ROSS GIBLIN / STUFF
Police Minister Stuart Nash insists a secret list was not released, but the list was not classified as highly secretive.
Police Minister Stuart Nash insists he has not received advice about the leaking of an ultra-secret police surveillance list for Thing and expects the police commissioner to investigate any breach of the protocol.
However, it was revealed that the list was not technically labeled "ultra-secretive," prompting the Opposition to accuse Nash of playing with semantics, rather than getting to the bottom of how the leak happened.
On Sunday Thing reported that they obtained part of a secret list appointing more than 100 people – including white supremacists, converted Muslims and people dissatisfied with the Christchurch terrorist attack – who were being actively monitored by the police.
During Question Time, Nash declined to discuss the issue in detail when asked by National MP Chris Bishop.
READ MORE: Christchurch Terrorist Attack: More Than 100 People Being Monitored by Police
Later, when he was pushed over his replies by reporters, he continued to refer to the & quot; top secret & quot; aspect & quot; in the Opposition.
It is understood that internal police documents, which are not shared with other agencies, are not classified as "secrets" as the intelligence documents may be.
The documents obtained by Thing were not labeled as "top secret".
Nash told reporters that he asked police if a "secret" list had leaked and that police had ensured that a "secret" list had not leaked.
It was part of the police operations to keep lists of people of interest, he said.
"And if an ultra-secret list had leaked, then I'd like to know about it. That's why I asked and that's why I did not get a briefing because a secret list was not disclosed."
He said he did not see a list of 100 names, but it would be unlikely that a minister would see such an operational list.
He was asked repeatedly if the list of names was not "top secret".
"What I read and what I was asked is if there was a secret list that leaked."
After that, Bishop said that Nash was playing with semantics.
"The reality is that there has been a leaking of police information to the media and the police minister must be getting to the bottom of how and why this happened instead of discussing the description given to the material."
During Question Time, Bishop asked Nash if he had confidence in the policies and security systems of the New Zealand Police if he was concerned that the secret intelligence list had leaked to the media; and, if so, what he intended to do about the "terrible breach of security".
He also asked if the police would be conducting an investigation into how part of a secret intelligence list would enter the media and whether he would call for an investigation.
Nash responded by saying that if there were breaches of operational policies, he was confident that the Commissioner of Police would take the necessary steps to ensure that the police service complied with the policies.
He said he saw media reports that alleged leakage of material of an ultra-secret nature and received no advice that there was a leak of secret information.