September 16, 2020
Eyes wide open best response to China data dump
New Zealand First leader and Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters says revelations the families of politicians and other prominent New Zealanders have been caught up in Chinese data collection activities should mark the end of innocence for this country.
Data leaked to an American academic from Zenhua Data, a subsidiary of a large Chinese state-owned firm, includes the names of 2.4 million people, including almost 800 New Zealanders tagged as being of special interest or politically exposed.
They include Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's parents and sister, other politicians and family members, defence officials, diplomats, academics, business people, and sports stars are also on the leaked database.
Mr Peters says it confirms a pattern of potential interference by China.
"It's what I've been suspecting for a long, long time. I've watched for example how many former National Party leaders went straight out of their jobs and straight into employment by a foreign government and its businesses. I mean this is a pattern of things and I think it's time New Zealanders woke up. This level of involvement and interference is not good for our country," he says.
Mr Peters says New Zealanders will be better off in interactions with China if it goes into situations with its eyes wide open.
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