Keeping the score: SIS/GCSB versus the Police

Bill Sutch was charged in 1974 with trying to pass New Zealand Government information to the Soviet Union. He was acquitted.

GCSB director Ian Fletcher on Campbell Live.
GCSB director Ian Fletcher on Campbell Live.
According to GCSB head Ian Fletcher all of the cases (55) of them where his electronic spy agency helped the SIS “were based on serious issues including potential weapons of mass destruction development, people smuggling, foreign espionage in New Zealand and drug smuggling.”

The obvious next question is how many arrests resulted over the ten years (April 2003 to September 2012) that these operations took place. The answer, Mr Fletcher admitted, is none. Not a single one.

Mr Fletcher goes on to assure us that in 15 of these 55 cases no information was actually intercepted by the GCSB. However, this leaves 40 cases where the GCSB was involved in the interception, or “provided technical assistance”, or collected “metadata” (such as information on who the targeted New Zealanders phoned or emailed).

Forty cases, but no arrests. Let’s compare this with the New Zealand Police. In the last year reported on, July 1 2011 to April 17 2012, there were 25 Police interception warrants under the Crimes Act producing 47 arrests. The same pattern of many arrests occurs in the earlier years I looked at.  I am certainly not justifying all of the surveillance the Police do (some of it is against political activists) and the new Search and Surveillance Act gives the Police too many powers. Nor do I justify arrests like those of the Urerewa 17, the Switched On Gardener owners, and many marijuana users. However, the statistics do show that Police surveillance, unlike SIS/GCSB surveillance, does result in people being brought before the Courts.

I thought I might be missing something, so I looked back at the SIS Annual reports for the last five years. I couldn’t find any mention of arrests there even though the agency discloses that it was operating with more than 20 interception warrants in each of the five years, each lasting on average for 6 months.

Bill Sutch was charged in 1974 with trying to pass New Zealand Government information to the Soviet Union. He was acquitted.
Bill Sutch was charged in 1974 with trying to pass New Zealand Government information to the Soviet Union. He was acquitted.
Then I searched my memory for any recollection of a case where criminality resulting in an arrest had first been detected by the SIS rather than the Police. The only arrest I could think of was that of Dr Bill Sutch in September 1974 for espionage – and he was found not guilty in a Wellington court. Do any of our readers remember any other examples?

I think the evidence that the SIS and GCSB are failing to detect criminality reinforces the view that their operations against New Zealanders are more about spying on dissenters than criminals. This is certainly backed up by my SIS file, which shows that agency spied on me for 50 years without any hint that I was involved in any illegal activity, but purely because I disagreed with conservative governments of the day on the Vietnam war, apartheid, nuclear weapons, etc.


  1. What makes the communist party membership attract SIS attention but not the Business Round Table membership?

    (No prizes for correct answers.)

  2. The closest things to people smuggling I’m aware of in Aotearoa are
    1. the Asian working girls who come in on student or tourist visas and have their passports sequestered by brothel operators
    2. the orchard and farm workers who have their passports sequestered and are exploited by Tory voting landowners, and
    3. the waiting staff who I came across working in several top Auckland restaurants, who were crowded into flats, underpaid and had their passports held by gastronomic entrepreneurs.

    I doubt if the SIS or GCSB has ever investigated any of these. Dismantle them.

  3. I think New Zealanders need to get out more .
    The GCSB thing , along with most other sinister storms rippling our tea cups has got secret agendas and higher callings and they’re not domestic .
    We live on a land area about the size of the UK but there are only about 4 million of us so it’s clearly not about us per se . It’s about them . And it’s about what ‘ they ‘ want . And it’s about how ‘ they ‘ will get it .
    It’s my humble view that ‘ they ‘ are corporate interests and having shit in their own nests now need fresh nests to shit in . After having created a swamp of human misery out of the deadly psychology of retailing money they’re now looking for somewhere to sit back and watch their handy work play out . War , famine and societal madness are to name a few . What better place in the world to do that from than New Zealand ? I was in Queenstown recently and watched as one corporate jet after another landed and took off . Who was on those jets ? Seriously , who was on them ? What hyper riche , big , flash person was here ? And , most importantly …why ? I can imagine the outrage if a boat load of starving refugees floated up Milford Sound but who the fuck is able to fly here with God only knows what psychopathic agenda and with the power to implement that agenda . A boat person refugee might eat a Kiwi . Or God forbid , a Takahe with a Fan Tail chaser but who flies into our country under the cover of secrecy ? And why all this secrecy ? Jonky’s absurd WoMD thing . And drugs ! For Gods sake ! When’s that little shit started caring about the people he’s happily selling out ? As for people smuggling . His social tinkering is seeing him effectively exporting our best to Australia . Is that people smuggling 21 century style ?
    We’re being colonized and the colonists are ten steps ahead of us in my humble opinion . We Kiwis need to put our foot down immediately !

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