The amalgamation of New Zealand\u2019s Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT NZ) with the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC)\u2014which holds hosts the Government Chief Information Security Officer (GCISO) function\u2014has started after it was first announced in July. In what is expected to be a first step to creating a lead operational cybersecurity agency, this is also a move to create a similar cybersecurity agency structure to those operated by other Five Eyes nations\u2014Australia, the UK and Canada that have single agencies with a wide span of responsibilities and customers.\n\n\u201cHaving a single agency to provide authoritative advice and respond to incidents across every threat level is international best practice,\u201d Minister for the Public Service Andrew Little said in a statement in July.\n\nThe amalgamation of both agencies is part of \u201ca strong evolution and dealing with what is a clear threat,\u201d according to Alexander Gillespie, professor of Law at the University of Waikato. He explained that for New Zealand the threat of cybersecurity has become more prominent once the Russia-Ukraine war started. \u201cAnd the international black hole of law has forced some countries to rethink [things] like there's no international treaty on cybersecurity and cyber threats in the military way. There should be a treaty but there is not,\u201d he tells CSO.\n\nGillespie says that the amalgamation of these two key parties is New Zealand\u2019s response to the increasing cybersecurity threat. This may also facilitate better synchronisation with the Five Eyes nations. \u201cThe more that the agencies are interlinked, the better the cooperation will be between them,\u201d he adds.\n\nNext steps for CERT NZ and NCSC\n\nThe first step towards creating a lead operational cybersecurity agency will see the transfer of CERT NZ operations and staff from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment to the NCSC. Work to redesign a new integrated operating model that uses both agencies enhanced scale and capability to provide a stronger cybersecurity system and improved customer service for New Zealanders will begin \u201cshortly,\u201d head of NCSC Lisa Fong said in a statement. But until that happens both agencies will remain providing their existing functions separately.\n\n\u201cWhile it will take significant time to complete the integration, we hope to find opportunities along the way to leverage the expertise of both CERT NZ and NCSC in the services we provide,\u201d CERT NZ director Rob Pope said in a statement.