New Zealand, the PRC, and our traditional partners

An interesting, thought-provoking, comment appeared yesterday afternoon, in response to Thursday’s post prompted by the Prime Minister’s claims (reported here, with a link to the original radio interview) that New Zealand was free of foreign interference (particularly from the People’s Republic of China).   The comment was from Peter Jennings, head of the think-tank the Australian Strategic Policy Institute.  Jennings was previously a senior Australian defence and national security official.   This was the text of his comment.

I listened to Jacinda Ardern’s Radio NZ interview and in fairness to her, she does say that the issue of Chinese interference is ‘a live item for me’ that ‘we’re never not looking’ and that ‘constant vigilance’ is being applied.

I take that to mean that the NZ national security establishment and intelligence services are indeed doing their job. The problem is that NZ politicians have no appetite to tell their voters what is really going on.

Contrast that to the very active political debate in Australia and even more strident comments by US Vice President Mike Pence in a speech to the Hudson Institute earlier this month (which I write about here: https://www.aspistrategist.org.au/the-us-shift-on-china-australias-options-narrow/.)

New Zealand’s allies are showing increasing alarm about China’s disruptive role in regional security, their industrial scale use of cyber and human intelligence to steal intellectual property and their active promotion of United Front organisations and political donations to ‘influence’ local politics.

NZ political and media sensitivities being what they are, I’m loath as an Australian to offer any advice, but it must surely be a worry to some in Wellington that NZ’s closest partners are taking a radically different approach to dealing with China. How will this impact on Wellington’s relations with Canberra and Washington DC?

You will know of Hugh White book, The China Choice, which argued that Australia’s ‘ultimate’ choice was between siding with the US or with China as the two countries contested for primacy in the Asia-Pacific. If New Zealand has a China choice it is surely between Canberra and Beijing. So what Australia thinks about China should matter to New Zealand.

Does what New Zealand’s leaders think about China matter to Australia? Most certainly. I regret that Canberra doesn’t pay as much attention to NZ as the relationship really deserves, but the current passivity among NZ’s leadership towards Beijing’s influencing of your own political system is most certainly being watched with concern in Canberra. I ask a genuinely open question: does NZ still value the defence and intelligence relationship it has with Australia?

On the first paragraph, I think that is probably a fair summary.    We can reasonably conclude that the intelligence services are probably doing their job, and the Prime Minister explicitly referred to espionage and telecommunications laws.   This is also consistent with what (little) was released of the intelligence agencies’ post-election briefings last year, and to what I heard at this session earlier in the year, attended by people in a position to know.

Speakers were keen to convince us that officialdom was right up with the play (the issue being “owned” overall by DPMC), and working hand in hand with our Five Eyes partners,  They weren’t, we were told, “naive and unprepared” but rather actively engaged in “detecting and countering interference” –  apparently some overseas partners are even envious of some of the telecommunications legislation implemented here a few years ago (an observation that should probably leave New Zealanders a bit nervous).  Any suggestion of a threat to our membership of Five Eyes is, we were told, “spurious”.  I presume that means “false”.

I guess I came away with the impression that officials think they are more or less on top of the outright illegal stuff.   One hopes they are correct.

But that stuff wasn’t really the focus of the interviewer’s question earlier in the week to the Prime Minister.

It was the other stuff, mostly (perhaps all) legal, that was where the concerns were being raised, and the questions posed to the Prime Minister.    And there I don’t think the issue is just (in Jennings’ words) that

The problem is that NZ politicians have no appetite to tell their voters what is really going on.

It is worse than that.  By her own behaviour –  mostly by neither doing nor saying anything, just letting things be – the Prime Minister demonstrates that she does not believe there is a problem at all, or that if there is stuff going on, it just doesn’t matter. (The Opposition is at least as bad, but they aren’t now in government.   Things like

  • she is content to have (well, she appointed him) Raymond Huo, reportedly heavily involved in various United Front groups, chairing a major parliamentary committee,
  • she is content to have Labour campaign among the Chinese community using a Xi Jinping slogan,
  • she is content to have her party president praise Xi and the regime  (although it was marginally encouraging to read this story this morning and see that Nigel Haworth had declined to become an honorary president of one of Yikun Zhang’s activities –  unlike Peter Goodfellow, Jian Yang, and Raymond Huo.)
  • she was content to honour Yikun Zhang,
  • she has expressed no discontent at the large mainland donations her predecessor Phil Goff used to fund his mayoral campaign (or initiated any law changes to close that loophole in future),
  • she is content not to call out the Jian Yang situation as unacceptable,
  • she seems content with the dominance of the local Chinese-language media by interests sympathetic to Beijing, and PRC news sources.
  • she seems content with Confucius Institutes –  funded from Beijing –  in our universities and schools,
  • she is apparently content with public universities forming close commercial and research partnerships with PRC universities, themselves increasingly under the thumb of the regime (in the last few days a former security official was appointed head of Peking University) and with
  • the increasing reliance of our universities on (the income from) students from the PRC.
  • and despite her calls for “kindness” to be some sort of watchword guide to policy, she is apparently content with the way no one in the New Zealand political system –  her party or others –  ever says a word of criticism of Beijing, despite the growing internal repression and the external expansionism.

Either she is blind, or she simply doesn’t care about this quasi-vassalage and the debauchment of our political system.   I’m not sure which would be worse.   Just possibly, she isn’t that comfortable with the situation personally but….she isn’t just any citizen, she is the Prime Minister.

Jennings goes on to note how the approach of the New Zealand political establishment (National and Labour, New Zealand First and Greens) seems increasingly out of step with that of our “closest partners” –  he mentions the US and Australia, but there is also increasing sign of the UK taking the issues more seriously, including having ships assert freedom of navigation rights in the South China Sea.  He wonders “how will this impact on Wellington’s relations with Canberra and Washington DC?” and goes on to note, and pose a question, as follows

….the current passivity among NZ’s leadership towards Beijing’s influencing of your own political system is most certainly being watched with concern in Canberra. I ask a genuinely open question: does NZ still value the defence and intelligence relationship it has with Australia? 

One of the interesting things about the Australian situation –  where former Labor Foreign Minister Bob Carr is a vocal defender of Beijing and suggests there are few/no issues for Australia –  is that the leaders of the two main parties seem fairly united in treating the issues as serious, including in passing the recent new legislation.  No one can seriously suggest that Australia has dealt with all the issues –  only yesterday the PRC successfully managed to go behind the Federal government’s back and get Victoria to sign up to the Belt and Road Initiative –  but they seem in a much better place than the New Zealand situation, where the leaders of all the parties (especially the two main ones) seem united in an unspoken agreement not to call out any behaviour.  Australian Labor got rid of Senator Sam Dastyari; New Zealand Labour won’t even criticise the presence in our Parliament (on the other side) of a former PRC intelligence official, one who acknowledges deliberately misrepresenting his past to get into New Zealand.

But Jennings’s question is an interesting one?  Does “New Zealand” still value the defence and intelligence relationship it has with Australia (or the United States)?   I presume the answer depends on who you are talking about, and perhaps there are parallels to the rupture with the US – which also put us offside with Australia –  in 1985?  Back then, the defence and intelligence hierarchy probably put a great deal of weight on those relationships.  But in the end it didn’t matter.  Probably not many politicians really wanted to break with the US even then, but no one was willing to pay the price –  perhaps small internationally but substantial in terms of internal party politics – to avoid it.   The New Zealand public had probably never been that consistently keen on the US relationship –  it had been a relatively new thing after all, mostly post-Suez –  and there was enough angst and disapproval of Ronald Reagan, and reaction post-Muldoon, that an isolated little country was willing to step off the playing field.

I wonder how different it is now.    (Probably like most Australians) most New Zealanders are strongly anti-Trump (and instinctively Democrats), and if anything the fact that Trump and Mike Pence are talking about issues around China, including domestic political interference, probably inclines many New Zealanders to downplay the issue further.  As for Australia, (justifiably or not –  I think mostly not) there is a widespread disapproval here around the treatment of illegal migrants, asylum seekers (“boat people”) by Australia (easy for New Zealanders, when we are so far from the immediate risk), and a resentment among many about Australia’s deportations of some of the shady New Zealand citizens who’ve fallen foul of Australian law.  New Zealand governments have, over the years, become mendicants, begging on behalf of their “guest workers” in Australia, and it doesn’t automatically foster attitudes of trust or camaraderie as regards Australian governments.  I’m not defending these attitudes in New Zealand – mostly I don’t share them –  just attempting to describe them.

And, of course, as in most countries most citizens most of the time don’t give much attention to defence or foreign policy, let alone the subtleties of the activities here of a regime like the PRC.  And with no moral leadership from the heads of our political parties, no real leaders calling out the nature of the risks/threats, it is hard to imagine that the mass of New Zealanders would be unduly bothered if at some point in the next few years New Zealand were eased (or booted) out of the Five Eyes grouping.  Many –  that strange mentality that seems to value “independence” for its own sake, regardless of the rights and wrongs of the alternative sides (and how much “whatabout-ism” do we hear, suggesting that somehow US “interference” here is a thing –  let alone a thing on a par with the PRC) –  might well wear it as a badge of pride, as (in different circumstances) so many did in the mid-80s.   At least the 80s stance had an (arguable) moral dimension, but whatever moral clothes people attempted to wrap around an opting out now, they would be threadbare at best, given the nature of the PRC regime, and the threat it poses now here, and abroad, let alone to its own people.

Of course, it is worth noting that the government did announce a few months ago the purchase of the P8 aircraft.   That suggests some value being put on maintaining the US and Australian relationships.  Still, one has to wonder whether a Labour/Greens government –  feasible if last week’s poll numbers carried into an election –  would have been willing to have paid that price.    And that price didn’t involve making any calls that, at least directly, upset Beijing.  But when a few weeks later the government released a defence policy paper, with a few mild remarks about the PRC, (a) the Prime Minister never associated herself with that stance, and (b) the leader of the National Party took the opportunity to warn the government not to upset Beijing.

So there is no political leadership apparently willing to take any stands, and without it probably few New Zealanders will much care that our traditional partners and allies are taking a different stance.  Many would probably wear it as a badge of pride.   Perhaps it would be different if the White House changes hands in 2021, or when (as seems most probable) Labor takes office in Australia next year, but I rather doubt it –  and it is worth remembering that Labor was in power in Australia in 1985.

I’m not sure what the circuitbreaker could be, what might shift politics and political debate to a more serious and self-respecting plane.  More likely, as with the continued failure to do anything about decades of relative economic decline, the established political parties just will keep on together, debauching our system and society, too craven ever to make any sort of stand, somehow persusaded that on the one hand Beijing holds the whip hand (it doesn’t) and on the other, that it really doesn’t matter much and no one cares.   If so, the sad and shameful degradation of New Zealand will continue.

Meanwhile, anyone interested in yet more on the evil way in which Beijing treats its own people –  while our government (and most others) say nothing –  might consider reading this article, detailing how the regime simply (compulsorily) moves its agents (a million of them reportedly) into the houses of Uighur people in Xinjiang province –  those not already in concentration camps – to live alongside them.  The agents are supposed to chivy people into conformity and report any deviations –  diet, ideology, religion, or whatever –  to the authorities.   And this is the regime our political “leaders” provide cover for.  They court –  and even honour – its agents and supporters, take their money, recruit them into Parlisment, act as honorary patrons to their organisation, and seem to care not a jot what the regime does here, at home, or anywhere in between.

32 thoughts on “New Zealand, the PRC, and our traditional partners

  1. Sending in minders to keep the peace seems a much more pleasant way than the US isolation internment camps of Americans of Japanese ethnicities during WWII.

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      • If you look at Trump’s incitement of US militia groups and the violence in favour of Trump, it does mirror some of the violence exhibited in early militia groups in Hitlers early years in power in Germany. If Trump wins a 2nd Term he would likely go power crazy. However if he loses the 2nd term it is likely the FBI will lock him up and throw away the key and the world would not see the rise of a dictator.

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      • I do not see a civil war, just civil unrest and the authorities bringing peace and order. My recent holiday visit to Shanghai and a number of provincial cities, Suzhou, Wuzhen, Hangzhou, Pudong and Pujiang shows a celebration of each cities unique historical cultures and historical dress with unique performances and languages, artworks and cultural relics on display. Rather than a destruction of cultures, it was a celebration of different cultures. I do not think it would be any different in any other parts of China. Within that 2 weeks of travel I saw more Christian churches and statutes of Buddhas and buddhist pagodas than the heroes of the Long March. It took me quite an effort to finally be able to take some pictures in the Peoples Park of one Long March statue almost lost and out of place in the concrete jungle of modern Shanghai. The Shanghai Sharemarket Bull statue was larger and more prominent in the Shanghai Bund than any signs of Communist Long March heroes if any, if there are, I certainly did not see any other than that one lonely statue in the Peoples Park.

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    • That’s not an unusual claim though, usually, Maori are also credited with having a culture.
      Had an exchange with a lefty post modernist type; he declared that (by some sort of universal decree?) “all cultures were of equal value”. I can’t imagine any basis for this idiotic claim other than that all should be treated with respect like some sort of extension of the Christian sovereign individual concept. That doesn’t make any sense either. What it is is an attempt to subvert the principle of the hierarchy of value; to destroy the very basis of value and promote the false god of equality above reality.
      If you close your eyes really, really hard you too can believe that some moronic banging on a log of wood is equal to a symphony orchestra.

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      • Hendo: I would like evidence that Prof Paul Spoonley actually said that. I’ve seen him at public lectures and I have a friend who attended his classes at Massey. The impression I have is of a nice intelligent guy,the type of person you would be happy with as a neigbour or having a chat about something you agreed about ~ say cycling trails in NZ. I am also confident that he tells the truth when he says he has received anonymous threats to him and his family.
        I disagree with Mr Spoonley about the economic costs of immigrants which I believe includes both of us. He thinks they are a boost to the economy and I think they have to contribute about $500,000 per person in tax before they start to boost our economy. Both of us can quote economists supporting our views.
        However I do think you have a good point about his easy assumption that the western world has some form of super global culture that can asborb other cultures like a sponge collecting water. Reviews of “Two Sisters” by Åsne Seierstad describe Somali parents accepted as refugees in Norway and never feeling at home in the alien Noreign lifestyle; their son is an atheist and their two teenage daughters went to Syria to join Isis. According to their social media contacts the girls settled happily into Isis and its extreme interpretation of Islam. When the girls were asked about Isis policy of selling Yazidis girls into sexual slavery they defended it as being the fate of those who do not accept Islam. Of course this is an extreme case of cultures clashing; most of the visibly foreign immigrants in NZ are happy to become Kiwis in interests and behaviour. That ‘most’ is modified by those how are here to benefit from the welfare state. Paul Spoonley does not grasp how education for your children and health care for your sick takes precedence over culture.
        My brighter sister living in the UK also said she used to believe “all cultures were of equal value” until she read of the Nigerian child who was flown to the UK to be ritually killed as demanded by some weird sub-culture.
        The trouble with other cultures is they are ‘other’; by definition you cannot hope to fully understand them. And your ‘beating piece of wood’ reminds me of hearing a Professor of Musicology hearing a boy beating a piece of wood and it took this expert about half an hour to work out the child was playing in 17-19 time.

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  2. “As for Australia, there is widespread disapproval here around the treatment of illegal migrants, asylum seekers (“boat people”) by Australia (easy for New Zealanders, when we are so far from the immediate risk), and a resentment among many about Australia’s deportations of some of the shady New Zealand citizens who’ve fallen foul of Australian law”

    Boat People
    Living in Australia we got this 24/7, day-in, day-out, on TV news, in our living rooms, influencing the public view incessantly. In the financial year 2012-2013 the number of “illegal boat arrivals” was 25,000 plus a further 25000 legal refugees the total number in that one year was 50000 or 1000 per week. The impact of that was beamed into our living rooms every day for a year. Didn’t see any of that in the popular NZ press. 60,000 people is equivalent of an additional regional cities like Bendigo or Ballarat. In additional we were told the annual cost of welfare and Christmas Island processing centre was running at $3 billion per year. Have yet to see any published numbers for the costs of NZ’s annual intake of 1000 refugees. Secret Business.

    Deportations
    The seeds of deportations is the 1984 “Milperra Massacre” of 2 motorcycle gangs. That played heavily in the news for some time. Then there was the riot in Sydney Airport among 2 gangs resulting in death. Since then the various states have outlawed motorcycle gangs, with regard to drugs and fire-arms. It is illegal to congregate together. If you do and get detained for whatever reason you will be deported. And yet NZ gang members keep going over to AU and hooking up with the gangs

    Meanwhile we have Andrew Little running around wagging his finger at Australia for deporting felons while at the same NZ cosy’s up to the motorcycle gangs, meets with them, condones them and does IWI things like street cortage’s and funeral marches

    Compare
    Jailed drug-dealer escapes deportation as Government grants him NZ residency
    https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/108155476/jailed-drugdealer-escapes-deportation-as-govt-grants-him-nz-residency-behind-bars

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    • Interesting and disturbing link. For once I agree with Paul Spoonley “”if there were exceptional circumstances that warranted keeping here the public needed to be informed about what they were””. It seems obvious that the public distrust of politicians is greatly increased by these special approvals for residency/citizenship. Ref Kim Dotcom, Colin Theil and that Chinese guy high on the Chinese list of economic criminals.
      Being permitted to live in NZ should be treated as a precious gift; when the usual procedures are over-ruled it should be done so in parliament preferably adjacent to question time..

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    • Reading that link there is much to agree with but also much to worry about. Some issues may be a matter of the meaning of words such as ‘recognising’ – if Prof Paul Spoonley is arguing that diversity has to be in writing in the constitution then he is creating not solving problems. Traditions such as being a monarchy and having Te Reo as a legal language cause little trouble and add some strength to our society but once you change the constitution to add recognition to say Han Chinese or Samoans (at a guess they have as many fluent native speakers as Maori’s and more with it as a first language) then you have trouble knowing when to stop – probably with my wife who has a ethnic, cultural and language heritage that must be unique in NZ.

      Mr Spoonley writes “”Nonetheless, the argument that our institutions are or should be culture-blind is misplaced. The reality is that New Zealand is culturally diverse and about to become more so””. I would strongly argue all the more reason for institutions to be culture blind. We can all live with people who look different, go to different churches, listen to different music and wear different clothes – what we must be careful to avoid is putting anything into law that treats people differently. So we retain a single age of consent, a single law pertaining to abortions, a single set of animal welfare laws, etc. They all can be changed but must never made ‘diverse’.
      It is why I’m against separate Maori electorates – they should be abolished at some agreed date in the future; with MMP and the many Maori MPs there is no need for them.

      The exceptionally high rate of immigration into NZ with accompanying loss of native Kiwis has produced diversity especially where I live in North Shore (cheaper suburb than Mr Spoonley’s). Add more immigrants and you do not get more diversity; what you get is more ethnic enclaves and eventually ghettos. This is anecdotal but my last visit to a supermarket all the checkout operators were Indian women of roughly the same age. Efficient, excellant English and cheerful but where is the diversity dividend if everyone is the same? Same applies to some all Chinese IT firms. Diversity should be everyone working together.

      Maybe it is unfashionable but I am a proud nationalist. Tonga sets us an example of how to be proud of what you are while being respectful of your opponents. The odd word in Te Reo doesn’t bother me [except when it is used as a one-upmanship by people who do not otherwise speak Te Reo], the national anthem in Maori and the Haka all help me identify with my team. It is reminiscent of supporting a UK soccer team. Using Maori to identify us as New Zealanders has a long history with Europeans give Maori names to their children a hundred years ago; among other things it is Maori that helps all New Zealanders realise they are not Australians and not English.

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      • Under the Treaty of Waitangi, Maori was considered as British subjects. Maori had equal rights as new British settlers in New Zealand. Maori had sought and received the protection of the British Crown against the subjugation and violence of New Zealand born kiwis who was likely considered a British underclass at the time.

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      • Of course in theory that works great having a peace treaty like the Treaty of Waitangi and also the appointment of the Maori Land Court but it was also subsequent to these 2 peace initiatives that the largest land transfer occurred where Maori ownership of land went from 90% to now only 20%.

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    • Agreed Hendo, another IYI ( https://medium.com/incerto/the-intellectual-yet-idiot-13211e2d0577 ) banging the multicultural drum; what they fail to address is the record of disaster that usually follows increasing cultural diversity. The examples (Belgium, Switzerland, Canada and Norway) have a strong Western/Christian heritage with very similar values and ethics. Things can carry on smoothly for a while but in times of adversity civil order can collapse very quickly where there are different languages and values.
      I was talking with a chap and his son, the boy (about 11 years old) is in a full Maori immersion school, he told me he has no Pakeha friends. I asked his father if he thought it was a good idea to have our people growing apart like this. There is no good reason for separate schools like this or the full Muslim versions; fools like Paul Spoonley have no idea of the terrible consequences of separatism.

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      • In order to understand the modern left (including Greens and Labour), it is absolutely essential to understand some of the key philosophical tenets of cultural Marxism and post modernism, most notably the subversion of culture into a power struggle between oppressor and oppressed, the rejection of absolute truth in favour of grand narratives, which in the mind of proponents need not be susceptible to facts, reason, learning.
        “They don’t give a damn for facts. Facts for them are merely whatever the current power hierarchy uses to justify its their acquisition of power.”
        Excellent clip.
        Quite astonishing how easily and quickly our most senior political, bureaucratic elites, CEOs have capitulated to and bought into what are insidious ideologies rooted in Marxist and (self-refuting) post-modernism. I think people swept up by these ideas are more likely to want to restrict freedoms and squash dissent.
        “People need to wake up and start watching what their children are being taught.”

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    • Spoonley’s comments tag him as a “progressive activist” [see my comment on Michael’s recent “Australia: not even close…” post for the Hidden Tribes Survey]. Members of this group do not reflect public attitudes and opinions but actively seek to change them.

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  3. Bob

    Do you consider yourself a kiwi? if so who would you support when the Lions played the All blacks.

    Only reason I’m asking is because this country has no loyalty anymore. We are some sort of economic hostel. Paul Spoonley recently said in the Herald that it’s good that we have high immigration because it’s important nz keeps changing.

    Paul had an article last week that suggests kiwis like me have a misguided sense of nostalgia to a society that never existed. I found that very bizarre.

    Paul seems to see all immigration as good and no negatives at all. Many people feel society has changed to quickly but paul is the first to say xenophobia. I’m sure he’s a nice kind bloke but I disagree on everything he says.

    My opinion anyway

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    • When watching the game last night my 22 month old (100% Melanesian) granddaughter was wearing All-Black pants – hope that answers your quesion.

      Paul Spoonley should visit Bradford. What is a guided sense of nostalgia?.

      A few years ago in response to a letter I wrote to the local paper said he said I was a racist for suggesting country quotas for immigration as a means of achieving diversity. This is doubly strange since INZ have had such annual quotas for the working visa for as long as anyone can remember and of course it would apply to my own country of origin.

      There is racism in NZ. Paul Spoonley thinks it such a terrible thing that being anti-racist is his religion. This distorts his thinking. Maybe if he had a visible immigrant family like myself he would take a more balanced view and realise racism is like the deadly vices such as envy and greed – buried inside everyone – what matters is how you handle them.

      Society is changing fast in countries with minimal immigration – eg Taiwan or Japan. As a sociologist Paul Spoonley should realise there is a strong correlation between change in society and unhappiness. You must realise that from his perspective stopping immigration would kill the value of his expertise, reduce the value of his North Shore house and increase the price of convenience food.

      My opinion too.

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      • Good post Bob. Ps I’m a league fan and absolutely thought how cool tongan fans have been in regards to respect. I’ve found Japanese to be similar. I’m nervous as a pakeha male that the media and agencies of the start don’t want to listen to all people’s concerns.

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      • Well I didn’t get up at 2.30am to watch but I wasn’t happy with the result from Hull but it sounds like a decent match. BTW you cannot live in PNG for 14 years without appreciating rugby league. NZ -v- England is only 10 to 1 whereas Tonga -v- Australia is over 200 to 1.

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  4. Adern often trumpets our principled and/or independent” foreign policy. I would be inclined to see it more as a foreign policy largely dependent upon whether the country you criticize is likely to retaliate. It is therefore permissible to admonish the US, but impermissible to criticize China (i.e. the CCP).

    Although it took someone of Trump’s courage to challenge the CCP’s trade practices, the need to respond to CCP political interference and trade policies, seems to have wide bipartisan support the US.

    “(Probably like most Australians) most New Zealanders are strongly anti-Trump (and instinctively Democrats)” What is the basis for your thinking this?

    “… it is hard to imagine that the mass of New Zealanders would be unduly bothered if at some point in the next few years New Zealand were eased (or booted) out of the Five Eyes grouping. Many – that strange mentality that seems to value “independence” for its own sake…”

    That independent streak is in my view a luxury we can only afford when others (probably) have our back – Australia, and more importantly, the US.

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    • Agreed Matt, this government has done nothing “independent” or courageous on the foreign policy front; virtue signaling drivel more like. I’m sure that childish UN speech will be strongly welcomed by our Chinese enemies. Perhaps she is still claiming kudos for the 1980’s “no nukes” policy?
      Obviously there are some personality issues but a lot of Kiwis are well pleased with President Trump’s policies and performance. His stand on Korea, protecting US borders and strong policy towards China in particular.
      It’s now clear that China is embarking on a military build up in support of it’s outrageous claims in the South China Sea and to advance it’s imperialist ambitions in Asia, the Pacific and along the “One Belt One Road”. It is well on the way in that regard; our nearest neighbour (Tonga) is now effectively a Chinese vassal state.
      This morning’s Herald “Prepare for war’: China’s President Xi Jinping tells advisors of South China Sea”
      https://www.nzherald.co.nz/world/news/article.cfm?c_id=2&objectid=12150405

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    • Re the “anti-Trump” question, polls suggest that most people in most advanced countries are pretty negaive on Trump, and I’ve seen a poll directly on those lines for Australia. Other polls here have suggested overwhelming NZ public support for first Obama and then Clinton in the last two elections (and from memory the Aus results were similar), suggesting a pretty strong anti-Trump sentiment among NZers.

      (As someone whose affiliations would normally lean Republican, I share that strong disapproval. On China, some of the rhetoric and actions seem quite good – I liked the Pence speech – but Trump has shown no ability to or interest in building alliances, and (being quite strongly transactional) little sign of sticking to a policy if it might come at some cost.

      Hence, my suggestion that Trump/Pence comments on the pRC, even when well-grounded, probably if anything have a negative effect here – and even among those of us who might sympathise don’t leave us feeling on safe ground, as one can’t be optimistic of follow-through. On Taiwan, for example, I’d like to believe Trump was willing to fight to defend its independence, but I don’t (I’m not necessarily convinced Obama or Bush would have done so either, but the issue now is Trump).

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      • I have no doubt the NZ public have a negative view of Trump, that is all they hear. Right from the get go, if there was nothing bad to say they’d just make it up (never corrected or apoligised for) , or find fault with what Melania was wearing. Anything as long as it reflected badly on Trump or the Republicans. They were even raving on about the size of his hands at one stage. Obama never had anything even remotely like this.

        Leighton Smith was on today talking about this:
        “The population of New Zealand continues to be deprived of any sort of balance with regard to American politics and Trump.

        What you get in the media here is, if you’re watching television you will get CNN, in particular, or associated channels and news clips.

        In print media, you get the Washington Post and New York Times, one or two others maybe but they’re the main ones. And you can substitute one for the other, especially with the New York Times and Washington Post, they write the same stuff.

        Yet this morning, there is another editorial on Trump that shows me that the people who write these stories and editorials are being fed from one source only.

        They know absolutely nothing or very little at best and don’t want to know any more, with regard to what else is going on, on the other side.

        It really is quite extraordinary.”

        https://www.newstalkzb.co.nz/on-air/leighton-smith-show/opinion/leighton-smith-nz-deprived-of-balanced-reporting-on-american-politics/?fbclid=IwAR1jRWDDDWVv_7CU6b5P22csoMdks8PBs5fWZLbIC8KlkKL23S7SllR-zh0

        Liked by 1 person

    • Diversity is our strength but Chinese sounding names should be banned from buying property and Te Reo should be compulsory for all New Zealanders.

      Refugees welcome, yesterday NZFirst says No, lets look after after our own poor and poverty stricken New Zealanders with 8,000 sleeping in cars and in the streets. Today NZFirst says Yes, Taxinda Ardern is right. 1500 refugees will get brand new accomodation with the latest heat pumps ahead of any New Zealanders sleeping in cars and in the streets. The Greens say 1,500 year is not enough, 5,000 refugees a year is even better. Labour/NZFirst and the Greens join hands and say Yes, NZ will also build a new mosque every year to cater for these new refugees needs as they have to pray 5 times a day.

      Like

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