Inquiry into Police Criminal Intelligence Service
Press Release 12 May 2000


Dr Jane Kelsey
Professor Of Law
Private Bag 92019

To: Tim Barnett, MP
Justice and Electoral Select Committee
Fax: 04 472 4143

RE: Select Committee Inquiry into Police Criminal Intelligence Service

12 May 2000

Dear Mr Barnett,

We write to urge a full and open inquiry into the role of the NZ Police Criminal Intelligence Service (CIS) with regard to its ongoing surveillance of, and collection of information on political organisations and individuals in New Zealand.

The recent Christchurch High Court case, Small v Attorney-General has reinforced a number of serious concerns about the role and mandate of the CIS and the rights of New Zealanders to freely express their political beliefs.

In that case, a Christchurch CIS detective stated that the CIS first took an interest in the activities of a senior lecturer at Canterbury University on the grounds of his authorship of articles on Pacific independence struggles in the mid-eighties. The case also illustrates the threats to civil liberties and justice of an agency such as the CIS collecting and supplying erroneous information for the Police.

The CIS monitors political activities which the police consider may involve a breach of the criminal law. The Small case confirms suspicions that the CIS has had a number of organisations and individuals engaged in legitimate political activity under surveillance. It confirms that the house of an organiser of a conference critical of the 1996 APEC Trade Ministers Meeting was not only illegally entered by the Security Intelligence Service in July 1996 but that both he and his house were under police surveillance as directed by the CIS.

The CIS appears to have granted itself a broad mandate to collect information on New Zealanders solely on the basis of their political beliefs and sympathies.

The CIS should be treated no differently from other state intelligence agencies.

In the 1996 and 1999 SIS Amendment Acts, assurances were given and changes made ostensibly to protect political freedoms and the right to dissent from SIS interference. But given that the CIS and SIS work in concert by sharing information and some operational responsibilities the assurances given in the context of the SIS Amendment legislation need to be honoured by both agencies.

We believe the actions of the CIS in the recent Small case were unacceptable.

We respectfully request the Justice and Electoral Select Committee to launch an inquiry into the role and activities of the CIS in respect of its surveillance of political organisations and individuals.

Yours sincerely,

Dr Jane Kelsey
Professor of Law
University of Auckland;
on behalf of:

New Zealand University Students Association;

Association of University Staff New Zealand Inc;

Nicky Hager, Author of "Secret Power" and "Secrets and Lies";

Maxine Gay, President, NZ Trade Union Federation;

Sukhi Turner, Mayor of Dunedin;

New Zealand Council of Trade Unions;

Darien Fenton, National Secretary of Service and Food Workers Union;

Bruce Hansen, Moderator of the Presbyterian Church;

Wolfgang Rosenberg, Former Reader in Economics, University of Canterbury;

Barry Wilson, President, Auckland Council For Civil Liberties;

Dr Prue Hyman, Associate Professor, Women's Studies, Victoria University;

Desigin Thulkanam, Education Coordinator, Victoria University of Wellington Student's Association;

John Minto, Chair of Quality Public Education Coalition;

Jill Hawkey, National Coordinator, Christian World Service;

Rev. Don Borrie, Porirua;

Dr John Klena, Lecturer in Plant and Microbial Science, Canterbury University;

Edwina Hughes Coordinator of Peace Movement Aotearoa;

Rev Dr Jim Stuart Minister of St Andrews on the Terrace, Wellington;

Hugh Price, publisher, Wellington;

Murray Horton, Organiser, CAFCA and Anti-Bases Campaign;

Leigh Cookson Coordinator, GATT Watchdog;

Canterbury Council for Civil Liberties;

Rev Keith Taylor, Aotea Chapel, Auckland