28 Mar 2012

Greens question Huawei's link with trans-Tasman cable

1:46 pm on 28 March 2012

The Green Party says the involvement of Chinese technology company Huawei in a trans-Tasman internet cable could cause problems between Australia and New Zealand.

Huawei has been blocked from winning contracts to upgrade Australia's broadband network due to security concerns and from doing some business deals in the United States due to security concerns.

The New Zealand Government says it is not concerned about contracting the company to help its rollout of ultra-fast broadband.

Communications and Information Technology Minister Amy Adams says the Government is aware there is a proposal to construct a trans- Tasman cable.

Ms Adams on Wednesday would not comment further on Huawei's involvement, except to say that it is a well-established player in the industry.

Green Party MP Gareth Hughes questions whether Australia would be willing to use technology it does not trust.

Mr Hughes says he understands that Huawei has proposed to fund entirely the cable between Auckland and Sydney.

"That must be really up in the air now. If Australia won't let them operate domestically, why would they let them link up this very strategic and important cable between New Zealand and Australia?"

The Green Party is insisting an investigation is needed to ensure New Zealand isn't vulnerable to spying through Huawei's involvement in broadband contracts.

Mr Hughes says Parliament's Intelligence and Security Committee needs to ensure there are sufficient protections in place - regardless of the Government's assertions that security checks are adequate.