SIS Minister Andrew Little refuses to deny signing off on embassy break-ins

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The minister in charge of New Zealand’s spy agencies, Andrew Little, is refusing to deny he has signed off on embassy break-ins.

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SIS and GCSB Minister Andrew Little Photo: RNZ / Rebekah Parsons-King

RNZ podcast The Service revealed today that New Zealand’s security intelligence agency, the SIS, carried out multiple clandestine raids, breaking into foreign embassies in Wellington in the latter part of the 1980s.

Asked if the practice had ceased, Little said he could not comment on “operational methods”.

“Most New Zealanders expect in a country like ours – that’s interacting with the rest of the world, that has a set of interests that needs to be protected – they want our agencies focused on national security and those interests.”

Asked if he was comfortable with embassy break-ins, he said, “I’m comfortable that we have intelligence agencies that do a very good job of protecting national security.”

Little, who is responsible for the SIS and GCSB, said New Zealand now had a “much more rigorous oversight regime” than was in place in the 1980s.

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He said security agencies operated within the law, which included international law that was incorporated into domestic law.

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Photo: RNZ / Claire Eastham-Farrelly

Helen Clark has also refused to rule out having signed off foreign embassy break-ins during her tenure as prime minister between 1999 and 2008, when she was also minister in charge of the intelligence agencies.

In an interview for The Service podcast, she twice said she could not comment on whether she had been asked to sign off on embassy raids.

Asked a third time, Clark said she could “neither confirm nor deny”.

The Service:

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