Public submissions are now being sought as part of the independent review of New Zealand’s intelligence and security legislation.
Michael Cullen and Patsy Reddy, who are carrying out the review, have put out a press release advising of the submission process, asking the public for their views on “what the GCSB and NZSIS should be doing to protect New Zealand”.
I presume that allows for public views on what the GCSB and SIS shouldn’t be doing.
Intelligence and security reviewers seek public’s views
The independent reviewers examining New Zealands intelligence and security legislation are calling for public submissions.Intelligence and security reviewers seek public’s views
“We are seeking public submissions to help us determine what issues to focus on during the review,” says Sir Michael. “We want to hear your views on what the GCSB and NZSIS should be doing to protect New Zealand and how they should do it.”
“We also want to hear what would give you confidence that the agencies are acting in the best interests of New Zealand and New Zealanders while having due regard to their rights and freedoms,” says Dame Patsy.
The review will consider the legislation relating to the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) and New Zealand Security Intelligence Service (NZSIS), and the oversight of the agencies. It will also assess whether the new legislative provisions introduced late last year by the Countering Foreign Terrorist Fighters Legislation Bill should be extended beyond their current expiry date of 1 April 2017.
Submissions will be open until 5pm on Friday 14 August 2015. You can make a submission online by visiting https://consultations.justice.govt.nz/independent/iris, or you can make a submission by email or post using the call for submissions document available on the website. The website also includes some resources to assist you in making a submission.
More details were given via a Q & A.
Questions about the review
Why is this review being carried out?
Legislation passed in 2013 made several changes to clarify the law governing the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) and improve oversight of New Zealand’s intelligence and security agencies – the GCSB and New Zealand Security Intelligence Service (NZSIS).
One of these changes was to introduce regular independent reviews of the intelligence and security agencies and their governing legislation.
Regular reviews will help to ensure the law keeps up with changing risks to national security, while protecting individual rights and maintaining public confidence in the agencies.
Who is conducting the review?
Hon Sir Michael Cullen and Dame Patsy Reddy are the independent reviewers, appointed by the Acting Attorney-General Hon Amy Adams in consultation with the Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament.
Biographies of the independent reviewers are available at https://consultations.justice.govt.nz/independent/iris.
What will the review cover?
The review will determine:
1. Whether the legislative frameworks of the intelligence and security agencies (GCSB and NZSIS) are well placed to protect New Zealand’s current and future national security, while protecting individual rights;
2. Whether the current oversight arrangements provide sufficient safeguards at an operational, judicial and political level to ensure the GCSB and NZSIS act lawfully and maintain public confidence.
The full terms of reference for the 2015 review can be viewed at: http://www.justice.govt.nz/publications/global-publications/i/intelligence-and-security-agencies-review.
How long will the review take?
The review will be completed by the end of February 2016.
When can I read the independent reviewers’ report?
The independent reviewers must provide the Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament with a report containing the results of their review by the end of February 2016.
After the Committee has considered the report, the Committee must present the report to the House of Representatives subject to any restrictions on the disclosure of information under section 18(3) of the Intelligence and Security Committee Act 1996.
Where can I find more information about the review?
The Intelligence and Security Committee Act 1996 establishes the statutory framework for the review. You can read the Act at http://www.legislation.govt.nz/.
The announcement from Hon Amy Adams appointing the independent reviewers, including biographies of the independent reviewers and the full terms of reference for the 2015 review, can be viewed at: https://www.beehive.govt.nz/release/intelligence-and-security-review-commence-june.
The notice in the New Zealand Gazette can be read at: https://gazette.govt.nz/notice/id/2015-go3140.
Any future announcements about the review will be posted on http://www.justice.govt.nz/.
What other reviews of the intelligence agencies have there been?
There have been a number of reviews in recent years relating to specific aspects of the intelligence and security agencies, for example the Murdoch review in 2009 and the Kitteridge review in 2012. The agencies in the core New Zealand Intelligence Community were also subject to a Performance Improvement Framework Review in late 2013. However, this will be the first review to look at the broader legislative framework and oversight of the agencies.
How does the review relate to the Law Commission’s work on classified information in court proceedings?
The Law Commission’s work has a specific focus on the rules and processes governing use and protection of security sensitive information in court proceedings. However, it is anticipated that the Law Commission’s work will complement the wider review.
While both pieces of work will proceed independently, there will be opportunities for the Commission and independent reviewers to share research and thinking if common issues arise.
Questions about the submissions process
When can I make a submission?
Submissions are open until 5.00pm on Friday 14 August 2015.
How can I make a submission?
You can make a submission online or download the consultation document to make a written submission at https://consultations.justice.govt.nz/independent/iris. Written submissions can be emailed to IRISsupport@justice.govt.nz or posted to IRIS Support Team, Ministry of Justice, Level 3 – Justice Centre, 19 Aitken Street, Wellington, DX SX10088.
I don’t know the answer to some of the consultation questions. Do I have to answer them all?
No, you do not need to answer all of the questions. None of them are mandatory.
Why is my submission being sent to the Ministry of Justice?
As stated in section 26 of the Intelligence and Security Committee Act 1996, the Ministry of Justice is responsible for providing administrative, secretarial, and other support to the independent reviewers. This includes assisting with public consultation.
What happens with my submission?
Your submission will help the independent reviewers to decide what issues the review should focus on within the broad terms of reference. Your submission is sought for the purposes of this independent review only. It will not be shared with government agencies other than the Ministry of Justice (which is providing administrative support for the review) or released publicly.
After the independent reviewers have considered your submission, the independent reviewers or a member of the Ministry of Justice support team may wish to contact you to discuss your submission. At the beginning of the submission form you will be asked to indicate whether you are willing to be contacted for this purpose.