National’s David Carter says that you’re a racist for not wanting to sell our assets to foreigners, particularly Chinese state-owned companies. It’s not racism. It’s about our sovereignty. We are never going to be able to choose our way in the world if we sell everything abroad and we do not want to become a vassal of the world’s newest empire.
Why are people concerned about selling assets to Chinese government companies in particular? Because it’s the new world empire and it’s going around the world buying up the natural resources that it needs to import to sustain their growing economy – vertical integration in management speak – which means that China will always have first call on these resources in a resource-constrained future.
In Australia, it’s trying to buy the coal mines. In the Sudan, it’s buying the oil reserves. In the islands, it’s picking up fishing rights having bought the governments. In New Zealand, our asset is our farmland and the Chinese government is quite open about the intention to buy as much as it can. The companies making these purchases are either directly government owned or heavily government-backed.
There’s nothing ‘evil’ about what China is doing. It’s just good empire building and at least it’s doing it with money – neo-mercantilism – rather than the ‘traditional’ methods, which it lacks the military superiority for. But we would be stupid to sell these increasingly valuable assets just because it wants to buy. It’s not really ‘investing’ in the sense of building something new – it’s just buying our stuff and giving us money for it.
New Zealanders have a proud record of anti-imperialism (ironic given the country was founded as part of one). In the 60s, 70s, and 80s New Zealanders stood against American imperialism. Many of our political leaders cut their teeth opposing Vietnam and nuclear weapons.
The Right’s response is that ‘we’ve got to borrow/get overseas ‘investment’ from somewhere’. Do we? If we’re going to live within our means, shouldn’t we be able to build domestic capital for our investment needs? relying on foreign capital and selling everything to foreigners is for colonies and dying empires.
In this increasingly uncertain world, this country needs to be able to stand on its own feet. And it certainly shouldn’t sell itself into serfdom.