29 Mar 2018

When is a diplomat really just a spy?

From Morning Report, 8:10 am on 29 March 2018

The government's handling of Russian spies in New Zealand is being described as a "fiasco". It's now considering slapping travel bans on some Russians, but won't join the more than 20 countries that have expelled Russian spies in protest at the nerve agent attack on former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia in Britain. National's spokesperson for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Todd McClay says the government has been very tardy over its position on Russian. New Zealand is now the only member of the Five Eyes spying alliance not to have taken action against Russia over the nerve agent attack. The reason - apparently New Zealand doesn't have any Russian undeclared intelligence officers here. The Guardian's diplomatic editor Patrick Wintour tells Susie Ferguson he finds it "fairly implausable".