Intelligence review must lead to public debate

Published: Wed 9 Mar 2016 01:06 PM
Andrew Little
Leader of the Opposition
9 March 2016
Intelligence review must lead to public debate
A review of New Zealand’s intelligence agencies deserves a thorough public debate to strike the right balance between effective powers to keep people safe and ensuring there is confidence in the way the powers are used, Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little says.
“The report has some sensible recommendations in terms of having consistency in legislation and avoiding contradictions between the agencies’ powers. The idea of an over-arching national security objective by which the agencies’ powers are judged is a good one.
“This is a thorough and timely review after some questionable surveillance by agencies in the past.
“Labour is prepared to work with the Government to get the best possible legislation in place. But we must have the public debate to strike the right balance between security and privacy.
“There are some additional powers recommended in the review including wholesale access to immigration, customs and police databases among others. I would question whether this is justified.
“Greater oversight powers by the Inspector General are important and would be welcome.
“The rights of New Zealand citizens must be respected even when dealing with national security issues. Creating the right legislation for that balance is crucial to the confidence Kiwis have in their intelligence and security agencies,” Andrew Little says.

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