The Government Communications Security Bureau’s been lucky this year, with its Budget up 19% from $59.142 million to $70.44 million. There is no Budget breakdown of where that $70.44 million might go. To make anything more public will apparently endanger our national security. A few months back I hit a brick wall when I tried to find out, via a written parliamentary question, how much the Waihopai spy station was costing the taxpayer. That was a secret I was told.
However, my comments, reported in today’s DomPost [not currently online], seem to have squeezed some information out of GCSB spokesperson Hugh Wolfensohn. I hazarded a guess that the GCSB might be spending more on processing intercepted communications for the United States – given the GCSB’s been recruiting specialists in Middle Eastern and South Asian languages.
Wolfensohn responded that ‘the vast majority of the increase was tied to the building of the agency’s new $90 million headquarters opening in Wellington in February.’ So, I’ll be putting in a further parliamentary written question asking how much this year’s $70.44 million budget is going towards the GCSB’s new building. Can’t guarantee I’ll get an answer, but it’s worth a try. Keep you posted.