17 May 2017

NZ still confident in Five Eyes after Trump reports - PM

5:16 pm on 17 May 2017

New Zealand's confidence in the Five Eyes relationship remains strong, despite reports Donald Trump might have shared intelligence information with Russia, says Prime Minister Bill English.

NZ Prime Minister Bill English speaks to reporters in Japan.

NZ Prime Minister Bill English speaks to reporters in Japan. Photo: RNZ / Chris Bramwell

US media outlets have been reporting Mr Trump shared top secret material with Russia's foreign minister and ambassador when they met in the White House last week.

Mr English said there were a lot of reports and speculation around the events, but at this stage the government had not seen anything to indicate there was a risk to New Zealand's intelligence information.

He had received some initial advice on the recent events, but it would take some time before the details became clear.

"The advice so far has been that nothing's occurred that means we should significantly alter how we deal with our Five Eyes relationships or our intelligence.

"Of course we'd keep an open mind if anything did come up that indicated that we should be acting differently to ensure the security of our citizens."

Mr English said the reports had not changed New Zealand's confidence in the relationship.

"There's a lot of speculation going on here and we don't want to be driven by the most recent headline on the cable TV news.

"We've got deep long-term relationships with the US intelligence systems, at times it's been useful to protect New Zealand citizens at home and abroad, and we don't seen any particular reason to change that."

Mr English said New Zealand would not be taking positions on what the President of the United States could or could not say based on the products of its own intelligence system, just as he would not expect Mr Trump to do the same with New Zealand and its security information.

The Five Eyes is the intelligence-sharing alliance between the US, the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.