'Obsolete' GCSB spy domes at Waihopai to be removed

Source: 1News

The GCSB's spy domes at Waihopai, near Blenheim, will be removed next year after more than 30 years of service.

Inside one of the Waihopai domes.

GCSB director-general Andrew Hampton announced on Thursday the "communications interception dishes and radome coverings" would be removed.

He said the interception of satellite communications at Waihopai had declined over the years, making the domes "virtually obsolete".

The dishes had also reached their structural end-of-life.

To provide a picture of their "dwindling use", Hampton said less than 0.5 per cent of intelligence reports produced by the GCSB in the past year were based on "dish collection".

GCSB Minister Andrew Little said its decision showed a "contemporary intelligence agency being open about today's national security challenges".

"The nature of telecommunications has changed, and other needs and capabilities have overtaken the sort of satellite communication interception that has been done at Waihopai," he said.

The first of the two 18m diameter dishes and radomes was constructed and began operating in 1989, with a second dish and radome added in 1998.