Peter Dunne has been getting a flood of emails about his position onthe GCSB bill. Some people have complained about not getting, personal replies, as per this comment on Facebook:
He or his secretary has given canned, pat answers to direct emails questioning his support for the GCSB Bill twice already,
This is Dunne’s standard response explaining his position.
Thank you for contacting me about my decision to support the GCSB Bill.
I am doing so simply because I was able to negotiate the following changes to the legislation to give protection to New Zealanders:
- As well as the addition of a set of guiding principles into the legislation and the establishment of a two person advisory panel to assist the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security, the Prime Minister has now agreed to the following additional amendments to the legislation which I moved during the Bill’s committee of the whole stage:
- The removal of the proposed Order in Council mechanism which would have allowed other agencies to be added to the list of agencies able to request assistance from the GCSB. Any additions beyond the Police, SIS and NZ Defence Force will now be required to be made by a specific amendment to the legislation, and not just by regulation as the Bill currently proposes.
- To ensure effective oversight in the issuing of a warrant the Bill be amended so that the Inspector General is informed when a warrant is put on the register relating to a New Zealander.
- The GCSB will be required to report annually on the number of instances when it has provided assistance to the Police, SIS or NZ Defence Force.
- The GCSB will also be required to report annually on the number of warrants and authorisations issued.
- The Intelligence and Security Committee will hold public hearings annually to discuss the financial reviews of the performance of the GCSB and the SIS.
- There will be an independent review of the operations and performance the GCSB and the NZSIS and their governing legislation in 2015, and thereafter every 5-7 years.
Parliament has now agreed to all these amendments.
In addition, I will be working alongside the Minister of Justice on the issues raised by the Law Commission’s 2010 report “Invasion of Privacy: Penalties and Remedies.” This review will include the definition of private communication (and metadata) to ensure a standard definition is developed for insertion in the GCSB and NZSIS Acts, and all relevant legislation such as the Crimes Act and the Search and Surveillance Act.
Overall, these changes go a long way towards improving the legislation, the accountability of the GCSB and the transparency of its operations, as well as updating and modernising the definitions of private communications to meet today’s circumstances. The regular review process also means that our intelligence legislation will be able to keep much closer pace with technological and other developments, and that the situation we faced over the Dotcom affair, as an example, will never happen again. I am satisfied that, taken as a whole, my changes address substantially the concerns raised by those who made submissions to the select committee, and are a strong step towards making our intelligence services more accountable.
The attempt some are making to link this legislation to the current controversy surrounding the Henry inquiry, the Parliamentary Service and my e-mails is spurious and lacking in any credibility. That situation relates to internal actions with the Parliamentary environment, and has nothing to do with the GCSB Bill. While the privacy breaches that have occurred are of obvious concern, it is quite fallacious to suggest that the GCSB Bill has anything to do with that. Equally, the suggestion that I should not therefore vote for the GCSB Bill is as fatuous as suggesting I stop supporting the All Blacks because of a a disagreement with my local rugby club!
I have set out my views in more detail in my blog, honpfd.blogspot.com/2013/07/25-july-2013-agreement-i-reached-with.html?spref=tw … , and in my speech to the House moving the above amendments at http://j.mp/153yy3e
I don’t know what else they want to know, apart from wanting him to vote against the bill. Opponents of the bill rarely want explanations (that don’t line up with their opinion), they want the bill stopped.
If Dunne votes against the bill that leaves less protected than the current Government thinks is necessary – the same as the previous (Clark) Government thought.