The Waihopai spy domes will be decommissioned and dismantled as they have become “virtually obsolete”, the Government Communications Security Bureau says.
The two radomes at the spy base – which resemble two oversized golf balls among the vineyards of the Waihopai Valley south of Blenheim – have for decades been a focal point of protest against New Zealand’s participation in United States-led conflicts and the Five Eyes intelligence-sharing arrangement.
Minister for the Intelligence Agencies Andrew Little on Wednesday evening said the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) no longer needed the radomes, as they yielded less and less intelligence.
“There’s other forms of signals intelligence gathering that they can do now, online and what have you, that doesn’t necessitate a technology that’s represented in those domes.”
Here’s the key sentence in this news report: “The Waihopai base itself will continue to be used, as will a GCSB base at Tangimoana, in Manawatū”.
Anti-Bases Campaign (ABC) is not surprised that Waihopai’s radomes and satellite interception dishes will be dismantled. They’re 1980s’ technology, dating back to the era of landlines, fax machines and video cassette recorders.
Since the 1980s ABC has consistently called for Waihopai to be closed. Not to be made a more modernised, efficient spy base, using different spying methods, which is what Andrew Little has announced.
So, Waihopai will still be a spy base, albeit without its most conspicuous physical features that stick out like dogs’ balls.
Meaning that ABC still continues to call for the closure of Waihopai.
And we will back at the spybase to do that in person on Saturday January 29.