'Outrage' over spy boss comments

Last updated 07:56 04/04/2013

Prime Minister John Key says he forgot about a phone call made to Ian Fletcher about the possibility of a job as head of the GCSB.

tdn ian stand
SPY BOSS: Ian Fletcher.
Opinion poll

Do you think John Key's 'brain fade' over the appointment of spy boss Ian Fletcher will harm him in the polls?

Yes, definitely.

No, but it should.

No way. It's a beat up.

Vote Result

IAIN RENNIE: "I am outraged that there has been baseless attacks on the credibility of Mr Fletcher's appointment."

Related Links

Spy boss got job after call from PM Key forgets tip to friend over spy job

Relevant offers


Methamphetamine contamination guidelines 'misused' to evict tenants Mental health workers clock up big hours PM Paula Bennett? What the Westie warrior could do while she's in the hot seat New Zealand's as close as it's ever got to a free trade deal with India - John Key Prime Minister John Key would have attended Helen Kelly's memorial service if he could John Key officially welcomed in New Delhi ahead of meeting with Indian counterpart Former GNS Science chief executive was highest-earning CRI boss on $800,000 India cranks up security a notch for Prime Minister John Key's visit Kashmir world's largest prison after crackdown, Palmerston North protest organiser says PM's delegation grounded by a faulty microswitch, airforce confirms

State Services commissioner Iain Rennie has hit out at criticism over the appointment of Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) boss Ian Fletcher as fresh questions are raised about the prime minister's involvement.

The former GCSB head, Sir Bruce Ferguson, last night questioned whether the process was politicised.

Fletcher's appointment has come under intense scrutiny since it emerged he and John Key have known each other since childhood. Key head-hunted Fletcher to be director of the GCSB in a phone call after a short list of four candidates was rejected by Rennie in 2011.

Ferguson told TV3's Campbell Live that seemed wrong.

"If indeed the selection process was abrogated in favour of this one person, and no short list interview happened, well that is wrong in my view," he said.

"The state services commissioner is very much entrusted with running an apolitical selection process.

"From what I hear that may not have happened and if that didn't happen I find that quite disturbing."

But Rennie last night strongly refuted claims regarding the process.

He said Fletcher was an outstanding public servant.

"I am outraged that there has baseless attacks on the credibility of Mr Fletcher's appointment," Rennie said.

Those who replied to a job ad in May 2011 were thoroughly considered, he said.

It was "normal" for recruitment consultants to make short lists and for the commissioner to make judgements on those selected and to seek out additional candidate, he stressed.

Fletcher was the only person interviewed by an SSC selected panel, which included former department of prime minister and cabinet boss Sir Maarten Wevers.

Rennie said there was a "high bar" for interviewees and "sometimes" only one candidate got to that stage.

"For this position, and I want to make this very clear, it was not essential to have a military or intelligence background," he said.

"GCSB is a civilian agency, and the position description emphasised the importance of leadership and change-management expertise in this role."

The integrity of the selection panel was "beyond question," he said.

The panel was aware that the prime minister and Fletcher knew each other and had spoken on the telephone, he said.

But Labour is calling for an inquiry and has accused Key of "lying by omission" after he initially downplayed his relationship with Fletcher.

Ad Feedback

- The Dominion Post


Special offers
Opinion poll

Where do you stand on political coat-tail riding?

If it gets marginalised voices into Parliament, I'm for it.

I'm against it - if you don't get the votes, you shouldn't be there.

It's just part of the political game.

Vote Result

Related story: Voters reject riding on the coat-tails

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content