Greens call for Huawei teleco inquiry

NZ Newswire March 27, 2012, 2:10 pm

The Green Party has asked for an investigation into the Chinese telecommunications company Huawei's New Zealand operations, after the Australian government banned it from national broadband contracts over cyber security fears.

Party spokesman Gareth Hughes on Tuesday said he had formally requested parliament's Intelligence and Security Committee to investigate Huawei, which will be involved in the roll-out of the government's ultra-fast broadband initiative and rural broadband initiative.

Huawei has been in New Zealand since 2005 and provides equipment to Chorus and 2degrees among others.

Communications Minister Amy Adams says she is relaxed about Huawei's involvement and is satisfied with the security of New Zealand's telecommunications and broadband systems.

But Mr Hughes said it was hard to believe New Zealand's security agencies knew something about Huawei that Australia and the United States don't.

"Cyber warfare is a major security concern and the government needs to ensure that it is protecting the interests of New Zealanders and New Zealand companies."

The government needed to ensure hundreds of millions of dollars worth of Huawei equipment and services did not have any strings attached that will harm cyber security."

"The government needs to investigate, and it would not be in New Zealand's national security interests to ignore these concerns for fear of offending the Chinese government."

Huawei Technologies, which is close to becoming the world's largest telecommunications equipment provider, was advised late last year that it could not tender for Australia's national broadband network contracts because of security concerns about cyber attacks emanating from China.

The company was established in the late 1980s by Ren Zhengfei, a former major in the People's Liberation Army, and is headquartered in the special economic zone of Shenzhen, near Hong Kong.

Former Australian foreign affairs minister Alexander Downer is on Huawei's Australian board and has rejected any security concerns.

Any suspicions would be based simply on the fact that Huawei is a Chinese company, he said.

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