The PRC and New Zealand: bits and pieces

For anyone who hasn’t yet listened to it I recommend Anne-Marie Brady’s interview with Wallace Chapman on Radio New Zealand last weekend.  Half-hour interviews are pretty rare, and this one gives a good flavour of the issues and concerns she has been raising since the publication of her Magic Weapons paper last September.  I’m not going to go over old ground again, but in listening to her I found four points worth noting:

  • she has been surprised by how slow the New Zealand official reaction has been to the material revealed in the Magic Weapons paper,
  • in discussing the Chinese-language media here, she noted that the Chinese Herald had initially reported her paper and also some of Matt Nippert’s Herald articles about Jian Yang.  She heard later that the editor had been called to Beijing to be straightened out, and that fresh people had been sent in.  There been no repeats of such deviations from the Party line (the PRC strategy to “harmonise” foreign Chinese language media with the line from Beijing) since.    She noted in passing how large the Chinese-language media is (in a population of only around 200000) , contrasting that with the straitened circumstances of the mainstream media in New Zealand.   “Who is funding them”, she asked.  The implied – if unstated – answer was pretty clear.   She sees this situation as itself a breach of New Zealand’s sovereignty.
  • she was asked about the description of New Zealand as the “soft underbelly of Five Eyes”.  As she noted, this wasn’t her description but the sort of line she heard repeatedly from the capitals of our traditional allies.  Of all that was in the paper, she suggested that this was the line that had riled official Wellington most.
  • asked about the (as yet unresolved) burglaries of her house and office, she was cautious about how much she said, but was clear that in her view there were unmistakeable indications of Chinese government involvement.

Brady’s paper is essential reading for the specific New Zealand context.  In the last week or so I’ve read a couple of other papers about the international situation, which I’d also recommend for anyone interested.   There is a paper from a researcher for a Canadian think-tank, “Hard Edge of Soft Power”, which I thought was an exceptionally clear description of the issues and challenges for countries like ours (and written for a general intelligent audience, whereas Brady’s paper (as released) was an academic conference paper and draft book chapter).  And then there was the original research from the Australian Strategic Policy Institute on the way in which Chinese military academy researchers have increasingly been using collaboration with Western universities (notably the UK, Australia, and Canada) to tap, and develop, potentially highly sensitive military technologies (summary here, including a link to the full report).

In terms of background resources, I just noticed that the Asia Media Centre here has a timeline of coverage on the PRC influence issues, with links to lots of the articles that have appeared over the last year or so.

Meanwhile the New Zealand government and opposition blithely act as if there is no reason for any concern.  They know what is going on, of course.  But they just don’t care.

Occasionally there are a few suggestion that things might be a little different, at least as far as our foreign and defence policies are concerned.   On the count, I noticed a post on the (relatively new) Point of Order blog (set up by a group of veteran political journalists).    The post (“Peters leading NZ away from trying to balance relations with US and China”), was clearly rather well-informed (probably from the Minister himself).   There we learned that

Led by Foreign Minister Winston Peters, the Coalition government has eased away from the previous National government’s ready accommodation with China and the presumption that NZ could easily balance United States and China relations to a more hard-nosed approach.  Several elements have contributed.

First, a powerful pro-Beijing faction in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade has lost influence.

Second, the present government is more attuned to current geopolitical shifts in NZ’s immediate north-west. Now there is a new, sharper understanding of the implications of a move by China into contacts with NZ’s immediate Pacific environment such as the Cook Islands.

It went on

Many New Zealanders   who cherish  their  country’s  “independent” foreign policy  have  little   idea   of  how  active   China has been  in  spreading its influence  into  this region.  Even  within  the  Labour and  Green  parliamentary  elements of the  government, where anti-Trump  feeling is dominant,  the  realignment of  NZ towards the stance  of    its  long-time closest  partners  may not  yet be fully understood.

and

But it is clear  Winston Peters   has been  instrumental  in the policy  revision  in Wellington, moving   NZ  in its attitude  to Beijing back towards that of  its closest  partners…….

The intelligence community is relieved by the government’s attitude. Before the general election, the National government seemed unwilling to accept or acknowledge the extent of Chinese penetration despite the growing indications of influence in NZ Chinese media and the apparent interventions of Chinese agents in NZ academic circles.

My reaction at the time was much as it was when the Defence strategy document was released a few months ago “well, that is all very well –  and I welcomed the P8 purchases – but I will believe it means anything much when I hear it from the Prime Minister”.  She, after all, leads the largest party in the government, and – together with National –  her party is deeply complicit in the kowtowing to Beijing, at home and abroad.     The Prime Minister was never heard from on the defence strategic issues.

In a sense, I didn’t have long to wait this time. In her weekly interview on Morning Report on Tuesday the Prime Minister was asked about Chinese overt and covert influence activities in the Pacific and in New Zealand and whether she had any concerns.  Kim Hill –  the interviewer –  explicitly referenced the situation in the Cooks and Nuie (touched on in a Sunday-Star Times story) and Anne-Marie Brady’s work.   It is hardly a secret that China has been very active in the Pacific (both Melanesia and Polynesia) and is widely thought to be sounding out possibilities for future naval bases etc.

And what did our Prime Minister have to say?  She burbled on about the “realm territories”  –  officialese for the unusual constitutional position of the Cooks and Niue – trying to somehow allay any concerns solely with the irrelevant observation that the two countries had had diplomatic relations with China for some years.   She said she didn’t want to single out any individual player –  as if, you know, someone other than Germany was threatening Czechoslovakia in 1938 –  and talked only about how we (New Zealand) needed to up our game in the Pacific regardless of what anyone else was doing.  Of New Zealand and China, she claimed that our relationship was “broad, complex, and vital”, but with no sign that she had any concerns whatsoever.   Of course, she asserted that New Zealand policy would always be made in New Zealand’s interests, and then went on to adopt the juvenile phrase beloved of the New Zealand left “we will always take an independent foreign policy”.  What, even when we face common interests and threats?   She somehow managed to avoid engaging on the domestic issues – be it donations, Jian Yang, collaboration between universities and the PRC, the break-in to Anne-Marie Brady’s house, the attempts to control the local Chinese language media, to suborn or silence ethnic Chinese New Zealanders.  Just nothing.

Winston Peters can talk a good talk to friendly –  but not widely read –  journalists, and even when he meets Mike Pompeo or Marise Payne. Perhaps it will even temporarily ease some of the behind the scenes pressure on the government, to stop lagging behind in taking the PRC influences activities more seriously. But until the Prime Minister is on side, openly engaging with the public we can safely assume nothing much we change about the corruption of our system and society –  National and Labour hand in hand.

(One reader observed to me yesterday that to listen to the Prime Minister on such issues it is rather like a Palmolive ad –  “squeaky clean”, nothing to see here.)

Take, for example, the ongoing disgrace of Jian Yang.   It is pretty bad that our immigration and citizenship officials appear to have done nothing about his acknowledgement a year ago that he misrepresented his past –  in the PLA military university –  when applying to move to New Zealand (not only has he acknowledged misrepresenting his past, but claimed –  as if in defence –  that the Beijing authorities had told him to do so).  It is worse –  frankly extraordinary – that a former PLA intelligence official, member of the Chinese Communist Party, someone never once heard to criticise any aspect of PRC policy (despite its heinous human rights record, expansionist foreign policy etc), sits in our Parliament –  defended by the National Party, and accommodated (left unbothered, not criticised) by the Labour Party (and all the other parties).  When did the party of the decent centre-right middle classes come to be the party that covers for such a person, simply (it appears) for all the donations he manages to pull in, and despite his ongoing close associations with the embassy of Communist China?

As part of the new podcast series by John Campbell, TVNZ yesterday released a podcast on Chinese influence in New Zealand, including the cases of Yikun Zhang (he of no English, very close Communist Party ties, donations and –  nominated by both parties – honours) and Jian Yang.    I was among those Campbell interviewed, along with Tze Ming Mok (an Auckland ethnic Chinese commentator, of Singaporean/Malaysian background) and Clive Hamilton, the Australian academic.   There isn’t a great deal that is new in the podcast, but the detail I thought was telling was Campbell’s effort to give Jian Yang a chance to talk.  He went to the constituency office Jian Yang shares with Paul Goldsmith.  Jian Yang was in the office, but simply refused to come out to talk.  He is apparently still quoted reasonably often in the Chinese-language media but simply refuses to explain himself to his majority English-speaking electors.  It is shameful, but it is also telling.  A decent man would want to front up and tell his story. A decent party would insist on it.  A decent opposition party would repeatedly highlight any failure to do so.  I wonder what Paul Goldsmith –  seemingly an otherwise decent National MP –  makes of his office mate’s refusal to talk?

A reader who is fluent in Chinese sent me a couple of snippets on Jian Yang.

In one of the …. files released last Oct by the immigration office under OIA , Jian Yang declared he entered to Luo Yang University in 1978 and graduated in 1982 where he obtained a bachelor degree of English Study.

When I checked the background of this university in Chinese source, I found this university (Luo Yang university) wasn’t even founded until 1980 which means the university didn’t exist in 1978, the year Mr Yang declared he started his university education.

Here is a brief introduction of the Luo Yang university in Chinese in Wikipedia which I have translated into English.

Luoyang University, is It was a Tertiary institute that existed between 1980 and 2007. The school was funded in September in 1980 through World Bank education loan and Luoyang City council, and was a full-time polytechnic. In 1997, Luoyang University began the construction of a new campus at Luolong District, south bank of Luo River. In 1999, Luoyang University moved to the new campus. The old campus still has the Luoyang University Adult College and some ancillary facilities. 

Before 2006, Luoyang University is a polytechnic level institute. The school had tried to upgrade to university level several times, but not successful. In 2007 Luoyang University merged with another polytechnic Luoyang Industrial Polytechnic, and became a university level institute called Luoyang Institute of Science Technology.

The certificate that Jian YANG submitted to the immigration office seems a official document issued by the university and that has left a question: why the university would take a risk to make a statement which is apparently again the fact?

Either the certificate itself didn’t come from the university but was made up by someone else or Jian Yang was assisted by the university for a purpose to cover up his military background.

Again, in serious and decent countries these matters would be taken at least as seriously as the dodgy Czech currently (and rightly) under investigation.

I was sent a link to a debate hosted by a local Chinese-language TV station during last year’s election among ethnic Chinese candidates from four different parties.   Among them were Jian Yang, and an ethnic Chinese (Malaysian born) candidate for the Maori Party.     I was sent a translation and brief commentary on an exchange between these two (at about 1:03)

Jian Yang was challenged by Maori Party’s Chinese candidate, Wetex Wang (a Malaysian born Chinese), asked if he has done anything about introducing foreign investment to help the local economy in his 6 years sitting in parliament.

Below is a translation of Jian Yang’s answer.

Our Yili Group, built milk powder factory here. Our Mengniu Dairy, that is, Yashili International Holdings. These enterprises came to New Zealand, in fact they have all contacted with me, including our largest waste disposal factory, Waste Management, is invested by Chinese. We all contacted with (them). I went to their companies to introduce New Zealand’s policy, why New Zealand is a good place, why you should come to New Zealand.

My reader notes

(Please note that Jian Yang in the video has kept referring those Chinese companies as  “Our Yili, Our Mengniu, Our Waste Management” which sounds like he is a CCP official.  This is quite strange for me. Even if Jian Yang is an ethnic Chinese, he is a NZ politician. I would not imagine Kiwi politicians would refer those Chinese companies as Our.. Our…Our… instead, they would say Chinese Yili, Chinese Mengniu.  Apparently, Jian Yang still positions himself as a CCP representative but sitting in a foreign political circle.)

Perhaps a small thing in its own right, but put it together with his background, his ongoing close ties to the PRC Embassy, his refusal to talk to the media, his refusal ever to say anything critical of the PRC, it makes my reader’s point that there is little sign that Jian Yang –  despite serving in the New Zealand Parliament –  prioritises New Zealand interests and perspectives.      And our government seems unbothered.

Of course, there is always the alternative perspective. I noticed the China Council –  New Zealand government paid champions of and apologists for the People’s Republic of China –  tweeting a link to this article by a New Zealand living and working, and publishing, in China.   He champions the China Council and concludes

There’s no quick fix, and it will definitely take time and effort, but the sooner the world understands that China and the Chinese people are just like the rest of us, the sooner the world will reap the sweetest fruit that trade liberalization and economic globalization can grow.

Probably many Chinese people do have much the same aspirations, but the Chinese people have no freedom of expression, no freedom of religion, no ability to change their government, often not even freedom of movement, no benefit of the rule of law.   Not just like us at all.  It is the Chinese government we –  and they –  have to worry about.   There were fellow-travellers and sympathisers writing from Berlin in 1938, or from Moscow throughout the Cold War too.  But most New Zealanders  –  and then both the government and the opposition (National and Labour) – knew better.

Our leaders should –  and I hope one day will –  hang their heads in shame at what they brush over, and consciously look past, just not caring, so long as the donations and deal keep flowing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

35 thoughts on “The PRC and New Zealand: bits and pieces

  1. I see there’s a Stuff editorial recommending we turn away from the Jami-Lee Ross saga and move on… “Ross and whoever is behind him have had the stage, they’ve had their 15 minutes of infamy. Now it’s exit stage right.” The editorial writer doesn’t seem to be aware (or care) that Ross has done us all a huge favour by revealing how Chinese money influences our political system, whether it is through large donations or hoping (expecting?) Chinese candidates with links to the CCP might be endorsed by National. In my opinion, it is the revelations made by Ross that in large part have led to the new interest in Anne-Marie Brady’s work and the surge in the number of interviews she has had in the media. If Ross can continue to give us insights into why, say, we have a former Chinese intelligence official in our Parliament, or exactly how and when Chinese money has bought our politicians, he will have served the nation well, no matter how tawdry some aspects of his story and possibly motivations are.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. “– It is important for all countries to pursue inclusive development for the benefit of all. As a Chinese saying goes, “All flowers in full blossom make a beautiful spring.” To lead a happy life is the common aspiration of people all over the world. Progress of the human society requires continued efforts of all countries to advance opening-up, cooperation and win-win development, instead of seclusion, confrontation and monopoly. In a world of deepening economic globalization, practices of the law of the jungle and winner-takes-all only represent a dead end. Inclusive growth for all is surely the right way forward. Countries need to rise above differences and leverage their respective strengths to pursue inclusive growth in the face of common risks and challenges. We need to implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, reduce the imbalances in global development, and make economic globalization more open, inclusive, balanced and beneficial for all. This way, people of all countries will be able to share in the benefits of economic globalization and global growth.”

    Keynote speech by President Xi Jinping at opening ceremony of 1st China International Import Expo
    http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2018-11/05/c_137583815.htm

    In a crowded forum involving 172 countries, regions and international organizations, more than 3,600 companies with a total exhibition area of 300,000 square meters, and more than 400,000 Chinese and foreign buyers opened 2 days ago by President Xi. Somewhat unstoppable it would seem.

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  3. Yesterday was a beautiful hot and sunny day at the Ascot entry to the corporate lawn seating at the Ellerslie Race Course celebrating a very wet and windy Melbourne Cup. A British horse won with no kiwis in sight of the winning line. Neither was there many asians or chinese looking spies or horses either.

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  4. Getgreatstuff

    It’s great we have a resident sinophile comment on the boards. Chinese have a strong in group preference that you think is great but anglo in group bad.

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    • Not too sure how you would interpret my comments as pro Chinese or anti anglo? I am more anti muslim refugee due to the usual accompanying violence associated with the children of muslim refugees in Europe. Jacinda Arderns 1500 muslim refugees a year is going to prove rather painful in the future in the sort of violence that is being exhibited in Europe.

      Certainly a bit wary of the Chinese behemoth but my various dealings with them suggest they are still babies when it comes to comparing with the tough highly competitive kiwi business people and NZ politicians that I have met.

      Anyway at the Ascot entry to the corporate lawns at Ellerslie Race course yesterday was pretty much a Anglo event. It was a great free flow champagne dress up and fun gambling event. Even the food was a significant improvement from last year but without the usual Morton Bay Bugs they usually served up in the past events. Wish they would ensure that the hot food remained hot rather than left to get cold. Not sure why in such classy event they can’t even ensure that there are property food pan warmers to ensure we get hot food.

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  5. Much as everything about this really concerns me – i.e., cash for candidates; influence/infiltration in our universities; influence/infiltration in our Parliament; cash for bolt holes for Chinese military bases in the Pacific, etc. etc… the most important aspect of this to me will be the Government’s response when results of the investigation into the break ins/thefts of Anne-Marie Brady’s home and workplace are concluded – as perhaps only that (a New Zealand citizen being the direct target of espionage) will make the passive inaction with respect to these other matters, unarguable/indefensible.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree that how it is handled will be very telling. Even if the Police/SIS conclude the PRC was responsible (a) we may never be told, and (b) it is hard to think there will be anything more than the mildest consequences (perhaps a third secretary just about to end their term will quietly go home a little earlier?).

      I wish I believed it would be otherwise.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thing is – the truth will surface even if there is an attempt at cover up (and finding out there was such an attempt would surely be political suicide). And I just don’t think mild consequences would cut the mustard with the electorate at large either. I’m guessing we’d go down the Australian route – a great deal of NZers want to improve the presently strained relations with Australia – including Winston Peters. He has always been very protective of our Five Eyes relationship. He’ll want to repair our standing there as well.

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  6. Thank you Michael. I heard the interview on RNZ – Anne-Marie Brady spoke very well. Perhaps ironically, I first found this blog through the links on Kiwiblog, where David Farrar continues to distinguish himself by downplaying these issues. His latest effort was to pooh-pooh security concerns about Huawei because he had been a guest at their Chinese factory and found it all above board!
    Keep it up! Only sustained public pressure will force National and Labour to get out of the pocket of the Chinese communists – who must be absolutely staggered at how cheap it is to buy political influence here.

    Liked by 4 people

    • I think it goes beyond just the $100k offered as National party donations. China does take a lot of our food products, especially our fisheries and farmed products on a massive scale. Especially our fisheries have a direct impact on Maori Iwis who now own most of our fisheries and Maori are now heavily represented in government and in Opposition.

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      • I think Mr Reddell has demonstrated on many occasions that we are not so dependant upon the Chinese market as many politicians like to pretend. China is an important market, but not so important that our political parties need to prostrate themselves at thew feet of the president-for-life.What China does appear to be, however, is an easy source for post-politics sinecures and generous donations..As both of our main political parties are keen on this state of affairs, it is very unlikely to change soon.

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      • Approximately 50 percent of fisheries quota are owned by iwi/Maori. The New Zealand seafood industry had a total export earning (FOB) of $1.8 billion in seafood exports in 2017.The seafood industry employs over 13,000 full time workers.

        453,000 visitors from China in the last 12 months with an average spend of $4,162 a visitor which equates to $1.9 billion spend in the last 12 months.

        Traditionally, Māori have operated successfully in the tourism. fisheries, farming and agribusiness sector, and are continuing to leverage their significant assets in farming, fisheries, forestry and other emerging agri-sectors (such as viticulture). The value of Māori assets in these industries growing from $50 billion to $100 billion by 2030.

        Mike, as you can see the Chinese impact to NZ as a whole is minimal given that total NZ GDP is $270 billion but the impact to Maori Iwi is huge with most of their assets in Tourism, Fisheries and Farming. Maori is now heavily represented in government.

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  7. Enough is enough, New Zealand has been messing around for too long on this. This has resulted in further penetration of NZ politics (as witnessed recently) and there is influence at several levels in our society. Time for someone to step forward and introduce foreign influence legislation similar to that of Australia. I would go further with legislation that requires registration as a foreign agent if acting for a foreign government. By their non-compliance, Michael Flynn and Paul Manafort sure found out the effectiveness of this type of law.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. There was perhaps a window from the late 90’s to the early 10’s (where if one was to be generous to the Clark Labour government and the previous National government) that pursuing relations with China vigorously made economic sense. Let me be clear I am not suggesting that being completely sycophantic or supplicants to the Chinese regime is ever desirable but it is possible to be generous to the officials and analysts involved and see the logic as to why it was pursued in the way that it was.

    However, the time has long since passed that it became clear that this strategy was no longer worth pursuing with the energy that it had been previously and certainly not worthy of doubling down on. In this vein, it concerns me that in the Point of Order blog where reference is made to a group of ‘pro-Beijing’ officials within MFAT that such a group even exists.

    Surely our foreign service must be dispassionate and not be particularly pro anyone (beyond perhaps our closest allies and relationships)? The only charitable explanation I can give is that they thought there was money to be made or prosperity for New Zealanders in cozying up to Beijing – however, given it is businesses that trade and not governments if this group were skilled and adept at spotting such opportunities then they wouldn’t be bureaucrats. The data would now indicate 10 years on from the signing of the FTA deal that beyond shipping basic commodities (which can go just about anywhere) that the trading relationship is not a path to prosperity.

    Which leaves a more disturbing thought that these officials were ‘pro-Beijing’ because they admired the economic or political model of one of the most unpleasant regimes on the planet…

    Liked by 1 person

  9. If nothing else, Jian Yang’s behaviour is another good reason to dump MMP. He would be out the door very quickly if he had to secure his electorate himself (unlikely he would have won one in the first place).

    Perhaps you’ve covered this already in your writings on this, but there seems to be at least a prima facie case for having his citizenship stripped. The government’s website sets out the conditions and ticks at least 2 or 3 of the categories (“false representation, information you deliberately concealed when you applied for citizenship, you got [sic] citizenship of another country and acted against the interests of NZ”).

    It’s driven by the minister but I suppose could always formally ask the minister to consider the question, and if (when) the minster refuses the decision could be judicially reviewed. That would bring matters nicely to a head and would get things out in the open.

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    • I love MMP but you have a point. The only way we can get him out of Parliament is to not vote National. Which is what I will be advising all my elderly conservative friends.
      However Prof Spoonley was telling U3A earlier this year that Auckland has schools which will be majority Chinese very soon. If in a suburb most children are of Chinese origin it is quite possible the majority of voters will be too so with tight control of the Chinese media by CCP it would be quite possible for Jian Yang to be elected in a FPR electoral system.

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      • No my point was actually you could get him out of parliament by stripping him of his citizenship (a requirement to be an MP). This would preferable symbolically compared to either having him voted out, or even pushing Nats to drop him.

        No electoral system is perfect, but then again nothing is stopping the fifth columnists from forming a list only “Happy China Friendship Party”, press ganging their voters to deliver 5%, and then holding the balance of power. Then life in NZ would get interesting. I should be quiet before I give anyone ideas…

        Liked by 1 person

    • Initially I tended to downplay the immigration/citizenship aspects. I don’t care much about him as a person, and just think it is totally unacceptable that someone with his background (and ongoing involvement) sits in our Parliament. But the longer this goes on, the more unsatisfactory it seems that neither Immigration nor Internal Affairs seem to have done anything about investigating what went on. No doubt that state of affairs suits both main parties.

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    • I’m open to correction, but I understood China does not allow dual citizenship, so stripping of citizenship would render Jian Yiang [technically] stateless, which NZ has undertaken not to do to anyone.

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  10. I thought the commitment was not to deprive people of citizenship if they weren’t entitled to it elsewhere. Even if he is technically no longer a PRC citizen, I’m sure they’d welcome him back – services to the state/party and all that. The regime is, after all, claiming that all ethnic Chinese anywhere still owe some sort of allegiance to the PRC – no matter where from originally, or when their ancestors moved.

    Having said that, the priority should remain the swamp that NZ politics has become, rather than Jian Yang’s personal status (residency/citizenship etc). Out of Parliament, shunned by the National Party hierarchy, I’d probably be happy to leave him be.

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    • I actually have a similar sort of sentiment towards our muslim MP Golriz Ghahraman with the Green party. Clearly a highly trained activist developed within the hotbed of radical muslim Africa. She has said many times her agenda is to push the refugee intake towards the African continent which does mean an increasing risk of unvetted muslim radicals entering NZ. The Green Party agenda wants as many as 5,000 muslim refugees a year. You can virtually guarantee that equates to a new mosque funded by the government to make our new muslim refugees feel at home in NZ.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Is she a Muslim? If so which sect? I share your concerns about refugees thinking the expenditure of privileging a refugee into NZ would support ten living in a refugee camp in Jordon; I’m also troubled that many minorities are unwilling to live in UNHCR camps because of their fear of the Muslim majority in the camps – I would be content to bring Yazidi refugees to NZ since they cannot be asked to ever return to Syria.

        The Greens prefer our refugee charity expenditure to be generous and spent in NZ. But they do not specify that refugees have to be Muslim; if you check the figures on the INZ website we are accepting refugees from many countries for example Columbia is not noted for a Muslim population.

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      • “Ms Ghahraman has described in the NZ Herald and Stuff online how her parents supported the Islamic Revolution”. Born of muslim parents makes you a muslim so yes definitely a muslim. She has never said publicly that is not a muslim but her Green Party propaganda machinery does try to point out that as she dresses western clothing she must surely not be a muslim is rather hilarious.

        “Ms Ghahraman is not a refugee or a “child asylum seeker. Her claims of war and persecution do not stand up to scrutiny. Her claim to be a “refugee” is disrespectful to the victims of the regime and the millions of Iranians forced to leave the country under threat of torture and death.” An Australian “accredited specialist in immigration law” who claims to have been working in refugee law since 1990 has raised some serious questions about Green MP Golriz Ghahraman.

        Ms Ghahraman stated in June 2017 that “I’m from Mashhad in the north of Iran” If she was always living in Mashhad until 1990, the claim of war memories is fictional.

        Australian lawyer Simon Jean’ “The Green Party MP, Golriz Ghahraman, came to my attention on 3 August 2018 after she posted a video on Twitter saying, “No human right is absolute. They are all subject to lawful limits.” I responded that in the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, there are many human rights which are absolute, such as the right not to be tortured or suffer cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. She blocked me on Twitter.”

        https://yournz.org/2018/08/10/more-questions-asked-of-golriz-ghahraman/

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  11. Thanks again Michael. These compilations and commentaries are excellent and most helpful for raising awareness of a very serious threat. One day the politicians may catch up, hopefully before it’s too late.

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    • Thanks. Interesting article. Seems encouraging in its own right, altho Marise Payne’s visit to Beijing this week doesn’t seem entirely message-consistent.

      But rather better, even as domestic rhetoric that either of our main party leaders seem able to manage.

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  12. Regarding Jacinda Ardern’s comments with Kim Hill in particular, is it possible the government believes the game with China is best played with one’s cards held close to the chest, so to speak? The massive foreign aid increase in the budget this year must be important in counterbalancing China’s own aid-for-influence program in the Pacific. But the government has never framed it like that-for good reason-because making it a public and showy move on our part would only provoke a more muscular response from China, whose foreign aid budget is an order of magnitude larger than ours at this point.

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    • That is a billion dollar giveaway to the Pacific Islands is a complete waste of money. That is the reason why everyone is taking the hard line in negotiating pay. If the government can afford to throw away a billion dollars then anyone asking for a pay rise will not accept any excuse that the government does not have any money to pay out an increase.

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    • For anyone in Wellington, the Fabian Society has Tony Browne, who Michael Reddell has blogged about a few times, talking at Loaves and Fishes at 5.30 pm on Thursday, 29 November. Browne is a former NZ ambassador to China and now chairs one of Beijing’s ‘Magic Weapons’ right here in Wellington – the Confucius Institute at VUW.

      Like

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