New Zealand Parliamentarians are certainly facing foreign-funded political interference from China. It’s just not from the official Communist Party-led nation.
The Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China is a rag-tag collection of self-selected right-wing parliamentarians from around the world. It was founded in 2020 when the anti-CPC campaign led by the US kicked into gear. Republican Senator Marco Rubio headed up the launch – the video is here.
Its specific objective is to develope “a coherent response to the rise of the People’s Republic of China as led by the Chinese Communist Party.” This effectively means that its underlying objective is to bring about regime change in the People’s Republic of China.
It is indirectly government-funded by the US National Endowment for Democracy, and the Taiwanese Centre for Democracy. You have to dig a bit to find it on their website
IPAC is pleased to be funded by the following partners:
- The Open Society Foundations
- The National Endowment for Democracy
- The Taiwan Foundation for Democracy
The NED is funded by the US Congress to the tune of over US$300 million. It is notorious for its regime change activities – “we do in the open what the CIA used to do in secret.” The Taiwanese Centre was established by the Taiwanese Parliament.
In New Zealand the first joiners were Labour’s Louisa Wall and National’s Simon O’Connor, both marginal players. Ingrid Leary has replaced Wall after the latter’s ejection from Parliament with a mandate to tour the Pacific. The indefatigable not to say obsessively anti-China Professor Anne-Marie Brady is an official advisor to the Committee.
The Committee describes itself as going beyond party politics to promote its objectives. It certainly seeks to influence government policy in New Zealand, for example in monitoring of universities, surveillance of Chinese language media, and most recently legislation for Magnitsky-style sanctions outside of United Nations approval.
Simon O’Connor is running a session on this sponsored by the New Zealand Institute for International Affairs. I didn’t have much joy trying to debate this in the Labour Party in the latest policy round last year; by dictate of the Party Council apparently, the cutoff for making the case against them came at the ninety-second mark!
The local IPAC members Simon O’Connor MP and Ingrid Leary MP along with the Taiwan representative have been active in bringing other back-bench MPs into their net. This picture was taken at a recent function in Parliament with MPs present. Stuff’s Thomas Manch noted the inconsistency with New Zealand’s recognition of the one-China policy.
MPs who attended a meeting at Parliament on Wednesday, March 30, 2023. In the back row, from left, Labour MPs Dan Rosewarne, Marja Lubeck, Shanan Halbert, National MPs Joseph Mooney, Sam Uffindell, Tim van de Molen, Labour MP Ibrahim Omer, and ACT MP James McDowall. In the front row, National MP Melissa Lee, Taiwan representative Joanne Ou, Labour MP Ingrid Leary, National MP Simon O’Connor, and Green MP Elizabeth Kerekere.
One might expect that our security agencies, so concerned with foreign interference in our elections, would not just hand out their pamphlet to these “persons of influence” but would also be having a quiet word with MPs partaking in this activity.
Advocacy for regime change, and support for secession in a country that we recognise as one China, and that counts for most of our exports as our current account deficit is the worst in the OECD, does not seem to be in our national interest.
Someone with some sense obviously did speak to them, as National, Labour and the Green MPs from the above group withdrew from a proposed paid-for trip to Taiwan earlier in the year. The only person to go on the IPAC trip was ACT’s Brooke van Velden, not in the above photo.
And of course the subtext to this naivety is the prospect of war. The more secession of Taiwan from China is encouraged, the greater the prospect of catastrophic war. It’s not only our interests that are at stake; there are already more than a few voices in Aotearoa/New Zealand such as Anna Fifield at the recent NZIIA AGM not only envisaging this horror, but also stating that we would inevitably be drawn into it to support our “like-minded partners.”