Prime Minister John Key is confident he wasn't spied on by the US - but won't confirm this is because New Zealand has immunity through an intelligence alliance.
International analysts claim the Five Eyes network - an network of English-speaking countries - share intelligence and a pact not to spy on each other's governments.
It comes in the wake of the latest National Security Agency spying storm, in which the US agency is accused of tapping the mobile phone of German Chancellor Angela Merkel. It is also suspected of widespread spying on Spain, France and other nations.
Asked today about the surveillance uproar in Europe, Key was confident he was not a target of NSA activities.
But he refused to confirm this was because of the existence of a Five Eyes pact.
He told reporters this was "for reasons I am not going to bother going into" and "you can draw your own speculations".
He would also not comment on whether New Zealand's foreign intelligence agency - the Government Communications Security Bureau - played a role in spying on international figures, or contributed to mass surveillance.
"I don't know all of the information they exchanged or the discussions they had with their counterparts as part of Five Eyes," he said. "I don't have all of the details and I don't bother to ask those particular questions. But I am comfortable that any activities that GCSB have undertaken have been legal." The GCSB was rocked in the last year by its own spying scandal, after it was revealed to have illegally snooped on German tech mogul Kim Dotcom and more than 80 Kiwis.
Key was not unduly worried about New Zealand's international reputation in the intelligence agency fallout.
He has never been asked for an explanation from another world or Pacific leader.
"They never have and I would be surprised if they ever will," he said.
And he isn't concerned US agencies were monitoring foreign leaders.
"That's a matter for them to manage their own affairs and their own relationships," he said.
Key confirmed he may visit the White House next year, saying a New Zealand prime minister usually visits once every parliamentary term.
A US-UK information-sharing pact was struck after World War II, and later extended to Canada, and then Australia and New Zealand because of their regional expertise.
Some US analysts say that the pact extends to an agreement not to spy on citizens of Five Eyes countries, however this has been contradicted by leaks from NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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