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Report shows GCSB inquiry needed before law change

21 May 2013

Report shows GCSB inquiry needed before law change

The National Government should put its GCSB Bill on hold and order an independent inquiry given the on-going uncertainty and confusion over the agency’s actions in spying on New Zealanders, Green Party Co-leader Russel Norman said today.

The Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security Paul Neazor was asked to look at cases where 88 New Zealanders may have been illegally spied on by the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB). Today his findings that the spy agency “arguably” did not break the law were released.

National passed the first reading of the new Government Communications Security Bureau and Related Legislation Amendment Bill under urgency earlier this month.

“John Key is not being honest about what the GCSB bill does. It is not a clarification of the law; it provides a dramatic and unjustified expansion of the agency’s ability to spy on New Zealanders.

“It’s hard to say how credible this report is given that it has not been publicly released.

“For the public to have any confidence in the GCSB, which did illegal spy against a New Zealand resident, then a Commission of Inquiry is needed. Then once concerns have been put to bed the Law Commission should look at what law changes are required.

“A law change should be the last step in the process, not the first.

“New Zealanders need to be assured that the GCSB is behaving within the law and acting ethically before the laws governing our spies are changed.

“John Key should stop trying to hoodwink the public and start looking after their interests – which don’t include being spied on 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” Dr Norman said.

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


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