27 Nov 2018

Anne-Marie Brady: 'It shouldn't have to be like this'

8:53 am on 27 November 2018

Canterbury University professor Anne-Marie Brady says she would be concerned if top levels of government were not looking at her case.

Anne-Marie Brady

Anne-Marie Brady Photo: Supplied

The prime minister said at her weekly post-Cabinet press conference on Monday that she would not be making any moves to condemn China, despite rising concern from academics about the country's attempts to suppress talk of its interference in domestic politics.

Prof Brady said her office has been broken into twice, her house burgled and her car tampered with since publishing a paper on the matter.

Jacinda Ardern told Morning Report that contrary to some reports, she had not yet received any report on the investigation as of yet and was advised the police were still investigating.

"I've been given different advice that the police investigation is still ongoing and so I've received no such report."

Ms Ardern said she understood the matter was being taken care of locally but clarified she had not questioned police on the case.

"As much as I support academic freedom, I also have to be careful how much I'm seen to interfere in the police as well...

"I'm cautious about how much I ask the police around specific investigations. I have asked whether the case is still ongoing because there was mention made of a report which I've not received and so it was only fair that I acquire as to whether or not such a report existed.

"I did not specifically ask which unit was investigating."

If the investigation was to find any national security concerns or foreign involvement, Ms Ardern said she expected to be notified.

"If there were national security implications I would expect to be advised of that. But again, I wouldn't want to set any expectation that I would generally be briefed on an individual's case, that's not something that the police would usually do unless there was grounds for them to do that.

"[Police] have not set an expectation [to report to the prime minister] and again I have not asked for that, I expect that based on what their investigation concludes that they would act appropriately as to how they would escalate that or to whom that information would go to."

She said she was waiting for the investigation to conclude before she took advice or made any decisions.

"Quite frankly, if I received a direct report that said that there was an issue there that could be directly attributable to China, or at China's direction, we would act on that. But I have not received such information."

But Prof Brady said she had been told her case was closed.

"The discussions I've had with police make it clear that they've done everything they can, and I think that they would be ready to make a report to the government."

She said this was a case for the national security teams at the highest levels, and not just a police matter because it was "not an ordinary burglary".

"This is clearly not something that we are used to in New Zealand. This is out of the ordinary, and that's why what's gone on would be the subject of a decision made by the ministers who make the national security decisions."

Prof Brady said her family were very worried.

"It's not good for them; it shouldn't have to be like this. They should feel safe.

"Where's the Anzac spirit when you need it? Defend your own country."