The New Zealand Security Intelligence Service (NZSIS) has released its annual report which noted persistent attempts by some countries to interfere with New Zealand’s democracy, economy, and civil society. The agency identified an increased number of individuals working for foreign states attempting to collect intelligence on sensitive information and meddle in the country’s politics, private sector, and civil society.
In the past year, the NZSIS has conducted investigations into individuals attempting to access or abscond with sensitive information and interfere in the country’s way of life. As a result, New Zealand has had to take a much firmer stance against China and Russia, both of which are seen to actively attempt to influence the country’s political system. To counter such a threat, the NZSIS has increased its vigilance and awareness of any foreign interference attempts.
The South Pacific is also facing the prospect of growing geopolitical competition, notably from China. This is of particular concern for New Zealand, who is part of a Five-Eyes intelligence sharing alliance with the United States, Britain, Australia and Canada. Owing to a recognition of the threat from foreign powers, NZSIS has also highlighted the need for greater scrutiny of the region.
NZSIS is a civilian body responsible for national security and threats presented to the nation in general. It is lead by the Director-General of Security, the current being Rebecca Kitteridge. Kitteridge has held this position since June 2017 and is active in providing advisories to the government and other intelligence agencies.
The NZSIS also provides support with information technology, human resource development, training, and operational risk management. As such, the agency plays a vital role in protecting New Zealand from any potentially damaging influence of foreign states and is a critical part of the nation’s defence system.