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Former spy minister aware of surveillance gap

Jane Patterson, Political Editor

The minister responsible for New Zealand's spy agencies under National says he was made aware of a gap in the ability of the SIS to monitor terrorism suspects, but was not prepared to rush through legislation.

The New Zealand Herald is reporting there was a six-month gap last year during which the SIS could not use video surveillance to watch terrorism suspects in their cars, homes or workplaces.

That occurred because the provisions in the old intelligence law expired in April, and the new ones only came into effect in September.

Chris Finlayson, the responsible minister at the time, said he was made of aware of that in June.

"I made it clear to officials this matter should have been covered in the transitional provisions," he said.

"So one - there was no time, two - the legislation had just been reformed, and three - I had taken on board the criticisms that had been made about rushed legislation in the intelligence area and I said there was not going to be a repeat performance."

Mr Finlayson said there were other mechanisms that could have been used instead of video surveillance, that would have "adequately" covered any situation.


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