“We could be the next Albania” – Brady

To their credit, the Herald yesterday ran a substantial op-ed from Professor Anne-Marie Brady on the influence-seeking and interference by the People’s Republic of China (PRC), and the Communist Party that controls the state, in New Zealand.

Professor Brady has been in the headlines in recent days over a burglary at her Christchurch home in which several laptops, phones etc (but nothing else of value) were stolen, the burglary occurring after she had received a letter warning that she was being targeted by the PRC regime.   The media has –  rightly –  sprung to her defence, suggesting a need to get to the bottom of just what is going on.   Another article in yesterday’s Herald suggested that the Police weren’t doing much about the break-in until the Prime Minister herself expressed concern.  In general, it is a bad look (and bad practice) for ministers to be putting pressure on Police to investigate, or not investigate, particular cases.  But perhaps on this occasion the end might almost justify the means.

Professor Brady’s article ran under the heading ‘We could be the next Albania’,  a reference to the reported observation last year by a senior Chinese diplomat that (in Brady’s words) “favourably compared New Zealand-China relations to the closeness China had with Albania in the early 1960s”.    Having fallen out with the Soviet Union, Albania sought refuge in ties with the PRC (a relationship described by one Western scholar as “one of the oddest phenomena of modern times: here were two states of vastly differing size, thousands of miles apart, with almost no cultural ties or knowledge of each other’s society, drawn together by a common hostility to the Soviet Union.”) before later also falling out with them.

Brady reports, and presumably is in a position to know, that this “startling and telling analogy…disconcerted New Zealand diplomats”.   She perhaps over-eggs the Albania point, arguing that

In the late 1970s the relationship ruptured over China’s failure to deliver economic development assistance. By the end of the Cold War era, Albania had become one of the poorest, most politically divided, and most corrupt of the former Eastern Bloc states.

Perhaps, but if we look at Angus Maddison’s collection of historical estimates of GDP per capita, Albania had long (well before the Communist era) been one of the poorest of those countries and had not exactly been a byword for political stability either.  Their failings were their own.

But I guess the real point –  and probably the one the Chinese diplomat was getting at –  was that New Zealand was seen from Beijing (with perhaps just a bit of exaggeration for effect) as small, remote (clearly both true), somewhat detached from its former allies, and diplomatically and economically subservient.   True or not, the suggestion will have put MFAT noses out of joint.

Brady goes on

Xi Jinping has been emboldened to pursue an increasingly assertive foreign policy and insisting that its strategic partners such as New Zealand fall into line with its interests and policies.  Accompanying this more assertive foreign policy has been a massive increase in the CCP’s foreign influence activities. China did not have to pressure New Zealand to accept China’s soft power activities and political influence: Successive New Zealand governments actively courted it. Ever since PRC diplomatic relations were established in 1972, New Zealand governments have sought to attract Beijing’s attention and favour. New Zealand governments have also encouraged China to be active in our region.

And not a word of scepticism is ever uttered openly, whether by politicians or by the (mainly government-funded) entities like the China Council and the Asia New Zealand Foundation.   No doubt, in most cases they genuinely believe their stance (quiescence) to be in the interests of “New Zealand” –  however those interests are defined.  In all too many cases, it also appears to have been in the personal economic interests of those involved.

The real point of Brady’s article appears to be to encourage the new government to think seriously about doing things differently.   As she highlights, the Australian government is taking these issues much more seriously   (for those still sceptical of the significance of these issues, in addition to Anne-Marie Brady’s main Magic Weapons paper, various of the submissions on the new Australian legislation make sobering reading –  for example, no 20 (by an academic whose new book on the subject –  already the subject of PRC threats –  is due out next week), or no 33 (from a national security academic at ANU) or no 32 (from an ethnic Chinese group, the Foundation for a Democratic China).

Brady appears to think there is a realistic possibility of change

In order to deal with the issue it can’t just attack the policies of the previous government, it also has to clean its own house. Significantly, unlike the previous National government, Ardern’s government has not endorsed Xi Jinping’s flagship policy the Belt Road Initiative, bringing New Zealand back in line with its allies and nearest neighbours.

It will take strenuous efforts to adjust course on the direction the previous National government set New Zealand. New Zealand has to address the issue, but the Ardern government must find a way to do so that does not invite pressure it cannot bear from the CCP, which is watching closely.

But is there any sign that this government is any different?  I’d like to believe that not having yet endorsed the Belt and Road Initiative (a sprawling massive geopolitical play, designed to extend PRC reach and in some cases load up poor countries with additional debts in ways that further extend PRC political influence) is significant.    But the New Zealand China Council –  largely taxpayer-funded, and with the Secretary of Foreign Affairs sitting on its Council –  was promising late last year that early this year they would have a report out on how New Zealand can engage with the initiative.  And senior Labour backbencher –  chair of a major select committee –  Raymond Huo seemed right behind the initiative

Meanwhile, China-born legislator Raymond Huo believed the Belt and Road Initiative can help solve the problem of infrastructure development facing many developed nations.

“There is a dilemma. New Zealand, Australia and other developed countries including the US and Canada are all facing the same problem,” Huo told Xinhua.

“We haven’t done much upgrading, so we need money, we need capital, and we need the construction capacity. China has both,” he said.

Huo said he first realized the potential of Belt and Road Initiative when he attended two high-level conferences in China, and he believed New Zealand should seize the opportunities it offers.

Along with other experts on China and leading business people, he has established a think tank and foundation on the Initiative.

What other straws in the wind are there?

As recently as this week, interviewed on Radio NZ about the Brady break-in and other matters the Prime Minister refused to express concern at all about PRC influence-seeking and interference in New Zealand. At one level, it is fine to talk about being concerned about any foreign influence from any source (as we all should be), but there is a real and specific issue around the PRC, which needs serious political leadership to address.  But instead there is a void.

It isn’t just the Prime Minister of course. In a post late last year, I highlighted that her minister responsible for the intelligence agencies, Andrew Little, was specifically dismissive of concerns around the PRC activities.

Andrew Little, the Minister Responsible for the SIS, said he was not aware of any undue Chinese influence.
“I don’t see evidence of undue influence in New Zealand, whether it’s New Zealand politics, or New Zealand communities generally.

“We have a growing Chinese community. We have a strongly developing trade relationship and diplomatic relationship with China. I don’t think those things, on their own, connote undue influence.

“If there’s other things she says constitutes undue influence, we’d have to know what that is.”

It was documented in Brady’s substantive paper minister, a paper which has had substantial coverage around the world.

Then, of course, there was the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs.  Out of office he had occasionally been heard to express concerns, including around National MP Jian Yang.   In office, at a New Zealand event marking 45 years of diplomatic relations with the PRC, he wouldn’t even address the issue, stressing how cordially he would raise (privately) any concerns he ever had, and went on to suggest that, after all, one had to break a few eggs to make a omelette, and really no should get too bothered about human rights issues in China either.

“Sometimes the West and commentators in the West should have a little more regard to that and the economic outcome for those people, rather than constantly harping on about the romance of ‘freedom’, or as famous singer Janis Joplin once sang in her song: ‘freedom is just another word for nothing else to lose’.

“In some ways the Chinese have a lot to teach us about uplifting everyone’s economic futures in their plans.”

And since the election, Labour president Nigel Haworth –  presumably with his leader’s knowledge and approval – hobnobbing with the Chinese Communist Part itself, has been effusive in his praise of Xi Jinping and the Chinese regime.

One could add to the mix the stony silence of the Labour Party leadership –  pre and post-election – on the succession of revelations around National MP, and former PRC intelligence officer, Jian Yang.  From anything they say (or don’t say) in public, the Labour Party, and their allies in the Greens and New Zealand First, seem quite unbothered about the presence in Parliament of someone who acknowledges misrepresenting his past in his residency/citizenship applications,  who is widely regarded (by experts in the field) as likely to still be a member of the Communist Party, who closely associates with the PRC embassy, and who has never once been heard to criticise the Party-state that is the PRC.  Recall, former diplomat Charles Finny’s line, that be was always very careful what he said around Yang (and Raymond Huo) since both were known to be close to the PRC embassy.    But is there any sign that any of this bothers our new government?

Professor Brady calls for the government to emulate its 1980s predecessor

the Fourth Labour government made a principled stand on a matter that affected our sovereignty and our values with the nuclear issue; then it passed legislation to back up these principles. Now is the time for the sixth Labour government to take another principled stand to defend our sovereignty and values and make legislative changes such as to the Electoral Finance Act.

In truth, and whether you supported the anti-nuclear stance of not (I didn’t and don’t, and certainly don’t see it as a matter affecting our sovereignty) this one is a great deal harder.  For a start there wasn’t really money at stake around the nuclear-free issue.

I presume one of the issues that will be exercising ministers, and their MFAT officials, will be the negotiations around the proposed upgrade to the preferential trade agreement with China.  It would be easy enough for the PRC to put those negotiations on a slow track, or simply halt them altogether.  Such agreements might not matter very much taken as a whole, but they might matter quite a lot to a small group of people (with good political connections).  In the Australian context, there already appear to be some signs that the PRC is reacting to tougher Australian stance (and new legislation) by damping down the flow of foreign students.  We’ve already seen here the apparent ability of the export education industry to see off for now Labour’s promised changes to student work visa arrangements.  Those would have mostly affected the lower-level PTEs.  But our more prestigious – and government owned/controlled – universities get a lot of PRC students, and several attract direct PRC funding for their Confucius Institutes.  Chancellors and vice-Chancellors will be very nervous that if the government actually looked like taking a stand, their flow of revenue might be disrupted.  And they will constantly be bending the ears of ministers and officials, if ever the government showed any sign of self-assertion, and a respect for New Zealand values (and the interests of New Zealand citizens of Chinese origins).  And then there will be Auckland airport and the tourism operators too.

I’ve noted previously that during the Cold War it was much easier to maintain a moral clarity.  Most Western countries –  including New Zealand –  didn’t do much trade with the Soviet Union, and so there wasn’t a major self-interested constituency in New Zealand (or the US, or the UK) for simply bending over and letting a hostile regime, practising a completely different set of political values, have its way.  I noticed yesterday a recent interview with former (Obama-era) US Defense Secretary Ash Carter making much the same point.

Last time we competed with or had a long difficult strategic relationship with a large communist country was during the Cold War, and our approach to that was simply not to trade with them. Now, one of our largest trading partners is in fact a communist country, and I don’t think that the economists have given us much of a playbook to protect our companies and our people.

I’m not sure that economists can necessarily help much, except perhaps to repeat the point I’ve made here before: the PRC does have the ability to severely adversely affect the fortunes of individual firms/sectors (ask the Norwegian salmon industry, or some of the South Korea firms last year), but the PRC did not make Australia and New Zealand rich and it cannot, whatever unsubtle economic sanctions it attempted, make us poor.  Our prosperity, as a whole country, is very largely in our own hands.   And the very fact that we can worry about the possibility of such sanctions is perhaps the best case for making a stand now, rather than continuing to roll over, keep quiet, and hope that Beijing is happy.

But perhaps the other piece of economists’ advice might be, in this as in other fields, “beware of rentseekers”, people/institutions who will seek to use governments to advance their own economic interests, at the expense of the values, the freedoms, the self-respect, of the nation as a whole.  Governments have a poor track record of doing so, and there is little sign at this point that the current government will be any different.  As I wrote earlier

One of things we need to remember is that the interests of businesses (and universities) who deal in countries ruled by evil regimes, are not necessarily remotely well-aligned to the interests and values of New Zealanders.   Selling to China, on government-controlled terms, isn’t much different than, say, selling to the Mafia.  There might be money to be made.  But in both causes, the sellers are enablers, and then make themselves dependents, quite severely morally compromised.

Professor Brady’s Herald column seemed to build on an earlier (and somewhat longer) paper she produced shortly after the new government took office on things the government could do if it were serious about addressing the PRC political influence activities.   I wrote about it here (and here is the updated link to the paper itself).  In that earlier piece she had quite a list of things that could, or should, be done.

What should be done?  At an overarching level she says

The Labour-New Zealand First-Greens government must now develop an internally-focused resilience strategy that will protect the integrity of our democratic processes and institutions. New Zealand should work with other like-minded democracies such as Australia and Canada to address the challenge posed by foreign influence activities—what some are now calling hybrid warfare. The new government should follow Australia’s example in speaking up publicly on the issue of China’s influence activities in New Zealand and make it clear that interference in New Zealand’s domestic politics will no longer be tolerated.

Getting specific she calls on the government to

The Labour-New Zealand First-Greens government must instruct their MPs to refuse any further involvement in China’s united front activities.

That would be Raymond Huo I presume.

The new government needs to establish a genuine and positive relationship with the New Zealand Chinese community, independent of the united front organizations authorized by the CCP that are aimed at controlling the Chinese population in New Zealand and controlling Chinese language discourse in New Zealand.

And there is a list of six other specifics

  • The new Minister of SIS must instruct the SIS to engage in an in-depth investigation of China’s subversion and espionage activities in New Zealand. NZ SIS can draw on the experience of the Australian agency ASIO, which conducted a similar investigation two years ago. 
  • The Prime Minister should instruct the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet to follow Australia’s example and engage in an in-depth inquiry into China’s political influence activities in New Zealand. 
  • The Minister of Commerce and Consumer Affairs should instruct the Commerce Commission to investigate the CCP’s interference in our Chinese language media sector— which breaches our monopoly laws and our democratic requirement for a free and independent media. 
  • The Attorney General must draft new laws on political donations and foreign influence activities. 
  • The New Zealand Parliament must pass the long overdue Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism legislation.
  • The new government can take a leaf out of the previous National government’s book and appoint its own people in strategically important government-organized non-governmental organizations (GONGOs) which help shape and articulate our China policy, such as the NZ China Council and the Asia New Zealand Foundation.

Most of those suggestions look sensible (although I’m no fan on AML/CFT legislation, with all its inane consequences –  goodbye ipredict, hello ID cards for 94 year olds changing banks).  There has been no sign of activity on any of these fronts.  Quite probably – based on what we saw in their BIMs, and Professor Brady’s mention of a Five Eyes discussion (itself repeated in the New York Times article last year on these issues –  our intelligence agencies themselves are worried).  But intelligence agencies can only apply the (current) law.  It is the political leaders who can bring forward legislation (on matters amenable to legislation, which not all of these are) and can display the leadership and moral standing that say “enough”  –  whether about Jian Yang, political donations, control of the Chinese-language media, university funding, PRC activities in the South China Sea, or whatever.   They could display such leadership, but there is no sign –  from any political party –  of anyone doing so.

I noted the other day that perhaps some journalist could ask the five contenders for the National Party leadership about their attitude to these issues, including (but not limited to) matters around Jian Yang and political donations.  A reader reminded me yesterday of Chris Finlayson’s arrogant and dismissive attitude before the election, when he was both Attorney-General and minister responsible for the intelligence services.  Finlayson still sits on the National Party front bench, and is still shadow Attorney-General.  Perhaps, five months on, someone could ask him if still thinks there is just nothing there, that Professor Brady is jumping at shadows etc.  Or is it that he just doesn’t want to know?

(I linked the other day to a couple of reports on PRC influence activities in other advanced economies.  For anyone interested –  including those doubting the seriousness of the PRC agenda –  I suggest searching out the (easy to find) serious articles about PRC involvement in places like the Philippines, the Maldives, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, and Pakistan.  The issues aren’t primarily about the internal nature of the PRC –  domestic human rights etc –  but about external expansionism, power projection, and the attempt to have other countries including (in Professor Brady’s words) “New Zealand fall into line with its interests and policies”, policies that are generally hostile to open and free societies.)

UPDATE:  Interesting ABC article based on an advance copy of Clive Hamilton’s book on PRC influence activities in Australia (book to be published next week).

 

29 thoughts on ““We could be the next Albania” – Brady

  1. Here’s the URL for an interesting article published recently in the Green European Journal:

    https://www.greeneuropeanjournal.eu/tax-havens-must-be-closed-but-not-for-the-reasons-you-think/

    The Authors are Bill Mitchell. professor of economics at Newcastle University, NSW, and Thomas Fazi.

    Prof. Mitchell is well known as a leading proponent of Modern Monetary Theory (MMT).

    Here are the major points that Mitchell and Fazi make:

    1. Currency-issuing governments are not like households, who are financially constrained and have to ‘fund’ their spending via income, borrowing, prior savings or asset sales.

    2. The progressive reaction to the release of the Paradise Papers told us that most progressives still do not understand Point 1. They think the government needs to raise taxes to reduce its reliance on debt while providing public services via expenditure.

    3. “A consequence of the fiat system is that governments that issue their own currencies no longer have to ‘fund’ their spending.”

    4. “currency-issuing governments such as those of Australia, Britain, Japan and the US can never ‘run out of money’ or become insolvent.”

    5. “Do we need the rich’s money?” No.

    6. “So should we close down tax havens? Yes!”

    Why? The reasons “largely have to do with social justice, inequality and the distribution of political power”.

    For more information, please read the article (if you are interested).

    The point generalises. Last Friday, I gave a talk at the New International Bookshop in Melbourne about our new book – Reclaiming the State: A Progressive Vision of Sovereignty for a Post-Neoliberal World (Pluto Books, 2017).

    There was a good audience and during the question time the issue of ‘taxing the rich’ came up. A very oft-repeated ‘progressive’ narrative.

    The response I gave was that just as Ayn Rand claimed in Atlas Shrugged that the workers were parasites and relied on the productive skill and zeal of the bosses, the ‘tax the rich’ narrative perpetuates the view that without the rich folks in our society we can have nothing worthwhile.

    Which is plainly false.

    I said that there are good reasons for decreasing the spending capacity of the rich (via taxes etc) but none of those reasons relate to whether the government has the financial capacity to provide first-class public services to the poor (or the rest of us).

    Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) tells us that a currency-issuing government can provide these services if it has the political will.

    If the economy is at full capacity then such a government has to divert resources from other uses into a specific service that it wishes to expand.

    It would do that via taxation. But the taxation is freeing up real resources to be used in the desired way by depriving the non-government sector of their use.

    It is not giving the government extra ‘money’ which enables it to spend.

    More generally, ‘taxing the rich’ is supported by a progressive agenda because it reduces the ‘power’ of the rich to exploit the political process for their own purposes.

    I (i.e. Bill Mitchell) have written about this issue previously (among other blog posts on the topic):

    1. What matters about the Paradise Papers (November 13, 2017)

    2. Solving tax avoidance will not cure the Eurozone of stagnation (December 15, 2014).

    3. Off-shore tax havens – be sure we define the issues correctly (July 23, 2012)

    End of quote.

    It should not be forgotten that MMT is not a monetary reform organisation, as MMT merely provides an accurate description of how the present monetary and banking system actually works. Unlike me, MMT proponents generally see nothing wrong in banks being our money creators. They are definitely not proponents of a switch to a Sovereign Money banking and monetary system.

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  2. Echoing your praise for the NZ Herald for giving Professor Anne-Marie Brady two pages to summarise her concerns about CCP. Then thank you for the link to Australian Gov / Intelligence & Security / Submissions: plenty of interesting reading.

    30 years ago I was told that China had over 7 million officials employed for their census (that is about double NZ’s then population). Hard to compete with a country of that size. However the weakness of any one party state is the media; if taxpayers can support Te Reo TV and radio why not a Chinese radio station with associated website that is not controlled by the UF? I have noticed intelligent Kiwis watching Al Jazeera to get a wider perspective on foreign news. A chance to hear non-CCP views and to have those views challenged might be influential on the Chinese students studying in NZ. There is no way NZ can challenge China face to face (maybe Norway with its strong economy and fairly homogeneous population can) but even the CCP cannot resist change from the next generation of educated Chinese. There is a mild precedence for taxpayers paying for Chinese education – I was looking for a Rhymetime class for my grand-daughter and there are three weekly Mandarin Rhymetime classes in local North Shore libraries.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks for this column and the useful links. Every effort needs to be made to keep this issue to the forefront and to hold the government and political parties to account.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I would prefer if we kept up comments that Golriz Ghahraman a Green Party MP a muslim by birth continues to advocate more muslim refugees on the NZ refugee quota. That increase of unvetted muslims just smells of trouble ahead as we have seen in Europe.

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  4. Had a little difficulty conceptualising the relationship between PRC and Albania – it has never been on my radar

    What has been on my radar for some time has been the increasing penetration of China into Fiji and to a lesser degree Samoa and Tonga. Since the two Fijian coups by Commodore Frank Bainimarama, NZ and AU have adopted an isolationist stand towards Fiji while China has moved in, in a wedge move. It is firmly established there now. AU have had their top legal people and a series of media representatives kicked out

    A May 2008 article in the Sydney Morning Herald stated that “China’s aid to Fiji has skyrocketed since the coup in December 2006”, from €650,000 to over €100,000,000. The author of the article commented: “Just as Australia and other Western donors are trying to squeeze [Fiji’s] rebel Government, China has dramatically stepped up its aid, effectively dissipating any pressure Western donors might have been generating.”

    More recently, China has begun to invest in Fiji (loans for the construction of roads, dams, hotels, etc.) and is also interested in gold mining and sugarcane. Notably, 45% of all projects registered with Fiji’s investment authorities for the first six months of 2016 were from China. Besides China, Australia, Singapore and Japan are the main investors

    Is this comparable to the China Albania Axis

    Liked by 1 person

    • I doubt they are really parallel (after all, the Albania vs Soviet Union vs China thing was as much about marxist ideology etc – which also means the parallel with NZ/China isn’t really that good, headline-grabber that it is), but on /China/Fiji you may be interested in some of the material in this article (even tho it starts focused on the Maldives situation)

      http://mobile.abc.net.au/news/2018-02-21/chinese-warships-enter-east-indian-ocean-amid-maldives-tensions/9469836?pfmredir=sm

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    • And Samoa where there has been violence against Chinese migrants and NZ has sent police to train the police there to combat “racism”.
      You can make a person richer (give him a porters job at a resort) but if you lower his status as someone whose tribe owns the land the extra wealth is cancelled (evolutionary psychologists say humans are status obsessed).
      The HRC definition of racism persecutes the indigenous working class.

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      • Of course the Indians found that out when they won the Parliamentary seats in Fiji to form a democratically elected government and the Fijians immediately launched a military coup and goodbye to democracy and now we have a military council and a puppet government in Fiji.

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      • Indians in Fiji reached their maximum physiologcal reproductive capacity on 3 occasions (according to Kenneth Cumberland).

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  5. The problem as I see it is demonstrated by Noelle McCarthy’s A Slice of Heaven. In the series Mark Sainsbury says that if the Chinese are buying [–] you can guarantee a full board. The lesson is that ethnicity doesn’t (or shouldn’t) matter. We are supposed to look beyond those instincts. But what about them? They snort at the “white left” including “no experience of the real world” and “white saviour”.
    https://www.opendemocracy.net/digitaliberties/chenchen-zhang/curious-rise-of-white-left-as-chinese-internet-insult
    People have a coalitional instinct on which their well being and survival depend and a lot of investment in their ethnicity whose histories trace back thousands of years. Ethnocentrism is moderated by oxytocin.

    https://www.edge.org/response-detail/27168

    Just what exactly have we gained from our new relationship with China?

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    • Auckland gains a new $200 million Hyatt Hotel on leasehold waterfront land with Chinese investment. Shunned for at least 5 years until the Chinese got involved, no one told them that leasehold properties are only worth a fifth of freehold property. Poor buggers will be lucky to have a property worth $50 million on completion.

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      • I’m not sure about the wisdom of their investment but I do know that real wages in tourism and hospitality have fallen 24.5% between 1979 and 2006 and I doubt they have improved with the recent explosion of Chinese into the industry (driving buses etc). Tax payers fund infrastructure. Tourism is a good opportunity up for excess capacity in the workforce but why was John Key so keen to make it bigger? I wonder what Shamubeel Eaqub had to say to Queenstown’s Real estate fraternity (I saw him met at Queenstown airport)?

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      • Tourism is still a $11 billion growing pie though. Our largest industry in NZ these days. It does not matter that there are more people earning lower wages. It just matters that the GST, Income Tax and PAYE share of the government tax coffers still grows.

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    • The Chinese are also probably finding out more of NZ honest contractors in the least corrupt country in the world where Fixed Price quotes come with a “subject to variations” clause where variations costs will cost more than the Fixed Price quote by 150%. Where Maori Iwi invoices time for earthworks inspections just in case there are Maori bones in the excavations.

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  6. GGS
    Tourism is still a $11 billion growing pie though. Our largest industry in NZ these days. It does not matter that there are more people earning lower wages. It just matters that the GST, Income Tax and PAYE share of the government tax coffers still grows.
    ………
    There you go. Here’s me thinking a government was supposed to put the well being of it’s people first. Perhaps I lack your cultural perspective? How does a government justify a policy that produces a larger (Labour intensive) pie and smaller wages?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Not all people are wage earners. Business owners gets a higher sales turnover and at lower costs equates to higher profits back to business owners. Guess whether a government represents business owners or represents wage earners.

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      • The owners of land merely gets the rent if the land is occupied but it is the business owners that get the revenue from the Tourist spendup and it is free for tourists to look at the beautiful land which the landowner is not able to charge but may be lumbered with the cleanup of empty plastic bags and empty drink bottles.

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      • Tell that to X who rents a space at the camp ground at Kingston and gets up at 3am to drive to Milford and back (rent raised $150) or any of the businesses in Queenstown (thinking of the woman selling juice in Camp Street whose business was owned by the late great Eamon Cleary).
        The tour bus business was the “most profitable business in NZ in the 1990s”. Now they are squeezed onto mini yards or out onto some stony wasteland.

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  7. We are all aware of the Wakefield schemes which involved a form of social engineering. Why are we not aware of the ideology of the left. We are like young colts silently having a bridle slipped around our necks. On Out Spoken (Auckland Issues) Paul Spoonley asks: how will people of different ethnic backgrounds feel if they have people in governing positions who don’t represent them? Peter Brown of NZ First was lambasted (Marcus Lush/Paul Spoonley Joris de Bries ) for suggesting large numbers of Asians might not “fit in”.

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      • Yes but Peter Brown (and the vast majority?) considered that this was our flat and we could chose the flatmates. Labour acted (deceitfully) as though no one owned the flat (sold to us as “needed skills” and “NZ needs a bigger population”).
        In fact they had an agenda: to create a multicultural society where people are allowed to bring a culture in which to prosper and no group will dominate. The Chinese sounding names buying more properties than their numbers suggest, suggests ethnic stratification therefore the ring master does not have his show ponies in line.

        The media are all over the place putting lipstick on the pig (ie anything involving Paul Spoonley).

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    • Well large numbers of Pakeha fail to fit in too. I want people in governing positions who represent me. But just about the last way I identify myself is by colour/race/ethnicity. Those who are obsessed by such matters must have very narrow interests – ethnicity is all that is left when everything else is taken away as someone said about neo-Nazis in the USA but you can apply it to some of our left wing commentators too.

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      • But why would you not factor ethocentrism as a risk for social policy? Especially if as we add more people people come into competition?

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