Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search


How are security agencies keeping us safe?

Monday, May 25, 2018

How concerned should we be about threats to our security – from terrorists to cyber hacking? What are the boundaries for our intelligence agencies when it comes to protecting the safety of citizens while respecting personal privacy?

Two Massey University experts will share their different perspectives on New Zealand’s security and intelligence issues in a public lecture this week in Auckland.

Dr Damien Rogers and Dr Rhys Ball, who both lecture in the Centre for Defence and Security Studies at the Auckland campus, will draw on their academic research as well as work experiences across various government security, defence and intelligence-related agencies.

Dr Rogers says the credibility and reputation of the intelligence services has been damaged in recent years, and agencies need to restore public trust in their organisations after incidents such as the 2012 raid on German internet entrepreneur Kim Dotcom and subsequent fallout.

Among the new concerns he will discuss are the extensive powers under the Intelligence and Security Act 2017 for agencies to access personal information from a wide range of public sector, financial and health databases, as well an increased move to target minority groups – including Muslims – for surveillance. He points out that the under new act, security and intelligence agencies have a broader brief, which now exist not just to protect New Zealand’s national security but extends to include our international relations and economic wellbeing.

Dr Rogers will also examine former Prime Minister John Key’s legacy in shaping a new era of heightened surveillance measures in New Zealand, with the rationale of threats from Middle East terror organisation Islamic State (IS) as the primary justification, as well as what he sees is a new focus on surveillance of domestic, rather than overseas targets.

Dr Ball brings an alternative perspective and says the number one goal of New Zealand’s security and intelligence service is “to be ahead of the threats.”

The lack of terror incidents or assassinations to date in this country is a measure of success in this regard, he says. But emerging threats, especially in the realm of cyber-espionage and hacking present new challenges.

The need to balance intelligence gathering, surveillance methods and access to personal information with protecting individuals’ rights to privacy to maintain an open, democratic society is crucial, says Dr Ball. But he feels there is a historical tendency in New Zealand to “overdramatise” public fears about mass surveillance, and that agencies are complaint with legislation that limits their powers to respond to threats.

He says there are an estimated 30 to 40 people currently on a key watch list in New Zealand deemed to be potential security threats.

“In fact, more and more public institutions and organisations – from police and customs to health, banking, insurance and agricultural sector organisations – are seeking advice on strategic intelligence advice in an era of complex data management systems and an awareness of cyber threats,” he says.

Speaker bios

Dr Damien Rogers teaches papers on Contemporary International Conflict, Security and the Law, and the Law of Armed Conflict. Before entering academia, he spent nearly a decade working within New Zealand’s intelligence community, including at the Government Communications Security Bureau, Ministry of Defence, New Zealand Defence Force, and the Border Security Group of Immigration New Zealand.

Dr Rhys Ball is a former intelligence officer with over 10 years’ experience working in intelligence and security organisations, both in New Zealand and overseas. He completed his master’s degree in Strategic Studies from Victoria University, and his 2009 doctoral thesis examined New Zealand Special Forces operations during the Vietnam War. He has have lived and worked in Wellington, London, Washington, Canberra and, more recently, Dar el Salaam (Tanzania), before joining Massey in 2013.

Our Changing World lecture - Watching over you: surveillance and security in New Zealand 6.30pm: Thursday 28 June 2018 | Sir Neil Waters Lecture Theatre building


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

West Coast PGF Announced: Kickstart For Ports, Rail, Town

The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) is backing the West Coast with initial investment in projects that could lift the region’s productivity potential and future-proof its economy.
The PGF government will invest $625,000 in four feasibility studies for proposals that would boost tourism, increase transport resilience and generate employment opportunities.


Moving On: Flavell Leaves Māori Party TO Lead Te Wānanga o Aotearoa

The Māori Party congratulates Te Ururoa Flavell on his appointment as Kaiurungi - Chief Executive Officer of Te Wānanga o Aotearoa and thanks him for his many years of service, support and aroha for the Māori Party, its kaupapa, and for communities across Aotearoa. More>>


IPCA On 2016 Armed Offenders Response: 'Serious Failings' Put Officers At Risk

The Independent Police Conduct Authority has found that the tactical decision-making and control and command exercised by Police in response to shots fired near Kawerau on 9 March 2016 was highly flawed and placed Police officers at risk. More>>


Mental Health: National Offers Cross-Party Action

National is not prepared to let the Government park the mental health needs of Kiwis while it holds an inquiry, and has offered to work together to improve New Zealand’s mental health services both immediately and longer term, Mental Health spokesperson Matt Doocey says. More>>


Extradited To Deportation: 'Justice Not Served' In Australia Muddle

A number of New Zealanders who have been extradited to Australia to face charges - only to be sent back here or put in immigration detention centres - is concerning, Justice Minister Andrew Little says. More>>

ASMS: Syphilis Deaths Highlight Need For Proper Resourcing

“The heart-wrenching news that babies have died from syphilis underscores yet again the importance of properly funding and resourcing essential health services... This should not be happening in a quality first-world public health care system like New Zealand’s.” More>>


'Don't Mess This Up': Youth Message On Zero Carbon Act

The young New Zealanders credited with driving momentum for a Zero Carbon Act have formally handed over their submission on the proposed law to MPs from the Labour, Green and National parties. More>>





Featured InfoPages