The Human Rights Foundation has released research to RNZ it says backs up its demands for an open and transparent inquiry into the security agencies and the terror attacks.
The research shows the New Zealand Security Intelligence Service (SIS) used informal chats and offers of payment to young men, who were not advised of their rights and who felt pressure to spy on their mosques. At the same time, it appears comparatively little state monitoring of white supremacists was going on.
Justice Minister Andrew Little has said the inquiry announced into the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB), SIS and other agencies in the wake of the terror attacks was vital to test whether security agencies had, by their very nature, “organisational blind spots” to a white supremacist threat that “might have been in plain sight”.
The agencies began monitoring the far right in earnest only nine months ago.
But the SIS has been busy. Its surveillance, along with Customs’ intercepts at Auckland Airport, led Muslim people to raise concerns with the Human Rights Foundation, which prompted it to do the research and hold a dozen closed-door meetings with multiple agencies in 2017 and 2018.
The SIS was not advising people of their rights when it invited young men along to “chat” and it was unclear if this might still be going on, said foundation executive director Peter Hosking.