Three agencies form the core of the NZIC: Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB); New Zealand Security Intelligence Service (NZSIS); and National Assessments Bureau (NAB).
The purpose of the GCSB and NZSIS’ governing legislation, the Intelligence and Security Act 2017, is to protect New Zealand as a free, open and democratic society, including by establishing intelligence and security agencies that will effectively contribute to the protection of New Zealand’s national security, the international relations and well-being of New Zealand and the economic well-being of New Zealand.
The Intelligence and Security Act 2017, also does this by giving the agencies adequate and appropriate functions, powers and duties, and ensuring that the functions of the agencies are performed in accordance with the law, with integtriy and professionalism and in a manner that facilitates effective democratic oversight. The Act also ensures that the powers of the agencies are subject to institutional oversight and appropriate safeguards.
The GCSB and NZSIS achieve their objectives through their functions: These are intelligence collection and analysis, the provision of protection security services, advice and assistance (which for GCSB includes providing information assurance and cyber security activities) and cooperating with other agencies.
A range of other New Zealand government agencies have intelligence units, notably New Zealand Defence Force, New Zealand Police, New Zealand Customs Service, and Immigration New Zealand. The core NZIC works with these intelligence units, and the wider New Zealand government sector.
The Minister for National Security and Intelligence is held by the Prime Minister, the Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern. The Minister responsible for the GCSB and responsible for the NZSIS is the Hon Andrew Little.