Rt Hon John Key
6 May 2013 Media Statement
Draft intelligence community legislation released
Prime Minister John Key today released a final draft of legislation to clarify the functions of the Government
Communications Security Bureau (GCSB), and to strengthen the oversight regime governing New Zealand’s intelligence
The final draft of the omnibus Bill – the Government Communications Security Bureau and Related Legislation Amendment
Bill – encompasses amendments to the Government Communications Security Bureau Act 2003, the Inspector-General of
Intelligence and Security Act 1996 and the Intelligence and Security Committee Act 1996.
The draft Bill follows a compliance review, which focused on the GCSB, as well as a wider review of other related
“The compliance review of the GCSB, conducted by Rebecca Kitteridge, showed there were difficulties in the legal
interpretation of the GCSB Act,” says Mr Key.
“Ms Kitteridge’s review found the GCSB Act 2003 is not, and probably never was, fit for purpose.
“It is essential that an agency which is exercising intrusive powers has a clear legal framework to operate within.
“It’s also essential the oversight regime governing such an agency is strong enough to mean the public can have
confidence the agency is acting within the law.
“The responsible thing to do is to clarify legislation so it is clear what the GCSB can and cannot do; then it can get
on with the important job of protecting the security of New Zealanders,” says Mr Key.
“The draft Bill I am releasing today will, if enacted, help the GCSB to get on with the job of helping New Zealand
public and private sector entities deal with the growing threat of cyber-attack.
“The GCSB will require an authorisation from the Responsible Minister and the Commissioner of Security Warrants when its
cyber security and information assurance functions are being performed in relation to the communications of New
“The operating environment for New Zealand’s intelligence agencies has changed enormously over the past decade. In large
part, this is due to the rapid evolution of technology in areas like cyber security and the threat of cyber-attacks.
“It’s vital that legislation in this area is fit for purpose and keeps pace with changes in the operating environment,
while also safeguarding the rights of law-abiding New Zealanders,” says Mr Key.
The draft Bill also makes it clear the GCSB can provide support to certain named agencies – the New Zealand Police, the
New Zealand Defence Force and the New Zealand Security Intelligence Service (NZSIS).
The GCSB will only be able to provide that support when those agencies are acting within their own lawful duties.
“This means the GCSB will be able to provide support under the right conditions and oversight, including in relation to
New Zealanders,” says Mr Key.
In addition to the GCSB Act amendments, Mr Key says the draft Bill also significantly strengthens the oversight regime
for New Zealand’s intelligence agencies to ensure it is strong enough to inspire public confidence.
“The Bill modernises legislation governing the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security to make the office more
proactive, and at the same time the Government intends to increase the resourcing of the Inspector- General’s office.
“Changes to the Intelligence and Security Committee Act would also give that committee greater oversight and
accountability of the intelligence community,” Mr Key says.
Under the draft legislation, the GCSB Act will retain its three main functions of information assurance and cyber
security; foreign intelligence; and cooperation and assistance to other agencies.
However, these functions will be clarified and updated so that:
• Information assurance and cyber security will include cooperation, advice and help to both public and private sector
• Foreign intelligence will remain broadly as is; and
• Cooperation and assistance to other agencies means the GCSB will be able to assist the NZ Defence Force, Police and
NZSIS, but only when those entities are performing their lawful duties.
“These changes will ensure the GCSB is on a sound footing to keep doing the job the Government expects it to do in the
interests of New Zealanders,” says Mr Key.
It is the Government’s intention to introduce and debate the final Bill later this week, subject to the House schedule.
After passing its First Reading the Bill will go to the Intelligence and Security Committee for submissions.
Note to Editors: Final draft Bill attached.