Key: Spy ties intact following Brexit

Key: Spy ties intact following Brexit

When in Rome, Prime Minister John Key takes the Maserati, and when in Rome Mr Key talks about the United Kingdom leaving Europe - a lot.

It's because in Europe right now all roads lead to Brexit.

Mr Key has effectively rubbished fears drummed up during the referendum campaign that the United Kingdom's security and intelligence will suffer because of Brexit.

He says the United Kingdom won't lose influence in the powerful Five Eyes network of spies and that Europe would be unlikely to cut the United Kingdom off completely.

New Zealand may seem small fry and far removed from the epic United Kingdom and Europe debate, but not when it comes to security and intelligence - a major focus of the referendum campaign.

As part of the Five Eyes Network, we're in the world's most powerful spy club. It's us, the United States, Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom.

"We've always had a situation with the five eyes partners - pretty much on a wholesale basis we share information with each other, sometime you keep information back but generally they'll share information," says Mr Key.

Pre-referendum, remain campaigners from the old British Prime Minister David Cameron to the new, Theresa May, could be heard up talking up security threats if the United Kingdom voted to leave.

"It was always better for [the] UK to be part of Europe on balance for a number of factors," says Mr Key.

And intelligence is one of those factors.

But according to Mr Key, having the UK out of the EU club doesn't make it any less important in the spy club.

Former top spies and military brass from the United Kingdom and United States suggested Britain leaving Europe would undermine its security.

The concern was that European friends would stop sharing intelligence with Britain and although Mr Key doesn't know the details - he thinks that's unlikely.

Mr Key says spying and sharing is about safety first and that Brexit won't change that.