The Greens have welcomed the announcement of an Inspector-General inquiry into allegations of improriety by the SIS but believe it will not be wide-ranging enough.
“The allegations made against the SIS have raised very troubling questions about the actions of our intelligence services,” Green Defence and Disarmament Spokesperson Keith Locke said. “New Zealanders deserve comprehensive answers to those questions, and this inquiry will be too narrow to provide them.
“New Zealanders won’t be able to have confidence in the SIS if all we get is the Inspector General taking a look when, to date, the person in that role has failed miserably in performing its watchdog role.
“We recognise that we have a new Inspector-General, Mr Paul Neazor, but we believe a broader inquiry should be conducted by a group of people not so closely tied to the existing monitoring system.
“What we need is a more holistic commission of inquiry engaging in a comprehensive assessment of the SIS in the way that the Powles Inquiry did in the 1970s.
“It should go beyond the particular allegations made in relation to spying on Maori groups, to look at what categories of people the SIS is targeting, and whether they include people involved in dissent and protest against government policy. It should also look, like similar inquiries overseas have, at the adequacy of mechanisms for monitoring our intelligence services and whether those services are properly accountable to the people.”
“I disagree with the Prime Minister when she says the Inspector-General’s inquiry will be analagous to a full Commission of Inquiry because it won’t enable a full range of public submissions and hearings that any commission of inquiry should involve.”