Review progress reports

Review of the Intelligence and Security Act 2017: Progress Report No 1

1 August 2022


On 2 March 2022, the Prime Minister notified in the Gazette the appointment of Honourable Sir Terence Arnold KNZM, and Matanuku Mahuika to carry out the Review of the Intelligence and Security Act 2017, and the appointment of Dr Penelope Ridings MNZM as a special advisor to the Review. The Terms of Reference for the Review.

New Zealand Gazette notice for the 2022 Review of the Intelligence and Security Act (external link)

In the lead up and following the notification of the Reviewers and Terms of Reference, the Review secured premises, and established the secretariat team from the Ministry of Justice. Because a large amount of the material is classified, considerable effort was required to enable the Review to meet the Government’s Protective Security Requirements for the handling of classified information. This included obtaining clearances for personnel and access to suitable secure premises.

Understanding the issues

The Reviewers have made good progress on understanding how the Act works and the nature and extent of perceived problems with it from a range of perspectives. In particular:

  • They have engaged with the intelligence and security agencies, current and former members of the agencies’ oversight bodies, other government departments, and Crown entities.
  • They have undertaken targeted engagement with various Māori, faith-based and other interest groups, entities subject to specific rules and requirements under the Act (eg, banks and telecommunications companies), academics, legal and technical experts, Kāpuia (the Ministerial Advisory Group on the Government Response to the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the terrorist attack on Christchurch masjidain on 15 March 2019), and people familiar with security and intelligence structures in relevant overseas jurisdictions.

They have sought face-to-face and written feedback on whether the Act is achieving its intended purposes and whether it presents any difficulties from stakeholders’ perspectives and have received much valuable feedback. In addition, the Reviewers have conducted their own extensive research into key issues identified in the Terms of Reference, which has assisted both their understanding of the issues and awareness of possible solutions.

Public engagement

The next major step for the Review is to consult with the public to inform the Reviewers’ thinking. Participants are encouraged to fill in a survey, which focuses on three topics:

  • Extent of Agencies’ Powers
  • Limits and Controls on the Agencies
  • Public Participation

There is also the opportunity to provide other feedback. A short video(external link) (te reo version here(external link)) and written background material are provided to help participants learn more about the Review.

Public engagement is scheduled to take place over August and September.

Report due date

The Report on the Review of the Act will be delivered to the parliamentary Intelligence and Security Committee by 20 December 2022.

The Reviewers were originally scheduled to deliver their Report by 30 September 2022.

The Reviewers requested an extension as they need more time to meet community expectations of transparency as far as possible and wanted to give a wide range of members of the public the opportunity to express their views on issues relating to the Review. The matters being considered are complex and COVID-19 has had, and continues to have, a significant impact on the progress of the Review.

Changing the report back date required the Prime Minister to consult the parliamentary Intelligence and Security Committee. The Intelligence and Security Act requires the Prime Minister to consult this statutory committee made up of members of Parliament on the Terms of Reference and conclusion date of the Review.

New Zealand Gazette notice for the amendment to the Terms of Reference for the Review to change the date the Report is due to be delivered(external link)