By 3 News online staff
Prime Minister John Key is pledging GCSB warrants for the contents of emails will be tightly controlled.
In a statement released to the New Zealand Herald last night, Mr Key says under the proposed new restrictions the GCSB will not initially be able to read the private communications of New Zealanders.
The agency would have to ask for permission to read the contents of a person's emails, and would have to present a strong case for needing to do so, Mr Key says.
Labour leader David Shearer says Mr Key's latest statement shows he is in "damage control".
"Despite his protestations, there is widespread concern about the GCSB Bill and he knows it."
The announcement comes after Mr Key claimed on Campbell Live that the new GCSB bill was not an issue Kiwis were concerned about.
Mr Key incorrectly said on Campbell Live that the GCSB would not be allowed to look at the contents of communications, when there is actually nothing in the bill that prevents it from doing so.
Mr Shearer says Mr Key is asking the public to trust him.
"He is telling the public he won’t let the GSCB use the powers the new law grants them, except in exceptional circumstances."
A review of the spy agency would give the public more confidence in the GCSB is restored, but Mr Key "seems to be making things up as he goes along", according to Mr Shearer.
Green Party co-leader Russel Norman says the statement either means Mr Key misled the public or he does not understand his own bill.
"The original purpose of the GCSB bill was to clarify the law, but rather than clarifying anything, it seems that it’s being muddied and we are told to rely on John Key’s assurances."
Mr Key's latest concession suggests the Government is worried about public reaction to the bill.
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In the statement, Mr Key says the execution of warrants would be independently overseen by the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security who is appointed by the Governor-General.
The bill is expected to scrape through its committee stages and third reading next week, provided United Future leader Peter Dunne does not withdraw his support.
source: newshub archive