1 Introduction

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1.1 Purpose

The purpose of these requirements is to:

  • provide detailed information of good practice relating to security assessment criteria, which is a fundamentally important element of any personnel security regime
  • help New Zealand Security Intelligence Service (NZSIS) Vetting Officers assess individuals (‘candidates’) undergoing security vetting against established criteria that measure and influence their suitability to hold a national security clearance. These requirements are applicable to initial or continued suitability for access to protectively marked material
  • make it clear that a security vetting recommendation is made against the criteria set out in these requirements, subject to consideration of mitigating or balancing factors. They are not exclusive, and other matters may also be taken into consideration if they are deemed to be relevant. 
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1.2 Audience

The audience for these requirements is:

  • New Zealand government agencies sponsoring security clearances
  • New Zealand government agency staff
  • contractors to the New Zealand government providing security advice and services
  • any other individual or entity responsible for the security of New Zealand government people, information or assets.
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1.3 Scope

These requirements cover personnel security measures:

  • within New Zealand government facilities
  • within facilities handling New Zealand government information and assets
  • where New Zealand government employees are located.
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1.4 Compliance requirements

A control with a ‘must’ or ‘must not’ compliance requirement indicates that use of the control is mandatory. These are the baseline controls unless the control is demonstrably not relevant to the respective agency and can be clearly demonstrated to the agency head or accreditation authority.

A control with a ‘should’ or ‘should not’ requirement indicates that use of the control is considered good and recommended practice.  Valid reasons for not implementing a control could exist, including;

  1. a control is not relevant because the risk does not exist,
  2. or a process or control(s) of equal strength has been substituted.

Agencies must recognise that not using a control without due consideration may increase residual risk for the agency.  This residual risk needs to be agreed and acknowledged by the agency head.  In particular an agency should pose the following questions:

  1. Is the agency willing to accept additional risk?
  2. Have any implications for All of Government security been considered?
  3. If so, what is the justification?

A formal auditable record of this consideration and decision is required as part of the governance and assurance processes within an agency.

The PSR provides agencies with mandatory and best practice security measures.

The controls detailed above describe if and when agencies need to consider specific security measures to comply with the mandatory requirements.

Also refer to the Strategic Security Objectives, Core Policies and the Mandatory Requirements.

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3 The security vetting process

The security vetting process is an examination on a ‘whole-of-person, whole-of-life’ basis to make a determination of a candidate’s suitability to hold a national security clearance.

Eligibility for access to protectively marked material is predicated upon the candidate being positively assessed based on these guidelines.

All available and reliable information about the candidate, past and present, favourable and unfavourable, should be considered in reaching a determination.

In evaluating the relevance of any conduct, the assessing officer should consider the:

  • nature, extent, and seriousness of the conduct
  • circumstances surrounding the conduct, including the degree of willing and/or knowledgeable participation
  • frequency and recentness of the conduct
  • candidate's age and maturity at the time of the conduct
  • presence or absence of rehabilitation and other pertinent behavioural changes
  • motivation for the conduct
  • potential for pressure, coercion, exploitation or duress
  • likelihood of continuation or recurrence.

Candidates must be assessed on their own merits, and the final determination remains the responsibility of the vetting staff.

Any doubts regarding the candidate’s suitability must be resolved in favour of the national interest.

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4 Suitability to hold a clearance

A candidate is suitable to hold a national security clearance at any level where it is established, to the appropriate degree of satisfaction, that the candidate possesses and demonstrates an appropriate level of integrity, that is, a soundness of character and moral principle.

In the security context, integrity is defined as a range of character traits that a candidate must possess and demonstrate for the government to have confidence in that candidate’s ability to protect protectively marked material.

These character traits are:

  • honesty
  • trustworthiness
  • loyalty.

Reference to a number of factor areas of the candidate’s life, including personal relationships, employment history, behaviour and financial conduct contributes to an assessment of a candidate’s integrity.

Agencies must be confident that staff who are responsible for protectively marked material possess a sound and stable character before they are granted a national security clearance.

Candidates must also demonstrate that they are not unduly vulnerable to coercion or other adverse influence.

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5 Assessment criteria

The ultimate determination of whether a recommendation for a national security clearance is consistent with the national interest must be an overall common sense determination based upon careful consideration of the whole person in the context of the following:

  • Guideline A: External loyalties, influences and associations
  • Guideline B: Personal relationships and conduct
  • Guideline C: Financial considerations
  • Guideline D: Alcohol and drug use
  • Guideline E: Criminal history and conduct
  • Guideline F: Security attitudes and violations
  • Guideline G: Mental health disorders.

These factors may have a bearing on one or more of a candidate’s character traits.

Although adverse information concerning a single aspect may not be sufficient for an unfavourable determination, the candidate may not be recommended for a clearance if available information reflects a current or recurring pattern of:

  • questionable judgment
  • dishonesty
  • immaturity
  • untrustworthiness
  • irresponsibility
  • vulnerability to influence or coercion
  • emotionally unstable behaviour.

Reliable and significant adverse information may lead the assessor to recommend against a clearance being granted.

When information of security concern becomes known about a candidate who currently holds a national security clearance and has access to protectively marked material, the assessing officer should consider the following factors before determining whether a continued clearance is recommended.

Whether the person:

  • voluntarily reported the information
  • responded to questions truthfully and completely
  • sought assistance and followed professional guidance, where appropriate
  • resolved or appears likely to favourably resolve the security concern
  • has demonstrated positive changes in behaviour and employment.

If, after evaluating material of security concern, the assessor decides the material is not serious enough to warrant a recommendation against a national security clearance, it may be appropriate to recommend granting the clearance with a warning that future incidents of a similar nature may result in an adverse recommendation.

Guideline A - External loyalties, influences and associations

The concerns

A1. There must be no doubt about a national security clearance holder’s allegiance to New Zealand and his or her willingness to protect protectively marked material relating to New Zealand’s national security.

A2. Anyone working on behalf of the New Zealand government must have a commitment to the democratic process and a respect for the processes by which the elected government functions.

If candidates express political or personal views incompatible with New Zealand’s constitutional, democratic system of government, doubts arise about whether they can remain loyal to the New Zealand government.

It is accepted that conflicts of view or even conscientious objections could arise in some cases. However, the issue is whether candidates recognise their individual responsibilities to their employing agency, the elected government and the public interest.

A3. When a candidate acts in such a way as to indicate a preference for a foreign country over New Zealand, then he or she may be prone to act in a way that is harmful to the national interest of New Zealand.

A4. Involvement in certain types of outside employment or activities is of security concern if it poses a conflict with a candidate's security responsibilities and could create an increased risk of unauthorised disclosure of security protectively marked information.

A5. A security risk may exist when the candidate or their immediate family, including cohabitants, and other persons to whom he or she may be bound by affection, influence or obligation are not New Zealand citizens or may be subject to duress.

These situations could create the potential for foreign influence over divided loyalties that could result in the compromise of protectively marked information.

Contacts with citizens of other countries or financial interests in other countries are also relevant to security determinations if they make the candidate potentially vulnerable to coercion, exploitation or pressure.

Conditions that could raise a security concern and may be disqualifying

A6. Involvement in, support of, training to commit, or advocacy of any act of:

  • espionage
  • sabotage
  • terrorism
  • treason
  • politically motivated violence
  • attacks on New Zealand’s defence systems
  • acts of foreign interference.

A7. Association or sympathy with persons who are attempting to commit, or who are committing, any of the above acts.

A8. Association or sympathy with persons or organisations that advocate, threaten, or use force or violence, or use any other illegal or unconstitutional means, in an effort to:

  • overthrow or influence the New Zealand government
  • prevent government employees from performing their official duties
  • gain retribution for perceived wrongs caused by the New Zealand government
  • prevent others from exercising their rights under the Constitution or laws of New Zealand.

A9. Contact with a family member, business or professional associate, friend, or other person who is a citizen of, or resident in, a foreign country, if that contact creates an unacceptably heightened risk of foreign exploitation, inducement, manipulation, pressure, or coercion.

A10. Connections to a foreign person, group, government, or country that create a potential conflict of interest between the candidate's obligation to protect protectively marked material and the candidate's desire to help a foreign person, group, or country by providing that information.

A11. Sharing living quarters with a person or persons, regardless of citizenship status, if that relationship creates a heightened risk of foreign or criminal inducement, manipulation, pressure, or coercion.

A12. A substantial business, financial, or property interest in a foreign country, or in any foreign-owned or foreign-operated business, which could subject the candidate to heightened risk of foreign influence or exploitation.

A13. Failure to report, when required, an association with a foreign citizen.

A14. Unauthorised and/or concealed association with a suspected or known agent, associate, or employee of a foreign intelligence service.

A15. Indications that representatives or citizens of a foreign country are acting to increase the vulnerability of the candidate to possible future exploitation, inducement, manipulation, pressure, or coercion.

A16. Conduct, especially while travelling outside New Zealand, which may make the candidate vulnerable to exploitation, pressure, or coercion by a foreign person, group or government.

A17. Exercise of any right, privilege or obligation of foreign citizenship after becoming a New Zealand citizen. This includes but is not limited to:

  • possession of a current foreign passport
  • military service or a willingness to bear arms for a foreign country
  • accepting educational, medical, retirement, social welfare, or other such benefits from a foreign country
  • residence in a foreign country to meet citizenship requirements
  • using foreign citizenship to protect financial or business interests in another country
  • seeking or holding political office in a foreign country
  • voting in a foreign election.

A18. Action to acquire or obtain recognition of a foreign citizenship by a New Zealand citizen.

A19. Performing or attempting to perform duties, or otherwise acting, so as to serve the interests of a foreign person, group, organisation, or government in conflict with New Zealand’s national interest.

A20. Any statement or action that shows allegiance to a country other than New Zealand, for example, declaration of intent to renounce New Zealand citizenship, or the renunciation of New Zealand citizenship.

A21. Any employment or service, whether compensated or voluntary, with:

  • the government of a foreign country
  • any foreign citizen, organisation or other entity
  • a representative of any foreign interest
  • any foreign, domestic, or international organisation, including media, or person engaged in analysis, discussion, or publication of material on intelligence, defence, foreign affairs, protected technology or protective security
  • failure to report or fully disclose an outside activity when this is required.

A22. Ongoing voluntary association with individuals or groups of an extremist nature, that is, those who espouse or promote beliefs incompatible with a liberal democracy.

Conditions that could mitigate security concerns

Mitigating factors may impact one or more areas of concern

A23. The candidate was unaware of the unlawful aims of an individual or organisation and severed ties upon learning of these.

A24. The candidate’s involvement was only with the lawful or humanitarian aspects of an organisation such as those referred to in A8.

A25. Involvement in activities of concern occurred for only a short period of time and was attributable to curiosity or academic interest.

A26. The involvement or association with such activities occurred under such unusual circumstances, or so much time has elapsed, that it is unlikely to recur and does not cast doubt on the candidate’s current reliability, trustworthiness or loyalty.

A27. The nature of the relationships with foreign persons, the country in which these persons are located, or the positions or activities of those persons in that country are such that it is unlikely the candidate will be placed in a position of having to choose between the interests of a foreign individual, group, organisation, or government and New Zealand’s national interest.

A28. There is no conflict of interest, either because the candidate’s sense of loyalty or obligation to the foreign person, group, government, or country is so minimal, or the candidate has such deep and longstanding relationships and loyalties in New Zealand that they can be expected to resolve any conflict of interest in favour of New Zealand’s national interest.

A29. Contact or communication with foreign citizens is casual and infrequent and there is little likelihood that it could create a risk for foreign influence or exploitation.

A30. The foreign contacts and activities are on New Zealand government business and/or are approved by the departmental security officer.

A31. The candidate has promptly complied with agency requirements regarding the reporting of contacts, requests, or threats from persons, groups, or organisations from a foreign country.

A32. The value or routine nature of the foreign business, financial, or property interests is such that they are unlikely to result in a conflict and could not be used to influence, manipulate, or pressure the candidate.

A33. Where reasons for possession or acquisition of dual or multiple citizenships are not a security concern, including, but not limited to:

  • dual or multiple citizenship is based solely on parents' citizenship or birth in a foreign country
  • marriage
  • convenience of travel.

A34. The candidate is able to articulate a primary loyalty to New Zealand over any other country.

A35. Exercise of the rights, privileges, or obligations of foreign citizenship occurred before the candidate became a New Zealand citizen or when the candidate was a minor.

A36. The use of a foreign passport is approved by the departmental security officer.

A37. The foreign passport has been destroyed, surrendered, or otherwise invalidated.

A38. The participation in a foreign election was encouraged by the New Zealand government.

 

Guideline B – Personal relationships and conduct

The concerns

B1. Conduct involving questionable judgment, dishonesty, or an unwillingness to comply with rules and regulations can raise questions about the candidate's reliability, trustworthiness and ability to protect protectively marked information.

B2. Of special interest is any failure to provide truthful and candid answers during the security vetting process or any other failure to cooperate with the security vetting process.

The following will normally result in an adverse recommendation for a national security clearance or termination of further consideration for a security vetting assessment:

  • refusal, or failure without reasonable cause, to undergo or cooperate with the security vetting process, including but not limited to meeting with a vetting officer for a security interview, completing security and/or consent forms and cooperation with supplementary evaluations and periodic reviews
  • refusal or failure to provide full, frank and truthful answers to relevant questions from a vetting officer, or other official representatives in connection with a security vetting.

B3. Sexual behaviour that involves a criminal offence, indicates a personality or emotional disorder, reflects a gross lack of judgment or discretion, or which may subject the candidate to undue influence or coercion, exploitation or duress can raise questions about the candidate's reliability, trustworthiness and maturity.

B4. Sexual orientation or preference may not be used as a basis for, or a disqualifying factor in, assessing a candidate’s suitability for a national security clearance.

Conditions that could raise a security concern and may be disqualifying

B5. Deliberate omission, concealment, or falsification of relevant facts when completing any personnel security questionnaire, personal history statement, or similar form used to determine national security clearance suitability or providing false or misleading information to vetting officers or other staff involved in the security vetting process.

B6. Credible adverse information in several adjudicative areas that is not sufficient for an adverse determination under any other single guideline, but which, when considered as a whole, supports a whole-person assessment of questionable judgment, untrustworthiness, unreliability, lack of candour, unwillingness to comply with rules and regulations, or other characteristics indicating that the person may not properly safeguard official information.

B7. Credible adverse information that is not explicitly covered under any other guideline and may not be sufficient by itself for an adverse determination, but which, when combined with all available information supports a whole-person assessment of questionable loyalty, trustworthiness, honesty, maturity, or vulnerability to coercion or influence.

This includes but is not limited to consideration of:

  • untrustworthy or unreliable behaviour including breach of client confidentiality, release of proprietary information, unauthorised release of sensitive corporate or other official government information
  • disruptive, violent, or other inappropriate behaviour in the workplace
  • a pattern of dishonesty or rule violations
  • evidence of significant misuse of government or other employer's time or resources.

B8. Sexual behaviour of a criminal nature, whether or not the candidate has been prosecuted.

B9. A pattern of compulsive, self-destructive, or high risk sexual behaviour that the person is unable to stop or that may be symptomatic of a personality disorder.

B10. Sexual behaviour that causes the candidate to be vulnerable to coercion, exploitation, or duress (refer to Guideline G).

B11. Personal conduct, or concealment of information about one's conduct, that creates a vulnerability to exploitation, manipulation or duress such as:

  • engaging in activities which, if known, may affect the person's personal, professional, or community standing
  • while in another country, engaging in any activity that is illegal in that country or that is legal in that country but illegal in New Zealand and may serve as a basis for exploitation or pressure by the foreign security or intelligence service or other group.

B12. Violation of a written or recorded commitment made by the candidate to the employer as a condition of employment.

B13. Association with persons involved in criminal activity.

Conditions that could mitigate security concerns

Mitigating factors may impact one or more areas of concern

B14. The behaviour occurred prior to or during adolescence and there is no evidence of subsequent conduct of a similar nature.

B15. The behaviour no longer serves as a basis for coercion, exploitation, or influence.

B16. The candidate made prompt, good-faith efforts to correct the omission, concealment, or falsification before being confronted with the facts.

B17. The refusal or failure to cooperate, omission, or concealment was caused by or associated with improper or inadequate advice of government officers or legal counsel.

Upon being made aware of the requirement to cooperate or provide the information, the candidate cooperated fully and truthfully.

B18. The behaviour or offence is so minor, or so much time has passed, or the behaviour is so infrequent, or it happened under such unique circumstances that it is unlikely to recur and does not cast doubt on the candidate's current reliability, trustworthiness, or good judgment.

B19. The candidate has acknowledged the behaviour and obtained counselling to change the behaviour or taken other positive steps to alleviate the stressors, circumstances, or factors that caused untrustworthy, unreliable, or other inappropriate behaviour.

There is evidence that this treatment has been effective and such behaviour is unlikely to recur.

B20. The candidate has taken positive steps to reduce or eliminate vulnerability to exploitation, manipulation, or duress.

B21. The information was unsubstantiated or from a source of questionable reliability.

B22. Association with persons involved in criminal activity has ceased or occurs under circumstances that do not cast doubt upon the candidate's reliability, trustworthiness, judgment, or willingness to comply with rules and regulations.

Note: The assessing officer should also consider the guidelines pertaining to criminal conduct (Guideline E) or mental health disorders (Guideline G), in determining how to resolve any security concerns raised by sexual behaviour.

 

Guideline C - Financial considerations

The concerns

C1. Failure or inability to live within one's means, satisfy debts, or meet financial obligations may indicate poor self-control, lack of judgment, or unwillingness to abide by rules and regulations.

This may raise questions about a candidate's honesty, trustworthiness, maturity, and vulnerability to coercion or influence.

C2. A candidate who is financially overextended may be at a heightened risk of engaging in illegal acts including espionage to generate funds.

This risk is further heightened if the financial difficulties have arisen from compulsive behaviour, for example, gambling.

C3. Unwillingness to pay debts where means are available may indicate untrustworthiness or lack of conscience regarding obligations.

C4. Affluence that cannot be explained by known sources of income is also a concern as it may indicate proceeds from criminal conduct.

Conditions that could raise a security concern and may be disqualifying

C5. Inability or unwillingness to satisfy debts.

C6. Indebtedness caused by frivolous or irresponsible spending and the absence of any evidence of willingness or intent to pay the debt or establish a realistic plan to pay the debt.

C7. A history of not meeting financial obligations, including any record of bankruptcy, No Asset Procedure, defaulting on payments or the service of collection notices.

C8. Deceptive or illegal financial practices such as embezzlement, theft, fraud, tax evasion or other intentional breaches of trust.

C9. Consistent spending beyond one's means, which may be indicated by excessive indebtedness, significant negative cash flow, high debt-to-income ratio, and/or other financial analysis.

C10. Financial problems that are linked to drug abuse, alcoholism, gambling addiction, or other matters indicating compulsive behaviour or emotional or psychological instability that may have implications for the candidate’s maturity, trustworthiness and vulnerability to coercion or influence (refer to Guidelines D and G).

C11. Repeated failure to meet New Zealand taxation obligations.

C12. Unexplained affluence, as shown by a lifestyle or standard of living, increase in net worth, or money transfers that cannot be explained by the candidate's known legal sources of income.

C13. Compulsive or addictive gambling as indicated by an unsuccessful attempt to stop gambling, ‘chasing losses’ (that is, increasing the bets or returning another day in an effort to get even), concealment of gambling losses, borrowing money to fund gambling or pay gambling debts, family conflict or other problems caused by gambling.

Conditions that could mitigate security concerns

Mitigating factors may impact one or more areas of concern

C14. The behaviour happened so long ago, was so infrequent, or occurred under such circumstances that it is unlikely to recur and does not cast doubt on the candidate's current reliability, trustworthiness, or good judgment.

C15. The conditions that resulted in the financial problem were largely beyond the candidate's control (for example, loss of employment, a business downturn, unexpected medical emergency, or a death, divorce or separation), and the candidate acted responsibly.

C16. The candidate has received or is receiving counselling for the problem and/or there are clear indications that the problem is being resolved and/or is under control.

C17. The candidate initiated good-faith efforts to repay overdue creditors or otherwise resolve debts.

C18. The candidate has a reasonable basis to dispute the legitimacy of the debt and provides evidence of actions to resolve the issue.

C19. The affluence was the result of a legal source of income.

 

Guideline D - Alcohol and drug use

The Concerns

D1. Excessive alcohol consumption often leads to the exercise of questionable judgment or the failure to control impulses, and can raise questions about a candidate's reliability and trustworthiness and ability to maintain discretion.

D2. Use of illegal drugs or misuse of prescription drugs can raise questions about a candidate's trustworthiness and honesty, both because it may impair judgment and because it raises questions about a person's ability or willingness to comply with laws, rules and regulations.

Use of illegal drugs or misuse of prescription drugs may also make the candidate vulnerable to coercion or other adverse influence or pressure.

D3. Drugs are mood and behaviour altering substances and include, but are not limited to, drugs, materials, and other chemical compounds identified and listed in the Schedules of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1975, inhalants and other similar substances.

D4. Drug abuse is the use of an illegal drug, or use of a legal drug in a manner that deviates from approved medical direction.

Conditions that could raise a security concern and may be disqualifying

D5. Alcohol-related incidents away from work, such as driving while under the influence, fighting, child or spouse abuse, other domestic violence, disturbing the peace, or other incidents of concern, regardless of whether the candidate has been diagnosed as an alcohol abuser or alcohol dependent.

D6. Alcohol-related incidents at work, such as reporting for duty in an intoxicated or impaired condition, or excessive drinking while at work.

D7. Habitual or binge consumption of alcohol to the point of impaired judgment.

D8. Diagnosis by a duly qualified medical professional (for example, physician, clinical psychologist, or psychiatrist) of alcohol, or drug abuse or dependence.

D9. Identification of alcohol or drug abuse or dependence by an accredited clinical social worker who is a staff member of a recognised alcohol or drug treatment programme.

D10. Relapse after diagnosis of alcohol or drug abuse or dependence and completion of an alcohol or drug rehabilitation programme.

D11. Criminal charges relating to alcohol or drug abuse or possession.

D12. Failure to follow any court order regarding alcohol or drug education, evaluation, treatment, or abstinence.

D13. Any drug abuse (see item D4).

D14. Testing positive for illegal drug use.

D15. Illegal drug possession, including cultivation, processing, manufacture, purchase, sale or distribution or possession of drug paraphernalia.

D16. Expressed intent to continue illegal drug use or failure to clearly and convincingly commit to discontinue drug use.

Conditions that could mitigate security concerns

Mitigating factors may impact one or more areas of concern

D17. So much time has passed, or the behaviour was so infrequent, or it happened under such unusual circumstances that it is unlikely to recur or does not cast doubt on the candidate's current reliability, trustworthiness or good judgment.

D18. The candidate is participating in an alcohol counselling or treatment programme, has no history of previous treatment and relapse and is making satisfactory progress.

D19. The candidate acknowledges his or her alcohol dependence or abuse and has successfully:

  • completed inpatient or outpatient alcohol counselling or rehabilitation along with any required aftercare
  • has demonstrated a clear and established pattern of modified consumption or abstinence in accordance with treatment recommendations such as adherence to a programme such as Alcoholics Anonymous or a similar organisation
  • has received a favourable prognosis by a duly qualified medical professional or an accredited clinical social worker who is a staff member of a recognised alcohol treatment programme.

D20. A demonstrated intent not to abuse any drugs in the future such as:

  • disassociation from drug-using associates and contacts
  • changing or avoiding the environment where drugs were used
  • an appropriate period of abstinence
  • a signed statement of intent with automatic review for cause for any violation.

D21. Abuse of prescription drugs was after a severe or prolonged illness during which these drugs were prescribed and the abuse has since ended.

D22. Satisfactory completion of a prescribed drug treatment programme, including but not limited to, rehabilitation and aftercare requirements, without recurrence of abuse, and a favourable prognosis by a duly qualified medical professional or an accredited clinical social worker who is a staff member of a recognised drug treatment programme.

 

Guideline E - Criminal history and conduct

The concerns

E1. Criminal behaviour creates doubt about a person's judgment, reliability, trustworthiness, maturity and honesty.

By its very nature, it calls into question a person's integrity and his or her ability or willingness to comply with laws, rules and regulations.

Conditions that could raise a security concern and may be disqualifying

E2. A criminal offence, or multiple lesser offences, or a conviction in a New Zealand or foreign court, including a military court-martial, for a crime.

E3. Discharge or dismissal from the New Zealand Defence Force or New Zealand Police for misconduct.

E4. Credible allegation, information, intelligence or admission of criminal conduct, regardless of whether the candidate was formally charged, formally prosecuted or convicted.

E5. The candidate is currently on parole or probation.

E6. Violation of parole or probation, or failure to complete a court-mandated rehabilitation programme.

E7. Voluntary association with criminals.

Conditions that could mitigate security concerns

Mitigating factors may impact one or more areas of concern

E8. So much time has elapsed since the criminal behaviour happened, or it happened under such unusual circumstances that it is unlikely to recur and does not cast doubt on the candidate's reliability, honesty, trustworthiness or good judgment.

E9. The person was pressured or coerced into committing the act and those pressures are no longer present in the person's life.

E10. Persuasive evidence that the person did not commit the offence or the conviction for the offence was subsequently overturned.

E11. There is evidence of successful rehabilitation including but not limited to the passage of time without recurrence of criminal activity, evidence of remorse or restitution, job training or higher education, good employment record or constructive community involvement.

E12. The offending was of such a minor or regulatory nature that it is not of security concern.

 

Guideline F - Security violations

The concerns

F1. Deliberate or negligent failure to comply with procedures, rules and regulations for protecting national classified or other proprietary, personal, protected or sensitive information, including on Information and Communications Technology (ICT) systems, raises doubt about a candidate's trustworthiness, judgment, reliability, or willingness and ability to safeguard such information and is a serious security concern.

F2. ICT systems include all related computer hardware, software, firmware, and data used for the communication, transmission, processing, manipulation, storage, or protection of protectively marked information.

Conditions that could raise a security concern and may be disqualifying

F3. Having unauthorised access to official or personal information and using it in the following ways:

  • viewing
  • disclosure
  • collecting
  • storing
  • handling
  • destruction
  • manipulation
  • modification.

F4. Deliberate disregard of agency procedures or guidelines for the handling, use and storage of official or personal information.

F5. Copying official or personal information in a manner designed to conceal or remove classification or other protective markings.

F6. Viewing or downloading information from a secure system beyond the candidate’s need-to-know.

F7. Any failure to comply with rules for the protection of national classified or other sensitive information.

F8. Negligence or lax security habits that persist despite counselling by management.

F9. Failure to comply with rules or regulations that results in damage to national security, regardless of whether it was deliberate or negligent.

F10. Access to ICT information, software, firmware or hardware that is illegal or unauthorised, including:

  • entry into any ICT system
  • modification
  • destruction
  • manipulation
  • denial of access.

F11. Use of any ICT system to gain unauthorised access to another system or to a compartmented area within the same system.

F12. Downloading, storing, or transmitting protectively marked information on or to any unauthorised software, hardware or ICT system.

F13. Unauthorised use of a government or other ICT system.

F14. Introduction, removal, or duplication of hardware, firmware, software or media to or from any ICT system without authorisation, when prohibited by rules, procedures, guidelines or regulations.

F15. Any misuse of ICT, whether deliberate or negligent, that results in damage to national security.

Note: Misuse of both Government and privately owned ICT systems are of concern.

Conditions that could mitigate security concerns

Mitigating factors may impact one or more areas of concern

F16. So much time has elapsed since the behaviour, or it has happened so infrequently or under such unusual circumstances, that it is unlikely to recur and does not cast doubt on the candidate's current reliability, honesty, trustworthiness, or good judgement.

F17. The candidate responded favourably to counselling or remedial security training and now demonstrates a positive attitude toward the discharge of his or her security responsibilities.

F18. The security violations were due to improper or inadequate training.

F19. The misuse was minor and done only in the interest of a bona fide emergency or operational imperative when no other timely alternative was readily available.

F20. The conduct was unintentional or inadvertent and was followed by a prompt, good-faith effort to correct the situation and notify a supervisor.

 

Guideline G - Mental health issues

The concerns

G1. Certain emotional, mental, and personality conditions can impair judgment, reliability, or trustworthiness. A formal diagnosis of a disorder is not required for there to be a concern under this guideline.

G2. A duly qualified mental health professional (for example, clinical psychologist or psychiatrist) employed by, or acceptable to and approved by the agency, should be consulted when evaluating potentially disqualifying and mitigating information under this guideline.

Conditions that could raise a security concern and may be disqualifying

G3. Behaviour that casts doubt on a candidate's judgment, reliability or trustworthiness that is not covered under any other guideline, including but not limited to emotionally unstable, irresponsible, dysfunctional, violent, paranoid or bizarre behaviour.

G4. An opinion by a duly qualified mental health professional that the candidate has a condition not covered under any other guideline that may impair judgment, reliability or trustworthiness.

G5. The candidate has failed to follow treatment advice related to a diagnosed emotional, mental, or personality condition, for example, failure to take prescribed medication.

G6. No negative inference concerning the candidate may be raised solely based on their having sought mental health counselling.

Conditions that could mitigate security concerns

Mitigating factors may impact one or more areas of concern

G7. The identified condition is readily controllable with treatment, and the candidate has demonstrated on-going and consistent compliance with the treatment plan.

G8. The candidate has voluntarily entered a counselling or treatment programme for a condition that is amenable to treatment, and the candidate is currently receiving counselling or treatment with a favourable prognosis by a duly qualified mental health professional.

G9. Recent opinion by a duly qualified mental health professional employed by, or acceptable to and approved by the agency seeking the vetting that a candidate's previous condition is under control or in remission, and has a low probability of recurrence or exacerbation.

G10. The past emotional instability was a temporary condition (for example, one caused by death, illness, or marital break-up), the situation has been resolved, and the candidate no longer shows indications of emotional instability.

G11. There is no indication of a current problem.

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The purpose of these requirements is to:

  • provide detailed information of good practice relating to security assessment criteria, which is a fundamentally important element of any personnel security regime
  • help New Zealand Security Intelligence Service (NZSIS) Vetting Officers assess individuals (‘candidates’) undergoing security vetting against established criteria that measure and influence their suitability to hold a security clearance. These requirements are applicable to initial or continued suitability for access to protectively marked material
  • make it clear that a security vetting recommendation is made against the criteria set out in these requirements, subject to consideration of mitigating or balancing factors. They are not exclusive, and other matters may also be taken into consideration if they are deemed to be relevant. 

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Last modified: 18 December 2014

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