House uproar as Key clarifies Dotcom record

Last updated 15:26 16/10/2012
In The House

Winston Peters ejected from Parliament as PM clarifies when he first learned about the GCSB's role in the Kim Dotcom operation.

SPIED ON: Millionaire internet entrepreneur Kim Dotcom.
Reuters
SPIED ON: Millionaire internet entrepreneur Kim Dotcom.

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Prime Minister John Key has clarified in Parliament when he first learned about the Government Communications Security Bureau's role in the operation to snare Kim Dotcom.

Key was left red faced two weeks ago when it emerged he was told in a February briefing at GCSB HQ. He had previously told Parliament he first knew on September 17, when director Ian Fletcher told him the Bureau had been illegally spying on the internet mogul.

A subsequent review of files revealed an earlier power point briefing in which a brief mention of Dotcom was made. Key said he couldn't recall it, but accepted it happened.

This afternoon's Question Time is the first opportunity he has had to correct the record. He said this morning it was not an apology.

He told MPs his answers were based on his recollection and there was no attempt to mislead the House.

NZ First leader Winston Peters tried to get in first by raising a point of order.

After an argument, Speaker Lockwood Smith ordered Peters from the House.

Labour MPs David Parker and Trevor Mallard also left the House after their attempts were also rebuffed.

He and Labour leader David Shearer are at odds over the existence of a recording of the February 29 briefing. Shearer says Key may have been caught on camera making a joke about Dotcom - which show he did know about GCSB and Operation Debut. But Key says he doesn't remember it - and Shearer should produce the tape.

Meanwhile Key confirmed this morning he is tightening procedures in his dealing with GCSB by making one staffer responsible for his liaisons with the foreign spy agency.

Smith refused to allow Peters to return to ask his question, despite an appeal by Labour MP Chris Hipkins.  
"Members should think about that before they take on the Speaker," Dr Smith said.

Mallard - who left voluntarily - returned to the House.

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