New Zealand's prime minister won't rule out that Huawei tech could still be used in a internet upgrade across her country if unnamed risks can be mitigated.
New Zealand still hasn't ruled out Huawei playing a role in a major internet network upgrade if unnamed risks raised by security agencies can be mitigated, but it won't be swayed by Britain's decision in the matter, its prime minister says.
New Zealand's Government Communications Security Bureau (GSCB) last year told telco Spark gear from China's Huawei - the world's largest telecom equipment company - proposed for the rollout of its 5G network posed an unspecified but "significant network security risk".
Its government has spent recent weeks defending the state of the country's relationship with the world's second-largest economy amid opposition party suggestions the Huawei decision has irked Beijing.
But Kiwi policymakers have held that Huawei has never been banned from the country and that the issue is with the particular technology being proposed, not the company or its country of origin.
On Tuesday, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern reiterated her government's position that a process to see if the risks could be mitigated was still ongoing and that no final decision had yet been made.
"That's exactly the situation we're in right now," she told TVNZ.
"The GCSB's gone back and sought that mitigation. That is independent of us. And I do hold confidence in the process."
New Zealand politicians and the GCSB have declined to publicly state what the suspected threat may be or how it may be mitigated.
This week, the Financial Times reported Britain had decided the security risks surrounding Hauwei's technology were manageable and that the decision could carry signficant sway with other nations.
Ardern said New Zealand would be making its own decision.
"It is fair to say Five Eyes [intelligence network], of course, share information but we make our own independent decisions," she told reporters.
Western spy agencies have increasingly raised security concerns about Huawei over what they say are possible links to the Chinese government, with the United States reportedly pressing allies to avoid the company. Australia was among the first countries to ban Huawei from its 5G networks.
The company has repeatedly denied posing a risk.
New Zealand policymakers have denied being pressured by Washington.