16 May 2014

NZ 'complicit' in spying on Brazil

8:46 am on 16 May 2014

A former Green Party MP says the Prime Minister should apologise to the Brazilian President after New Zealand spies were told about intercepted calls, texts and emails between her and her staff.

Documents from American whistleblower Edward Snowden show details about the monitoring were shared with New Zealand, as one of the so-called Five Eyes nations.

Intelligence critic, and former Green MP, Keith Locke, says that amounts to being complicit in the spying, and Prime Minister John Key, should apologise.

"That's not going to help out relations with Brazil and Mexico and I think one of the things John Key needs to do quickly, because this will be noticed, is apologise to the presidents of Brazil and Mexico for being complicit in spying upon them."

Keith Locke.

Keith Locke. Photo: Supplied

The documents in a new book, No Place to Hide, by journalist Glenn Greenwald, about Mr Snowden reveal a slideshow on how to operate a system that trawls through massive amounts of phone numbers, email addresses and online chat.

It was for agencies in the so-called Five-Eyes network which includes this country, Australia, Britain, the US and Canada.

One document invites those countries to "sniff it all, know it all, collect it all, process it all and exploit it all."

The former head of the government's spy agency meanwhile says staff need to be trained to the highest standards available, but they always act within the law.

Former director of GCSB Sir Bruce Ferguson told Morning Report there would be no point to the agency if staff were not trained to use the best tools available.

"And let's not forget, GCSB is there to protect New Zealand's security, it's not there to spy on New Zealanders."

Sir Bruce says the GCSB did not and does not routinely collect metadata.