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As it happened: The Campaign Trail September 16

8.00pm: 

Prime Minister John Key is hitting back at claims by whistleblower Edward Snowden of mass spying on Kiwis. It follows last night's event at Auckland Town Hall when Kim Dotcom rolled out the big guns including Mr Snowden and Julian Assange for his so-called "Moment of Truth". "Last night on stage you had three guys basically making absolutely fanciful claims," Mr Key told reporters today.

7.45pm: 

Kim Dotcom has failed to deliver on his promise to prove John Key knew about him before Dotcom's 2012 arrest, with an email produced as evidence being labeled a fake. "My case only affects me. It doesn't matter tonight, that's why we didn't make a big deal out of it," Mr Dotcom, the Internet Party founder, told a news conference after his "Moment of Truth" public meeting last night. For years Mr Dotcom has promised proof.

3.40pm:

Labour leader David Cunliffe says he "absolutely" thinks the party can take the Te Tai Tokerau seat from the sitting MP Hone Harawira, with a poll putting the Mana leader ahead by just one percent. The Maori Television Reid Research poll released last night had Mr Harawira on 38% and Labour candidate Kelvin Davis on 37%. Asked today if he thinks Labour could take Te Tai Tokerau, Mr Cunliffe said: "Absolutely. I've been saying that all along. Kelvin is running a terrific campaign in Te Tai Tokerau and we're backing him to win."

11.30am

John Key says that "absolutely without a doubt" New Zealanders are not the subject of mass surveillance and that he has no knowledge of US spy bases in New Zealand and has challenged his opponents to provide evidence of these "mythical" facilities. He believes New Zealanders are "sick to death" of Mr Dotcom's allegations and has rejected a call from David Cunliffe to extend TVNZ's leaders' debate tomorrow night to deal with the surveillance claims.

 

Key: "I have no advice to confirm there are no Martians in NZ either, but I don't think there are"pic.twitter.com/n7zdl8lhCH

Max Bania (@maxbania) September 15, 2014

10.30am

The Green Party has announced its scheme to provide every newborn in New Zealand with a "welcome package" that will include essentials such as clothing and bedding. The Greens say the gift will go towards solving the country's child poverty problems.

 

The Greens $15m 'wahakura welcome'. Baby basket, blankets and clothes pledge for all new borns.pic.twitter.com/P5vK1yABh2

Ryan Boswell (@boswellryan) September 15, 2014

10.15am

Internet Party Leader Laila Harre says that John Key's story about mass spying on Kiwis is "changing daily". Ms Harre says his claims that a probe was installed in the Southern Cross cable was never used or scaled back don't stack up against Edward Snowden's assertions that in his job as an NSA contractor he was able to access New Zealanders' private communications. She claims that Mr Snowden has proven himself to have an "100% accuracy rate" in issues to do with spying internationally, whereas Mr Key has been "leaking like a sieve" in his assertions about the GCSB.

9.30am

The number of posts mentioning John Key has more than doubled in the past 24 hours - leaping from about 4500 at midnight yesterday to over 11,000 at midnight today, according to theFacebook dashboardon onenews.co.nz's Vote2014 page. The jump follows the allegations over mass surveillance of New Zealanders and claims the Prime Minister was involved in a plan to extradite Kim Dotcom in 2010.

9am

David Cunliffe says tomorrow night's leaders' debate on TV ONE should be extended to an hour in light of the recent spying allegations. He says the matters raised yesterday are of extreme importance to New Zealanders and need to be answered before the election. 

PM arrives in Dunedin for visit to Silver Fern Farms head officepic.twitter.com/B9NlnKSu5d

Max Bania (@maxbania) September 15, 2014

7.30am

ONE News Political Editor Corin Dann says that Kim Dotcom's failure to front with the alleged email suggesting Mr Key conspired to have him extradited in 2010 could overshadow any legitimate questions that could be raised over mass surveillance on New Zealanders. He says there was certainly a political element to The Moment of Truth seminar at Auckland's Town Hall last night, which was hosted by Mr Dotcom and also featured Internet Party leader Laila Harre. However, the conference has also raised some big issues such as whether there is a US spy base in Auckland.

7.20am

David Cunliffe has told TV ONE's Breakfast programme that John Key needs to reassure the New Zealand public about whether mass surveillance is possible in the country. He says recent allegations over spying made by whistleblower Edward Snowden call into question how the GCSB is run and how it interacts with New Zealanders. Mr Cunliffe also says he wants further information from both the Prime Minister and Warner Brothers over the alleged Kim Dotcom extradition email.

The Agenda

Surveillance of New Zealanders will be the hot topic up for discussion today, following yesterday's claims by American whistleblower Edward Snowden that US spies have bases in New Zealand.

Mr Snowden has alleged that he frequently came across communications of New Zealanders while working for the US National Security Agency in Hawaii.

Appearing at an event in the Auckland Town Hall last night organised by Mr Dotcom, the former NSA employee said that not only did New Zealand's spy agency use a mass surveillance tool also accessed by US spies - they had actually helped to develop it.

However, John Key has denied that mass surveillance of New Zealanders has ever taken place.

Mr Key, who is campaigning around Dunedin and Christchurch today, will likely also be called to answer further questions about Kim Dotcom's so-called "bombshell" email that suggests the Prime Minister conspired with Hollywood executives to get the internet mogul extradited to the US in 2010.

Hollywood movie studio Warner Brothers claims the email is a fake and Mr Key says he has no recollection of any such conversation.

Meanwhile, the Green Party is due to make another policy announcement as they spend the day campaigning around Wellington.

* The final leaders Debate between John Key and David Cunliffe is on Wednesday at 7pm on TV ONE and onenews.co.nz. It will be followed by a live-streamed discussion on onenews.co.nz hosted by Heather du Plessis-Allan with Matthew Hooton, Mike Williams and Dr Jennifer Lees-Marshment.

John Key (L) and Kim Dotcom (R) Source: 1 NEWS


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