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Clarify Role Of NZ's Intelligence Agencies

Letter To The PM: Clarify Role Of NZ's Intelligence Agencies

Tuesday 23 Nov 2004

Stephen Franks - Press Releases - Other

Dear Prime Minister

Whether or not you accept the need for an independent inquiry into the allegations of inappropriate spying by the SIS, there is a matter which many New Zealanders are looking for prompt assurance.

We need to know that people who advocate politically inspired violence in this country are effectively monitored. As I write this I am looking at a newspaper headline "Mutu's Threat of War".

The current allegations about the SIS have generated denials. The law that constrains the SIS must be obeyed, and it is important that a security organisations not be misused for partisan political purposes. On the other hand events in many countries over the past few years have shown the vulnerability of innocent people to organised groups who despise as weak those who confine themselves to peaceful democratic persuasion.

In my time in Parliament I have heard on a number of occasions veiled threats of violence if pakeha fail to appease Maori. I believe some of the departures by recent governments, including yours, from democratic principle and equality before the law, have been at least partly driven by those fears.

Please advise what criteria are used by the police or other agencies responsible for protecting our people and our democracy against terrorists, to distinguish between political groups and activists who benefit from any political immunity from security agency surveillance, and those who do not.

Please also advise which agencies are authorised to infiltrate and investigate groups with political affiliations who appear to consider acceptable, recourse to violence or threats of violence.

Yours sincerely

Stephen Franks MP

ACT New Zealand


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