Use of external security consultants for surveillance not permitted

Claims the Government has not acted to end the use of security consultants for spying are completely inaccurate, State Services Minister Chris Hipkins said today.

“For the avoidance of any doubt, the practice is a hangover from the past and the Government acted decisively to end it as soon as it became aware of it.

“When we were first alerted in March, the Prime Minister was very clear that government agencies must not engage in the practice.

“Government agencies are crystal clear on this.

“This includes the Department of Conservation, which has assured the Conservation Minister it had contracted Thompson and Clark solely as a specialist security company to help protect staff and contractors from ongoing threats and intimidation.

“The Department has strongly stated it has never asked Thompson & Clark to do surveillance on an individual or group or harvest their private data.

“It is important now to let the State Services Commissioner get on with his widened investigation,” Mr Hipkins said.