Who was Gerd?

August 14th, 2014 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reported:

files smuggled out of Russia reveal a former Labour MP was an informant for the feared Soviet spy agency and was given the codename “Gerd”.

The Mitrokhin files say an unnamed Labour MP, born in England in 1926, was in contact with Drozhzhin during the KGB agent’s Wellington posting.

He was given the codename “Gerd”, and information passed to the KGB said he was also a member of Labour’s executive committee.

There seem to be two possibilities for Gerd.

The first is a former MP from 1972 to 1975. He was born in 1926 in England and was the MP from 1972 to 1975. It appears he is still alive, and I hasten to say there is absolutely no proof at all he is Gerd, beyond the coincidence of date and place of birth.  Also as a one term MP, I doubt he was on Labour’s executive.

The second has been suggested to me by multiple sources. He was a three term MP and was on Labour’s executive off memory. He was born a bit before 1926 and in NZ, which makes it unlikely. But there were media reports in the 1970s about the SIS taking an interest in him.  He is also alive.

We may never know who Gerd is, which is a pity.

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23 Responses to “Who was Gerd?”

  1. Manolo (14,179 comments) says:

    The socialist Labour Party, always working for the betterment of NZ!

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  2. JMS (370 comments) says:

    We may not even be looking in the right place.
    Not unusual for communists to change both their names and birthdays.
    Stalin changed both of his.

    There is essentially nothing a communist won’t lie about.

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  3. backster (2,196 comments) says:

    Still “Gerd” could be a contraction of the Christian name Gerald.

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  4. mikenmild (12,443 comments) says:

    It seems a bit pointless to me to be suggesting that it was someone who does not fit the two details given: a Labour MP born in 1926. That only matches one person. If you want to suggest someone else then you would need other evidence. Otherwise, why not change the other reported details – that way you could suggest anyone who was in NZ in the 1970s.

    Now, has anyone in the media tracked down Trevor Davey to ask him about this yet?

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  5. Pete George (23,833 comments) says:

    backster – that might work against that option, being a bit too similar?

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  6. RupertB (6 comments) says:

    In the 1970s, if you’d asked a journalist or political activist who was the most likely politician to be working with/for the KGB, your “option B” would almost certainly have been named. Nobody else came close, in the gossip and suspicion stakes.

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  7. burt (7,436 comments) says:

    Labour party people strongly connected to communism – who’d have thunk it.

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  8. Gulag1917 (1,092 comments) says:

    Whoever the MP was, he/she is a complete idiot. Surveillance in the Cold War especially relating to the Soviet Union was comprehensive. No doubt there are MPs nowadays who are sympathetic to and in contact with extreme groups They are idiots also.

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  9. Scott Chris (6,178 comments) says:

    Davey represented the Gisborne electorate in the New Zealand House of Representatives between 1972 and 1975, when he was defeated by National’s Bob Bell. He was awarded the New Zealand 1990 Medal for service to the community.

    Hmm, Gisborne Electorate Representative ummm…. Dissident? ;)

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  10. Neil (577 comments) says:

    Where does Warren Freer fit in ? He was associated with far left causes during much of his early career.

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  11. mikenmild (12,443 comments) says:

    Again, Warren Freer does not fit the two given facts. Freer was much more closely associated with China, BTW.

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  12. David Garrett (7,701 comments) says:

    Backster: Given that GERD is not a million miles from “Gerald” you can pretty well guarantee that Gerd was NOT Gerald O’Brien..all spy agencies give their agents names which are million miles from the real ones…hence “Maori” for Sutch…a middle aged European male with no apparent trace of the blood of the special people..

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  13. mjw (401 comments) says:

    I’m Spartacus !

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  14. Ed Snack (1,941 comments) says:

    Gulag, actually very few active Soviet moles were exposed in their lifetimes. Surveillance may have been pretty pervasive, but not as far as we can tell, particularly effective.

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  15. simonway (387 comments) says:

    Somebody drop a hint about the second one, I don’t know it.

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  16. mikenmild (12,443 comments) says:

    simonway
    There has been speculation about Gerald O’Brien, but again the facts don’t fit.

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  17. tvb (4,560 comments) says:

    Gerald O’Brien is my top pick. He hung around Sutch and Co, was a bit of a loose cannon.

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  18. mikenmild (12,443 comments) says:

    He doesn’t fit the date given. There is no more reason to suspect him than any other random individual.

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  19. Chris2 (775 comments) says:

    O’Brien’s wife came from a communist country – was it Romania? Can’t remember her name off-hand.

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  20. Mobile Michael (476 comments) says:

    The report says that they were in contact with KGB, not that they were actively passing information. That would not indicate any illegal activity occured.

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  21. altiora (279 comments) says:

    @ Mobile Michael: yes that’s right, this MP was contacting the intelligence service of a hositle country just to have friendly chats over a nice cuppa.

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  22. Sponge (268 comments) says:

    I know very little about Sutch and this subject in general. Can anyone point me to a good book (any book in fact) about kiwis spying for the commies?

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  23. Rob Hosking (56 comments) says:

    @Sponge: The late Graeme Hunt did a book on this ‘Secrets and Revolutionaries’ was the title, from memory, not that long before he died.

    It upset quite a few people – he was adamant Sutch was a spy, and I think it was one of the reasons Helen Clark made Sutch’s SIS file public.

    It also covers Paddy Costello – who I see was also apparently involved in getting NZ passports for the Soviets (there was a another, UK, book only a year or two back on Costello)

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