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New Zealand's Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) have been given controversial new powers to monitor citizens via the internet, following a close vote in parliament.

The vote narrowly passed by 61 votes to 59.

The new law was drafted following government controversy over the illegal monitoring of Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom and other less high profile incidents.

Prime minister John Key claimed that "misinformation and conspiracy theories" had led to making "some citizens agitated and alarmed which I regret."

"If I could disclose some of the risks and threats from which our security services protect us, I think it would cut dead some of the more fanciful claims that I've heard lately from those who oppose this bill," said Key, according to

"This is not, and never will be, about wholesale spying on New Zealanders," Key told parliament.

"This is a sad day, we are passing legislation that is ad hoc, that is Mickey Mouse, that you have to have a third reading of to explain exactly what the Bill will do,” said Labor leader David Shearer.

"This will be the birth of a surveillance state in New Zealand," said Kim Dotcom during a protest meeting in Auckland last week.


Controversial new 'spy laws' passed in New Zealand parliament
Digital Mag

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