Speculation is mounting that state-owned scientific optics company, Kiwistar Optics is up for sale to a defence company.
The Herald has seen internal communication to staff from earlier this year, which says Kiwistar was in the "early stages" of exploring a sale.
The potential buyer, also named in the letter, is EOS, an Australian technology company which specialises in space and defence. EOS was approached for comment.
Neither the responsible minister, Megan Woods, nor Callaghan Innovation, the Crown entity that owns Kiwistar, will deny the company is up for sale.
Kiwistar Optics currently makes high-grade equipment for telescopes and scientific purposes, however it has worked on defence contracts before.
The company's website says it has also made lenses for a United States Navy navigation system.
No one at a Government level will discuss details of a potential sale.
"Talk about the sale of Kiwistar would go back to at least 2013," Woods said.
"Obviously, if there were any current deals on the table, I wouldn't be able to talk about it because of commercial sensitivity," she said.
Asked whether she herself would block any potential sale, Woods said that was a question for Callaghan Innovation.
A spokesperson for Callaghan Innovation said that they could not "answer or share any information" on the topic of a sale.
Questions over Kiwistar's future go back to the time when Woods was an opposition MP, and National's Steven Joyce was the minister responsible for Callaghan Innovation.
At the time, she was asking him whether plans were afoot to licence or sell KiwiStar Optics' intellectual property to the Australian government.
This was despite about $1.4 million in public funds being invested in Kiwi Star Optics to fund its research and development.
That speculation resurfaced in August this year, when National MP Chris Bishop asked written questions to Woods asking her whether Callaghan was "in negotiations to sell or transfer ownership of KiwiStar Optics".
Again, Woods said she could not reply, saying Kiwistar was "a commercial business".
"As such, I am unable to provide details of any confidential and commercial negotiations that may or may not be happening," she said.