web analytics

Diplomatic Values

Written By: - Date published: 5:39 pm, November 21st, 2022 - 4 comments
Categories: benefits, China, culture, Diplomacy, economy, exports, Free Trade, human rights, jacinda ardern, overseas investment, Pacific, Peace, poverty - Tags:

Trudeau got a 10-minute stand-up with Xi followed by a public shirt-fronting, Albanese got a 32-minute sit-down, and Jacinda Ardern a 50-minute formal bilateral. In the carefully calibrated world of the diplomatic dance-card, that says something. New Zealand would be foolish not to take advantage of what is on offer from China for the long term.

The Chinese readout of the meeting with Jacinda Ardern stated that China valued New Zealand’s independent foreign policy. That independence hasn’t always been in evidence this year. New Zealand participated in the NATO meeting in Spain that announced its shift to China containment, but here are more recent signs however that the benefits of independence are becoming more appreciated.

When speaking of encounters with China’s leaders, Jacinda Ardern follows a familiar mantra she describes as predictable, “nothing in private that wasn’t said in public.” So the Chinese know that they are going to get another dressing-down about Xinjiang, Hong Kong, and Taiwan.

I believe there are increasing signs, when their offer is co-operation and development for the benefit of all our peoples, that the Chinese are perhaps getting a tiny bit sick of this missionary approach to diplomacy.

A diplomatic hint of this came in the speech of the Chinese ambassador Wang Xiaolong to the NZIIA last Monday. Wang explicitly addressed the issue of values, noted that they came from each country’s history and cultures, and so may be different in their emphases if not in their significance to each country and culture.

A values-led foreign policy has been at the forefront of our latest government’s foreign policy from day one, led first by Minister Nanaia Mahuta in a speech to the assembled diplomatic cohort at Waitangi and later in a speech addressing Maori and Pacific values in the relationship between the taniwha and the dragon.

Whether you think China’s culture is 5000 or 2000 years old, it should come as no surprise to us that it may have some significant differences to ours, either those of liberal individual pakeha or whanau-based Maori. This emphatically does not mean that they are of any less worth, or that they preclude working towards shared goals of peace and prosperity.

Ambassador Wang Xiaolong noted these different value systems. His conclusion was interesting:

China’s choice for values, social system, and path to modernity are made by our own people based on our own history, culture, and realities. And these choices have been proven to be suitable and effective to solve China’s problems and meet the needs of the Chinese people. There is no reason whatsoever why we should not adhere to them unswervingly down the road.

By the same token, China respects the choices made by other peoples based on their national conditions and will never attempt to use our values as a yardstick to judge or change others, much less to impose on them. China stands ready to conduct dialogues and exchanges on the basis of mutual respect and non-interference in each others’ internal affairs to promote mutual understanding and mutual learning.

We reject, however, finger-pointing or lecturing, or attempts by anyone to impose their values and systems upon us.

There are many lessons here. Chinese leaders over millennia have understood the mandate of heaven and the importance of delivering prosperity and peace to all their people. In contrast, the US-led ‘democracy vs autocracy’ meme has been a total failure, given the gap between democracy and such delivery in so many Western countries. Jacinda Ardern acknowledged this complexity in a speech to the Lowy Institute earlier this year. She prefers the moral high ground of universal human rights to the democracy meme.

But there are problems here too. The moral high ground collapses quickly when hypocrisy enters the scene. And it is not hard to find examples of such.

We are deeply concerned about militarisation of the Pacific without consultation with the Pacific Forum. Our current target is the Solomons, who have had the audacity to conclude a formal policing agreement with China on their own. Concern about Pacific militarisation however does not apparently extend to the recent announcement that Tindall Airbase in northern Australia will become the permanent host for B-52 strategic nuclear bombers, removed from Guam to take them out of range of China’s medium-range missiles. These are by definition offensive weapons and compared with the Solomons the basing in this case is real declared intent.

We are rightly concerned about Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine. We don’t seem however to have any issues with the United States’ illegal occupation of Syria east of the Euphrates, where they are stealing its oil and stopping its grain from feeding the starving peoples to the west of the river. Those Syrians are individuals, and they have a right to life too, as they also suffer from the horror of generalised sanctions.

Going for the positive, I believe what is on offer for us from China is comparable in its significance to that made in the free-trade agreement which has powered our prosperity. The facts are as clear as they are stark. From the MFAT website:

China is now New Zealand’s largest trading partner in goods and second largest overall including trade in services. Since 2007, two way trade has increased from NZ$10 billion to NZ$30 billion. China is one of the world’s fastest-growing economies and its vast population and growing middle class represent huge potential. China is New Zealand’s largest trading partner in goods and second largest overall including trade in services.

China deliberately chose us  as the first country to develope a free trade agreement with, emphaising their gratitude for our support for their application to join the WTO. Guanxi met manaakitanga.

We are approaching the 50th anniversary of New Zealand’s diplomatic recognition of the People’s Republic of China as China’s government in 1972, one of the first acts of the Kirk Labour government. I have a picture from the Labour Party paper of the time showing a photo of Joe Walding meeting Zhao Enlai with the caption “When Joe met Zhao, we just dropped in to say hello.”

China and its people have made massive advancements over these fifty years. I would love it if the Prime Minister started with the positive as Xi did and gave China our congratulations on eradicating extreme poverty, a target they actively organised to meet down to the last person left, and left the chiding to the end. It would help to generate a positive impression in Aotearoa/New Zealand of Chinese people in general.

Perhaps the last word should remain with Chairman Xi, as he invoked the spirit of Rewi Alley’s co-operative movement in the Chinese readout of his meeting with our Prime Minister:

It is important to preserve and carry forward Rewi Alley’s spirit, support stronger dialogue and exchanges at subnational levels, between the general public and among the younger generation, so as to strengthen their people-to-people friendship. Both China and New Zealand are advocates and beneficiaries of multilateralism and free trade. Efforts should be made to keep to the right direction of economic globalization, promote trade and investment liberalization and facilitation, and jointly tackle climate change and other global challenges.

Peace is China’s most unremitting pursuit. China has never sought hegemony in history; it is not doing that now, and will never do that in the future. China’s policy toward the Pacific Island countries is always aimed at pursuing peace, development and cooperation. China will work closely with New Zealand to promote peace, stability, development and prosperity in the Pacific Island region.

That sounds like a good programme to me.

 

4 comments on “Diplomatic Values ”

  1. Scud 1

    Oh btw, the basing of the B52 & B2's was signed under the Obama & Gillard administrations.

    Which has been open knowledge as well, if the stupid 4th estate knew where to look btw as it wasn't a closed state secret either.

    I was based in RAAF Tindal for 4yrs (later Darwin before my med discharge) when Obama came to Darwin & Obama made the announcement of the forward basing of the USMC, USN & USAF assets to Nth'en Oz.

    The biggest concern for RAAF Tindal was the Geotechnical issues to basing the B52 as the whole area is riddle with Limestone & the 1980's Hawke/ Bomber Beazley Government build Tindal on the cheap & possible in the wrong place as well. (Which is interesting story in itself)

    I still don't the trust either the Yanks or the Chinese! But I would take a half ass democracy of the USA over a one party authoritarian regime of the CCP including Russia & Nth Korea when push comes to shove.

  2. Ad 2

    Great post.

    Plenty to quibble about.

    Do read her Lowy presentation. Lowy Institute tracks this stuff religiously.

  3. Lots of feelgood stuff. Jacinda is our Obama. Feted around the world but not appreciated back home.

  4. Tiger Mountain 4

    Sometimes evidence should prevail over spin–there are over 750 publicly discoverable offshore US military bases and facilities, China has barely 5.

    US Imperialism has over two centuries instigated hundreds of overthrows and under minings of democratically installed Govt's. and armed invasions.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_involvement_in_regime_change

    China only 5! according to Wiki, and that 5 are disputed too by experts that know China’s history.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_invasions

    So who is the biggest threat to peace in the Pacific or the world? It remains US Imperialism.

Leave a Comment

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • New Kiwibank parent appoints directors
    David McLean and Sir Brian Roche have been appointed as the first two directors of the newly incorporated Kiwi Group Capital Limited (KCG), the parent company of Kiwibank. In August, the Government acquired 100 percent of Kiwi Group Holdings, which also operates New Zealand Home Loans, from NZ Post, ACC ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    57 mins ago
  • Defence Ministers meet in Cambodia
    Minister of Defence Peeni Henare attended the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Defence Ministers’ Meeting-Plus (ADMM-Plus) in Siem Reap, Cambodia. “The first face to face meeting of the ADMM-Plus members is an opportunity for me to highlight New Zealand’s position on key regional security matters,” Peeni Henare said.  “In ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 hours ago
  • Pay equity extended to thousands more social workers
    The Government will extend pay equity to all community and iwi organisations who employ social workers and receive funding from the Crown, Minister for Women Jan Tinetti announced today. We expect this will improve the lives of approximately 4,600 social workers. “This extension means thousands more social workers will be ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 hours ago
  • Taskforce set up to protect construction industry from product shortages & delays
    New ‘Critical Materials Taskforce’ will trouble shoot building materials shortages Focus on maximising productivity & cushioning businesses from supply chain risks Successful ‘Plasterboard Taskforce’ reshaped to include broader sector knowledge and expertise Will provide guidance, data and information to support builders, designers and business owners A new Critical Materials Taskforce ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 hours ago
  • Bigger ED, more theatres and more beds in new Whangārei Hospital
    A new emergency department with three times more space will be part of the first stage of a two-stage project to build a new hospital for Whangārei and Northland. The Government has today confirmed funding for stage one of the new hospital – an acute services building and a child-health ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 hours ago
  • Finnish PM to visit New Zealand
    Finland’s Prime Minister Sanna Marin, accompanied by Minister for Development Cooperation and Foreign Trade Ville Skinnari and a business delegation will visit New Zealand next week, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced today. The two leaders will meet in Auckland. “New Zealand and Finland are natural partners. We share similar approaches ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    21 hours ago
  • New recreational rules to support hāpuku and bass fisheries
    The daily limits on recreationally caught hāpuku (also known as groper) and bass will be lowered to a total of two per person in some areas, with a new accumulation limit of three per person on multi-day trips. Oceans and Fisheries Minister, David Parker said the rule changes would take ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Jobs for Nature enabling Mātāuranga Māori
    Mātāuranga Māori is at the heart of the latest tranche of Jobs for Nature projects set to promote biodiversity and reduce impacts of climate change on Māori land, Minister of Conservation Poto Williams says. Project work will include the creation of an ecological corridor in Tairāwhiti, protecting 60 hectares of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Supporting resilient shipping infrastructure in Vanuatu
    The Government has announced further support to Vanuatu to assist in constructing climate-resilient wharves as part of the Vanuatu Inter-Island Shipping Support Project (VISSP). “Aotearoa New Zealand is committed to supporting the economic recovery of our Pacific region in a way that continues to provide growth and supports climate resilience,” ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Government welcomes High Court ruling on climate case
    The High Court has today confirmed the legality of the advice provided by the Climate Change Commission (the Commision) to inform New Zealand’s nationally determined contribution (NDC) and the first three emissions budgets.  Minister of Climate Change James Shaw says New Zealanders can have confidence in the Commission and of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Government introduces changes to mining Act with stronger environmental focus
    ·         Crown Minerals Act will no longer actively “promote” prospecting, exploration, and mining of Crown-owned minerals ·         Will create more certainty around engagement between industry, iwi and hapū. The Government is proposing changes to modernise the Crown Minerals Act 1991 (CMA) to support more environmentally conscious management of resources, says ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Speech to Building Nations 2050 conference
    Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou katoa. Good morning and thank you, Jack, for the introduction. I’d like to take a moment to acknowledge Infrastructure New Zealand Chair, Margaret Devlin and all the sponsors and organisers of this event for bringing us together in ‘Building Nations 2050’. I would also like to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Better natural hazard information for home buyers
    Associate Minister of Local Government Kieran McAnulty has today introduced legislation to empower councils to share better information about natural hazards with the public. The Local Government Official Information Amendment (LGOIMA) Bill will make it easier for Councils to share clear and concise information in Land Information Memorandum (LIM) reports. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • New Zealand welcomes visiting WTO Director General
    The World Trade Organization (WTO) Director General Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala visits New Zealand this week. Minister for Trade and Export Growth Damien O’Connor said the WTO was essential to New Zealand as a small export-dependent trading nation.  “New Zealand’s economic security depends on our ability to trade. Our goods exports ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Faster, cheaper, better resource management law given first reading
    New laws that will deliver a faster, cheaper, and better resource management system had their first reading in the House today. The Spatial Planning (SP) and the Natural and Built Environment (NBE) Bills, which were introduced last week, will replace the 30-year-old Resource Management Act (RMA). Environment Minister David Parker ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Minister Sio to meet new Vanuatu PM
    Associate Foreign Affairs Minister Aupito William Sio travels to Vanuatu today, to meet with the new Government led by Prime Minister Alatoi Ishmael Kalsakau and to represent Aotearoa New Zealand at the Pacific Community (SPC) Ministerial Conference being hosted in Port Vila. Minister Sio will have a number of bilateral meetings with ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Driving ahead with the Clean Car Standard
    Following discussions with vehicle importers, the Government has confirmed the Clean Car Standard will be phased in from 1 December 2022, significantly reducing the CO2 emissions of light vehicles in New Zealand, announced Transport Minister Michael Wood. “Emissions from our light vehicle fleet are the single largest source of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Speech to Constitutional Kōrero conference
    Our Evolving Sense of Nationhood – Me Anga Whakamua Indigenous Futures and New Zealand’s Constitution Tuia ki runga, Tuia ki raro, Tuia te here tangata, Mai i te wheiao ki te ao mārama Ka rongo te pō ka rongo te āo! Tīhei Mauri Ora! Kei ngā miro o te ao ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Rental sector changes to regulate residential property managers, clear up meth confusion and ease pr...
    A suite of measures to improve the lives of renters and landlords has been announced by Housing Minister Dr Megan Woods as the Government makes more progress on reform of the rental sector. “Nearly 600,000 households rent in New Zealand and these measures will result in regulated oversight of residential ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Further sanctions on the political and economic elites of Russia and Belarus
    Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta today announced further sanctions on members of the inner circles of governments in Russia and Belarus, as part of the ongoing response to the war in Ukraine. “Aotearoa New Zealand first moved against the powerful and wealthy in Russia with sanctions on political and economic ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Another step towards improved supermarket competition
    The Bill to trigger an unprecedented shake-up of the grocery sector and deliver New Zealanders a fairer deal at the checkout and help tackle cost of living pressures is ready for its first reading at Parliament. “The duopoly has now been given plenty of warning. If they fail to adequately ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Black Ferns to be celebrated at Parliament
    A public event and celebration will be held on Parliament’s lawn on December 13 to celebrate our Rugby World Cup winning Black Ferns. “The Black Ferns’ triumph at Eden Park is one of New Zealand’s greatest sporting moments,” Grant Robertson said. “They are extraordinary athletes, exceptional people and proud New ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Autism Guideline released by Ministry
    The release of the latest edition of the Aotearoa New Zealand Autism Guideline – He Waka Huia Takiwātanga Rau has been welcomed by Minister for Disability Issues Poto Williams today. The Guideline provides an opportunity to better understand and communicate best practices for supporting autistic people and their families and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Speech to Aotearoa Refugee Hui
    Nga mihi nui ki a koutou, Welcome to the Parliament, your Parliament. It is great to see the community here in such numbers, and I am happy to be here with my parliamentary colleagues to listen and take part in the discussions today. I particularly want to acknowledge Ibrahim Omer ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Global climate talks underline need for domestic action
    Minister of Climate Change James Shaw marked the end of COP27 negotiations in Egypt by saying it was now crunch time for counties to step up and take urgent action at home. “Even though we have these international negotiations every year, our focus must always be on what we do ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Defence Minister visits Ukraine and Poland
    Defence Minister Peeni Henare has visited Ukraine and Poland, holding talks with his Ministerial counterparts. During the talks Minister Henare reaffirmed New Zealand’s unwavering support for the Ukrainian defence against Russia’s illegal and unprovoked invasion.   The visit  was a further demonstration of New Zealand’s ongoing support to the people ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Stuart Nash to attend OECD meetings
    Small Business Minister Stuart Nash will travel to Paris today to attend small business meetings with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Stuart Nash will chair the OECD’s Digital for SMEs (D4SME) Steering Group meeting and the 4th Roundtable of the OECD D4SME Global Initiative. “The OECD’s Digital ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Human Rights Act enhanced to protect religious communities
    The Government will amend the law to make sure religious communities feel safe and welcome in New Zealand. After extensive consultation, with more than 19,000 submissions on six proposals, the Government will make one change to address incitement towards religious communities while asking for further work to be done alongside ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Defence Minister meets with UK counterpart and visits NZDF personnel
    Minister of Defence Peeni Henare held talks in the UK today with his counterpart, Secretary of State for Defence Ben Wallace.   The Ministers reiterated the importance of our defence relationship, and reflected on the strong historical and cultural ties between the United Kingdom and New Zealand.   Together, they ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Government takes action to reduce gambling harm from pokies
    The Government is announcing today changes to strengthen the requirements in venues which have pokie (gambling) machines to reduce the harm they cause people. “The changes focus on reducing harm caused by pokies, which can affect both those people gambling and their whānau. In short, they would make the ‘host ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • The Pacific business village comes to Auckland
    The Pacific Business Village (the Village) is now going to set up in the Auckland region, said Minister for Pacific Peoples Aupito William Sio. The Ministry secured $15.5 million in Budget 2022 to meet community demand volumes for services to support Pacific businesses and Pacific social enterprises across Aotearoa. “The ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Government’s health investments making a difference for New Zealanders
    Fewer New Zealanders say cost is a barrier to visiting a GP or getting a prescription. The number of children going hungry has halved over the past decade. Statistics show why the Government has made major investment in mental health. Official statistics released today show the Government’s targeted health investments ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Speech to the Asia New Zealand Foundation
    Kia koutou, warm pacific greetings.I am delighted we have the opportunity to meet kanohi ki te kanohi and talanoa in-person, I would like to extend my thanks to Adele and her team for organising this event, for us, today; fa’afetai tele lava.  I am also delighted to see some rangatahi ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Major investment in Māori Health
    Largest commissioning investment to date from Te Aka Whai Ora | Māori Health Authority boosts funding for Maori health providers $29.3 million for Te Pae Tata | interim New Zealand Health Plan priority areas $13.0 million for Māori primary and community providers $17.6 million for te ao Māori solutions, mātauranga ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Govt delivers connectivity for rural and remote households
    Some of New Zealand’s most remote communities will receive broadband for the first time thanks to a new Government-led initiative. The Remote Users Scheme will equip as many remote households as possible with the connectivity infrastructure needed to access broadband services, Minister for the Digital Economy and Communications, David Clark ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government appoints investigator to work with Christchurch City Council to improve housing supply
    Associate Minister for the Environment, Phil Twyford has appointed an investigator under part 4 of the Resource Management Act, to work with Christchurch City Council on its housing intensification plan. “John Hardie is a skilled and experienced mediator with local knowledge of Christchurch City. The aim of the investigation is ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New Zealand records lowest smoking rate ever
    Statistics released today show New Zealand’s smoking rate has fallen to an historic low of 8% of adults smoking daily, down from 9.4% a year ago, Associate Minister of Health Dr Ayesha Verrall said. “The Government’s plan to reduce smoking is working. The number of people smoking fell by 56,000 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Over 16,000 more new homes to be unlocked with infrastructure bonanza
    Approximately 16,600 new homes across New Zealand set to be unlocked by Government’s third tranche of the Infrastructure Acceleration Fund  New homes enabled in Hamilton, Auckland, Tauranga, Christchurch, Kawakawa, Kaikohe, Westport, Upper Hutt, Waipukurau, Hokitika and Pahiatua Critical infrastructure projects will get Government support to unlock thousands more homes in ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New model to better support kids with the highest needs
    The Government is committed to designing a system that better supports our kids and young people with the highest needs, Associate Minister of Education Jan Tinetti announced today. The Highest Needs Review was launched in April 2021 and was completed recently, with 1100 submissions received. “Following the feedback from the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Firearms Prohibition Orders now in force help to reduce gun harm
    New tools to reduce gun crime come into force today, Police Minister Chris Hipkins said. Firearms Prohibition Orders will improve public safety by stopping people whose behaviour and actions represent a high risk of violence from accessing firearms or restricted weapons. “Firearms Prohibition Orders are another measure that will help ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago