Review progress reports

Review of the Intelligence and Security Act 2017: Progress Report No 3

25 November 2022

Public engagement

Public engagement has ended for the Review of the Intelligence and Security Act 2017 (the Act).

We received 119 completed submissions from the online survey, and 22 written submissions. The responses provided valuable insight into peoples’ views on the Act, perceived issues with the Act and possible legislative solutions. You can find out more about the public engagement process and read a summary of the findings from the public engagement survey by reading the ISA review's Public Engagement Report [PDF, 323 KB].

During the engagement period (and over early October) we continued to meet with key organisations and individuals to discuss issues in depth. This includes the following meetings:

  • Teleconference with public officials working in an Australian intelligence and security oversight institution (the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security and the Deputy Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security).
  • Meetings with 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), faith-based groups, National Iwi Chairs Forum and government agencies including DPMC (the National Assessments Bureau) and the New Zealand Police.
  • Meetings with key public officials such as the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security (IGIS), a Commissioner of Intelligence Warrants, the Chief Commissioner of the Human Rights Commission and the Deputy Chief Executive of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet to discuss our thinking and/or understand their views of the Act.
  • Ongoing meetings with the New Zealand Security and Intelligence Service (NZSIS) and Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB), including with the Directors-General.
  • Members of the ISA Review secretariat also held workshops with Government agencies to help us better determine how the Act may best enable the intelligence and security agencies to appropriately and effectively cooperate and share information with New Zealand government agencies.

Writing the Report

The Reviewers and Special Advisor are now focused on writing the Report on the Review of the Act. The Report will address the Terms of Reference for the Review. Particular topics being pursued are the authorisation framework, transparency and democratic oversight, and the sharing, use and retention of information.

 

 

Review of the Intelligence and Security Act 2017: Progress Report No 2

1 September 2022

Public engagement

The Review is one month into public engagement for the Review of the Intelligence and Security Act 2017 (the Act).

The timeframe for the Review, and the impact of COVID-19 on the work of the Review Team, has influenced the public engagement process. Although the Review Team is endeavouring to meet in person with as many people as possible, it has also held virtual meetings and is asking people to provide their views in writing.

We are grateful to those who have met with us, completed the online survey, or emailed through submissions about whether the Act continues to be effective, clear and fit for purpose. This input has provided valuable insights into issues with the Act and will help to inform the final report.

If you have not yet participated and would like to, you have until 30 September 2022. You can go straight to the public engagement site for more information about how to have your say here.


Targeted meetings

The Review Team continues to meet with key organisations and individuals to discuss issues in depth. This includes the following meetings:

  • Teleconferences with public officials working in intelligence and security oversight institutions in the United Kingdom (Investigatory Powers Commissioner’s Office) and Canada (National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians). The Secretariat also met with an Australian delegation to New Zealand working on Australia’s electronic surveillance reform.
  • Federation of Islamic Associations of New Zealand hosted a dialogue with the Review Team and members of Muslim communities. Topics ranged from principles underpinning the Act to Muslim communities’ lived experiences in Aotearoa New Zealand before and after the terrorist attack on Christchurch masjidain on 15 March 2019.
  • Massey University hosted an academic roundtable with attendees from Massey and the Universities of Otago, Canterbury, Waikato and Auckland. The focus of the discussions was the effectiveness of control and oversight mechanism in the Act, public participation and issues of coherence and coordination.
  • Ongoing meetings with the New Zealand Security and Intelligence Service (NZSIS) and Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB).
  • Meetings with key public officials such as the Minister Responsible for the GCSB and NZSIS, the Auditor-General, and a former Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security (IGIS) to understand their views of the Act.
  • Observing the operation of the Intelligence and Security Committee established under subpart 2 of Part 6 to the Act.

 

 

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

1 August 2022

Establishment

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)