NZ must front up on international spying

Friday 25 October 2013, 2:35PM
By Green Party

The New Zealand Government must front up on what it knew about the United States’ monitoring of overseas leaders, the Green Party said today.

New allegations that the United States National Security Agency (NSA) may have been monitoring German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s mobile phone, comes on top of recent allegations that the NSA had read text messages and listened to the phone calls of Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto, hacked the email of former Mexican President Felipe Calderon, and spied on Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff.

“Prime Minister John Key must come clean on any knowledge that the New Zealand spy agencies had of this spying,” Green Party intelligence and security spokesperson Steffan Browning said today.

“These revelations are shocking and show the complete disregard the United States Government has for the privacy and sovereignty of these world leaders.

“If there was ever any doubt about the limits of the NSA’s activities, these revelations confirm that there is no limit. It proves that the NSA can crack anything and shows just how widespread mass surveillance is.

“New Zealand’s Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB), as a member of the Five Eyes intelligence network, regularly shares information with the United States. Any New Zealand involvement in this sort of spying would be incredibly damaging for our international relations.

“The Government must be clear about whether we were a party to this spying, and whether any monitoring of visiting dignitaries has taken place on New Zealand soil.

“John Key has just dramatically widened the powers of the GCSB in order to facilitate the legal establishment of a surveillance state in New Zealand and to ensure we’re part of the global surveillance state.

“The Five Eyes network operating through the Echelon system at the Waihopai spy base risks our ability to foster export business if there can be little confidence in the security of any communications between businesses.

“We need a wide ranging independent inquiry into New Zealand’s intelligence agencies to ensure proper oversight and to protect the privacy of New Zealanders. Countries worldwide are setting up inquiries, with the United Kingdom launching a major inquiry today. New Zealand must follow suit.”