Govt spies didn't break law during WTO bid, report says

Tim Groser, unsuccessful in his bid to head the World Trade Organisation, is now New Zealand's ambassador to the US.
Tim Groser, unsuccessful in his bid to head the World Trade Organisation, is now New Zealand's ambassador to the US. Photo credit: AAP

New Zealand spy boss Cheryl Gwyn has found the country's spies were involved in Tim Groser's unsuccessful campaign to head the World Trade Organisation - however, they did not act unlawfully.

Ms Gwyn, the inspector-general of intelligence and security, found in her investigation that the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) "had a statutory responsibility to provide foreign intelligence assistance in support of New Zealand's foreign policy objectives".

Therefore, they did not act unlawfully or inappropriately by assisting the campaign.

Mr Groser, now New Zealand's ambassador to the US, accepted the GCSB's offer to spy on competitors after meeting with the agency's boss at the time, Ian Fletcher.

The Government supported Mr Groser's campaign because if he was selected for the position it would have had a "significant impact on New Zealand's economic wellbeing", according to the report.

"The GCSB had reasonable grounds for accepting that the relevant foreign intelligence it provided contributed to New Zealand's international wellbeing or economic wellbeing."

 Cheryl Gwyn's report found the country's spies were involved in Tim Groser's unsuccessful campaign to head the World Trade Organisation, but didn't act unlawfully.
Cheryl Gwyn's report found the country's spies were involved in Tim Groser's unsuccessful campaign to head the World Trade Organisation, but didn't act unlawfully. Photo credit: Newshub/ Simon Wong

Ms Gwyn said she did not express any view on whether contributing to New Zealand's economic wellbeing was a proper statutory objective for the GCSB - that was a question for Parliament and had been considered in the recent review of governing legislation.

Newshub.

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