Finny not a spy!

Sarah Harvey at Stuff reports:

Former Wellington Chamber of Commerce chief executive, diplomat and Government adviser Charles Finny has been named by WikiLeaks as the United States' top Kiwi contact.

But Mr Finny denied being a spy and said the “key contact” mentions were flattering. He is quoted often in the US diplomatic cables controversially made public by WikiLeaks, and in a cable from May 19, 2006, was singled out as a “close [US] embassy contact”.

“I am regularly talking to embassies, high commissions and journalists in and around the world, in areas where I have expertise,” Mr Finny said. …

Mr Finny said he often saw important embassy contacts at functions in Wellington.

“You see them at cocktail parties, you have lunches occasionally and sometimes they formally call on you … once every four or five months. But you would probably see them once a week at cocktail parties.

If talking to embassy staff makes you a spy, then I'm a spy for the US, , and Australian Governments, plus the European Union.

Part of the job of embassy staff is to gain better understanding of NZ domestic and . They do that by chatting to a variety of people. As Charles' says, mainly at functions, but sometimes also over a meal.