Title Title
New Zealand - too nice for spies or too naive to spot them? New Zealand - too nice for spies or too naive to spot them?
Summary Summary
Prime Minister said she would have joined allies in expelling spies but couldn't find any  Prime Minister said she would have joined allies in expelling spies but couldnn't find any
Highlights Highlights
New Zealand says it has no Russian spies to expel , Diplomatic track record suggests there's not much for spies to do in the South Pacific New Zealand says it has no Russian spies to expel , Diplomatic track record suggests there's not much for spies to do in the South Pacific
Content Content
<strong>When Britain and its allies - including its former colonies the United States and Australia -- moved to expel Russian spies in the wake of an alleged nerve-agent attack there was one country conspicuous by its absence: New Zealand. Prime Minister <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jacinda_Ardern">Jacinda Ardern</a> said she would have joined the expulsions but simply couldn't find any Russian spies.</strong> <strong>When Britain and its allies - including its former colonies the United States and Australia -- moved to expel Russian spies in the wake of an alleged nerve-agent attack there was one country conspicuous by its absence: New Zealand. Prime Minister <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jacinda_Ardern">Jacinda Ardern</a> said she would have joined the expulsions but simply couldn't find any Russian spies.</strong>
<span style="font-weight: 400;">Ardern told <a href="http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/morningreport/audio/2018637964/no-undeclared-russian-spies-here-jacinda-ardern">Radio New Zealand</a> the diplomats <a href="https://www.wikitribune.com/story/2018/04/06/current_affairs/south-koreas-park-geun-hye-guilty-china-warns-of-fighting-tariffs/58472/">being expelled by other allies</a> in retaliation for the alleged poisoning of former Russian agent <a href="https://www.wikitribune.com/story/2018/03/13/espionage/who-is-sergei-skripal/54858/">Sergei Skripal</a> were "undeclared intelligence officers", and she had been assured by her Ministry of Foreign Affairs that New Zealand did not have any.</span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">Ardern told <a href="http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/morningreport/audio/2018637964/no-undeclared-russian-spies-here-jacinda-ardern">Radio New Zealand</a> the diplomats <a href="https://www.wikitribune.com/story/2018/04/06/current_affairs/south-koreas-park-geun-hye-guilty-china-warns-of-fighting-tariffs/58472/">being expelled by other allies</a> in retaliation for the alleged poisoning of former Russian agent <a href="https://www.wikitribune.com/story/2018/03/13/espionage/who-is-sergei-skripal/54858/">Sergei Skripal</a> were "undeclared intelligence officers", and she had been assured by her Ministry of Foreign Affairs that New Zealand did not have any.</span>
<span style="font-weight: 400;">"But if we did, we would expel them."</span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">"But if we did, we would expel them."</span>
That raised some eyebrows given that Wellington has long been part of the so-called <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Five_Eyes">Five Eyes alliance</a>, a post-World War Two intelligence-sharing agreement with Washington, Canberra, Ottawa and London. It's also likely, however, that hostile powers have more significant states in their sites than far away New Zealand, population 4.6 million. That raised some eyebrows given that Wellington has long been part of the so-called <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Five_Eyes">Five Eyes alliance</a>, a post-World War Two intelligence-sharing agreement with Washington, Canberra, Ottawa and London. It's also likely, however, that hostile powers have more significant states in their sites than far away New Zealand, population 4.6 million.
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It wasn't always that way. New Zealand was for decades a paid up member of the western side of the Cold War. It wasn't always that way. New Zealand was for decades a paid up member of the western side of the Cold War.
<span style="font-weight: 400;">It was a Saturday morning in January 1980 when reporters gathered in a converted World War Two factory at Wellington airport to witness New Zealand’s first and only expulsion of a Soviet ambassador. </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Seventy-two hours earlier Prime Minister <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Muldoon">Robert Muldoon, </a>a famously abrasive would-be Cold War warrior, had ordered <a href="https://nzhistory.govt.nz/page/soviet-ambassador-expelled">Vsevolod Sofinsky</a> out for activities "not in keeping with his diplomatic status". </span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">It was a Saturday morning in January 1980 when reporters gathered in a converted World War Two factory at Wellington airport to witness New Zealand’s first and only expulsion of a Soviet ambassador. </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Seventy-two hours earlier Prime Minister <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Muldoon">Robert Muldoon, </a>a famously abrasive would-be Cold War warrior, had ordered <a href="https://nzhistory.govt.nz/page/soviet-ambassador-expelled">Vsevolod Sofinsky</a> out for activities "not in keeping with his diplomatic status". </span>
<span style="font-weight: 400;">“At Christmas 1979...Sofinsky, broke a prime rule of the diplomatic game,” <a href="http://www.press.auckland.ac.nz/en/browse-books/all-books/books-2006/Final-Approaches-A-Memoir.html">wrote Gerald Hensley</a>, head of the Prime Minister’s Department during the Sofinsky matter and himself a former head of the New Zealand security service. </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">“In the absence of his KGB man who normally did these chores he went to Auckland himself and in a motel room handed over an instalment of the regular subsidy paid to the Soviet-aligned <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Socialist_Unity_Party_of_New_Zealand">Socialist Unity Party</a> </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">which had been pressing with increasing urgency for the money.”</span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">“At Christmas 1979...Sofinsky, broke a prime rule of the diplomatic game,” <a href="http://www.press.auckland.ac.nz/en/browse-books/all-books/books-2006/Final-Approaches-A-Memoir.html">wrote Gerald Hensley</a>, head of the Prime Minister’s Department during the Sofinsky matter and himself a former head of the New Zealand security service. </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">“In the absence of his KGB man who normally did these chores he went to Auckland himself and in a motel room handed over an instalment of the regular subsidy paid to the Soviet-aligned <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Socialist_Unity_Party_of_New_Zealand">Socialist Unity Party</a> </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">which had been pressing with increasing urgency for the money.”</span>
<span style="font-weight: 400;">He was caught giving $10,000 (equivalent to US$36,000 today) in a brown paper bag to an official of the small and now long gone party.  </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Expulsion did not follow immediately, apparently because New Zealand sold large quantities of mutton and butter to Moscow.</span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">He was caught giving $10,000 (equivalent to US$36,000 today) in a brown paper bag to an official of the small and now long gone party.  </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Expulsion did not follow immediately, apparently because New Zealand sold large quantities of mutton and butter to Moscow.</span>
<span style="font-weight: 400;">Hensley went to seek advice from London which had “long experience of handling diplomatic expulsions”. </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Foreign Office told him over afternoon tea “if we expelled Sofinsky the Russians would expel our ambassador but there the matter would rest unless we wished to take it further.” </span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">Hensley went to seek advice from London which had “long experience of handling diplomatic expulsions”. </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Foreign Office told him over afternoon tea “if we expelled Sofinsky the Russians would expel our ambassador but there the matter would rest unless we wished to take it further.” </span>
<span style="font-weight: 400;">In due course there was mutual ambassador expulsions and all was forgotten.</span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">In due course there was mutual ambassador expulsions and all was forgotten.</span>
<span style="font-weight: 400;">Socialist Unity featured again when in 1987 Russian diplomat, Sergei Budnik, was ordered out by Prime Minister <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Lange">David Lange</a></span><span style="font-weight: 400;">. He too had made <a href="http://articles.latimes.com/1987-04-24/news/mn-679_1_soviet-diplomat">undiplomatic contacts with the Socialist Unity</a>.</span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">Socialist Unity featured again when in 1987 Russian diplomat, Sergei Budnik, was ordered out by Prime Minister <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Lange">David Lange</a></span><span style="font-weight: 400;">. He too had made <a href="http://articles.latimes.com/1987-04-24/news/mn-679_1_soviet-diplomat">undiplomatic contacts with the Socialist Unity</a>.</span>
<span style="font-weight: 400;">Just before the collapse of the Soviet Union, New Zealand caught an actual Soviet spy, <a href="https://teara.govt.nz/en/intelligence-services/page-3">Anvar Razzakovich Kadyrov</a>, in the country solely to obtain a prized New Zealand passport. With visa-free access to most nations, New Zealand passports can be a must-have accessory for any spy. It's what attracted, <a href="http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&amp;objectid=3561514">in 2004, two Israeli men</a>, suspected of being Mossad agents but never confirmed, who were arrested for illegally obtaining New Zealand passports.</span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">Just before the collapse of the Soviet Union, New Zealand caught an actual Soviet spy, <a href="https://teara.govt.nz/en/intelligence-services/page-3">Anvar Razzakovich Kadyrov</a>, in the country solely to obtain a prized New Zealand passport. With visa-free access to most nations, New Zealand passports can be a must-have accessory for any spy. It's what attracted, <a href="http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&amp;objectid=3561514">in 2004, two Israeli men</a>, suspected of being Mossad agents but never confirmed, who were arrested for illegally obtaining New Zealand passports.</span>
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<span style="font-weight: 400;">In 1974 a senior government economist, William Sutch, was <a href="https://nzhistory.govt.nz/people/dr-w-b-sutch">observed handing documents to KGB agents</a> outside a Wellington public toilet. A year later he was acquitted on charges of betraying official secrets. It was never clear what he actually did.</span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">In 1974 a senior government economist, William Sutch, was <a href="https://nzhistory.govt.nz/people/dr-w-b-sutch">observed handing documents to KGB agents</a> outside a Wellington public toilet. A year later he was acquitted on charges of betraying official secrets. It was never clear what he actually did.</span>
<span style="font-weight: 400;">New Zealand maintains a squadron of P3K Orion anti-submarine aircraft that these days are mostly they are used to find lost fishermen in the world’s largest search and rescue zone. </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">In 1971 a Soviet submarine north of New Zealand was seen on the surface. It turned out to be a scientific mission. In 1982, a diesel-powered Soviet Foxtrot submarine was spotted on the surface near Tahiti sailing with an oceanographic research vessel.</span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">New Zealand maintains a squadron of P3K Orion anti-submarine aircraft that these days are mostly they are used to find lost fishermen in the world’s largest search and rescue zone. </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">In 1971 a Soviet submarine north of New Zealand was seen on the surface. It turned out to be a scientific mission. In 1982, a diesel-powered Soviet Foxtrot submarine was spotted on the surface near Tahiti sailing with an oceanographic research vessel.</span>
<span style="font-weight: 400;">In 2001 Prime Minister Helen Clark said New Zealand <a href="https://nzhistory.govt.nz/people/dr-w-b-sutch">did not need Orions</a> as submarines were not a major concern. </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">There had been eight submarine sightings over 30 years.</span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">In 2001 Prime Minister Helen Clark said New Zealand <a href="https://nzhistory.govt.nz/people/dr-w-b-sutch">did not need Orions</a> as submarines were not a major concern. </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">There had been eight submarine sightings over 30 years.</span>
<span style="font-weight: 400;">While the Pacific is rich in fish and underseas minerals, Russia already belongs to the relevant international organisations that compiles data and oversee exploitation. They don't need to spy; just pay the annual subscription. </span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">While the Pacific is rich in fish and underseas minerals, Russia already belongs to the relevant international organisations that compiles data and oversee exploitation. They don't need to spy; just pay the annual subscription. </span>
<span style="font-weight: 400;">Russia has mostly stayed clear of the politically unstable South Pacific nations - <a href="https://www.wikitribune.com/story/2018/02/08/china/china-fills-a-vacuum-in-the-south-pacific-from-fiji-to-australia/34079/">unlike China which has become a major player</a>. </span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">Russia has mostly stayed clear of the politically unstable South Pacific nations - <a href="https://www.wikitribune.com/story/2018/02/08/china/china-fills-a-vacuum-in-the-south-pacific-from-fiji-to-australia/34079/">unlike China which has become a major player</a>. </span>
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Categories Categories
Espionage China, Current Affairs, Diplomacy, Espionage, Fiji, Military, New Zealand, Oceania, Politics, Russia, Terrorism, United Kingdom, Espionage
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report report
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  communism, David Lange, Fiji, Five eyes, greenpeace, Jacinda Ardern, Mikhail Lermontov, Mossad, New Zealand, P3 Orion, Rainbow Warrior, Robert Muldoon, Russia, Spies, Vladi­mir Putin, Vsevolod Sofinsky
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<ul> <ul>
<li>Official New Zealand history site:&nbsp;<a href="https://nzhistory.govt.nz/page/soviet-ambassador-expelled" data-mce-href="https://nzhistory.govt.nz/page/soviet-ambassador-expelled">Soviet ambassador expelled</a></li>  <li>Official New Zealand history site: <a href="https://nzhistory.govt.nz/page/soviet-ambassador-expelled">Soviet ambassador expelled</a></li>
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