Reports of New Zealand’s break with Five Eyes have been greatly exaggerated. The intelligence gathering alliance will survive the country’s recent refusal to sign a joint statement condemning China’s treatment of its Uyghur population. It may even serve as a reminder for the network to focus on intelligence and not assume that all five countries will announce co-ordinated foreign policy positions.
Five Eyes was born out of the 1946 UK/USA Agreement to share intelligence and grew to include Canada, Australia and New Zealand. It was a vital tool for the Western world during the Cold War, then refocussed on international terrorism after 9/11, and in recent years has turned again to monitoring Russia and China.