Statement By The Privacy Commissioner On NZSIS (No 2) Bill
After 44 years of existence the NZ Security Intelligence Service will, for the very first time, produce an annual report
next year. That is the recommendation of the Intelligence and Security Committee to Parliament.
I welcome the Committee's decision to require the SIS to produce an annual report on its activities. An edited version
of the report will be tabled by the Prime Minister in Parliament each year. The Government and Opposition are to be
congratulated on this notable step in Open Government.
I am pleased that my recommendation in respect of the New Zealand Security Intelligence Service Amendment (No 2) Bill
for reporting has been accepted by the Committee. It is important to remember that in addition to more secret
activities, the NZSIS undertakes vetting on hundreds of public servants and these and other non-sensitive activities
ought to be fully accounted for.
As Privacy Commissioner I have repeatedly recommended enhancements to accountability mechanisms in respect of the work
of intelligence organisations and the interception of private communications. As much of the work of the NZSIS must be
carried out in secret it is sometimes difficult for normal accountability mechanisms to work in a completely open
fashion. However, Parliamentary reporting is possible while taking into account the need for security.
Note for editors and reporters: 1. The new annual reporting requirement is set out in clause 4J of the New Zealand
Security Intelligence Service Amendment (No 2) Bill as just reported from the Intelligence and Security Committee. 2.
Copies of my report of 12 April 1999 on the bill can be obtained from my office or website.
BH Slane Privacy Commissioner