Will the management split on security and intelligence issues that Prime Minister John Key announced yesterday serve to enhance or to reduce his public accountability on such matters ? On RNZ’s Checkpoint last night, Key was vague about the substance of the division of labour, which seemed to entail a good deal of overlap between his role and that of Attorney-General Chris Finlayson.
Key told RNZ’s Mary Wilson he would be playing more of a ‘leadership’ role on the formation of policy, matters of agency funding and the reform of the SIS, while Finlayson would be handling the “day to day’ matters of signing off interception warrants and shepherding SIS and GCSB legislation through the House etc. Yet Key would still remain aware of the targets of SIS/GCSB interceptions, and Finlayson would now be attending Key’s weekly briefings with security agency officials.
So, if a Key is playing the ‘leadership” role in policy formation at our security agencies – and logically, if the buck stops with the leader – does that mean Key will be accountable via OIA requests and ministerial inquiries if and when a controversy erupts over the activities of these agencies? Probably not. Read the rest of this entry »