The head of the GCSB spy agency Ian Fletcher has given a public assurance there was no large scale collection of New Zealanders' data by the US National Security Agency in New Zealand.

He could not give assurances about what took place if data passed through the United States in response to questions from Greens' co-leader Russel Norman, saying each country had the sovereign right to pass their own interception laws.

But he told a public hearing at Parliament this afternoon: "I have no reason to believe there is any particular targeting of New Zealanders' data.''

Mr Fletcher was appearing at the Intelligence and Security Committee in its first public hearing since the passage of GCSB laws this year allowing for public hearings on the spy agency.


At times there were testy exchanges between Dr Norman and committee chairman and Attorney General Chris Finlayson.

When Dr Norman objected to interventions by Mr Finlayson on the extent of his questions, Mr Finlayson said: "You're a member of the committee, not Judge Judy.''

Dr Norman got very few answers from Mr Fletcher about the police investigation into the unlawful spying on internet mogul Kim Dotcom.

Mr Fletcher said the matter was before the Independent Police Conduct Authority, but he said the decision by GCSB staff not to co-operate with the police inquiry had been a "matter for the individuals.''

He refused to answer Dr Norman's questions about whether the GCSB used Prism and other spyware exposed by the NSA defector Edward Snowden.

Mr Fletcher and SIS director Warren Tucker appeared together, but Dr Tucker's presentation and questions came first.

He disclosed that the SIS's help had been sought by the Defence Force after a high number of casualties in Afghanistan last year.