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Band-aid bill no answer to GCSB woes

Labour Leader
Band-aid bill no answer to GCSB woes

John Key’s band-aid legislation giving the Government Communications Security Bureau the all clear to spy on New Zealanders is unacceptable, and Labour will not be supporting it, says Labour Leader David Shearer.

Under legislation tabled this afternoon, the GCSB will be allowed to assist the SIS, Police and Defence Force to spy on New Zealand citizens and residents, as long as it has the approval of the Prime Minister of the day.

“One thing is clear – there does need to be change. There has clearly not been proper oversight of the GCSB, its lines of accountability are blurred and the public’s confidence in our spies has been badly shaken,” says David Shearer.

“But the state should not extend its powers to spy on citizens lightly. There needs to be a full, independent inquiry into all our intelligence agencies before any such change is contemplated.

“Nothing less than a full inquiry will restore public trust that the country’s intelligence agencies are acting appropriately and within both the letter and spirit of the law. A rush job designed to take the political heat out of John Key’s handling of the issue won’t cut it.

“While Labour might support moves to beef-up external oversight of the GCSB, it cannot support this legislation.

“In effect, the Prime Minister is asking Parliament to give the green light to the GCSB using its extensive powers to spy on Kiwis – something that was previously illegal. And he is asking New Zealander’s to trust him to personally decide who can be spied on, despite his record of lax oversight of the GCSB.

“I’m not convinced that he has made the case for such a major change – and certainly not without a proper independent inquiry,” says David Shearer.


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