Adam Bennett

Adam is a political reporter for the New Zealand Herald.

Police in gun again over spy agencies

The police two months ago completed an investigation into the Government Communications Security Bureau's surveillance of German internet entrepreneur Kim Dotcom. Photo / Mark Mitchell
The police two months ago completed an investigation into the Government Communications Security Bureau's surveillance of German internet entrepreneur Kim Dotcom. Photo / Mark Mitchell

The Independent Police Conduct Authority is investigating whether police neglected their duties in their handling of a complaint against spy agency the GCSB over alleged illegal spying on New Zealanders.

The police two months ago completed an investigation into the Government Communications Security Bureau's surveillance of German internet entrepreneur Kim Dotcom and his associate Bram van der Kolk. The spying was done at the request of the police ahead of their raid on the Dotcom mansion early last year.

In their findings, the police said the GCSB's spying was illegal but as GCSB staff did not act with criminal intent, no one would be held accountable.

They also decided against further investigation of alleged illegal spying on 85 other New Zealanders after reviewing the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security Paul Neazor's report on the matter.

Yesterday, Greens co-leader Russel Norman, who laid the original complaint, confirmed the conduct authority had decided to investigate a new complaint he laid in response to the police findings.

One of three issues raised by Dr Norman was that leading barrister Kristy McDonald, who was hired by the police to review the investigation's findings, had a potential conflict of interest because of her previous work for the police and because she was acting for them in an ongoing court case against Mr Dotcom.

Ms McDonald yesterday declined to comment on the issues raised by Dr Norman "beyond confirming that I was instructed to provide independent oversight to the investigation".

Dr Norman said the authority's decision to investigate the matter was "very important to maintain confidence in the impartiality and professionalism" of the police.

- NZ Herald

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