SIS breaks the law again IGIS finds

A highly critical review of the New Zealand Security Intelligence Service (SIS) today shows the powers of New Zealand spy agencies need to be curbed and political oversight beefed up, the Green Party said today.

A highly critical review of the New Zealand Security Intelligence Service (SIS) today shows the powers of New Zealand spy agencies need to be curbed and political oversight beefed up, the Green Party said today.

The Inspector General of Intelligence and Security (IGIS) Cheryl Gwyn has slammed the SIS’s use of new video surveillance powers in her latest annual report, saying the use of the new powers did not comply with the law.

“The Green Party made it very clear at the time the new laws were pushed through that the SIS should not get extended powers to spy on New Zealanders because it has a history of breaking the law, and that is what has happened yet again,” said Green Party Co-leader James Shaw.

“The powers of the SIS need to be curbed and it needs proper oversight by a democratically representative Parliamentary Select Committee, as the Green Party has repeatedly called for in the past.”

In the report Ms Gwyn noted that the SIS did not provide her with a copy of the visual surveillance warrants as it’s required to by s4IB(9) of the NZSIS Act. Instead, these warrants were only identified when the IGIS did her regular warrant review process. The law giving the SIS these new extended powers was pushed through by the National Government in December 2014.

“The SIS was given extra powers of video surveillance which it has used twice, and both times have been found to have broken the law. At the very least, these new powers have to go,” Mr Shaw said.

“By law, the SIS is required to give the IGIS a copy of the warrant soon after it is issued, but it didn’t and she only saw a copy when her office was doing their regular warrant review.

“The Green Party opposed the new extended powers at time they were introduced, because the SIS has continually shown it cannot be relied upon to use its existing powers within the law.

“Of particular concern, is the IGIS’s finding  that the SIS still does not have sound compliance procedures systems in place,” said Mr Shaw.

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