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Key: Kiwis don't know what they're talking about

29 Jul 2013

Prime Minister John Key believes that GCSB protesters are either misinformed or pursuing a political agenda, following rallies in opposition to the bill.

As thousands of Kiwis took to the streets across New Zealand over the weekend, Key was quick to disregard the marches, insisting the acts of rebellion were relatively small scale.

"At the risk of encouraging them to have more protests, I would have actually said those numbers were quite light - it wasn't anything like what we saw for mining or anything else," the PM told Q&A.

"Secondly, a lot of people that would go along would be either A, politically aligned, or B, with the greatest of respect, misinformed."

Speaking in Seoul, Key defended plans to extend powers of the spying agency, claiming those in protest should do their research.

"I do think it's really important that people understand what's in the legislation because with the greatest of respect, you know, some people really say things about the law that is not true," he said.

"In the end, do we need the GCSB and do we need GCSB legislation? In my view, the answer to that is yes."

Led by Kim Dotcom, thousands of New Zealanders united in protest against the bill, with 11 cities across the country holding demonstrations.

Acknowledging the protests, Key said he could accept the rising tension in the country, but maintained his stance that the best interests of the country still need to be served.

"I accept there will always be some who feel a bit nervous about privacy and their own rights but I can give them the best assurance I can that we're very careful and cautious about what we do as a state, but in the end we do have to protect the interests of New Zealanders," he said.

Dotcom recently claimed to be “living, breathing example of why the GCSB must not be given greater powers and limited accountability.”

Yet the acts of disapproval from the Megaupload founder has been met with a wall of suspicion from Key, who believes the internet mogul to be pursing his own long-term agenda.

"I think he loves the limelight, but you've got to remember he's got a long term agenda here, and that is to try to convince people that he should be allowed to stay forever," he said.

"But in the end he really needs to make that case to the United States of America."

Is John Key right? Are protesters 'misinformed'? Tell us your thoughts below