Leaders of Pacific nations are beginning to speak out about claims New Zealand has been keeping too close an eye on their people and one prime minister has called the move a breach of trust.

Tongan Prime Minister 'Akilisi Pohiva, who was elected last December, said he would raise the issue in his first meeting with Prime Minister John Key.

"It means New Zealand breached the trust that has been established between the two countries," he told Radio NZ's Checkpoint programme.

However, Mr Pohiva said if New Zealand authorities felt the information they had gathered needed to be shared with other world leaders, then that was up to them.

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Russel Norman gives his thoughts on revelations that New Zealand is spying on our Pacific neighbours.

"Remember Tonga is small and we have nothing to hide. It may be a serious matter for superpowers."

Samoan Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi slammed the media for sensationalising the issue and supported any monitoring of his country.

"Samoa doesn't have anything to hide. Our daily lives are an open book. We follow good governance principles of transparency and accountability," he said.

"As the leader of this country, I maintain frank and open lines of communication with all our diplomatic connections."

Tuilaepa acknowledged the matters of a small island nation in the Pacific probably had no significant value to the world's top leaders.

"We are not a security risk to any small island nearby and I'm sure the phone conversations by an old matai [chief] and his son in New Zealand for a taulaga [money] envelope will not be of interest to the FBI of the great USA."

Commentators have also pushed the idea that China's growing influence within the Pacific - particularly in Samoa and Fiji - has a lot to do with monitoring information in the region.

Auckland University Professor of Pacific Studies Damon Salesa said there was a shift happening within the region that world leaders were starting to catch on to.

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The increase in spying was in keeping with "the intensification of interest in the Pacific with the rise of China," he said. "We should consider it disappointing we are acting this way among our closest allies but most people working in this sphere are not naive about it."

Requests for comment from leaders from Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Tuvalu, Nauru, Kiribati, French Polynesia, Niue, Solomon Islands and the Cook Islands went unanswered last night.

- additional reporting: David Fisher