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'Backdoor spooks' damage NZ's relationship with Pacific - Norman

Russel Norman thinks New Zealand's relationship with our Pacific neighbours could be in jeopardy if claims the Government is spying on them prove to be true.

The Government is being accused of spying on its Pacific neighbours and sharing the information with the US. Source: 1 NEWS

The outgoing Greens co-leader weighed in on the matter after documents leaked this morning claimed the Government Communications Security Bureau was spying and passing on data to the United States.

"I think it's extremely destructive of our relationships with the Pacific," Mr Norman said.

He says that spying on them would be an act of betrayal after agreeing to be the voice of small nations when the Pacific voted for NZ on the UN Security Council.

"John Key knocks on the front door of these small island states as says we're your friend, meanwhile around the backdoor the spooks are stealing their information," he said.

This morning, leaked documents held by Edward Snowden claim that the GCSB spies on nearly two dozen countries around the world, mostly in the Pacific, by monitoring emails, phones and social media.

Information is then reportedly collected and sent onto the United States' National Security Agency where it is merged with data captured from around the world.

Investigative journalist Nicky Hager, who is behind the leak to the New Zealand Herald, said he had spent the last year working through information collected by ex-US National Security Agency contractor Snowden.

Speaking to Radio NZ this morning, Mr Hager says New Zealand's involvement in the Five Eyes surveillance alliance is not "because we care" but rather "it's something we can take to the table to belong to the club".

"We're kind of selling them out for no better reason than&shows that we're useful members of the alliance and we get to play golf and have meetings in Washington," Mr Hager said.

The Five Eyes Alliance is an intelligence gaining group comprising New Zealand, Australia, Canada, Britain and the United States.