The Green Party is calling for an investigation into Huawei, the Chinese corporation that has contracts to supply parts for the Ultra-Fast Broadband and Rural Broadband Initiatives after Australia blocked them from participating in their broadband project. This has been raised in the NZ media and Russel has written to the Chair of the Intelligence and Security Committee (of which he is a member) to request that they look at the concerns raised about Huawei. Some people are dismissing our concerns so I want to clarify our position.
Our call for an investigation into Huawei being part of the Ultra-Fast Broadband roll out and Rural Broadband initiative is not because Huawei is Chinese. It is because of the links between Huawei and the authoritarian Chinese Government. The Chinese Government does not allow democracy or free speech, it routinely imprisons and tortures its citizens without trial, kills and imprisons Tibetans and any other minority groups that dare to speak out about their situation. It is engaged in systematic spying on its own citizens as well as dissidents overseas as well as supporting other undemocratic regimes pursue their own surveillance operations. It is also well established it launches cyber-attacks on other countries, including New Zealand.
We have serious concerns about the influence the Chinese Government has over Chinese companies (see The Party by Richard McGregor). The Chinese Government is aggressively pursuing a strategy to buy up land and infrastructure not just in New Zealand but around the globe. Do we really want to sell off our land, our assets and our infrastructure to companies that operate under the direction of the Chinese Government? The US government operating in a society with more democracy and free speech manages to force companies to hold and turn over data and information. The Chinese government has much more ability to apply pressure to companies operating in China.
There have been genuine concerns raised that if we give Huawei access to all the data on our broadband network then the Chinese dictatorship will gain full access to all data in NZ travelling on the network. That seems to me a reason for concern and for investigation.
Being opposed to the Chinese Government is not to be anti-Chinese any more than our vocal criticism of the US Government foreign policy over many years makes us anti-American or our vocal opposition to the dominance of the Aussie banks makes us anti-Australian.
We have equally raised concerns about US companies in the past as they hand data over to the US Government which has its own problems.
Our priority is making sure this significant taxpayer investment isn’t opening ourselves up to cyber-attack or spying by foreign governments, from whatever nation they may be.