27 Sep 2012

Dotcom case likened to Te Urewera raids

10:21 am on 27 September 2012

Opposition MPs are drawing comparisons between the Kim Dotcom spying case and the police raids in Te Urewera National Park.

Charges against most of the people arrested in the Bay of Plenty raids in 2007 were dropped after the Supreme Court ruled that police broke the law with their covert video surveillance.

This week, the Government Communications Security Bureau became the subject of an inquiry after revelations that it unlawfully spied on the German internet entrepreneur and his colleagues.

Kim Dotcom is fighting extradition to the United States to face copyright, money laundering and fraud charges.

The spy agency believed that Mr Dotcom and a co-accused were foreign nationals due to incorrect advice from police, but they have New Zealand residency. It is illegal for the GCSB to spy on New Zealand residents and it is being investigated over the matter.

The Green Party says the Government needs to make its crime-fighting agencies more transparent, so the public can have confidence they are doing the right thing.

Co-leader Metiria Turei says there are similarities between police breaking the law with their covert surveillance during the 2007 raids and the illegal spying on Mr Dotcom.

Ms Turei says because there is no transparency, people can neither protect themselves nor hold the Government to account.

Maori Party MP Te Ururoa Flavell says as soon as he heard about the illegal surveillance of Mr Dotcom he was reminded of the raids in his Waiariki electorate.

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters says the commonality in the two cases is the breaching of the law by agencies supposed to be enforcing it.

However, Police Minister Anne Tolley says comparing them is drawing a very long bow.