A report which found that New Zealand's intelligence agency had "arguably" not broken the law has been met by derision by Opposition MPs who insisted on an independent, transparent inquiry.
An investigation led by Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security Paul Neazor cleared the Government Communications Security Bureau of illegal spying on New Zealanders.
Mr Neazor was asked to conduct an inquiry into potential breaches of the GCSB Act after Cabinet Secretary Rebecca Kitteridge's report on the bureau's compliance with legislation raised concerns about 88 instances where the GCSB had spied on New Zealanders.
The report was not made public, but GCSB Director Ian Fletcher said in a statement: "The Inspector-General formed a view that there have been no breaches, although the law is unclear and the Inspector-General recommends amending it."
Labour Party leader David Shearer said the findings would not restore New Zealanders' confidence in the agency.
"The Inspector-General has found that there were 'arguably' no breaches in the 88 cases involving New Zealanders.
"Well that finding doesn't exactly inspire us with confidence. In fact, it doesn't tell whether the spying was legal or illegal - all it says is that the Inspector-General can make an argument that it's legal."
Mr Shearer repeated his call for a full independent inquiry.
Mr Fletcher said the Inspector-General found that all of the cases were based on serious issues including potential weapons of mass destruction development, people smuggling, foreign espionage in New Zealand and drug smuggling.
Of the 88 individuals concerned, 15 cases which related to 22 individuals did not have any information intercepted by GCSB.
In four other cases in which the agency helped with the execution of warrants. Mr Neazor found that there were "arguably" no breaches.
New legislation which was designed to clarify the intelligence agency's role was passed under urgency earlier this month.
Green Party leader Russel Norman said the Government Communications Security Bureau and Related Legislation Amendment Bill should be put on hold until an independent inquiry could be held into the agency's spying on New Zealanders.
"A law change should be the last step in the process, not the first.
"New Zealanders need to be assured that the GCSB is behaving within the law and acting ethically before the laws governing our spies are changed."
Mr Neazor's report recommended more precise legislation and some improvement in the GCSB's paperwork.