Claire Trevett

Claire Trevett is the New Zealand Herald’s deputy political editor.

Key: NZ unlikely to get caught in spy objections

Labour leader David Cunliffe and Prime Minister John Key. Photos / Marty Melville/Mark Mitchell
Labour leader David Cunliffe and Prime Minister John Key. Photos / Marty Melville/Mark Mitchell

Prime Minister John Key does not believe New Zealand will get caught up in objections being raised at this week's United Nations General Assembly to the United States' spying on other countries.

He said New Zealand would look at a call by Brazil for the United Nations to regulate intelligence gathering, but said Brazil's objections to spying by the USA National Security Agency were not new.

He said he did not believe countries like Brazil would extend their objections to New Zealand because of the Five Eyes intelligence sharing with the US, United Kingdom, Canada and Australia.

"Those issues have never been raised with us and we're quite comfortable with the actions we've taken."

In her address to the United Nations General Assembly this morning, Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff castigated the United States over the revelations that the NSA had spied on foreign diplomats and corporates, saying it was illegal and unacceptable.

"Friendly governments and societies that seek to build a true strategic partnership, as in our case, cannot allow recurring illegal actions to take place as if they were normal.

They are unacceptable. Brazil will redouble its efforts to adopt legislation, technologies and mechanisms to protect us from the illegal interception of communications and data.

My Government will do everything within its reach to defend the human rights of all Brazilians and to protect the fruits borne from the ingenuity of our workers and our companies."

She called on the United Nations to take action to regulate the conduct of states with interception technology and said Brazil would put up a proposal for a multilateral framework to govern Internet use and ensure data was protected.

Mr Key said he had not had time to analyse Rousseff's comments but her objections to the US spy agency's actions were not new - she had cancelled a proposed trip to the US in protest.

"Obviously she's taken a pretty strong view on the fact that its possible the United States had undertaken some activity looking at Brazil."

Mr Key has repeatedly refused to say what information New Zealand shared with its Five Eyes partners, but has said that the new GCSB Act will not allow mass surveillance of New Zealanders, including metadata, without a warrant.

- NZ Herald

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