Dunne demands transparency on Security review

Peter Dunne supported a review of our security legislation in his opening speech for the year in Parliament yesterday, asking for public engagement, openness and transparency.

This is not a political issue; this is a New Zealand issue. We are talking about New Zealand’s security interest—New Zealand as a nation—our domestic security and our international security.

It is not a game of political one-upmanship, but a game of ensuring that those who operate in that very peculiar world are accountable, are transparent, and have very clear lines of operation that Parliament has ordained for them.

Full draft transcript:

There is one other area that the Prime Minister touched on that is also extremely important, and I think we can actually start to make some progress.

There is to be a review this year of our security legislation. I think that is good. It is proper. But it needs to be conducted in a transparent and open way, and there are two steps I think that need to be taken sooner rather than later.

The review has to be established by 30 June this year. I think the form of the review needs to be made public well before its establishment, and I think the draft terms of reference need to be published and socialised around this House in the first instance and more broadly before they are adopted.

This is not a political issue; this is a New Zealand issue. We are talking about New Zealand’s security interest—New Zealand as a nation—our domestic security and our international security.

It is not a game of political one-upmanship, but a game of ensuring that those who operate in that very peculiar world are accountable, are transparent, and have very clear lines of operation that Parliament has ordained for them.

Last year the then-director of the Government Communications Security Bureau gave an extraordinary speech where he spelled out the objectives of his agency as he saw them. One of them was advising the Government on military strategy.

That is not the role of an intelligence agency.

It might be the belief of those who like wearing trench coats and walking around in the shadows and what they think is the role of an agency, but it is not the role of a responsible agency today, particularly against the backdrop of the revelations that people like Edward Snowden have made and various other whistleblowers around the world have shown about the way in which these organisations operate.

No one is actually saying you do not need them. Everyone seems to be saying they need a more open and accountable environment.

Some of the Greens and fringe left activists may disagree that no one is actually saying you do not need them.

The review this year provides that opportunity, and I sincerely hope that the Government takes the chance to ensure that what arises is a robust, credible set of organisations that can meet both the test of public scrutiny and the test of time, because increasingly as tensions grow, the challenges that they will face in terms of providing credible, independent intelligence to the Government of the day will also grow.

If there is any doubt about the competence of that, then I think we are in a very sad way.

Some things must remain secret and be done in secret, but it is essential that the New Zealand public has confidence in our security legislation and in our security services.

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3 Comments

  1. “That is not the role of an intelligence agency.”

    Who else is going to do it? You are not going to get an intelligent response on military strategy from the state’s Commander in Chief.

    “Everyone seems to be saying they need a more open and accountable environment.”

    Is their Commander in Chief open and accountable? They are ignoring the elephant in the room here.

    “it is essential that the New Zealand public has confidence in our security legislation and in our security services.”

    You are assuming that the state is the only option for ensuring the security of the public. The other option is the one that the state is lying about.

    Reply
    • The only way your can get openness and accountability is by recognizing the value of truth in society. This isn’t going to happen by trying to work within a system that lies to you about the basics.

      Reply
  2. Missy

     /  11th February 2015

    “Who else is going to do it? You are not going to get an intelligent response on military strategy from the state’s Commander in Chief.”

    If you are talking about the New Zealand Defence force Commander in Chief, why do you think you won’t get an intelligent response on military strategy from him? I think he is more than qualified to discuss military strategy intelligently.

    Reply

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