(Reply due 16 December 1997)

Jeanette FITZSIMMONS to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade:

Is his ministry involved in a process developing key escrow and digital telephony policy for New Zealand; if so, what is the nature of this process, which Government agencies are involved, have any papers been prepared to date on the subject and when is it expected that recommendations will be put to Government?


Rt Hon Don McKINNON (Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade) replied:

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade in not involved in any process developing[sic] policy concerning key escrow or digital telephony for New Zealand. This is not the Ministry's job [1]. However MFAT does follow discussion in the OECD on the development of electronic commerce where this might impinge on New Zealand's trading interests or be of advantage to our exporters [2].

[1] Which is true, with their demonstrated high level of familiarity with the technology involved they could never do it. In any case the job would be given to the GCSB, and they're not answerable to parliament so they can't be questioned on this.

[2] This statement is complete nonsense. New Zealand currently has the strictest export controls of any country on earth, which directly contradicts the OECD's decision to relax or abolish export controls. Obviously a relaxation of export controls in line with OECD policy would "be of advantage to our exporters", yet MFAT have acted against OECD policy in their enforcement of export controls.