New Zealand is conducting mass surveillance over its Pacific neighbours, reports citing documents leaked by US whistleblower Edward Snowden say.
Calls, emails and social media messages were being collected from Pacific nations, the New Zealand Herald said.
The data was shared with other members of the “Five Eyes” network – the US, Australia, Britain and Canada.
Mr Snowden leaked a large cache of classified NSA documents in 2013.
The documents published on Thursday reveal that New Zealand’s Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) used its Waihopai base in the South Island to spy on allies in the region.
Targets included Fiji, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Nauru, Samoa, Vanuatu, Kiribati, New Caledonia, Tonga and French Polynesia.
According to US website The Intercept, which published the documents in conjunction with the New Zealand Herald, the base was running “full take” interceptions, meaning it was retaining content and metadata of all communications rather than just of specific targets.
The data collected was then available to be accessed by analysts from the US’s National Security Agency (NSA) via the agency’s controversial XKeyscore computer programme, revealed during the original leak in 2013, the Herald reported.
New Zealand Prime Minister John Key said the reports contained errors and false assumptions, but did not elaborate.
He said the GCSB gathered “foreign intelligence that is in the best interests of New Zealand and protecting New Zealanders”.