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China and New Zealand

Written By: - Date published: 12:49 pm, October 17th, 2017 - 70 comments
Categories: China, Globalisation, International - Tags:

We are on the eve of the great Chinese leadership conference tomorrow, and days from a fresh New Zealand government that will have a more defensive position on foreign ownership. So it’s worth taking a moment on the relationship between the two.

I’m just going to pose a few questions.

Should our next government, as Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop requests, form a common strategy of the Five Eyes partners specifically against China?

With the examples of local investors regularly declining to gain controlling interests in Silver Fern Farms, Synlait and others in mind, should New Zealand limit foreign direct investment?

Should we be the first Western country to permanently re-orientate itself in its diplomatic and military views away from the United States and towards China? The shadows of such giant planets pass over us each day, and still we eat our breakfast and go to work. There is pretty much zero Chinese ethnic tension in New Zealand. In an August interview with The American Prospect, then White House Chief Strategic Steve Bannon said that the United States is “at economic war with China. It’s all in their literature. They’re not shy about saying what they’re doing. One of us is going to be a hegemon in 25 or 30 years and it’s gonna be them if we go down this path.” Do we need to have sympathy? Who is evaluating for us the risks either way?

Isn’t all this just an Auckland problem, so Auckland should deal with it?

What if anything should New Zealand do to become a part of China’s One Belt One Road initiative?

Is Chinese influence in New Zealand so great that it is past the inflection point of being able to do anything about it anyway, so why worry? Isn’t the operative word “welcome”?

Perhaps even more than the previous United States election, the Chinese leadership conference this week will have a strong bearing on the future of New Zealand.

70 comments on “China and New Zealand”

  1. Stuart Munro 1

    NZ is a small country, we cannot afford to make big mistakes.

    We should not be part of an anti-China intelligence group. Nor should we go to great lengths to embrace China – they have very different cultures, economies, and interests. Our best course lies in something akin to the neutral states movement, and our logical trade allies are countries of comparable size with different export products.

    We should certainly limit foreign direct investment, property investment, and review the role of NZ funding of Asian investment banks.

    • Cinny 1.1

      I’m with you Stu

      “We should not be part of an anti-China intelligence group. Nor should we go to great lengths to embrace China”

      “We should certainly limit foreign direct investment, property investment, and review the role of NZ funding of Asian investment banks.”

    • JC 1.2

      “Is Chinese influence in New Zealand so great that it is past the inflection point of being able to do anything about it anyway, so why worry? Isn’t the operative word “welcome”?

      – Conference paper presented at the conference on “The corrosion of democracy under
      China’s global influence,” supported by the Taiwan Foundation for Democracy, and
      hosted in Arlington, Virginia, USA, September 16-17, 2017.
      Key points:
      • CCP General Secretary Xi Jinping is leading an accelerated expansion of
      political influence activities worldwide.
      • The expansion of these activities is connected to both the CCP government’s
      domestic pressures and foreign agenda.
      • The paper creates a template of the policies and modes of China’s expanded
      foreign influence activities in the Xi era.
      • The paper uses this template to examine the extent to which one
      representative small state, New Zealand, is being targeted by China’s new
      influence agenda.

      Click to access for_website_magicweaponsanne-mariesbradyseptember2017.pdf

      • Stuart Munro 1.2.1

        Very interesting – but nothing that couldn’t be wound back by a responsible government. Their failure to do so pretty much wrecks the rational for current levels of state surveillance – I guess they’re just watching the Greens, just as the Feds watched Martin Luther King.

  2. Sanctuary 2

    The answer is no. In case it has escaped your attention, China is run by a murderous regime with scant regard for the rule of law and none for human rights. Sure, we can trade with them. But aligning ourselves with such a monster? Impossible.

    People don’t seem to grasp how benign an imperial master the United States is for N.Z. As long as we are a loyal ally, we are allowed to do more or less as we please, with a democracy and a free press and a free society. The US bankrolls our defense, so we can get away with pitifully small military forces. China would have no qualms in ordering newspapers closed, or in interfering in our internal affairs (hell, they’ve already got a spy list MP in National party and they are busy buying up every has-been National MP they can get their hands on as a potential Quisling government).

    Culturally and politically we are a nation of free people, wedded to ideals of democracy, the importance of the individual and liberty that are as old as the west itself. As long as we hold to those beliefs, and China remains a brutal, lawless and murderous dictatorship, we can never make common cause as a client of China.

    If worst comes to the worst and the alliance with USA fails, better to arm ourselves to the teeth and go down fighting than meekly submit to the butchers of Beijing.

    Better to die a proud Spartan than live as a cowed Boeotian.

    • Booker 2.1

      “China is run by a murderous regime with scant regard for the rule of law and none for human rights.”

      Yeah but you just described the U.S. I’m with the others here – we shouldn’t paint ourselves as anyone’s lapdog, and exiting the 5 eyes would be a good start.

      I think there’s a few problems which are going to tarnish NZs ability to make a clear assessment of the risks and benefits of our future alignments:
      • the media, as always, dumbing down every debate and claiming to speak for NZers when they do anything but
      • monolingualism: our reliance on English limits our understanding of what goes on in non-English speaking parts of the world, and means our politicians are likely to side with other English speaking countries even if it isn’t in our best interest. I’m fluent in Spanish and have connections with Latin America, and I can tell you there’s deep distrust of the US over there (given their role in various coups across the continent); the 5 eyes revelations did enormous damage to our image over there, but you’d never read a word about it over here. Our reliance on English leaves us in a bubble
      • racism: NZ seems to act like racism is bad, but racism against Asians is all good
      • decreasing ‘backpacker’ culture: I think we’re seeing an unfortunate shift where the increasingly unaffordable life in NZ limits the ability, or interest in, travel for the younger and middle-aged. We seem to be becoming more American: being staunchly proud of our own country with fewer and fewer people really having ventured outside
      • government short-termism: no one seems to be able to plan for obvious changes like needing new hospitals or climate change, let alone long-term foreign policy
      • the Commonwealth: cutting the apron strings of the motherland seems like a struggle for little NZ

      I’d love to see a real insightful, strategic plan for New Zealand’s future, whatever that plan ends up as, but I’m not holding my breath. I suspect people will trudge along without any direction until we wake up one day to find the world has changed and we failed to plan ahead 🙁

      • Psycho Milt 2.1.1

        Yeah but you just described the U.S.

        It took a whole hour for that tedious false equivalence cliche to turn up? What’s wrong with kids these days?

        • In Vino 2.1.1.1

          PM – you surely don’t still believe in the pristine purity of US Demahcracy? You give that impression.
          Maybe kids these days are just too cynical? (Good thing if they are, to my mind.)

  3. Paul Campbell 3

    I’m in China right now, I visit 3-4 times a year, it’s where it’s happening right now, amazing energy, wonderful people – of course we should be connected with China, at least as much as we are with the US, maybe more, they’re a lot bigger.

    But we shouldn’t be anyone’s lap-dog, not China’s and not the US’s – being a part of 5-eyes is incredibly hurtful to our place in the world

    As to Sanctuary – China does have a rule of law, I suspect you just don’t like their laws (there are certainly some I totally dislike, probably the same ones as you) – to my eyes China is changing, incredibly fast, they’ve basically been thru the entire industrial revolution in a generation, and they’ve made a lot of the same mistakes that we (the west) did – coal and pollution are a great example, they’re also learning from our mistakes (I took an electric cab in Shenzhen last night, they’re cheaper, they tax the petrol ones more).

    We should be ourselves, not beholding to any one super-power, but we should engage with the hope that some of our ideas about how a society is run will brush off on China, …. and on the US which seems to be in such dire strife these days

    • One Anonymous Bloke 3.1

      Is this what the rule of law looks like? (NB: be careful who sees you reading this: you wouldn’t want to get your hosts into trouble).

      The People’s Court is controlled by the People’s Assembly. In order to define that as “the rule of law” you have to change the definition of “the rule of law”. Where’s the separation of powers?

      • Paul Campbell 3.1.1

        I’m not saying it’s good, just that it’s different and that we shouldn’t expect every other country to run themselves the way we do, we certainly should be calling people on human rights abuses – states killing people is wrong (whether it’s the americans or china)

        (BTW I crossed the border 2 hours ago, I’m in Hong Kong, but technically still China)

        • One Anonymous Bloke 3.1.1.1

          Also on the list of countries that are “different”: Saudi Arabia, North Korea, etc etc.

          When human rights abuses are written into a country’s constitutional arrangements they don’t get to claim the rule of law exists within their borders.

          Ask the Mothers of June 4th.

          The Communist Party has banned references to the crackdown in state media, the Internet and books as part of a whitewash campaign, meaning most young Chinese are ignorant of the events.

        • Psycho Milt 3.1.1.2

          The USSR and Nazi Germany also had this “different” rule of law that China has (the justice system being subordinate to the ruling party). “I’m not saying it’s good” isn’t really a very useful assessment of that “different” rule of law.

          • mickysavage 3.1.1.2.1

            Yep your concerns are valid. But I am not sure that the US’s system is the pristine example of freedom that it used to be presented as being.

  4. simonm 4

    There were lots of articles like this written in the 1930’s. They went along the lines of:

    “Under Adolf Hitler, the German economy has experienced unprecedented growth, especially when one considers the deep recession of the 1920’s. However, naughty old Adolf has been showing signs of wanting to expand Germany’s borders to the East.

    The question we need to ask ourselves is: Should we jump on board with Germany’s dynamic and vibrant economy, or will we risk being left behind due our silly quibbles over Hitler’s alleged mistreatment of a few insignificant ethnic minorities?”

  5. Sparky 5

    I was in China last year. Many many Chinese no longer have the desire to come here (the West) that they used to and those that do, do not plan to stay long term. China’s economy is a juggernaut that creates jobs even in more remote villages (where I stayed). Even simple jobs like driving a bus pay well and teachers are positively spoilt.

    China has a new view of itself too as an emergent superpower. Its reflected in architectural achievements, property values and a general sense of prosperity. The government has started extending social welfare to the regions (although many still have to pay for medical care in a model not dissimilar to the USA).

    So should NZ align with China? The simple answer is if it wants an economic future yes . The USA can not offer the trade benefits China can with its massive population and extensive reach. Indeed the US is heavily in debt to China so taking an aggressive stance against China is in my opinion the height of stupidity. No one can really compete with them as yet so no point in pretending otherwise.

    So yes say welcome or become a forgotten backwater, its pretty much that simple.

    • So should NZ align with China? The simple answer is if it wants an economic future yes .

      We have an economy that’s quite capable of supporting itself. We don’t need China, or any other country, for that. Same as the Earth doesn’t require trade with Mars to function.

      So yes say welcome or become a forgotten backwater, its pretty much that simple.

      So, kiss arse or become a successful nation? And kissing arse has never produced the latter.

      • Sparky 5.1.1

        If NZ wants to be a basic agrarian economy….then yes we need no one. China did this for 1000’s of years with great success and in some places there is a contrast between modernity and simple farming often using timeless methods. If however you want nice shiny goodies like laptops and mobile phones, for example, to comment on blogs and twitter then trade with nations like China is essential.

        I would add too that ass kissing is not required. Trade deals work really well.

        • Draco T Bastard 5.1.1.1

          If NZ wants to be a basic agrarian economy….then yes we need no one.

          So, you’re saying that it was impossible for England to lead the Industrial Revolution?

          If however you want nice shiny goodies like laptops and mobile phones, for example, to comment on blogs and twitter then trade with nations like China is essential.

          We could make all of those things here from our own resources and skills.

          I would add too that ass kissing is not required. Trade deals work really well.

          So, when all that bad steel came in the was a comprehensive inquiry?

          Or was it that the government kowtowed and did nothing?

          It was, as a matter of fact, the latter. So, yeah, lots of kissing arse.

          • boggis the cat 5.1.1.1.1

            Well, no, we can’t manufacture something as complex as a laptop, cellphone, or even radio here without foreign trade. We can’t even provide enough fossil fuels of the right type to cover present demand (and renewables requires more technology than basically burning sequestered hydrocarbons).

            New Zealand does need to trade with other countries, unless you would be happy with greatly reduced quality of life. (But then you wouldn’t live as long, due to healthcare being intensively dependent on traded goods.)

            As to issues such as poor quality steel (and shoddy consumer goods): one of the functions of government is to create and enforce regulations. Such failures are not on China’s government, but ours.

            • Draco T Bastard 5.1.1.1.1.1

              Well, no, we can’t manufacture something as complex as a laptop, cellphone, or even radio here without foreign trade.

              Of course we can – we have all the necessary resources here.

              We can’t even provide enough fossil fuels of the right type to cover present demand (and renewables requires more technology than basically burning sequestered hydrocarbons).

              Yep, you have NFI WTF you’re talking about.

              We already have enough renewable generation to build up more renewable generation.

              New Zealand does need to trade with other countries, unless you would be happy with greatly reduced quality of life.

              Quality of life is a function of productivity and we have enough of that to maintain and even increase it if we stop focussing on farming.

              As to issues such as poor quality steel (and shoddy consumer goods): one of the functions of government is to create and enforce regulations. Such failures are not on China’s government, but ours.

              The poor quality steel came from China and so it was their government that failed to provide the necessary oversight to ensure that good quality goods are produced and delivered.

              Our government didn’t push for an inquiry because the Chinese government threatened our trade with them.

              Being in this position of having to kowtow isn’t enhancing either our quality of life or standing. In fact, it’s doing the opposite.

              • boggis the cat

                How many manufacturing companies have you worked for?

                Nearly everything that goes into a product such as a laptop or phone (or radio — Tait, f.e. — or medical and motor control devices — Dynamic, Swichtec / Eaton, ABB etc.) is sourced offshore: mostly from China today. New Zealand cannot make semiconductors at all, and isn’t capable of producing most everything else due to economies of scale.

                This also applies to renewable technologies: we cannot build solar panels, nor the controllers required for grid connection. We can’t even build bog-standard batteries without importing the raw materials.

                In order to trade effectively we should try to move into more value-added exporting, which is what occurred with the meat industry. This is never easy, however, and there are trade barriers that complicate exporting. (Support for TPP and the like comes from those trying to get around those barriers — there is another side to what foreign corporations are trying to foist on us through such agreements.)

                China’s government no more oversees their exports than ours does. It is regulation that applies to imports where you can effect safety and quality standards (which are quite different things, by the way). The craptastic products that you can buy in big retailers here will fail to meet our safety standards, and that is on us, not whichever sweatshop in China spat them out. (Electrical products such as power boards and extension leads are often dire. There appears to be no effort to enforce the regulations that we have.)

                • lprent

                  How many manufacturing companies have you worked for?

                  Nearly everything that goes into a product such as a laptop or phone (or radio — Tait, f.e. — or medical and motor control devices — Dynamic, Swichtec / Eaton, ABB etc.) is sourced offshore: mostly from China today.

                  I sort of agree, except that it is pretty clear that you have a very limited idea about what is manufactured these days or anything to do with high added value exporting.

                  Firstly, there is no high added value in exporting meat and really no market for it. Basically you sound like a belated echo of Mike Moore from the 1980s. Sure it is possible to go and do interesting things to meat at this end. However there is no real incentive for our customers, who are after all distributors or supermarkets with local meat processing companies available to them. The value add effectively translates to profit, and damn near every distributor will tend to want to do the final processing themselves to get that profit.

                  So since the time from Mike Moore and before, the value-add on most of the farming and forestry commodities has been a costly illusion.

                  Secondly, if you want high value add exports, then look at what I do for a living. I add software or firmware to electronic products and they get exported. The hardware and electronics engineers that I work with build electronics from standard components sourced from offshore or provide the designs for PCBs assembled in other countries that get my software loaded on them. These designs get tested here and cause a flourishing testing sub industry.

                  This isn’t exactly uncommon. You see the same thing across a wide range of tech based industries from electronics through service software running on offshore server farms to the pharma industries here. We export the highest value add there is – intelligence.

                  The exporting tech industry in NZ has grown from being less than a billion dollars in 1995 when I started to concentrate on exporting tech to being almost as large as the dairy industry or tourism now in terms of export dollars. And just as importantly they employ far more people and for a lot more money.

                  None of the local firms are trying to build large scale product lines for mass products. The tech industry here concentrates on micro-niche markets that are global in scope. Typically they export more than 90% of whatever they do. The local market to is just too piddly small and as parochial as a National party grandee.

                  Basically your scenario sounds as 20th century as well.. Mike Moore.

                  Having industrial powerhouses around like China and its competitors with fast search access (ie the net) and customers able to find us has made life a hell of a lot better for exporters here. I can remember the joys of even trying to find out sources and leads back when I was first employed in exporting – way back in the dim dark ages of the start of the 1980s. It was like trying to build a product or service with your head in a bag.

                  • boggis the cat

                    I sort of agree, except that it is pretty clear that you have a very limited idea about what is manufactured these days or anything to do with high added value exporting.

                    I started work with PDL, back when they still manufactured more than they were importing, and ended up in their testing lab. Since then I have worked in calibration, which is a support industry to manufacturing (and design work, to a limited extent).

                    So I have a lot of second-hand exposure to the manufacturing sector, and in particular electronics (which was the ‘next big thing’ for government types back in the late 1990s, when it was starting to die back — government are always looking to support dying industries).

                    Firstly, there is no high added value in exporting meat and really no market for it.

                    What works is getting a direct supply agreement with a retailer. Tesco (for example) would much rather have a container full of ready to price and display product than have a local supply chain processing a container of dead animals.

                    However there is no real incentive for our customers, who are after all distributors or supermarkets with local meat processing companies available to them. The value add effectively translates to profit, and damn near every distributor will tend to want to do the final processing themselves to get that profit.

                    Wage rates and the exchange rate favour New Zealand doing the manual labour involved in the processing. The Yanks (and Aussies) can’t undercut us due to those factors.

                    The path to doing better from trade is to export the final product, rather than commodities. One of our biggest customers was importing parts from Asia (mostly China), assembling them into a case (some of which were made locally), then exporting back to China where the final product was assembled then exported to US and European markets. No prize for figuring out why that operation ended up being moved to China. The problem here is that we don’t produce the components locally — and we can’t, despite what Draco may believe — and we can’t compete with Chinese labour rates. Once quality gets lifted enough in China, you’re out of business — so when I saw the production engineers getting rotated to China to address that I knew we’d be losing that chunk of our business.

                    Our resources are mostly agriculture and fisheries. We aren’t utilising these to anywhere near the level we could be. Most other sources of income are based purely on manual labour, ultimately — your job is, too, I would guess — and there will always be a poorer nation with people eager to take those jobs from us. It will come down to how we use the land, seas, and climate available to us.

                    • lprent

                      Wage rates and the exchange rate favour New Zealand doing the manual labour involved in the processing. The Yanks (and Aussies) can’t undercut us due to those factors.

                      The last two places I have worked at do their builds in China and Mexico respectively. But the design, production line testing, test jigs, code, etc were done here. Some of the small production runs are done here when they are the size of test runs.

                      Tesco (for example) would much rather have a container full of ready to price and display product

                      And yet, in almost 30 years I have never seen any such deal come to fruition for more than a test run.

                      In the same time period I have seen flowers flown to Japan for Valentines day, my software being used in universities worldwide to train management students, being able to do a remote upgrade for a navigation device in the harbour at Rio, seen a local company do remote management of accounting systems for vets around the world, and just about every other damn things.

                      If it’d been possible to make a maintained agreement with food chains that last, it would have been done now. Either the local companies simply incompetent across decades, or the customers don’t want it. Try Occam’s Razor.

                • David Mac

                  Exactly, the Chinese can make whatever we want. We get what we ask for. The Bunnings buyer looks at the Mitre 10 catalogue and is obliged to demand that the Chinese foundry he spends a lot of money with make a hammer for $1.18 instead of $1.31. The quality of the product is the point of least resistance, it slides.

                  We’ve done it to ourselves. A good spin-off benefit of the utter junk is that it has kept a handbrake on the pricing of mid range, perfectly fine equipment.

                  They’re guilty of beating the west at their own game, marketing 101. Give the people what they want. We continue to snaffle up $4.99 tarpaulins by the 1000, they’re handy if you’re only after 12 months of coverage. If we asked for them, the Chinese factories can create 1000’s of tarpaulins for us that will last 3 generations, but they’ll be $85 each, not 33 cents.

                • Nearly everything that goes into a product such as a laptop or phone (or radio — Tait, f.e. — or medical and motor control devices — Dynamic, Swichtec / Eaton, ABB etc.) is sourced offshore: mostly from China today.

                  Correct but that doesn’t mean that we have to.

                  New Zealand cannot make semiconductors at all, and isn’t capable of producing most everything else due to economies of scale.

                  Which is a load of bollocks. Semi-conductors aren’t made by hand but by machine which means that economies of scale do not apply. And if we exported to the Rest of the World we’d be able to maintain the same scale (we’d run out of resources really quick though and end up poor – just ask Nauru. That’s why China also looked to stop exporting rare earths BTW.

                  This also applies to renewable technologies: we cannot build solar panels, nor the controllers required for grid connection. We can’t even build bog-standard batteries without importing the raw materials.

                  We have the raw materials here. It’s just a case of developing the extraction and processing capability. Interestingly enough, I’ve only heard the Greens suggest that we do so.

                  In order to trade effectively we should try to move into more value-added exporting, which is what occurred with the meat industry. This is never easy, however, and there are trade barriers that complicate exporting. (Support for TPP and the like comes from those trying to get around those barriers — there is another side to what foreign corporations are trying to foist on us through such agreements.)

                  Developing the economy is what we need to do. Focussing on a single industry won’t do that. The TPP is about setting up even more barriers in the way of IP.

                  China’s government no more oversees their exports than ours does. It is regulation that applies to imports where you can effect safety and quality standards (which are quite different things, by the way). The craptastic products that you can buy in big retailers here will fail to meet our safety standards, and that is on us, not whichever sweatshop in China spat them out.

                  It’s actually on both. China needs to ensure standards are met so that they can be trusted and we need to ensure that those standards are met on imports as well.

                  Please note: I’ve been saying for some time that we should drop all FTAs and put in place a set of standards that other countries need to meet to trade with us.

                  • boggis the cat

                    We don’t have the raw materials for any of this. How much copper, aluminium, and rare earth elements do we mine here? None, because — like Japan — New Zealand has no usable concentrations of any of this.

                    Stop posting speculative nonsense for a few minutes and go look this up. You have no idea, and clearly have no experience in manufacturing.

                    Not every nation has the ability to produce everything, thus international trade is required. Muldoon tried to use our resources maximally to offset the high costs of trying to produce manufactured goods locally, and we ended up with huge debt and unsustainable mini-industries. There are better approaches than insisting on either extreme.

    • Unicus 5.2

      When it comes to jumping into bed with duplicitous fascists I’ll take the back water any day .
      The Chinese Government is a colonialist imperialist dictatorship and its current daispora living in Auckland given the support of a flotilla of battleships would turn on us in a flash .

      China is not our friend it is our exploiter. The Americans for all their faults proved their commitment to our survival with their own blood and didn’t expect to turn up to live here in their thousands .

      It’s not to late to tell the Chinese to fuck- off but it may be soon .

      • David Mac 5.2.1

        Unlike many regimes, during the Dragon’s rise the Chinese have not bombed or invaded other countries. Their troops have taken on the form of the stuff we buy. Their spies aren’t sinking Greenpeace boats tied up in Downtown Auckland.

        Just as we should dig our toes in when Chinese interests endeavor to tell us how to run our country, it is not our place to direct the Chinese on how they should run theirs.

        I have business relationships with people that I would choose not to go fishing with. If I limited my customer base to people that I’d love to spend more time with I’d go broke. So it is with global trade.

        With regard human rights, we have a far greater chance of having influence over someone or some nation if we offer our thoughts from a foundation of mutually benefiting each other.

        • lloyd 5.2.1.1

          Tell Tibet that the Chinese haven’t invaded.

          • lloyd 5.2.1.1.1

            And the Vietnamese have a few Chinese bomb craters to add to their vast American collection.

            Those coral atolls they have raped in the South China Sea also look a bit invaded.

            • David Mac 5.2.1.1.1.1

              Yes, they’ve had their skirmishes around their borders, against Japan too. The question is, do we hop into bed with Uncle Sam, the Dragon or neither?

              If we stacked the armaments China have let fly over the last 50 years alongside a US stack, one pile would be many times bigger than the other and detonated nowhere near domestic borders.

      • Steve 5.2.2

        Well.Perhaps some folks might even be no longer holding their breath to expect America care about Kurdish people.Too bad for them.Or so it seems.Sadly.Seem like America doesn’t seem to worry about needing their support anymore.Been flicked off to the side,discarded for hope of bigger gains perhaps?. Who knows.How many even care? . Well Kurdish people sure do care for sure.Many now feeling ripped off.And next there will be plenty who’s hurt perhaps will surge toward feelings of anger. Then what next?

        America more or less ditched us already once before.Quickly kicked our country to the curb.Because we wouldn’t quickly agree to roll over like wee well trained little puppies,in regard to allowing their demand of nuclear warships into our ports

        We already need to send our peace keeping troops overseas.To help American’s clean up a mess that their mismanagement had helped to allow to be formed

        I’m not,as yet, convinced we should wish to directly align ourselves with anyone.Or convinced, the global school yard ongoing shit fight squabbling between bullies, should necessarily need to be in our best interest to also decide take any active roll in.

        I hazard to guess, perhaps one main remaining reason why we still don’t experience terrorist situations here in NZ, like what so many other countries already do.Might somehow be connected, to our roll, of being world renown as being a nation of people focused toward our hope for world peace.Actions pretty much always tend to speak far louder than any amount of words can ever do. Our action, this far, has helped keep us safe, throughout rocky times when some other countries actions perhaps haven’t been helping their own situations quite so well?

        I could easily agree,with other folk, we need to start using our head way far better than we would seem to have been doing,specially these last few years.That’s for sure.Let the situation at hand become a excellent warning to help remind us about that.A warning to not let want of wealth, go to our head to the stage of completely overruling our lives

        I feel ,this world needs at least some countries around that will decide to staunchly remain like the bastion’s for hope of world peace.Its something most important.It may seem like a near impossible hope.Of course, because its obviously a real long shot.Specially now that things have already been allowed to get so way far out of hand.And yet perhaps it still remain as the whole worlds best option for this hope to prevail ?

  6. David Mac 6

    The Chinese are extraordinary, subsistence farmers to global empire heavy hitter and barely a shot fired. In just a few generations, beating the west at their own game: Money.

    Like quite a few here, I feel we should be aiming to play an intrinsic contributing role in the world without being anybody’s international snitch.

    Who can blame the flourishing Chinese middle classes for sinking their savings into NZ or Canadian real estate. It’s not just foreigners that can’t own land in China. Nobody can own land, they lease it from the owner, The People.

    I’m not in favour of the guy that made 2.4 billion Tamagochis buying NZ sheep stations. I think it’s a trend we will grow to regret. I feel we can continue to offer terrific opportunities to Chinese people without selling the farm.

    • Sparky 6.1

      Agreed. We should focus on trade not selling the family jewels.

      • David Mac 6.1.1

        Yep, more fridge ready tubs rather than sacks of milk powder. More ready to assemble apartment planter boxes rather than logs.

        With our meagre population, it should be a doddle.

        Quitting gossiping behind China’s back would be a jolly good start. The Aussies have got the Sth Pacific covered. I see many benefits in pursuing a neutral status.

    • Steve Reeves 6.2

      Food is important, and I guess we see the China strategy in that field a lot in NZ.

      But electricity is another and there the strategy is also clear. The following are Chinese companies:

      Five of the world’s six largest solar-module manufacturing firms
      The largest wind-turbine manufacturer
      The world’s largest lithium ion manufacturer
      The world’s largest electricity utility

      A good read here

      https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/jan/06/china-cementing-global-dominance-of-renewable-energy-and-technology

      • KJT 6.2.1

        We could have been the world leader in wind turbines. Given the same level of Government support we give to agriculture. Our skills in composite manufacturing are world class.

  7. OncewasTim 7

    So in posing your questions, what is it you are really asking?
    Is it that we should swap one empire’s imperialism and expansionism for another?
    Maybe we should not wimp out and give both the 2 finger salute.
    Let’s have trade and cultural interaction that is actually FREE.

  8. UncookedSelachimorpha 8

    Human rights abuses, torture, war-mongering and invading other nations should all be bottom lines that rule countries out as allies. Both the USA and China are guilty of recent offenses in most or all of these categories, and we should be allied to neither.

  9. savenz 9

    NZ should remain on friendly but cordial terms with both countries. None of the arse licking we have seen from the John Key government to both China and USA at the detriment to our own long term protection.

    NZ is nothing to either countries apart from a strategic asset. Being neutral is actually giving NZ more a position of strength than if we have become too entwined with both.

    Learn from the UK mistakes by Tony Blair who was happy to send many unprepared UK troops to their unnecessary deaths, waste billions of dollars and ultimately make terrorism much more common by his actions.

    Friends of super powers should and NEED to learn how to stay NO, actually you get more respect from that than being a needy enabler.

  10. Should our next government, as Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop requests, form a common strategy of the Five Eyes partners specifically against China?

    Not specifically against but certainly keeping an eye on them. We do need to protect ourselves from aggressive expansionism.

    With the examples of local investors regularly declining to gain controlling interests in Silver Fern Farms, Synlait and others in mind, should New Zealand limit foreign direct investment?

    Yes. And not just NZ but every country in the world should ban foreign ownership.

    Should we be the first Western country to permanently re-orientate itself in its diplomatic and military views away from the United States and towards China?

    No, we should become neutral.

    Isn’t all this just an Auckland problem, so Auckland should deal with it?

    No. Our farms and other strategic assets being sold off is a national problem.

    What if anything should New Zealand do to become a part of China’s One Belt One Road initiative?

    Nothing. If we want trade then we should probably be setting up a NZ centred trade system.

    Of course, international trade has a fast approaching use by date.

    Is Chinese influence in New Zealand so great that it is past the inflection point of being able to do anything about it anyway, so why worry? Isn’t the operative word “welcome”?

    No and no.

    1. We should make it so that only citizens can vote.
    2. We should get rid of permanent resident status.
    3. Those people who go through the full process to become citizens are, of course, welcome here. All the rest can fuck off.

  11. Should we be the first Western country to permanently re-orientate itself in its diplomatic and military views away from the United States and towards China?

    Well, we wouldn’t be the first Western country to turn its back on the West and embrace totalitarian dictatorship, and on the plus side we’d only be getting friendly with totalitarianism elsewhere rather than implementing it in our own country, but yeah, seriously, what the fuck? We should suck up to a communist dictatorship because there’s money in it? Count me out.

  12. TheBlackKitten 12

    No we should not be involved with countries that don’t have good labour laws for all people. It amuses me that some of the posts on here speak of China as a nice modern go ahead country. I bet my bottom dollar those people don’t visit or see those factory workers that are forced to produce the nice shinny widgets that the west have fallen in so much love with for a pittance. That they don’t see their appalling standard of living and the non existent health and safety laws. It’s Ironic that left wingers seem to forget the appalling labour laws China’s has and only see them as a communist nation so therefore they must be the good guys right. Bullock!
    And am not to sure if those that are signing the praises of the Chinese are aware that only those that are not in the peasents classes are entitled to their public health system. Again surprise that people don’t know that. Open your eyes people. There is a reason why China does so well economically in comparison to the West. It’s called producing goods for low cost at the expense of the worker and only supplying health care to contrubtors I can imagine the howels of protest if we did that in NZ.
    But I guess beating up on Uncle Sam will be more important to some of the readers on here rather than good fair labour laws for workers.

    • savenz 12.1

      Good points TheBlackKitten

    • KJT 12.2

      Don’t think we should cosy up to China, or the USA.
      Both have questionable records on human rights, Labour laws, and how they treat their own citizens.

      But then there is the Australian refugee gulag, and New Zealand’s imprisonment rate. Second only in the West to the USA……….?

    • David Mac 12.3

      Hi Black Kitten, China is fast-tracking away from that scene quicker than a huge nation ever has. Ending the dire labour situation in China won’t see the end of that type of thing, it’s always been with us. It wasn’t that long ago that children were dragging carts up and down mines in England.

      As labour conditions improve in China and India and their middle classes continue to blossom the child labour, dirt poor conditions and wages scene will move on too. In 20 years I think Nikes will be getting stitched up in the currently dirt poor, wild frontier, coastal African nations.

      • Steve 12.3.1

        +1

      • It wasn’t that long ago that children were dragging carts up and down mines in England.

        True and then we put some laws in place to stop it. We should now implement laws that prevent us from trading with nations that still have it.

        In 20 years I think Nikes will be getting stitched up in the currently dirt poor, wild frontier, coastal African nations.

        Why when shows are already manufactured by robot?

        There is evidence that the African countries were developing quite nicely after WWII and then they got free-trade ideology forced upon them by the IMF/WTO and their levels of poverty increased massively along with inequality. This forced them into being primarily commodity producers and exporting the wealth that, if they developed the capability of using it themselves, would have lifted them fully into industrialisation by now.

        • David Mac 12.3.2.1

          Manpower in diminishing numbers will be required in the production of goods for quite some time yet. We’re some distance from feeding raw materials into one end of a machine and cars dropping out the other.

          I think many African nations struggle in modern times because the money multi national companies like De Beers and BP stump up to be there extracting their wealth with few environment concerns lines the pockets of a privileged few wearing blinkers and is not building schools and hospitals.

    • Steve 12.4

      Well lets consider NZs past .Or even that of our Australian friends over the ditch. We all would need to admit,we have no real completely rosy histories ourselves.Even America likewise. Indeed China might not be any completely rosy supernatural race of people.

      Did you ever visit the first nation folk of America, while they were being herded off,almost like animals, into reservations?. Or visit many forced to adopt Christianity?.People now who struggle with some of the same problems and issues,like that what Maori also still now continue to struggle with too, within our own country. How about a fair amount of Chinese people, who got caught up in English enforced opium trade,did you visit them?.Had you asked many of them, how they then began to feel toward people who were non-Chinese?

      I feel,perhaps we can expect to always continue to achieve very little, in our collective existence on this earth together, if we would continue to try to demonize certain folk humans of another race

      Perhaps first of all we might need to ask ourselves?. What it might have felt like, for ourselves, to have needed to be forced to walk a mile or two in their shoes

      Just saying

      • savenz 12.4.1

        Yes but at least we have democracy, Steve. We still frown on torture. We don’t have 9 of the 10 most polluted rivers in the world. We can still breathe our own air which is not like a packet of cigarettes. We don’t put people to death and then harvest the organs of the deceased while sending a bill for the bullet to the families. Bribery is not part of everyday business. Girl babies are not aborted because they are considered less worthy. We don’t harvest sewer oil for cafes and nobody thinks it’s a business opportunity to sell counterfeit milk power and literally kill other people’s babies for profit. We have a welfare system. We have free health care, free education and superannuation.

        In short, we still have a decent standard of living in NZ which is why so many want to become NZ citizens. So for the average person NZ is utopia and China is somewhere to try to get out of.

        Yes China may be a great way to make money and profits and if that is the most important thing to you. But to live there, no. It’s not where people want to live.

        But one thing we can learn from Chinese, is that they have long term strategic planning. That is why they have become so powerful. NZ has gone down the opposite path, zero long term planning and is in the process of turning the NZ haven into a hellhole for those at the bottom.

        The other thing we can learn from Chinese is that they really value family and education. Again something that the NZ government under National seems to think has little value because they can not see or even care, beyond 3 years of power and profits for themselves.

  13. CoroDale 13

    ASEAN-Plus-Six offers NZ much strategic diversity, worth developing. We should be emulating China’s financial hedging, both USD-fiat and BRICS-commodity. China is, like the West, exploiting our open investment policy. NZ needs transformation from logs-n-milk-powder, toward regional-development and self-reliance.

  14. Keepcalmcarryon 14

    A good start is not having MPs who were part of the Chinese spy apparatus.
    Plenty of cozy dealing done under national, water giveaways, land ownership and swamp kauri sailing overseas. Blue dragons seemed to be half the crowd at the national party do on election night.
    We are tiny and easily bought.

    • David Mac 14.1

      Yep, the swamp kauri thing pongs.

      “Yes, it is a $40,000 breadboard Mr Customs Officer.”

      It doesn’t matter how little we are, if neutral, we don’t need to be the least bit dodgy. If it’s straight shooting every-time every nation we do business with know exactly where we, and they stand. It’s a position that nurtures trust and fosters relationships…Sheep stations in Middle Eastern deserts, what were we thinking?

  15. Incognito 15

    Between the devil and the deep blue sea?

    • The deep blue sea that surrounds us is our friend. Now we just need to look after it better and allow it to recover form the deprivations of the last few decades.

      • Incognito 15.1.1

        You could say that too about the tiny blue planet we call Earth – she’s pretty small really. If anything all those space explorations have shown us is that there’s no cosmological Exit somewhere; this is it, the Garden of Eden and Fire & Brimstone all in one place, depending on …

      • greywarshark 15.1.2

        DTB +1

        And in that tradition of blessing the sea barrier – the Irish have also done it as between them and Brit.

        Dubliners
        (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dAiYLTiBiDk

  16. greywarshark 16

    Should our next government, as Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop requests, form a common strategy of the Five Eyes partners specifically against China?

    We need to think for ourselves as to our best strategy for protecting ourselves and relating to the world. Julie Bishop is the type of Australian who shows us how friendly they really are in Oz and how capable of producing a co-operating world with respect for others, though wary. And that’s not at all, the Australians aren’t our friends and if the USA wanted them to they would and have financially, subverted us and would attack us on command I believe. The Chinese might provide a better balance of strategic relationships than being allied to the main west bloc exclusively.

  17. David Mac 17

    If NZ were to withdraw from Five Eyes would the organisation then be named as per the lightweight slur aimed at a person wearing glasses?

  18. Exkiwiforces 18

    A thought provoking post and some excellent comments for and against cosying up to China.

    I’m against cosying up to China, as I see China as a modern day land/ resources grabbing tyrant that has learnt from the former colonial powers. But in saying that they are playing a wonderful long game and we in the west are playing a twenty- twenty version aka after quick buck.

    What concerns me about China is:
    Is their lack of transparency and oversight in the South Pacific and in the Antarctic atm.
    Their use soft of soft power in undeveloped countries ie cheap loans at very low interest with hidden strings attached, bribing local official’s etc so their fishing fleet under records their catch size within the South Pacific (I’ve seen this from first hand experience in East Timor in 2006, they also had their fingers in pie in the Solly’s and Tonga in 2006 riots which required the Australian and NZ Governments to its Military/ police Forces and other inter- government department’s to those countries.)
    Their use of their economic power when there products are brought into question or when they are criticise at government level or in our open universities
    Thumbing their nose at the International Court at the Hague in regards to the South China Sea or UN resolution’s for that matter.
    Propping up one party nation states for favours.
    State sponsoring of the illegal diamond, Ivory trade and human rights though their use of soft power.

    To understand China’s strategic intentions one must read an update version of Sun Tzu and you would then understand that China is playing us for a bunch of mungs.

    I’ll leave you with this wee quote from the book called:

    On the Psychology of Military Incompetence, By Dr Norman F. Dixon
    Chap 14, The Intellectual Ability of Senior Military Commanders page171,

    By Sir Hugh Elles, Director of Military Training:

    ‘The Japanese are no danger to us and eager for our friendship’. He said this just before the WW2 started.

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