Greens: Key needs to front on what NZ spies are up to

Prime Minister John Key has questions to answer following the latest Edward Snowden leaks detailing New Zealand’s involvement in the Five-Eyes spying network, the Green Party has demanded.

Information released in a new book by journalist Glenn Greenwald on National Security Agency (NSA) whistle-blower includes top secret briefings for the Five-Eyes network, of which New Zealand is a member.

“These briefing documents directly link New Zealand spies to a global mass surveillance network,” says Dr Russel Norman, co-leader, Green Party.

According to Dr Norman, Key, and the Kiwi government has no choice but to start answering questions about what it means for New Zealand to be a member of the Five-Eyes network.

“Prime Minister John Key has no choice but to start answering questions about what it means for New Zealand to be a member of the Five-Eyes network,” he adds.

“It’s becoming increasingly implausible for Key to claim that New Zealand is not participating in the type of activity that the other Five-Eyes partners have been found to be undertaking, when over and over again we’re seeing evidence to the contrary.

“For the first time we’re clearly seeing the Five-Eyes network’s approach to data collection, and their ambition to ‘sniff it all, know it all, collect it all, process it all, exploit it all and partner it all’.”

Dr Norman says the documents also show New Zealand’s spy agencies were instructed on how to use X-Keyscore, a type of search engine for NSA’s database that enables users to access our private information.

“It’s also been revealed that New Zealand knew about diplomatic espionage by other members of the Five-Eyes network,” he adds.

“Any involvement by New Zealand’s spy agencies in this sort of spying would be incredibly damaging for our international relations.

“Being a member of Five-Eyes sends a clear message to other countries that we’re part of the American network. It’s a serious compromise to our independent foreign policy.

“New Zealanders have the right to know what our spy agencies are up to, and what this means for our own private information.”

Dr Norman believes journalist Glenn Greenwald is clear that the lack of oversight of spy agencies is the problem and in his eyes, New Zealand is no exception to this.

“We need a wide ranging independent inquiry into New Zealand’s intelligence agencies to ensure proper oversight,” he adds.

“In response to the Snowden leaks, other countries have taken this step; New Zealand must follow suit.”

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