National Assessments Bureau

Not to be confused with National Assessment Agency.
National Assessments Bureau
Agency overview
Formed 1949 as a unit of the Prime Minister's Department
Jurisdiction Government of New Zealand
Headquarters Wellington, New Zealand
Employees 30
Annual budget $3.1 m NZD (2006/07)
Minister responsible
Agency executive
  • Mike Hickman, Director
Parent agency Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet

The National Assessments Bureau (NAB), one of New Zealand's intelligence agencies, was known as the External Assessments Bureau before its renaming in 2010. It provides assessments to the Prime Minister, other Ministers, senior officials and New Zealand's diplomatic missions abroad, on events and developments that bear on New Zealand's interests, especially in regard to matters of national security.[1][2]


The NAB is responsible for collecting and analysing information on external matters which may affect New Zealand, including foreign states, individuals, and events. It draws on both public and confidential sources  while some of its information comes from the Security Intelligence Service, Government Communications Security Bureau, and New Zealand diplomatic posts, other information comes from academic discourse, the media, and other publicly available sources. The NAB itself does not undertake intelligence-gathering operations  its role is to interpret and process information from other sources, producing reports which may be used as a basis for decision-making in other branches of government.

Unlike the SIS and GCSB, the NAB is not subject to the oversight of the Intelligence and Security Committee or the jurisdiction of the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security.[3][4]


A forerunner to the NAB, the Joint Intelligence Office, was originally established in 1949. In 1953, it was renamed the Joint Intelligence Bureau. In 1975, the Joint Intelligence Bureau was incorporated into a new organisation, the External Intelligence Bureau, which also assumed a number of responsibilities formerly undertaken by the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Defence. The organisation adopted its present name in 1988.

The NAB is part of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, having been absorbed in 1991. Mike Hickman is currently the Acting Director of the National Assessments Bureau, and he answers directly to the Prime Minister. The EAB's reports are guided by the National Assessments Committee, a sub-committee of the Officials Committee for Domestic and External Security Coordination.

In March 2010 the EAB was renamed the National Assessments Bureau and given a domestic security focus as well.[1]

See also


  1. 1 2 Hartevelt, John (2010-03-19). "'External' spies turn focus on home front". Retrieved 2010-03-19.
  2. Cheng, Derek (2010-03-19). "Fears over rugby tournament spur revamp of security agency". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 2010-03-19.
  3. Section 2, Intelligence and Security Committee Act 1996.
  4. Section 2(1), Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security Act 1996.
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