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Adam Bennett

Adam is a political reporter for the New Zealand Herald.

Second top spy appointment announced

Sir Bruce Robertson. Photo / NZ Herald
Sir Bruce Robertson. Photo / NZ Herald

Former High Court and Court of Appeal judge Sir Bruce Robertson is to be the new Commissioner of Security Warrants in the second top level intelligence and security appointment announced in the last 24 hours.

Prime Minister John Key who has responsibility for the Government Communications Security Bureau and the Security Intelligence Service announced the appointment this morning, saying Sir Bruce had had a distinguished career in the judiciary.

As Commissioner of Security Warrants Sir Bruce is jointly responsible with Mr Key for issuing domestic spying warrants for New Zealand citizens or permanent residents.

He replaces Sir John Jeffries who was the first commissioner appointed in 1999.

Sir Bruce's appointment comes after Mr Key yesterday announced former High Court Judge Andrew McGechan was to be the new Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security, replacing former Solicitor General Paul Neazor, who has held the job since 2004.

The new appointments have been announced in the run up to consideration of changes to the GCSB Act by Parliament's intelligence and security committee.

The committee begins hearing submissions this afternoon in a session to be chaired by Mr Key.

Mr Key has said he is open to considering NZ First Leader Winston Peters' proposal that the Commissioner of Security Warrants is replaced by a three person panel which would also periodically review security agencies' activities under the warrants it issued.

Mr Peters has indicated the establishment of such a panel would be a pre-condition for NZ First to support the new GCSB legislation which amongst other things will expressly allow the GCSB to lawfully spy on New Zealanders.

- NZ Herald

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