Intelligence and Security Act review to be brought forward

5:00 pm on 24 May 2021

The law governing the country's spy agencies will be independently reviewed more than a year earlier than expected.

Andrew Little

Lead Co-ordination Minister for the Government's Response Andrew Little says any changes to the Act, from the review, will go through a Select Committee process. Photo: RNZ / Dom Thomas

A law change is under way to fast-track the independent statutory review of the Intelligence and Security Act 2017.

The review was scheduled to start after September 2022 as a result of the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the terrorist attack on Christchurch's masjidain (mosques) report.

Reviewing all counter-terror legislation was one of the 44 recommendations made by the Royal Commission's report.

The law change would mean the review could start after 1 July this year, Minister Andrew Little, who is leading co-ordination for the government's response, said.

"The independent statutory review will consider current threats to national security and whether the legislation can be improved to ensure it continues to be clear and effective, as well as considering issues with the Act that were raised by the Royal Commission," Little said in a statement.

"Families of the shuhada [martyrs] and the wider public will have the opportunity to express their views on issues related to national security and the matters raised by the Royal Commission about the legislation."

Any changes to the law that result from the review would go through the Select Committee process, Little said.

The review would be conducted by two independent reviewers appointed by the prime minister.

The Ministry of Justice will be responsible for supporting the review.

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