If our spies were able to carry out mass surveillance, would the alleged mosque murderer have been stopped?

It's a question raised by National leader Simon Bridges and one which has been dismissed by those with expertise in security intelligence.

They say the intelligence agencies have all the powers they need. Bridges says it's time to ask if they need more.

In raising the issue, Bridges - who refused to be interviewed for this piece - appears to have granted Project Speargun powers which don't resemble the way former Prime Minister Sir John Key described it.

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The spotlight has gone

What was Project Speargun?

The problem with mass surveillance

Avoiding surveillance