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Key brushes off Labour's spy review call

Monday 8 Apr 2013 7:47 a.m.

Prime Minister John Key

Prime Minister John Key

Prime Minister John Key has brushed off Labour's call for an independent review of New Zealand's intelligence agencies.

Labour leader David Shearer said on Sunday a review was needed to restore public confidence following the illegal spying scandal and controversy over the appointment of Ian Fletcher as director of the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB).

"The standing of our intelligence agencies has taken a battering over the last 18 months," he said.

"New Zealand has never conducted an independent review of its intelligence services, but they are not unheard of overseas - Australia has held two such exercises in the last 10 years."

Mr Key, who has previously rejected demands for an inquiry into Mr Fletcher's appointment, says Labour will be free to hold a review if it wins the next election.

After the GCSB admitted it had illegally spied on internet tycoon Kim Dotcom, Mr Key seconded cabinet secretary Rebecca Kitteridge to the GCSB so she could find out why it happened.

He has received her report and is expected to release it next week.

"I think when you see Rebecca Kitteridge's report you'll see that there's clearly the need for change, and we'll be in a position to talk about that when we get back to New Zealand," he told reporters in Guangzhou on Monday during his visit to China.

Mr Key has previously said the report recommends significant changes within the GCSB.

New Zealand's other intelligence agency is the Security Intelligence Service, which hasn't been involved in any recent controversies.

NZN

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