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GCSB response to compliance review

Media statement

9 April 2013

GCSB response to compliance review

The Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) Director Ian Fletcher says that he accepts all of the recommendations about the GCSB in the Compliance Review by Rebecca Kitteridge, and is implementing them.

After finding out in September last year that the Bureau had unlawfully intercepted communications of two New Zealand residents, Ian Fletcher and the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet Chief Executive Andrew Kibblewhite initiated the review.

Ms Kitteridge was seconded as Associate Director to undertake the review, which took into account the Bureau’s activities, systems and processes since 1 April 2003, when the GCSB Act took effect.

Mr Fletcher says, “The highlights a longstanding lack of good systems and processes in relation to compliance, as well as underlying organisational problems for GCSB.

“The advice we have recently received from the Solicitor-General is that there are difficulties in interpreting the legislation, and there is a risk that some long-standing practices of offering assistance to other agencies would not be found to be lawful.

“Within GCSB we are already following the report’s recommendations as quickly as we can. Many of the issues are longstanding and there are some that will take longer than others to address appropriately.

“The structure of the GCSB has been reviewed and the functions of senior management are being addressed. We are increasing the legal and compliance teams, with a new chief legal adviser in place, and recruitment of other legal staff is in hand.

“A new Associate Director to lead the internal change programme has been identified and an announcement will be made shortly on that role.

“I will be reporting publicly each quarter on our progress in delivering the review’s recommendations. You will be seeing and hearing more from us.

“Despite the systemic problems, I am proud of the commitment that staff have to their work, the organisation, and to protecting New Zealand and New Zealanders. The review notes that staff find the idea of unlawful activity, whether by error or deliberate act, abhorrent and they have a strong commitment to comply with the law. We take our responsibilities very seriously.

“We are working together to ensure the Government Communications Security Bureau is an organisation in which the public can again have trust and confidence.”

“I have thanked Rebecca Kitteridge for the clarity her review has brought to the organisation. The review has been extremely sensitive, for reasons ranging from national security and international relations through to individual staff welfare. It has been managed sensitively and we are grateful for that.”

A copy of the report is available from www.gcsb.govt.nz


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