On the China connections and our democracy

On Saturday, New Zealand voters elected as a member of Parliament Jian Yang, a man who:

  • by his own acknowledgement
    • was formerly a member of the Chinese Communist Party (many experts claim that the way the party works, no one is ever regarded as having left unless they are expelled),
    • was formerly part of the Chinese intelligence services,
    • in seeking New Zealand citizenship did not disclose to New Zealand authorities his past with the intelligence services and their training schools, and apparently regards as an acceptable justification for that omission the wishes of the authorities of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), a country he had left a decade earlier.
  • has apparently never denounced the PRC (party or state) for the manifest evils for which it is responsible domestically, or for its increasingly expansionist and aggressive stance internationally.  He has never indicated any regret at having previously chosen to make himself part of that brutal and repressive system.
  • clear documentary evidence, including photographs, indicates that he clearly remains in the good graces of the PRC authorities, and participates in many PRC- sponsored functions in New Zealand.

Perhaps it was bad enough that Yang was first elected to Parliament in 2011, and again in 2014.   At the time, voters knew none of this.

Perhaps the National Party did?  If so –  and they didn’t care, or think it relevant to voters –  that seems even worse than if they never bothered to do the checking and (as this 2011 article suggests) were simply playing identity politics and wanting an ethnic-Chinese candidate who would, among other things tap the potential donor base.  On that latter note, last week a National Party member and conference delegate recounted to me a past conversation with Peter Goodfellow, National Party president

The President once told me the Chinese are more important than the farms – they don’t complain and they pay up.

But if Jian Yang’s election to Parliament was quite bad enough in 2011 and 2014 –  when voters didn’t know and the National Party either didn’t know either, or knew but didn’t care or think it any concern of ours – it is astonishing this time round.    Of course, he was already on the party list, in a fairly secure spot, when the Financial Times/Newsroom stories broke.   But if he couldn’t by then have been removed from the party list, the National Party leadership could have disowned him and, for example, made clear that they would not accept the vote in Parliament of someone with such a tainted past and apparently close associations with the government/party of an alien power.   If they cared.

As it is, there is no evidence that they do care.   The leader of the National Party seemed to say nothing beyond the simple descriptive statement that Yang was reviewing his citizenship application papers (some of which were released under the Official Information Act late last week).  Yang himself seems to have said little beyond things like “people don’t understand the Chinese system” –  when in fact the problem is that they do (no former public servant in New Zealand, a decade after leaving New Zealand, is going to misrepresent his or her past to the government of another country “because that is what the New Zealand government told us to do”).  And then, of course, we had the Attorney-General, Chris Finlayson –  holder of an office with responsibility for upholding some of the fundamental values of our democratic system –  who, when asked in the closing days of the campaign about the appropriateness of someone with Yang’s track record being a New Zealand member of Parliament, had only the despicable “its all racism, and targeting the entire Chinese community” attempt at distraction to offer in response.   Whatever the faults of the impeccably liberal Financial Times, “racism” isn’t among them.

If you were of a charitable inclination, you might leave open the possibility that there really is some disquiet in the upper reaches of the National Party but….well……it was a close election, and better perhaps just to deal with these things quietly afterwards.  It is pretty openly acknowledged that the government has a policy of never upsetting the PRC government in public.  Perhaps in time Yang will find that “family commitments” or somesuch will mean he regrettably has to leave Parliament, by when the National Party will have smoothed the waters with Beijing and their representatives in New Zealand.   One can but hope, and even if there was some truth to this – wishful – hypothesis, it would still be telling about the enfeebled and compromised state of New Zealand democracy.

(One also sees various comments from smart people along the lines of “why is this an issue. If he was a spy, wouldn’t it be rather too obvious, and in any case there is no evidence that during his time in the intelligence services he, say, committed crimes against humanity?”   To my mind, neither is a remotely relevant issue.  And I’ve not heard anyone suggest Yang is a spy.  But as we’d have regarded it as incredible –  simply not believable or acceptable – to have had an unrepentant former member of the KGB or the GRU, still liaising closely with the Soviet Embassy, as an MP 40 years ago whatever specific role the person had played in that evil empire, so we should regard former Chinese foreign intelligence officials now.  No matter how pleasant they might be individually, or how good an academic they might have been.  Parliament is different.

And if the National Party is particularly culpable here, the Labour Party (as principal opposition party) emerges barely better.  Over the last six years, Yang has sat opposite them in Parliament?.  Didn’t they seek to learn more about the background of MPs of the opposite party, looking to identify points of vulnerability in the governing party?  Isn’t that part of what we should expect from opposition parties.  And since the Financial Times/Newsroom stories broke, the Labour Party leadership have been almost silent –  a week out from an election.  Professor Brady’s paper suggests that the Labour Party has also been somewhat compromised by too close associations with PRC interests, but whatever the reason robust democracy depends on serious scrutiny and challenge from the opposition.  It is –  supposed to be –  an intrinsic part of the system, even if it is not an approach that commands much favour in Beijing.

And then there is the press. Financial Times/Newsroom broke the story.   The local media gave it coverage for one day’s news cycle –  TVNZ even broadcast a call from Beijing-based New Zealand economist, Rodney Jones, calling for Yang to resign.  And both Stuff and the Herald OIA’ed Yang’s citizenship application.  But that was about it.  I’m pretty sure there wasn’t a single editorial about the issue, and no sign of relentless questioning of political party leaders about the issues on the campaign trail.  And the Finlayson attack was neither reported nor followed up.

I’m not sure what to make of the silence?   Some talk about the possible commercial interests of the newspaper owners –  Fairfax signed a deal a year or two back to distribute an occasional China Watch supplement –  but that doesn’t seem terribly persuasive as an explanation.  Among other things, Fairfax papers in Australia have been writing recent stories about PRC attempts at influence in Australia, and their Asia-Pacific editor has highlighted a number of these issues, including the Brady paper and comment on it, on his Twitter feed.  And, of course, it wouldn’t explain the near-complete silence of non-commercial media like Radio New Zealand.   Perhaps there is something in the story that PRC-funded entities assist media outlets with travel to China, and one needs to be careful not to bite the hands that feed?   If so, so compromised, and worse.  So we must hope that isn’t the story either.

Our major media outlets don’t usually seem afraid of taking on the government.  Agree with them or not –  and I didn’t follow the issue closely –  Stuff recently devoted large amounts of resources to serious investigative work around New Zealand involvement’s in Afghanistan.  Health system problems, child poverty, housing, multi-national tax issues have alll seen extensive investigations, and in some cases what amount to “campaigns”.  But not, it seems, either the specific issue of the presence in our Parliament of an Chinese-government affiliated MP, and former member of the Chinese intelligence services.  Or the wider issue Professor Brady has highlighted –  and attracted plenty of positive coverage abroad for –  of the systematic PRC (state/party) efforts to exert influence, both directly and through the Chinese diaspora, in democratic societies.   It seems extraordinary that I can find correspondents from the New York Times, the Financial Times, or Fairfax Australia drawing attention to the Brady paper and the Yang issue, but not most New Zealand media.  Or international China scholars and writers, but few other local academics.   Frankly I’m a bit incredulous.

I also don’t really buy the line that the near-complete silence is explained by fear of being called “racist” –  the initial Stephen Franks interpretation – even if a senior Cabinet minister did go straight to that line of attempted defence.    No serious person thinks that this issue is about Chinese people per se, whether native-born citizens of New Zealand, more recent citizens or residents, or whatever.   China is a big and emerging power.  As the China Daily put it just yesterday, a “lion awakening”, sparking this reaction from one wit.

There have been other emergent big powers previously – the Soviet Union and Germany in just the last 100 years –  whose interests and values were antithetical to our own.  They pursued their interests, and their attempts to do so were threats to us and our interests and values.  China isn’t really any different –  it is just even bigger.

So I can only assume that the silence of the New Zealand media, and most of the political parties, and of the current and former business elites, must reflect something like them having bought into a New Zealand government narrative (established over a long period of time) that we simply mustn’t say anything critical of China, and certainly not openly.  That New Zealand’s best interests are somehow served by accommodating China’s interests and preferences wherever necessary.   In that world, perhaps, someone like Jian Yang is seen as a useful “friend at court”?      It would be a curious stance for the media at least –  after all, their self-image is often one of fearless challenge, speaking the truth to power, asking hard questions other won’t.  But what other explanation makes much sense?

You have to wonder quite what New Zealanders have to fear.   And here perhaps the double-edged sword of trade becomes relevant.  I went and dug out the numbers yesterday for New Zealand’s trade with the Soviet Union in the 1970s.  Our exports to the Soviet Union then made up around 2-3 per cent of our total exports.  By contrast, our exports to China are now around 20 per cent of total exports.

Trade is generally good and mutually beneficial. I’m a free trader, who would prefer to see all our remaining tariffs and trade restrictions removed (they harm us, not other people) and am somewhat sceptical of the various preferential trade agreements our governments have been signing.  But I suspect trade between New Zealand firms and firms in countries where governments have a pretty hands-off approach are rather different than when the trade involves firms (often effectively government/party controlled anyway –  as, say, Sanlu was ) in state with a fairly totalitarian approach to the use of trade as an instrument of heavy-handed foreign policy.

I’m sure New Zealanders benefit from trade with China, and Chinese do too.  That is, in general, the nature of trade.    But if trade access for particular firms –  and their directors and owners –  depends on making nice to a government of a state with values and practices antithetical to those of most New Zealanders then there is an unpriced externality involved.     With the Soviet Union, maintaining moral clarity around the nature of the regime was relatively easy: not that many people in New Zealand, or similar countries, had a strong economic interest in making nice to the Soviet Union.  With China it is different.  We have Fonterra and the milk powder companies.  We have university vice-chancellors and their counterparts in other educational establishments.  And we have tourism industry leaders all looking to their own economic interests –  which aren’t necessarily the same as the interests in New Zealand –  in encouraging people to look the other away, to ignore Chinese abuses, and to aim to ensure that the public never gets too bothered about the actions of the PRC in New Zealand, including among our own fellow citizens who are ethnic Chinese.

There is a view abroad – propounded for example by people at the Contemporary China Research Centre, based at Victoria University – that somehow China is critical to whether or not New Zealand succeeds economically. I found this quote in a recent major report (the bulk of which I want to come back to)

New Zealand’s future is increasingly bound with China’s continued growth and prosperity. Perhaps not inextricably, but certainly the way that China tracks over the next decade and beyond will have a profound impact on whether New Zealand prospers as a nation. Most public and political commentary in New Zealand focusses on the state of the economic relationship. It is hard to overstate its importance
for New Zealand’s prosperity.

That is simply wrong. Nations largely make their own prosperity – or their own failures. Individual firms (and tertiary institutions – several of which take direct funding from the PRC) might be deeply affected by things China’s government could do, but over the medium to longer-term, New Zealand’s fortunes won’t be. As I’ve noted previously, the exports of New Zealand firms to China are (directly) around 5 per cent of our GDP. By contrast, say, Canada’s exports to the US are more than 20 per cent of Canada’s GDP.

There are plenty of countries with much larger direct exposure to China (this chart I found yesterday uses data a few years old, but the general point holds).

ExportstoChinaShareofGDP

South Korea is an interesting example, with a much larger direct trade exposure to China than we do. But that trade exposure is now smaller than it was, because in recent months China has been expressing its extreme displeasure with South Korea, imposing what are in effect economic sanctions in response to South Korea allowing the installation of the THAAD missile defence system. You can read some of the details here.

As it happens, there was a New Zealand column about just this issue on interest.co.nz yesterday, from Victoria University’s professor of business in Asia (a chair sponsored by BNZ, but also by a clutch of government agencies. After discussing the Korea situation he concludes

The THAAD case shows that it is critical to keep an eye on the political alignment between a business’ home country and the host country where it seeks to do business.

Which sort of makes my point. The interests of businesses wanting to trade in a particular country won’t always align well with the interests and values of the home country. That isn’t likely to be much of a problem in trade with the UK or Australia, or Singapore for that matter. It is, as the Koreans have found, with China. The very fact that China operates in the way it is doing with Korea suggests it isn’t the sort of regime our governments and media should be deferring to.

Some people might look at it the other way and say “if they can do it to Korea they can do it to us”. First, South Korea will survive economically, and is proceeding with the THAAD deployment. But, second, South Korea – and the entire situation on the peninsula – is likely to matter a great deal more to China than New Zealand does. It is difficult to imagine severe trade sanctions because New Zealand was willing to have an open and honest debate about whether it is appropriate for someone like Jian Yang to serve in our Parliament, let alone about the way in which the PRC seeks to exert influence and neutralise potential criticism in countries like our own. There is more of that sort of debate already in Australia and Canada. But if, just suppose, they did – to “make an example” perhaps – wouldn’t that be a moment of moral clarity, that brought into sharp relief how a state we constantly defer to operates. There was highflown talk – John Key and Xi Jinping – of a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership with China. We’d never have considered one with the Soviet Union. The PRC is today’s Soviet Union, with many more routes into our system directly than the Soviet Union ever had.

What have we come to?

I was exchanging notes the other day with a very senior journalist in Asia who observed of this state of affairs that “I have found that the more expert in China a person is the more troubling they find all of this”.

On which note, I had an email out of the blue the other day from someone with an unfamiliar name, and when I opened the link he sent me I found it was for something called “The Wairarapa Academy for New Sinology”. I wasn’t quite sure what to make of it, being instinctively sceptical of (yes, prejudiced about) the Wairarapa. But it turns out that an eminent Australian expert on China, Geremie Barme, formerly Director, Australian Centre on China in the World and Chair Professor of Chinese History at Australian National University has retired to the Wairarapa, where he contines to research and write on related issues, and is establishing the (mostly virtual) academy. He has a good new piece out on these issues, which appears to have been quite widely disseminated among China observers abroad. He might be someone New Zealand media could consider talking to. Can any good thing come out of Featherston? Apparently so.

UPDATE (Thurs)
There is a new short commentary by Professor Brady on the PRC-influence issues, and a Newsroom story suggesting that Winston Peters may continue to regard the Jian Yang issues as worth pursuing.

32 thoughts on “On the China connections and our democracy

  1. You have many times referred to his failure to denounce the Chinese regime. I wonder whether you would be quick as a member of parliament to denounce China if you had family living there (presuming of course you liked your family there)

    Denouncing someone is just words, and is just a lip-service gesture in terms of a proof of intent. It can only result in an increased risk of something bad happening to his loved ones back in China, so he would be stupid to do so. I think you should stop pushing that particular barrow.

    As for being a member of the Communist party. Isn’t that half the country? I don’t know if that is particularly significant.

    It seems to water down your argument if you present flimsy arguments along with stronger ones. I think we just need to figure out what he did while at intelligence services, and whether it matters, and whether he’s currently doing anything untoward. The rest is being painted as having more significance than it may really have.

    I’ve had a member of Russian intelligence working for me before (as software developer, not MP of course). It was part of his compulsory military service, and just happened to align to his skill sets. I would certainly trust him more than any politician I know of to act in NZ’s best interest rather than Russia’s.

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    • Interesting comments.

      On your suggestion that he may not be free to speak out, perhaps that’s true. But if so he is not then in a position to speak and act in the NZ Parliament wholly in the interests of NZers. And even if one might be reluctant to speak out, he could easily choose not to socialise with the Embassy, or PLA celebrations etc. The overall set of acknowledged or documents facts or behaviours does – at very least – raise questions.

      Re the Party, only around 5% of Chinese are members of the party. People join for all sorts of reasons – perhaps many careerist these days, but it is a choice to associate yourself with that sort of regime. In his case, it was presumably also part of working as part of the intelligence services. Personally, I’m not overly bothered by the specifics of what he did there – I have no reason to doubt the story that he was an English teacher – but if someone had been in a voluntary administrative capacity part of the Gestapo hierarchy, never having personally killed or tortured anyone, I’d be just as uneasy. (As a reminder, Yang’s participation was voluntary – unlike your story of the Russian).

      I certainly agree that one shouldn’t contaminate a strong argument with flimsy ones.

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      • I guess it’s always very difficult to evaluate how much choice an individual really has in China from over here in NZ. Plenty of people co-operated with Hitler’s regime because otherwise they would have been killed along with their family. A lot of that went on, especially in the final days of the war supposedly.

        I really don’t know much about how the Chinese regime operated when Mr Yang was at the stage where he took the path to teaching english to intelligence services. He may have been identified very early as someone with an aptitude, and channeled into that path with little choice. As for applying our criteria to judge the morality of working for Chinese intelligence services. That is also difficult. I’ve friends who worked for the GCSB, I don’t consider them morally bankrupt (quite the opposite). You can’t really equate Chinese intelligence with the Gestapo.

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      • Re Hitler’s Germany, yes they had conscription (and no conscientious objection). I’m not talking about the regular German army, but even then had someone migrated to NZ after the war (when the regime had been destroyed) and sought to be elected to our Parliament, I’d have expected that person to denounce and apologise for his/her past, and avoid associating with neo-Nazi institutions (say) if his/her identification with NZ values was to be take seriously.

        I’m not sure why one wouldn’t, broadly speaking, equate the chinese intelligence services with the Gestapo or the KGB. The Chinese regime has been responsible for as many deaths as Hitler’s Germany or the Soviet Union, and – unlike them – is still a threat (both the visible foreign policy issues, eg South China Sea and the less visible influence seeking that Prof Brady writes about).

        To revert to my very first post on the issue, if a US-born person, formerly working for the CIA or NSA sought to join our parliament, and continued to associate closely with the US Embassy etc I’d expect serious questions to be asked (and I certainly wouldn’t vote for such a person), even though the identity of values with the US is much greater than with the current Chinese regime.

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      • In order to gain Red Party membership, you need to demonstrate that you are the best of the best, the smartest of the smartest, the most loyal of the loyals and you need to show you are also the kindest of the kindest. Nothing in their demonstration requirements point towards being brutal, cruel and oppressive as the key attributes for joining the Red Party membership.

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      • p.s. I agree that someone who is leveragable by a foreign state may not be the best choice for an MP.

        But to be unleveragable in any way, you basically have to have no family or friends (amongst other things). Or be a reigning monarch with armed forces sworn to you 🙂

        So it’s not generally realistic. Maybe he should recuse himself in votes relating to China. As for maintaining good relations with the regime, I don’t see the problem there either if you consider the alternative and the ramifications of that.

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      • And I agree that we should have normal state to state diplomatic relations with the PRC, as we did with the Soviet Union. The two still seem very similar to me, with China probably more of a risk to us directly (even if the Soviet Union may have been more of a risk to the world).

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    • I don’t think you can compare the Communist Red Army with Hitlers SS troops or the German Army. China’s Red Army has never been an aggressor in occupying other countries lands. They have been more pre-occupied with keeping out foreign colonisers eg the Japanese mostly, the British with Hong Kong, Portugese with Macao and even with the US. Trade wars like the Opium Wars and the Boxer rebellion, the Nanking Massacre were with foreign colonisers.

      Most of their wars and major conflicts if not all have been internal civil wars with its own people ie Kuomintang led armies of Chiang Kai Shek backed by the USA.

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      • Tibet? Or from Wikipedia:
        “The Sino-Vietnamese War, also known as the Third Indochina War, was a brief border war fought between the People’s Republic of China and the Socialist Republic of Vietnam in early 1979.”
        and the history of Inner Mongolia would make most countries with large numbers of Han Chinese colonists nervous
        and “The Nathu La and Cho La clashes were a series of military clashes between India and China alongside the border of the Himalayan Kingdom of Sikkim, then an Indian protectorate.Dates: 1 Oct 1967 – 2 Oct 1967 Result: Chinese forces beaten back”
        more recently “Chinese and Indian troops face off in Bhutan border dispute”

        Personally however peaceful a country has been I would be influenced by the size of its military:-
        2,333,000 China
        1,492,200 United States
        1,325,000 India
        1,190,000 North Korea

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      • Tibet? Don’t buy into the western media hype. The tibetan people were treated as slaves to the Dalai Lama elite. They were willing slaves but neverthless since brought up as generations of children of slaves, they just willingly acted as slaves not understanding any better. The chinese brought modernisation and modern living environments eliminating poverty and workers get paid fair wages instead of being slaves. Tibet still has its own Dalai Lama just friendly towards the Chinese regime but pretty much functions automously.

        The others you mention are minor border skirmishes over boundaries that the British probably drew up in its favour over canon diplomacy and probably did not respect China’s traditional rights over those borders.

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      • China needs a large army because it is a large continent surrounded by unfriendly nations armed to the teeth. If you look at China’s history it is made up of a huge mix of different cultures and languages. There are entire cities that still look like Roman people and buildings from skirmishes with the Roman empire even though they speak chinese.

        Every different culture was in the past and even today, in the past its own individual highly trained armies of tens of thousands of soldiers and warlords, today maybe a rebel warlord with some rebels.

        But in China a skirmish with a warlord at any time can involve 200 or 300 rebels. Not the the few nut case terrorists that go shooting up French night clubs.

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      • “… has never been an aggressor in occupying other countries lands”
        I think the operative word here would be “yet”. Their threats to against almost all of their near neighbours, India most recently, I think it is only a matter of time. Possibly for the moment the CCP has been too busy stamping out what few freedoms remain in the country and locking up anyone who might protest. I believe the CCP holds the dubious distinction of having in its name murdered more of its own people than any other regime in the 20th Century, yes more than Stalin, more than Hitler – and you defend them? You also brush off the brutal invasion and subjugation of Tibet as a mere nothing? You’re ok with the complete suppression of free speech, the heavy persecution of tens of thousands of dissidents and religious adherents, the murder of tens of thousands of these same ones for their organs? CCP apologists make me cringe.
        In my view it is perfectly rational to be concerned if a person who has belonged to the Party responsible for such things who has apparently defended its governing principles is now one of our MPs.

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      • It’s absurd to suggest the British had a hand in drawing the border between China and Vietnam or that China’s invasion of Vietnam in 1978 was *any* kind of border skirmish. It was a dispute in response to Vietnam’s invading Cambodia. Vietnam’s intention was to end the rule of genocidal Khmer Rouge. China’s intention was to punish Vietnam for that, because they backed the Khmer Rouge.

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  2. The meaning of words is important – in your opening statement you say
    “On Saturday, New Zealand voters elected as a member of Parliament Jian Yang”

    I have a lot of difficulty with that – as a list MP Yang is anointed or selected by the party exercising its power in positioning Yang on the list – but hardly could you consider that a personal endorsement by the voters

    This question is identical to the dilemma Australia had when it conducted a referendum on becoming a republic – all the politicians wanted to appoint the “Head of State” as a ceremonial position with all the reserve powers held in the hands of the Prime Minister – the public wanted to elect their own head of state. There the movement stalled – the people wanted a Republic but only if they elected a Head-of-State with Reserve Powers

    On that same note I have commented a number of times on your continued use of the term “immigration policy” which contradicts your previous advice there is not written policy set-in-stone

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    • I spent a bit of time trying to find the best opening words. In the end, I went with the ones I did because the election operates by voters turning out. Those who didn’t vote for National and did vote for some other party didn’t vote for Yang, but collectively – and given the lists constructed by the parties – we did elect him. As it happens, 46% of those enrolled voted for National, and many many others didn’t vote at all, so a big majority of people didn’t vote against him. I don’t like MMP, but it is our system.

      Re immigration policy, I think I got halfway thru a reply on that point last week and somehow deleted it. When i use “immigration policy” what I mean is the whole set of detailed rules governing the individual streams under which non-citizens can be granted permission to live here, temporarily or permanently. The centrepiece of immigration policy – a term I often use – is the planning range for the residence approvals programme.

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  3. Some people have very short memories

    quote:- “Some people might look at it the other way and say “if they can do it to Korea they can do it to us”.

    They already have

    the wool boom – episode 1
    During the 1960’s Australia and New Zealand enjoyed one of the greatest wool booms.
    Cant find any documentation on the Australian effect but this on New Zealand Wool Boom
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Zealand_wool_boom

    the wool boom – episode 2
    In 1972 and 1978 the oil shocks arrived. Oil went to $80pb. Petroleum based synthetic fibres became more expensive than natural fibres, which led to the next Australian and New Zealand wool boom, which continued into the early 1980’s.

    In the period 1985-1995 oil fell back to $10 pb with an inevitable collapse in wool demand.
    Australia and NZ ended the 1980’s early 1990’s with massive wool stockpiles.

    Extract from http://www.abc.net.au/landline/stories/s342945.htm (paragraph 13)
    China, a new economic tiger, fuelled the market. Then in 1988 it withdrew totally. By 1991, seventy per cent of all wool produced was passed in at auction and bought by the AWC. The wool boom burst, inevitably and traumatically.

    With this one act China discovered the enormous power it had, and how to exercise it to its advantage.

    Extract from http://www.sirca.org.au/Papers/1998026.pdf
    During 1980-1990 the Australian Wool Reserve Price Scheme continued to purchase virtually the entire Australian wool clip and nearly all private stockholdings world-wide at prices far higher than any foreign buyer or consumer was willing to pay. Eventually, the Australian Government walked away from it, realising there were limits to the extent that tax payers were willing to pay to bail out such stupidity. Today, Australia still has a huge unwanted wool stockpile. (at the time of writing in 2007)

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  4. “I have found that the more expert in China a person is the more troubling they find all of this”.

    Bingo.

    Read Dr. Michael Pillsbury’s book The Hundred Year Marathon. China has been playing a power game against the West right from the time of Mao.

    Also read Hegemon by Steven Mosher. How China’s history is shaping its future.

    And read Unrestricted Warfare by two Chinese colonels: full spectrum covert warfare against the West.

    https://ideologee.blogspot.com.au/2015/09/waking-up-to-chinas-unrestricted-warfare.html

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  5. “if the National Party is particularly culpable here, the Labour Party (as principal opposition party) emerges barely better”…
    If only there were someone who could make the leaders of the Labour Party and the National Party actually, really, *listen*? Someone who is very important to them or even has power over them; even someone on whom their position in government depends? Someone who has built a notoriety over decades for being acutely sensitive to the influence of foreign power in our own country? oh, well…

    …surely there is someone who can point the Kingmaker in the direction of Ann-Marie Brady’s report, and the concerns around Jian Yang, as outline including this post, so that he might be able to put some pressure on Bill English over this?

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  6. The answer is in the numbers

    You briefly touch on the issue of news dissemination and the brevity or lack of longevity of worthwhile news stories – otherwise known as the vigorous pursuit of the right to know or alternatively known as investigative journalism

    The lack of pursuit is pretty evident in your article titled “a story of two attorneys-general” wherein you include a reference to an article in the AU Fairfax publication Sydney Morning Herald where the subject gets a vigorous going over compared to NZ Fairfax where it is untouched

    You have to wonder why – are they muzzled?

    From an overview of the media in NZ – commercial media is dependent on profitability which shows itself in resources being ploughed into research and investigative journalism – which is obviously not happening at either NZME or FairfaxNZ or TVNZ1,TV2,TV3 – they are dying – they are not getting any benefit from a growing population – yet in the areas of growth – the Asian population – there are 5 Chinese language television stations in NZ but no Indian or Malay television stations – radio – I stopped counting

    In NZ the new money is going into Chinese Television and Radio – have a look at the graphic in your newsroom update – interviewing Dr Yang – Panda Television

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  7. Correction there is one free to air Indian TV channel. APNA Television: Channel 36.

    New Zealand’s first 24/7 free-to-air Indian entertainment channel delivering vibrant, youthful, value-oriented television for the entire family, which is endearing, enriching and entertaining. Apna Television Ltd focuses on innovative concepts with a fresh approach. It creates a unique blend of entertainment, infotainment, news features, and analysis through the medium of interactive reality shows, news, soaps, serials, movies, thrillers, musicals and much more!

    The Malay speaking population is almost non existent so I would not expect a TV station.

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  8. Mr Key was borrowing billions of dollars a day from China. Do they now unofficially gave too large a hold over our little country. Also I do not believe a thing about National’s
    so called Surplus. They have simply cut funding budgets to Health Etc to try and force the Public Private models.. The Global Asset Stripping is definitely at work. Privatise the profit making ventures & socialising the ventures that incur costs.
    Just how a form of nepotism has crept into how people are appointed is rampant. I reckon the appointment from Spy School probably donated a huge sum to the National Party.
    Keeping young people in debt gives the Government power over wages, Housing and so they have to stay low or loose their jobs.
    Whistle Blowers are penalised and even our so called audit office is top heavy with Relationship Managers who are appointed to head Health,Defence etc all the departments final assessment audits who manage the departments audit reports results. The censorship exists like whitewash. The new tone is that you have to give the departments the opportunities to put things right. In the past there has even been backdated legislation to cover departments blunders. Mangawhai is an example where the Audit Office had to pay out 5 million dollars to – Guess who – the very local council that had stuffed up in the tenders expansions of their development. The Rate Payers had protested about the illegal Rates Setting and they were the ones affected by the blunders. They should have been the ones compensated. We drove up there on the way to Whangarei and just about every other home was up for sale. It reminds me of the Banks in America – Too Big to fail, he Bad Managers do not seem to have an accountability factor clause in their positions.

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