Chinese influence in New Zealand politics

The issue of political donations in return for political influence and even candidacy has come up in the Jami-Lee Ross saga, even though it now seems that Ross has not come close to delivering on his accusations.

The related issue of Chinese influence in New Zealand (and world) politics has also come up.

I think we have to be careful here separating legitimate engagement in our democracy by registered voters, and alleged influence from China. Chinese New Zealanders (NZ and foreign born) make up about 5% of the population so presumably make up about 5% of the voting population. They have a right to stand for Parliament, to support parties, to donate and to vote, like anyone else here.

But there are concerns about influence from China, and some of these concerns may be reasonable.

Martyn Bradbury posted National looks less like a political party and more like a front for Chinese business interests

As China regresses into a censorship totalitarian state, we need to ask how much influence our largest Political Party is under from Beijing and in whose interest does National rule? New Zealand’s or the People’s Republic of China?

The Woke Left feel terribly anxious about any questions like this as they see it as nothing more than Xenophobia, but when we have this level of influence over a Party and when academics are having their homes broken into, such attempts to shut down the debate and questioning is naive at best and aiding China at worst.

That was just a general swipe (and before facts of the Ross allegations became clearer), but a comment from Iain McClean was more informative.

Yes; our Allies are worried:

An example / insight in how some of this infiltration works.

From Your

/  October 17, 2018
“Explain the primary role of the United Front Work in the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
The United Front Work Department of the CCP is an integral part of the Party structure, down to sometimes the lowest levels and coordinated at the very top by a United Front Leading Small Group initiated by Xi Jinping. The Department works to reach out, represent, and guide key individuals and groups within both the PRC [People’s Republic of China] and greater China, including Chinese diasporas. The goals include to have all such groups accept CCP rule, endorse its legitimacy, and help achieve key Party aims. Because United Front Work has officially been extended to those who emigrated after 1979 as well as those Chinese studying abroad, some 50 million or more, United Front Work is now of direct relevance and sometimes concern to an increasing number of foreign governments, notably Australia, Zealand, Canada and the United States. United Front Work abroad is not limited to only these countries though.”

And if we do nothing……? This is heading our way.!!

I would suggest the same tentacles are within Labour as well.
We need to ‘keep an eye out’.

So we should have concerns about influence from China. If it can be found that political donations are coming from China then we should be concerned (is there any evidence of this or is it just scaremongering?).

But this should not spread out to general attacks on registered New Zealand voters with Chinese ethnicity.

Today in NZ Herald – Tze Ming Mok: Here is the big deal about Bridges’ ‘Chinese’ donations

During his epic Tuesday presser, MP Jami-Lee Ross carefully stated he didn’t think Zhang Yikun did anything wrong by trying to donate money that Ross alleges was illegally separated into legal-seeming bits.

Putting aside whether Mr Zhang (MNZM, gonged by Labour) himself has any links to the Chinese Communist Party, there is no reason anyone who actually is overly close to the Chinese Government would think it wrong to hand over bulky donations to New Zealand politicians, given the embrace of CCP-linked cash by senior figures on both sides of the House for years.

There has been little informed public debate of the scale of such funding, or what it means for the independence of New Zealand’s foreign and domestic policies.

Only one China expert here has spoken out consistently on this, Professor Anne-Marie Brady, infamously subjected to burglaries alleged to be the work of Chinese state operatives. When other local experts publicly equivocate or fail to comment about Brady’s research into the United Front campaign in New Zealand, the public is led to believe the scale of Chinese government influence here can’t be that bad, or at least that the situation isn’t clear.

This chilling effect is harming Chinese people in New Zealand. Many people cannot differentiate Chinese people from the actions of the CCP (I mean hey, many people can’t tell a Chinese from a Korean), but this is made worse when hardly any authorities on the topic will address the issue openly. Concerns can only erupt as xenophobia against the Chinese and “Asian” population.

It’s tragic that only Western countries with openly xenophobic leadership such as the US and Australia, have found the political capital to address China’s influence campaigns.

New Zealand needs to be the unicorn that can resist CCP influence as a way to uphold the rights of its own Chinese populations to political independence. We deserve better than to be trapped between knee-jerk racists and Xi Jinping Thought. Abandoning us to this fate is racism too.

And we should have about 6 ethnic Chinese MPs if they are going to be proportionally represented.

A poll last May showed how Chinese voters intended to vote (compared to how they voted in 2014:

If an election was held tomorrow, who would you vote for?

  • National 73.5% (down from 74.1%)
  • Labour 15.8% (up from 14%)
  • NZ First 4.7% (up from 1.1%)
  • ACT 3.6% (down from5.7%)
  • Greens 2% (down from 2.4%)
  • Conservative 0% (down from 2.4%)
  • Other 0.5% (down from 1.6%

– NZH Rise in Chinese voter support for New Zealand First, survey finds

Note that that was before the swing in support back to Labour after Jacinda Ardern took over in August. Another poll in September 2017:

  • National 71.1%
  • Labour 21.6%
  • NZ First 2.4%
  • ACT 2.4%

National will be back in Government if Chinese voters had their way

So there support seems reasonably fluid.

Law and order, health care and education were the issues that mattered most to Chinese voters according to the poll.

National List MP Jian Yang is believed to be the Chinese MP who would be the one to most effectively serve the Chinese community in the next three years on 44.8 per cent, followed by Labour’s Raymond Huo on 18.8 per cent.

Jian Yang cops quite a bit of flak because of his past in China, but he is verywell supported by ethnic Chinese voters in New Zealand.



  1. robertguyton

     /  October 19, 2018

    Why should we be cautious about anyone with links to the Communist Party of China?
    Why would we surprised that the National Party, whose supporters have long used the label “commie” to criticism and demonise it’s opponents, especially and presently, our Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern? Why should any of this be of any interest to anybody?

    • Gezza

       /  October 19, 2018

      Because. So there.

      • Gezza

         /  October 19, 2018

        But to expand on that a bit, claims that Jacinda & co are commies are laughable nonsense that nobody takes seriously. They are left wing social democrats who want to raise everybody’s standards of living & believe the current economic systems favours the wealthy to the detriment of the less well-off because there is no such thing as a level playing field. They therefore look for policies that rebalance wealth distribution in the short-term and try to raise the incomes of everybody at the bottom end. Their objective seems to be to increase the middle class & encourage a strong sense of community. Righties are individualists who see life as a zero sum game – winners and losers and prefer an econmic philosophy which unrealistically says everyone can be winners like them, and if they’re not, it’s their own fault.

        • Gezza

           /  October 19, 2018

          And on why should we be cautious about anyone with links to the Communist Party of China? Because there is a risk they will buy influence with political parties and seek to gain an economic leverage for the Chinese government which could put our own economy at risk should the Chinese government choose to exert pressure.

        • PDB

           /  October 19, 2018

          Left wingers are driven by blind ideology based on govt controlling people’s lives in all aspects which in turn increases their voter base and keeps them in power. ‘Wealth redistribution’, increasing welfare dependency and higher taxes and the like are simply tools to achieving that.

          Massive increases in fuel taxes/levies introduced by the coalition govt is a good example of where their ideology regarding getting people out of cars/ cycleways etc is far more important than the poorest working people (the one’s they supposedly represent) who are hit hardest by such additional costs. Partnership schools is another where the schools by all accounts were making a difference to students predominantly from poorer families but the left wing led govt’s need to control the lives/ study activities of all students was seen as far more important and they were quickly shut down.

          Gezza: “Their objective seems to be to increase the middle class & encourage a strong sense of community.”

          Their objectives work against the middle class as extra taxes fall more heavily on the middle class whilst the poor are encouraged to take more money from the state and the rich can easily avoid paying higher taxes. A ‘strong sense of community’ is only supported by the left where those people are favourable to them. Examples are plenty where the left say they support something (‘free-speech’ & ‘feminism’ come to mind) but only if that grouping/ person is also left wing. A right-winger speaking on a campus needs to be banned & a right-wing ‘feminist’ needs to be abused.

          Gezza: “Righties are individualists who see life as a zero sum game – winners and losers and prefer an econmic philosophy which unrealistically says everyone can be winners like them, and if they’re not, it’s their own fault.”

          Right-wingers (not talking far-right) believe that people first and foremost have a responsibility to help themselves and then if that isn’t enough the govt can then assist them. This assistance is a ‘two-way street’ where the person being assisted has an obligation to work in good faith alongside the govt whilst working their way through their predicament. As mentioned above left-wingers want more people to be dependant upon them so welfare/ taxpayer spending on the public service etc is always increased by a left-wing led govt whilst obligations for these increases are reduced in order to capture a wider % of people eligible for these.

          • Gezza

             /  October 19, 2018

            Yes, that’s what I said but I condensed it to the essentials and ignored the rightie nonsense bits.

          • phantom snowflake

             /  October 19, 2018

            “Left wingers are driven by blind ideology based on govt controlling people’s lives in all aspects…”
            As for disingenuous claptrap, you’ve really outdone yourself this time!! As a longtime National Party mouthpiece you know politics well enough to be aware that authoritarianism is not specifically a left wing or right wing characteristic. For example there are numerous variants of Anarchism that are both left wing and explicitly Anti-Authoritarian. Also right wing Social Conservatives, of which your party has produced many, are undoubtedly authoritarian.

    • PartisanZ

       /  October 19, 2018

      But Robert … Aren’t you looking forward to reflecting upon the brief ‘Flash in the Pan’ era of neoliberalism, ‘free markets’ and globalization … the Rogering and Ruthanasing … the loss of the Kiwi Dream … from a place of dependency on ‘Commie’ centrally-planned [but otherwise Capitalist] Chinese foreign investment with a big side-dish of political ‘influence’?

      The Kow Tow and Dead Rat place …?

      Bought to you by the people who just love “unintended consequences” …

  2. robertguyton

     /  October 19, 2018

    “Ed 18
    18 October 2018 at 10:50 pm
    Anne-Marie Brady’s Twitter feed worth keeping an eye on.

    “At the heart of the bloodbath unfolding @NZNationalParty is an allegation of Beijing-backed political donations being laundered to escape reporting laws. Time to face up to the rot at the heart of our democracy & break the hold of corrosive outside money: Reform electoral finance.”

    “The most concerning aspect to the controversy over National’s hidden donations is that the source of the funds is a leader in #CCP united front work activities.”

    Much more here.

  3. Corky

     /  October 19, 2018

    ”But this should not spread out to general attacks on registered New Zealand voters with Chinese ethnicity.”

    Remember China expects all expat’s to be loyal to the motherland.

  4. Zedd

     /  October 19, 2018

    When ‘Team-Key/english’ approved the Sky-City ‘Chinese Laundry’ it was clear who was really funding things: Is it true that the importation of Meth-precursors (most from China).. is the biggest source of real estate money in Akld ?

    Hints & allegations.. Rumors & Innuendoes…. ?! :/

  5. Gezza

     /  October 19, 2018

    China’s communists fund Jacinda Ardern’s Labour Party: What the United States Congress was told
    An influential United States Congress hearing has been told “one of the major fundraisers for Jacinda Ardern’s party” is linked to the Chinese Communist Party and it showed China had penetrated New Zealand’s political networks.

    As a result, US lawmakers needed to consider whether New Zealand should be kicked out of the Five Eyes intelligence alliance because of problems at its “political core”.

    The bombshell testimony included claims from a former Central Intelligence Agency analyst that “anything on China that was briefed to Bill English was briefed to Mr Yang Jian”, the National MP revealed last year as having trained spies for China.

    The hearing of the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission was aimed at gathering evidence on China’s relationship with traditional US allies.

    UN Senator James Talent – once touted as Donald Trump’s pick for Secretary of Defence – raised concerns about “a sharp rise in political donations” from Chinese Government-backed bodies to political parties in Australia and New Zealand.

    China’s actions included getting people linked to the Communist Party or People’s Liberation Army elected and had made it worth the while of political figures “to parrot its line on issues it deems important”.

    I have concerns, personally. And I wouldn’t have someone with Jian Yang’s background in Parliament, or even on the candidate’s list.

    • PartisanZ

       /  October 19, 2018

      Labour-led just keep looking better and better and better in all this …

  6. NOEL

     /  October 19, 2018

    As long as we don’t get a strings attached loan from them for the proposed wharf stadium
    Hate to see them turn it into a South Pacific submarine base if we default.

    • PartisanZ

       /  October 19, 2018

      Wouldn’t mind betting Chinese investors have got something to do with it …

      They’ve already offered to build a four lane highway from SH1 Albany across to Stillwater …

      Might be a potential amphibious landing site …?

      • NOEL

         /  October 19, 2018

        Good one but me thinks they will use this instead.

  7. Zedd

     /  October 19, 2018

    opposition would prefer Chinese over Indian ?! :/

    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  October 19, 2018

      No, just saying more Chinese than Indian voters so should have more representatives. But I know that is too logical for you.

  1. Chinese influence in New Zealand politics — Your NZ – NZ Conservative Coalition