23 Apr 2014

Overseer of spy operations appointed

5:36 pm on 23 April 2014

The new overseer of New Zealand's spy operations has been named.

Cheryl Gwyn will take over as Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security from Andrew McGeachan on 5 May.

Cheryl Gwyn.

Cheryl Gwyn. Photo: Crown Law

Ms Gwyn is the Deputy Solicitor-General at Crown Law and a former Deputy Secretary for Justice. She has also been a partner at two law firms.

The Inspector-General is tasked with ensuring that the Security Intelligence Service and the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) comply with the law and that any complaints are investigated independently.

Prime Minister John Key said on Wednesday the appointment was made after consultation with Parliament's Intelligence and Security Committee, as required by law.

"It's a very important role. The Inspector-General's mandate and authority has been broadened out as a result of the new legislation that we bought in with GCSB last year and I think she'll be a very welcome addition."

Mr Key said Andrew McGeachan was only ever in the role in a temporary capacity, as he didn't want to do the job long term.