Tova O'Brien: Speculation Five Eyes will become Four Eyes is completely ridiculous

OPINION: The speculation that Five Eyes will become Four Eyes is completely ridiculous.

There is no way New Zealand is going to be given the boot from an 80-year-old spying alliance simply because (shock horror) we want to exercise independent foreign policy.

It stems from a foreign policy speech Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta gave on Monday when she described our relationship with China as the "Taniwha and the Dragon".

She afterwards told media she's uncomfortable with Five Eyes - that's New Zealand, the US, UK, Canada and Australia - ganging up and putting out statements together on political matters, like China's dodgy human rights record.

The Five Eyes is supposed to be about security and intelligence - not politics and diplomacy.

The speech was actually geared at saying, 'Hey China, you mean a lot to us, and we'll agree on a lot, but actually, there's a lot that differentiates us and we're gonna call you out on it'.

And in fact, she did call China out on a few things in the speech - albeit, very diplomatically.

When NZ First was in Government and held the Foreign Affairs and Defence portfolios, New Zealand was definitely more hawkish in its approach to China and China had a bunch of hissy fits when we said things it didn't like.

Mahuta's speech was about saying, 'Sometimes we're gonna say things you don't like - chill'. But also, Labour is taking us back to the slightly less critical days of the John Key Government.

No one in Five Eyes appears to be freaking out.

Newshub understands that in the last conversations our Prime Minister has had with UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, when Five Eyes came up, it was raised proactively by Jacinda Ardern, and they didn't utter a peep about Five Eyes expulsion or anything like it.

As for the US and Canada, she hasn't had those chief-to-chief conversations lately, but no issues have been raised with New Zealand at any level.

Tova O'Brien is Newshub's political editor.