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Tangimoana still on spying front line 23 January
Satellites may have superseded radio communications,
but New Zealand's eavesdropping station at Tangimoana is not
"a clapped-out spy base yet", says Green Party defence and
disarmament spokesman Keith Locke.
Tangimoana is mentioned in the recently
released papers of former prime minister David Lange, which
show New Zealand spied on friendly countries - including Japan
and the Philippines - in 1985 and 1986. At the time,
Tangimoana was the country's only spy base, as Waihopai, near
Blenheim, had yet to be built.
Mr Locke says while Waihopai, with its
satellite-screening technology, has overtaken Tangimoana, the
Manawatu facility is still being developed by the Government
Communications Security Bureau, which runs the operation.
"Tangimoana is past its heyday, but it's
no clapped-out spy base. It's the lesser spy base now, but
still a concern to us and still has the ability to pick up
long-range shipping and other radio communications."
He says Green Party people have noticed
new aerials and "other bits and pieces" have been added.
"Tangimoana's heyday was during the Cold
War, when it was used to try to pick up Russian subs in
regional waters. Who knows if it did, but it was part of the
big cog of espionage."
Mr Locke says it is possible Tangimoana
is being used to monitor the fight in the Southern Ocean
between Japanese whalers and anti-whaling groups, as the base
had been able to monitor Argentinian communications during the
Members of the Greens and Anti-Base
campaign group continued opposition to Waihopai with a protest
yesterday. They protested at Tangimoana last year, but Mr
Locke says he doesn't know if further protests are planned.
Asked if he thought local people cared
about the spy base in their midst, Mr Locke says a few locals
joined the protest last year.
"They have to have knowledge of it and
the Government's continual 'no comment' on the issue makes it
hard to get a debate going."
A request to the Defence Department by
the Manawatu Standard to be shown round Tangimoana received no
response last year.
* New Zealand's spy base at Waihopai is
more useful to the United States than troops would have been
if they had been sent to Iraq, Green Party co-leader Jeanette
"In New Zealand we have been complacent
about our refusal to participate in the invasion of Iraq," she
told party members and anti-base demonstrators at Waihopai.
"But the blood is still on our hands . .
. too few New Zealanders know about the role played by those
two white domes a few miles from here in spying on the
law-abiding citizens of many countries and in obtaining the
information that makes the war possible."
Ms Fitzsimons was making her annual State
of the Planet speech yesterday, using Waihopai as a venue.
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