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Better balance needed in Intelligence Bill

Labour will support the NZ Intelligence and Security Bill to select committee so the issues can be debated nationwide and important amendments can be made, says Opposition Leader Andrew Little.

“The legislation controlling the work and scope of New Zealand’s Intelligence and Security agencies needs to be updated so they can adapt to a rapidly changing environment and new challenges. However this must be balanced with the privacy and rights of all New Zealanders.

“The Cullen Reddy Review showed that amending legislation is necessary. While we will support the Bill at first reading, it does not get the balance quite right. I have confidence changes can be made at select committee which is why Labour will support the Bill at first reading.

“There are concerns in the Bill that Labour wants to see addressed. The definition of National Security must be amended at Select Committee following a national debate. At present the definition is too broad and must be narrowed down to actual threats to security and government.

“It is also concerning that the legislation appears to have ignored a number of the protections for personal information suggested by the Cullen Reddy Review. These are vital and must be a part of the legislation. In today’s world it is too easy to ignore privacy concerns and we have seen what happens in the past when protections aren’t clear.

“Labour is supporting the Bill through its first reading in good faith that these changes can be made. These will result in a better piece of law that gets the balance between security and privacy right,” says Andrew Little.