Prime Minister John Key says the dismissal of two staff from the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) demonstrates that it is committed to getting its house in order.
A damning review of the GCSB’s performance has revealed major failings in the agency’s operations and organisation.
But Key today insisted that action was being taken to address the GCSB’s shortcomings.
“The government takes very seriously the failings identified in Rebecca Kitteridge’s report on the GCSB”, said Key.
“The report reveals serious deficiencies in leadership and oversight, but we are absolutely committed to getting the GCSB back on track.”
He said that disciplinary action had been taken against a number of GCSB staff, and that two employees of the bureau had been sacked.
“I have told the GCSB Director that poor staff performance will not be tolerated”, said Mr Key.
“I told Ian, I said to my old bosom-buddy, my soul-mate, I said ‘look, Ian, my old mate, we go back many years and there isn’t a secret in the world I’ve kept from you, my dearest beloved friend.
“’There isn’t a favour you’ve ever asked that I haven’t granted, often at great personal cost to me. So please, please, Ian, I’m begging you: sort this GCSB mess out. Heads have to roll, but I don’t want mine to be one of them. There has to be accountability. Someone has to go’.
“Ian of course offered his resignation, but once we’d stopped laughing he took the necessary action and terminated the employment of two staff.”
Mr Key said the firings would leave the GCSB temporarily short-staffed. But he denied that the dismissals would negatively impact on the organisation’s operations.
“The Director remains confident that he can find replacement cleaners within the week”, said Mr Key.