New Zealand’s Intelligence Reforms, the Five Eyes Alliance, and the Huawei Controversy

Friday 7 June at 6.00pm, at the Presbyterian Community Centre, 91 Tenby Street, Wanaka.
Professor Robert G. Patman, Department of Politics, University of Otago.

Professor Patman has served as Head of the Department of Politics during the period 2013-2016, and he is the author of 12 books, the most recent being New Zealand and the World, Past, Present, and Future (World Scientific Publishers 2018). He is currently writing a volume called Rethinking the Global Impact of 9/11 (Palgrave Macmillan 2020). He is a Fulbright Senior Scholar, an Honorary Professor of the New Zealand Defence Command and Staff College, and provides regular contributions to the national and international media on global issues and events.

Professor Patman has spoken in Wanaka before and his return visit is welcome.

Abstact of presentation: Though it has a long history, New Zealand’s membership of the Five Eyes intelligence network only came to wider public attention on a sustained basis after the revelations made by Edward Snowden in 2013. Revelations about the extraordinary surveillance capabilities of the US National Security Agency intersected with growing public concern about the activities of New Zealand’s
intelligence agencies at home. On the one hand, legislation was passed to extend the powers of the Government Communications Security Bureau, the country’s external intelligence organisation, to include internal surveillance. On the other hand, the new post of Deputy Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security was instituted in 2014 to monitor the various intelligence agencies, and an independent inquiry was conducted into their activities. This led in 2016 to further legislative reforms, which more clearly defined the responsibilities of the agencies and enhanced their accountability. This presentation looks at the results of these changes with regard to New Zealand’s role as a member of the Five Eyes. It then focuses on Chinese influence in New Zealand and the South Pacific in the past decade, and in particular the example of the recent controversy over the alleged links between the technology company Huawei and the Chinese intelligence services.