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Shipley 'hysterical' over SIS claim

Deputy Prime Minister Jim Anderton is scornful of National Party suggestions that he should resign from the Intelligence and Security Committee.

He's calling Opposition leader Jenny Shipley hysterical for her outburst on the issue.

The Alliance is voting against parts of Clause 43 of the Radiocommunications Bill. The clause makes it an offence for anyone who is not the intended recipient to make use of the contents of a communication. The Alliance is voting against subclause (2)(c), which exempts the SIS and GCSB from the offence, as well as two subsequent subclauses defining the SIS and GCSB. The Alliance is voting for the clause overall, as well as for the Radiocommunications Bill as a whole.

"The Alliance has consistently stated the view that the intelligence services should not have these sweeping and intrusive powers. In our view, the intelligence agencies are not subject to sufficient democratic scrutiny and control. The police have the same powers of interception, but they are subject to democratic oversight and control.

"Just because I think the intelligence agencies shouldn't have these powers doesn't mean I can't help to administer the powers. When Bill English was Minister of Health he was able to administer abortion laws that he passionately opposed.

"It's better for Government power to be in the hands of someone who is reluctant to exercise that power. It seems that if Mrs Shipley had her way, she would order the SIS to eavesdrop on everybody. These powers should be in the hands of people who are cautious about their use.

"Mrs Shipley is saying that because the Alliance is concerned about insufficient democratic control of the SIS, it shouldn't have anything to do with democratic oversight of the committee at all. That is an illogical and hysterical position.

"The people of New Zealand decided at the last election who they believed should have the responsibility for governing New Zealand. It's a responsibility I take seriously," Jim Anderton said.

ends

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