A Government-ordered review (by Sir Michael Cullen and Dame Patsy Reddy) of NZ’s spy agencies has just been released:
GCSB may be given permission to spy on Kiwis’ private information
New Zealand’s foreign intelligence agency should be able to spy on Kiwis’ private communications, a wide-ranging intelligence and security review has recommended.
The push to scrap the current restriction on the GCSB intercepting New Zealanders’ private communications will be controversial. Sir Michael told a press conference that such co-operation between the two intelligence agencies was the intent of the current law.
A lack of clarity about what the law permits and recent high-profile controversies meant the GCSB had taken an overly conservative approach – which could lead valuable lines of investigation been dropped, and ultimately put New Zealanders’ safety at risk.
“We are not proposing a vast extension of power…it is a clarification…the Government is, in effect, is almost placed in a position of failing in its duty to protect the lives of New Zealanders, because the legislation is simply not clear enough,” Sir Michael said.
Under the single piece of legislation proposed, all of the agencies’ activities would require some form of authorisation. A three-tiered system was recommended, with higher level of scrutiny for activity that is more intrusive or targets New Zealanders.
There is plenty of detail – well worth reading the piece in full. See also Stuff: Report on NZ’s spy agencies recommends more powers, greater oversight.
Key wants Labour’s support for the proposals.
The Greens are opposed.
Dim-Post points out that this confirms that Finlayson’s current laws are a mess.
NRT proposes scrapping the GCSB instead.
It seems that the Human Rights Commission has described the proposals as “well-judged and reflective of NZ’s democratic values”.
Labour is calling for a public debate.