If National was actually interested in protecting New Zealanders’ rights it would start by ditching the bill
National seems confused between talking about the right to privacy and actually upholding that right in its changes to the GCSB spy bill, Green Party Co-leader Dr Russel Norman said today.
The Government Communications Security Bureau and Related Legislation Amendment Bill was reported back with changes this afternoon. National has added a series of principles to the bill including that the GCSB should uphold New Zealanders’ rights.
“Pretty words about rights in the latest version of the National Government’s spy bill don’t change the ugly reality that the bill will result in less privacy and greater intrusion into the lives of New Zealanders,” Dr Norman said.
“The addition to the GCSB bill of a principle saying that the bureau should uphold New Zealanders rights jars with the fact that the bill cuts into our right to privacy.
“If National was actually interested in protecting New Zealanders’ rights it would start by ditching the bill which transforms the GCSB from a foreign intelligence collecting agency to one that both engages in foreign intelligence and spies on New Zealanders.
“The amended bill also adds an advisory panel to assist the Inspector General of Intelligence and Security. Once again, this is more window dressing.
“The Inspector General and the advisory panel are both appointed by the Prime Minister, and regardless, the oversight the Inspector General provides will be in line with the law which will grant the GCSB new and extensive powers to spy on New Zealanders.
“More oversight to monitor how our privacy is legally trashed cannot stop it happening.
“There will be further changes when the detail of the deal National made to get Peter Dunne’s support is released but those alterations will be more of the same; more talk about privacy and protections in a bill that gives spies significant powers to pry into our every communication.
“The Green Party’s minority view, incorporated in the commentary on the amended bill, has called for the bill to be put on hold while a thorough independent inquiry is held into our spy agencies.
“A law change should be the last step in the process, not the first,” Dr Norman said.