Notice Type
Notice Title

2015 Review of Intelligence and Security Agencies

Under section 22 of the Intelligence and Security Committee Act 1996 (“the Act”), the Acting Attorney-General, Hon Amy Adams, has appointed Hon Sir Michael John Cullen, knzm, and Dame Patricia (Patsy) Lee Reddy, dnzm, to carry out a review of the intelligence and security agencies, the legislation governing them, and their oversight legislation.

The Acting Attorney-General has specified, under section 22(3)(c) of the Act, that the review is to be concluded by 29 February 2016.

Under section 22(3)(a) of the Act, the Acting Attorney-General has specified the following terms of reference for the review.

Terms of reference

The purpose of the review, taking into account that subsequent reviews must occur every 5–7 years, is to determine:

  1. Whether the legislative frameworks of the intelligence and security agencies – the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) and New Zealand Security Intelligence Service (NZSIS) – are well placed to protect New Zealand’s current and future national security, while protecting individual rights; and
  2. whether the current oversight arrangements provide sufficient safeguards at an operational, judicial and political level to ensure the GCSB and NZSIS act lawfully and maintain public confidence.

The review will have particular regard to the following matters:

  1. Whether the legislative provisions arising from the Countering Foreign Terrorist Fighters Legislation Bill, which expire on 31 March 2017, should be extended or modified;
  2. whether the definition of “private communication” in the legislation governing the GCSB is satisfactory; and
  3. any additional matters that arise during the review as agreed by the Acting Attorney-General and notified in writing in the New Zealand Gazette.

Under section 22(3)(b) of the Act, the Acting Attorney-General specifies that, when determining how to conduct the review, the reviewers will take into account:

  1. the need to ensure that a wide range of members of the public have the opportunity to express their views on issues relating to the review;
  2. the need for the law to provide clear and easily understandable parameters of operation;
  3. the Law Commission’s work on whether current court processes are sufficient for dealing with classified and security sensitive information;
  4. previous relevant reviews and progress towards implementing their recommendations;
  5. relevant overseas reviews to identify best practice in areas relevant to this review, including oversight arrangements; and
  6. that traditionally, signals and human intelligence have been carried out separately and the Government does not intend to consider merging those functions within a single agency.

Dated at Wellington this 28th day of May 2015.

Hon AMY ADAMS, Acting Attorney-General.