New Zealand Law Society - Intelligence and Security Bill passage recommended

Intelligence and Security Bill passage recommended

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The Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee has released its report on the New Zealand Intelligence and Security Bill, recommending by a majority that it be passed with amendments.

The bill seeks to update the legislative framework government New Zealand's intelligence and security agencies and to improve their transparency. It would create a single Act to cover the agencies, repealing the New Zealand Security Intelligence Service Act 1969, the Intelligence and Security Committee Act 1996, the Government Communications Security Bureau Act 2003 and most of the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security Act 1996.

It implements the Government's response to the independent review of intelligence and security in New Zealand conducted by Sir Michael Cullen and Dame Patsy Reddy.

As introduced, the bill contains shared objectives, functions and powers for the security agencies, provisions to bring the NZSIS and GCSB within normal State sector arrangements, a single authorisation regime applying to both agencies, an information-sharing regime to support the agencies in carrying out their functions, significant enhancements to the oversight institutions and their roles, and provisiong to continue those enacted in legislation stemming from the Countering Terrorist Fighters Legislation Bill in 2014 (which was subsequently divided).

The committee report recommends a number of amendments, including removing "New Zealand" from the title of the bill.

It also recommends deleting clause 5, which defines "national security", and replacing the definition with a new clause 55A which would define the circumstances in which the intelligence and security agencies may take action, in respect of New Zealanders, in pursuit of their national security objectives.

Clause 55A would set out a two-part test to determine whether a Type 1 intelligence warrant may be issued. Type 1 warrants are always required in relation to New Zealand citizens or permanent residents.

The Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand has included a minority view in the report, stating that it continues to oppose the bill.

The bill was referred to the committee on 18 August 2016 with submissions closing on 7 October 2016. The committee received 51 submissions and heard from 32 submitters.

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