Who we are?
NZSIS is a public service agency that contributes to New Zealand's safety and security.
Staff come from a wide cross-section of New Zealand society and perform a variety of roles. They include intelligence officers, analysts, linguists, technology experts and support staff. NZSIS headquarters is based in Wellington with regional offices in Auckland and Christchurch, and some staff based overseas.
What we do?
NZSIS contribute to:
- The protection of New Zealand's national security
- The international relations and well-being of New Zealand
- The economic well-being of New Zealand.
NZSIS do this by:
- Collecting and analysing intelligence in accordance with the Government's priorities
- Providing protective security services, advice and assistance to the New Zealand Government and others
- Assisting the Government Communications Security Bureau, New Zealand Defence Force and New Zealand Police to discharge their functions.
Rebecca Kitteridge is the current Director-General of the NZSIS. She has held this position since May 2014. The Director-General reports to the Minister in charge of the NZSIS, the Attorney-General, Hon Christopher Finlayson.
A politically neutral organisation
NZSIS is politically neutral. Our governing legislation, the Intelligence and Security Act 2017, explicitly states that activities will not be carried out for the purpose of promoting or harming the interests of any political party or candidate). Intelligence and Security Act 2017 also requires the Director-General of NZSIS to consult regularly with the Leader of the Opposition to keep them informed about security matters.
The Director-General reports to a committee of Parliamentarians known as the Intelligence and Security Committee. Both Government and Opposition parties are represented on this body, whose membership is endorsed by Parliament.
In March 2016, Sir Michael Cullen and Dame Patsy Reddy presented the First Independent Review of Intelligence and Security to Parliament. The review focused on the legislative framework governing the agencies and their oversight regime.
Their central conclusion was that there should be a single, integrated and comprehensive Act clearly setting out how and why the agencies are constituted; how their intelligence and security activities are authorised; and their oversight.
In light of growing complexity and sophistication of security threats, there was also an increasing need for intelligence and security agencies to work together and pool their expertise.
The Intelligence and Security Act 2017
On 28 March 2017 the Intelligence and Security Act 2017 gained Royal Accent. On 1 April 2017, the first provisions under the Act took effect. On 28 September 2017 further provision under the Act came into force.
As recommended by the Reviewers, the overarching purpose of the Intelligence and Security Act 2017 is to protect New Zealand as a free, open and democratic society.
The Act puts in place a single legislative regime for the GCSB and the NZSIS, providing a single purpose and shared objectives and functions.
The Act allows the intelligence and security agencies to act as necessary to protect New Zealand and New Zealand interests, with appropriate limitations and robust oversight applying across all the agencies’ activities.
Fact Sheets and case studies describing different parts of the Act can be found on the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet website. Note page name will change today 27/9 to act instead of bill.
Ministerial Policy Statements
The Intelligence and Security Act 2017 requires that the Minister responsible for the intelligence and security agencies issue Ministerial Policy Statements in relation to the lawful activities of the agencies that set out any:
- procedures of an intelligence and security agency for authorising the carrying out of an activity relating to a matter
- protections that need to be in place in relation to the matter
- restrictions in relation to the matter
Each Ministerial Policy Statement sets out guiding principles that NZSIS must apply when planning and carrying out these activities and identifies internal policies, procedures, consultation and training requirements in relation to each activity.
Ministerial Policy Statements are published on the New Zealand Intelligence Community website