Green Party MP Keith Locke has welcomed the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security’s recommendations to stop the New Zealand Security Intelligence Service (SIS) spying on Members of Parliament.
The Inspector-General, retired High Court Justice Paul Neazor, today released a report brought about by Mr Locke requesting his own file from the (SIS) by using the Privacy Act.
Mr Locke discovered upon receiving his SIS files that as well as having been snooped on by agents of the SIS since he was a teenager – his own personal file had been updated even after he became an MP.
“I’m glad that SIS files on sitting MPs will be closed down. MPs must be free to criticise the government of the day without being viewed as a security risk, as was the case with me,” said Mr Locke.
“The Green Party is happy to engage with SIS Director Warren Tucker and the Speaker, Dr Lockwood Smith, over what to do if an exceptional security situation arises in relation to a particular MP.
“We believe that no MP should be immune from investigation when there are genuine suspicions they are involved in criminal activity. But we see these as generally Police matters, with the SIS able to use its resources to assist the Police.
“I am glad there will also be a rule to stop the SIS recording what MPs might say to constituents, as happened in my case.
“Like lawyers, MPs should have a degree of privilege when dealing with their clients. Otherwise an MPs ‘troubleshooting’ role is severely undermined.
“The suggested procedures to review and cull SIS Personal Files are certainly welcome. However, we still need a broader inquiry to learn from past mistakes, including why the SIS opened so many files on legitimate dissenters, who presented no threat to the people of New Zealand. In fact, they were often our nation’s moral conscience.
“We must make sure the SIS no longer spies on people whose only crime is to speak out against what governments do in their name.”
Links to earlier press releases from Keith Locke regarding the SIS snooping on his life: