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Photo: New Zealand Defense Force

A soldier based in New Zealand has been charged with spying, the NZ Defense Force confirmed in a statement Wednesday.

Why it matters: The soldier allegedly has ties to far-right extremist groups, per multiple local media reports. They're the first person to face espionage charges in New Zealand.

  • The charges come some three months after a white supremacist was sentenced to life in prison for opening fire on worshippers in two Christchurch mosques in 2019, killing 51 people in one of the world's worst shootings by a single gunman.

Driving the news: The soldier, based at Linton Military Camp near the city of Palmerston North on New Zealand's North Island, was arrested in December last year.

  • The country's director of military prosecutions charged the soldier in the Court Martial of New Zealand with four charges of espionage, two counts of attempted espionage; two charges of possession of an objectionable publication and three of accessing a computer system for a dishonest purpose.
  • The soldier also faces one charge of "doing an act likely to prejudice Service discipline or bring discredit on the Service," one of "negligently failing to perform a duty" and also four counts of failing to comply with written orders, per the statement.
  • No date has yet been set for the Court Martial hearing of the soldier, who has name suppression. A New Zealand Defense Force spokesperson declined to comment further.

Go deeper

Army disciplines 14 officials over “multiple failures” at Fort Hood

Candles and flowers decorate a makeshift memorial for U.S. Army Specialist Vanessa Guillén in Houston, Texas. Photo: Mark Felix/AFP via Getty Images

The U.S. Army fired or suspended more than a dozen officials after an investigation into climate and culture at Fort Hood found "multiple failures" in how the Army handles soldier disappearances, deaths and sexual harassment complaints, Army secretary Ryan McCarthy said Tuesday.

Driving the news: The independent review was launched after the murder of 20-year-old Spc. Vanessa Guillén, who told family and friends she had been sexually harassed before she disappeared from Fort Hood in April. Her remains were found in June.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
4 hours ago - Energy & Environment

Key clean power provision likely won't survive in Dems' spending bill

A construction worker walks along a dirt road at the Avangrid Renewables La Joya wind farm in Encino, New Mexico, on Aug. 5, 2020. Photo: Cate Dingley/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A pillar of Democrats' plans to speed deployment of zero-carbon electricity is likely to be cut from major spending and tax legislation they are struggling to move on a party-line vote, per multiple reports and a Capitol Hill aide.

Driving the news: The New York Times, citing anonymous congressional aides and lobbyists, reports that West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin (D) has told the White House he "strongly opposes" the Clean Electricity Performance Program.

Updated 7 hours ago - World

Fatal stabbing of British MP David Amess declared a terrorist incident

Police outside Belfairs Methodist Church in Leigh-on-Sea, England, on Oct. 15. Photo: John Keeble/Getty Images

Authorities have declared the death of David Amess a terrorist incident, hours after the Conservative Party lawmaker in the U.K. was fatally stabbed while meeting with local constituents in a church in eastern England on Friday.

The big picture: The Metropolitan Police has found "a potential motivation linked to Islamist extremism."