20 Aug 2013

Key and Shearer differ on GCSB meeting

7:35 pm on 20 August 2013

An argument has broken out between the Labour leader and the Prime Minister over who initiated a meeting between them on the Government Communications Security Bureau Bill.

The legislation, which would allow the electronic spy agency to carry out surveillance on New Zealanders, is entering its final stages in Parliament.

David Shearer.

David Shearer. Photo: RNZ

In Question time time on Tuesday, David Shearer asked John Key if he or anyone in his office had ever contacted the Labour Party about the GCSB bill.

"Yes, Mr Speaker! So after one of the intelligence and security committees I asked Mr Shearer if he'd like to come to my office to have a discussion.

"We sat down and had about a 30 minute discussion where Mr Shearer said 'keep this confidential if you come out and say we've done it that won't look good,'" Mr Key replied.

Mr Shearer says he did want the meeting to be private, but he says he was the one who approached a senior minister, Tony Ryall, to organise it.

The meeting took place in July but has not been made public until now.