ZB

Spies, cyberattack initiatives get more money in Budget 2022

Author
John Weekes, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Fri, 20 May 2022, 9:58am
The GCSB will get nearly $50 million more funding over four years to combat cyberattacks and engage in more counter-terrorism activity. Image / Herald Network Graphic
The GCSB will get nearly $50 million more funding over four years to combat cyberattacks and engage in more counter-terrorism activity. Image / Herald Network Graphic

Spies, cyberattack initiatives get more money in Budget 2022

Author
John Weekes, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Fri, 20 May 2022, 9:58am

Spy agencies and counter-terrorism initiatives will get millions more in funding after Budget 2022 was unveiled today.

Signals intelligence agency the GCSB will get nearly $50 million more funding over four years to combat cyberattacks and engage in more counter-terrorism activity.

The agency will receive $14.3 million more in additional funding over four years, plus another $19 million for maintaining and enhancing cybersecurity services.

The new cybersecurity initiative aimed to protect information services "from the increasing frequency and severity of cyberattacks". (With its 2020 budget, Scott Morrison's Government announced a A$1.2 billion boost for cyber-defence spending.)

And the bureau will also get $12.6 million over four years to enhance counter-terrorism services.

This initiative is in response to suggestions from the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the Christchurch mosque attacks.

The Security Intelligence Service (SIS) will get $22.56 million, starting with $3.16 million this year, for counter-terrorism.

The SIS will get almost $3.5million in other additional funding over four years.

The Budget moves come soon after the Five Eyes powers warned of increasingly frequent and disruptive cyberattacks emerging from Russia.

And the new investments also follow heightened debate about online extremism in the wake of last weekend's racist mass shooting at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York.

The US mass shooter seemed to imitate aspects of the 2019 Christchurch mosque attacks, publishing a manifesto and live-streaming the attack last weekend.

Another new Budget initiative linked to the Royal Commission is a $5 million package over three years for preventing and countering violent extremism.

Most of that package will go to Internal Affairs but 15 per cent will go to the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet.

And the Safer Communities Fund will be widened to support communities at potential risk from hate crime and terrorism.

That new funding is worth $3.3 million over three years.

Another $6.375 million will go to anti-terror initiatives following recommendations from the Royal Commission.

Two annual hui called He Whenua Taurikura (meaning "a country at peace") will be held this year and next, with a total cost of $600,000.

And a research fund with a budget of $5.775 million over four years will look into preventing and countering violent extremism.

Cybersecurity concerns have also led to a nearly $25 million boost for police information management.

The $24.73 million investment over three years is to enhance the Police's ability to combat cybercrime.