So, how seriously does John Key take the threat of Al Qaeda terrorists he is invoking to justify his invasive and unconstitutional spy bill? Fortunately, he's gone on the record on this. In 2009, kiwi Mark Taylor was arrested in Pakistan and accused of having links to Al Qaeda. His name was placed on a US no-fly list and he was subsequently denied a New Zealand passport on "national security" grounds (the only time this power has been invoked). So was he the sort of threat which justifies spying on all our phone and email communications? Not according to John Key:
"For reasons that you'll appreciate, I can't go into great detail about Mark Taylor. All I can say is that he's known to us, he's someone that has quite a number of restrictions on him for very good reasons.Which makes Key's comments today look even more like fearmongering. He doesn't think kiwis linked with Al Qaeda are a threat, and he wasn't demanding extra spy-powers to help him deal with them back in 2011. So why does he need them now?
"I know him and his name very well."
When asked if New Zealanders had anything to fear from him, Mr Key said: "I don't believe so, no."
(Taylor's side of the story is here, BTW)