New Zealand faces 'possible' election hacking - Bill English

Bill English says it's possible New Zealand will face more cyber-attacks ahead of this year's election, however he's talking down the risk of hackers influencing the outcome.

The Prime Minister is in Europe where governments are boosting their defences against aggressive political cyber-attacks like those seen in the US.

Like New Zealand; France, Germany, Italy, and the Netherlands all go to the polls in 2017 - and all are worried about the risk of aggressive cyber-attacks influencing the results.

US spies have found Russia ordered an 'influence campaign' during the US election, and President-elect Donald Trump has finally acknowledged Russia did hack Hillary Clinton's campaign emails.

Mr English says our elections could be hacked as well.

"It's possible I suppose - just why someone would want to interfere with our elections would be hard to imagine."

One of the reasons could be our involvement in the Five Eyes system. We hold one of just five seats on the world's most powerful spy network, along with the US, UK, Australia and Canada.

However, Mr English doesn't believe our involvement in this spying system makes us more vulnerable.

"I wouldn't think so, no - it actually means we can work with others who can understand our systems and get the benefit of their expertise," he says.

And Mr English doesn't know if we face any specific danger from Russian spying.

"Look I really don't know," Mr English says.

"One of New Zealand's benefits is because we're a long way away and fairly small we don't attract too much attention."