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New SIS Director Appointed

MEDIA RELEASE
EMBARGOED UNTIL 3.00PM
Tuesday 13 July 1999


Senior diplomat Richard Woods is to become the new head of the Security Intelligence Service when current director Don McIver retires later this year.

Mr Woods has 30 years experience in international trade and economics, Prime Minister Jenny Shipley said today.

"He has held a number of prominent positions within the diplomatic corps including Ambassador in Tehran during the Iran/Iraq war, and I am confident he will fill the position of director admirably," she said.

In addition to his Ambassadorship in Tehran, Mr Woods was Deputy Head of Mission in Washington 1982-1984, headed the Middle East and Africa division of MFAT in Wellington during the Gulf war, and was Ambassador in Paris in 1995 managing relations with France at a time when French nuclear testing had resumed in the Pacific.

Mrs Shipley acknowledged the contribution that retiring director Lieutenant-General McIver had made to the SIS.

"Lt-Gen McIver has led the service through a shift in accountability in recent times. The Service is now accountable to a special committee of Parliamentarians, and an Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security who has the power to inquire into aspects of the SIS.

"Mr McIver has demonstrated considerable skill in leading the service through the change in accountability. I am sure he is pleased at the calibre of his replacement, Mr Woods," said Mrs Shipley.

Mr Woods will take up the position of director on 1 November. His appointment, made under section five of the New Zealand Security Intelligence Service Act 1969, is for five years.

ENDS

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