Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei has been blocked from providing 5G equipment to Spark, because of “a significant network security risk”.
A spokeswoman for the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) said the decision was the start of a process rather the end of one, and was its call.
But the Minister responsible for the GCSB Andrew Little said he had been briefed and had accepted the assessment.
The GCSB on Wednesday rejected a proposal by Spark to use equipment from Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei to build a 5G mobile network.
I’ve blogged on this before, and the reality is that no one anywhere has ever been able to point to an actual security problem with Huawei. It is basically scaremongering that as they are a Chinese company, then maybe one day if they fell like committing economic suicide, they might do something bad.
I have no relationship with Huawei beyond I was their guest (as a blogger) a few years ago to visit their operations in China. They have done a great job in New Zealand and they are already used by all three telcos in their existing networks. How you can be trusted to be used for a 4G network but not a 5G one is beyond me.
Basically New Zealand has succumbed to peer pressure from our five eyes partners, primarily the US. Their motivations are protecting US companies from competition. They have never ever been able to say what exactly is it that Huawei has done wrong or could do wrong. They’ve been banned purely because of the country they are based in.
This will increase the costs of telecommunications in New Zealand, by removing a preferred supplier. It will also be seen as a deeply offensive move by the Chinese Government and our exporters will probably end up paying the cost.
If China or a Chinese company actually does something wrong, they should be held to account for it. If for example China has been behind the burglaries of Anne-Marie Brady, this should be exposed, even if it damages our relationship with them. But when Huawei has done nothing at all wrong except be Chinese, then China will have every right to retaliate.