PM must find secure platform for Cabinet discussions

The New Zealand National Party

Jacinda Ardern has serious questions to answer about why she is using the video conferencing system Zoom for Cabinet meetings, National’s GCSB & NZSIS spokesperson Gerry Brownlee says.

“Cabinet needs to be able to have robust discussions in a protected environment. It’s where decisions at the highest level are made for New Zealanders.

“It’s unbelievable to think the Prime Minister was advised there were security issues with the platform and then went ahead with using it anyway.

“The Prime Minister has said Cabinet agreed it won’t discuss anything classified above ‘restricted’ because she is aware there could be vulnerabilities with the system.

“When Parliament agreed to the Government spending up to $40 billion in response to Covid-19, nobody anticipated decisions on that borrowed money would be made by only two or three Ministers, without the contest of robust Cabinet discussion.

“There will be commercial sensitivities around borrowing and expenditure decisions which should be accorded the highest level of security.

“Most Select Committees hearings are public, so Zoom is appropriate. Cabinet is never public, so Zoom is not appropriate.

“The moment she knew there were any vulnerabilities she should have looked for another platform.

“It’s important Cabinet follows the rules that every other New Zealander is around distancing – but there has to be a better way than over a platform that is vulnerable to hacking.”

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