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Greens seek Commission of Inquiry after new GCSB revelations

9 April 2013

Greens seek Commission of Inquiry after new GCSB illegal spying revelations

Revelations that 85 people may have been illegally spied on by Government security and intelligence agencies and the leaking of that information show why daylight and transparency is needed, the Green Party said today.

The Green Party today called for a Commission of Inquiry to be held into the security agencies after revelations of widespread illegal spying by the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB).

“A Commission of Inquiry into New Zealand’s intelligence services is needed to address lapses in oversight and the public’s concerns about how they’ve been operating,” Green Party Co-leader Russel Norman said.

“We have repeatedly called for an independent inquiry and today’s revelations that 85 New Zealanders may have been illegally spied on make that essential.

“Commissions of Inquiry have powers that allow them to uncover information otherwise difficult to get. A Commission of Inquiry would provide answers that people could trust.

“A Commission of Inquiry is needed to clear this up once and for all and give New Zealanders confidence they are not being illegal spied on.

“New Zealanders who were illegally spied on must be contacted and given the information that was obtained about them and allowed to pursue legal redress.

“We need to know if New Zealanders are being targeted for exercising their democratic rights to protest. In the past Green MPs have been spied on.

“The integrity of the GCSB is in doubt and the oversight provided by the Prime Minister inadequate and further compromised by his conflict over the appointment of Ian Fletcher.

The Green Party has also written to the police requesting that they extend their current inquiry into illegal spying by the GCSB to include all New Zealanders illegally spied on in the past decade.

“We are concerned that the Prime Minister will block any in-depth inquiry and that is why we have also contacted the police so at least the legal issues can be investigated.

“Our spies must be held to the same standards as other New Zealanders. They are subject to the laws of this land and must be held accountable by the police and the courts if they violate those laws.

Dr Norman has previously asked parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC) to investigate the appointment of Ian Fletcher to head the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB).

The Green Party has consistently 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.

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