PM releases SSC report into NZSIS vetting

  • John Key
NZ Security Intelligence Service Prime Minister

Prime Minister John Key today released the State Services Commission’s report of the investigation into the vetting processes used by the New Zealand Security Intelligence Service (NZSIS) to grant a security clearance to Stephen Wilce, former Chief Defence Scientist and Director of the Defence Technology Agency in the New Zealand Defence Force.

The report finds the vetting process in respect of Mr Wilce failed to follow basic procedures in the provision of a professional security service.

Mr Key says the report notes that while the vetting of Mr Wilce was generally in compliance with the requirements and expectations of the day, the system was not yet “fit for purpose” in terms of efficiency and client focus.

“The State Services Commissioner has said further action needs to be taken to demonstrate confidence in the vetting system, and he will report back to me in the first half of this year. I have also asked a group of senior officials to closely monitor progress around this issue,” says Mr Key.

Two key initiatives will underpin the programme of action. An independent, international review of the current vetting system, along with other work, will be started in order to provide better information on the vetting system’s performance. In addition, the Director of Security is currently sampling 5 per cent of the Top Secret vettings undertaken at the time Mr Wilce was checked to provide an assurance that the failures were an exceptional event.

The Prime Minister asked the State Services Commissioner to investigate the vetting processes in respect of the appointment of Mr Wilce in order to ascertain whether the current processes were adequate and fit for purpose. This investigation was distinct from and independent of those initiated by the New Zealand Defence Force.

The general findings of the investigation are available on the State Services Commission website at: