New Zealand says China's Huawei hasn't been ruled out of 5G role

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said her government is working through a process and Huawei could still be involved. PHOTO: AFP

WELLINGTON (BLOOMBERG) - New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said Huawei Technologies Co. hasn't been ruled out of playing a role in the development of the nation's 5G wireless communications network.

New Zealand's spy agency, the Government Communications Security Bureau, in November stopped Spark New Zealand from using Huawei 5G equipment, citing significant national security risks.

Ardern said on Tuesday (Feb 19) her government is working through a process and the Chinese company could still be involved if Spark can satisfy the GCSB's concerns.

"There's been no final decision here yet," she told Newshub.

"It is now currently with Spark to mitigate the concerns that have been raised. That is where the process sits."

New Zealand's decision to block Huawei followed Australia's lead, and came after reported pressure from the US.

It has led to concerns that China is showing its displeasure by impeding trade and tourist flows. Ardern denies any friction and says that while New Zealand is a member of the "Five Eyes" intelligence alliance that includes the US, Australia, Canada and the UK, it makes these decisions independently.

Britain's cybersecurity watchdog has determined that the country can manage risks tied to using equipment from Huawei, according to people familiar with the matter. The National Cyber Security Centre has found a blanket ban of the Chinese vendor from 5G wireless technology won't be necessary, said the people, who asked not to be identified as the deliberations are private.

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