10 Mar 2015

Pacific politicians 'routinely' spied on

10:37 am on 10 March 2015

The New Zealand investigative journalist Nicky Hager says his country's spy agency created a legal loophole to spy on New Zealand citizens in the Cook Islands.

Nicky Hager speaking to reporters at his book launch on Wednesday.

Nicky Hager says the New Zealand GCSB spy agency created a loophole to spy on New Zealand citizens in the Cook Islands. Photo: RNZ / Diego Opatowski

Nicky Hager says politicians, public servants and police officers in the Cook Islands could have been monitored as the GCSB agency couldn't spy on New Zealand citizens, but the agency decided it could spy on the Cook Islands Government.

He says the information would have been useful for the United States in its planning around the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement.

"If I was one of those politicians or senior public servants, you know it's quite likely that their emails are being routinely spied on just in case the Americans want to know about some stuff. If I was them I'd be really furious about this and they've got a right to stand up about it."

Nicky Hager says he thinks New Zealand officials pre-empted the information leaks and told Pacific partners to expect the reports and not to react to them.