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“CURATE’S EGG” SECURITY LEGISLATION FAR FROM IDEAL

UnitedFuture leader Peter Dunne says the Government’s new security legislation is the proverbial Curate’s Egg, good in parts, but a missed opportunity overall.

“I support the stricter and more transparent arrangements for the issue and review of surveillance warrants, and the application of the Privacy Principles of the Privacy Act to the intelligence legislation.

“But I am far less impressed with the implicit trade-off of these tighter rules with the proposed broadening of potential surveillance of individual New Zealanders by the agencies. “

“These wider intrusive powers are both unnecessary and unjustified, and should not proceed.

“I also think the lack of a specific definition of national security is a mistake, and that a tight, prescriptive definition is required to both protect New Zealanders from unnecessary surveillance, and prevent the security agencies from interpreting the meaning for themselves in their best Le Carré fashion, as they have done far too often in the past,” he says.

Mr Dunne says that at a broader level, he is disappointed that the SIS and the GCSB are being retained as separate entities.

“Given that most of the operational side of surveillance is already carried out by the Police and not the agencies, the GCSB and the SIS today are really no more than information gatherers and processors.

“Their briefings, in the main, are a combination of website links and analysis of overseas-sourced data, so it is hard to see why we need to maintain two separate agencies, employing over 500 personnel, to process data obtained from elsewhere.

“The time for a rationalisation into one leaner, smaller, more focused agency is surely nigh.”

“For these reasons, I am not willing to support the Bill at this stage, but will watch the select committee process with interest, to see whether the concerns I have raised will be addressed, or whether the Bill becomes New Zealand’s ‘Snooper’s Charter’,” he says.

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