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Source: New Zealand Parliament – Hansard


First Reading

Hon ANDREW LITTLE (Minister responsible for the GCSB) on behalf of the Minister for National Security and Intelligence: I present a legislative statement on the Intelligence and Security (Review) Amendment Bill.

SPEAKER: That legislative statement is published under the authority of the House and can be found on the Parliament website.

Hon ANDREW LITTLE: I move that the Intelligence and Security (Review)—

SPEAKER: Order! Order! I think the Minister is moving on behalf of another Minister and therefore should say so.

Hon ANDREW LITTLE: On behalf of the Minister for National Security and Intelligence, I move, That the Intelligence and Security (Review) Amendment Bill be now read a first time. I nominate that the bill be referred to the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee for consideration, and at the appropriate time, I will move that the bill be reported to the House by 17 June 2021 and that the committee have authority to meet at any time while the House is sitting (except during oral questions), during any evening on a day on which there has been a sitting of the House, and on a Friday in a week in which there has been a sitting of the House and outside the Wellington area, despite Standing Orders 193, 195, and 196(1)(b) and (c).

The call for this change to this bill, which is really just changing a date in the bill, arose out of the report of the royal commission of inquiry into the attack on the mosques in Christchurch on 15 March 2019. The nation was horrified by that act. It was very much a threshold event for this country in understanding what threats we face and what we need to properly deal with and counter those particular threats, especially the threats of terrorism and specifically white identity violent extremism.

The inquiry, in its very wide-ranging approach, looked at a number of things, examined closely the Government agencies responsible for security and, indeed, intelligence. It looked at our security and intelligence agencies, looked at the Police, and considered the Intelligence and Security Act, and it considered that there are some gaps in the current legislation. It looked at the current legislation, that calls for periodic reviews of both the agencies and the legislation, and it suggested that reviews be taken of legislation immediately. I think recommendation 18 calls for a review of all legislation relating to counter-terrorism and asks for that to be taken straight away.

So this is very much in response to that, to the royal commission. The royal commission of inquiry delivered its report at the end of last year, the Government has accepted all of the recommendations in principle—there were 44 recommendations—and, therefore, we want to come on and bring on the review of the legislation, and, indeed, eventually of the agencies in due course.

It’s interesting, also, that other recommendations related to the need to look at specific parts of our intelligence and security apparatus and to make sure that the correct powers that are needed and the correct arrangements between different Government agencies, including our security and intelligence agencies, are also put in place. So this bill simply brings forward, under, currently, section 235, the provision for that review, which currently would require it to happen no earlier than September next year or October next year, and brings it forward so that we can commence it, effectively, from July this year. So that’s what it does.

I’ve also foreshadowed that I will be moving that the House approves a truncated select committee process. This particular bill does nothing more than shift a date. It doesn’t deal with issues of substance, and I think for members of the public who wanted to make sure they have a chance to play their part in the examination of this very important piece of legislation, they will have the opportunity to do that, but the select committee can make sure that by making this change now and setting ourselves up to be able to bring forward the review that otherwise would take place, nothing is being missed, and we can hear from those people with a particular interest.

But I think it would be important for members of the public—indeed, members of the House—to know that the opportunity to participate in and submit on substantive issues to do with the content of the current legislation, and other issues to deal with our intelligence and security apparatus, will arise both during the course of the review, because there will have to be a public element of it, but also in any substantive amending legislation.

So, on that basis, it is a simple and somewhat technical change to the legislation to do a quite simple thing and enable us to get on, to pay respect to the work of the royal commission of inquiry into the mosque attack, to pay respect to the victims, to the shuhada, of that attack, and to continue to do the work that I know that every member of this House supports, which is the proper role of every MP, every public official: to strive to ensure the greatest possible security of all New Zealanders in this country of ours. On that basis, I commend the bill to the House.

ASSISTANT SPEAKER (Hon Jenny Salesa): The question is that the motion be agreed to.