Fran O'Sullivan struggled to understand why the PM has been so "lightweight" in his responses and concluded her column saying:
Key could save himself a great deal of angst if he explained simply to New Zealanders why this country participates in international security arrangements and what's at stake if it doesn't. It's a no brainer. Getting hung up on Hager isn't.Tracy Watkins was more explicit about Key's response, saying (accurately IMO) that it "defied logic" was "unconvincing" and "over the top". She followed up with the exact same plea:
A reasoned and considered defence of the GCSB and its work, including a detailed explanation as to why Snowden had it so wrong as Key claimed would have carried a lot more weight and would have quickly shut the story down.I think we're all waiting for a proper explanation. But surely the PM's problem is really obvious. He is on record from last year categorically stating that the GCSB is not undertaking mass surveillance of New Zealanders and promising to resign if proven wrong.
So Fran and Tracy are pleading for the impossible. The PM simply cannot now defend a program of mass surveillance in the Pacific which has hoovered up the private communications of at least 200,000 New Zealanders, as the GCSB director of the day has now confirmed.
Maybe these Pacific governments are all in the loop and happy about what we've been doing. Maybe there are other justifications. Sadly, we can't even discuss these issues until the PM stops playing the man, and he can't start playing the ball because of his previous statements.