Top Scoops

Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | Scoop News | Wellington Scoop | Community Scoop | Search

 

Minister cautions Huawei against 'heavying' NZ government

Craig McCulloch, Deputy Political Editor

GCSB Minister Andrew Little has cautioned Huawei against "heavying the government" with threats to exit New Zealand.

The Chinese telecom giant last month sent a letter to ministers, including Mr Little, warning it could be forced to pull out of the country if it was blocked from working on 5G upgrades.

The missive - which was leaked to NZME - said such an approach would have "a significant effect" on Huawei's revenue and create a "real risk" causing the company to leave the New Zealand market.

The Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) last year rejected a proposal from Spark to partner with Huawei to deliver 5G, citing security concerns; Spark is still deciding whether to reapply.

Andrew Little Photo: RNZ / Ana Tovey

Mr Little told RNZ he had read the "lengthy letter" from Huawei NZ managing director Yanek Fan and referred it to his officials to respond.

"It's not appropriate for me to engage with them," Mr Little said.

"It is not the job of the GCSB, nor me as Minister, to engage with technology suppliers."

The GCSB was tasked with making such decisions on a "case by case basis" directly with network owners, not suppliers, Mr Little said.

"The way [Huawei] get to work out a place for them and enhance their commercial interest is to work with their client, in this case Spark.

"It is not to work with the government and try to leverage their commercial interest and commercial advantage by heavying the government."

Asked whether he was concerned about the prospect of Huawei exiting New Zealand, Mr Little downplayed the possibility.

"It's not uncommon - you get threats like that. Huawei has other clients in New Zealand and, look, they will make their business decisions," he said.

"They have been supplying technology of certain types to telcos ... they are currently doing that. They can continue to do that.

"In the end, the [GCSB process] is there to make sure that the national security needs of New Zealand are not compromised by the use of new technology in our telecommunications networks."

Huawei deputy managing director Andrew Bowater yesterday told RNZ the letter was not intended as a threat and it was "disappointing" it had leaked.

"We still want to be here ... we still have contracts in place and we will continue to support our customers and see those through.

"But what we're saying is New Zealand risks missing out on the best quality technology."

He said the letter laid out the potential "economic impact" on the country if Huawei was forced to exit the market.

"There's been work done by think tanks on the economic impact on the economy and on the wider industry: an increase in costs, an increase in price for consumers, and frankly a more mediocre performance," he said.

"We've done nothing wrong and there's never been any evidence of wrongdoing laid out, so we'd like a fair shot at the market."

Mr Bowater said government ministers had a responsibility to come up with some answers.

"They do govern the country, so ultimately it is their call."


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Top Scoops Headlines

 

There Is A Field: Reimagining Biodiversity In Aotearoa

We are in a moment of existential peril, with interconnected climate and biodiversity crises converging on a global scale to drive most life on Earth to the brink of extinction… These massive challenges can, however, be reframed as a once in a lifetime opportunity to fundamentally change how humanity relates to nature and to each other. Read on The Dig>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Barriers Facing Female Politicians

On the current evidence though, voters are less likely to regard a female politician as ‘likeable’ than a male one, and – even worse – this perception tends to become a barrier that only female candidates in the main, have to face. More>>

The Detail: Britain's Trump Is Now Its Prime Minister

Guardian journalist James Murray says Boris Johnson wears the hat that works, depending on what he’s trying to achieve. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Trump’s Open White Nationalism

By telling those four elected, American born and/or raised women of colour to “go home”, US President Donald Trump’s racist agenda has come out of the shadows. More>>

ALSO:

Mediaversaries: 20 Years Of The Scoop Information Ecosystem

Scoop celebrates its 20th anniversary this month. To celebrate, we are offering 20% off all ScoopPro subscriptions, including the newly launched ScoopPro Citizen service for Citizen readers. More>>

ALSO: