From the Crikey grapevine, the latest tips and rumours …

It's all listening devices across the ditch. While the government of Kiwi PM Bill English is being rocked by his terrible mishandling of an MP who bugged one of his own staffers, some more evidence has emerged of the priorities of the Five Eyes intelligence agencies. As we know, the electronic intelligence gathering agencies of the US, UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand are only used to fight terrorism and counter the actions of enemies like Russia and China in the name of national security. Well ... not so much. In fact, the primary goal of the Five Eyes surveillance systems is commercial espionage, and one of many examples that confirmed this was the case of New Zealand back in 2015, when some Edward Snowden documents revealed NZ's electronic intelligence-gathering agency, GCSB, had been spying on the World Trade Organisation. A den of Russian spies? A haven for terrorists? Not quite. NZ's then-trade minister Tim Groser had decided to run for the job of head of the WTO and the Kiwis used Five Eyes intelligence-gathering systems to spy on the other contenders. Groser was unsuccessful, but the revelations prompted an investigation by NZ's Inspector General of Intelligence and Security.