Kiwis divided over mass surveillance claims




The Vote Compass survey has found voters are split over the accuracy of Internet Mana's claims of mass surveillance by New Zealand's spy agency.

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Source: 1 NEWS

Pitched to voters as the "Moment of Truth", whistleblower Edward Snowden made a number of claims about mass surveillance when he appeared via a video link at an event hosted by Kim Dotcom in Auckland this week.

Vote Compass quizzed 5000 people, asking "how likely do you think it is the GCSB is conducting mass surveillance?" While a few didn't know, 46% said it's likely and 48% said it's unlikely.

Prime Minister John Key says the law prevents the GCSB conducting mass surveillance of New Zealanders but he can't rule-out snooping by America's National Security Agency (NSA).

"It's an issue for John Key in terms of trust because it means while some support him, others don't believe him. And that could be a problem for his leadership brand, particularly going forward, if he did win," says political scientist Jennifer Lees-Marshment.

Vote Compass data suggests people are more likely to believe the GCSB mass surveillance allegations if they support parties to the left. Two thirds of Internet Party supporters (66%) and almost half of Labour supporters (48%) say it's "very likely" while only 5% of National supporters believe the claims.

And Vote Compass data also suggests younger voters are more likely to believe the spying allegations.

"The other issue we have to consider is just because people believe that GCSB is doing mass surveillance it doesn't mean they care, doesn't mean they think it's a problem," Ms Lees-Marshment says.

"They may be persuaded by arguments that that's part of how the New Zealand government protects its people."

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