New Zealand Defence Force soldier facing espionage, dishonesty, objectionable publication charges

A New Zealand Defence Force soldier is facing multiple charges of alleged espionage.

The Linton-based soldier was arrested in December and allegedly has ties to far-right body-building club Wargus Christi.

Security expert Robert Patman said New Zealanders "shouldn't be complacent" on this person's alleged far-right history.

"One of the things that was striking after the Christchurch atrocity is that there were a number of people appearing on social media actually applauding what happened," he said.

The soldier's name and other identifying details are currently suppressed.

The 17 charges they're facing under the Armed Forces Discipline Act are:

  • Four charges of espionage
  • Two charges of attempted espionage
  • Two charges of possession of an objectionable publication
  • Three charges of accessing a computer system for a dishonest purpose
  • One charge of doing an act likely to prejudice Service discipline or bring discredit on the Service
  • One charge of negligently failing to perform a duty
  • Four charges of failing to comply with written orders.

These charges were laid by the Director of Military Prosecutions in the Court Martial of New Zealand.

"It certainly implies that this person has been using info and providing it in a way that has not been authorised by the military," Patman said.

The soldier remains on open arrest at Linton Military Camp. That means they must remain in uniform when not in their quarters, must not consume alcohol, and may perform normal duties.

"It seems to be quite a significant development and of course it is particularly serious in light of what we've seen," Patman said.

Defence Minister Peeni Henare declined to comment since the matter is before the courts.

A date for the Court Martial is yet to be set.