Is ‘no Russian spies’ credible?

Jacinda Ardern has claimed there are no Russian spies in New Zealand.

RNZ: ‘No undeclared Russian spies here’ – Jacinda Ardern

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says New Zealand does not have the kind of Russian diplomat that is being expelled by the US and its European allies, but says NZ would also kick them out of the country if it did.

Dozens of Russian diplomats are being expelled from more than a dozen countries in a co-ordinated response to the poisoning of a former Russian spy in the UK.

Speaking to Morning Report today, Ms Ardern said the diplomats being expelled overseas were “undeclared intelligence officers”, and she had been assured by MFAT that New Zealand did not have any operating here.

“But if we did, we would expel them.”

She said she was not surprised that she had been advised that there were no such diplomats working in New Zealand, as it was unlikely the country would be top of the list for global intelligence services.

Is this credible? It has raised a few eyebrows internationally.

Guardian:  New Zealand says it would expel Russian spies … but it can’t find any

“While other countries have announced they are expelling undeclared Russian intelligence agents, officials have advised there are no individuals here in New Zealand who fit this profile. If there were, we would have already taken action,” said Ardern.

She said New Zealand will review what further action it can take to support the international community over the attack.

“We remain steadfast with our international partners in our shared concern about the Salisbury nerve agent attack,” Ardern said.

Peters said New Zealand has been clear in expressing its condemnation over the attack.

“As part of our ongoing support for the United Kingdom, along with the international community, we will keep possible future actions under review and remain in close contact with our international partners,” he said.

The foreign affairs ministry “called in the Russian ambassador in Wellington to reiterate our serious concern about the likely Russian source of the nerve agent used in Salisbury, and delivered the same message in Moscow,” Peters said.

Maybe New Zealand is too small for spies now. Australia has expelled just two.

Evening Standard:  Australia joins more than 20 western allies in expelling Russian diplomats

More than 100 agents are being sent home from more than 20 countries in what Theresa May called the “largest collective expulsion of Russian intelligence officers in history”.

They include 60 from the US and intelligence officers operating in Canada, Ukraine, Norway, Macedonia and Albania, as well as in 16 European Union member states.

On Monday night, Australia announced plans to expel two Russian diplomats identified as “undeclared intelligence officers”.

But New Zealand? Nyet.

42 Comments

  1. Australia may go further:

  2. Blazer

     /  March 27, 2018

    anyone come up with a plausible motive for Russia…doing this yet?

      • Blazer

         /  March 28, 2018

        Didn’t find any of those excuses convincing.They could have killed Skipral 1000 times over…he was in a Russian prison for 3 years.’highly likely’ is b/s…where’s the evidence?I suspect with the U.K leaving the EEC ,this is an attempt to unify the rest of Europe against the real or imagined threat of a powerful Russia, which has proved in Syria it can fight an effective conventional war if…necessary.

        • Where’s the evidence it’s a conspiracy against Russia?

          There are a lot of countries convinced that Russia was involved.

          • Blazer

             /  March 28, 2018

            what …convinced them,not the U.S signalling that it would be withdrawing significant committments to present European defence committments…do you..think?i.e they would have to stump up…unity required to combat any threats.

        • Gezza

           /  March 28, 2018

          Well it’s fine if you don’t find any of those excuses convincing. After talking to your intelligence services & considering their assessments, don’t expel any diplomats from the country you run.

          • Blazer

             /  March 28, 2018

            pathetic…imagine if this so called logic you present was directed at every post people made here, which in case you don’t realise are…opinion.

            • Gezza

               /  March 28, 2018

              Happy to take more lessons in patheticism & squirrelling from you.

          • Blazer

             /  March 28, 2018

            talk to pukekos ,they’ll agree with you,but try and get some…sleep.

  3. Reminds me of the old Blam Blam Blam classic- slightly adapted…..

    ” There are No Russian Spies in Neeew Zzzeeeland, There are no Sheep on our faaaarrrmmmmsss…….. There are No Russian Spies in Neeewww ZZeaalanddddd, we can all stay perfectlllllyyyyy caaaaallmmm, perfectly caaalllmmm, perfeccccctttttllllyyy caaaaaaaaaaaaaalllllmm………..”

    With apologies to D McGlashan and co…

  4. PDB

     /  March 27, 2018

    Winston is probably the closest we have to a Russian spy – can we send him?

  5. Ray

     /  March 27, 2018

    I think you will find that what Miss Ardern meant was no one has told her about anyRussian spies, just as no one in the Party told her about all sorts of stuff ’cause they don’t trust her.

  6. Maggy Wassilieff

     /  March 27, 2018

    Even The Guardian is taking the piss…
    New Zealand says it would expel Russian spies … but it can’t find any
    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/mar/27/new-zealand-expel-russian-spies-cant-find-any
    Мэгги Васильева

  7. Corky

     /  March 28, 2018

    Of course we have Russian spies. However, their roles would be limited in our neck of the woods. That will probably change if Russia/Western relations continue to decline.

  8. Alan Wilkinson

     /  March 28, 2018

    Jacinda asks MFAT? Surely should be asking the intelligence services? Altogether bizarre.

    • Gezza

       /  March 28, 2018

      Why? Incoming diplomats from Russia would almost certainly be subject to Security checks before being granted entry.

      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  March 28, 2018

        And monitored after they arrive?

        • Gezza

           /  March 28, 2018

          I’d bet on it.

          • Alan Wilkinson

             /  March 28, 2018

            So why on earth ask MFAT instead of the SIS?

            This Government looks more like a can of prats every day.

            • Gezza

               /  March 28, 2018

              I don’t know Alan. Possibly she was being strategic. She recently said she didn’t discuss security managers. I agree that she’s ballsed up again though. This won’t go away.

            • Gezza

               /  March 28, 2018

              * security matters

            • Gezza

               /  March 28, 2018

              Sam Sachdeva @SamSachdevaNZ
              2h
              Replying to @NZMorningReport
              Pretty sure she said on caucus run it was from the SIS? Definitely at one point at least.
              ………….
              Boris Jančić @borisjancic
              ·
              2h
              Yes. Definitely said SIS during caucus run.

  9. Paul Buchanan has just said on RNZ that Ardern”s ‘no spies’ comment was “unbelievably stupid”.

    • Gezza

       /  March 28, 2018

      I saw her making that comment & thought it was so odd I was surprised she wasn’t asked to clarify what she meant. She’s going to have to say something more about it than “I don’t discuss security matters” because it was such a stupid thing to say.

  10. Blazer

     /  March 28, 2018

    Couldn’t spot a spy,even if there was one in…Parliament with a flashing red beacon on his…head.

  11. Geoffrey Monks

     /  March 28, 2018

    This was a really dumb blurt. Unlike “Spy vs Spy” they do not wear funny hats – they have labels like a Cultural Attaché etc. During the Cold War the Soviet Embassy in Wellington was one of the largest in the world. Reason being that a great deal of sensitive allied information was shared with us and we were a soft target. Nothing has changed.

    • Missy

       /  March 28, 2018

      I used to flat with a someone whose father was ex MI6, her father said that during the cold war the Russians used to send all their spies to NZ as part of the training, and MI6, CIA etc sent their spies down to gather intel off the Russians. Apparently it was great for learning the trade because of the small diplomatic community, easy access, and informal atmosphere, many of the spies (on both sides) let their guard down.

      NZ is still seen as a pretty benign place in terms of espionage by many, there have been rumours for years that Mossad send their agents to NZ to learn their trade.

      • Blazer

         /  March 28, 2018

        Mossad agents have been caught ‘learning their trade’ in NZ ,using NZ passports.Whose side are the Israelis on…anyway?

        • High Flying Duck

           /  March 28, 2018

          After they poisoned that Russian, it’s hard to tell?

          • Blazer

             /  March 28, 2018

            its not as if anyone died.Alot of concern about a russian double..agent.

            • High Flying Duck

               /  March 28, 2018

              It’s not what they did – it’s where they did it.
              And crocking the cop didn’t help matters.

      • Geoffrey

         /  March 28, 2018

        Yes, “seen as benign” by foreign governments and ourselves alike. This translates as “blind to reality”.

  12. Maggy Wassilieff

     /  March 28, 2018

    Good news folks.
    We do have Russian spies….
    Winston has located them.
    They’re all out of the country at the moment.
    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12021937

    • Geoffrey Monks

       /  March 28, 2018

      More idiot comment from the House. Implication is that our friends off-shore are allowing visible spooks to run about Willy nilly pending a perceived need to turf a few out!