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Internet-Mana: Release of spy documents an abuse of PM's authority

The Internet-Mana Party says the Prime Minister's reported intention to release documents showing spy officials may have considered mass surveillance is an abuse of his authority.

Laila Harre and Hone Harawira Source: 1 NEWS

ONE News understands John Key will release documents showing spy officials may have considered mass surveillance but the proposal never went ahead.

Mr Key yesterday denied claims by US journalist Glenn Greenwald that the GCSB has undertaken mass surveillance, dismissing the journalist as "Doctom's little henchman".

Mana leader Hone Harawira and Internet Party leader Laila Harre have condemned the use by the Prime Minister of the term "henchman" to describe a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist.

In a joint statement, Mr Harawira and Ms Harre say the reported intention of the Prime Minister "to arrange the selective declassification and release of documents for his own political purposes" represents an abuse of the Prime Minister's authority in his capacity as the Minister in charge of the GCSB and the SIS.

"That this programme was never acknowledged by [the] Prime Minister at any stage during intense debate in 2013 on this very issue is a cause for alarm. The Prime Minister has previously withheld this information from the public arena," the two leaders say.

"If the purpose of classification is to protect our national interests, then what has changed today? Either these documents should have been previously released or they have been withheld to suit the Prime Minister's personal political agenda.

"This is a total abuse of both security classification and public information release processes."

Political access to, and use of, classified material was one of the specific fears raised when the new spy bill was debated, the two leaders say.

"For this government to selectively declassify these documents is, however, consistent with the practices outlined in Nicky Hager's book Dirty Politics, for which the Prime Minister and his Office are already under investigation by the Inspector General of Intelligence and Security," Mr Harawira and Ms Harre say.

This confirms the urgent need for a full and independent Royal Commission of Inquiry into allegations of systemic abuse of power within the Key Government, they say.