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Kiwi politicians ban TikTok

by on17 March 2023

It seems that the country is worried about what the Americans tell them again 

More than 30 years after New Zealand stopped listening to the US after it allowed French spooks to blow up a ship in its harbours, Kiwi politicians are listening to American fears over the TikTok social networking app.

For those who came in late, the US has been trying to get its allies to ban TikTok over unproved fear of Chinese spying and leaving the field clear for US companies with a proven track record of stealing customer data. 

New Zealand’s parliament has decided to ban TikTok from all parliamentary devices, amid mounting international security concerns surrounding the app.

The country’s MPs were informed by the parliamentary service that the Chinese-owned video-sharing app would be blocked from all parliamentary devices at the end of the month, and were told via email that “the Service has determined that the risks are not acceptable in the current New Zealand parliament environment”.

“The decision to block the TikTok application has been made based on our own analysis and following discussion with our colleagues across government and internationally,” the email reads.

New Zealand’s decision follows similar rulings by some of its major western allies. Earlier in the week, the UK government announced that TikTok would be banned, effective immediately, from ministers’ and civil servants’ mobile phones. The US, Canada, and the European Commission already had a ban in place.

The New Zealand ban does not specifically cover MPs’ personal phones, but those phones must have the app uninstalled in order to access any parliament applications.

A number of New Zealand MPs use TikTok to post political videos and commentary. Among the most prolific are Te Pāti Māori leaders Debbie Ngarewa-Packer and Rawiri Waititi, and Act party leader David Seymour. The Māori party had not responded to requests for comment by the time of publication. A spokesperson for Act said the party’s TikTok account “is run from a personal phone free of parliamentary information. We have been taking this precaution for some time.”


Last modified on 17 March 2023
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