A New Zealand academic who made international waves researching China's international influence campaigns has linked a number of recent break-ins to her work.

University of Canterbury professor Anne-Marie Brady, speaking today from Christchurch to the Australian Parliament's Intelligence and Security Committee in Canberra, outlined three recent events which caused her concern.

"I had a break-in in my office last December. I received a warning letter, this week, that I was about to be attacked. And yesterday I had a break-in at my house," she said.

She said this weeks' burglary at her Upper Riccarton home was particularly suspicious.


"I had three laptops - including one used for work - stolen. And phones. [Other] valuables weren't taken. Police are now investigating that."

Brady also said her employer at Canterbury University had been pressured following earlier work on China's Antarctic policy and - following a recent visit to China - sources she had talked to were subjected to visits from authorities.

"People I've associated with in China, just last year, were questioned by the Chinese Ministry of State Security about their association with me."

These disclosures came after New South Wales MP Julian Leeser asked Brady whether her recent profile on the subject had resulted in any blowback.

"Has that been difficult for you personally, and have you felt any difficulties as a result of being outspoken about Chinese political influence?"

Her outspokenness became extremely public after she published in September a "Magic Weapons" paper using New Zealand as a case study in explaining China's extra-state exertion of influence.

The paper highlighted a river of campaign donations to governing parties, and how a cluster of former senior politicians - including former prime ministers and mayors - and family members of current government ministers had been appointed to boards of state-owned Chinese banks, companies and think tanks.

The research prompted Winston Peters, then on the campaign trail as leader of New Zealand First, to call for an inquiry and point to Australia's introduction of legislation to curb China's influence in domestic politics.


Brady was speaking to a parliamentary committee considering that legislation - that would amongst other things ban foreign donations to political parties - and said New Zealand's handling of the issue seemed to be lagging.

"We're a couple of years behind you on this journey," she said.

Brady told the committee China's non-state activity was co-ordinated under the banner of a "united front" and represented a broad attempt to sway both public opinion and political elite globally to support the rising superpower's assertive new foreign policy.

"Australia and New Zealand appear to have been a test zone for 'united front' activities in recent years. And it's now reached a critical level," she said.

Contacted for comment, the police, citing complaint privacy, declined to answer questions about Brady's break-ins.

Questions to the Security Intelligence Service were met with a statement from
director Rebecca Kitteridge, who said: "I cannot comment on individual cases".