In New Zealand, Edward Snowden’s revelations about the extraordinary scope of the National Security Agency’s surveillance capabilities and the facilitating role of the Five Eyes alliance converged with increasing public concerns about the Government Communications Security Bureau Amendment and Related Legislation Bill in 2013. This generated an intense and sustained debate in the country about surveillance policy. It was a debate in which Prime Minister John Key has featured prominently. While apparently unable to clearly refute Snowden’s claims concerning mass surveillance in New Zealand, Key’s vigorous public interventions helped counter the short-term political and diplomatic fallout. However, the long-term impact of public concerns over the surveillance policies of the Key government may be much harder to predict in what is an intimate democracy, and the prospect of substantial political blowback cannot be ruled out.