Are New Zealand secret services spying on elected parliamentarians?

Keith Locke

Keith Locke

The Green Party of New Zealand is a sizeable political coalition representing around 150,000 voters in the country’s parliament. A few days ago, it was revealed that the New Zealand Security Intelligence Service (NZSIS) has been keeping a file on an elected Green Party Parliament Member since he was 11 years old. The Parliamentarian, Keith Locke, first entered Parliament on the Green Party ticket in 1999. The reported reason for the spying is that Mr. Locke’s parents, Elsie and Jack Locke, both prominent environmentalists, were members of the Communist Party of New Zealand in the 1950s and 1960s. Interestingly, NZSIS continued to spy on Mr. Locke even after he was elected to Parliament, even as recently as 2006. His NZSIS file reportedly contains covert photographs of him and notes on “his private work with constituents”. Following the revelation about Mr. Locke’s file, NZSIS issued a statement saying it was “not actively” investigating any sitting Member of New Zealand’s Parliament. The country’s Prime Minister, John Key, who is also responsible for overseeing NZSIS, seconded the agency’s statement and speculated that “things like news clippings may have been added to [Mr. Locke’s] file” by a “slightly overzealous [NZSIS] staff member”. But the Green Party Parliamentarian has rejected the Prime Minister’s account and has demanded official assurances that his and other politicians’ files with NZSIS are now closed. Moreover, the scandal has prompted other Green Party Parliamentarians, as well as many voters, to request copies of their NZSIS files. The allegations mark the second time in recent months that NZSIS activities have made headlines in the Pacific island country. Last December, the agency was found to be spying on domestic political activists using covert informants.

About intelNews
Expert news and commentary on intelligence, espionage, spies and spying, by Dr. Joseph Fitsanakis and Ian Allen.

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