US, New Zealand secretly resume intelligence ties: Report

A leaked cable says US, New Zealand have restored intelligence collaboration.

Wellington: The United States and New Zealand ended a near 25-year break in intelligence collaboration last year but kept the news secret, according to a leaked cable published here on Sunday.

The cable from the US embassy in Wellington was included in a package of secret documents released by website Wikileaks and printed in the Sunday Star-Times.

Washington imposed restrictions on the supply of intelligence to Wellington in the mid-1980s in response to New Zealand`s nuclear-free policy.

But according to a cable sent from the US embassy to US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in January this year collaboration was "fully restored" in August 2009.

Hillary was also warned the news "should not be acknowledged in public".

Other leaked cables showed an increase in New Zealand co-operation with US intelligence agencies and military in recent years but again "emphasised that it is committed to avoiding publicity”.

According to the cables, US and New Zealand officials doubted there was public support for the closer ties and preferred to keep them secret, the report said.

Of political personalities, current Prime Minister John Key is described as having a "strongly personal pro-American outlook" while former leader Helen Clark was seen as a "very controlling manager".

One leaked cable shows former Australian foreign minister Alexander Downer thought New Zealand was a nation of "bleeding hearts".

PTI

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