WikiLeaks' Kiwi leaks

23:11, Dec 12 2010
JULIAN ASSANGE: WikiLeaks founder.

The Sunday Star-Times has obtained from WikiLeaks around 1500 American cables that refer specifically to New Zealand.

WIKILEAKS IS in the process of releasing 251,000 United States embassy cables from around the world but, until today, none of the 1490 cables sent from Wellington have been made public.

The cables we have obtained reveal that full collaboration with US intelligence agencies – curtailed after New Zealand's anti-nuclear policies – were resumed in August last year, something both governments kept secret. Ahead of a scheduled visit in January this year, postponed until November, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was warned not to acknowledge the news in public.

JOHN KEY: Pro-American.

The cables also reveal an increase in co-operation with US intelligence agencies and military, contradicting statements in New Zealand intelligence agency annual reports that their operations relate purely to national security. According to the cables, US and New Zealand officials again preferred to keep the change secret.

Another cable reveals former ambassador Charles Swindell sought to have New Zealand change its anti-nuclear stance, and identified Don Brash and now Attorney-General Chris Finlayson as key to that process.

In a 2005 cable he urged his colleagues in the United States to investigate strategies for changing the policy, including proposing a feasibility study for a free trade agreement.

HELEN CLARK: Funny and warm.

Swindell, a Republican Party fundraiser for George W Bush, cabled that he continued to stress that the nuclear ban still mattered to Kiwis, and advised that more pressure was needed.

The US cables also note Prime Minister John Key's strongly personal pro-American outlook, describe the woman he replaced as prime minister, Helen Clark, as a controlling manager, despite having the ability to be funny, warm and open.

Also detailed are free trips to the US for "open-minded" journalists.


DON BRASH: Favoured nuclear ships.
CHRIS FINLAYSON: Key to changes.

Sunday Star Times