Rare bipartisan cooperation between National and Labour

An overhaul of the legislation governing the spy agencies is set to go ahead next month after the Government agreed to Labour’s call for changes to ensure stronger safeguards before agencies can spy on New Zealanders.

The Select Committee looking at the lntelligence and Security Bill has reported back and the Government has agreed to pick up most the changes recommended.

The overhaul will give the GCSB the power to spy on New Zealanders as well as the SIS and Prime Minister Bill English said the most significant change was a new two-pronged test before a warrant to spy on New Zealander could be issued.

That would require a minister and Commissioner of Intelligence Warrants to be satisfied it was necessary for national security and that it fitted within a list of seven situations such as terrorism, violent extremism, espionage, sabotage or serious crime.

“It ensures the agencies can continue to respond to increasingly complex security threats while providing greater certainty and robust safeguards for New Zealanders,” English said.

English said he expected the legislation to get its next reading in Parliament next month and wanted broad political support for it.

Of course, the Green party weren’t playing ball.

The only minority view in the report was from the Green Party, which said it provided for “new, intrusive powers” it did not believe were justified.

And that’s another reason the Green party will never be part of a coalition government. ?They can’t even see eye-to-eye with Labour on this, let alone NZ First.

When it comes to national and international security issues, the Green party are wholly under-qualified to be involved.

Labour on the other hand knows that it will one day have to work with the legislation, so they are hardly going to make a rod for their own back.


– Claire Trevett, NZ Herald