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Labour pushes for security review

Sunday 7 Apr 2013 11:46 a.m.

David Shearer says he would hold an independent external review of security services

David Shearer says he would hold an independent external review of security services

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Labour is arguing New Zealand should follow Australia by holding an independent review of its spy agencies.

State Services Commissioner Iain Rennie last week defended the process for the appointment of Ian Fletcher as boss of the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) after it emerged Prime Minister John Key called Mr Fletcher, a family friend, about the job.

Labour leader David Shearer told Q&A today there needed to be an independent review of the intelligence services in New Zealand to restore confidence in them.

"If I was coming into office I would have a full independent inquiry into our intelligence agencies to restore that confidence."

The terms of reference would be agreed by Parliament the inquiry would report back to Parliament.

"It's something the Australians did a few years ago when there was a crisis in their intelligence agencies and they've had regular independent outside reviews going on," he said.

The GCSB has been embarrassed by the revelation that it illegally spied on internet piracy accused Kim Dotcom before his arrest last year.

Legislation relating to the New Zealand Security Intelligence Service was about to be reformed, Mr Shearer said.

"I think we need to have an independent review before we reform that," he said.

Mr Rennie has vigorously defended the way Mr Fletcher's appointment was made and said Mr Key did nothing wrong when he shoulder-tapped Mr Fletcher for the job.

The Greens have called for an inquiry into the appointment and have suggested Parliament's intelligence and security committee do it.


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