Committee won't call GCSB

Last updated 15:16 04/07/2013
jacqui dean
MP JACQUI DEAN: "We will not be seeing the GCSB appear."

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The country’s spy agency will not be asked to explain why it needs new powers to compel telecommunications firms to do its bidding.

Labour had hoped to question the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) on why it needed changes proposed in the Telecommunications (Interception Capability and Security) Bill.

These would oblige traditional network operators to ensure their networks were capable of being lawfully intercepted and to follow the spy agency's directions on network security.

But law and order select committee chairwoman Jacqui Dean said the bureau would not be called to give oral evidence.

Labour MP Phil Goff and the party's communications spokeswoman, Clare Curran, discussed hauling in the bureau after becoming frustrated during committee hearings last month, when they failed to get answers from Chorus, Telecom and Vodafone on the nature or extent of surveillance orders.

The committee had been provided with an initial briefing, two regulatory impact statements, "plus some other advice", which gave a "pretty a full picture around the context of the need to update the provisions in the Telecommunications Act," Dean said.

"We will not be seeing the GCSB appear."

Hearings on the bill will resume next week after being postponed yesterday.

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