Greens on the Intelligence and Security Committee

Stuff reports:

Labour leader is prematurely muscling in on John Key’s job by trying to oust him as chair of the  and Security Committee (ISC).

Little takes issue with the Prime Minister, or any minister with responsibility for spy agencies, being chair of the select committee.

“In other jurisdictions – I’ve looked at the UK – they have allowed a senior opposition MP to chair the committee.”

I think Little is talking nonsense. The UK Committee‘s last seven Chairs have all been Government MPs.

In Australia the chair is a Government MP. In the the US the majority party in Congress provides the chair. In Canada the chair is a Government MP.

Little is also calling for the committee to be increased to nine members to allow both the and NZ First to be represented while still providing the Government with majority representation.

Key isn’t opposed to increasing the size of committee but says the Greens have a “deep aversion and suspicion of the (spy) agencies” and he doesn’t think that’s a “constructive” view to bring to the table. …

“The question for the Labour Party if they want to put the Greens on the committee, is do the Greens actually believe the agencies?

“Because if you’re just philosophically opposed that’s a legitimate position for a political party to hold but you’re not a very constructive member of the ISC,” Key said.

The Greens are opposed to us having any specialist intelligence agencies. With such a view it is hard to see how they can be constructive about how best to oversee them. It’s like appointing pro-choice activists to the Abortion Supervisory Cmte. They would have no interest in supervising – just closing down.

The Greens policy is:

  • we will abolish the GCSB and close its two signals intelligence bases at Waihopai and Tangimoana immediately.
  • we would therefore institute a select committee enquiry into whether the SIS should be abolished
  • will review the functions and need for the Domestic and External Security Secretariat and the National Assessments Bureau.

So they definitely want to abolish one of the intelligence agencies and seem very keen to abolish all the others.

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