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More funding for intelligence services must come at a price

MORE FUNDING FOR INTELLIGENCE SERVICES MUST COME AT A PRICE

UnitedFuture leader Peter Dunne says the increased funding for intelligence services announced in Budget 2016 must come with a price.

“The Budget sets aside almost $180 million more for the intelligence services – but provides scant detail as to the purpose of this increase.

“That lack of detail is simply not good enough in this day and age, and I agree with this week’s call by the Inspector General of Intelligence and Security for the agencies to become more open and transparent, consistent with the level that even agencies in other Five Eyes countries are moving to.

“There is absolutely no reason at all why our intelligence agencies should be the most secret of all – more transparency over the additional funding provided in this year’s Budget, without compromising national security, would be a good start,” he says.

“It is important that when we see additional resourcing for our intelligence community that it comes hand-in-hand with protections for New Zealander’s.

“That is why UnitedFuture’s call for privacy to be added to the Bill of Rights remains vitally important,” said Mr Dunne.

Mr Dunne says the Inspector General is right to point out that while the agencies are starting to move in this direction, they still have a way to go.

“It is interesting that the Directors of both NZSIS and GCSB have been giving soft media interviews in recent days, in an attempt to demystify their agencies’ work – however, being more up front about the numbers of people they employ and the broad areas for which this substantial increase in funding has been sought would be a more substantial way of addressing the Inspector General’s concerns,” he says.

Ends

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