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Greens seek open ISC inquiry into GCSB appointment

4 April 2013

Greens seek open ISC inquiry into GCSB appointment

Green Party Co-leader Russel Norman is asking the Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC) to investigate the appointment of Ian Fletcher to head the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB).

“Serious questions about the appointment of New Zealand’s top spy need to be answered and that’s why I am seeking this open inquiry,” Dr Norman said.

“The Prime Minister should stand aside from the vote on whether to allow the inquiry to go ahead if he is to have any credibility on this issue.

“I urge members of the committee to support an inquiry into Ian Fletcher’s appointment.”

The Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC) is a statutory committee of MPs that provides limited oversight of the activities of the security services. This is in place of the normal scrutiny that other Government departments face from select committees which have sessions that are open to the public.

“There is little democratic oversight of the GCSB, which is allowed to operate in secrecy, but that doesn’t mean when an issue of public importance is raised it can be ignored.

“The Prime Minister had misled the public about the appointment of Ian Fletcher to head the GCSB.

“John Key did not tell the whole truth about the appointment process when he said in Parliament the State Services Commissioner made the decision. Mr Key failed to mention that it was Mr Key who had rung Mr Fletcher to suggest that he apply for the job.

“John Key provides the only democratic oversight of the GCSB but he has not monitored what they were doing and that turned out to be illegally spying on a New Zealand resident.

“Now there are questions about his involvement in hiring a person with whom he is closely connected for a highly sensitive position and whether he was the best candidate or whether there were other motivations.”

The Green Party has called for better oversight of GCSB with policy that a regular parliamentary select committee replace the government-dominated Intelligence and Security Committee, and the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security become an Officer of Parliament.

ENDS

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