China and the Pacific

Written By: - Date published: 9:00 am, June 5th, 2022 - 223 comments
Categories: China, Gerry Brownlee, International, Media, Nanaia Mahuta, Pacific, uncategorized - Tags:

I get tired of the way that the media is accentuating National’s attacks on the Government without showing any understanding of what is really happening.

This week Gerry Brownlee managed to get some air time with allegations that Nanaia Mahuta and the Government were asleep at the wheel and had let China make inroads in the Pacific.

His statement said:

Minister of Foreign Affairs Nanaia Mahuta needs to front up and explain what she’ll be doing to salvage New Zealand’s relationship with the Pacific, National’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson Gerry Brownlee says.

“Last week, we heard that China is seeking a sweeping agreement with ten Pacific Island countries, covering everything from national security to climate change and education. Three countries have already signed up or indicated their support; the Solomon Islands, Kiribati and Samoa.

“Since this news, the US’ top official for the Indo-Pacific has been on the phone to the Fijian Prime Minister, and the Australian Foreign Minister flew to Fiji within days of her appointment to reiterate Australia’s position as a ready and willing partner.

“While our traditional partners are out engaging with the region and demonstrating their ability to meet all the needs of the Pacific, Minister Mahuta and this Government have gone radio silent. No media, no visible engagement, not even a tweet.

The subtext, that Mahuta was lazy, was easy to spot.  The fact that she is very hard working and very effective does not matter.  And there has not been extensive travelling in the Pacific for the past couple of years because of Covid and the desire to keep many Pacific Islands Covid free.

And the suggestion, that Western hot shots just need to get on a plane and visit and the Pacific will then comply is insulting to the Pacific and displays a complete lack of understanding of how proud and independent the Pacific Island nations are.

National apologist Josie Pagani chose to reinforce National’s message.

She criticised Jacinda Ardern for not mentioning China in the Beehive press release following Ardern’s meeting with Biden and hinted darkly at some sort of cover up because in the joint communique China was referred to but this did not occur in the Beehive press statement.

Pagani’s criticism is not warranted.  The Joint Communique does refer to China but two of those references relate to opposition to claims to the South China sea.  The third referred to the Solomon Islands and stated that

the United States and New Zealand share a concern that the establishment of a persistent military presence in the Pacific by a state that does not share our values or security interests would fundamentally alter the strategic balance of the region and pose national-security concerns to both our countries.

Pagani needs to read more.  On May 25 this year the Government announced an extension to the deployment of the New Zealand Defence Force deployment to the Solomon Islands as well as a commitment to supporting security in Solomon Islands and promoting a peaceful, prosperous and resilient Pacific region.  On March 29 Mahuta said:

Solomon Islands’ proposed agreement with China, while within Solomon Islands’ sovereign rights, risks destabilising the current institutions and arrangements that have long ensured the Pacific region’s security. Given this would not benefit New Zealand or our Pacific neighbours we will continue to raise our strong condemnation of such agreement directly with the countries involved

And the May 25 announcement was foreshadowed by this announcement made on January 3.  Clearly a lot of attention has been paid to what is happening in the Solomon Islands.

Brownlee has tried to contrast Mahuta’s response to that of new Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong who immediately after her appointment jumped on a plane and visited many Pacific nations.  Wong’s response is appropriate and warranted.  Australia’s relationship with the Pacific is terrible.  Successive conservative Prime Ministers and their response to climate change has placed them in direct conflict with Pacifica’s aims and aspirations.

This Labour Government, through its large well networked Pacific caucus, has a depth and reach of relationships with the Pacific that no other western nation can match.  To suggest that the Government has gone to sleep on relations with our Pacific neighbours is as ludicrous as it is insulting.

Critics display little understanding of how the Pacific works or the importance of shared goals and long term respectful relations that members of Labour’s caucus have with the Pacific.  As said by Aupito William Sio in this facebook post:

When working in the Pacific – having strong, caring and trusting relationship is the foundational pillar for working with a proud group of people who have a long memory of history in the region. Strong, caring and trusting relationships can only occur when we recognise the mana, dignity and worth of the people of the Pacific and their right to self-determination – they are our family, members of our extended whanauga. Our collective ambition is to ensure we secure the ocean and marine assets of the Blue Pacific continent so that its sustained through future years and our children and their children can use it to thrive and prosper throughout future dispensations of time.

An meanwhile the Pacific on its own terms responded to the recent charm offensive conducted by China in a way that suggests that the situation was always under control.

From the Guardian:

Pacific countries have declined to sign up to a sweeping regional economic and security deal proposed by China, after a crucial meeting of Pacific foreign ministers and their Chinese counterpart on Monday.

China’s foreign minister Wang Yi is in the middle of a marathon tour of the region, visiting eight countries in 10 days, a trip that security experts have said represents a dramatic “uptick in tempo” of China’s push for influence in the region.

On Monday, Wang held a virtual summit in Fiji with foreign ministers from Pacific countries at which the region-wide deal was discussed. Several invited nations want to defer action on the draft communique or have it amended, an official from one Pacific country told Reuters.

Wang urged the Pacific region not to be “too anxious” about his country’s aims after the meeting was unable to agree on the pact.

China’s offer of aid is no doubt welcome and attractive but has strings attached.  Loans for development have to be paid back.  The Pacific’s clear preference is grants so that they can maintain their independence and develop on their own terms.

This is why the Foreign Aid budgets of New Zealand and Australia are so important.  And guess what, under this Labour Government the amounts have increased significantly and is projected to increase further over the next few years.

It should be remembered that when National was in power there was a preference that aid be used to follow financial imperatives and there was the interesting use of Government aid funding to expand the resort owned by a major National Party donor.

National’s criticism is superficial and shows a complete lack of understanding of that is happening.  And being lectured by them about how to maintain relations with the Pacific is jarring and underlines how monocultural their caucus is.

223 comments on “China and the Pacific ”

  1. PsyclingLeft.Always 1

    I respect Nanaia Mahuta very much. She has a measured Gravitas which is head and shoulders above any comparison with … the boofy bully Gerry Brownlee ?! And his criticism is laughable. In his career he managed to offend Finland even ….(though not much : )

    I still recall the haters who denigrated Nanaia upon her appointment. Her Moko ! Etc,etc….

    And Ol' Josie Pagani…still trying to white-ant Labour. Sad.

    Onya Nanaia.

  2. Brownlee is a colossal waste of time, as the good people of Ilam electorate found out, and acted upon.

    Surely, it's past time for him to retire and be given the plum job of our ambassador to Burkino Faso?

  3. Sanctuary 3

    The right perceives Mahuta as a soft target for political gain via trying to smear her by dog whistling various racist tropes. Plenty of red necks are scared shitless of Mahuta – a Maori woman with a prominent Tā moko. The actual substance of their criticism is wafer thin so far.

    • Blade 3.1

      ''Plenty of red necks are scared shitless of Mahuta – a Maori woman with a prominent Tā moko.''

      No, just a quick reality check for you. Many red necks and non red necks think she landed her job as a sop to the Maori caucus. And… many red necks and non red necks find her an embarrassment because of the way she presents OVERALL. Whether that's true or not, doesn't matter. That's the perception. It's was also the perception from overseas.

      I personally believe her appointment was a sop to the Maori caucus. She has a reasonable political track record marred only by her actions regarding Seabed and Foreshore legislation which may give us some insight into her internal character.

      From Wiki:

      ''On 3 November, former Prime Minister Helen Clark and the Māori Council criticised the international media's description of Mahuta as a "tattooed Māori woman" for focusing on her physical appearance and race.[31][32] On 4 November, right-wing blogger and author Olivia Pierson drew criticism and media coverage for posting a tweet stating that "Facial tattoos, especially on a female diplomat, is the height of ugly, uncivilised wokedom." In response, Race Relations Commissioner Meng Foon criticised Pierson's actions and said that "Mahuta's kauae moko was special to Māori and should be celebrated." Mahuta declined to comment on the issue.''

      • Robert Guyton 3.1.1

        ''Plenty of red necks are scared shitless of Mahuta – a Maori woman with a prominent Tā moko.''

        Blade wrote; "No" but in fact, yes.

        • KJT

          Blade wrote no.

          But then gave references saying. Yes.

          The cognitive dissonance required……… To be a right wing apologist.

      • weka 3.1.2

        I personally believe her appointment was a sop to the Maori caucus. She has a reasonable political track record marred only by her actions regarding Seabed and Foreshore legislation which may give us some insight into her internal character.

        What does that mean? You don't like something she did but won't say what?

        • Blade

          ''I personally believe her appointment was a sop to the Maori caucus.''

          That means just that. Crawling to the Maori caucus.

          ''She has a reasonable political track record marred only by her actions regarding Seabed and Foreshore legislation which may give us some insight into her internal character.''

          From the link I provided:

          ''In 2004, she joined Tariana Turia, another Labour MP, in voting against the first reading of her party's legislation on the controversial foreshore and seabed issue. She did not, however, join Turia when she quit Labour to found the Māori Party. In the bill's second reading, she again voted against her party, but in the third reading, she changed her position and supported it, saying that it was the politically pragmatic thing to do..''

          So we now go to what I wrote:

          ''She has a reasonable political track record marred only by her actions regarding Seabed and Foreshore legislation which may give us some insight into her internal character.''

          We can draw some tentative conclusions from the above quote:

          1- When it comes to the crunch her political pragmatism MAY trump Maori aspirations.

          2- She may not be as Mana Wahine as liberal supporters think she is. Dame Tariana walked from Labour. In fact Tariana was taken to a meeting in a government limo. When she came out she saw the limo driving off into the distance. Aunt Helen didn't mess around. Once you leave the hive, that's it. Maybe Mahuta likes government limos?

          3- Will Mahuta be able to handle the pressure if China invades Taiwan? The Chinese Embassy will no doubt invite Mahuta in for a chat…and tell her how things are going to be.

          • Robert Guyton

            "We" can't draw those "tentative conclusions", Blade, because "we" are smarter than that. You though, seem to have.

            Your question (3) has no particular value, aside from indicating your belief that Nanaia Mahuta might not "be able to handle the pressure" – a belief based upon your prejudice alone, so far as I can see.

            • Nanaia has four crosses against her name in the eyes of a right whinger like Blade:

              1 – she's not pakeha

              2 – she's a woman

              3 – she's got a moko

              4 – she's a bloody sight more competent than bully buffoon Brownlee.

              But that's his problem.

              • Blade

                Brownlee is the Jonathan Hunt of National – you know the guy who stayed in his vehicle during ANZAC commemorations in Turkey.

                Luxon really needs to have a chat with him, and move him on.

                As for the rest of your comments. They just have no substance. Funny how I'm called to account for even a single word usage while people like you who write trite tripe get a free ride.

                Must be a Leftie blogsadwinklaugh

                • weka

                  Run out of arguments already so resorting to distraction?

                  Tony laid out his belief. You can challenge it if you like. Asserting someone is wrong gets boring after a while, try making an actual argument.

                  • Blade

                    ''Run out of arguments already so resorting to distraction?''

                    Whaat? Why?

                    ''Tony laid out his belief. You can challenge it if you like. Asserting someone is wrong gets boring after a while, try making an actual argument.''

                    Tony laid out 4 points with no commentary. Point that are already implicit to the article and argument.

          • weka

            What should Mahuta have done re the F/S legislation?

            Turia was right wing. Mahuta is Labour. Can't criticise either of them for that.

            "Maybe Mahuta likes government limos?"

            Just noting the lazy racist slur creeping in there.

            • Blade

              ''What should Mahuta have done re the F/S legislation?''

              I have no thoughts on the matter. My comment was on what could be tentatively extrapolated from the actions Mahuta took regarding that F/S.

              ''Turia was right wing. Mahuta is Labour. Can't criticise either of them for that.''

              You will have to explain that – ''Turia was rightwing.'' And no, going on to have a roll with the National government ( Maori Party) won't cut the mustard.

              ''Just noting the lazy racist slur creeping in there.''

              ''In fact it was nod towards Mahuta staying with Labour( likes limos) and Tariana leaving Labour (no limo).''

              Says a lot about the way you and others process information. Reminds of a similar incident when Donna Awatere-Huata inferred racist connotations to the cover of a report on Maori issues. She was embarrassed on national television.

              I expected more from you, Weka. I've always considered you a reasonable poster and a fair moderator. You started out with a decent question. I gave you what I consider was a decent reply. And as always is the case, when someone stands up and gives as good as what they get, the nastiness, bs and just plain crazy stuff starts.

              • Robert Guyton

                "My comment was on what could be tentatively extrapolated from the actions Mahuta took regarding that F/S."

                Your comment was a gleeful extrapolation. Tony has you pegged.

                Accusing weka of "nastiness, bs and just plain crazy stuff " seems …foolhardy.

              • Stuart Munro

                I have no thoughts on the matter.

                Nor indeed on any other. Lots of opinions nevertheless.

              • weka

                The limos meme had long been a rw racist trope in NZ. Did you not know this?

                Turia is not left wing. From a left wing perspective her politics are of the right. It's trickier than that because Māori have their own politics separate from the L/R spectrum, but let's say in conventional terms that within Māori parliamentary pol, Turia is on the right end of the spectrum whereas someone like Hone Harawira is on the left. This doesn't need more explanation, it's pretty self evidence and hardly controversial. You can of contest that this translates into NZ pol outside of the TPM, I certainly do when people say Shaw is rw. Have at it.

                Your extrapolations of Mahuta from her actions re F/S,

                We can draw some tentative conclusions from the above quote:

                1- When it comes to the crunch her political pragmatism MAY trump Maori aspirations.

                Or, like most MPs, she accommodates her aspirations for Māori within her political career and what is possible in parliament. How else would she advance this, by not being an MP? Do you think she would have gained more by leaving Labour and becoming a TPM MP? Would she have even gotten a seat in parliament? Would Labour be in a position this year to make advances on Māori issues if she had left? Do you understand how parliament works in terms of MPs voting on Bills?

                2- She may not be as Mana Wahine as liberal supporters think she is. Dame Tariana walked from Labour. In fact Tariana was taken to a meeting in a government limo. When she came out she saw the limo driving off into the distance. Aunt Helen didn't mess around. Once you leave the hive, that's it. Maybe Mahuta likes government limos?

                This is all just slurs. She's not really liberal, she's not a real wahine with mana, she's just there for the gravy train.

                3- Will Mahuta be able to handle the pressure if China invades Taiwan? The Chinese Embassy will no doubt invite Mahuta in for a chat…and tell her how things are going to be.

                Again, this is just negatives about Mahuta that appear to be based on your not liking her. Why would she not be able to handle the pressure? You haven't said. As with all the other things, it's just making negative comments about her without explaining the how etc.

                My extrapolation is that you don't like Māori having so much power within Labour. /shrug/

                • Blade

                  I will leave your comments as is. The subject has had a good airing. I would just like to make two points. I wrote this:

                  ''And as always is the case, when someone stands up and gives as good as what they get, the nastiness, bs and just plain crazy stuff starts.''

                  I meant that to apply across the board to most, but not all, commentators on this site. You may like to go back to the beginning and read my first comment on this thread Then read the replies. That's how shit gets started.

                  Last point. You wrote.

                  Again, this is just negatives about Mahuta that appear to be based on your not liking her. Why would she not be able to handle the pressure?

                  Fair question. For starters, China is NZs largest trading partner. Should China attack Taiwan, what will Mahuta do? China will PROBABLY demand no support for our Western allies, or maybe they will at least apply trading sanctions. Our Western allies will expect our help in some form.

                  Let's now repair back to her actions on the S/F legislation. Political pragmatism ruled the day with Mahuta. Political pragmatism may be deadly for us when she finds herself squashed between China and the expectations of Nato ( we are a major non Nato ally).

                  So I think it is a prudent line of enquiry I have gone down.

                  I could also add the perceptions from former Rightwing politicians who have aired their views about Mahuta on talkback radio from their time in parliament. Trust me…you think I'm racist.

        • Patricia Bremner

          Blade keeps up with these attacks which are not grounded in fact. Nanaia opposed the first reading of the Seabed and Foreshore legislation, then stood with Labour to support it. She went back to her people and was defeated, but by quiet diplomacy won her seat back again. She has never denigrated anyone and always speaks to the subject in hand, not the personalities. Blade is part of that imo.

          Nanaia Mahuta has dignity. That quiet authority that does not need armed support to have effect.

          Ever diplomatic Nanaia is excellent in her role. She is a mover and a shaker who achieves consensus without making waves.

          She knows the Kaupapa of Diplomacy.

          That is the absolute opposite of Brownlee, who has caused real problems with his "the rules don't apply to me" attitude, and been involved in Christchurch water companies and benefited his party in questionable ways as AD pointed out.

          The National Party have sat around, working on who can we attack in Labour? imo

          Guess who they began with? Two women, both Maori… "Quelle surprise".

          They have attacked Poto Williams, and now Nanaia Mahuta.

          • Belladonna

            To be fair, in the past, they've also attacked David Clark and Phil Twyford.

            I don't think that their attack profile is explicitly sexist or racist – they (like all MPs in parliament) attack where they see a weakness.

            Just as Labour are doing with attack ads on Chris Luxon.

            Just politics in the Westminster system.

            • Drowsy M. Kram

              Just as Labour are doing with attack ads on Chris Luxon.

              Just politics in the Westminster system.

              Belladonna, you mentioned "attack ads on Chris Luxon". I'm (now) aware of just the one so far – have you got a link or links to the other(s)?

              Political attack ads can be misleading, but surely there's no harm in the clever, funny and/or just plain silly ones, as long as they aren't tainted by the poisonous stench of Dirty Politics.

              ‘Dancing Cossacks’ was clever (and effective) at the time.

              Let’s attack this: election ads come to life [14 Aug. 2017]
              Not all attack ads are created equal however, and every now and then the risk pays off. The Colenso-made "Dancing Cossacks" television advertisement from the 1975 election campaign was highly effective. Animated by Hanna-Barbera, and starring Robert Muldoon, the advert was highly critical of the governing Labour Party's compulsory superannuation scheme, implying it would turn New Zealand into a communist state. Ironically this is pretty much what we now have in the guise of Kiwisaver, but back then the idea was unpalatable for enough New Zealanders, and National won the election.

              [Imagine a NZ where compulsory super had been in place for 45 years!]

              Since Dancing Cossacks, we haven’t really seen any other political advertising go down the attack route or gain the same level of infamy until, perhaps, now. While some might consider the divisive Iwi/Kiwi ads of the 2006 campaign to be of the attack ilk, they didn’t pay off with a win for National; the binary creative device and billboard format forced people to take sides over issues most New Zealanders could understand were a little more complex than the rhetoric being presented and National lost the election.

              The advertisement in question is one of a barrage of attack ads which National has rolled out on social media targeting the government's proposed "feebate" scheme and fuel efficiency standards. [12 Sept. 2019]

              Advertising Standards Authority rejects National's appeal over misleading 'car tax' advert [11 Feb. 2020]

              • Belladonna

                Oh, I don't decry attack ads – just pointing out that all parties in NZ politics engage in it – right, left and in-between.

                By-and-large – so long as it's the policies or political action/inaction being attacked and not the person – I don't have a big issue with it.

                I think Willie Jackson's "useless Maoris" (a phrase apparently adopted as his own by Muttonbird on TS) – is beyond the pale, however.

                • Drowsy M. Kram

                  Don't approve of the recent Luxon attack ad – while the quote is accurate, I think the ad lacks substance.

                  In my biased opinion it seems conservative causes have used attack ads more often than progressive causes – maybe that will change as the dominance of traditional media dwindles, but I’m not holding my breath.

                  Why is Hobson’s Pledge publishing Star Wars ads in the Herald? [4 May 2022]
                  The ad depicts Jacinda Ardern as a shadowy sith, while ministers Grant Robertson, Nanaia Mahuta and Willie Jackson flank her.

                  • Belladonna

                    And what do you think of Willie Jackson's comment – which he doubled down on, rather than retracting?

                    • Drowsy M. Kram

                      "Useless Māoris" is an appalling generalisation [Was Jackson referring to all Māori? That would be odd.], one that should certainly be called out in this day and age.

                      The Covenant of Kohimarama
                      – Claudia Orange (1979)
                      'I imagine that a day will come not long hence, when the preposterous Waitangi treaty will be overruled and the ridiculous claims of the native to thousands of . . . acres of untrodden bush . . . will be no longer able to damp the ardour & cramp the energies of the industrious white man'.

                      Political nastiness has a lot to answer for in NZ and the wider world – I prefer kindness, but it's not for everyone, no matter where you fall on the politcal spectrum.

                      Managing MPs: The 'staff' you can't fire – even for 'being bullies or creeps' [3 April 2022]
                      Parliament is not about to give itself the power to sack MPs for bad behaviour.

                      That is the case in the US and the UK, but would be a major constitutional shift. Instead, the Speaker is proposing a system whereby MPs open themselves up to independent review, are made accountable like they have never been and, if they behave despicably, we all get to know that and take it into account when we exercise our three-yearly review at the ballot booth.

                      In short, as Trevor Mallard says: "If [MPs] do behave really badly… they're not above criticism and they're not above transparency."

                      All of this has two aims, Mallard says.

                      "First of all, we don't want that behaviour to happen… we're trying to influence behaviour. But also, to make clear that there are consequences, and for very serious breaches – transparency.

             [21 April 2022]
                      Right now you and I are witnessing one of the nastiest things ever seen in our political landscape, and that’s a fairly hefty call to make.

                      I am referring to the personal attacks on Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern. In addition her partner Clarke Gayford got a real good working over as well. Now, I am not referring to the comments about Jacinda made by departing MP Louisa Wall, because quite simply that’s rhetoric disguised as fact.

                      These past weeks have seen Ardern’s face being superimposed on some rather distasteful material along with constant disparaging comments on social media, plus there’s that nutter who was arrested for threatening to kill her. What’s going on is not just unbecoming, it’s actually very ugly, horrible and nasty, irrespective of whether you like her politics or not. It is also the first time I’ve seen a partner dragged into the mudslinging as much as Clarke.

          • Blade

            ''She went back to her people and was defeated.''

            Yes, I may (?) remember something about that. Could I have a link please.

            The rest of your comment is just rambling nonsense( Like ''The Bone People''), hence my dig at you the other day. Remember?



            If you want to learn the art of writing nonsense that presents initially as good opinion, look no further than one Robert Guyton.

            • Drowsy M. Kram

              If you want to learn the art of writing nonsense that presents initially as good opinion, look no further than one Robert Guyton.

              Honestly, as far as ‘nonsense’ is concerned, best you look closer to home laugh

              • Blade

                ''Delightfully twisted and evil.''

                They say you grow like the people you surround yourself with.

                You and the blog can take a bow. Job well done.

                • Drowsy M. Kram

                  Just calling it as I read it – can you honestly say you'd do any different?

                  while people like you who write trite tripe get a free ride

                  just rambling nonsense

                  Look, your trouble is you are believing your own bullshit.

                  You aren't capable of original ideas.

                  You are a liar. And you need to be shown as such. Your comments are vacuous and sloppy.

                  I'm noticing when you Lefties run out of an argument you become surly and nasty very fast.

                  Oh, and "Don't deflect." wink

                  • Blade

                    Thankyou kaiako. I rest my case.yesheart

                    • Drowsy M. Kram

                      You're welcome Blade, but your comprehension still needs work.


                      A period of voluntary solitude & self-reflection might serve you well.

                      The Virtues of Isolation [30 March 2017]
                      Much of this self-reconfiguring happens through what Fong calls “existentializing moments,” mental flickers of clarity which can occur during inward-focused solitude. Fong developed this idea from the late German-American sociologist Kurt Wolff’s “surrender and catch” theory of personal epiphany. “When you have these moments, don't fight it. Accept it for what it is. Let it emerge calmly and truthfully and don't resist it,” Fong says. “Your alone time should not be something that you're afraid of.

              • Stuart Munro

                A better book than the association deserves – Bayaz he ain't.

                Say one thing about Logen Ninefingers, say he has a million problems but sexy underwear ain't one of them.

          • And don't forget Claire Curran!

            • Belladonna

              I should think that the left would want to forget her as quickly as possible.

              If you truly think she was a shining light of talent and competence brought low by dastardly political attacks, I have a bridge to sell you (the invisible cycling one in Auckland).

              A 3rd rater, promoted beyond her level of capability, who apparently didn’t believe that the rules applied to her (rules which are specifically designed to ensure that ministerial authority is applied appropriately).
              And crumbled when caught out in flat-out lies to parliament and to the media.

              She should have resigned immediately, rather than sat out her term. There is zero chance that Labour would have lost Dunedin South if standing a new candidate there – it’s been a safe Labour seat for decades.

              • Drowsy M. Kram

                Talking of safe seats, it will be a while before I forget Clare Curran. In addition to working competently, our elected parliamentary representatives should ideally model good (moral and ethical) behaviour, imho.

                Ahead of her retirement, Curran gave an exclusive interview to Donna Chisholm. In it she talked in detail about the "toxicity and bullying" she experienced in her political career, and in particular about the pressures she felt during her time as a minister, which culminated in her demotion and resignation. This led to her receiving months of treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder. Curran made a number of allegations about parliamentary colleagues. She specifically alleged that in 2012 Dunedin-based National list MP Michael Woodhouse and other National MPs had taken part in an event where she was mocked with a toilet seat emblazoned with her photo. She supplied to Chisholm an image of Woodhouse with the seat. Curran also stated that in 2006, before she entered Parliament, National MP Nick Smith had compared her to Joseph Goebbels, and that during their time in Parliament, Jacinda Ardern had been derided for her then childless status by National MPs Maggie Barry and Amy Adams. Barry's remarks in 2012 had received public attention. In addition to naming National MPs who she alleged had engaged in bullying, Curran told Chisholm about an incident with a senior Labour colleague at the end of her first year in Parliament, who she did not name. This colleague she described as telling her that she was "a victim, a femme fatale, and that [she] used [her] sexuality as a weapon." When asked for comment on the toilet seat allegation by the New Zealand Herald, Woodhouse responded "To be honest I cannot really remember it, and I don't think an eight-year-old photo is a burning issue of the day." The independent MP Jami-Lee Ross, who left the National Party in a high-profile incident that included accusations of bullying against him, and who himself had dealt with mental health issues, apologised to Curran for the tactics of his former party.

                After leaving Parliament, Curran was appointed as a member of the University of Otago Council and a director of the Crown company Network 4 Learning. She was previously chair of Life Matters Suicide Prevention Trust (2020–2022) and is currently co-general manager.

                • Thank you, Drowsy. What you've posted undercuts all Belladonna (a concern troll if ever I saw one) has to say about Claire.

                  • Belladonna

                    It's rather sad that you characterise a Centrist voter as a 'concern troll' just because you disagree with me.

                    That's the kind of attitude which alienates us – and you do (I believe) want us to vote Labour – or even Green at the next election.

                    • I don't believe in such an animal as a 'Centrist' voter.

                      If you are not convinced by the 9 years of Natz mismanagement, and, (God knows, the Labour government is far from perfect, and they were constrained by the anchor of NZ First,) the present governments policies of compassion and progress, then nothing I or anyone can say will convince you.

                      You can maintain an attitude of being wilfully obtuse; but that's one I simply cannot understand.

                  • Belladonna

                    Goodness. With that attitude, I suspect you'll be perfectly happy with your party sitting on the opposition benches for the foreseeable future. After all, it's much better to be ideologically pure, than to be in power with the capacity to make change. /sarc/

                    A very significant percentage of voters in NZ (and in most other democracies) are Centrist. They're the ones who actually elect governments – because they change their votes, rather than being tied into a blind loyalty to any one political party.

                    You may not like us (fickle beings that we are) – but to deny our existence is, indeed, willfully obtuse.

                    • Muttonbird

                      Centrists are also the ones who ensure nothing gets done because they are always holding back progress in the form uncertainty of conviction.

                      Worst kind of voter.

                  • Belladonna

                    @ Muttonbird.

                    Are you truly telling me that it would be better to be a committed ACT voter than a Centrist?

                    Seems like a truly perverse recommendation to give to anyone!

                    We can't all be committed ideologues, you know.

                • Belladonna

                  What part of serious breach of ministerial rules, compounded by lying about it to parliament, and to the media (and, I presume to her boss, Ardern) – leads you to the belief that she demonstrates good moral and ethical behaviour?

                  Clare Curran is hardly a shining light of political competence, and the fact that she's been parachuted into sinecure roles post parliament – simply undercuts all of the complaints when National do exactly the same thing.

                  • Drowsy M. Kram

                    Belladonna, partly my fault but you've got the wrong end of the stick. The main purpose of those Wikipedia quotes was not to demonstrate Curran's "good moral and ethical behaviour", but rather to provide examples of Curran being targetted by other MPs behaving badly.

                    My preference is that, in addition to working competently, all our elected parliamentary representatives model good (moral and ethical) behaviour, and that it's valid to call out bad behaviour, even years later.

                • Corey Humm

                  Noone in Dunedin rated Curran. The whole town thought she was a fruit loop. She was labour candidate in south Dunedin, a pot plant could have been the south Dunedin candidate and won.

                  South Dunedin has a lot of issues that sadly don't get addressed cos it's a safe seat and labour can just ignore them.

                  Same with Christchurch East (labour just parachutes aucklanders in who dont have a connection to the area and do bugger all while rotting sewage poisons the entire electorate and nationals Frankenstein super schools schools with their 27% ncea rate fail a generation of kids ) it's sad that many of the poorest communities in this country are safe seats for any political party, cos a safe seat means the safe party doesn't care about the community and thinks it's a joke that can be taken for granted.

                  Stop defending labour hacks who are shit constituent mps being promoted and becoming shit ministers.

                  If you're a lefty you should hate shit ministers and shit mps on our side of politics. You shouldn't defend shitty mps just because they vaguely share some of your opinions , na , demand a better minister/mp. Don't defend mediocrity (I know it's hard cos mediocre is a compliment to this govts cabinet, it's a step up for them) demand success.

                  If Mahuta was a National minister we'd be calling her useless…. Cos she is a useless foreign affairs minister, she should never have gotten that portfolio and deep down every lefty defending her knows it.

                  There are very few heavy hitters in that cabinet and with the prime ministers magic waning….big tine, it's passed time for a new look cabinet with the next generation of labour mps getting cabinet experience so when we get back into govt in 2032 we actually have some ministerial experience. So yeah reshuffle the foreign affairs portfolio thanks!

                  • SPC

                    I'd be interested in anyone identifying what Mahuta should have said and done differently.

                  • Drowsy M. Kram

                    Stop defending labour hacks who are shit constituent mps being promoted and becoming shit ministers.

                    Corey, if you're replying to me, then I'd just point out that I do indeed consider myself "a lefty" (of the non-hating variety), and that "defending labour hacks who are shit constituent mps being promoted and becoming shit ministers" was not my intention.

                    In future I will try to write more clearly, if at all.

                    • Incognito

                      We need more passion and less compassion – all that kindness stuff is so overrated!

                • Anne

                  Thankyou DMK

                  I was one of those who fell for some of the accusations levelled at Clare Curran and I deeply regret having done so. She not only had to cope with the bullying and demeaning from fellow parliamentarians, but there was a group within the Labour Party at the time who were undermining her as well.

                  I am not the least bit surprised she ended up with PTSD and I'm glad to see she appears to have overcome it all and is now prospering.

                  Once a person (nearly always a woman) has been singled out for persecution – often purely for circumstantial reasons – a pack mentality develops and others jump on to the bandwagon. That is what happened to Clare Curran.

                  • Belladonna

                    Do you think that she had any responsibility for her own actions?

                    I've yet to hear a single believable explanation for her behaviour as a Minister, in totally disregarding the ministerial rules around meetings, and then lying about it to everyone. The 'accusations' levelled against her were proved up to the hilt.

                    And, nothing stopped her leaving parliament when she was sacked as a minister. Not even loyalty to Labour (as Corey said, above, they could have stood a potplant for Labour and won a bye-election in Dunedin South).

                    If it was such a toxic environment, then why did she stay?

                    • Anne

                      If it was such a toxic environment, then why did she stay?

                      Well, I can only speak from my own experience. It was not a parliamentary one although politics did come into it.

                      I was not going to be hounded and harassed by a few dinosaurs who did not believe women were capable of doing the specialised task I was doing so I fought back. I also had a mortgage to pay off. Eventually I did leave but it was on my terms.

                      Clare Curran did make some bad decisions but I suspect she was already suffering PTSD and her judgement was affected. However she didn't deserve the spiteful animosity that was directed at her sometimes for spurious reasons.

                    • Incognito

                      If it was such a toxic environment, then why did she stay?

                      Do you know what it is like to feel trapped in a situation that is so big and so overwhelming that you cannot see the exit and there is no end in sight?

                  • Drowsy M. Kram

                    Thanks Anne. Curran left parliament 18 months ago and moved on with her life.

                    As an unashamed lefty, I admit to taking some small pleasure in reminding readers here of a recorded conversation, between then National party leader Bridges and MP Ross (senior Whip [2017-18]), posted on Facebook on 17 October 2018. Ironically, only Maureen Pugh, who Bridges described as "fucking useless", remains an MP, and is now National party junior Whip – well played Pugh, well played.

                    Tbh, I find it difficult to pick a recent worst offender from the ranks of National party MPs and supporters – there are so many to choose from. But if I had to single out one person then it would be Boag – she fooled many good Kiwis for decades. Woodhouse, who put the photograph of Curran on a toilet seat, was a recipient of Boag's 'insider knowledge'.
                    Of course they all do it – each 'side' is as bad as the other. wink

          • weka

            Thanks Patricia. This would be my guess too. I don't have time to look up the details, or fact check Blade, and I don't have enough of the history in my head, but I cannot see much in their comments to me other than to slur and undermine.

            Lol, I see their reply to you was the same. Silly bone people, talking nonsense. It's well below the standard of debate expected here.

            • KJT

              Conclusive evidence for Dunning-Kruger.

            • Patricia Bremner

              Thanks Weka, I was flattered!! Booker prize no less.laugh

              Blade being Blade. I am not the smartest here by far, especially digitally, but I sure recognise a bully angry

              • Blade

                I’m not a bully. I just became tired of you criticising suggestions and ideas I have posted. That's fine. That's what debate is about. But when I ask you for suggestions or information as a counter, I never get a response?

                See below about The Bone People.

            • Blade

              I think the racist slur trope is running a little thin, Weka.

              Re The Bone People. Some people wondered about how this book won a prize, especially Alan Duff, who's books were way more popular.


              ''Profiler of the Maori under-class, Once Were Warriors' Alan Duff: "I don't think it's had that much impact on the country. Stand in the street and ask how many New Zealanders are going to say their lives were changed by this."

              He has a point. I tried reading The Bone People. It's one of only two books I have ever stopped reading. And I read many books.


              The New York Times:

              ''TWENTY years in the writing, ''The Bone People'' was turned down by virtually every major New Zealand publisher before it was brought out last year by Spiral, a local feminist collective.''

              ''Reading ''The Bone People,'' one wonders whether the judges of these awards were not a little influenced by the story of Keri Hulme's heroic efforts to write and publish her novel. Though it's a huge, ambitious work that aspires to portray the clash between Maori and European cultures, even as it attempts to mythicize the lives of its three peculiar heros, ''The Bone People'' never quite lives up to its billing.''


              Over to you, Weka.

              • weka

                one of the best books I've read 🙂 I think you may inadvertently just admitted you don't understand some of the arguments made here.

                I think the racist slur trope is running a little thin, Weka.

                I agree. I'm not the one making them though.

                • Stuart Munro

                  I liked it too – and so did a number of my stronger students.

                • Blade

                  ''One of the best books I've read. I think you may inadvertently just admitted you don't understand some of the arguments made here.''

                  I'm sure you weren't the only one who enjoyed it. However, many of us didn't. I found it meandering compared with the simple and coarse 'Once Were Warriors' that hit you in the face like a sledgehammer. Also I'm assuming major New Zealand publishers believed similar to me, along with the NYT, who weren't influenced by the Maori perspective that filters everything in NZ.

                  ''I think the racist slur trope is running a little thin, Weka.I agree. I'm not the one making them though.''

                  Here's the truth from my perspective. You and others are so ideologically tethered that you cannot fathom people who think Maoridom is full of bs. It must be trolling. It's racist. Blades a right wing agitator. He can't bear Maori in power. Nah, the tattoos scare the shit out of him…and on it goes. All these little sound bites are on the ready for any criticism of Maori. While I sometimes find it so funny that tears roll down my cheeks, at a deeper level I know there's nothing funny about this wilful ignorance concerning things Maori.

                  • weka

                    any yet you cannot explain what the problem is. You think that Māoridom is full of bs, but you won't say what that means or give examples.

                    I can't see how your position can not be racist when you are expressing the actual definition of racism – prejudice against a class of people based on their ethnicity.

                    • Blade

                      If I'm talking about white collar crime, I'm talking about smooth talking white shysters driving a Porsche and bringing misery to thousands of people. But we aren't talking about white collar crime.

                      ''And yet you cannot explain what the problem is. You think that Māoridom is full of bs, but you won't say what that means or give examples.''

                      I have given many examples:

                      Nepotism – Mahuta is allegedly currently tainted with that.

                      Diversity – unearned jobs and quota.

                      Racism – Maori only. I have given numerous examples.

                      Violence towards woman – rife.

                      School bullies- Maori figure big time.

                      Crime – guess who those ram raiders are.

                      Undemocratic – Maori wards etc.

                      Education failures – Education isn't important in many Maori households.

                      Drugs – a MAJOR reason why Maoridom will never advance. A whole generation has been ''wasted''… and wasted.

                      Aroha? What about the baby killings. Someone is telling bs.

                      How come you keep missing examples I have given over a long time? Are you stringing me along, too?

                    • weka []

                      How come you keep missing examples I have given over a long time? Are you stringing me along, too?

                      This may surprise you but I don’t read all your comments. And those that I have read in the past I don’t remember. I’ve come into thise thread and see you make a whole bunch of assertions without providing an argument to back them up. eg

                      Nepotism – Mahuta is allegedly currently tainted with that.

                      Can you please show me your comment where you explain how Mahuta is engaging in nepotism.

                    • SPC

                      So Maori being an ethnic minority with commonplace underclass statistics is a reflection on Maoridom, not the wider society. OK.

                      (a society in which home ownership might will become dependent on whether parents owned homes).

                      A Maoridom stripped of their iwi community by loss of landownership and related economy and chieftainship. Indigenous peoples go through a certain trauma, alienation even, when their homeland is colonised.

                      Some escape it by migration (to Oz), others by activism for the restoration of mana – a role in public land conservation and asset management, some restored iwi property ownership, language survival and a proper record of history.

                      Of course to give an individual Maori – equality of opportunity in education requires family support, safe housing and delivery of health and maybe social services.

                      If that, whenever it occurs, is not enough – well then we will have to look at the problem of inter-generational inequality because those of landlord tenancy housing lacked security of upbringing place and maybe "racism".

                      In the USA the 19th/20thC European immigrant groups had poor statistics for a generation or two, then they improved. There are exceptions, those who arrived earlier as slaves or later as illegals (rather than as skilled migrants). Wonder why?

                    • Incognito []

                      @ SPC, I assume your comment was to Blade, not to weka.

                    • SPC

                      Well done Watson.

                      I was not going to let Blade, our neo Dunning-Kruger expert, get away with that sort of comment by making it when there was no replay button left.

                    • Incognito []

                      Thanks, SPC, for confirming.

                      You put your finger on the pain point: the unhealthy and damaging relationship between inequity and racism/discrimination.

  4. KJT 4

    National's current tactics, as in so many other things, is simply to throw a lot of mud, and hope that some of it sticks.

    Time they grew up!

  5. barry 5

    The worst signal the NZ could send is to follow China around and say "whatever they offered you we will double it".

    Mahuta has already visited Fiji this year, and we are actively engaged with all the pacific nations.

    Wong visiting looks a little desperate, but is needed. She is new, representing a new government presenting a new face to the pacific.

    Talking in code "establishment of a persistent military presence in the Pacific by a state that does not share our values or security interests" to mean China without naming them, is not helpful. We should be saying "we oppose further militarisation of the pacific".

    It is frustrating the the media parrot the National talking points without questioning them. It is a mixture of bias (particularly the Herald and newsroom) – and laziness (it fills up columns and allows for clickbait headlines)

  6. Robert Guyton 6

    Nanaia Mahuta is a figure of dread for everyone who fears a women in a powerful role, an indigenous person in a powerful role, someone overtly linked (mokokauae) with non-Western ancestors, in a powerful role and is a person of powerful intellect from a culture other than their own, in a powerful role.

    I think, "what's not to like?" 🙂

  7. AB 7

    The people who think Mahuta should have jumped on a plane remind me of third-rate lower-middle managers conducting punitive annual performance reviews of their teams. Basically stupid and ignorant, they like to see visible signs of someone "being on top of things" – running round making a noise, organising meetings and talking sh*t off the top of their heads. The sort of people who have bought into the myth of 'personal excellence' as being the thing determinant of good outcomes. This sort of nonsense is pervasive everywhere now – a necessary component of people believing that they deserve everything they've got and that those with not much deserve to be that way too. A small piece that adds to the destruction of meaningful social relations by neoliberalism.

    • KJT 7.1

      KJT. Random musings on all sorts of things.: Corporatism and Neo-Liberalism (

      "How many times, within a company, when you want the person who get things done. You ignore the suits staring out the windows in the corner offices and talk to the person, usually a women, who actually does things. Normally someone several pay grades below the suits.
      Or when you are ordering something. The bright well dressed manager calls some wizened old guy from the shop floor to ask if it can be done".

      Māori understand this well. It is not the blowhard standing up in front who really runs the place, it is the Aunties rolling their eyes when he talks too long,sitting at the back.

      Pakeha have this thing, that good Leaders make a lot of noise, are arrogant, and confident they have all the answers. The Luxons, Key's and Hosking's.

      We know from management studies that good leaders, in reality, are often almost invisible. Spotted by the fact that all around them are achieving. Facilatative and consultative. High performing teams are run by leaders, who use the strengths of all the members.

      Our so called "Journalists" appear entirely ignorant of this.

    • RedLogix 7.2

      The sort of people who have bought into the myth of 'personal excellence' as being the thing determinant of good outcomes.

      So mediocrity and incompetence are the predictor of what then?

      • KJT 7.2.1

        You failed to get the point.

        Excellence and achievement are very rarely the result of one persons efforts.
        Some Managers like to delude themselves that it is solely due to their “Leadership” , to justify their ridiculous pay to their own conscience.

        And those who are most visable are very often the ones who have contributed least.

        • RedLogix

          Yet without that visible leadership – there would have been no unity of purpose, order and direction. All those invisible contributors would have remained just that – invisible.

          And yes of course I understand that any collective outcome is indeed the result of many contributions, of many kinds and types. All of them play a role. But all too often left wingers have personal hangups with authority and like to imagine the world might function without hierarchy, leadership and the necessary disciplines these impose.

          • KJT

            You still don't get the point, about effective leadership.

            Why do you need “visable leadership”.?

            I used to work in a very definate hierarchy where my instructions have to be legally followed, unless they obviously call on someone to do something unsafe or illegal.

            Effective leaders in those workplaces, and the military, also, do not go around barking orders. They train, plan and consult beforehand, invite criticism and ideas, run scenarios and drills, get input. That sort of leadership is not very visable, compared with running around barking orders like a movie star.

            We train people to question and criticise Leaders. It is called Cockpit Resource Management or Bridge resource management. The military do the same things. Not what I think it should be called. I dislike the term "Human resources". Relying on one persons judgement is a prime cause of accidents. And in the business and infrastructure supply world, the source of costly mistakes.

            • RedLogix

              Effective leaders in those workplaces, and the military, also, do not go around barking orders.

              Nowhere did I suggest any such thing. And you have given two good examples of how effective leadership is nothing like the cartoonish martinet you're tilting at.

              Two interesting points – I am reasonably familiar with CRM, the control rooms of large process plants routinely implement such systems, but note carefully, there is still a hierarchy. A ship or aircraft still has a Captain, a process plant a Shift Supervisor who ultimately responsible.

              Secondly I am well aware of how consultative decision making happens on a marae – I have experienced it in action probably more intimately than most people here. As I have noted years ago here – all cultures have their strengths and weaknesses, places of vision and terrible blindspots. I have consistently argued here that all the cultures who have arrived in this land belong here and have crucial capacities and strengths to build our collective future.

          • Patricia Bremner

            In the face of a cohesive Government with very few instances of white anting, the constant arguments fallouts and leadership changes on the right, don't actually make sense of

            “People on the left often have hang ups about authority….”

            People in general recognise good leadership. Good leaders manage through motivation and good team dynamics. Authority is when there is a problem. the old "Head of the Clan model is mostly replaced by consensus.

      • Blade 7.2.2

        If you take things one step back and ask who founded those companies? Who invented this? Who solved that problem? You will find mostly individuals and leaders in their field practicing personal excellence and grit.

        • Macro

          Who invented this? Who solved that problem? You will find mostly individuals and leaders in their field practicing personal excellence and grit.

          Like Newton standing on the shoulders of giants

          • Blade

            Yes, but what of those scientists who didn't stand on the shoulders of giants.



            Thales of miletus

            ''Call us biased, but we think the top slot goes to Thales of Miletus, who lived in the 6th century BC. He was the father of Western philosophy and one of the first people to explain natural phenomena without reference to mythology—technically making him the world's first scientist too. He even invented mathematics. How cool is that?''

            I don't agree with some facts in there. But it explains my point.

          • joe90

            Like Newton standing on the shoulders of giants.

            And our latter day Newtons with their state funded educations and resources, of course.

            And standing on taxpayers shoulders courtesy of funded programmes we have, to name a just a few, phones, devices and chips powering them, the interweb, terrestrial and satellite systems we use to communicate, the medical research, imaging, genetic sequencing, vaccines and pharmaceuticals we benefit from through to civil aviation, transport and navigation systems, and the robotics their production relies on.

            • RedLogix

              This isn't an either or thing. Collective learning simply means that because we do complex abstract language we do not loose our learned experiences when we die – instead it can accummulate from generation to generation.

              But this does not mean we all contribute equally. In the time of Newton for example anyone living at that time might have have access to the same shoulders, the same collective learning he stood on, but only a few were capable of lifting their eyes and seeing something new. It still takes the genius, insight and luck of these most rare individuals to see what no-one else has been capable of seeing before. This is why they are celebrated, and rightly so.

        • KJT

          No. In fact you will find most innovations and technical advances, "if you step back" come from teams of researchers, mostly employed by Government and public universities.

      • AB 7.2.3

        So mediocrity and incompetence are the predictor of what then?

        Sarcastically – the frequency with which one comments on the Standard?

        Seriously – the absence of mediocrity and incompetence is not marked by the presence of bullying idiocy

    • running round making a noise, organising meetings and talking sh*t off the top of their heads.

      In fact, AB, the sort of thing Luxon would have done all his working life – until he secured a few plumb jobs and the use of a telephone.

      • Patricia Bremner 7.3.1

        Oh Tony I laughed out loud.laugh How many school meetings were like that at times

        Someone making a point!! or Talking Sh.. off the top of their heads, or changing the name of some usual practice to call it their own. Yep Been there!!

    • newsense 7.4

      They’ve clearly chosen her as part of a dog whistle campaign.

      It’s nice to see the ‘Democracy Project’ just admit it is gentrified Mike Hosking and friends.

      It’s an obviously political attack devoid of context and in some cases truth.

      All those that have attacked her criticized her for not being overseas, don’t mention that she was in Fiji in April and signed a extensive agreement. Or that she negotiated an extension of our police presence in the Solomons.

      The idea that Penny Wong has achieved more in one whistle stop tour…

      Winston Peters managed to, with typical brazenness, say the PM meeting the US president was swanning around, and then criticize the Foreign Minister for not traveling.

      How does the government respond is the question. Question for the smarter folks, I guess.

      They attack with bs because the truth wouldn’t work. Remember power saving light bulbs being an assault on our freedoms?

      It also infuriates me to see someone who has the heritage and mana that Nanaia does being talked down to, while Gerry ‘just asking questions’ Brownlee gets treated as if he’s some distinguished elder statesman.

    • Anne 7.5

      AB @ 7
      In pre-computer days, the prerequisite of a good public servant was to always have a document in your hand. If you didn't, that meant you were not doing your job properly. 😡

      • Ha! Anne. As a schoolteacher, I well remember one student who'd sussed the system. He told me if he ever wanted to skip a class, he just wandered the corridors – with a piece of paper in his hands.

        Never got stopped or questioned!

      • Belladonna 7.5.2

        Sounds perfectly Gliding On!

        • Anne


          In fact there was a scene in the stage play of "Gliding On" which perfectly mirrored what happened in the Office where I worked.

          We were told that we were to have new curtains on all the windows. We decided on a colour and bolts of material duly arrived and were parked on a window ledge. Ten years later they were still there. We shifted office so don't know what happened to them.

  8. tsmithfield 8

    I don't think criticising the Chinese in respect to the Pacific is particularly useful.

    Where I think we have dropped the ball, not only NZ, but also Auz and the US, is in not giving enough diplomatic attention to the Pacific nations. This has opened the door for the Chinese. If we had been doing our job properly, the door would never have been opened in the first place.

    We may not have much option to take a stand against China is the possible Chinese invasion of Taiwan. Hence, why we need to diversify away from China as soon as possible.

    • Blade 8.1

      ''Hence, why we need to diversify away from China as soon as possible.''

      I agree. India and Brazil beckon. Especially India who are an economic powerhouse in waiting. We need to get in on the ground floor.

    • Mark 8.2

      Why the heck does China 'invading' Taiwan require NZ to take a stand?

      The Taiwan issue is simply a continuation of the Chinese civil war, and we would be idiots to get involved in other countries civil wars.

      It appears liberals now who seem the most avid war mongers, whether against Russia or China

      • KJT 8.2.1


        Taiwan has been an independent nation whose people have no wish to be ruled by China, for many decades now.

        China has no more claim to Taiwan, than the UK has to Normandy.

        • Mark

          If what you say is true, why does Taiwan insist on calling themselves "Republic of China". And why does the Taiwanese constitution and indeed maps include all of mainland China as under its jurisdiction?

          • KJT

            China afraid, of being invaded by Taiwan?

            Or. Are they afraid of Taiwans example of a successful Socialist Democratic Government, just as the USA, cannot afford any successful example of the same thing close to them?

            • Mark

              Taiwan an example of a "socialist democratic government" lol!!!!

              In any case my point is both sides consider themselves part of China. Its just who gets to rule. If they have a scrap it is a civil war that we should not involve ourselves in.

              • KJT

                Opposing big countries, like China, invading small independent States, is something we should definitely get involved in.

                Basically because if they get away with it, they will do more, which will affect us.

      • Populuxe1 8.2.2

        Hmmmm. Why should we take a moral stand against countries invading other sovereign countries on illegal pretexts… Hmmmmm. Maybe because it's fundamentally wrong?

        • Mark

          Taiwan is not recognized as a sovereign country by the vast majority of countries in the world, including New Zealand.

          • Populuxe1

            Matters of diplomatic pragmatism are not especially relevant in the breach

          • KJT

            So. That makes it OK for China to go and bomb and kill them, to force their rule on them?

            • Mark

              Right or wrong it does not make it our business.

              It is not in New Zealand's national interests to intervene in the civil wars of foreign countries.

              • KJT

                It is not a civil war. Except for symantics.

                It is an invasion.

                We should condemn it, the same as we should condemn any other invasion and violent or forced change of rule.

                New Zealand has often done what is right, not necessarily in the National interest. Such as the nuclear weapons ban, and refusing to participate in the invasion of Iraq.

                Invading Taiwan, which is no military threat to China, is wrong.

                Russia could claim invading Ukraine is a civil war also.
                Still doesn’t make it right.

                And we should still oppose it.

                It is also in our National interest, to thwart the notion that militarily powerful countries can play with less powerful ones, whenever they feel like it.

              • Belladonna

                Wow! So, just to take a random example, NZ should have taken no action whatsoever against South Africa. I mean, that wasn't even a civil war – so what right did we have to impose sanctions and sports boycotts? An unwarrantable interference in another nation's sovereignty! (/sarc/)

                I don't think your attitude towards foreign affairs would exactly go down well in most left/centre or even right wing circles.

                • Incognito

                  Mark is unashamedly and unquestionably pro-PRC, which is how he earned his nickname on TDB. All his comments are tainted by the same brush.

      • tsmithfield 8.2.3

        I guess we shouldn't take a stand on the Chinese persecution of the Uygurs and other minorities on the same basis then? Because it isn't our problem and we shouldn't get involved? Heck, why not just ignore any international injustice.

    • Ad 8.3

      That's simply not true.

      It was not China that came to the rescue every time a Pacific Island nation was hit by a hurricane, volcano, or riot. It was Australia, New Zealand, the United States, and France. Plus the funders EU, ADB, and World Bank. We give plenty of attention to Pacific nations. We've been pretty diligent with the Pacific Forum and it's a few foolish Melanesians who are stopping it from functioning.

      Agree we certainly need to diversify away from China, and should have used COVID to do so. Fonterra in particular has instead doubled down on China.

      NZ is in a strategically terrible position and it's mostly our key exporters who are to blame, not the current government.

      • tsmithfield 8.3.1

        Yes. If we were being cold-hearted we could simply tell the Solomon's to forget about the help of NZ, Australia etc next time there is a hurricane and tell them to rely on their new Chinese buddies. At the moment they seem to think they can have their cake and eat it too.

        At the moment we are in a similar position to Germany in their reliance on Russian gas, in that we have too stronger reliance on a potential future enemy. Like the Germans have found out, it is not easy to make quick changes in that respect when the shit hits the fan.

        Probably our biggest saving grace is the world food crisis that is already here. As a major food producer we should soon have a lot more options that give us a chance to diversify away.

  9. Mark 9

    The fact that Ardern jetted off to the US and discussed Pacific affairs with the US president before even sending her foreign minister to talk to the Pacific leaders themselves is arrogant, patronising, and condescending to the Pacific countries. It portrays a supremacist mindset, a member of the old Anglo Saxon imperial club, in spite of all the woke pretensions otherwise.

    • Drowsy M. Kram 9.1

      Don't know about that Mark – regarding who would be the better fit for the "supremacist" label, it might be a closer run thing between Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and (permanent) President Xi Jinping than you think.

      China’s Xi allowed to remain ‘president for life’ as term limits removed
      [11 March 2018]

    • newsense 9.2

      Okay man.

      Huff and puff.

      Did a pacific leader tweet the language Mahuta had negotiated, while repudiating Scott Morrison as what you’ve described?

      Did any Pacific leaders say Mahuta was a colonialist etc etc…no.

      But you, way to prove how non-colonialist you are by joining in a transparent dog whistle on our ‘lazy’ Foreign Minister.

      And what does the American expression ‘woke’ have to do with Polynesians and other Pacific peoples discussing Pacific affairs?

    • Populuxe1 9.3

      Or… The US has had established populations and territories in the Pacific which it has a moral and constitutional obligation to protect, New Zealand is an established Pacific nation, and there really isn't a logical reason to justify China having defense pacts in this part of the world because they have no national territories here…

      • Mark 9.3.1

        You mean the US protection afforded to the inhabitants of the Marshall Islands whom they evicted from their ancestral homes and tested nuclear weapons over their heads?

        "there really isn't a logical reason to justify China having defense pacts"

        Well that is for the Chinese and the respective Pacific countries to decide, don't you think? Or is it because you are a citizen of a Western country you think you have the right to dictate to others how they should run their affairs?

      • RedLogix 9.3.2

        It seems likely that some Chinese fleet sailed past here once upon a time and thus the territory of New Zealand is in reality an ancient part of the Han supremacy.

    • Ad 9.4

      That's as dumb as saying Xi Jinping should have done the Pacific tour over the last two weeks not Wang Yi. Get a grip.

      • Mark 9.4.1

        Well not even Mahuta went.

        Furthermore it is arrogant and condescending to discuss the future of the Pacific with the US leaders before you even discuss with the Pacific leaders.

        Have any of you thought that some of the Pacific countries may actually have wanted china to visit and show an interest in their development?

  10. Mark 10

    Western record in the Pacific:

    • mass deaths in Samoa through deliberate neglect by NZ authorities
    • evicting whole populations from their ancestral homes and using their homes as nuclear test sites (US)
    • Enslaving Pacific islanders to work on Queensland sugar plantations ('blackbirding')
    • Terrorism – ala Rainbow Warrior
    • Nuclear testing (again, this time by the French)

    Yet China signs a few deals with sovereign states without applying an coercion, and a few supremacists go all antsy lol!

    • KJT 10.1

      You will note that New Zealanders opposed almost all of those.

      The flu epidemic in Somoa was a failure by our Government that New Zealanders expressed their disgust about, even then.

      I was one, getting in the way of nuclear warships.

      “Without coercion”. Sure.

    • RedLogix 10.2

      The obvious question is why is West Taiwan attempting such deals? There is no obvious advantage to them economically, nor socially. The only possible motivation is to establish their own Han supremacy in the South Pacific over time.

      Given that the West Taiwanese have no capacity to impose their will on these small independent nations just at the moment – then purchasing it is the obvious pathway to establishing a beachhead.

      On the other hand given the astounding rate at which the West Taiwanese are expanding their navy and military we are also entitled to ask exactly why? Is anyone proposing to invade West Taiwan? Exactly what is the imminent or existential threat that justifies so much belligerent effort?

      • Mark 10.2.1

        Is anyone proposing to invade West Taiwan "mainland China"?

        Well given the recent history of multiple Western invasions of China, not to speak of US military aggression all over the globe, and being surrounded by US military bases, China is very sensible to want to build up its military capabilities.

        But you are probably ignorant of all that, with your tongue right up Uncle Sams ass.

        • RedLogix

          The most recent example you have dates back almost 200 yrs. Now that really is an impressive paranoia.

            • KJT

              I seem to recall that the last invasion of China, had, "The West" fighting on the Chinese side.

              • RedLogix

                More to the point the Western and Nationalist forces did 98% of the effort and sacrifice driving the Japanese out of West Taiwan – while the Maoist cowards skulked in the mountains. Emerging only to start a civil war when their opponents were exhausted restoring the integrity of the nation.

                Despicable then, still despicable now.

                • KJT

                  chinese arlords fighting each other – Google Search

                  China was a bunch of warlords fighting each other. The Mao'ists were just one of many.

                  Some fought the Japanese directly, others even supported them.

                  The disunity helped the Japanese, of course.

                  The Nationalists were just as nasty as the rest of them.

                  Rather than "cowering in the mountains" the CCP and Kuomintang were allies in fighting the Japanese.
                  Chang Kai-shek had to be kidnapped by his own Generals to force him into fighting Japan.
                  As the Kuomintang decided that beating the CCP was more important than resisting the Japanese.

                  "internal pacification before external resistance" ((in Chinese):攘外必先安内) was very unpopular with the Chinese populace, which caused widespread resentment and demonstration against the ruling KMT leadership and its regional warlord allies.”.
                  This, of course helped the CCP politically.

                  Later the CCP did a tit for tat, and did the same.

                  Both, and the other warlords, betrayed their people by fighting each other, and not the Japanese when it was needed.

                  It is debatable if China would be better off with warring self interested right wing warlords or, as happened, purportedly left wing warlords. All were murderous arseholes.

                  • RedLogix

                    Well the right wing ones finished up in East Taiwan and after a couple of decades of military regime fuckery turned into a fairly healthy democracy. Not the same could be said for the West Taiwanese.

                    Yeah it's childish but I enjoy taking the piss a little out of the 50Cent army.

                    • KJT

                      You and Mark make a good pair.

                      Both childishly one eyed apologists for unjustifiable evil.

                    • Incognito []

                      That’s a very one-eyed snarky comment, RL and Mark are nowhere near being in the same league of apologists. In fact, one is not even an apologist as such. Give it a rest, please.

                    • RedLogix

                      You were the one who made the claim that the US treated the Atlantic and Pacific as 'buffer states'. Yet very oddly under the Freedom of Navigation doctrine their navy essentially provides the default security for merchant navies for all nations – enabling 7 decades of almost completely unimpeded free trade everywhere.

                      You have known nothing different so you take all of this for granted – but then again what have the Romans ever done for us?

                    • KJT

                      Drawing a very long bow, crediting something that occurs by mutually beneficial agreement between all nations, to the USA, "providing security".

        • Stuart Munro

          It hasn't all been one way traffic.

          You may recall that during the Korean War, China involved itself on behalf of the invading and defeated North. They inflicted considerable losses on UN forces and civilians, but were ultimately soundly defeated.

          MacArthur was disposed to pursue Chinese forces, and, using nukes, to complete the subjugation of China (he was bitter at the casualties his forces had suffered). But the US government of the day (which you want to call white supremacist) reined him in.

          Be grateful – nations that read the Romance of Three Kingdoms (三国演义) are typically less generous in victory.

          • Mark

            "But the US government of the day (which you want to call white supremacist) reined him in."

            Obviously because they did not want WWIII as the Soviets would have then stepped in. It would also have gone beyond the remit of the ostensibly UN led force.

            "They inflicted considerable losses on UN forces and civilians, but were ultimately soundly defeated."

            The North Koreans did not achieve what they set out to achieve, which was to take all of Korea. The Americans did not achieve what they finally set out to achieve (i.e. take back all of the Korean Peninsular). The Chinese were the only party to achieve what they set out to achieve – i.e. throw US forces back to the 38th parallel and leaving in place North Korea as a buffer state.

            • RedLogix

              Why is it that these paranoid ex-marxist states such as Russia and West Taiwan need 'buffer zones' all the time? Most other nations get on just fine without them FFS.

              • KJT

                You forgot the USA. who want entire oceans.

                • RedLogix

                  Oceans that are freely and safely used by merchant navies of all nations. Even their opponents. FFS you of all people should know this.

                  • Mark

                    Well let's see how the US would react if Mexico and Canada suddenly became a vassal state of China, in the way that Japan and Taiwan are vassals of the US?

                    • RedLogix

                      So that is what West Taiwan needs the massive navy and fancy hyper missiles for.

                  • KJT

                    If you weren't such a one eyed spriuker for the USA, you would know that blocking innocent passage of merchant ships, outside wartime, has been an Israeli and US, pursuit.

                    While other countries have kept to the agreement of innocent passage.

                    • Tiger Mountain


                    • RedLogix

                      Oh wow. What fraction of global shipping gets blocked by the US and Israel then?

                      Like of the many millions of merchant vessels journeys made since the end of WW2 – how many were pirated by the US Navy?

              • Tiger Mountain

                Look at the global map Red, and the locations of the 750 plus acknowledged US military facilities and bases that ordinary internet users can find out about online.

                The number of Americans with passports has risen in the last 15 years from 27% to low 40s now according to Forbes, but those that travel appear mainly to choose near local locations and Western Europe not Russia, so what is the purpose of the US presence? it is certainly not to protect ordinary US citizens–it is to aggressively signal US Imperialism’s intent.

        • Populuxe1

          Answer the question. Why is Beijing pursuing security deals with Pacific states?
          Cui bono?
          China has absolutely no territory there and the Pacific nations lack any capability to offer China military assistance. So what's the point?
          Given your "recent history of multiple Western invasions" begins and ends with the Opium Wars which ended 180 years ago, I'm not convinced you're in any position to be accusing anyone of having their tongue up any superpower's ass, Fitty.

      • KJT 10.2.2

        "West Taiwan"


    • Ad 10.3

      Chinese track record in the Pacific: Nothing.

      But you gotta start somewhere.

      • RedLogix 10.3.1

        Why start? It is not like the South Pacific offers much in the way of Lebensraum. A lot of fish yes – and the chance to isolate Aus and NZ from the rest of the world but then no-one would say that out loud.

        • Mark

          Maybe it is to help fellow developing countries to develop. Like helping one's fellow man? Obviously something you have no conception of eh?

          In any case is it not a matter to be decided between Pacific countries and China?

          • KJT

            China, and the USA, are getting more militaristic in the Pacific out of the goodness of their hearts.

            Pull the other fucking leg.

          • Populuxe1

            That seems somewhat unlikely give China hasn't even finished developing it's own interior. China's per capita GDP for 2020 was around NZ$16,121.70. Ours is around NZ$47,476.00.

          • Kiwijoker

            Mark, sniping at other commentators does nothing to advance your argument.

  11. Chris T 11

    Personally think she seems a nice enough person, but is out of her depth with foreign affairs. Frankly she ain't that great at it. In fact frankly shite. Not to say she would not be good at other portfolios.

    If I was Labour would have gone with Little, Faafoi, or at a stretch Mallard or Sepuloni.

    • Robert Guyton 11.1

      "nice enough"?

      We are overwhelmed by your fulsome praise for Nanaia!

      But you think she is "shite" at foreign affairs?

      I think you are shite at assessing the qualities of Nanaia Mahuta.

      • Chris T 11.1.1

        I just don't have a huge amount of confidence in her performing the current role they suicide passed her with, when I personally think she would be better used in other areas.

        • joe90

          .. a hospital pass..

          • Chris T

            Fair call.

            Again if it were me. And I was Adern.

            I would just swap their roles. Sepuloni would make a brilliant Foreign Affairs and Mahuta a Brilliant Culture, heritage and the other Social Development one.

      • Chris T 11.1.2

        Sorry. I probably put it badly, and it might just be a personal opinion thing.

        But again (IN MY PERSONAL OPINION), which could be complete crap.

        If for weird inclusivity reasons it needs to be a woman. In my opinion from interviews I have seen, while Sepuloni comes across as intelligent, articulate and knowledgable, who also has a sense of humour. Namia comes across as not so much.

        Just my opinion. I am fine with being proved an idiot. Wouldn't be a first.

        Edit: Just to add. I think while everyone has mixed views on Winston, most people would agree the dude was a good Foreign Affairs Minister and had the same qualities.

    • SPC 11.2

      Two of the 4 do not have the temperament for it. Mahuta has a certain standing in the Maori world which travels well in the Pacific without her having to …

  12. Chris T 12

    Think they are having a re-shuffle soon any way, so she ain't going to be it for much longer any way I would imagine.

    • Robert Guyton 12.1

      You would indeed, "imagine" but your "imagine" has the weight of, say, Luxon's hair.

      • Drowsy M. Kram 12.1.1


      • Chris T 12.1.2

        Yes. Re-shuffle

        We can have a virtual bet on it if you like.

        I say she get's turfed as Foreign Minister. You obviously say no in the usual mid term re shuffle.

        Loser has to post "I am slow and the other poster (insert your or my user name) is amazingly brilliant and I am not worthy of kissing their feet while prostrated before them."


        • Robert Guyton

          I wouldn't ask you to do that, were you to lose the bet, Chris T – it's not really my thing, public humiliation etc. More a private school/bully's sort of bet.

          Despite my lack of "guts" around betting, I'm entirely confident that Nanaia Mahuta won't get "turfed" at all. Feel free to gloat/crow/call for your pound of flesh if it transpires that I am wrong.

          • Chris T

            I wouldn't "gloat/crow/call for your pound of flesh"

            I am sure she will just get a more suitable high profile portfolio.

            As I said. I like her. Just don't think suitable for that one.

      • Chris T has the same attitudes I ascribed to another right whinger – above.

        Personally, I think Nanaia one of the better Foreign Ministers this country has had. Certainly light years better than the bullying buffoon Brownlee.

  13. Scud 13

    Here's my two Bob's Worth,

    1, Penny Wong is playing catch-up in the Sth Pacific due to 9yrs of Stupidity from the Coalition led government & the previous labour government here in Oz, which has done more damage IRT:

    The miss handling of worker abuse with Sth Pacific Farm workers Scheme & some are labelling it a modern version of Black Birding.

    The Coalition reducing funding for the ABC & SBS overseas broadcasting into the Sth Pacific including the Short Wave Radio Service which was closed down & the Frequency Bandwidth sold off to the Chinese believe or not.

    Aid Development has been structured around short term high impact projects & long term project have either stop or been reduced.

    A reduced presence of the ADF & AFP in the Region to more of a Reaction Force than a soft power Prevention Force.

    And Finally the long term effects to CC, which the Coalition completely ignored the Sth Pacific Nations concerns to the long impacts of CC.

    2, The current NZG, has dropped the ball in its handling of the Sth Pacific Region especially after policy & mission statements made by the last Labour Coalition Government which was making ing up from the last 30yrs of economic stupidity including the massive cuts to the Defence Budget & NZG's being heavily foucs on the Sandpit (Iraq & Afghan Conflict) which reduced the NZDF, MFAT & Long Term Aid Development in the Sth Pacific.

    Covid19 hasn't helped the current NZ FM nor the MIA NZ Defence Minister as well.

    Both need to be to strip of their other respective Portfolios & concentrate on their respective Foreign Affairs & Defence Portfolio's before it's out of hand in the Sth Pacific.

    There are a number of issues concerning me atm coming out of NZ which is going to have a long term impact to not only NZ, but to the Sth Pacific & the Antarctic Region if this Government & the next NZG's over the next 2 Decades don't act now. Soft Political & Military Power is better than Hard Military Power or in the words of one Winston Churchill "Jaw Jaw is better than War War" & I know what I would prefer as well.

    1, Is the ability of the NZDF to be able to 3 concurrent Tasks at the same time-

    HADR both in NZ & in the Sth Pacific ie CC weather related events or the main Alpine Fault rupturing which has a greater 75% chance of rupturing in our lifetime & those odds are getting smaller each year now which also the same for Wellington or a major Volcanic Eruption in the Nth Is.

    Maritime Surveillance Capability in all 3 Regions while conducting HADR or a Chap7 Peacekeeping related Mission be it in the region or elsewhere.

    Atm the NZDF is struggling to do, since the 91 Defence Cuts & the RNZAF lost nearly 45% of it Maritime Surveillance Capability once the 4 P8's enter service.

    The 3F27's that were based out of Wigram provided an extra 25% in capability, which in turned provided 75% of EEZ Patrols from the Sth to the Chats & down into the Sth'ern Ocean. Which in turned freed up 2 P3's for the Sth Pacific Nations EEZ Patrols on a semi permanent basis (soft power). When the F27's were disbanded & Wigram closed as a economy measure the NZ EEZ & Sth Pacific Nation EEZ Patrols were reduced quite heavily to preserve the hrs on the P3's.

    This will get worst because the Maritime Surveillance Capability has been reduced by 4 P8's & the new Enhanced Maritime Surveillance Capability has quietly been cancelled as a NZG Economy Budget savings measure.

    It's the same for the RNZAF's Airlift Capability:

    Fixed Wing has seen a 25% reduction when the Andovers weren't replace & these Aircraft could get into almost of the WW2 Airstrips where a C130 couldn't go.

    The Rotary Wing has a had 50% reduction from 18 or 16 Huey's to 8 NH90's, but with 50% increase of capacity. It's the same old story as9 the NH90's can't be in 3 place at the same time.

    The RNZN used to have 2 ships in the Sth Pacific Region, one supporting the joint Oz& NZ Military UXO Clearance Program in the Solly's and elsewhere, with another in the eastern Sth Pacific to support the P3's & or during the Army's Tropical Twilight Exercises which 2 were held annually.

    Since then the RNZN has lost a number of ships or various Capabilities have reduce/ merged into 1 Ship to replace 3 ships.

    To me one ship can't replace 3ships nor can it be in 3 places at the same time.

    Then there is the L421 Canterbury with its design limitations & there is only 1 ship. The 2 OPV's are no longer fit for purpose on the Sth Ocean due to CC & are missing a Combat Management System to properly integrate the data links from the P3's, P8's & or the Seasprites. Because Project Protector was done on the cheap, without any thoughts or direction from the then Labour/ Alliance Coalition to CC or if the Region goes tits up due Political problems.

    The planned Southern Ocean Patrol Vessel was quietly cancelled some two months for the Budget amongst the fluff from the NZ Defence Minister about People, Infrastructure & the Sth Pacific last in that order.

    The SOPV would've allowed the RNZN the opportunity to free up a OPV for the Sth Pacific EEZ Patrols, but again the RNZN are lacking ships to be truely effect effective at providing soft power to all regions.

    If there is one thing that has taught me a Sth Pacific Nations/ Community is they do like a Cocktail Party on a NZ or Oz Ships, because it provides a presence that we as both nations are looking after them & have their back. But when they don't see a NZ or Oz Navy Ship & only during HADR Task, or they start to see Long Term Aid Development projects being reduced including the exploitation of the Sth Pacific Farm workers Scheme in Oz & NZ etc.

    Then they going to go with China without realising the various hooks that comes with the Chinese Aid Development. Because at the end of the day the Sth Pacific Nations want long term sustainable development. Even though the current trends of the Chinese government with its Aid Development suggests something entirely different especially in regards to their respective fishing practices & one only needs to have a look at has happened to the Easter Is & Galapagos Islands Biodiversity after the Chinese have rape & pillage the respective Fishing Grounds or in Sri Lanka atm.

    Lastly the Antarctic Treaty is up for renewal in 2048, China has already made its 1st move to & force the collapse of the Antarctic Treaty. By vetoing the protection of the Emperor Penguins & their respective fishing grounds that the poor Emperor Penguins required to sustain itself which is getting tougher each yr for the Antarctic biodiversity that live in that harsh environment due to CC.

    • RedLogix 13.1

      Most useful comment yet. Always appreciated yes

    • SPC 13.2

      Yes there is the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (Chinese in breach in the South China Sea), the South Pacific fishing grounds (long term well-being of the islands and fishing stocks), our continental shelf rights and threats to the Antarctic Treaty for us as security concerns.

      But because of our security alliance with Oz, and their one with the USA we are left with connection to the unresolved Taiwan issue – one where our military contribution is irrelevant, but diplomatic advice might be useful.

      • Scud 13.2.1

        Given the run down state of the NZDF atm:

        It's more likely that the RNZAF & RNZN would be Tasked: To defend, To protect either the Fleet Train & or the Convoys.

        If & when China is stupid or mad enough to invade Taiwan.

        • SPC

          The military side think Taiwan is vulnerable by 2027, the geo-political and global market see the risk from 2025 (people will fight to defend Taiwan while its chips are vital to the western economy – the major chip maker on the island is targeting 2025 for developing offshore capability for the western market – Texas and European production).

          The variable is Xi Jinping and during his reign (or opportunism because of other factors in the world) hubris.

          • Scud

            If the Chinese unemployment rate is correct from last week of 6% & climbing & the 18-24 youth unemployment hitting above 16% which is climbing quite sharply.

            I think we might a "Houston we have a problem" moment?

            Especially if past history has taught us anything about one authoritarian party states/ nations. If they currently have or about to have internal problems with unemployment & especially amongst the Youth.

            I would be getting a wee bit concerned at what may in the short to medium term.

            • SPC

              It sort of depends how much is a result of their pandemic elimination strategy, the lack of inflow/outflow through Shanghai impacting on new hiring.

              They are now easing to a more pro business approach to pandemic management (while still limiting citizen gatherings).

              Some firms will lose staff when omicron spreads (and workers isolate) and so either they hire casuals to step in, and or the government compels work training/internships.

              There is the easing back on over supply of property and reigning in some of their capitalist elites (credit restraint) and the impasse with the US – but that is covered by their redirect to the domestic market (so they will have to increase wages).

            • Obtrectator

              "If they currently have or about to have internal problems with unemployment & especially amongst the Youth."

              Especially when that demographic is so skewed gender-wise – all those "little emperors" unable to find wives because of over-prioritisation of male children.

              • Scud

                That's an excellent point you have made & BZ btw.

                I should've added as well in my last post.

                That China has also a falling birth before Covid19 took off in China, but not as bad as Russia. But it's been a concern to the CCP Politburo for over a decade or so now, that they lifted the 1 Child policy to increase the Birth rate & it hasn't even made a dent as the population don't trust the authorities if they have more than 1 Child for the fear of losing the 2nd Child again.

                Having a falling birth rate is not a good position for China to be in from a Military POV, especially when Xi does to finally decide make a move on Taiwan.

                If the CCP can't control internal unrest caused by unemployment in the 18-24 age bracket or what we seen in Shanghai in the last Covid19 lockdown. Then it may be Xi's only Course Of Action, to divert Chinese attention from internal unrest to invading Taiwan or heads Nth into Siberia which is now a possiblity given what has happened to the Russian Bear under Tsar Putin.

                As the old Chinese proverb goes: "May we live interesting times?"

                • Belladonna

                  A very dystopian view (and I apologize in advance).
                  But I have wondered if the Covid policy (poor quality vaccine) in China is a disguised eugenics policy – kill off a swathe of the older population to fix part of their demographics issues.

                  I know. A dark and cynical view of politics…..

                  • SPC

                    The real issue there is that a lot of the older Chinese are not vaccinated (work mandates do not work on them) – some surmise there is a lack of trust in government among those who went through the cultural revolution.

                    Three doses of sinovax is apparently effective at preventing death, thought the samples there would be small because there has been limited virus spread.

  14. Mike the Lefty 14

    The Labour government is walking a tightrope with China. Three decades of increasing reliance on Chinese markets has made NZ's economy so dependant on them that if the Chinese government ever decided to punish NZ for its stance then our economy would quickly collapse and we would be in for the worst recession in history.

    But I don't suppose National and ACT would mind that.

    • It's not immediately obvious, but the Chinese need NZ much more than we need them.

      China has 20% of the world's population – and 7% of the world's arable land!

      (They also import 85% of their energy resources!)

      Long term, we're in the box seat.

      • Populuxe1 14.1.1

        China has around 120 million hectares of arable land. We have around 491,000 hectares. Not really that much of a box seat.

  15. SPC 15

    An interesting advocacy from Steve Maharey.

    He compares social media use to being part of a team New Zealand delegation when abroad (diplomatic/trade mission) – that is a certain bi-partisanship.

    And while supporting incognito social media activity – wants internet/social media providers to reveal identities to authorities.

    Having these keyboard warriors on your delegation is not something any Prime Minister would want. They are certainly not going to follow the rule that they are part of team New Zealand.

    Is it OK that saggy warriors get to define how the New Zealand Prime Minister (this century’s crop has done us proud offshore) is seen by international audiences?

    I have a cure for this. It impacts not only the people who spend their days attacking Prime Ministers but also those who go after other people.

    It is that we should know their names. Not immediately. There is value in being able to say things without being identified. But if what is said strays into the domain of breaking the law – say death threats – then the individual’s internet provider can be asked to reveal the name.

    This would, I think, have a calming effect similar to the stern warning given to international delegations pre-social media.

    We should have our arguments. But we need to understand there are limits to what speaking freely means. There was a saying once that applied to the media – “with power comes responsibility”. It is a saying ignored within the power domain of social media. It should be adopted.

    The idea that a democratic government has a legitimate interest in how its citizens comment on our affairs on international social media is a little worrying. Such control of narrative, domestic and foreign, is usually associated with nations like Russia, Iran and China. Hopefully it is not part of preparing us for some sort of international security regime that expects its member states to suppress free speech.

    Most people would have no problem with police investigating death threats, by identifying people with the help of internet providers – and one would expect that occurs now. The question is, what breaking the law would actually mean if legislation to coerce handing over names to authorities was granted on a more general basis. Because it's pretty obvious this is about development towards hate speech law. .

    The idea that hate speech law might incorporate some aspect of being seen as part of team New Zealand (or Five Eyes/Judeo-Christian civilisation international/multi-cultural PC domestic), or otherwise flagged for loss of privacy (before authorities) on the internet/social media is preparing us for the sort of restraint that was once the domain of editors. The media estate was a valued partner in the regime, but it could not challenge it.

    Note – the Herald in 2000 with its winter of discontent campaign saw themselves as of the regime that ruled us more so than the elected government. After all as Murray Horne put in 1998 – the neo-liberal order that had been established was one which elected governments could no longer challenge.

    ps what are the limits to speaking freely about China or Five Eyes security policy, what is team New Zealand on trade mission (FTA with China, not the USA) and diplomacy – security ally of Oz, but see Taiwan as part of China.

  16. SPC 16

    Let's speak the unvarnished truth about the words

    hierarchy, leadership and the necessary disciplines these impose

    Compliant obedience to Five Eyes white race Judeo-Christian religion, heritage and culture homeland patriarchy. Famous Five into Secret Seven with the Jewish (Israel) and Catholic (Vatican) States.

    It's right wing and it has problems with women who challenge established power (the US Supreme Court enabling the return to Jim Crow laws against women and working class minorities and now the suppression of Me Too via damages claims).

    And that includes partnership with indigenous people, our history and the Treaty (CRT in the USA), and anything which challenges the power of (international) capital in the organising of the economy.

    We so need a French revolution on our greenredfields (though the Japanese and Germans need the nuclear power option more than us – we have onslow etc).

    • RedLogix 16.1

      Drinking and blogging is a bad idea …

      • SPC 16.1.1

        I'll await your reply tomorrow then.

        • RedLogix

          Don't hold your breath – I'm not your therapist.

          • SPC

            There's no cure for, what you have, but the rapture of the white race elves into heaven (so don’t bother getting one).

        • Drowsy M. Kram

          I'll await your reply tomorrow then.

          smiley Clever response to a pointless put-down yes

          • RedLogix

            If you think that incoherent rant had a point then it's all yours.

            • SPC

              hierarchy, leadership and the necessary disciplines these impose

              All hail J and the 32 degrees order (out of “leviathon swamp” chaos) down to the level of bottom feeders.

              • RedLogix

                If you are trying to make this personal you have the wrong religion. But please the mask has slipped so far now as to be unseemly.

                • SPC

                  How, I have not attacked you once? As usual, it is you alone making the personal slights. That speaks to character.

                • Mark

                  hmmmm…..very think skinned aren't you. Its just a blog mate, and no one is using their real names, so perhaps don't have a hernia eh? LOL!

            • Drowsy M. Kram

              RL, imho your comment @16.1 was an exemplar of "a pointless put-down."

              Pointlessly personal too – your reply @ doesn’t change that.
              Talk about the mask slipping…

  17. Adrian 17

    Some tend to forget when criticising the Govt for not engaging with the South Pacific countries that over the last 2 and a half years extensive work has gone in to ensuing that they had been assisted hugely with vaccine supply, vaccines that work btw, unlike the Chinese placebos.

    • Mark 17.1

      Actually the chinese vaccines have been pretty effective.

      "The study, which has not yet been peer-reviewed, tracked over 10,000 people infected and their close contacts in an outbreak that infected 167 people with the virus. The study also showed that the vaccines were 100% effective in preventing severe cases and deaths."

      Moreover, being a traditional vaccine, the Chinese vaccines are shitloads safer than Pfizers.

      • SPC 17.1.1

        When there is a booster (three doses) the Chinese vaccine has delivered good immunity results so far. Their problem is low rates of vaccination among the old (not a problem during elimination).

        The Chinese are now moving from elimination – easing rules on business. So we'll soon see the impact of omicron on their hospitalisation rates – and the older folk unvaccinated will either isolate or risk death.

      • RedLogix 17.1.2

        Might want to get back to head office and ask them to get their story straight:

        On a conference call a few days ago, George Fu Gao, the head of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, acknowledged that Chinese vaccines “don’t have very high protection rates.”

  18. Tiger Mountain 18

    What a shameful thread…loaded to the gunwales with twisters, crawlers, right opportunists and fifth columnists.

    Neither Washington, Beijing or Moscow!

    Working class internationalism!

  19. Tricledrown 19

    off to the gulag with you Mark no freedom at all you must have been indoctrinated in western China along with a couple of million Muslims or were you backing the communist dictators inTianaman square.Nothing is perfect in this world but most Chinese citizens i have met and spoken to want to live in the west with our freedoms. I am an outgoing sort and have talked to many many Chinese tourists both here and around the world most want to leave China and work in the west because of freedoms ,living conditions, the recognizing of talent and the rewards of individual talent.

    • John White 19.1

      Chinese tourists are well aware of what they need to say to stop ignorant hateful anti-Chinese rednecks like you to shut up and go away, bud.

  20. John White 20

    Mahuta is beyond worthless.

    I don't care how successful or not she is in her job, which is being a lackey of American imperialism, against the interests of our people.

    It would be better if she continually failed in her mission of aggressing towards Pacific nations that seek a fair deal, as they can get with China, but never will with Australia, America, or the New Zealand regime.

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