The Changing New Zealand National Security Environment: New Threats, New Structures, and New Research

Author: Hoverd, W.J.
Published in National Security Journal, Volume 1, Issue 1, October 2019

its intelligence capabilities (from the fishing space) to better understand the issues around Mycoplasma bovis and agriculture in general. It seems that this development of intelli­gence capabilities is occurring across Government. In addition to the long standing in­telligence functions of New Zealand Police and the NZDF, these functions exist across a wide range of government agencies, New Zealand Transport,54 Department of Cor­rections,55 NZ Customs,56 Ministry of Primary Industries57 and Ministry of Business Innovation and Enterprise.58 Given a strong recent focus on oversight and transparency of our intelligence agencies,59 one would hope that these disparate intelligence units would also be subject to similar accountability and standards of good conduct mea­sures. This leads us now to our next section, the discussion of structural changes in the New Zealand national security sector.

The National Security System

In 2016, the Cullen Reddy Report argued for substantial changes to occur around the legislation pertaining to New Zealand’s Intelligence Agencies.60 This led to the Intelli­gence and Security Act 201761 replacing four Acts governing these agencies,62 and now this one Act covers the roles, functions and responsibilities of the NZSIS and the GCSB. The stated intention of the Act is to both empower these agencies to protect New Zea­land, but also to provide a mechanism to reassure the New Zealand public that their ac­tions are lawful. The office of the Inspector General of Intelligence and Security (IGIS) ensures that these actions are conducted lawfully and properly.63 The Act ensures that functions are shared across both agencies and suggests that cooperative mechanisms for coordination with New Zealand Police and the NZDF are properly facilitated. That being said, it has been recently argued that New Zealanders still have little idea of the nature of surveillance that is now possible under the Act.64

Clearly, the role of intelligence sharing and cooperation mechanisms is essential to the national security functions of government. We might ask the question is the term ‘na­tional security’ simply a synonym for intelligence coordination? To some extent this is an unfair claim, but when we stop to consider that at the strategic level of government all decisions need to be informed by, integrate and utilise all the intelligence available then we need to acknowledge that it is impossible to separate national security policy and decisions from its intelligence function. We should think about these functions as providing national security coordination by integrating and using intelligence led decisions and policy.

In terms of DPMC’s responsibility for national security, they published the National Security System Handbook in 2016, which details the various functions of government that are activated in response to particular security concerns.65 The document has be­come a key text of focus for those researching national security in New Zealand.66 The challenge that such a document has is – keeping up-to-date, and already the National Security System Handbook does require updating. It needs to reflect that two groups