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The Standard

Officials’ dinners off in China

Written By: - Date published: 4:50 am, March 16th, 2014 - 36 comments
Categories: China, john key, Judith Collins, leadership, trade - Tags:

There wouldn’t be one of China’s billion and a half citizens who thought that Judith Collins’ dinner with the Chinese official who was a “close personal friend” of Collins’ close personal friend Oravida chairman Stone Shi wasn’t about obtaining advantage for Oravida. That’s the way business is done in China – over dinner.

Or at least it was until Xi Jinping became Party Secretary and Head of State. He has cracked down on officials’ dinners, to the point where Beijing restaurants are complaining about lack of business. It’s because those dinner deals have so often been corrupt, and the Party knows that perceptions of corruption are the greatest threat to its continual rule.

Xi’s hardline on corruption dining has won him wide praise and respect across China. Fran O’Sullivan considers that the only thing that has saved Collins was Key’s impending visit to China, where he was to plead the case for recognition of New Zealand’s regulatory control after the Fonterra botulism scare.

I think Key may have gained more favourable recognition in China as well as a better reception from Xi Jinping if he had followed the Chinese leader’s example of taking a hard line on the slightest perception of dinner-table corruption and sacked Collins; more so when the acknowledged perception was as obvious as in Collins’s case.

Key’s now got to argue New Zealand’s case with a very weak hand. Julie Xu’s crude public attempt to plead for a New Zealand Minister to intervene to water down China’s border protection will not have gone down well in China; Collins’ insistence that she cannot reveal the name of the official because of advice from the Prime Minister’s office will not have helped either. It certainly will not have helped that official’s career under the new regime.

Not only is Key’s hand weak, the Chinese will think his behaviour in this instance is weak, as indeed I do.

The only thing that will save us is that the Chinese take a very long view. They view New Zealand as a very good friend and that goes across all governments, so while Key and Collins may have lost face, the same will not be true for New Zealand.

36 comments on “Officials’ dinners off in China”

  1. BrucetheMoose 1

    Johnny won’t be condemning anything relating to doing dinner deals as he is a prolific dinner dealer himself, especially international dinner deals. Interesting him and his party has this preference for doing transactions over food and beverages. It is also a favourite method of some other organisations, such as the mafia.

    • PapaMike 1.1

      What will David C do when he is Prime Minister.
      Not travel abroad promoting New Zealand, or sitting in the Beehive waiting for things to happen.
      You can bet that Russel Norman will continue to travel putting out “His” words – not necessarily in the countries best interest.

      • framu 1.1.1

        what portfolio does collins hold and how does it relate to trade?

        this “she was just promoting NZ business” is rather pathetic as to believe that line you have to ignore… everything else

  2. One Anonymous Bloke 2

    A timely article.

    “Accepting certain gifts makes you vulnerable”.

    “You have to be much more circumspect about whom you are gifting to and what you are gifting to them”.

    “Party members and officials should be taught to look in the mirror, straighten their attire, take a bath, and seek remedies…”

    Are you listening Judith and John?

  3. risildowgtn 3

    Surprised? NAH

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/9833191/Movers-and-shakers-surround-Oravida

    I would call some of em pigs …. and troughers ,serial ones @ that

    but movers & shakers?? Not likely

    • One Anonymous Bloke 3.1

      Their being housed in the same building makes it easier to all arrive at the restaurant together.

      • Jim Nald 3.1.1

        “The council is chaired by former deputy prime minister Sir DON MCKINNON. Its executive board includes former National prime minister Dame JENNY SHIPLEY, Prime Minister John Key’s chief science adviser Sir PETER GLUCKMAN, MFAT chief executive John Allen, Fonterra chairman John Wilson, Air New Zealand chief executive Christopher Luxon, New Zealand Trade and Enterprise chief executive Peter Chrisp and some of New Zealand’s foremost business leaders.”

      • Ron 3.1.2

        I would also wonder how often some of those entities check their offices for bugging devices.
        But then I would imagine the Chinese Governments ‘plumbers’ are far more sophisticated than anything our people are used to dealing with and it might prove impossible for anyone in New Zealand to detect listening devices. Remembering the USA embassy in USSR where the new embassy was so full of bugging devices that the building was eventually abandoned.

        But in 1982, when a U.S. inspection team with experimental X-ray scanners arrived to check what was being built on the 10-acre compound about a mile from the Kremlin, they were flabbergasted by what they found.

        Although the U.S. government has never displayed what the inspectors detected, it is widely known that among the spy devices dug out of concrete panels and beams were bugs that normal X-rays couldn’t detect and steel reinforcing rods apparently designed to function as antennas.
        “We do not yet understand the technology nor the strategy” of some of the spying equipment, former CIA chief and Defense Secretary James R. Schlesinger said later.
        ( LA Times July 29 1991)

        Their being housed in the same building makes it easier to all arrive at the restaurant together.

    • felix 3.2

      Heh.

      So Oravida, a company that exports NZ produce to China and is essentially owned and operated by the National Party…

      … is also the landlord to the NZ-China Council, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and NZ Trade & Enterprise…

      … which are all conveniently housed in Oravida’s HQ.

      Nah, nothing dodgy about that.

      John Key also has substantial interests in the dairy industry. It’s about time all the books were opened so we can see just how much the members of this National govt are personally benefiting from the decisions they make around dairy.

  4. Populuxe1 4

    A lot of supposition and second-guessing of how Xi Jinping’s mind works there – people with decades of experience watching the subtle machinations of Beijing wouldn’t be so presumptuous. If anything, unfortunately, the more authoritarian the foreign government, the more Beijing prefers doing business with it and I suspect the smarmy Key will come out of it looking stronger in China’s eyes.

  5. tc 5

    Love the way the msm nactoids are giving ‘plausible’ reasons for not sacking collins in doing what pansy did.

    This issue along with banks shows Key is not in control, never has been, just a front for the big business and foreign backers of our govt who call the shots.

    Collins, gerry, bill, findlayson etc all know far too much and can be trusted by the backers to carry on in JKs absence. This is as much about needing succession for the hollowmens orders to be executed.

    what pisses them off is not what she did, but that she has been sprung. Which from an ambitious legally trained professional shows epic stupidity and that ‘we dont give a F’ weve come to expect from the born to rules.

  6. captain hook 6

    her arrogance is about to become hybris in september.

  7. Ad 7

    Foreign affairs is hardly a vote winner, but I recall the smooth and forceful delegations that Clark and Goff completed with China with wistful nostalgia. The main political-diplomatic player National has is Tim Groser, who despite hundreds of thousands of air miles and hotel bills has actually achieved not a single thing for New Zealand.

    We don’t have a TPP, or a Russian FTA, or a Chinese, or Brazilian FTA, after nearly two terms. Whether we like such deals or not, Goff and Clark skilfully played that game.

    Key in particular has gone cap in hand to the Australians (receiving nothing), and to the British (receiving nothing), and now on the Great Apology Tour in which all he will receive is endless barbeque banquets and shit wine.

    We have been waiting, since Labour was ousted from power, for the great plan to maximise the China-New Zealand FTA. We have – as with all aspects of the New Zealand economy – had no plan (there is no turning back from it). We have instead had a series of fuckups between the Crown agencies and Fonterra (and Zespri) in which Fonterra is now addicted to China’s demand for bulk commodities, and has geared its entire business around servicing the asset management plans for its great milk dryer factories.

    If I were Minister (bwahaha) I would start a legislative inquiry into the requirement for Fonterra as a monopoly to be a value-added company first and foremost. Once I had done that, I would start a new relationship with China that goes like this:
    – We are the dominant milk supplier to the world
    – We are doubling the price of infant formula overnight (a la OPEC in the mid-seventies)
    – If you don’t want to buy some of it, we’ll make higher value-added products with it
    – Weep

    Let both China and Fonterra feel what we have to play with.

  8. greywarbler 8

    Good on Down the List around 11am on Radionz on this – Satire on Collins. Dave Armstrong taps a rich vein here. Audio available.

  9. adam 9

    National unlike the communist party in China – Supporting corruption, one dinner at a time.

    Poster maybe, fix the wording a bit more. Kim and Key having a feed together. :)

  10. Tracey 10

    Steve braunias:

    Applause

    If key and collins are snuggling withe chinese are they socialist or commie sympathisers

    • Populuxe1 10.1

      The PRC hasn’t been anything approaching Communist, or even Socialist, for generations. If anything it’s more like Fascist Italy.

      • Tracey 10.1.1

        facts are irrelevant in name calling. For example, some right leaning commentators here call Russell Norman a commie. Some people in NZ think this government is open and democratic.That was my point.

  11. Tracey 11

    Perhaps he didnt sack collins cos as long as she is in the inner circle the factions wont split the party in election year.

    Put her on the outter, with her gutter friend slugslick helping, the dirt will emerge in avalanche proportions?

  12. Liberty 12

    What a beat up.
    Labour along with its coalition partner the Greens have a history at being anti Chinese with its opposition to dairy farm sales. Labour other partner NZF has been opposed to the Chinese for years.
    What Labour and it coalition of loses fail to realise. China is powering our economy. That means the
    farming is viable. That powers Heatland nz.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 12.1

      So anti them the fifth Labour government negotiated then signed the FTA with them, and if you can’t figure out why government ministers giving favourable treatment to their own private interests is a bad thing for our economy I pity you.

      • Liberty 12.1.1

        Labours foreign Affairs Minister voted against FTA. How bad was that.
        All Crasher did was have a drink of milk and Labour went ballistic .

        • One Anonymous Bloke 12.1.1.1

          You should mention that to John Armstrong. He doesn’t seem to agree with your fatuous drivel.

          She’s corrupt, caught out feathering her own nest at the tax-payers’ and Oravida’s competitors’ expense.

          Not just corrupt, but arrogant and out of touch.

          Plus what Felix and McFlock said. After all, this just yet another example of what Simon Lusk was talking about, so your denial is especially feeble.

          Collins has to go, and there needs to be an SFO investigation into the National Party’s corrupt and treasonous business links with its foreign paymasters.

          • Liberty 12.1.1.1.1

            I take it. This chap will gone by lunch time.

            LABOUR MP USES POSITION TO RAISE PRIVATE FUNDS
            by Cameron Slater on March 17, 2014 at 3:30pm
            WOBH can reveal that Chinese Labour list MP Raymond Huo has used his position and parliamentary
            letter head to solicit and raise funds to promote a private cause.

            In his letter sent in June last year he was asking for support and commitment to lobby and promote
            the case for a Chinese Language Week.

            The letter is asking for sponsorship commitment and an indication as to whether the target
            organisation would “actively support and promote the event” as n “partner of Chinese Language Week”.

            It would appear that Raymond Huo is using his position as an MP and the use of the letter proves
            that to advance a private interest seeking commitment, sponsorship and support for his proposals.

            http://www.whaleoil.co.nz/2014/03/labour-mp-uses-position-raise-private-funds/#disqus_thread

            • bad12 12.1.1.1.1.1

              Laughable, why should there not be a Chinese language week, and, who would have thunk that an MP of obvious Chinese extraction would be using His position as an MP to promote there being a Chinese language week,

              Does Raymond Huo stand to gain financially from promoting the need for a Chinese language week,

              Blubber boy over at ‘wail oil’ having long ago scraped the bottom of the barrel looking for something of relevance to publish has now obviously began to undermine the earth under the barrel,

              By bringing such rubbish here you appear to be some form of scrotal lice temporarily freed from being physically attached to the author of such trash…

            • McFlock 12.1.1.1.1.2

              Did he or his partner stand to gain financially from his activities in relation to Chinese Language Week?

              take your time.

        • framu 12.1.1.2

          “All Crasher did was have a drink of milk”

          at a planned and promoted visit to a company with strong financial ties to national MPs personal wealth, where her husband stands to make good coin if the company does well in a country where such visits are seen as highly favourable to that company – all in her capacity as justice minister on a taxpayer funded trip

          oh – and she had a private dinner with said company and chinese border offficials

          christs sake – either your covering or your really thick

    • felix 12.2

      “Labour along with its coalition partner the Greens have a history at being anti Chinese with its opposition to dairy farm sales.”

      Bullshit. Citation please.

      Bet you can’t find a single instance of Labour or the Greens opposing a dairy farm sale because of the nationality of the buyer.

      • Liberty 12.2.1

        Look at the farm sale over years.
        look at the farm sales labour has complained about.
        Give you a hint. Where was labour when Thousands acres down south were sold to an American.
        Then join the dots.

        • McFlock 12.2.1.1

          Nah, you’re still making shit up.
          People were also concerned about the harvard purchases, and one or two US showbiz types buying farms and denying access.

        • felix 12.2.1.2

          So that’s a no then. You have no citation, no example, no quote, no link, nothing.

          Nothing but deranged reflections of memories of shit that Slater and Farrar made up.

          Nothing.

    • Tracey 12.3

      So, indulging in hidden deals is a good thing?

      Can you point me to your vehement protests at the departure of Pansy Wong, and your strident taking to task of the Government for that?

  13. Rich 13

    I thought Key didn’t sack Collins so she wouldn’t start plotting with Slater, Lusk and his mates to roll him at the first opportunity?

    • Tracey 13.1

      I agree. It appears serious personal self interest is the only thing stopping a splintering of the national Party.

      new anthem anyone?

  14. Penny Bright 14

    How is corrupt corporate cronyism, when it directly involves Ministers of the Crown (including the Minister of Justice Judith Collins and the Prime Minister John Key) – not ‘Nanny State’ on steroids?

    Remember the deals over dinner Prime Minister John Key did with Sky City?

    http://www.oag.govt.nz/2013/skycity

    November to December 2009

    3.15
    On 4 November 2009, the Prime Minister and his Chief of Staff attended a dinner in Auckland with SkyCity Board members and executives. SkyCity told us that it had prepared a presentation for the dinner on convention centre options it was considering at that time and, at the dinner, discussed its plans for extending its existing facility. This was its preferred option at that time, although its second option was a bigger investment in a new convention centre. Its third option was to do both.

    3.16
    The Prime Minister told us that, at the dinner, he suggested that SkyCity think more broadly than simply expanding its existing conference facilities – in short, to “think outside the box” and come up with a larger world-class stand-alone centre. SkyCity has confirmed the same understanding of the meeting.

    How do ex-Wall Street bank$ters like John Key ‘transmogrify’ from their private sector ways, to become ethical public servants, serving the public and the public interest?

    Oh – that’s right – they don’t……………

    That’s why they’re NOT FIT FOR DUTY (in my considered opinion – as an ‘anti-corruption’ campaigner.

    Penny Bright

    • Tracey 14.1

      Was he that open about it Penny or did it have to be dragged out of him as his memory kicked in?

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    The last publication of the Government’s books before the budget shows National will break its promise of seven years and two election campaigns and fail to get the books in order, says Labour’s Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson. “The Government is… ...
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