Global Insight: Call for NZ to boost surveillance

New Zealand resources are perhaps being exploited without our knowledge, Professor Robert Patman warns as fallout continues from the alleged Chinese spy balloon.

‘‘The lesson New Zealand must derive...  is that it must take necessary measures to improve its surveillance capabilities both in the air and on sea,’’ international relations specialist Professor Patman told Global Insight.

Relations between the United States and China have soured this week after a US military jet shot down, in US air space, a 61-metre-tall Chinese surveillance balloon the US said was spying.

The Chinese government countered that it was an off-track weather balloon.

The Chinese balloon flew over the US state of Montana and was eventually shot down in a safe...
The Chinese balloon flew over the US state of Montana and was eventually shot down in a safe location. Photo: Chase Doak via Reuters

In recent months and days, Chinese balloons have also been spotted over Canada, Japan, Taiwan, Costa Rica and Colombia.

Reports have since come to light of other Chinese balloons flown undetected across the US. 

‘‘If a country as sophisticated and with the military capabilities of the United States... can get caught cold by a development like this... it has implications for our huge exclusive economic zone,’’ Prof Patman said.

‘‘We cannot assume other powers will not want access to those resources.’’

Watch full interview here:

Prof Patman also detailed evidence suggesting the balloon was not simply gathering weather information; he said why China might use spy balloons when satellites could do the job just as well; and urged  New Zealand not to assume China was a benign authoritarian power.