“This is New Zealand’s Watergate” Bob Amsterdam, Glenn Greenwald and New Zealand’s Moment of Truth

Laila Harré, leader of the Internet Party & candidate for Internet MANA sat down with Glenn Greenwald & Robert Amsterdam to discuss the upcoming event Moment of Truth on the 15th September at Auckland’s Town Hall – 7pm. The men discuss New Zealand’s mass surveillance of its own population, spying on other countries and John Key’s ad hominem attacks on respected journalists rather than addressing the issues they raise – eg. calling Greenwald “Dotcom’s little henchman“… Tweets about Greenwald and the spying scandal that has gripped New Zealand

Glenn Edward Greenwald is an American lawyer, journalist and author. He was a columnist for Guardian US from August 2012 to October 2013. He was a columnist for Salon.com from 2007 to 2012, and an occasional contributor to The Guardian. He recently won the Pulitzer Prize for public service for reporting on the US’s National Security Agency (Wikipedia). Greenwald an editor of The Intercept, a news organisation created and funded by Ebay founder Pierre Omidyar. The magazine serves as a platform to report on the documents released by Edward Snowden in the short term, and to “produce fearless, adversarial journalism across a wide range of issues” in the long term (Wikipedia). Robert Amsterdam is a Canadian international lawyer and founding partner with Dean Peroff of the law firm Amsterdam & Peroff, with offices in Toronto, Washington and London. He is now part of the legal team representing Kim Dotcom, the Internet entrepreneur he describes as having had his business: “…unlawfully destroyed and assets seized by a crusading U.S. prosecutor. …in the Megaupload legal case (Wikipedia). Amsterdam’s TVNZ Q&A interview from the morning of 14 Sept 2014 may be viewed here This is New Zealand’s Watergate.

14 thoughts on ““This is New Zealand’s Watergate” Bob Amsterdam, Glenn Greenwald and New Zealand’s Moment of Truth

  1. The culture of shooting the messenger is endemic in NZ politics. I led a film crew from UK in 2002 looking at the aerial dispersal of 1080. We were in NZ for 6 weeks. Every time we got close to a 1080 camp deep in the back country, the vehicles took off. We found that my mobile was being used to track our movements. By dint of sending my mobile to the other side of the island, we were able to film a 1080 camp in all its horrific glory. An MP told us that a meeting between senior government ministers and lawyers was convened to see if there was a way our footage could be confiscated. Also, Jim Sutton, the then minister of Agriculture and Biodiversity, took every opportunity to rubbish what we were doing and did so in a very personal way. We took the view that his unstatesmanlike approach to a serious investigation was a sure sign we had hit a raw nerve.

  2. John Key called journalist Greenwald “Dotcom’s little henchman”, but with the same logic and approach, could we not call John Key “Washington’s little henchman”.

  3. There is no doubt at all that gerrymandering has been taking place in New Zealand, and has been doing so for quite some time. Winston Peters stated in January 2014: “We thought MMP would stop the gerrymandering and ‘old boys’ arrangements of the past but some political parties keep manipulating the political process for their own ends instead of trusting the voters.”

    Further evidence can be found in the 2010 Electoral sizes for Auckland, indicating that National may have won the previous election by this method as well. When you look at the numbers you will see that the rich are over-represented by as much as 24.8%, while the less well off are under-represented by up to 12.8%. It would therefore be no surprise at all that National, who is the party that focuses the most on keeping the rich getting richer, would have done better in the 2010 election given this manipulation of the political system.

    There is absolutely no doubt, not only was the 2014 election rigged to put National into power, but the previous election was rigged as well (as the numbers in Auckland make blatantly clear). If Peters is to be believed, then the problem goes back even further than that, and has been firmly entrenched in the New Zealand political system for DECADES.

  4. I agree with you completely. Many unofficial ‘polls’ took place, and they indicated the exact opposite of what the official ‘polls’ showed the results of the election would be. The indications here are that the official ‘polls’ were softening the people of New Zealand for the results of a rigged election.

    They way they rigged the election is easy to spot if you know what to look for; it was done through a process called gerrymandering. This is where the boundaries of the electorates are deliberately changed in order to select voters most likely to support a particular party, and to undermine candidates of rival parties (this is also done in the USA).

    There were MAJOR changes in electoral boundaries made right around the country which were reported by the Otago Daily Times (17 April 2014 http://www.odt.co.nz/news/politics/299305/electoral-boundary-changes-announced).

    According to them the changes displaced 387,000 voters, placing them into different electorates. To put this in perspective the TOTAL number of registered voters in 2011 was 3,070,847, meaning that at least 10% of all voters were affected by boundary changes in the latest election. In addition it is indicated that of the 71 electorates, only 20 didn’t have their boundaries altered (7 of those electorates were Maori). This means that 51 of the 64 electorates that could have their boundaries altered had changes made. It is very clear what has taken place.

    This video both explains the process of gerrymandering, and later gives some ways parliaments can avoid it:

    • Thanks for reporting this, I had a hunch that something like this was going on, and was shocked to hear the blatant nonchalance of the various news reported on election night with the repeated references to new electorates and new boundaries. Tom Delay 101.

      But kiwis are so clever – they’ll figure this out, even when it is staring them in the face.

      Yeah right.

  5. Congratulations to the National Party on their victory, as the reality is …
    kiwis want the party that places emphasis on capital …
    since “Money is not everything … but everything needs money”

  6. If anyone doubts how apathetic New Zealanders are, please follow this story.

    There is good reason to suspect the New Zealand Prime Minister is deceiving the public, and some kind of investigation needs to happen, so how does the NZ public respond? They support him in greater numbers!


    I guess the New Zealand public isn’t put off by a head of state that calls a legitimate journalist a “loser” and says about Dotcom: “Dotcom is trying to save Dotcom’s butt, and it’s a reasonably large one so he’s bought in all of these people, three little butts to save his butt”


    Personally, I would suspect that this poll is not even legitimate, and the numbers have been played with. The New Zealand Herald is insanely and transparently biased towards the current Prime Minister. The articles read as if they were written by Key’s staff members.

    The fact is, well reasoned, detailed discussion of some pretty important stuff had to come from outsiders. New Zealand journalists don’t do in-depth reports. It appears that the vast majority of New Zealand journalists are rapidly biased against Kim Dotcom. Unfortunately, it also appears that international journalists must be getting part of the story from these same biased Kiwi journalists. I don’t imagine the outside world really understands how deeply inbred New Zealand journalists are with the political machine. From reading online commentaries on NZ newspapers, and the Trade Me forums, I have gathered that many New Zealanders are angry at these foreigners for coming in to their country and telling them how they should think, and angry that their own good politicians are being bad-mouthed. John Key himself comments on this:

    “Key questioned “what business [do] Kim Dotcom and his foreign political friends have in telling Kiwis what they ought to think four days out from our election?”


    The international press has paid this story some attention, but again, it seems that New Zealand journalists and political commentators show their bias. This is from an earlier version of a story that ran in today’s New York Times, which has since been edited to remove the part that I’m quoting. Of course, we don’t know why it was edited. Perhaps the NY Times realized, belatedly, how biased it sounds:
    ”said Bryce Edwards, … “And people have become more polarized and excited — or maybe even repulsed — by some of the major players.” …


    Repulsed indeed. Says as much about Edwards’ bias as it does about the NZ public’s attitude towards the portly German Kim Dotcom.

    Bryce Edwards is a University of Otago professor and political commentator in the New Zealand Herald, a newspaper that is rabidly biased, and in the thrall of John Key. The Herald, as those of us who read it regularly realize, is a consistently third rate newspaper, that never uses “big words,” doesn’t engage in much investigative journalism, and often fails to answer even the basic “who, what, where, when, why” of a story.

    The latest article on the election in the Guardian has some good comments, including this one:

    “The almost complete lack of any critical element at all in the press also plays a role. It has led to a population which is surely the most compliant, complacent, politically naive, apathetic and supine in the entire world.”


  7. Sorry, E2NZ, but I would like to re-post a comment from the average kiwi voter which should serve as a good example of what the mindset is like here for any interested readers. The post titled “Fat German Sausage” at the top of the blog and “Public Interest” below are also humorous.

    From the dailyblog.co.nz (not to be confused with its alter ego site, thedailyblog.co.nz):

    *So what about John Key?

    I tell you what, the next dick head that has anything bad to say about the best leader we’ve ever had, I will throat punch the C U Next Tuesday and then kick him in the guts.

    John Key is not the enemy you narrow minded, rather short brain celled nimwits think.

    Think about it… Yeah, ‘think’ there’s that word again, if you can!

    The guy before coming to power was worth a few ‘tens of millions of dollars’.

    He decides to run for politics as clearly he can see the country was on a path of no return, and of course that chick who deserted NZ as soon as he got her out, well, she had to go.

    John Key, had he stayed out of politics and watched this tiny nation of self-serving nimwits like the formentioned Doris thrive, he would have made many more millions doing what he does best – running stuff for profit!!!

    But no, he decides to serve an ungrateful nation.

    Shame on all who disrespect this man.

    You can get bent over.
    This entry was posted in NZ Politics on 06/09/2014.*

  8. I hate to be pessimistic, but I believe Rose and Vince will be proven correct. The mainstream media (NZ Herald) and even alternative media ignored the major points from the panel, and instead, focused on the big, bad American NSA, and not the NZ government. The latest polls show National even further out in front than before. Alas, some things will never change.

  9. ‘Now comes the fun part – watching what, if anything, New Zealanders do in response.’ I’m picking they’ll take the do nothing option, just lie back and think of England whilst taking it up the proverbial backside.

  10. For those of us who have tried to get support on issues within New Zealand to effect social change we know what the response will be: NOTHING. The reality is that in New Zealand the average citizen will not lift a finger when it comes to making any significant changes. This is a country in which the average citizen will whine and moan, but when crunch time comes and they have the chance to actually make a difference they are nowhere to be seen.

    It’s very revealing that of the major players in this video three of them are American, one is Australian, and one is German.

  11. What an incredible panel tonight. That has got to hurt the National government.

    I hope everyone actually watches the entire program on YouTube.

    Do not rely on the reader’s digest version or the mainstream media (including Campbell Live) to filter the highlights or tell you what to think.

    Now comes the fun part – watching what, if anything, New Zealanders do in response.

  12. The amount of bollocks that the nat owned media is throwing at the sheeple, trying to do damage control, astounds me! The NZ sheeple do not deserve a real democracy, because they are brain dead ‘demoralised’ creatures. Let them rot !

  13. John Key on the attack against Glen Greenwald? This could be a serious international miscalculation. While it might not cause National to lose the election, it will certainly have an impact in other countries. I think Glen has considerable clout and credibility – especially among intellectuals in the world. He is certainly more widely known and popular outside New Zealand.

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