Labour: Key looking the other way as Australia bans Huawei

Labour ICT spokeswoman Clare Curran has accused the government of "stone-walling" over Huawei's involvement in the $1.35 billion Ultrafast Broadband (UFB) project.

Huawei's involvement in the UFB is part of a much more complicated two-way relationship between China and New Zealand. NBR understands from an insider at the company that Huawei is watching the Crafar Farms deal closely, wary of how broader public and political sentiment could impact on its own business.

Over the weekend, it was revealed the Chinese telecommunications giant had been banned from Australia's National Broadband Network following government suspicions over cyber-attacks originating from China.

On Radio NZ, former US Defence Department analyst and University of Auckland academic turned turned private consultant Paul Buchanan said Huawei would like to gain access to the Echelon network, which includes the Waihopai "spy base" in New Zealand (Echelon members include Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States).

Crown fibre networks and other infrastructure projects could be used to plant secrete eavesdropping devices, Dr Buchanan says.

The Chinese telecommunications giant is supplying networking gear and network management services to two UFB winners: Enable in Christchurch, and UltraFast Fibre (whose Crown fibre contract includes Tauranga, Hamilton, Palmerston North and Whanganui). 

Huawei is also supplying components for the Chorus leg of the public-private $300 million Rural Broadband Initiative (RBI), and - along with a second Chiinese company, Axin - has proposed laying a transtasman submarine cable.

“While the Australian Government has banned Huawei from tendering for any contracts attached to its $36 billion broadband scheme, our Prime Minister blithely says he is ‘comfortable with checks done’ over the security of the New Zealand network," Ms Curran says.

“The Australians are considered to be a partner in terms of our security and intelligence relationships. If they are concerned enough to ban Huawei from bidding for the broadband contract, why has New Zealand allowed three taxpayer-funded contracts to go ahead without a more robust probe into the implications for the integrity of our network?"

Acting Prime Minister Gerry Brownlee had refused to even confirm if John Key has been briefed on the reasons for the Australian government’s ban on Huawei for the broadband contracts, Ms Curran said.

“Essentially our government is looking the other way and refusing to take a second look at the contracts that have been given to Huawei despite the intense public interest in this matter."

The Labour MP has previously criticised Crown Fibre Holdings (the state-owned company that oversees the UFB and selected co-investment partners) for allowing director Murray Milner to accept contract work from Huawei. 

Green MP Gareth Hughes says the government should investigate why the Australian government has chosen to block Huawei from its National Broadband Network, and is investigating Huawei Marine's proposed Perth-Singapore cable.

While the Australian government has put the heat on Huawei, Prime Minister John Key returned from the Shanghai World Expo actively promoting the company.

On Monday, ICT Minister Amy Adams refused comment on Huawei specifically, but told NBR, “Network security is an issue we take seriously. The government will work with all suppliers and operators to address any security concerns that may be identified, and is committed to working with operators and suppliers to protect the integrity and confidentiality of the UFB and RBI networks.”


27 · Got a question about this story? Leave it in Comments & Questions below.

This article is tagged with the following keywords. Find out more about MyNBR Tags

Post Comment

27 Comments & Questions

Commenter icon key: Subscriber Verified

Huawei is banned not just in Australia but also in India and the Philippines where there modius operandi was to first bribe executives politicians and then blackmail them into contracts.

Having Key come back from expo singing their praise really is not a god look considering their international reputation for poor business ethics

Meanwhile Huawei remains of concern not just to our security partner Australia but is subject to inquiries by both the UK and USA who like NZ and Australia all signatory members of the UKUSA communications and signal treaty.

And Key seriously expect us to believe they received no warnings about Huawei from our security partner in which case this poses counter questions about the function and benefit of spy stations like waihopai to NZ.

Which is it John the UKUSA deals doesn't work for NZ or Huawei is serious security concern because you cant have it both ways.

This withstanding the fact that Key could simply picked up paper in five separate nations and read exactly the same thing. Sorry but WTF! Has every one in Stephen Joyce (Minister for Communications) fiefdom had their fingers broken and cant use google.

Over seas where Huawei have secured tenders they have then used their infrastructure to steal commercial and industrial secrets. In light of the action that the NZ police have taken on behalf of the US FBI against KIMDOTCOM for his role in "piracy" does Key not feel that NZ business deserve the same protection that his goverment has been so wiling to spend million on behalf of the US entertainment and recording industry.

The question needs to be asked what was Huawei tender when compared to other bidders. If higher why was it accepted? On who recommendation and whose letter head.

Oh well at less Gerry's got a Noika.

www.postmanproductions.org

Reply
Share
  • 0
  • 0

>"Huawei is banned not just in Australia but also in India and the Philippines where there modius operandi was to first bribe executives politicians and then blackmail them into contracts."

In fairness, they were arguably following the local business model.

Reply
Share
  • 0
  • 0

Get your facts right ZTE was the vendor that was blacklisted in the Philippines.

Reply
Share
  • 0
  • 0

For the record, I am no longer a Kiwi academic. I am the Co-Founder and Partner at 36th Parallel Assessments, a political risk and strategic analysis consultancy (36th-Parallel.com)

Reply
Share
  • 0
  • 0

You sound like you are part of the CIA

i think I'd back and trust the chinese before the CIA/USA.

Reply
Share
  • 0
  • 0

I'd rather trust CIA. Not Chinese at all. It's like a nature that we are supposed to be with one or the other because we were born to be slave of unchangable system. You have no choice. Believe it or not, there is no benefit for you whoever you follow.

Reply
Share
  • 0
  • 0

Why did you leave the university of auckland Paul?

Reply
Share
  • 0
  • 0

I was forced out. My supposed re-instatement was in name only. I received some back pay and was told to leave. My new firm fills a market niche but is a far cry from academia.

Reply
Share
  • 0
  • 0

Key is good at looking the other way when it does not agree with his preconceived ideas-a more open mind is desirable.
WG

Reply
Share
  • 0
  • 0

Why did Crown Fibre accept the Huawei bid rather than the superior LS Cables proposal ( LS is part of the LG Group )

They are the world leaders in producing fibre

Reply
Share
  • 0
  • 0

Ironic really ... given Labour pushed so hard for a Free Trade Agreement with China ... but then again Clare is new to politics.

Reply
Share
  • 0
  • 0

Clare it was a Labour Govt that did the FTE with China this is part of that reciporacal business

Reply
Share
  • 0
  • 0

The dynamics of Huawei's relative fortunes in global markets is related to money as always.

New Zealand cannot afford to snub what will become our largest trading partner by excluding one of its high tech companies from providing broadband/telco infrastructure. We need then more than they need us.

Australia on the other hand has more to lose by irritating the US and allowing Huawei to enter the largest high tech bidding race and potentially exposing itself and the US to cyber risk.

So, what we have in effect is a trade war and trust me...war it is....I know. Huawei/ZTE et al get up in the morning to gain global domination in the telco space and they won't rest until they have it.

New Zealand's selection of Huawei UFB kit is neither here nor there in the big picture. It can't afford to irritate the Chinese and risk them turning nasty....Australia can....and good luck to them.

Reply
Share
  • 0
  • 0

beware of "Reds under the bed" says the reds.

Reply
Share
  • 0
  • 0

Huawei makes great products.

My company would have no concerns about using its components in our networks. T

his looks to me like its been driven by competing manufacturers throwing what we used to call FUD (fear uncertainty and doubt) about.

Reply
Share
  • 0
  • 0

Shame on National Radio ( Geoff you know who) who allowed Gareth Hughes to rave on about the 'risk to echelon and our national security' from the Chinese on RNZ this morning - when Hughes very own Green Party comrades seemed more than happy to see Wahopai vandalized and 'exposed as a spy base'. Which is it Gareth ? Spy base or an asset to national security. As for RNZ - memories like goldfish. Just another morning show looking for cheap and easy headlines. Where's Kim ?

Reply
Share
  • 0
  • 0

I don't think Geoff is responsible for the greens reversal of policy.
On the other hand we cannoy be part of an alliance that has doubts about the security of its networks.
So it might cost a little more. Do we have to always buy the cheapest? In electronics as is the case in many other commodities - You get what you paid for and if we buy cheap cheap is what we will get.

Reply
Share
  • 0
  • 0

Seems those prepared to accept Huawei are missing the point. I have no doubt they were the cheapest, no doubt to ensure that they picked up the contract and any difference will be backed from the Chinese Gvmt. This company is owned is it not by an ex-red army senior person and engaged in the role of delivering telecommunications around the globe – they hope. Now why would I want to think that just as the CIA/USA has done they would not use this for there own ends to gather data and also be, in the worse case, in a position to shut entire countries networks down. Would they – if China perceived the threat to be big enough you bet this company would play ball. Now think about a country with not only its broadband out but all the parts they have supplied suddenly useless… you want to take that risk? I don’t.
Key & co have absolutely no idea what security is nor where to look for faults, but as usual he will do anything to win the votes and minds – in this case of the Chinese, don’t look to National to do a proper investigation, and that’s a comment from a party supporter as well.
Happy to trade with China but they have a very long way to go before they prove themselves as “friends”, a long way and I would only trust my telecoms to Friends that’s for sure.

Reply
Share
  • 0
  • 0

This country's xenophobia is going to keep us at the bottom of the OECD

We make good inroads into improving our position and then go backwards twice as much by this nonsense.

Those countries solely holding onto the USA as their ally will sink along with the USA as teh US economy and world status slowly sinks - the only way the US can gain ground economically is by creating wars

The smart countries will be involved with both China and the USA and not take sides.
The USA will not run away if we start dealing more with China as they won't want a Chinese backed country sitting smack at the bottom of the Pacific and also close to Australia.

John Key is doing the right thing for NZ Inc by playing a two handed game

Reply
Share
  • 0
  • 0

Seems those prepared to accept Huawei are missing the point. I have no doubt they were the cheapest, no doubt to ensure that they picked up the contract and any difference will be backed from the Chinese Gvmt. This company is owned is it not by an ex-red army senior person and engaged in the role of delivering telecommunications around the globe – they hope. Now why would I want to think that just as the CIA/USA has done they would not use this for there own ends to gather data and also be, in the worse case, in a position to shut entire countries networks down. Would they – if China perceived the threat to be big enough you bet this company would play ball. Now think about a country with not only its broadband out but all the parts they have supplied suddenly useless… you want to take that risk? I don’t.
Key & co have absolutely no idea what security is nor where to look for faults, but as usual he will do anything to win the votes and minds – in this case of the Chinese, don’t look to National to do a proper investigation, and that’s a comment from a party supporter as well.
Happy to trade with China but they have a very long way to go before they prove themselves as “friends”, a long way and I would only trust my telecoms to Friends that’s for sure.

Reply
Share
  • 0
  • 0

Most of us think Australians and Indians are reasonably sensible people.
We surely should at least examine their reasons for excluding Huawei rather than just bullishly ignoring the evidence because it doesn't fit our own opinions. We long-suffering taxpayers can do without yet another government stuff-up!
liberte

Reply
Share
  • 0
  • 0

So if we just remove Hauwei from the equation then all our networks and internet will be safe from spying. What about the UK person who hacked into the US military systems.
It seems to me that knowledge that countries/persons can get access to information over these networks is important - as important as the knowledge that if it is on the network, it is not secure.
Further this means that at every level of society with people moving around the globe of all nationalities, with the remarkable ability of people to be bribed, that absolutely nothing is secure absolutely.
We have people hacking into MP's emails, people emailing spread sheets of personal details etc. We cannot prevent breaches and therefore it is better to know about them and take steps to limit their impact. I expect that despite their ability to find out information via a network that they don't have a few other ways to do the same and I am not sure that the Chinese are any better or worse than any other country or company; in fact in today's world where governments are increasingly irrelevant, I am more worried about companies big and small than countries because their agendas are more diverse. If you want it to be more secure – remove it from the network, both physical and wireless.

Reply
Share
  • 0
  • 0

Perhaps a more important issue is that of property right, and the consequences of purchasing this presumable pirated western clone technology from china. How can we trade with people when property right is not respected, and how can we expect them to respect it when we don't respect theirs. My proposition is that china hasn't magically accrued a large wealth of telecommunications scientists and development, rather a wealth of foreign technology that took years to make. How did they make what took us years to make by themselves and overnight? The answer is they didn't. And most Chinese products are in violation of copyright laws. By accepting this trade it shows that we are no better than them, and paves the way for retaliation by other countries. Furthermore it shall effect international relations....

Reply
Share
  • 0
  • 0

NZ sucking on the yellow [peril fear pills manufactured by Western competitors to keep their profit margins high.

As for that loop head Jacob - wonder why Apple is so happy to have its billions of products manufactured in China?

Use your heads before swallowing the garbage fed to the media and public by vested interests.

Australia and UK did themselves no favor believing in American intelligence on WOMD, did they?

Reply
Share
  • 0
  • 0

Has Labor any ideas these days beyond jumping on any bandwagon as long as it's heading down the path of destroying NZ's international reputation for neutrality and objective fairplay?

Reply
Share
  • 0
  • 0

Who needs Huawei when it seems as though everyone in the Beehive is in a race to be the first to leak important stuff voluntarily (McCully email, ACC letters, Don Brash's data ..........)

Reply
Share
  • 0
  • 0

There is likely a difference when the government is itself doing the purchasing (as is the cass in Australia) so is a party to the contract (so can apply its own morals and ethics to the purchase - such as the decision to purchase only ethical stocks using taspayer money) than in NZ where the companies doing the purchasing are private sector firms. The government has a right to tell its own staff what to do, but faces a problem in forcing private sector parties to behave in a certain manner. To prevent a private NZ firm from purchasing from a specific firm, the NZ government would have to pass a law or impose a regulation - hence needs to engage in an open political debate.

What the Australian decision suggsts is that the government considers the NGN a truly strategic asset that is so 'sensitive' that it cannot tolerate the possibility that another government might possibly have any whiff of a suggestion of influence of anything to do with its construction because that compromises its operation. If this is followed to its logical conclusion then I would imagine that the Australian government must now screen all NGN contractors and subcontractors for any possoble links to any other government - because it is plausible that ony of these firms may have the ability to 'plant something' during construction. Also,logically, it must ban any foreign data from traversing its pristine fibre post construction too, because the ability to plant bugs and trojans will be occurring at the speed of light on the new network - much faster than the current rate at which the Telstra network (likely contaminated with US bugsfrom Bell Labs and French ones from Alcatel along with every other bug running the rounds of the internet) is already doing

Reply
Share
  • 0
  • 0

Post New comment or question

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

NZ Market Snapshot

Forex

Sym Price Change
USD 0.7274 0.0000 0.00%
AUD 0.9621 0.0000 0.00%
EUR 0.6505 0.0000 0.00%
GBP 0.5725 0.0000 0.00%
HKD 5.6796 0.0000 0.00%
JPY 81.0120 0.0000 0.00%

Commods

Commodity Price Change Time
Gold Index 1256.4 6.570 2017-06-23T00:
Oil Brent 45.8 0.340 2017-06-23T00:
Oil Nymex 43.0 0.270 2017-06-23T00:
Silver Index 16.6 0.140 2017-06-23T00:

Indices

Symbol Open High Last %
NZX 50 7563.7 7568.8 7563.7 -0.13%
NASDAQ 6234.4 6269.4 6236.7 0.46%
DAX 12758.0 12787.2 12794.0 -0.47%
DJI 21380.9 21421.8 21397.3 -0.01%
FTSE 7439.3 7441.8 7439.3 -0.20%
HKSE 25724.3 25770.4 25674.5 -0.02%
NI225 20152.6 20152.6 20110.5 0.11%
ASX 5706.0 5723.3 5706.0 0.17%