The Green Party of New Zealand has called for the country's government to review contracts awarded to Chinese telco equipment giant Huawei, in the wake of a damning report from the US Congress Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.
Echoing the sentiments of the US report, Greens' ICT spokesperson Gareth Hughes told Voxy yesterday that "the NZ government should review using Huawei on the broadband rollout in order to protect our economy, information and intellectual property from cyber attacks".
Hughes says that while the Australian and US governments have taken steps to minimise the risk of Huawei operating in their countries, the New Zealand government is doing nothing to ensure the integrity of the country's telecommunications infrastructure.
"The New Zealand tax payer shouldn't be giving Huawei hundreds of millions of dollars to make it easier for Beijing to potentially spy on us," Hughes says.
The Greens spokesperson stepped up his criticism of Huawei and China further yesterday on Twitter, saying:
"Should we ignore report & the fact China an authoritarian state that kills & tortures & is worlds largest cyber attacker? [sic]".
Huawei has been banned from bidding for Australia's NBN project following advice from national spy agency ASIO.
But the Chinese company is a key supplier to New Zealand's NBN: the Ultra-Fast Broadband project and the Rural Broadband Initative.
The two projects are funded by the state to the tune of NZ$1.65 billion (A$1.33 billion) and Huawei's involvement in the next generation broadband network is backed by Prime Minister John Key as providing value for money.
Huawei has repeatedly and strenously denied that it has links with Chinese spy agencies and the country's People's Liberation Army, or that it is building in backdoors for covert surveillance in the telco equipment it sells.
The company responded to the US report that it was "globally trusted and respected," doing business in almost 150 markets with more than 500 operator customers, including nationwide carriers across every continent except Antarctica.
"The security and integrity of our products are world proven," William Plummer, a Huawei spokesman in Washington, said in an email.
In June this year, an Algerian court banned Huawei and fellow Chinese telco supplier ZTE from public tenders for two years, after high-ranking employees of the two companies were found guilty of million dollar bribery.
French network vendor Alcatel-Lucent was fined by the SEC for doling out bribes between 2001 and 2006. The Chinese Government has also accused Swedish network vendor Ericsson doing the same.