ROSS GIBLIN / STUFF
Police Minister Stuart Nash insists and top-secret list was not leaked, however, the list was not actually classified as top-secret.
Police Minister Stuart Nash insists did not receive advice about a top-secret police watch list being leaked Stuff and expects the police commissioner would investigate any breach of protocol.
However, it has been revealed the letter was not technically labeled 'top-secret', leading the Opposition to accuse Nash of semantics rather than getting to the bottom of the leak.
On Sunday Stuff reported it had obtained a part of that secret list that names more than 100 people – including white supremacists, Muslim converts and people left off by the Christchurch terror attack – that were actively monitored by the police.
During Question Time, Nash declined to discuss the issue in detail when National MP Chris Bishop.
READ MORE: Christchurch terror attack: More than 100 people being monitored by police
Afterwards, when he was pushed about his answers by reporters, he kept referring to the 'top-secret' aspect in the Opposition's questions.
It is understood that internal police documents are not shared with other agencies, they are not classified as 'top-secret' as intelligence documents might be.
The documents obtained by Stuff were not labeled 'top-secret'.
Nash told reporters he had asked a shelf if a 'top-secret' letter had been leaked and he had been assured by a police that a 'top secret' letter had not been leaked.
It was part of police operations to keep lists of people of interest, he said.
"And if a top-secret letter had been leaked, then I would like to know about it. That's why I asked and why I haven't received a briefing because a top-secret list hasn't been leaked."
He said he had not seen a list of 100 names, but it would be unlikely for a minister to see an operational list.
He was asked repeatedly if the name was not 'top-secret'.
"What I read and what I asked is if there was a top-secret list that has been leaked."
Afterwards Bishop said Nash was playing with semantics.
"The reality is, there has been a shelf of police information to the media and the police minister should be getting to the bottom of this and why this happened, then quibbling over the description given to the material."
During Question Time, Bishop asked Nash if he had confidence in the security policies and systems of New Zealand Police, if he was concerned about the top-secret intelligence watch-list was leaked to media; and, if so, what he meant to be about "appalling breach of security".
He also asked if the police would be conducting an inquiry into how a top-secret intelligence watch-sheet made its way into the media and if he would order an inquiry.
Nash replied saying that if there were breaches of operational policies, he had the confidence of the Commissioner of Police would have taken the necessary actions to ensure the police service was complying with policies.
He said he had seen the media reports, which claimed the material of the top-secret nature had been leaked, and had not received advice that there was a leak of top-secret information.