Report – By Michael Neilson
Investigative journalist Nicky Hager has denounced critics who minimised the Snowden espionage revelations, saying New Zealand has no good reason to spy, and is “selling out” its Pacific neighbours to “buy [its] way into closer relations with the United States intelligence alliance”.
Hager was speaking in an interview on the new e-media site EveningReport.nz launched last night about the latest revelations from US whistleblower Edward Snowden.
Even though the extensive data is collected and stored at the Waihopai base it is fed straight into the US intelligence network, and New Zealand cannot even access it without going through the US system, said Hager.
New Zealand’s Pacific neighbours had built up trust over several decades and should feel violated, such as Tongan Prime Minister ‘Akilisi Pohiva who reacted strongly last week, said Hager.New Zealanders who were in the Pacific could also have their data collected.
The investigative journalist supported the complaint being made to the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security by the Green Party over whether it was legal.
Hager criticised Prime Minister John Key’s advice for New Zealanders to avoid the revelations, saying intelligence and foreign policy were not Key’s main interests and he was trying to deflect attention from their activities.
Editor and founder of EveningReport.nz Selwyn Manning said the site provided independent analysis of public interest issues and served as a platform for live video debates, interviews, and viewer input.
Manning said the site would appeal to New Zealanders who wanted to debate the big issues without the “tribal” political nature of blogs.
The site’s focus was on public interest advocacy of humanitarianism, environmentalism, progressive economics, sustainable business practice, and security, said Manning.
Manning said the website was looking for well-researched and well-argued submissions from all fields – “be they journalists, writers, or anybody else” who could contribute to New Zealand debate on issues.
Michael Neilson is a Postgraduate Diploma in Communication Studies student journalist at AUT University.