Minister must instruct SIS to reassess denied security clearances

The Minister in charge of the New Zealand Security Intelligence Service (SIS), Chris Finlayson, must instruct the agency to reassess all of those New Zealanders who have been denied security clearance and tarnished as a result of unfair vetting processes, said the Green Party today.

The Minister in charge of the New Zealand Security Intelligence Service (SIS), Chris Finlayson, must instruct the agency to reassess all of those New Zealanders who have been denied security clearance and tarnished as a result of unfair vetting processes, said the Green Party today.

The Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security's annual report found that it was questionable whether the SIS followed their legal obligation of procedural fairness when it came to vetting New Zealanders applying for security clearances.

“The Minister in charge of the SIS has admitted that the failure to be fair in the vetting process goes back many years and he has no idea how many people have been affected,” said Green Party Co-leader James Shaw.

“New Zealanders have been wrongly marred by the SIS and that is exactly why Minister Finlayson needs to instruct the SIS to reassess all those who have been declined a security clearance.

“The Minister cannot just play the ‘operational matter’ card - people’s lives have been turned upside down because the SIS didn’t follow their legal obligations.

“New Zealanders have lost their jobs and been turned down for jobs because the SIS didn’t follow the law. It is not good enough for the Minister to refuse to act because it is operational.

“What is obvious is that the SIS have time and time again proven they cannot be trusted with their powers. The new powers of visual surveillance needs to parked until they prove they can comply with the law.

“The current oversight committee has done little to reign in the errant ways of the SIS. This lame duck of a committee needs to be replaced with a proper Parliamentary Select Committee which can actually provide effective oversight,” said Mr Shaw.

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