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SIS hearings should be held in public

Phil Goff

Leader of the Labour Party

07 December 2010

Media Statement

SIS hearings should be held in public

Labour Leader Phil Goff is calling on the Prime Minister to allow submissions on the proposed changes to SIS legislation to be held in open session.

“There’s absolutely no justification for John Key’s decision to carry out hearings in secret. It’s important that the process is open to the public because the changes are about government policy not operational matters.

“The committee is able to hear some material in private if a submission includes sensitive material, but otherwise evidence should be heard in open sessions.”

The Labour Leader says there is clear precedent for public hearings related to previous changes to the Security Intelligence Service in 1999.

Under the National-led Government, the then Prime Minister Jenny Shipley said hearings should be open to the public “unless there are extraordinary circumstances that require a closed hearing for any particular submission”.

“There’s no reason for John Key to be so secretive and inflexible. He should reconsider his position and allow members of the public to take part in the submission process.”

ENDS

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