23 Aug 2016

PM 'loose as a goose' over bugging

9:47 am on 23 August 2016

The Prime Minister is being "loose as a goose" with his comments about being bugged, Labour leader Andrew Little says.

John Key made the comments in reponse to the Australian police investigation over the discovery of a listening device in a hotel meeting room in Sydney used by the All Blacks.

Mr Key said it had happened to him, but would not give any details, except to say he would only know about a fraction of the times he had been bugged.

But Andrew Little told Morning Report he was sceptical.

"On these sorts of issues the Prime Minister is routinely loose as a goose - he just says stuff and it gets a headline.

"I doubt very much whether he's been bugged, certainly internally within New Zealand."

Security analyst Paul Buchanan told the programme said there were plenty of people who would like to get hold of Mr Key's information.

"He certainly has very good reason to be cautious and to have his entire defensive team ... on high alert."

New Zealand was on the receiving end of about 40 malicious cyber probes a day, Mr Buchanan said, and when the prime minister travels and is out and about or staying in hotels he could be bugged at any point.

A Prime Minister would not normally bring up the issue but was doing so against the backdrop of the first reading of the new GSCB legislation, Mr Buchanan said.

Mr Key was being a little loose in referring to being bugged, though, he said.

"Even in bringing that subject he raises more questions than he will be willing to answer - for example, who put the bugs, what type of bugs were they, were they his personal, private communications being bugged or was it his official communications?

"He will not want to answer any of that."

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