New Zealand minister quits over spy agency report leak

Wellington, June 7 (IANS) New Zealand’s United Future party leader Peter Dunne resigned as a minister Friday, following the release of an inquiry into the leak of a highly sensitive report into the government’s spy agency.

New Zealand Prime Minister John Key ordered the inquiry into illegal surveillance and the current operations of the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) after Fairfax Media was shown a copy of the report in April this year, a week before Key was due to release it, reported Xinhua.

Inquiry head David Henry, a former senior public servant, said Dunne had not fully co-operated with requests made to him during the inquiry, relating to emails between the Member of Parliament and the reporter to whom the report was leaked, Radio New Zealand reported.

Henry said Dunne gave the inquiry an edited version of 86 email exchanges which covered arrangements for them to meet and the official release of the Kitteridge report. Henry said however, Dunne still denies being the source of the leak.

The report finds that the reporter also had communication with an officer at the GCSB and a staff member in the prime minister’s office, but all of those exchanges were appropriate.

Dunne was revenue minister. John Key accepted his resignation Friday, saying he is extremely disappointed at what has taken place.

Dunne told reporters Friday that some of his actions after he received the report were extremely unwise and lacked the judgement reasonably expected of a minister.

Deputy Prime Minister Bill English will be acting revenue minister until a decision is made about the permanent portfolio allocation.

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