Donations, the PRC etc

There was interesting Herald story a couple of weeks ago suggesting that the National Party may be beginning to feel some heat about their affiliations with, and excuses for, and funds flowing from, the People’s Republic of China (or people with close associations thereto).    The story drew on a speech given by National’s spokesman on electoral law, longserving MP Nick Smith,  to the Nelson Rotary Clubs.  In that speech Nick Smith argued as follows

4.2 Banning Foreign Donations

The second change I want to promote is a ban on foreign donations. This proposal was floated by former Attorney General and SIS Minister Chris Finlayson in his valedictory speech last month with him forcefully arguing that New Zealand’s democracy is ours and should not be open to manipulation by any foreign influence. This risk has been highlighted in recent overseas elections.

The existing electoral law does put limits on foreign donors, but needs strengthening. Only kiwi citizens and residents should be able to donate to political parties or to campaigns that seek to influence an election outcome.

Such a change would need to be done with finesse so as not to discourage political participation by new New Zealanders. The issue is not about ethnicity. It is about New Zealand not allowing its democracy to be inappropriately influenced by overseas interests.

It isn’t that I disagree with Nick Smith on this specific, just that in raising it (and not other issues around electoral donations) he seems to be avoiding –  probably consciously and deliberately – some of the real specific issues that are apparent in New Zealand.

The Herald article summarised the current law this way

Current electoral law prohibits non-citizens or residents from donating more than $1500 to political parties, but these can be avoided by donating through New Zealand-registered corporate entities – such as companies, incorporated societies and trusts – which are allowed to donate regardless of whether they are owned or controlled by New Zealanders.

and in a recent commentary, Simon Chapple, director of Victoria University’s Institute for Governance and Policy Studies observed

Currently in New Zealand foreign donations to a party of up to NZ$1,500 are permissible. Moreover, foreign donations below this amount are not individually or collectively disclosed.

It would be easy for a foreign state or corporate body seeking political influence to channel a large number of donations into the system just under the threshold via numerous proxies. Whether such interference has been happening is unclear, since New Zealanders do not know how much money currently comes in to political parties via foreign actors.

Even if foreign donations are not a problem now, one could rapidly develop. A strong argument can be made that foreign money has no place in democracy, including New Zealand’s.

New Zealand would not be going out on an international limb by banning foreign donations. Foreign donations to political parties are not permissible in the [United Kingdom, Ireland and the United States. They are also banned in Canada but unfortunately a significant loophole exists. Australia is currently in the process of banning foreign donations.

And I’d certainly agree with Simon on that general point: foreign money should have no place in funding election campaigns or political parties.

So there probably is a good case for a blanket prohibition on donations (in cash or in kind) to political parties by non-resident non-citizens.  But that looks mostly like pre-emptively closing a possible source of a problem (although perhaps real in the case of Phil Goff’s last mayoral campaign) –  and thus looking as though you care –  when the real actual issues New Zealand faces in this area would not be addressed at all.   For example, the largest single (acknowledged) donation to the National Party a couple of years ago was from a New Zealand registered company owned and controlled by a PRC billionaire.  That is foreign money in New Zealand politics, and shouldn’t be allowed.  It would be bad enough if it were from donors in countries that generally shared New Zealand values and democratic norms.   It is far worse when the donor is from the PRC – or, if you like, North Korea, Equatorial Guinea or other repressive authoritarian states –  and (according to the media coverage) clearly in the good graces of Xi Jinping.   Personally, I would probably favour banning all corporate donations to political parties –  people are citizens, companies aren’t –  but at very least we should apply the same restrictions to foreign-controlled companies that we apply to non-resident non-citizen individual donations.

But laws can take you only so far, and I’m not convinced they can deal with what appears to be the rather bigger issue around New Zealand political party financing (probably mainly National, although it seems likely that Labour now in government will be seeking to get in on the act).   That requires decency, integrity, and a willingness to make a sacrifice –  in this case, not to take money from people –  not even New Zealand citizens or residents – with close associations with, declared support for, political regimes with values so inimical to, and inconsistent with, those that have underpinned New Zealand democracy, and its fairly free and open society.

It seems to be widely understood that National Party Jian Yang is the party’s biggest single fundraiser.  Jian Yang, as is now widely known, served in PLA overseas intelligence system and was (perhaps is) a CCP member, who eventually acknowledged that he misrepresented his past to get residency and citizenship in New Zealand. In all his years in Parliament he has never once criticised the PRC –  not even over Tiananmen Square (perhaps there is an opportunity for him on the 30th anniversary in a few months time) – he is observed to be very close to the PRC Embassy, and even a former diplomat (now a lobbyist, so hardly someone deliberately trying to stir up trouble) declared that he was always very careful what he said in front of Jian Yang.    It is, to put it mildly, hard to be confident that he is primarily serving the interests of New Zealand and New Zealanders.

I’ve noted previously comments made last year by serious senior people at a Chatham House rules event I was invited to

There was clear unease, from people in a good position to know, about the role of large donations to political parties from ethnic minority populations –  often from cultures without the political tradition here (in theory, if not always observed in practice in recent decades) that donations are not about purchasing influence.  One person observed that we had very much the same issues Australia was grappling with (although our formal laws are tighter than the Australian ones).  Of ethnic Chinese donations in particular, the description “truckloads” was used, with a sense that the situation is almost “inherently unhealthy”.   With membership numbers in political parties dropping, and political campaigning getting no less expensive, this ethnic contribution (and associated influence seeking) issue led several participants to note that they had come round to favouring serious consideration of state funding of political parties.

These will probably (almost) all be donations made by New Zealand citizens or residents, and nothing in what Nick Smith (or Chris Finlayson) was saying would even touch on them.

And thus late last year, Yikun Zhang sprang to brief public prominence, when Jami-Lee Ross revealed the tape-recording of his discussion with Simon Bridges about the $100000 donation(s), and the possible bid by one of Yikun Zhang’s associates for a place on National’s list.   I’m not mostly concerned with the question of whether this donation (or set of donations) was appropriately disclosed –  although in general I think there is a strong case for a lower, and more binding, disclosure threshold, tying all material donations back to identifiable natural persons –  but about the affiliations and identifications of Yikun Zhang and his associates.  We learned at the time the story broke that Yikun Zhang – despite being a long-time New Zealand resident (and citizen) doesn’t speak English.  We learned a lot about his involvement –  at senior levels –  in various United Front bodies, and the strong ties he appears to have with CCP entities back in the PRC.  It is, to put it mildly, hard for a dispassionate observer to be confident that he primarily has at heart the interests of New Zealand and New Zealanders.   Given the nature of the regime he enthusiastically and repeatedly assoicates with, no decent political party should voluntarily have any but the most formal relations with such a person, and certainly shouldn’t be soliciting money from, or through them.  It isn’t what decent people, with any regard for the integrity of our system, do.

In fact, of course, not only do they take his money, but Phil Goff, Jian Yang, and former National MP Eric Roy got together to nominate Yikun Zhang for an honour, something bestowed last year by the current government.  In effect, it appears, for services to one of the more evil –  most evil, judged by the numbers it rules –  regimes on the planet.

And of course we know that not just MPs but party officials seem to fall over themselves to praise that same regime, and run interference whenever there is a suggestion of problems (think of Todd McClay running Beijing propaganda lines about “vocational training camps in Xinjiang).  Peter Goodfellow, the National Party president, seems to work very closely with Jian Yang to pander to the regime, and keep the local donation flow going.  And on the Labour side, Nigel Haworth seemed to be little better.

So by all means, take up the specific suggestion to ban completely foreign donations.  It would be a small improvement on the current situation, but it would not even begin to tackle the deep corruption of the our political system around the PRC regime.  People who were long-serving senior ministers – Nick Smith and Chris Finlayson –  know that very well, even if they are genuinely well-meaning on their specific proposal.

But attempting to fool the public otherwise seems to be a bit of new theme.  That Herald story where I first saw reference to Nick Smith’s speech included this gem

In a related move, Parliament’s justice select committee have issued a rare invitation to the country’s intelligence agencies to give a – likely closed-doors and secret – briefing to MPs about “foreign interference” in local elections.

Nick Smith, a member of the committee and his party’s spokesperson for electoral law reform, confirmed the committee as a whole late last year sent a letter to the New Zealand Security and Intelligence Service (NZSIS) and Government Communications and Security Bureau (GCSB) inviting them to give evidence.

Smith yesterday said he hoped the NZSIS and GCSB would be able to provide insight on the local risks posed by issues such as the hacking the public officials’ communications, foreign donations, and anonymous and politicised social media campaigns.

“There is the issue of funding, and whether foreign governments are either directly, or indirectly through shelf companies, are using funds to inappropriately influence outcomes,” he said.

Smith said the invitation to the NZSIS and GCSB offered evidence to be given in secret if required. He conceded this would be an unusual move for usually-open committee meetings, but was justified: “I think this is a really important issue,” he said.

So a committee chaired by Raymond Huo, he of various United Front bodies, he who chose a slogan of Xi Jinping’s for Labour Chinese-language compaign in 2017, with a senior National MP promoting only the narrowest reform (while providing cover for Jian Yang) will invite the intelligence agencies to provide advice on foreign influence issues, but in secret.   Perhaps –  but only perhaps, because the fact of this hearing might be used to simply play distraction – it is marginally better than nothing, but we don’t need intelligence agencies to tell us there is an issue around the PRC. Both main parties know what they are doing –  who they associate with, who they take money from, who they honour, who they seek closer relations with, and who they refuse ever to criticise, no matter how egregious the regime’s abuses.  All the minor parties keep quiet and go along too.

There was column this week on Newsroom by political scientist Bryce Edwards argues that it is “urgent” that we start having a proper debate in New Zealand about the PRC and the relationship with New Zealand.   I don’t really disagree with him, although he seems to want an “elite” debate, and seems scared by the idea that the public might have a (strong) view (an “overly simplistic one” apparently, like ideas of good and evil perhaps?).

Edwards writes

Obviously, we can’t rely on the politicians to lead that [debate] – they’re too compromised, and they’re just too inclined to suppress the discussion. Instead it has to be other parts of the public sphere – especially the media and other public figures – that needs to step up to examine and discuss the issues.

But it seems like wishful thinking.  Sure there is the occasional voice from the margins –  whether Edwards or Anne-Marie Brady – but there doesn’t seem any sign that anyone in “elite New Zealand”, anyone who commands serious respect, is about to break ranks from the “keep quiet, keep the deals and donations flowing” sickening consensus of the last few decades.  Not former leading politicians, not church leaders, not leading business figures, no one.  Even if a few people mutter quietly –  even Fran O’Sullivan had some recent encouraging comments about donations – no one seriously breaks ranks.   The taxpayer even funds bodies that condemn taking action on Huawei.  So who does Edwards seriously think might lead such a debate?

As he says, all politicians have all sold their souls.  I was exchanging notes earlier this week with someone about Jian Yang.  It is easy to blame John Key and Peter Goodfellow for Jian Yang –  they either knew his background or should have, and didn’t really care (or worse) either way.  But the story of Jian Yang has been public for almost 18 months now and no one in politics has disowned him, called for his resignation, called for the National Party to remove him from their caucus.  Not Jacinda Ardern or Andrew Little, certainly not Bill English or Simon Bridges, not James Shaw or Marama Davidson, not David Seymour, not even (despite occasional timorous hints) Winston Peters.  Not even Jami-Lee Ross, who was at the centre of the whole donations business.  Not a single backbencher, of any party, was willing to break ranks and declare the situation unacceptable.  Fixed with knowledge, by their silence they now share responsibility.

It is little different on any of the other aspects of the PRC relationships:

  • the effective PRC control of the local Chinese language media,
  • the refusal to say a word about the Xinjiang abuses (or Falun Gong or Christian churches),
  • the refusal to say anything in support of Canada over the abduction of two of its nationals.

Probably most of these so-called leaders like to think they are somehow serving New Zealand interests.  People fool themselves that way, sometimes without necessarily fully realisng what they are doing.  They aren’t.

So, much as Bryce Edwards might deplore the prospect of an “overly-simplistic” serious public debate, or swelling tide of discontent, I’d cheer on the fact that it was happening at all.  Corrupted systems are rarely, if ever, upended and reformed without a strong strand of –  almost unreasonable –  public outrage.  It hasn’t happened here yet.  I’d like to say it was only a matter of time, but I’m a pessimist.    What would turn things around now after all these years in which our “elites” have degraded our political system (to complement their failures on other fronts, notably productivity)?  Labour and National are, after all, two sides of same coin on such issues, and together they seem to have a stronger hold on the political system (vote share combined) than we’ve seen for some decades.   We don’t have politicians of decency and integrity, and the public show little sign of (effectively) demanding something different.  The PRC Embassy must be pleased.

 

UPDATe (4/2):   There is a new column by Simon Chapple and a co-author on reviewing the rules around political donations.  I’m pretty sympathetic to the sorts of changes they propose, although as I argue above the PRC-influence issues around donations or more about atttitudes and integrity –  knowing what is right and wrong and eschewing the latter –  than something formal external (eg statutory) rules can deal with.

 

31 thoughts on “Donations, the PRC etc

  1. No Zealand residents are, by definition, foreigners. NZ Residents (noun, plural): Foreigners with voting and land purchasing rights in a country that is playing with fire as regards its continued existence and the legitimacy of the latter thereof.

    A ban on foreign donations, housing purchases and voting rights that does include foreign residents is nothing more than an Orwellian sham being foisted on a growing and increasingly restive local underclass.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I would favour restricting voting rights to citizens (and donation rights to eligible voters) but I don’t think it is the biggest issue here – after all, people like Jian Yang and Yikun Zhang are citizens.

    (As I also favour much lower immigration targets generally that policy, if it were to be adopted, would over time greatly diminish the empirical sigificance of resident non-citizens.)

    Liked by 2 people

    • Our politicians should lock into the fact that New Zealand is a ‘PREMIUM’ place to live and accordingly specify that application to become a citizen must be made within a set time after arrival and granting of residence. A monetary constraint on the availability of health, educational and welfare to residents who choose to not apply for citizenship would help.

      Carrying on this ‘right’ a little further, there should be the potential to remove citizenship as well.

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    • Voting in NZ should be restricted to NZ citizens only with the proviso that they are not citizens of another country.Hopefully China does not allow dual citizenship ? Permanent residents should have no voting rights ( in local or national elections). There has to be some real difference between NZ citizens and Permanent residents, as otherwise what is the extra benefit of being a NZ citizen ? I believe the only difference is that permanent residents cannot be MPs

      Liked by 1 person

      • There are many immigrants who become NZ citizens but retain their former citizenship (and passports) both for sentimental and practical reasons. For example returning to their country of origin without the trouble of having to obtain a visa.

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  3. I believe Finlayson and Smith are simply trying to deflect attention away from National after the Jami Lee Ross revelations appeared to hint at a possible cash for candidatures operation involving Chinese donations. Like many I feel strongly that voting should be restricted to citizens only as should the right to make political party donations. But the problem as you suggest is deeper. It’s fundamentally a matter of morality and loyalty to one’s country. So many of our modern-day careerist politicians are entirely lacking in either quality and this deficit is exacerbated by MMP where List candidates are beyond the effective scrutiny of voters. On a point of detail I do not understand why the Immigration Service has not taken action against Mr Yang over the significant omissions in his residency application. Was action blocked by the last government? In any case we must keep up the pressure on these matters and continue to hope for a breakthrough.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Backing China or backing the US is not really a question of being disloyal to ones country. Perhaps incumbents feel that we are part of China given that Maori can trace their ancestry back to the indigenous tribes of Taiwan which is an Asian origin rather than anglosaxon?

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      • Have Maori noticed the indigenous tribes of Taiwan are now outnumbered by Han Chinese immigrants by 49 to 1. If I was Maori I would prefer to see fewer Anglo-Saxons, Celts and Han but be reasonably happy with other Polynesians. But I’m not Maori so what do I know.

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      • an amazing feat
        With more than 100 ethnicities in Auckland, two imports can segue from voting rights to the origins of Maori in one sentence

        No amplification of Loyalty, incumbents (???), ancestry (millions of years??) to indigenous tribes of Taiwan.

        Please advise know how many Indigenous Taiwanese population of NZ, and how many Maori have migrated from NZ to Taiwan

        Liked by 2 people

      • You are speaking thru your own contemporary view of NZ – post 2003

        It would be so appreciated if you offered a means of recovering what we New Zealanders have lost – our unique laid-back easy going culture where everyone comingled without rancour without the need to thieve from others what didn’t belong to them – NZ society was compressed into a very narrow wealth band from poorest to wealthiest. That has changed dramatically with devastating consequences. Explain how to undo that

        This is not NZ CULTURE

        Pacific Island Culture
        You can guarantee she won’t pay the debt to HNZ
        https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12200331

        Indian Culture exploiting Pasifika culture
        ”https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/property/110270221/pathetic-landlord-leaves-tenants-out-of-pocket-and-facing-homelessness

        Pacific Island Culture
        Put yourself in the shoes of a WW2 RSA, Maori or Pakeha, and tell me you like this
        A Pacific Island import attacks the number of Old, white, wealthy Pakeha. No data – just a spray
        Voices of younger, poorer and ethnically diverse communities in Auckland are being drowned out by older, wealthier, Pakeha residents
        ”https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12193674

        Apropos your comment about ladies in Auckland being fearful
        This will provide completion to what you didn’t seek, and didn’t ask
        ”https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/crime/83433024/shocking-survey-shows-more-than-half-of-chinese-living-in-new-zealand-feel-unsafe

        Chinese ‘don’t feel safe’ in Auckland
        ”https://www.tvnz.co.nz/one-news/new-zealand/chinese-dont-feel-safe-video-fight-outside-auckland-restaurant-illustrates-their-fears? variant=tb_v_1

        WAITANGI DAY
        It is Waitangi Day on Wednesday 6th Feb. Recommend you go visit your nearest local Marae and spend a few hours mixing and mingling – you will be warmly welcomed – we are welcomed at our local Araiteuru Marae – seek out and talk to a few elders and Tohungas and seek information on what Auckland was like before the onslaught of migration after the year 2000. And while you are at it ask if they give a toss about Han Chinese outnumbering native Taiwanese 49:1. Ask them what they are concerned about

        Liked by 2 people

      • Really stretching it with this one Bob, do you know the difference between race and culture. We have a hundred billion neurons in your brain with the possible unique interactions as infinite as the universe but we think based on our race? How does your concept of “racial thinking” work with mixed race people? Does my Maori ancestry brain have a wee war with the Celtic ancestry brain?
        What could any of this have to do with a possible racial link thousands of years ago. Perhaps we should all be thinking like Africans – in line with the African origin theory for humanity. Crazy (atheist?) stuff, let go of the identity politics BS.

        Liked by 1 person

      • “backing the US” seems like a straw man in this context. Pushing back against people like Jian Yang in our politics, or the place of large donations from Beijing-affiliated people, is about backing New Zealand. Donald Trump – or whoever succeeds him – could take whatever stance they like, and what has gone on in NZ – enabled by all those in power in NZ – is simply wrong.

        Liked by 4 people

      • David, I was having a little fun with GGS. In this non-yoghurt context Culture is “”the ideas, customs, and social behaviour of a particular people or society””. Race doesn’t exist – total load of crap. Living in Melanesia my blood donations were good for locals with the same blood group. I could write forever but the best remark I’ve heard was the magnificent Leontyne Price who said “all brains are the same colour”.

        Based on studying DNA then it is just about possible to label African pygmies as being slightly different but 99.999% of humens are very closely related – you could not imagine a dog or cat based olympic games because they do have different ‘races’.

        The latest theory about Polynesians based on DNA has them migrating from Taiwan and intermarrying with at least one Melanesian from New Ireland.

        Agreed: identity politics is bs (bloody stupid?). A very dangerous idea because when it comes to the crunch identity is assigned by others. Class warfare is rather mad too but at least you can change class. When I lived in Scotland the pressure to be either Rangers or Celtic was strong – it gave me an appreciation of the primitive urge to belong to a group.

        Multi-culturalism, judging from the above definition is OK for multi-ideas and multi-customs but multi-social behaviour is more difficult. We can share cuisines and music and dance but when it comes to varied ages of sexual consent, matriarchal and patriarchal status and inheritance, etc it is hard to imagine long term coexistence.

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      • Look on the back of any Māori and you might find a ‘Made in China’ label. According to DNA analysis undertaken by Victoria University of Wellington zoologist Dr Geoff Chambers and Dr Adele Whyte (Ngāti Kahungunu), Māori migrated from mainland China to Taiwan, the Pacific Islands and eventually to Aotearoa.

        It should come as no surprise then that when Māori and Chinese get together to Hui they find a lot in common, including the fact they are calling the meeting a Hui, a term common to both cultures.

        That’s not where the similarities stop; when Māori do business the first order of business is not business, it is building relationships through actively finding and forging connections, the act of whakawhanaungatanga. Chinese do the same, and call it Guangxi. Chinese also honour and worship their ancestors and have ‘ci-tang’ houses built for this purpose – much like Māori whare tipuna.

        https://www.nzstory.govt.nz/blog/maori-made-in-china-and-making-it-in-china/

        Far fetched or a belief that China is our natural cousins. Family?

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      • GGS: had to check interesting comment. Seems as if we are both claim to be right – the latest DNA evidence traces Polynesians back to mainland South East Asia (China) but their languages are Austronesian that seem to have evolved from related Formosan tribal languages. The linguistic origins being much later than the DNA origins.

        You make point out several interesting similarities between Chinese and Maori customs. My interpretation is these are common customs to almost all cultures except the rather rude Anglo-Saxons. I’d have to explain ‘hui’ as a rather improbable coincidence.

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      • Bob, these are not my comments. These are comments by leading Maori researchers on government websites. Clearly we have a look east policy which is slowly but surely eroding our previous look west policies.

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  4. Interesting that Edwards (1) mentions “endanger[ing NZ’s] trade relations with China in order to get into the good books of traditional western allies”; and (2) presents the Huawei advice as potentially “just part of appeasing our Five Eyes partners”.

    I’m not sure if either of those qualify as starting positions for a ‘sophisticated’ debate, in which the public might come to anything other than simplistic views.

    Surely the deeper questions, much in the manner you are discussing them Michael, are something like:

    (1) are trade outcomes/risks more important than national values [then off we can go into empirical debates about those trade outcomes/risks, and normative ones about respective national values]; and

    (2) are core issues of national security better served by allowing or disallowing communications hardware from China [then off we can go to link with our economic and normative discussions as above, and reach a view].

    Not that it much matters given the evidence around Parliament, etc, but I agree with Edwards that Dr Brady’s work could use some rigourous testing though. She uses phrases like X has ‘links with’ Y liberally, and they just do not accurately characterise relationships. it would be great to see her work sharpened to the point that it became immune to basic criticism like that.

    Anyway. Keep it up. This is fast becoming essential public service.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m hearing that our local authorities are increasingly being brought under the direction of the PRC with donations, favours and trips to China being the preferred method to gain political influence. I am sure that there’s a bigger story here in local government than many realise.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, and the recently Newsroom story effectively illustrated that in Southland’s case. Probably not much can be done about local authorities unless/until there is some turn of the tide at a national level – apart from anything else, even monitoring local authorities is harder (even for individual councillors who wouldn’t like what was going on).

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  6. Given the cost of modern record keeping compared to that of 30 plus years ago, one could easily expect that ALL donations be identified to the public in near real time (a couple of day at the most).

    While the major parties treat members as camp followers rather than actual participants change maybe hard to find.

    Donation reform should probably be topped off with requiring MPs to declare earnings for a period after they leave parliament (10 years, might be over kill but effective).

    Like

    • Earnings are declared to IRD at all times throughout their lifetimes. The question of privacy does arise after leaving parliament.

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  7. How coincidental …. The influence and the power ……
    This article was the headline feature this morning. Now it has disappeared from view
    https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/abbott-liberal-figures-at-event-with-chinese-communist-party-links-20190201-p50v6x.html

    “When Mr Abbott was informed by The Age and the Sydney Morning Herald that associates of the United Front were at the event, Abbott said: “If I knew United Front groups were there, I wouldn’t have gone. The last thing I am is a patsy for the Chinese government”

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  8. THE ESTABLISHMENT

    And I had such great hopes for Bryce Edwards as one of the few vocal academics with a public presence

    Last week I accused you of being part of the establishment.
    I have to withdraw that label. I went and looked it up on the internet on Wikipedia
    You don’t fit the description.
    https://croakingcassandra.com/2019/01/26/critics-of-the-pm-left-and-right/#comment-32337
    In the process I stumbled upon a Herald article about your disclosure of the leak of the OCR from the RBNZ lockup.

    I was appalled at the ease with which the establishment shut you down. There was not one single voice of support. What you did was correct

    That was Insider Trading fodder
    The action of the establishment speaks volumes of the culture here in NZ, and I’m not happy about it. The Finance community in Australia would have been all over it like a rash, demanding an investigation of all trades conducted in the 10 minute period immediately after the leak. The noise would have been deafening and ASIC would have had little choice but to investigate and more importantly announce th3e results.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks. I was a bit surprised to have been labelled of the establisment. I may well have been a candidate member 15 years ago, altho probably even then an awkward one!

      Re the OCR leak, I think almost everyone who followed the story – other than the Bank’s Board – ended up quite (privately) supportive of me, and the episode materially tarred Wheeler’s reputation. Since the Bank had no residual leverage over me, they didn’t shut me up – just annoyed them greatly….

      One of the “establishment” issues here is the way the FMA is running defence for the Reserve Bank. There has been a serious complaint with the FMA for two years about the Bank’s handling of its superannuation fund. The FMA has so far done almost nothing (to even look into the substance – or otherwise – of the complaint. I can’t take very seriously efforts of the FMA/RB over life insurers, given how they actually act re things they have direct responsibility for.

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  9. Every Maori should be fighting for citizen only voting on the basis that ALL Maori are citizens as of right.

    Hence if we reduce the total voting group to citizens only, then Maori would end up with even more seats than they already have. Presumably the allocation of boundaries by population (gross including non vote qualifiers) would have to be adjusted to reflect same.

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    • Depends on whether they want to be on the Maori roll; fortunately it is optional. Maori appear to be well represented in parliament; if they want more power and influence they should copy the Exclusive Brethren Church or the Chinese Communist Party and donate more money. Who would donate money to a political party without hoping for something in exchange?

      Liked by 1 person

      • If all Maori registered on the Maori Roll then the number of seats allocated in Parliament would be around 15 seats rather than the 7 seats that they currently have. But it depends on Maori deciding whether they want to be on the general roll like all New Zealanders or to be given racist Maori rights as they do have currently.

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  10. Yang’s position is akin to that of a peripheral member of a Mafia family. He was not tasked with going to ANU to get a Ph.D. to then infiltrate NZ political circles, but once he arrived here on his academic merits, the mothership/godfather called him in to provide useful discreet info on inner thinking among, first the NZ intellectuals focused on the PRC, and then the NATs and NZ policy makers in general once he entered those circles.That he got a list position on National’s ticket was a stroke of luck and due to Goodfellow’s machinations amid the Melissa Lee scandal. Now, even if he wanted to “get out,” he cannot because, again, it is like being in the Mafia. Notwithstanding that, he has done very well even if now he is just a fund-raiser with no policy influence.

    Liked by 1 person

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