New Zealand and its desirable position as a Pacific Island nation leaves it vulnerable to be infiltrated by countries like Russia and China, a report has revealed.

The report detailed highlights from a Academic Outreach Workshop published by the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS).

But Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the report wasn't the view of the CSIS and she took her "steer on these matters from official channels, not opinions expressed at a workshop".

The report is titled "China and the Age of Strategic Rivalry" and explores the various ways China is trying to infiltrate nations of the Five Eyes international security and intelligence network.


"Small states such as New Zealand are very vulnerable to foreign interference: the media has limited resources and lacks competition; the tertiary education sector is small and, despite the laws on academic freedom, easily intimidated or co-opted."

"New Zealand is valuable to China, as well as to other states such as Russia, as a soft underbelly through which to access Five Eyes intelligence."

New Zealand provided a "vivid" case study of China's willingness to use economic ties to interfere with the political life of a partner country, the report said.

"An aggressive strategy has sought to influence political decision-making, pursue unfair advantages in trade and business, suppress criticism of China, facilitate espionage opportunities, and influence overseas Chinese communities."

New Zealand was of interest to China because of our responsibility for defence and foreign affairs for not just our country but also The Cook Island, Niue and Tokelau.

It also outline New Zealand proximity to Antarctica, the fact New Zealand supplies 24 per cent of China's milk, and unexplored gas and oil resources.

"For a small state like New Zealand, which is a former colony of one great power and has been under the shelter of another for more than sixty years, it can often be a challenge
as to how to defend the country against foreign political interference.

"It takes the political will of the government of the day and popular support to do so. If New Zealand can find a way to better manage its economic and political relationship with the PRC, it could become a model to other Western states."


Ardern said New Zealand relationship with Canada was "very strong", especially with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

"I have had no indication that our Five Eyes membership is under question, from Canada or any other of our partners, nor have I heard that it has been raised with any of my colleagues."

Ardern stressed the report was views "expressed during, and short papers contributed by speakers at, a workshop organised by the Canadian Security Intelligence Service as part of its academic outreach program".

"Offered as a means to support ongoing discussion, the report does not constitute an analytical document, nor does it represent any formal position of the organisations involved."

When asked what specifically was being done to review the country's safeguards she said the Government made "independent decisions based on evidence and the best option for New Zealand".

"For example, there is a national security test in our law governing space and high altitude activities.

"Parliament has regulated for national interests in the telecommunications area [TICSA]. We have strong provisions to counter money laundering and the financing of terrorism."