web analytics

Blind-sided by Five Eyes

Written By: - Date published: 2:34 pm, December 12th, 2020 - 13 comments
Categories: australian politics, China, International, Spying - Tags:

It has been good to see some pushback in the media questioning the wisdom of  Mahuta’s FiveEyes alignment as the first public act of her tenure as our Foreign Minister. Chris Trotter writes in interest.co.nz that upsetting New Zealand’s most significant trading partner seems like a very silly thing to do.

Others include Bryce Edwards in the Guardian, and Richard Prebble in the Herald. Prebble thinks MPs should ask:

“When did the Five Eyes intelligence alliance morph into a foreign policy alliance?” There has been no consultation with Parliament over this changed role. Did Cabinet approve?

If so, what is the role of Five Eyes today? When did we put the spies in charge of policy?

According to Minister Nanaia Mahuta’s office, New Zealand joined FiveEyes countries to express deep concern about “China’s National People’s congress passing national security legislation relating to Hong Kong.” Quite why this is a problem seems unclear, as Article 23 of the treaty of transfer required the Hong Kong legislature to pass a national security law. It never did, and in the face of riots and outside intervention, China did. That seems reasonable.

A more likely reason for New Zealand joining the Anglophone FiveEyes “white might” chorus may be that it is designed to bail out  Australia which has over-reached in its eagerness to join the China-as-designated-enemy chorus emanating from the United States, particularly President Trump and Secretary of State Pompeo. Given that it is not yet clear to what extent this will be  likely to be continued by President-elect Biden, it seems as strange decision for Mahuta’s first public move.

Richard Prebble blames the officials.

Officials like to say we receive 10 times more intelligence from our Five Eyes partners than we supply. I was a member of the parliamentary oversight intelligence committee and I am still bound by secrecy. I can reveal the biggest secret: I never learned anything I had not already read in the Economist magazine.

Our membership comes more from officials’ desire to be in the know, to be part of the in crowd, than from any advantage to New Zealand.

We have our Hong Kong hawks. Australia is plowing on in the face of increasing retaliation from China. New Zealand should not be joining them.

 

 

13 comments on “Blind-sided by Five Eyes ”

    • Anne 1.1

      He was minister for State Owned Enterprises for much of the Lange/ Palmer/Moore years and he also did a stint as Police minister. As a member of the Intelligence Oversight Committee, he would have been privy to some information but by no means all of it. He's therefore probably right when he says:

      I never learned anything I had not already read in the Economist magazine.

      • NOEL 1.1.1

        No surprises there.

        'The Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC) is the Parliamentary oversight committee for the intelligence agencies, and examines issues of efficacy and efficiency, budgetary matters and policy settings.

        Membership of the ISC can be made up of between five and seven members. The Prime Minister is required to consult with the Leader of the Opposition before nominating members to the ISC, and requires the Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition to have regard to the proportional representation of political parties in the House of Representatives when nominating members.

        The functions of the ISC are:

        • to examine the policy, administration and expenditure of each intelligence and security agency
        • to consider any bill, petition or other matter in relation to an intelligence or security agency referred by the House of Representatives
        • to receive and consider the annual reports of GCSB and NZSIS
        • to conduct each year, following receipt of the annual report of the agencies, an annual review of the agencies.
        • to request the Inspector-General to conduct an inquiry into:
        • any matter relating to an intelligence and security agency’s compliance with New Zealand law, including human rights law
        • the propriety of particular activities of an intelligence and security agency
        • to consider any matter (not being a matter relating directly to the activities of an intelligence and security agency) referred to the Committee by the Prime Minister because of that matter’s intelligence or security implications
        • to consider and discuss with the Inspector-General his or her annual report
  1. Tiger Mountain 2

    Leaving 5 Eyes behind for an Independent foreign policy, and genuine non aligned status, could be ideal for NZ in this crazy Climate Disaster and pandemic afflicted world. Globalised trade is obviously still “big” barring transport grounded…and shipping at a crawl, but independence would enable this country to foster mutually beneficial bilateral trade and cultural relationships without the likes of the US and their Pacific deputy dog–Australia–sticking their nose in.

    This would be anathema to any Govt. Caucus that supports the 35 year neo liberal Parliamentary Consensus–which is all of them! But times are changing, and the boomer replacement generations will have their say in 2023.

    p.s. be sad to see Nanaia join the ranks of the “captured” Ministers.

  2. Ad 3

    Agree with the sentiment.

    I would prefer the SIS were just a Division of NZDF, primarily to ensure that it STFU and leaves media announcements to the Government of the day.

    With the intelligence community's unapologetic lack of accountability over the Christchurch massacre, I'm sure expecting the Minister to replace that incompetent Kitteridge and put someone useful in there instead.

    It's all on the Minister to demonstrate what real reform is that generates public confidence.

    • Anne 3.1

      I would prefer the SIS were just a Division of NZDF, primarily to ensure that it STFU and leaves media announcements to the Government of the day.

      The SIS has always been closely associated with the NZDF. Imo, that has been a large part of the problem over the decades. Up until recent times, I understand most of their staff were drawn from the NZDF – or their off-spring. It appears to have created a hive-like mentality which relied too heavily on the historically conservative mindset of the military class.

      It seemed to lack diversity and only in more recent times has it recognised the need to broaden its base to include a range of personnel from all walks of life and ethnic origins. To be fair to Rebecca Kitteridge that is something she has been attempting to do, but I gather it has proved more difficult than expected.

      I would like to see the SIS be more open with the public rather than hide away behind concrete walls doing whatever the hell they're doing… that we know nothing about. All that does is breed suspicion and conspiracy theories which serves no useful purpose for anyone.

      • Tiger Mountain 3.1.1

        When Warren Tucker was Director, 2006-14, he actually had a policy initiative termed “Openness”. Not sure how long it lasted, but seemed brief.

        Under SIS “Openness” any citizen could write to Tucker and request their file/s or other information the service held on them.

        Hundreds applied in the first rush, and the majority were declined on the basis of the 1969 Act, which puts the anonymity of living agents or informants ahead of any concerns of the applicants. A handful such as Sue Bradford received heavily redacted files, as far as I am aware, after asking many fellow activists, Murray Horton of CAFCA claims to have got a full file, but he jokingly relayed he was related to Dir. Tucker by marriage!

        The point is State snoops will never be forthcoming until forced to be so. It is an elitist old boys club, a Cold War relic that needs urgent retirement.

        • Anne 3.1.1.1

          The point is State snoops will never be forthcoming until forced to be so. It is an elitist old boys club, a Cold War relic that needs urgent retirement.

          My impression is: its changing TM and Kitteridge is spear-heading the changes. I suspect she's hitting road-blocks along the way, but where they are coming from is open to speculation.

  3. NOEL 4

    Expand please lack of accountability.

  4. ken 5

    We're way too close to China.

    We can do without half the junk they send to our landfills, and they can scour the globe for better produce if they don't want ours.

  5. SPC 7

    “When did the Five Eyes intelligence alliance morph into a foreign policy alliance?”

    We are a party in a security relationship group. And just what is a foreign policy alliance anyhow (one of the few is the EU)? It's a security group because of co-operation in security areas (intelligence sharing, and related co-operation on security matters – such as cyber and counter-terrorism), and not a defence alliance.

    We are no longer in ANZUS, or SEATO, but no doubt have concerns about our trade partners in ASEAN having their economic zones stolen by the Chinese.

    As a long term member of the UN, with a proud tradition of defence of the rights of member states and the rule of international law, this will impact on how we relate to China. Maybe Trotter and Edwards think our principles can be bought. But despite wanting an FTA with the Americans, we did not join them in their regime change endeavour in Iraq in 2003. Oz did and later got an FTA.

    If Trotter and Edwards really believe doing the right thing is wrong when it costs money, they are not really men of the people, or on the left at all. They may as well worship on the hill of mammon. Little wonder we are we are with these as public spokesmen fot the left in our media. One did not even support a CGT for ffs.

  6. Richard 8

    "Five eyes" has always been a foreign policy cohort between member states, by definition this is the reason for it's existence, to formulate and share common interests and values.

    It comes as no surprise to me that Prebble was not aware of that, he was at the time as SOE minister in Lange's government, a deeply conflicted man, on one hand a Labour loyalist, as well as an emerging neo con. Security agencies would not have trusted him with sensitive information as a consequence.

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • New Zealand to open new Trade Commission in Fiji
    New Zealand will open a new Trade Commission in Fiji later this year, Trade and Export Growth Minister Damien O’Connor has announced.  “Fiji is New Zealand’s largest trading partner in the Pacific region”, Damien O’Connor said. “Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, annual two-way trade between New Zealand and Fiji was ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    37 mins ago
  • Major reforms will make healthcare accessible for all NZers
    All DHBs will be replaced by one national organisation, Health New Zealand A new Māori Health Authority will have the power to commission health services, monitor the state of Māori health and develop policy New Public Health Agency will be created Strengthened Ministry of Health will monitor performance and advise ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    9 hours ago
  • Minister Henare contribution to speech on Building a New Zealand Health Service that works for all N...
    We talk a lot about being a transformational Government. Some imagine this statement means big infrastructure builds, massive policy commitments all leading up to a single grand reveal. But this is what I see as transformation. Something quite simply and yet so very complex. Māori feeling comfortable and able to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    9 hours ago
  • Building a New Zealand Health Service that works for all New Zealanders
    HON ANDREW LITTLE SPEECH Morena tātau katoa. Tēnā tātau kua karahuihui mai nei i tēnei ata, Ki te whakarewa te rautaki hauora matua o Aotearoa, Kia hua ko te oranga pai o te motu. Tena tatau katoa.   INTRODUCTION Welcome. Today, I am laying out for you a plan to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    9 hours ago
  • Health reform announcement
    On Wednesday morning, Minister of Health Andrew Little and Associate Minister of Health (Māori) Peeni Henare are announcing major health reforms.  You can watch the announcement live here from 8am Wednesday. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    23 hours ago
  • Alpine Fault research supports Government’s work planning and preparing for earthquakes
    New research into the probability of an Alpine Fault rupture reinforces the importance of taking action to plan and prepare for earthquakes, Acting Minister for Emergency Management Kris Faafoi says. Research published by Dr Jamie Howarth of Te Herenga Waka - Victoria University of Wellington today, shows there is a ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • New Zealand to provide further support to UN North Korea sanctions
    Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta and Defence Minister Peeni Henare today announced that New Zealand is deploying a Royal New Zealand Air Force P-3K2 Orion maritime patrol aircraft in support of United Nations Security Council (UNSC) sanctions on North Korea. The Resolutions, adopted unanimously by the UNSC between 2006 and 2017, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Transmission Gully review shows flawed planning process should have been addressed before project st...
    The Transmission Gully Interim Review has found serious flaws at the planning stage of the project, undermining the successful completion of the four-lane motor north of Wellington Infrastructure Minister Grant Robertson and Transport Minister Michael Wood said. Grant Robertson said the review found the public-private partnership (PPP) established under the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Australian Foreign Minister to visit Aotearoa New Zealand
    Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta announced today that Australian Foreign Minister Hon Marise Payne will visit Aotearoa New Zealand for the first face-to-face Foreign Ministers’ Consulations since the COVID-19 pandemic began. “Australia is New Zealand’s closest and most important international partner. I’m very pleased to be able to welcome Hon Marise ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Border exceptions will see more families reunited
    Hundreds more families who were separated by the border closure will be reunited under new border exceptions announced today, Immigration Minister Kris Faafoi said. “The Government closed the border to everyone but New Zealand citizens and residents, in order to keep COVID-19 out, keep our economy open and keep New ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • “He Taniwha He Tipua, He Tipua He Taniwha – The Dragon and the Taniwha”
    Hon Nanaia Mahuta, Foreign Minister 8.30am, 19 April 2021 [CHECK AGAINST DELIVERY] Speech to the NZCC Korihi Pō, Korihi Ao E rongo e turia no Matahau Nō Tū te winiwini, Nō Tū te wanawana Tū Hikitia rā, Tū Hapainga mai Ki te Whai Ao, Ki te Ao Mārama Tihei Mauri ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Backing sustainable wool carpets to create a compelling yarn for New Zealand’s strong wool sector
    The Government is supporting a new project with all-wool New Zealand carpet company, Bremworth, which has its sights on developing more sustainable all-wool carpets and rugs, Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor announced.  The Ministry for Primary Industries is contributing $1.9 million towards Bremworth’s $4.9 million sustainability project through its Sustainable Food ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • New Zealand provides support to Timor-Leste for flooding and COVID-19 surge
    New Zealand is providing further support to Timor-Leste following severe flooding and the recent surge in COVID-19 cases, Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta announced today. “Our thoughts are with the people of Timor-Leste who have been impacted by the severe flooding and landslides at a time when the country is ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • WHANAU OF MĀORI BATTALION SOLDIERS REUNITED WITH MEDALS
    A ceremony has been held today in Gisborne where the unclaimed medals of 28 (Māori) Battalion C Company soldiers were presented to their families.   After the Second World War, returning service personnel needed to apply for their medals and then they would be posted out to them.  While most medals ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Reducing barriers to breastfeeding
    The Government is committed to increasing the number of mothers who breastfeed for longer to give babies born in New Zealand the best start in life. The Ministry of Health recommends that babies are exclusively breastfed for the first six month but only about 20 percent of children at this ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • SolarWinds compromise attributed to Russian state actor
    New Zealand has today added its voice to the international condemnation of the malicious compromise and exploitation of the SolarWinds Orion platform. The Minister Responsible for the Government Communications Security Bureau, Andrew Little, says that New Zealand's international partners have analysed the compromise of the SolarWinds Orion platform and attributed ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Queenstown roading project given fast track approval
    An expert consenting panel has approved the Queenstown Arterials Project, which will significantly improve transport links and reduce congestion for locals and visitors in the tourism hotspot.   Environment Minister David Parker welcomed the approval for the project that will construct, operate and maintain a new urban road around Queenstown’s town ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Screen industry secures landmark project
    Economic and Regional Development Minister Stuart Nash says a landmark deal has been agreed with Amazon for The Lord of the Rings TV series, currently being filmed in New Zealand. Mr Nash says the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) secures multi-year economic and tourism benefits to New Zealand, outside the screen ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Report into review of health response to lead contamination released
    The Government welcomes the findings from a rapid review into the health system response to lead contamination in Waikouaiti’s drinking water supply. Sample results from the town’s drinking-water supply showed intermittent spikes in lead levels above the maximum acceptable value. The source of the contamination is still under investigation by ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • NZ Upgrade Programme revs up economic recovery
    Transport Minister Michael Wood today marked the start of construction on the New Zealand Upgrade Programme’s Papakura to Drury South project on Auckland’s Southern Motorway, which will create hundreds of jobs and support Auckland’s economic recovery. The SH1 Papakura to Drury South project will give more transport choices by providing ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Speech releasing the Digital Council's report 'Towards Trustworthy and Trusted Automated D...
    CHECK AGAINST DELIVERY  E ngā mana, e ngā reo, e ngā karanga maha o te wa, tēnā koutou, tēna koutou, tēna tātou katoa. Ki ngā mana whenua, ko Ngāi Tahu, ko Waitaha, ko Kāti Māmoe  anō nei aku mihi ki a koutou. Nōku te hōnore kia haere mai ki te ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Green light for 10 minute e-bus to Auckland Airport
    Transport Minister Michael Wood today marked the completion of upgrades to State Highway 20B which will give Aucklanders quick electric bus trips to and from the airport. The State Highway 20B Early Improvements project has added new lanes in each direction between Pukaki Creek Bridge and SH20 for buses and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Review into greyhound racing announced
    The Government is putting in place a review of the work being done on animal welfare and safety in the greyhound racing industry, Grant Robertson announced today. “While Greyhound Racing NZ has reported some progress in implementing the recommendations of the Hansen Report, recent incidents show the industry still has ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Road safety boosted by increased penalty for mobile use while driving
    The infringement fee for using a mobile phone while driving will increase from $80 to $150 from 30 April 2021 to encourage safer driving, Transport Minister Michael Wood announced today. Michael Wood said too many people are still picking up the phone while driving. “Police issued over 40,000 infringement notices ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Pacific mental wellbeing supported across Auckland and Wellington
    Pacific people in New Zealand will be better supported with new mental health and addiction services rolling out across the Auckland and Wellington regions, says Aupito William Sio.  “One size does not fit all when it comes to supporting the mental wellbeing of our Pacific peoples. We need a by ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Fresh approach proposed to Smokefree 2025
    New measures are being proposed to accelerate progress towards becoming a smokefree nation by 2025, Associate Minister of Health Dr Ayesha Verrall announced. “Smoking or exposure to second-hand smoke kills around 12 people a day in New Zealand. Recent data tells us New Zealand’s smoking rates continue to decrease, but ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Govt expands Mana Ake to provide more school-based mental wellbeing support
    More children will be able to access mental wellbeing support with the Government expansion of Mana Ake services to five new District Health Board areas, Health Minister Andrew Little says. The Health Minister made the announcement while visiting Homai School in Counties Manukau alongside Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Associate ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Record Number of People Move Into Work
    The Government’s COVID-19 response has meant a record number of people moved off a Benefit and into employment in the March Quarter, with 32,880 moving into work in the first three months of 2021. “More people moved into work last quarter than any time since the Ministry of Social Development ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Significant global progress made under Christchurch Call
    A stocktake undertaken by France and New Zealand shows significant global progress under the Christchurch Call towards its goal to eliminate terrorist and violent extremist content online.  The findings of the report released today reinforce the importance of a multi-stakeholder approach, with countries, companies and civil society working together to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New chair of interim TAB NZ Board appointed
    Racing Minister Grant Robertson has announced he is appointing Elizabeth Dawson (Liz) as the Chair of the interim TAB NZ Board. Liz Dawson is an existing Board Director of the interim TAB NZ Board and Chair of the TAB NZ Board Selection Panel and will continue in her role as ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government to phase out live exports by sea
    The Government has announced that the export of livestock by sea will cease following a transition period of up to two years, said Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor. “At the heart of our decision is upholding New Zealand’s reputation for high standards of animal welfare. We must stay ahead of the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Workshop on Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems – opening remarks
    WORKSHOP ON LETHAL AUTONOMOUS WEAPONS SYSTEMS Wednesday 14 April 2021 MINISTER FOR DISARMAMENT AND ARMS CONTROL OPENING REMARKS Good morning, I am so pleased to be able to join you for part of this workshop, which I’m confident will help us along the path to developing New Zealand’s national policy on ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Inter-prison kapa haka competition launched
    For the first time, all 18 prisons in New Zealand will be invited to participate in an inter-prison kapa haka competition, Corrections Minister Kelvin Davis announced today. The 2021 Hōkai Rangi Whakataetae Kapa Haka will see groups prepare and perform kapa haka for experienced judges who visit each prison and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government takes step forward on counter terrorism laws
    The Government has introduced the Counter-Terrorism Legislation Bill, designed to boost New Zealand's ability to respond to a wider range of terrorist activities. The Bill strengthens New Zealand’s counter-terrorism legislation and ensures that the right legislative tools are available to intervene early and prevent harm. “This is the Government’s first ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Carbon neutral government a step closer
    Coal boiler replacements at a further ten schools, saving an estimated 7,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide over the next ten years Fossil fuel boiler replacements at Southern Institute of Technology and Taranaki DHB, saving nearly 14,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide over the next ten years Projects to achieve a total ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Appointment of Chief Parliamentary Counsel
    Attorney-General David Parker today announced the appointment of Cassie Nicholson as Chief Parliamentary Counsel for a term of five years. The Chief Parliamentary Counsel is the principal advisor and Chief Executive of the Parliamentary Counsel Office (PCO).  She is responsible for ensuring PCO, which drafts most of New Zealand’s legislation, provides ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Emissions report shows urgent action needed
    Every part of Government will need to take urgent action to bring down emissions, the Minister for Climate Change, James Shaw said today in response to the recent rise in New Zealand’s greenhouse emissions. The latest annual inventory of New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions shows that both gross and net ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • NZ becomes first in world for climate reporting
    Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister David Clark says Aotearoa New Zealand has become the first country in the world to introduce a law that requires the financial sector to disclose the impacts of climate change on their business and explain how they will manage climate-related risks and opportunities. The Financial ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Awards celebrate the food and fibre sector employer excellence
    Exceptional employment practices in the primary industries have been celebrated at the Good Employer Awards, held this evening at Parliament. “Tonight’s awards provided the opportunity to celebrate and thank those employers in the food and fibres sector who have gone beyond business-as-usual in creating productive, safe, supportive, and healthy work ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Tourism Infrastructure Fund now open
    Applications are now invited from all councils for a slice of government funding aimed at improving tourism infrastructure, especially in areas under pressure given the size of their rating bases. Tourism Minister Stuart Nash has already signalled that five South Island regions will be given priority to reflect that jobs ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago