27 Mar 2015

Solomons official wants GCSB inquiry expanded

11:23 am on 27 March 2015

A special secretary to the former Prime Minister of Solomon Islands says an inquiry into New Zealand's spy agency's activities in the Pacific should also investigate the spying of people such as himself.

The National Parliament of Solomon Islands overlooking Honiara City

The National Parliament of Solomon Islands overlooking Honiara City Photo: RNZ Koroi Hawkins

The Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security, Cheryl Gwyn, has announced that she will investigate complaints that the GCSB intercepted the communications of New Zealanders working or travelling in the Pacific.

Earlier this month, documents released by the United States whistleblower Edward Snowden showed that the GCSB set up a listening post at its embassy in Honiara to tap the phone network and collect emails from named government employees.

One of them is Dr Philip Tagini, who says his constitutional rights were breached, and wants the Solomon Islands government to take a stand.

"I think the government has very close relations with New Zealand and we are very dependent on New Zealand for aid and a lot of assistance. You know, to a certain extent that's understandable but that does not give anybody a right and the least we'd be expecting is for the government to take a position on that."

Dr Tagini says he has been provided no explanation by New Zealand's government for spying on him.

"It's not the way you do business, and should not be condoned. It's dreadful and at the same time a betrayal, the fact that we have an alliance and know each other very well, we've very open and transparent about matters that affect both New Zealand and Solomons, and I think that has been exploited."

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