New Zealand says Huawei ban not because it's Chinese

Huawei says the GCSB has not been in touch

MARK SCHIEFELBEIN APHuawei says the GCSB has not been in touch

"There has been no evidence of wrongdoing by Huawei presented and we strongly reject the notion that our business threatens New Zealand in any way". But the company said in a statement it's confident it can still launch its 5G network by July 2020.

New Zealand's intelligence agency has rejected the telecom industry's first request in the country to use 5G equipment provided by China's Huawei Technologies Co Ltd, citing concerns about national security. Spark said it would review the reasons behind the rejection before taking further action.

New Zealand on Thursday (Nov 29) denied that telecommunications giant Huawei was banned from a 5G network roll-out because it is Chinese, saying the problem it faced was a technological one.

Australia had flagged issues with Chinese law that requires organizations and citizens to support, assist and cooperate with intelligence work.

On Sunday TVNZ1 Q+A host Corin Dann questioned GCSB Minister Andrew Little about the decision New Zealand would have to make, after the Wall Street Journal reported the U.S. urged Five Eyes countries to avoid using Huawei.

At a daily briefing in Beijing, Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said China was "severely concerned" over the decision.

"I can confirm the GCSB under its TICSA responsibilities has recently undertaken an assessment of a notification from Spark".

Government Communications Security Bureau director Andrew Hampton's next task may be to brief Spark on the reasoning behind its Huawei 5G block

"This means Spark can not implement or give effect to its proposal to use Huawei RAN equipment in its planned 5G network".

Little said each decision regarding telecom technology was made separately under telecom and security legislation.

Intelligence services minister Andrew Little said “the difference between 5G networks and conventional 4G and 3G networks is the configuration.” With the new technology, every component of the new network can be accessed. "We believe that our involvement in the telecommunications sector has benefited New Zealand's economy, businesses and consumers".

He said Mr Little's comments about it being about technology and not about politics doesn't make a lot of sense.

In a response, Huawei said that it "poses no greater cyber security risk than any ICT vendor". In the United Kingdom, a monitoring operation has been set up to check Huawei's equipment for security flaws, while in July a British government report said it could give only "limited assurance" that Huawei equipment did not compromise national security.

"We know that telecommunications networks, like other infrastructure, are now points of vulnerability worldwide for incursion, cyber attacks and what have you", he said.

"Speaking to The Malta Independent at the time, a spokesperson for Parliamentary Secretary Silvio Schembri, who oversaw the signing of the MoU, said that "[they] can not comment on other countries' approach to Huawei".

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