9 Apr 2013

Woman arrested in raids suspects illegal spying

10:00 pm on 9 April 2013

A woman arrested during the 2007 Urewera raids says she thinks she may be one of the people illegally spied upon by the Government's spy agency.

A report into spying by the Government Communications Security Bureau over the past decade has called into question the legality of 55 cases involving 88 people.

The agency is prohibited from spying on New Zealand citizens or permanent resident but the review, made public on Tuesday, found there was a misguided belief that rule didn't apply when the GCSB was assisting other domestic agencies.

Valerie Morse was one of 18 people originally charged after a police operation into what officers believed was suspicious activity in the Urewera ranges in the North Island.

The case against 13 of the group was dropped after the Supreme Court ruled that evidence had been collected illegally, and the jury was hung on the key charge against four people who did stand trial in 2012.

Ms Morse filed a Privacy Act request with GCSB on Tuesday asking if she is one of the scores of people it may have illegally spied on.

"We'll I would say that out of all of the cases over the last few years, there are few that have as high a profile as the Urewera raids case did.

"So it certainly seems well within the realm of possibility that the GCSB was involved in that case."

Ms Morse is American but was born in New Zealand and has dual citizenship.