The Government could be treading through dangerous waters with the French if spying claims prove to be true, a security analyst says.
Paul Buchanan told TV ONE's Breakfast programme today that claims about New Zealand's Government Communications Security Bureau spying on our Pacific neighbours may anger the French.
He says that while intelligence sharing is "routine," spying on French territories like New Caledonia and French Polynesia could become a diplomatic issue.
"New Zealand would need French permission to do so," Mr Buchanan told Breakfast.
His comments come after leaked documents held by American fugitive and whistleblower Edward Snowden allegedly reveal that the Government is spying on the Pacific and sending data onto the United States.
The details come today from the Intercept news site, which holds Snowden's documents, investigative journalist Nicky Hager and the NZ Herald.
The documents claim that New Zealand spies on nearly two dozen countries around the world, mostly in the Pacific, by monitoring emails, phones and social media and sent by the GCSB onto the US National Security Agency where it is merged with data captured from around the world.
Yesterday, Mr Hager said he had spent the last year working through information collected by ex-US National Security Agency contractor Snowden.
"These are very secret agencies. I think there'll be people who work in security, Defence, even parts of intelligence who won't know a lot of the programmes which are going on," he said ahead of the release
And while Mr Buchanan says spying claims will come as no surprise to people in the intelligence business, ONE News Pacific Correspondent Barbara Dreaver predicts that our Pacific neighbours may feel unsettled by the claims.
"There will be some discomfort but it all depends on what information was collected and what will be revealed," she told Breakfast this morning.