Experienced lawyer Cheryl Gwyn will be put in charge of monitoring New Zealand's spying and intelligence activities, Prime Minister John Key revealed this morning.

Ms Gwyn will take over the job of Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security to replace Andrew McGechan QC, a former High Court Judge who was appointed on an interim basis in July.

She is the deputy Solicitor-General at Crown Law, and has previously been a partner at two legal firms, Deputy Secretary for Justice, Acting Solicitor General and chief executive at Crown Law.

Her office will have a larger, more proactive role as a result of Government Communications Security Bureau reforms which passed into law last year.


The reforms increased the scope and resourcing of the oversight regime, and widened the pool of candidates for the Inspector-General role beyond former High Court judges.

The Inspector-General's office could now undertake its own inquiries more easily and could monitor a broader range of agencies' activities.

Mr Key thanked Mr McGechan for his service, saying that he had taken over at a time of significant change and scrutiny of the intelligence community.

Ms Gwyn would step into the role on May 5 for a term of three years. She was appointed after consultation with Parliament's Intelligence and Security Committee.