Get Smart - the Intelligence Review

The Intelligence Review is a review of New Zealand's intelligence services being conducted by Michael Cullen (ex-politician) and Patsy Reddy (lawyer and board member). The Terms of Reference (PDF) include:

  • "Whether the legislative frameworks of the intelligence and security agencies (GCSB and NZSIS) are well placed to protect New Zealand’s current and future national security, while protecting individual rights."
  • "Whether the current oversight arrangements provide sufficient safeguards at an operational, judicial and political level to ensure the GCSB and NZSIS act lawfully and maintain public confidence."

Public submissions are due on August 14th with report expect on or before 29th February.

Our view

We have serious concerns about government spying in New Zealand. We believe that government spying has the potential to seriously undermine democracy and civil society.

The extent of New Zealand's participation in the Five Eyes global spy network has shocked us, and the carefully phrased denials about mass spying on New Zealanders are not particularly comforting.

The actions of the SIS and GCSB are generally kept hidden, and what we do see leaking out shows that they often exhibit bad judgement and can't even follow their own rules.

We don't hold out much hope for the review achieving anything much. The reviewers are both "don't rock the boat" insiders and they're already indicated that they see membership of the Five Eyes spy alliance as required, even before they're done the review. We're also disappointed by the lack of substantial public consultation, with just a small window for interested people and organisation to make written submissions.

Public meetings

To help compensate for the lack of public consultation, the NZ Council for Civil Liberties is pleased to announce that we are hosting public meetings in Wellington (6pm July 29th) and Auckland (6pm August 6th).

As well as speeches come along to have your say about what should happen to the GCSB, the SIS, and New Zealand’s participation in the Five Eyes spy network.


  • Thomas Beagle - NZ Council for Civil Liberties (Wellington and Auckland)
  • Nicky Hager - Author & investigative journalist (Wellington)
  • Anna Thorby - OASIS (Wellington)
  • Maire Leadbeater - Author of Peace, Power & Politics (Auckland)
  • To be confirmed (Auckland)
  • You - everyone gets to have their say


Get Smart event poster





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