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Metiria Turei questions the Minister for National Security and Intelligence

 

11. METIRIA TUREI (Co-Leader—Green) to the Minister for National Security and Intelligence: E kore a ia e aro atu ki ētahi whakarerekētanga ki te ture, kia tukua ai a GCSB ki te kohi raraungameta, e pā ana ki ngā tāngata o Aotearoa?

 

[Will he rule out any law changes that will allow the GCSB to collect metadata on New Zealanders?]

Hon CHRISTOPHER FINLAYSON (Attorney-General) on behalf of the Minister for National Security and Intelligence: The Government is not ruling anything in or anything out. The Intelligence and Security Committee received the independent report on Tuesday, it was made public yesterday, and we are now seeking advice on all recommendations.

Metiria Turei: Will he rule out any law changes that would allow the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) to conduct mass surveillance of New Zealanders?

Hon CHRISTOPHER FINLAYSON: The Government is not ruling anything in or anything out. The Intelligence and Security Committee received the independent report on Tuesday, it was made public yesterday, and we are now seeking advice on all recommendations.

Metiria Turei: Can the Minister confirm that the Government is now open to the mass surveillance of New Zealanders?

Hon CHRISTOPHER FINLAYSON: The Government is not ruling anything in or anything out. The Intelligence and Security Committee received the independent report on Tuesday, it was made public yesterday, and we are now seeking advice on all recommendations.

Metiria Turei: Will he rule out any law changes that would allow the GCSB to intercept the private communications of New Zealanders?

Hon CHRISTOPHER FINLAYSON: The Government is not ruling anything in or anything out. The Intelligence and Security Committee received the independent report on Tuesday, it was made public yesterday, and we are now seeking advice on all recommendations.

Metiria Turei: Will he rule out—[Interruption] I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. I am asking a question.

Mr SPEAKER: Well, I can sense why the disorder is descending on the House, because I imagine that if the question is going to be like that, I, probably, with most other members of the House, will predict the answer.

Metiria Turei: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. I am not responsible for the Minister’s answers. If the Minister is repeating his answer, that is his problem, not mine.

Mr SPEAKER: That is certainly true. The member’s—[Interruption] Order! I do not need assistance from Mr Brownlee, though it is always—sometimes—gratefully received. The member is certainly entitled to continue with her line of questioning. There is no problem there. If there is an unreasonable amount of interjection I will assist the member, but if there is some interjection it will not be unexpected. The member can continue with her supplementary question.

Metiria Turei: Will the Minister rule out proposing any law changes to the spy agencies until the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security has reported back on all of her current investigations?

Hon CHRISTOPHER FINLAYSON: Let me say this: the previous answer applies. But let me also say this: if she asks nicely, I am sure that the Minister responsible for the GCSB and the Minister in charge of the NZ Security Intelligence Service would be delighted to meet with the Green MPs to go through the report.

Metiria Turei: If the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security finds that the GCSB or the SIS have acted illegally during any of her investigations, will the Minister assure the public that he will not then change the law to make those actions legal, either retrospectively or for the future?

Hon CHRISTOPHER FINLAYSON: The question is hypothetical. What I think is appropriate is to await the inspector-general’s reports, and then a considered response can be given to those reports.

Metiria Turei: Does he agree with today’s Dominion Post editorial that the review has “recommended a huge extension of the spies’ powers and a very modest strengthening of the oversight system.”?

Hon CHRISTOPHER FINLAYSON: It will be a very strange day when I agree with anything that is said in any editorials written by that particular editor.