About

The Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security

The Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security is a statutory officer appointed under the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security Act 1996 (external link) to provide oversight of the activities of the New Zealand Security Intelligence Service (NZSIS) and the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB).

The Inspector-General’s role is to assist the Minister in charge of the NZSIS and the Minister responsible for the GCSB, presently the Hon Christopher Finlayson QC, to ensure those bodies act lawfully and with propriety, and to provide an independent determination of complaints about their conduct. The Inspector-General also reviews those bodies' compliance procedures and systems. The Inspector-General’s precise functions are stated in section 11 of the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security Act 1996.

The present Inspector-General is Cheryl Gwyn. The office, which previously was very small, has recently expanded to include Deputy Inspector-General, Ben Keith, and extra investigating staff. The increase in staff reflects the expanded responsibilities of the Inspector-General under the 2013 legislative amendments to the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security Act, particularly new review, audit, inquiry and compliance certification functions. 

A statutory advisory panel consisting of two members has been established to provide advice to the Inspector-General.  

The Inspector-General conducts inquiries into matters of concern, including individual complaints about the NZSIS or GCSB. At the conclusion of an inquiry, the Inspector-General reports to the Minister responsible for each agency and not to Parliament but, where the Prime Minister concurs, she may report either generally or in respect of any particular matter to the Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament. The Inspector-General’s written report states her conclusions and, if necessary, recommendations for remedial or preventative measures to be taken by the agency concerned. Her report is provided to the Minister and the appropriate Chief Executive.

Those reports, excluding classified or sensitive information, can be found in the Publications section.

The Inspector-General makes a report each year after 30 June to the Minister. The information it contains is specified in section 27 of the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security Act 1996. A copy of that report, excluding classified or sensitive information, is presented to Parliament, and placed on the reports section of this website. A copy, without deletions, must be given to the Leader of the Opposition.

Details on how to make a complaint to the Inspector-General can be found in the Complaints section.

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