Five Eyes residents needed to clean spy hub
New Zealand’s spooks need their milk replenished, but only Fives Eyes citizens need apply.
They need their dishwashers unloaded and their rubbish needs taking out - but only by citizens of New Zealand, Australia, Canada, United States, or the United Kingdom.
The Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) is on the hunt for new cleaners and, as may be expected from the county’s spies, even cleaners for its Thorndon, Wellington, base need to pass stringent security checks.
Tender documents show a team of at least six cleaners - plus one account manager - are needed. Each must pass security clearance. At a minimum, this meant staff must be New Zealand citizens or - as long as they have lived in New Zealand for at least 10 years and sign a nondisclosure form - be citizens of United States, United Kingdom, Canada, or Australia. Those five countries, including New Zealand, make up the nations signed on to the Five Eyes intelligence alliance.
Among the list of cleaning duties required are distributing milk to the kitchens as well as replenishing tea, coffee, and soap supplies. The gymnasium floor needs vacuuming and mopping, and the basement car park needs sweeping. Bathrooms need cleaning and disinfecting. The list - that is only indicative of full duties - runs to more than a page.
Victoria University professor Robert Ayson, who specialises in international security, said the security checks would be the ‘‘last line of defence’’ in protecting confidential New Zealand and Five Eyes security information. ‘‘The nightmare would be someone going into a building like that with a thumb drive and downloading stuff they are not allowed to take.’’
This though should be unlikely as offices such as GCSB had strict rules saying that, when people left for the day, important information was not left freely available for anyone - either in paper form or on computers. But still there would be occasions when someone, such as a cleaner, could catch a glimpse of sensitive information, he said.
The tender documents also show Kiwi spies have an environmentally-friendly leaning - one requirement of the winning bidder is being able to supply ‘‘Bio Bags’’ and ‘‘Eco Green Rubbish Bags’’.
Under the Human Rights Act agencies are allowed to discriminate - such as specifying what countries applicants are from - on the basis of national security.
GCSB has been approached for comment.