INDEPENDENT NEWS

Spymaster not good choice as Governor General

Published: Wed 9 Mar 2011 08:35 AM
Spymaster not good choice as Governor General
It is surprising that the government is to appoint New Zealand's top spymaster as Governor General.
Although Lieutenant General Jerry Mateparae has only recently taken the reins of the spy agency GCSB (Government Communications Security Bureau) he is currently involved in overseeing two controversial pieces of legislation which will seriously encroach on the civil liberties and freedoms of New Zealanders.
Before parliament are the Search and Surveillance Bill and the SIS Amendment Bill. Both extend state control over the private lives of individuals, such as removing the right to remain silent if charged, and allowing greater intrusion into New Zealanders lives when there is no demonstrable need.
Mateparae the spymaster is promoting legislation which Mateparae the Governor General will sign into law.
It's a mismatch.
The GCSB role means he's also responsible for running the Waihopai spybase in the interests of US foreign policy rather than the interests of New Zealand and a similar situation exists through his previous role as head of the Defence Force which saw him active in supporting New Zealand troops in Afghanistan.
In both these situations Mateparae's political views and instinctive interests lie outside what many New Zealanders feel is appropriate for this country.
Mateparae may have many admirable personal qualities but his appointment is as controversial as the policies he supports and promotes.
GPJA spokesperson, John Minto.

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