Families of John Key, Jacinda Ardern tracked by data company linked to Chinese military - report

New Zealand politicians and their family members have reportedly been tracked by a data company with links to the Chinese military.

A leak from the company, Zhenhua Data, reveals the classified Chinese database has profiles for former Prime Minister John Key's son, as well as current Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's parents and sister, according to leak entries seen by NZME.

"Our New Zealand politicians are being targeted on a grand scale," Chinese politics expert Professor Anne-Marie Brady told the publication.

Paul Buchanan, a commentator in intelligence, told NZME the data company could be "looking for vulnerabilities".

According to the report, Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters' children have been tracked, as well as National MP Todd McClay's mother. McClay was Trade Minister under the previous Key Government.

The listings include details such as town of residence, social media account details and job titles. Several of the listings are out of date, including a picture of Key's son as an early teen and profiles on now irrelevant politicians' partners, according to the NZ Herald. The last entries were in 2018. 

Prof Brady, from the University of Canterbury, has long been suspicious of Chinese interference in New Zealand. She's previously warned MPs about what she's described as a foreign interference agenda by Chinese President Xi Jinping to bring the Chinese diaspora in New Zealand "under control".   

In a 2017 paper Magic Weapons, she warned of a "concerted foreign-influence campaign" by the Chinese Communist Party.

She suspected her paper criticising China led to her property being burgled in 2018.