The appointment, functions, duties and powers of the Inspector-General are set out in Part 6 of the Intelligence and Security Act 2017. The Inspector-General also has functions under the Outer Space and High-altitude Activities Act 2017, the Protected Disclosures Act 2000, and the Privacy Act 1993. The Telecommunications (Interception Capability and Security) Act 2013 is also relevant to intelligence activities.
The Intelligence and Security Act came about following the government's response to the First Independent Review of Intelligence and Security in New Zealand, conducted by Hon Sir Michael Cullen and Dame Patsy Reddy. The Review produced the report Intelligence and Security in a Free Society.
The Inspector-General participated in the Review and made submissions to the Select Committee about the bill that became the Intelligence and Security Act.
The Intelligence and Security Act replaced four pieces of legislation.