You may recall that, back in September, the New Zealand government admitted that the GCSB (Government Communications Security Bureau), the local equivalent of the NSA had illegally spied
on Kim Dotcom to aid American DOJ investigators. New Zealand's Prime Minister, John Key, apologized and ordered an investigation. Many were asking when Key actually knew about the illegal surveillance, which covered domestic communications, despite GCSB's mandate being focused on foreign communications. It's now come out that the order to "suppress" the information about GCSB's activities, signed by acting prime minister Bill English (normally the Finance Minister) while Key was abroad, was the only such document in 10 years:
The spy agency has stated that the certificate signed by Finance Minister Bill English as Acting Prime Minister was the only one found in "a thorough search of our files".
Mr English was asked by the GCSB to sign the "ministerial certificate" while Prime Minister John Key was overseas in August. The certificate said knowledge of the GCSB's involvement in the Dotcom investigation would damage its ability to detect or prevent serious crime.
The fact it was the only ministerial warrant in 10 years was discovered by the Green Party under the Official Information Act. Its rarity has led Green Party co-leader Russel Norman to question how Mr Key stayed ignorant of its existence until a month after it was signed.
Beyond the concern of who knew what and when, there should be continued outrage in New Zealand at its goverment's willingness to bend over backwards to break the law just because the US entertainment industry was putting pressure on the DOJ to "do something" about Megaupload. The fact that they appear to have not only broken the law, but then issued a one-of-a-kind order to try to hide the fact that they broke the law really says something about the lengths the NZ government were willing to go to please Hollywood.