

PM apologises for unlawful spying; his critics call for an independent inquiry

The Prime Minister’s extraordinary apology to Kim Dotcom and to New Zealanders has not calmed the uproar about the government’s unlawful spying on Kim Dotcom.

On Radio NZ’s Checkpoint programme, Mr Key said yesterday there had been “a basic mistake … so basic it’s mind-blowing.”

And earlier he issued his unprecedented apology. “I apologise to Mr Dotcom, I apologise to New Zealanders because every New Zealander that sits within the category of holding permanent residency or a New Zealand is entitled to be protected from the law when it comes to the GCSB and we failed to provide that protection to them.”

He was speaking after the release of a report from the Inspector General of Intelligence and Security which said there were “two main aspects of the human error” which was to blame for the unlawful spying on Kim Dotcom.

Labour leader David Shearer has said the report is a whitewash because it ignores the failure of democratic oversight by the Prime Minister. He called for an independent inquiry.

Greens co-leader Russel Norman said the report is five and a half pages of excuses aimed at justifying clearly illegal behaviour. Dr Norman also called for an independent inquiry into the many troubling aspects of the Dotcom case.

New Zealand First Leader Winston Peters said the situation had “the stench of a massive cover-up being orchestrated by the Prime Minister, his deputy, and other senior Government officials.” The calls for an inquiry were repeated by New Zealand First.

Later today, the Greens lodged a complaint with the police, saying there appeared to have been a breach of the Crimes Act.