The Prime Minister continues to shame us

The Prime Minister has been attempting to defend her handling of the meeting with the Malaysian Prime Minister, following his apparently quite forthright comments on the South China Sea.  She parrots a line about not taking sides in the dispute, but surely she knows that when you don’t take sides between a bully and his (or her) victim you side with the bully.  And when you say

New Zealand’s position on the issue had been “utterly consistent”, and the country had never taken sides, she said, adding all claimants should uphold international law, and the law of the sea.

and yet fail to point out which party –  the PRC –  consistently refuses to uphold international law in this area, you make yourself a party to the abuse, the aggression, aiding the new status quo in which the PRC has taken control.  It really is like not taking sides when Germany takes Czechoslovakia or Poland.

But perhaps journalists could also ask the Prime Minister to explain New Zealand’s absence from this list

Australia, Canada, and the European Union as a whole, but not New Zealand, are part of an approach to Beijing over the abuses in Xinjiang.

Life –  even foreign policy – really has to be more than the sums of the deals, or the sum of the donations.

The Government’s stance is these areas –  much the same as the Opposition’s –  shames us.

UPDATE:  A reader sends me this (I’m not sure from which publication)

“We decided not to sign it because we have raised concerns about the situation in Xinjiang directly with Chinese authorities,” a spokesman for Ardern told Newsroom when asked if New Zealand had joined the protest.

“New Zealand concerns have been registered by the Prime Minister with senior counterparts, including yesterday with Premier Li. Concerns have also been raised at officials’ level, including through New Zealand’s bilateral human rights dialogue with China, and at the UN in Geneva,” the spokesman said.

This is pathetic.     As if none of the other countries has made direct or bilateral comments, and –  as noted here –  other countries (including the US, UK, and Australia) were much more visible and vocal at the recent UN human rights review on China.   There are those old lines about “stronger together”, and people being known by the company they keep.   I don’t think trade agreements and the like should drive our policy stances –  our values should – but you have to wonder what the EU (with whom New Zealand wants to sign of an agreement) makes of a New Zealand government so supine it won’t join its (erstwhile) friends in this process.   Perhaps unilateralism is an option for the US, but it is the same Prime Minister who regularly reminds us, and the world, about the merits of acting together.  Just not when it comes to never ever upsetting Beijing?

45 thoughts on “The Prime Minister continues to shame us

    • I think the biggest shame is for the Speaker Trevor Mallard to drop the Christian references during Parliamentary sessions. Why should NZ drop its own culture in favour of migrants cultures? You don’t expect muslim countries to drop references to the Koran just to appease migrants to its community? Ridiculous!!

      One of the first things Trevor Mallard did after being appointed Speaker last year was to update the prayer read out at the start of each question time. Mr Mallard said the reference to Jesus was a Christian one, and he wanted the prayer to be more inclusive of other religious beliefs.

      https://www.radionz.co.nz/news/political/349280/new-parliamentary-prayer-a-compromise-says-mallard

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    • I don’t think Peters is driving Ardern’s silence. The recent saga over 1500 muslim refugees where Peters voiced his concern that refugees don’t factor in above the Kiwi homeless who have to be sorted first. Then it was very clearly Ardern who silenced Peters and Ardern went on to announce how she would increase the quota to 1500 muslim refugees.

      She also committed to ensuring that these new 1500 muslim refugees every 12 months would have all government care to ensure that they settle in their new home in NZ. This pretty much means that they all get new houses and we would have to build them new mosques and fund for their childrens Islamic schools to ensure that they would feel comfortable in their new surrounds and pay for Halal food.

      Liked by 1 person

      • The scathing comments from the NZ Chinese language media turned my stomach also, and supported the view they’ve become a tool of Beijing. Makes me want to learn Mandarin so I can understand what’s going on.

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    • Jacinda would have reached her competence ceiling as head of a Hamilton primary immediate , Helen Clark as head of a secondary girls school. Theresa as rather better CE one. Arden like Hillard is likely bored stiff by defence. Clark and Kirk if just as left in radically different ways were obsessively interested and had superficially more competent and objective MCAT advisors in Corner and Hensley although my own view they were hard left and Ignorant of the NZ left or Soviet capability or defence reality

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  1. Maybe she should take a stand, including for private citizens – without all her protection – who might reasonably be scared…….

    It is extraordinary that this Police investigation is taking so long. there is probably a strong interest in not reaching a conclusio.

    Liked by 2 people

    • In Auckland, break-ins and vehicle damages are actually quite common. The police probably don’t think any of this is actually any more than the usual thousands of incidences that they tend to everyday.

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  2. Our Prime Minister would drown in anything deeper than a puddle.

    I voted for her largely because I detested the other lot but to call her inexperienced and naive is to do a disservice to inexperienced and naive.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. It would seem New Zealand has passed under the Chinese Communist Party’s yoke. Those countries represented on the list of ambassadors were our traditional “like-minded” among whom we used to take pride in being counted as a liberal democracy with a strong commitment to human rights. No longer. New Zealand is in a wasteland of its own choosing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • “Notable exclusions from that list – Poland, Hungary, Turkey, Russia – all which have Strongmen rulers”

      It sounds like we are frighteningly close to having our own strongman ruler, one not based in Wellington.

      Liked by 3 people

  4. I love how here in New Zealand we tell ourselves deluded tales about being independent, believers in egalitarian values, at the forefront of the right side of history on issues du jour etc. Bar a couple of examples where those statements may be demonstrated as true the vast majority of the time we are Quisling’s who shy away from confrontation not believing in any particular values and in the yoke to whatever takes our fancy as the in vogue cargo-cult from generation to generation.

    It is truly pathetic and I cannot fathom why Foreign Affairs and other government agencies are so willing to acquiesce on behalf of New Zealanders and the values we supposedly hold dear.

    Liked by 3 people

    • It is not the hard to fathom the behaviour of why there is such acquiescence from those you mentioned. The Chinese are very good at making you feel like a king when they want something. They will listen and hang on every word. Treat you as a powerful person should be. They will pander and stroke your ego. All the time laughing behind your back. Once you have lost any usefulness you will be stabbed in the heart and cast aside.

      Our leaders and bureaucrats fall for this due to the fact they already believe they are important.

      Liked by 2 people

      • While those are almost certainly true, I think it can be boiled down to simple self interest in terms of direct campaign/party contributions. National/Labour wants to be in power, National/Labour MPs want to keep their jobs, and maybe have some directorships in their retirement. To paraphrase Michael Clayton, Politicians are not the people you kill, they’re the people you buy (Anne-Marie Brady, apparently, is the one you kill).

        If National/Labour refuses PRC-origin $$$ then who’s to say [insert name of any Chinese influence peddler} won’t just offer all the dosh to the other team. Unless absolutely everyone agrees to put country ahead of party/career, nothing will change. It wouldn’t hurt to root out those PRC-mouthpiece Chinese language media outlets and invite them to return to the land of their true allegiances.

        Liked by 2 people

      • I may be way out of my expertise but wasn’t it Maori -v- NZ Settlers + Maori similar to the UK’s last civil war being the Scottish Highlanders -v- English + other Highlanders? The lesson is simple and takes us back to the point of this article: China’s govt presents a united front and the west’s governments are not united.

        Nothing secretive about the Chinese (barring possible fiddling with tyre pressures) they even call it ‘United Front’.

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      • I think you have to look at China not as a United Front but a cobbling of different countries that speak different languages and have different cultures with many power centres which the Federal government in Beijing trying it’s best to show one united country. That is why China can easily accept Hong Kong as a separate system. It has thousands of years of history with having to keep all these different systems cobbled together already.

        I think that the US CIA understands this China internal conflict and Trump is applying enough pressure to see if the US can reassert it’s top dog status with the Chinese power centre standing on eggshells and could easily topple and crack wide open.

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      • If you control all the media as the CCP does then internal conflict is easily controlled. Where the monolithic CCP is at risk would be from the Chinese diaspora. So all the more reason for NZ to ensure multiple points of view are published in our Chinese language media. And for the govt to politely challenge the fake news published by the CCP especially the interpretation of repression in Xinjiang province where they outrageously claim it is education but their own data shows they are spending less on teachers and more on building prisons.

        After thousands of years of history this is the state of multi-culturalism in China, from Wikipeda: 92% of the Chinese population and more than 97% of the Taiwanese population are Han. Note that Tibet and Xinjiang are recent additions to the Chinese empire so they have substantial ethnic minorities. 92% is dominant; it means 1 in 12 are not Han; compare that with 1 in 4 non-European in NZ.

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      • That Han statistics may be true overall due to the highly dense cities but not true of the different districts or regions of China. Definitely most of China is not 90% Han. I can see that in my office. All 5 Chinese are different due to the different regions they come from. They speak different dialects. In NZ, some regional cities are almost 90% European in NZ which is not the case in Auckland which may have only 50% European. But the regions do have their own representation and the power centre can shift to the regions under first past the post. MMP has shifted the power base towards a major city centre like Auckland with a higher number of people.

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      • England has many dramatically different accents. So does Germany and France. The fact China has dialects does not mean they see one another as different ethnic groups. But even if I am wrong it is clear that the CCP has one view of Han and another view of non-Han and it doesn’t seem to mattter much to them whether it is a non-Han with a Chinese passport or an ethnic Han Kiwi citizen.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Well, Scotland and Ireland continue to try and breakaway from the United Kingdom. Violence have been quite the norm until the recent peace. But a hard Brexit could spell the end of the UK. So nothing really unusual for the provinces to want to break away in China where cultures and language in the different provinces do not align with the Federal government in Beijing. There are regular purges where power centres spring up.

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  5. I’m not convinced that if the entire population of New Zealand was motivated enough to march in the streets protesting about human rights in China would make the slightest bit of difference to human rights as practised in China

    I reckon the solution is to go after the likes of Jian Yang and Yikun Zhang and investigate their finances and entry into NZ.

    Tell me how Jian Yang could arrive in NZ in 1999 and become an MP in 2011 after a mere 12 years. He didn’t just arrive on the doorstep of National in 2011. He must have had ambitions prior to that, 2006 perhaps. After a mere 7 years. Looks like he was hand-picked and groomed. Was he chosen. Was he inserted into NZ. Certainly didn’t bide his time as a sleeper. Why did he come to NZ when he was well catered for and established in Australia. As time goes on I become more and more sceptical of his bona-fides

    Examine his bio on his web-site. He achieved an exalted position in our midst immediately with positions of status. Within 2 years. Few people if any can accomplished such a charmed life. He must have had people looking out for him. Who? If he can do it others can.
    https://jianyang.national.org.nz/
    Lot of non-english there

    How many properties does he own? How much money did he arrive in NZ with, arriving at a time when Money Laundering controls in NZ were non-existent. How much is he worth today

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    • I agree it is important to distinguish the types of issues. We can’t change what the PRC does in China, but we can – and in my view should – call out evil when we see it (perhaps especially when our friends and allies also do so). And, by contrast, what we can control is what happens at home. I’m still less bothered about Jian Yang and Yikun Zhang personally than I am about the institutions and individuals in the Labour and National Party (in particular) who enable these people. The corruption of our system is what we really shouldn’t tolerate, and yet the commanding heights of our politics are held by those totally complicit in it all.

      Liked by 3 people

      • Not saying you shouldn’t call it out – go for it

        Just saying you are wasting your time – the problem is the news media and dissemination of your views – they do not reach down to the great-unwashed – the penetration of “hidden money” into our system and being applied in the furtherance of what, we know not – we have to prevent that happening – by exposure – convincing those behind it that they are wasting their money and embarrassing themselves

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      • Most of them are non ideological mediocrities who want money, security and influence for themselves and family. Most New Zealanders have remarkably little contact with any real military or war. In few nations since WW2 would a smaller percentage have served with the military and real war here is generally regarded ad impossible. New Zealand has a very narrow government and no genuine military think tanks or planning bodies. In the second half of the twentieth century NZ defence policy was largely run by the personal intervention and influence of UK CDS Earl Mountbatten and Edward Elworthy, anything else only happened when the US Government felt NZ value to Australia sufficient as offshore land, that it required NZ to buy a few items.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Actually, it is not very hard to make money in NZ if you invest in property. I started investing in properties 15 years ago. I started with $200k. It is now worth $9 million.

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      • GGS – where is your membership of the New Zealand Order of Merit? How many list MPs has National arranged for you? I can’t help thinking you are a failure compare to Jian Yang and Yikun Zhang. Why do you think that is – were you handicapped by your fluency in English or was it inadequate brown-nosing of the CCP?

        Liked by 1 person

      • Don’t think Yang or Huo got those top honours, otherwise it would be Sir Yang and Sir Huo. Sir John Key and Sir Bill English certainly did and they certainly did deserve those honours navigating a severe recession engineered by the RBNZ pushing the self destruct button aggressively, navigating 2 major earthquakes and a GFC and diversified our over reliance on primary industries.

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  6. Actually I think there is more chance the politicians will change their tone (a bit) on the human rights issue than on the domestic systemic corruption. Not that I expect to have much, if any, influence on either count.

    I doubt anyone who matters much thinks (say) Yikun Zhang is some entirely innocent beneficent businessman. The problem is that they don’t care, even about how he may have made his money. And it isn’t clear what will make them care, unless there is some (a) very dramatic event internationally – say, an attack on Taiwan, (b) something akin to a conversion experience, leading to an outbreak of decency and integrity, or (c) someone in a really important/influential position – eg a leader of a major party – deciding that there was opportunity in the issue. Both sides can get away with the pandering and indifference at present because they provide cover for each other.

    Liked by 1 person

    • How very sad that you can sensibly write “leading to an outbreak of decency and integrity”.

      It is quite easy to conceive of multiple political parties with opposing views all consisting of decent people of high integrity. Politics should be about state interventions, long term infrastructure planning, protecting borders and other highly contentious issues – decency & integrity should be standard.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I was reading an article in Atlantic about Mike Pence and the Myanmar leader. The tone being christchianity and values. I think Muslems (Rohingya in this case) fit outside that paradigm. That is why I have some sympathy with the Chinese. Seal them off and they will form a caravan to get into China.

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  8. This problem is bad for the diversity hypothesis which states that when a nation is populated by diverse people’s their ethnic affiliations dissolve (diversity = Rinso) and they develop a society greater than it’s parts (diversity dividend ).

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    • The bible talks about a time when we had one language but then God removed that privilege and we then had our own separate languages. I interpret this from the perspective that we had a Universal Communicator in the past, similar to Google translate which was then destroyed. The world is a big place if we did not have air travel. It does not take much more than a significant event like a a large solar flare and all our electronics would be junk. Once society gets isolated they would develop their own unique language and cultures, ways of doing things independent of each other.

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