NZSIS welcomes Inspector-General’s warrants report

Thursday 13 December 2018

The New Zealand Security Intelligence Service (NZSIS) welcomes the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security’s report relating to applications for intelligence warrants under the Intelligence and Security Act 2017.

Director-General of Security, Rebecca Kitteridge, said NZSIS is committed to working with the Inspector-General and has responded to the questions and issues she has raised around warrant applications.

"The NZSIS gathers security intelligence to help protect New Zealand and New Zealanders in line with the law and the intelligence priorities set by the Government," Ms Kitteridge said.

The Intelligence and Security Act sets out a process that intelligence and security agencies must follow to seek a warrant to gather intelligence.

The Intelligence and Security Act 2017 is a relatively new piece of legislation and both NZSIS and the Inspector-General are still working to refine the requirements for warrant applications. As the report states:

"This is a normal process: statutory interpretation and implementation develop over many years."

Warrant applications set out in detail the reasons for gathering intelligence and activities the NZSIS proposes to carry out to gather intelligence. In the second half of this year applications have averaged 33 pages in length.

"The Inspector-General has provided useful guidance on what type of detail and analysis she wants to see in particular sections of our applications, which we have responded to and implemented," said Ms Kitteridge.

"As the Inspector-General has pointed out, the past year has seen heavy workloads to fully implement the Intelligence and Security Act and develop the supporting policies, procedures, training and legal interpretations," Ms Kitteridge said. "This work is now largely complete."

"I am pleased the report notes that since the period covered by the report, the Service has markedly shifted its approach to warrant applications and these changes go a long way toward meeting the concerns the Inspector-General has raised," Ms Kitteridge said.

A copy of the report titled: Warrants issued under the Intelligence and Security Act is available on the Inspector-General’s website here.