Jacinda Ardern denies intelligence pointed to China in Anne-Marie Brady burglaries

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has rubbished claims made by an Australian current affairs TV show that intelligence pointed to China over the burglary of Canterbury University Professor Anne-Marie Brady.

Australia's Four Corners programme said conclusions had been made behind closed doors in Canberra that China's spy agency was behind the February 2018 burglaries of Brady.

The current affairs programme said: "Government sources have confirmed to Four Corners that intelligence assessments identified China's spy service as the prime suspect behind the intimidation of Brady."

That's despite a year-long New Zealand police investigation into the three burglaries of Brady's home and office, which concluded in February on the basis that it was "unresolved".

The Prime Minister had a different view to Four Corners when asked about it on Tuesday. She told Newshub she had seen "nothing - no evidence - to support the claims that were made in that story".

"If I saw any evidence or had evidence produced for me that demonstrated that there was a case to be answered around foreign interference, I would've acted on that," Ardern said.

Anne-Marie Brady.
Anne-Marie Brady. Photo credit: ABC / Four Corners

"The police have issued their findings that there were no specific organisations or individuals they could find responsibility for, and again, I have seen no evidence to support what has been claimed in that story."

Four Corners said Government sources confirmed intelligence assessments identified China's spy service, the Ministry of State Security, as the prime suspect behind the intimidation of Brady.

Ardern said it "wasn't quite clear whether they were referring to Australian or New Zealand government sources".

In an interview with Four Corners, Brady said there were many indications that China's spy agency had been behind the burglaries. She pointed to how her broken laptop was taken "of no value to anybody, unless you want to know who my contacts are".

She also mentioned how the burner phone she had taken to China went missing, while cash and other valuables were left behind.

The burglaries of Brady's home and office last year came the day before she was due to appear at an Australian select committee considering measures to counter foreign interference.

Her 2017 paper Magic Weapons described the United Front, a Chinese Government group aimed at promoting the policies and ideals of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to control outside forces.

Jacinda Ardern at Parliament in Wellington.
Jacinda Ardern at Parliament in Wellington. Photo credit: Newshub

The subsequent burglaries sparked an outcry from academics around the world, who penned an open letter decrying China's alleged involvement.

The Canterbury University professor wanted to make a submission to the Justice Select Committee in New Zealand regarding its inquiry into foreign interference in the 2017 general election and 2016 local elections.

It made headlines after Labour MPs on the evenly split select committee last month voted against Brady appearing on the grounds her request was late. The committee chair, Labour MP Raymond Luo, later said he would consider her submission.

This week the Justice Select Committee in Parliament will receive a briefing from New Zealand's spy agencies on the topic of foreign interference.

China-New Zealand relations appeared to have soured recently after the Prime Minister's official trip was postponed late last year but last week Ardern travelled to Beijing and met with President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang who said they considered New Zealand a friend.