Adam Bennett

Adam is a political reporter for the New Zealand Herald.

MP's want GCSB legislation tweaked

Parliament's Privileges Committee has recommended that the GCSB and Related Legislation Amendment Bill is amended. Photo / Mark Mitchell
Parliament's Privileges Committee has recommended that the GCSB and Related Legislation Amendment Bill is amended. Photo / Mark Mitchell

MPs want the Government's GCSB legislation tweaked to ensure the spy agency doesn't overstep the mark if it eavesdrops on them.

Under an existing agreement, the SIS can collect and retain information about MPs under limited circumstances if it shows the Speaker of the House there are good grounds to do so.

However that agreement doesn't cover the GCSB which, under the Government's new legislation will be expressly allowed to spy on New Zealanders when it is helping the police and SIS.

However, the Clerk of the House has raised concerns that there is no framework for dealing with complaints about surveillance of MPs by the GCSB when it is working on behalf of the SIS and Police.

Parliament's Privileges Committee has recommended that the GCSB and Related Legislation Amendment Bill is amended so that the Inspector General of Intelligence and Security can receive and act on complaints made on behalf of a class of people rather than just individuals.

That would allow the Speaker to raise issues around any GCSB or SIS surveillance of MPs.

The committee has also recommended the Inspector General can initiate an inquiry into actions of the spy agencies without the approval of the responsible minister.

- NZ Herald

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