Contemptible

I’m sure many, perhaps even most, of those who purport to be “leaders” in New Zealand are at some level decent people.  Mostly, they probably love their spouses, hope for the best for their kids, and at some private level many probably conduct themselves according to some sort of values and morality the rest of us might recognise.

But I’ve increasingly come to doubt that many (if any) in their public roles care for anything much at all beyond deals, donations, keeping their job, and perhaps the sugar-high of costlessly cheering on popular causes.  If the only true measure of the values of a (purported) leader is what they are willing to pay a price, or incur a cost, for, there aren’t many other values on display at all.

There is a myriad of issues which could be used to illustrate my point: in the economic sphere one could point to the utter failure to deal with the regulatory disaster that puts home-ownership out of the reach of so many (at a time when it should –  global low real and nominal interest rates –  be more readily achievable than ever), or the indifference and lets-pretend approach taken to the decades-long disaster that is the New Zealand productivity performance.  How does almost anyone who has been in elected government over the last 25 years not hang their head in shame?

But the issue that finally crystallised my own total disillusionment with “leaders” in New Zealand is the obsequious, deferential, cowardly, values-free approach taken to the People’s Republic of China, which continues to deepen even as the regime’s excesses, including attempts to exert influence in New Zealand, become more apparent and better known.    Perhaps  –  not really though, these were the butchers of Tiananmen –  there were excuses 15 years ago (all those somewhat-deluded dreams of the PRC evolving towards (semi-free) Singapore). But even if there were excuses then, there are none now.  It is hard to think of a single dimension on which the CCP-controlled PRC operates according to the sorts of values, practices and precepts which New Zealanders have typically sought to live by, and which New Zealand has been willing to fight for.  No rule of law, no freedom of speech, no political freedom, no religious freedom, mass incarceration of minorities who fall foul of the regime, kidnapping of law-abiding foreigners, sustained and intensifying threats to a free and democratic neighbour, claims to the loyalties of ethnic Chinese in other countries (regardless of citizenship), wholesale state-sponsored intellectual property theft, attempts to shutdown critics in other countries, and so on.   There is mounting evidence of the aggressive activities of the regime in New Zealand and countries like ours.

And yet our leaders –  political, business, religious or whatever – almost without exception say nothing, ever.  And do nothing either, other than continue to pander, to ask only “how high?” when the regime suggests that jumping might be a good idea.  Deals, donations, customers I guess.  Never mind any sort of morality, any sort of decency.  Any meaningful values.

We’ve seen it on display this week, in two cases that directly involve the activities of the PRC embassy and its consulates in New Zealand.   First, there was the AUT case, in which the Vice-Chancellor and his senior management rushed around madly trying to assuage the hurt feelings of the PRC, ensuring that a booking for a meeting to mark the 30th anniversary of the Tainanmen Square massacre (“incident” as the AUT senior managers descrived it) was cancelled.    They can play diversion all they want, talking of how the building wouldn’t have been open on a public holiday anyway, but everyone recognises how thin that excuse is, when we see the Vice-Chancellor of a New Zealand university writing to the consulate

“Happily, on this instance your concerns and ours coincided, and the event did not proceed at the university,”

“Happily”?   The man seems to have no decency at all when dollars might be at stake.  It reads and sounds a lot like the only value left in his university –  well, our university actually –  is the dollars.  Not truth, not freedom of expression, nothing of the sort  (those reminders occasionally of a statutory role of universities to be “critic and conscience of society” –  not something I’d look to overwhelmingly left-wing institutions for, but let that be for now), just dollars.

There has been some blowback against McCormack and his managers.  I was left wondering how different any other New Zealand university Vice-Chancellor would have been –  perhaps some would have phrased things a bit more neutrally, or even avoided writing things down (the OIA and all that), but they seem as bad as each other.   Have you heard a senior New Zealand academic figure ever criticise the PRC, including for the intensifying restrictions on the “freedoms” of academics in the PRC.  I haven’t.   None of them came out this week and distanced themselves from AUT.

But what was really striking was how feeble the political response was. Only David Seymour seemed to care enough to speak.  Not a single National Party MP was heard to comment.  And the Minister of Education was reduced to mouthing a few cliched points and then spluttering about how important the relationship with the PRC was.    We didn’t see the China Council –  who often tells us how important New Zealand values are to them (but never tell us which ones) –  saying that this sort of conduct –  from the Consulate, but particularly from the university –  stepped over the mark, or suggesting that –  in the face of the PRC refusal to acknowledge what went on in 1989, and to offer any contrition – in a free society we should encourage efforts to remember and draw attention to what Beijing did.    “Friends” and “partners” in Beijing seem more important to all of them: “friends” was what National called the CCP/PRC in their international affairs document just a few months ago, “partners” seems to be what successive governments call these tyrants (just last month the current government signed up to a defence cooperation agreement with them).

That episode was bad.  But the real low point of the week was the open effort by the PRC embassy/consulate to laud those students who sought to disrupt a peaceful protest at the University of Auckland –  a foreign embassy cheering on lawlessness in New Zealand.   As the Herald reported the initial events

The university launched a formal investigation after three Chinese men were filmed clashing on campus with protesters who were against a controversial extradition bill.
A woman was pushed to the ground by one of the men, and the police are now seeking the identities of those involved in the incident.

The PRC consulate statement is here.

The Consulate General expresses its appreciation to the students for their spontaneous patriotism, and opposes any form of secessionism. We strongly condemn those engaged in activities of demonizing the images of China and HKSAR government, inciting anti-China sentiment and confrontation between mainland and Hong Kong students, through distorting the factual situation in Hong Kong under the pretext of so-called freedom of expression.

As far as I can tell, of our entire Parliament and our entire “establishment” more generally, again only David Seymour was moved to comment.   About a flagrant intervention by a foreign embassy into the internal affairs of New Zealanders, encouraging and celebrating lawlessness.     Even for the China Council, or the National Party, or the budding National Party candidate currently running Air New Zealand, perhaps this might have been a step too far.  Or what about the group of university vice-chancellors collectively?  The best proof that you actually have limits –  values, self-respect etc –  is when you demonstrate it, by calling out an egregious breach of acceptable standards.  This was surely one of those, to anyone of any decency.   Does Don McKinnon –  chair of the China Council –  really regard this as acceptable conduct?  And if not –  and surely he doesn’t really –  why won’t he say so?   China Council Executive Director Stephen Jacobi seems to be a decent chap personally –  occasionally, he even gets let off the leash and has made the odd mildly critical comment on his personal Twitter account.  He objected strongly a couple of weeks ago when I suggested that the China Council functioned to provide cover for the CCP, writing to (cc’ed to one of his Advisory Board members) in a Twitter exchange

“Say what you like but associating the NZ China Council with the CPC is really rather silly.”

Wouldn’t this episode have been an ideal opportunity for him and the China Council to have demonstrated that there are limits, that there is such a thing as unacceptable activities by the PRC Embassy in New Zealand (who they mostly champion and celebrate).  But not a word.  I guess Beijing prefers it that way.

And, which is really the point, probably Wellington too.  I imagine that there was a collective intake of breath at MFAT when they saw the Consulate statement; an “oh not”, a “they really shouldn’t have said that”.    But what does that amount to. even if so?  Precisely nothing.   There has been not a word from the Prime Minister (and leader of the Labour Party), not a word from the Foreign Minister (and leader of New Zealand First), not a word from the Greens (for whom I once had a sneaking regard on some of these sorts of issues), not a word from a single government minister or backbencher.  None. Not a word.

One of my readers –  from the tone, someone who knows of what he speaks – left a comment here

Promoting violence and disorder in the receiving State is a transgression that would normally result in any diplomat’s expulsion as persona non grata. But the New Zealand government obviously has no self-respect so these people can get away with whatever they choose to do.

There haven’t been expulsions, but there haven’t even been public statements.  Not a word. I guess it is always possible that someone from MFAT had a word with the consulate, but when the PRC Embassy is openly cheering on lawlessness in New Zealand, there needs to be an open, public, response and rebuke.  At least if our government, our establishment, stand for anything other than deals and dollars.  And if they want us to believe they take these things at all seriously.

In a very similar situation last week in Australia, Marise Payne Australia’s Foreign Minister put out a pretty forceful statement making it clear that such behaviour from foreign diplomats in Australia was not acceptable.  It was still milder than it should have been –  no naming specific names, no calling in of the Ambassador –  but it was a great deal better than the shameful supine silence of our Prime Minister, Foreign Minister (and Leader of the Opposition).   It looks a lot as though, when it comes to the PRC, all our purported leaders care about is party donations and the sales prospects of a few export businesses (public –  universities –  and private).  And our backbench MPs –  just keeping their seats I supposed (both main party presidents have been cheerleaders for the PRC regime) – not a single one, on either side, broke ranks.  Values, decency, morality just didn’t seem to come into it. Neither it appears does any sense of prudence –  if we don’t draw the line somewhere, the PRC is likely to simply keep on pushing.  I don’t suppose they see themselves as pursuing Beijing’s interests, but in substance that is exactly what they are doing.

(These three –  Ardern, Peters, Bridges –  were also all notable for their silence, apparent utter indifference, to the attempts to intimidate Anne-Marie Brady, and have given no leadership to the meandering foreign interference select committee inquiry.)

It is sickening.   No doubt each individual compromise and choice to stay silent doesn’t amount to very much, but they add up to something shameful: “leaders” who have simply abandoned any sense of the things New Zealand once represented and stood for, seemingly just to keep the next dollar flowing and keep a quiet life.

Are there rare, and puzzling, exceptions?  There are, and the New Zealand government’s recent choice to join 21 other countries in signing a letter of protest at what the PRC is up to in Xinjiang, is one of those.   It was, of course, better that they signed than not but it is almost as if the New Zealand government was embarrassed to have done so, perhaps “coerced” into doing so from other free and democratic countries.   Little or nothing has been heard from the government on the letter, nothing (in support) from the Opposition.  There is no sign they represent any decent values at all.

In an exchange earlier this week, someone suggested that the tide was turning.  “Look how much progress has been made since 2017” I was told.  I wasn’t persuaded.  2017 was when the background of Jian Yang, the National Party MP who had been a Communist Party member and part of the PRC military intelligence system, and who was never ever heard to say a critical word about the PRC (not even about Tiananmen Square), was revealed to the public. It was when Anne-Marie Brady’s Magic Weapons paper was published.   There was a bit of debate, some controversy –  including when Jian Yang acknowledged that he has actively misrepresented his past, on Beijing’s instruction, when applying for citizenship/residency.

But where are we now, almost two years on?    Jian Yang still sits in Parliament, in the National Party caucus –  in fact, he got a promotion this week and now (almost incredibly, but this is New Zealand) chairs a parliamentary select committee.  No one else in politics makes a fuss, there are no media calls for him to be de-selected.   In the intervening period, he and Phil Goff got together to get a royal honour awarded to another person with close CCP ties, whom National had been soliciting for donations.  No electoral laws have changed.    Phil Goff is still free to fund his campaign with anonymous bids for the works of Xi Jinping.   The government is signing defence agreements with the (increasingly aggressive) PRC, and the Prime Minister rushed off to Beijing to placate the PRC.  And now, when the PRC consulate grossly oversteps and attempts to directly interfere in free expression (“so-called”) in New Zealand no one in authority says or does anything.

Optimists tell me there is a groundswell of discontent among the public.  Perhaps.  But people don’t much like high house prices, and nothing serious gets done about that either.    Selective elite interests, and a comtemptible fear of a distant foreign power, seem to drive our political “‘leaders”, who seem now to inhabit a values-free zone when it comes to attitudes to one of the worst regimes (that matter much) on the planet today.   Their predecessors – National and Labour, who resisted Nazism and Soviet Communism –  would be ashamed of them. We should too.  On this issue in particular they have become  contemptible.

37 thoughts on “Contemptible

  1. Absent the transcendent all that remains is pragmatic moral relativism.

    We have no national values beyond ‘tolerance diversity and inclusion’, and even these are selective, determined by circumstance.

    Liked by 3 people

    • I sympathise with your argument, but you probably go a little far. Do a poll and you won’t get many takers for imprisoning 1m plus Uighurs, or for allowing foreign embassies to champion lawlessness in NZ.

      Of course, sadly, the NZ public does little or nothing to demand better from our politicians, and if they really are discontented there is no figure on the political stage to channel and champion their discontent (David Seymour certainly won’t be that figure, even tho I mentioned favourably a couple of comments he made this weeks).

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      • I suspect we agree that politics is downstream from culture. You generally describe politicians as follows:

        “I’ve increasingly come to doubt that many (if any) in their public roles care for anything much at all beyond deals, donations, keeping their job, and perhaps the sugar-high of costlessly cheering on popular causes. If the only true measure of the values of a (purported) leader is what they are willing to pay a price, or incur a cost, for, there aren’t many other values on display at all.”

        What you are describing is a political reflection of our national condition. There are individual exceptions of course, but culturally this is where we have landed.

        Politicians have rightly grasped that the general public don’t care much about the human rights of 1m plus Uighur Muslims in China. They don’t care about what’s happening in Hong Kong, or the persecution and slaughter of Christians in Nigeria, Sudan, Somalia, Libya etc. Beyond populist issues like climate change, (which we can do nothing about) voters only care about what affects them or their family personally.

        Consequently they (the politicians) are reluctant to spend any political capital speaking into those issues. There are no votes to be found there.

        Nothing suggests to me this will change any time soon.

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      • We probably aren’t far apart, but I guess I see people as being a bit more responsive to decent leadership who could galvanise opinion in a particular direction. Doesn’t make me optimistic that change for the good will happen – that was the gist of my debate with my friend referrred to at the end of the post – but the bad outcomes are a choice, not an inevitable outcome.

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      • Yes, I’m sure good leadership would help – at the very least it would differentiate us from those Communist regimes like the PRC and their thuggery. Australian PM Scott Morrison has been more forthright in his condemnation than all of our politicians combined. (which isn’t saying much).

        I recently met someone who was raised under Communists rule in Ukraine. He has been in NZ for 30 years but was visibly upset over our apathy. Actually his emotion was closer to anger. I was surprised at his depth of feeling, but then I haven’t lived through what he experienced. Maybe that’s our problem.

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  2. Our country is in the middle of too many serious issues and people are begging for a government that will have the moral courage to protect the following—
    Free Speech
    Property rights
    Democracy which they are successfully destroying.
    Won’t stand up to protest rallies that are set up to achieve just more government handouts.
    We are over regulated and no one seems to do anything about preserving the moral code that this country had decades ago.
    Yes we should be able to comment to any government about the social issues that we find abhorrent, but lets not forget the slippery slope this country is on. I read your blog regularly Michael and thank goodness you are saying what needs to be said, we just need politicians with the courage to challenge and to keep the system honest. We just need action on many fronts to stop this country becoming just a non event on the world stage. We have been such a proud people ( number 8 wire skills) and we need to be that strong independent nation that gives our children a future to be proud of. I don’t see that happening.

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  3. Totally agree Michael. Well done on a spirited and honourable post.

    Our PM loves to dog-whistle anti-Trumpism for his lack of Woke-ness but she’s dead bloody silent about imprisonments without trial, kangaroo courts, genocide, organ harvesting, moves to disappear in a gulag anyone who expresses any view on freedom of speech or rule of law or religious freedom or democracy.

    The CPC is the very definition of evil.

    …and it’s not just Jacinda. Our Foreign Minister is a lion in opposition and a lamb in power. He’s a coward…

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  4. I’ve searched for something to disagree with. “”those reminders occasionally of a statutory role of universities to be ‘critic and conscience of society’ – not something I’d look to overwhelmingly left-wing institutions for””

    During my student days 50 years ago the universities in the UK tended to be stuffy and traditional and right wing of most the politically active students. Then the issues were Vietnam and Apartheid. One highlight was the revolutionary socialist students hijacking a meeting of the Aberdeen Cooperative society and passing motions condemning American Imperialism until the police arrived. The level of the debate between left and right in those days was not high; I can remember less radical socialists moving their support from East Germany to Cuba to eventually North Korea as each socialist state had its feet of clay revealed. The biggest membership of a student political party was the conservatives but they were almost silent; it was the left wing elements of what were mainly centralist institutions who had the social conscience.
    With my mildly liberal views I can remember joining in a biggish parade along Aberdeen’s Union St on a Saturday morning protesting America’s role in Vietnam; with hindsight the paraders cheering Ho Chi Minh (well it is easy to chant) was embarassing. It is a pity that I cannot imagine a similar parage up Auckland’s Queen st protesting our governments quiet acquiescence to China’s repression of its ethnic minorities.

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  5. “I’m sure many, perhaps even most, of those who purport to be “leaders” in New Zealand are at some level decent people.” I would disagree, sir. The only values in No Zealand are property values (I suspect in your heart of hearts, that you know this to be true).

    “Our” (who are “we”?) so-called leaders are nothing more than self-interested members of the propertied class and traitors to the nation (some of “our” so-called leaders are even foreign spies, who are free to openly walk the streets and halls of “our” parliament buildings).

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  6. I’m afraid we seem to be moving in the direction of the Communist Party of China’s values. Ardern and Little are planning a crackdown on free speech after the Royal Commission into the Christchurch mosque shootings produces its report later this year, people are already being visited by the Police on Sunday mornings and interrogated about their political beliefs as a result of social media posts, and government “transparency” is non existent with OIA requests being regularly refused or treated with contempt. But for a New Zealand government to turn a blind eye to diplomatic representatives of a foreign country encouraging lawless behaviour within New Zealand is a new and degrading benchmark in just how far we are willing to prostitute ourselves for the thugs in Beijing.

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  7. The Auckland University of Technology recently cancelled a planned commemoration event regarding the Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989. The cancellation by the University powers came after a direct request to do so by the Chinese Embassy. The fact that 10% of AUT’s international students come from China we are told had no bearing on the decision.

    In “Newroom” Dr Leonid Sirota an AUT Senior Lecturer criticizes his own University’s actions, in caving in to pressure from China.

    see here; https://www.newsroom.co.nz/2019/08/02/712486/for-a-university-that-deserves-the-name

    If we had politicians with any sense of national sovereignty, the Minister of Education would have summoned the Chinese Ambassador and read her riot act in what was an unacceptable meddling in the independence and academic freedom NZ Universities are suppose to have.

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    • Note that he’s a senior lecturer – one step up from a lecturer, and therefore cannot to be said to represent the views of the “University”. He’s a constitutional law expert though, and I was heartened to read the post.
      The only excuse our politicians can really make is pragmatism. But pragmatism was taken too far a very long time ago…

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  8. A great commentary Michael and hopefully a wake up call for the NZ masses who haven’t been paying attention. The only hope as I see it, is for like minded people to become politically active in ways they have never been before. The sort of people who vote in elections but don’t join political parties and have a voice.
    Those who agree with the need to resist the creeping smothering influence of the CCP in New Zealand need to join political parties for the very purpose of making that point. And the more that do that, in all the political parties; Labour, National, NZ First, Green, then there is a chance policy positions can be influenced.
    I don’t see any other way to stop the rot. Change can only be brought about by having activists inside the political parties that call out the CCP and criticize the cozy relationship that currently is the norm.
    But are there enough Kiwis who actually live by values that are affronted by behaviour of the government of China? If making money and seeing capital gains on the investment house is all NZer’s care about, the cause is lost already.

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    • There are Kiwis who are affronted by some of the behaviours of the Chinese Communist Party and its leaders. We are a minority as were those Britons who were deeply affronted by Hitler’s actions pre-war. Even when appeasement dominated the UK parliament there were some MPs who spoke out. Where are our equivalents in the beehive?

      I’ve done my bit to support NZ values by telling my local MP (a capable National) that I could never vote for his party while they have an obvious Chinese spy in their midst. I’ve also said that if the presumed spy ever makes a speech criticizing China’s rejection of the South China Sea arbitration or organ harvesting of Falun Gong prisoners or the treatment of Uyghurs in Xinjiang Autonomous Region (or East Turkestan) then I will write an apology.

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  9. If the PRC decide who can study at NZ tertiary institutions and control them in nz what does it mean for our future?

    Point being we allow these graduates to become nz residents and citizens and bring their families over. Is there loyalty to us or the PRC? National Mp Mark Mitchell said we should not worry that it’s normal to have loyalty to there ethnic homeland. Um how many anglo kiwis are loyal to Britain ?

    Also what happens if the Nz Chinese community grows to a critical mass? What happens to our parliament our media and democracy ? It’s PRC Chinese I’m referring to not other ethnic Chinese. I’m really worried as our government and media are complient. Why is our population gain tilted towards PRC? Why is it preferable to aim for a Chinese majority in nz? Does our government see it as a great way to make nz better?

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    • “The transfer of sovereignty over Hong Kong, commonly known as the handover of Hong Kong, occurred on 1 July 1997”

      It is now forgotten there was a huge influx of HK Chinese into NZ and Australia over the following 5 years. That became the spearhead of the migration out of mainland China from 2000-2015

      The current troubles in Hong Kong and the emerging assertion of authority by Beijing suggests there will be another exodus out of HK to the antipodes. HK population 7,400,000 with a population density 7000 (P/Km²) makes NZ attractive. Difficult to get into AU at the moment

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    • Mr Marcus, I really think you are worrying too much about Chinese in NZ. The number arriving is balanced by the number of Indians and the growth of the PI community. The Kiwi Chinese I meet are not universally in favour of the Chinese Communist Party – there are many refugees (ethnic minorities and Falun Gong) and many from Hong Kong and Taiwan. I do suspect that many who arrived here with the approval of the Chinese govt have a cultural aversion to pointing out failures of that govt – they have over two thousand years of history that has taught them the wisdom of keeping quiet in the face of injustice and just hoping to survive.

      Some of our Chinese arrived as purely economic refugees so with no particular love of NZ and its culture; thanks to NZ govt’s lack of economic success of the last 20 years many are now moving on to Australia or returning to Taiwan, Singapore & Hong Kong.

      As an dual nationality UK and NZ I certainly support NZ; if i didn’t I’d return (it would take wild horses). And I’m happy to explain why on balance NZ is superior to Britain. However as the years go by I worry we may be making the same mistakes Britain has made and one of those is allowing a rate of immigration that permits ghettos to form. It makes me angry when middle class academics and journalists praise this as multi-culturalism – clearly they have not lived in Bradford or Spitalfields nor read Taleb’s comment about 1400 years of multi-culturalism in the Lebanon leading to a devastating civil war.

      Totally agree with you that our MPs and most of our media are far too compliant with accepting whatever the Chinese govt says however wrong (currently the million Uyghurs who experience ‘re-education’ have now found ‘satisfying factory jobs’).

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  10. Yes i have noticed how different HK Chinese and Taiwanese are to PRC Chinese.

    I hope we don’t see punch ups in nz between these groups like Serbs and Croats and balkans communities in Melbourne do.

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  11. We are a small country, unimportant in world affairs, but trading is essential and China our biggest market. You are describing realpolitik. An important example of total toadying in the opposite direction was the pressure on and apology forced from Helen Clark when she remarked that the Iraq war troubles would have been avoided if Al Gore had won the Presidential election—-never has it been brought home more clearly the extent to which we are subservient to the great powers. It’s tough, but our industries could be decimated if we antagonised the Chinese—wake up and smell the coffee!! It is only going to get worse.

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    • Trade the truth and liberty for a bag of gold you will end up with neither.

      “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” Matthew 16.26

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    • China has in the past 2 years narrowly outstripped Australia as our largest export market. Our trade with our 5 Eyes partners and Europe is however far greater, and we share their democratic values. China’s economy is in serious trouble; it will buy where it will which is why our log exports are now in sharp decline. The much-vaunted FTA was a very poor deal for New Zealand which inter alia left our dairy products still subject to tariffs. But a new stage in the relationship has now been reached: when you allow representatives of a foreign government to encourage and possibly even incite violence on your own territory with impunity you have abandoned your first responsibility which is to protect the safety and property of your own citizens and you have utterly capitulated to a potentially hostile power.

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    • Put simply, the government embarked on an optimistic plan of social engineering to transform New Zealand into an ‘Asian’ country; unfortunately, it did a poor job of publicising its intent or rationale. Under the slogan that a global economy required global citizens, an ambitious plan was hatched to restructure society around an Asian axis. But these initiatives moved too quickly for most people, ignored the need to consult or convince people of the importance of any fundamental shift, and did little to monitor the impact of immigration on public perception (Heeringa 1996).
      ……………
      Another shooting (El Paso) inspired by the Christchurch shooter – not Muslims; this time Hispanics. People have a need to belong within a nation that is an extension of family. That’s human nature and it isn’t going away any time soon. That’s the elephant in the room.

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    • Realpolitik is one description, appeasement is another, near-complete self-abasement is another.

      I’ve argued in various post that the potential economic downside, at least in sectors other than tourism and export education (the latter a subsidised industry anyway) is quite limited. Countries make their own prosperity. But even if there were some cost, values are the things important enough we pay a price for (as the extreme example, wars are not cost-free, but are occasionally necessary).

      There is no self-evident clear-cut line no one should cross, but it increasingly seems that elite NZ has no limits, no point where it says, “come what may, this conduct is simply unacceptable”. Even if one thought we should just ignore how the regime ignores its own people – a stance some argued for in (much less bad) apartheid South Africa – I’d have expected politicians to draw a line at having a CCp-linked MP who owns up to have misrepresented his past, to draw the line at the consulate celebrating people disrupting peaceful protest and so on. In a decent world, one might hope to see university leaders robustly and openly pushing back against attempts to coerce them, or church leaders openly calling out the PRC on the increasingly lack of religious freedom in the PRC.

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      • Debateable whether apartheid treating say 90% of the population as inferiors is better or worse than PRC treating the 1% of the population who are Ugyhurs much more harshly. It is impossible to compare evil policies just as we cannot say the Christchurch massacre would have been less evil if only half the number victims had been killed.
        Probably the next time China sends a team of Han Chinese to compete in New Zealand we will discover that the protests are less severe than those that occurred when apartheid SA sent a rugby team in 1981.

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      • I outrightly disagree with you on this one, without defending apartheid for a moment. In apartheid South Africa, 85% of people didn’t have the vote; in today’s PRC 100% don’t. In S Africa, pretty much everyone had freedom of worship, in the PRC few do. Bad as much of S African law was, the courts still provided some protections, in ways PRC courts do not. And so on.

        Of course, at the time S Africa was more resonant here, both because of the similar colonial heritage and the salience of rugby. If the PRC had a serious rugby team, it would be interesting to think about how reactions might unfold/differ.

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  12. I believe Chinese parents won’t waste their money to send their children to NZ to learn valueless stuff, if they know the facts that NZ universities have corrupted to the extent as same as the CCP’s education machines.

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  13. Herman Daly
    Globalization, considered by many to be the inevitable wave of the future, is frequently confused with internationalization, but is in fact something totally different. Internationalization refers to the increasing importance of international trade, international relations, treaties, alliances, etc. Inter-national, of course, means between or among nations. The basic unit remains the nation, even as relations among nations become increasingly necessary and important. Globalization refers to global economic integration of many formerly national economies into one global economy, mainly by free trade and free capital mobility, but also by easy or uncontrolled migration. It is the effective erasure of national boundaries for economic purposes. International trade (governed by comparative advantage) becomes interregional trade (governed by absolute advantage). What was many becomes one.
    https://www.globalpolicy.org/component/content/article/162/27995.html

    Paul Spoonley
    The thing which really annoys me at the moment is the way immigration is framed as a problem.It goes to Alis point [the arguments against immigration are unsustainable] It’s a very simple and inaccurate response to what’s happening in the world. We are globalising; we are part of a new era of globalisation and this country is actually transitioned into that, particularly with it’s connections to the Pacific and Asia in a way that is quite impressive in many, many ways but at the same time we really need to reframe what is happening or provide an understanding and that’s what frustrates me at the moment.
    http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/smarttalk/20170813

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    • And the nation is an imagined community which the government tries to manage through funding documentaries like The New Zealand Wars. These affect our cultural memory.

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  14. Enter the Dragon

    ‘As the world’s most powerful fascist regime, one would expect China to encounter great difficulties spreading its influence on liberal Australian university campuses, the student bodies of which are hypersensitive to right-wing teaching or teachers. The student opposition to the Ramsey Institute teaching UQ students about the achievements of Western civilisation is particularly instructive in this case. China, however, has had no problem spreading its influence.’

    https://quillette.com/2019/08/05/china-and-the-difficulties-of-dissent/

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