22 Mar 2015

McCully casts doubt on spying claims

9:56 am on 22 March 2015

The Foreign Affairs minister, Murray McCully, says documents showing New Zealand spied on government officials in Solomon Islands may be fake.

Documents released by American whistleblower Edward Snowden show New Zealand set up a listening post in its embassy in Honiara to tap the mobile phone network and collect emails from government employees.

Journalist Nicky Hager, who has reviewed the documents, said they were genuine, but Mr McCully said they were taken some time ago and many are old and out-of-date and may be fabricated.

One of those employees was the Solomon Island's prime minister's former chief of staff, Robert Iroga.

Although Mr McCully, has cast doubt on the documents, Mr Iroga said he should not be downplaying this.

He said New Zealand may have passed on communications to China about how the Solomons was using aid from Taiwan.