The Herald reports:
Defence Minister Jonathan Coleman says there is no evidence the Defence Force had copies of journalist Jon Stephenson’s phone metadata.
Dr Coleman said in a statement today he would be very concerned if this had occurred.
“The Defence Force has assured me that this is not something that they would regard as a legitimate practice.
“I have seen no evidence to support these claims at this point.”
He said the NZDF were carrying out record checks to see if there was any evidence it occurred.
The Sunday Star Times article by Nicky Hager made two main allegations against the NZDF – that they had copies of Stephenson’s phone metadata in Afghanistan and that investigative journalists were classified in a security order manual as posing the same level of security risk as criminals and hackers.
It will be fascinating if there is proof, as I’d expect an inquiry into who authorised it – if it happened.
“I became aware of the details of this order over the weekend. It is one of hundreds of orders that exist in NZDF manuals.
“The order was issued back in 2003 by the Chief of Defence Force at the time, Sir Bruce Ferguson, and then reissued in 2005.”
Surely not the same Sir Bruce who just came out decrying it, and saying it is a bad thing?
And who was Minister of Defence in 2003 and 2005? Mark Burton, I think.