More than five eyes on Trump - Bill English

Bill English isn't concerned Donald Trump will leak New Zealand's secrets because he has "plenty of people keeping an eye" on him.

The Prime Minister told The Nation on Saturday the media in the US is so focused on the embattled President, he's able to "easily keep an eye" on what he's doing.

"I can't imagine there's going to be intelligence that is, you know, precisely that relevant that it's going to end up on the President's desk in some way that he can misuse it or whatever," Mr English told Newshub political editor Patrick Gower.

"They'll sort all that out. We'll just focus on maintaining the relationship. I think there's plenty of people keeping an eye on Donald Trump, I mean, hour by hour. There's news about it, so we can easily keep an eye on it."

New Zealand is part of the Five Eyes spy network, with the US, UK, Canada and Australia.

Mr English says the passing of classified information to the Russian ambassador appears to have been a "spontaneous" decision on behalf of Mr Trump.

"Well, we haven't seen anything so far that indicates that there's some kind of systemic problem there… so we are quite happy to continue the kind of relationship that we have."

Waihopai spy base (file)
Waihopai spy base (file)

Mr English is concerned however Mr Trump's battles are taking his focus away from what's important for New Zealand and the world.

"It makes it hard for the US administration to focus on getting their economic growth going and providing stability in the region.

"Now, in the long-run, that is a critical part of the US role - to pull along the world economy, to provide regional stability where we can thrive. So it certainly would be better from our point of view if they are able to focus on those issues and a bit less of the politics."

Mr Trump and his presidential campaign team are the subject of a special counsel investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. The business mogul sensationally fired the head of the FBI earlier this month, and has been accused of doing so to try and nix the probe.

The past week has been a torrent of bad news for Mr Trump, with newspapers like The Washington Post and New York Times relentlessly pursuing the story.  

"There's a whole lot of politics going on there in the US. We don't focus on it hour by hour," says Mr English.