The new Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security

The Herald report:

Experienced lawyer will be put in charge of monitoring New Zealand’s spying and intelligence activities, Prime Minister John Key revealed this morning.

Ms Gwyn will take over the job of to replace Andrew McGechan QC, a former High Court Judge who was appointed on an interim basis in July.

She is the deputy Solicitor-General at Crown Law, and has previously been a partner at two legal firms, Deputy Secretary for Justice, Acting Solicitor General and chief executive at Crown Law.

Her office will have a larger, more proactive role as a result of Government Communications Security Bureau reforms which passed into law last year.

The reforms increased the scope and resourcing of the oversight regime, and widened the pool of candidates for the Inspector-General role beyond former High Court judges.

The combination of Kitteridge becoming SIS Head and Gwyn becoming Inspector-General is a clear sign that the Government is very focused on ensuring the intelligence agencies act within both the letter and spirit of the law, and that there are no more stuff ups such as occurred at the GCSB.

Retired judges have tended to be not particularly pro-active as Inspector-General. I think Ms Gwyn will be a very pro-active Inspector-General – in line with her new powers.