A bill setting up a new legal framework for the Government Communications Security Bureau has completed its first hurdle and been sent to the specialist security committee for a two month consideration period.
The bill follows the discovery that the GCSB had been illegally spying on New Zealanders at the request of other agencies.
After moving into Urgency, the Government Communications Security Bureau and Related Legislation Amendment Bill was introduced and given its first reading.
Justice Minister Judith Collins said the bill was necessary to clarify and create a legal framework around the GCSB’s ability to monitor and intercept the communications of New Zealand residents.
The bill would also create an oversight regime which would create protections to protect people’s rights, she said.
Labour Leader David Shearer said the bill would be opposed as National had created a Band-Aid solution which raised significant concerns around privacy and rights. National had not attempted to build a political consensus around the issue and appeared to be treating the Intelligence and Security Committee and its members with contempt.
Shearer said there needed to be an inquiry to rebuild public confidence in the intelligence sector and to build a political consensus.
NZ First Leader Winston Peters said there was a role for the GCSB to monitor some New Zealanders to protect other New Zealanders.
“Terrorism can be home grown’’
However Peter said the current bill was far too loose and needed more safeguards and clarifications and without changes NZ First would not be supporting it.
The bill completed its first reading by 61 to 59 with National, ACT and United Future in favour
After a further lengthy debate it was sent to the Intelligence and Security Committee for consideration with a report back date of July 26 by 61 to 57.
MPs began the first reading of the Telecommunications (Interception Capability and Security) Bill.
The bill completed its first reading by 71 to 48 with National, NZ First, Maori Party, ACT and United Future in favour.
The bill was sent to the Law and Order Committee with a report back date of September 20.
The House rose at 10pm interrupting the second reading of the Criminal Procedure Legislation Bill.
The House will resume tomorrow at 9am under Urgency.
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