New Zealand Government ministers visiting China lobbied on behalf of Huawei - Andrew Little

GCSB Minister Andrew Little.
GCSB Minister Andrew Little. Photo credit: Getty

Andrew Little says Government ministers have been lobbied on behalf of Huawei while visiting China. 

The GCSB Minister warned Huawei not to threaten the Government after the Chinese company wrote a letter saying it may pull out of New Zealand completely if it was prevented from working on 5G upgrades.  

"It certainly looks like a threat, although I regard it as a pretty idle one given that they have pretty extensive business interests in New Zealand," Little told Talk Magic Tuesday afternoon.

Little says various New Zealand ministers had been lobbied on behalf of Huawei while on trips to China. 

It had "turned up in reports from various ministers who had been up there that this issue has been raised," he said. 

"I know that some ministers in their exchanges during their visits to China have had representation about the issue from Chinese government officials.

"And it would be wrong for the Chinese government or anybody other than Spark, who we're dealing with, to make any such representations."

He said he couldn't remember "off the top of my head" which ministers had been approached, but said it was possible it was the Prime Minister or the Deputy Prime Minister.

"It could have been either, or possibly even both." 

He said all ministers followed protocol when approached. 

"We have a process, it's under our legislation, it's very clearly laid out what that process is, and it is not for technology providers or the governments of the countries in which they're domiciled to try to interfere with that process."

Numerous countries around the world have expressed concern for using Huawei's infrastructure for 5G networks due to the company's links to the Chinese Government.

In 2018 the GCSB rejected Spark's proposed 5G network using Huawei cellphone equipment, citing significant risks to national security. 

But the company maintains it is being singled out for its country of origin and is no threat to New Zealanders.


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