National’s relationship with China also under fire

A lot has been said over the last week about apparent difficulties the Government is having in it’s relationship with China, in part because of the relationship between Jacinda Ardern and Winston Peters. Ardern is the first Prime Minister for decades who hasn’t been on a visit to China in her first year, and that trip seems to be on indefinite hold.

But National’s relationship with China is also being criticised.

Michael Reddell (Newsroom): National’s craven deference to China?

But over the past couple of decades, New Zealand political figures, and the National Party ones in particular, seem to have binned any sense of decency, integrity, or values when it comes to Chinese Communist Party-ruled China. I don’t suppose individually most of them have much sympathy for PRC policies and practices, but they just show no sign of caring any longer. Deals, donations, and indifference seem to be the order of the day.

Over the past couple of years the depths the party, its leaders and MPs, have been plumbing have become more visible. In 2017, in government, they signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the PRC on the Belt and Road Initiative. In that document they – Simon Bridges as signatory – committed to “promote” the “fusion of civilisations”.

Plenty of people will probably dismiss such statements as “meaningless”, the stuff of official communiques. But decent people – under no duress whatever – don’t sign up to things suggesting that today’s equivalent of Nazi-ruled Germany is a normal and decent regime. Of course, they would probably dispute the parallel, but that’s just willed deliberate blindness.

Later that same year we learned the National Party had had a former PLA intelligence officer, Communist Party member, sitting in its parliamentary caucus. It seems to be generally accepted that Jian Yang, of such a questionable background, is one of the party’s largest fundraisers. Presumably the leaders (John Key and Peter Goodfellow) were aware of his past, but let’s be generous and assume that most of the caucus was as unaware as the public. But for the past 18 months, everyone has known.

But what the National Party – leader, president, MPs, and all those holding office in the party – is responsible for is the fact that Jian Yang still sits in Parliament, still sits in the National caucus, is still National’s spokesman (on a couple of minor portfolios), with the express support of successive leaders, and (apparently) in ongoing business relationships with the party president (he who trots of to Beijing to praise the regime and its leader).

A few months ago we had the egregious former Minister of Trade, and foreign affairs spokesperson, Todd McClay plumbing new depths. In an interview with Stuff, he championed the PRC regime interpretation of the mass internment of Uighurs in Xinjiang, noting that “the existence and purpose of vocational training centres is a domestic matter for the Chinese government.”

He was spinning for the CCP regime in Beijing.

No sense at all in anything Bridges – or any other National Party figure – says that the PRC itself has changed: bad as the regime always was, it has now become worse.

In his Beijing-deferential interview on the Herald website the other day, David Mahon tried to frame the current PRC upset with New Zealand as “the Chinese see it as akin to infidelity”.

New Zealand “leaders ” have been the most sycophantic and compliant, perhaps there is a sense that China can’t afford to let us get away with some renewed self-respect. That, after all, might encourage others to think and act for themselves, for the values of their peoples. Better to foster the illusion – assisted by local politicians and academics – that the PRC hold our prosperity in its hand.

It simply doesn’t. It never did.

But that’s New Zealand politics, that seems to be today’s National Party. It is sickening.

Strong words – and I have effectively toned it down with editing.

It is difficult when a major trading partner is a dictatorship with a poor human rights record.

It could be alarming if Reddell is anywhere near right about the degree of financial subservience of National to China.

And of course article this won’t help with the New Zealand-China relationship.

Leave a comment


  1. Gezza

     /  19th February 2019

    I agree that the CCP seems to have its hooks into National & can’t understand what the hell they were thinking getting Jian Yang selected & elected as onr of their MPs. I wouldn’t touch someone with his background with a barge pole. Craven deference to China is how they are starting to come across to me. Certainly they seem to have such a strong craving for money from anywhere they don’t care if it comes with diplomatic strings & economic & security risks attached.

    • lurcher1948

       /  19th February 2019

      Just check out how many National party members are on Chinese boards,its possible pay back time for past favoritism.

    • Ray

       /  19th February 2019

      Or we could go the Green way and refuse to trade with anyone who doesn’t meet their values (no one) and go on to live in abject poverty.
      Though I note they thought Pol Pot was a good guy at one time!

      • Duker

         /  19th February 2019

        Doesnt meet their values – Like Venezuela? Trump has applied sanctions.
        So much for that argument to make the greens ‘look bad’

  2. Finbaar Rustle

     /  19th February 2019

    NZ needs China, China needs NZ.
    A workable relationship will be found.
    Publicly all parties promise to never bow to foreign pressure.
    Privately behind the scenes deals will be struck to every ones advantage.
    She’ll be right.

    • Mother

       /  19th February 2019

      Mr Rustle writes like a peecanzer weakly attempting cryptic messages.

      A few years ago a PCANZ minister was due to become national moderator. He spent those months harassing women in his parish. He behaved like he didn’t know whether he was Arthur or Martha.

      Peter Cheyne had many opportunities to make good decisions re the peecanz saga I accidentally became involved with.

      Communists don’t care about individual families. PCANZ leaders are generally and notoriously far lefty thinkers. Since PCANZ’s inception, it was right moderate political thinkers/underlings who kept PCANZ afloat. As for Jesus Christ, I am convinced that PCANZ barely know Him.

      Mr Rustle writes real strange.

      [Deleted – please don’t speculate or try to identify people commenting under pseudonyms. PG]

      • Blazer

         /  19th February 2019

        ‘ if only the mystical leaders were truly altruistic and had the whole of whole of humankind’s welfare at heart.
        Society needs obedient servants, but human nature is such that to be an obedient servant, you have to fear something intangible that lives in the sky that tells you what to do.’

  3. High Flying Duck

     /  19th February 2019

    Politik have an excellent article on how the relationship is being pulled back together:


    “Top Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade officers spent the weekend working on calming down the public face of the New Zealand China relationship.

    Led by the Ministry’s Deputy Secretary, Americas and Asia Group, Ben King, their work culminated in two remarkably similar statements from the Prime Minister and the Chinese Ambassador, extolling the state of the relationship.

    And there were unconfirmed reports last night that Trade Minister David Parker was planning to go to China for the second Belt and Road Forum, in April.

    But the big development yesterday was the two statements, from the Prime Minister and the Ambassador,

    The Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, began her weekly press conference yesterday by reading a carefully worded statement on the relationship.

    “China is a very important and highly valued partner for New Zealand,” she said.

    “I know from my discussion with Premier Li in November that China also values its relationship with New Zealand.”

    The Ambassador, Madam Wu Xi, speaking at an NZ China Council function in Wellington, made a very similar statement but included a frank acknowledgement of the issues that were raised last week.

    “When navigating our bilateral relations in these trying times, we should always have a vision of the journey ahead and have a clear sense of direction,” she said.

    “We need to always bear in mind that the defining feature of our relationship is mutual benefit and win-win outcome, our friendship and cooperation has great potential and vitality.

    “China’s development will provide even more opportunities for New Zealand and create broader space for our bilateral cooperation.

    “We need to foster new prospects for our shared interests and work for substantive progress in our cooperations, in order to deliver more benefits to the people of our two countries.

    “Over the past few weeks, there has been public debate on the direction of China-New Zealand relations.

    “Many of our New Zealand friends shared both their concerns and constructive suggestions about this relationship.

    “When sailing through uncharted waters, it is vitally important to firmly hold the rudder, carefully steering through the rocks. “

  4. Mother

     /  19th February 2019

    (Sarcasm) –
    Just let China infiltrate our lives. All the Kiwi Christians (the free people) will convince Chinese individuals not to fear communism.

    • Joe Bloggs

       /  19th February 2019

      Threadjacking again

    • Blazer

       /  19th February 2019

      Scientists have identified the “God gene”, better labelled as the gullibility gene. This gene shows up significantly more often in religious people than non-religious people.

      ” a specific gene, called vesicular monoamine transporter 2 (VMAT2), predisposes humans towards spiritual or mystic experiences.”

      So there may be an argument that the deluded fools can’t help themselves and that we should not condemn them for it.
      Let me rephrase that in the spirit of PC: there may be an argument that the unfortunate people can’t help themselves…..

  5. The Consultant

     /  19th February 2019

    Michael Reddell has been hammering various aspects of China’s involvement in New Zealand for some time now on his blog, Croaking Cassandra.

    It’s an excellent blog, with some interesting stuff about our current Reserve Bank as well as general economic issues.

    Interesting though that Newsroom asked him to write this piece which is an all-out attack on National (one I agree with), but does not mention that he’s had a few goes at Labour as well. My favourite was where Raymound Huo (Labour list MP) – who has also never said a critical thing about the PRC – used a slogan of Xi’s converted into English for Labour campaign in one of the Auckland seats. I wonder what the Chinese immigrants really thought of that.

    • Dave K

       /  19th February 2019

      “Interesting though that Newsroom asked him to write this piece”. Apparently not according to his comment on the blog, sounds like they just helped themselves…..

      February 18, 2019 at 9:57 am
      Michael, do you mean Newsroom simply lifted the article from your site without your express permission? If that’s the case, it’s outrageous. It’s your copyright.

      Michael Reddell
      February 18, 2019 at 9:58 am
      On this particular occasion yes. I have a pretty friendly relationship with them and would happily have said yes – and have every previous time they’ve asked – but on this occasion no one asked. I have sent them a friendly reminder.

  6. adamsmith1922

     /  19th February 2019

    Michael Reddell makes some valid points, but like many people including myself, he has some particular bête noires and to some extent China is one of those.
    However,a key factor is that our huge commodity trade with China has meant that we seem to have lost focus on developing value add in consequence and lost a considerable degree of effective sovereignty as a result.

  7. Zedd

     /  19th February 2019

    Sounds like Jacinda/Winnie are ‘walking a tightrope’ between maintaining trade links & perhaps open the door further.. to political influence. Jacinda is clear, this is about NZ.. not just ‘kowtowing’ to the rich/powerful Intl corporates.

    Natl have not changed; ‘show us the money’ & we will swing in either direction OR even sell everything to the highest bidder.. for the ‘Right price’ (follow the money folks) 😦

    • Zedd

       /  19th February 2019

      It is still not clear whether Mr J Yang (Natl MP) was/is a CCP spy ??
      Brushed under the carpet :/

  8. lurcher1948

     /  19th February 2019

    So who on the National benches speak Mandarin and what poor fool speaks Cantonese,on their way for a job on a COMMUNIST CHINESE BOARD,the National party kowtow every day towards CHINA, COWARDS AND TRAITORS….grovellors

    • The Consultant

       /  19th February 2019

      Gosh. You sound like one of those Cold War Warriors, constantly shitting themselves about Reds Under The Bed and screaming about the traitorous Left in our midst. You’re clearly enjoying yourself.

      Obviously you have nothng to say about Raymond Huo – you one-eyed prat.

      Never mind. Read Reddell’s blog and you’ll find out – assuming you want to.

  9. Gezza

     /  19th February 2019

    An interesting article from the BBC about the UK Security Agencies’ recent announcement that they can manage the perecieved risks of using Huawei equipment in their 5G rollout. The other Five Eyes countries’ action to fall in line & ban Huawei from their networks gets a mention in their analysis. Jacinda is quoted.

    There was something mentioned about this on 1ewes at 6 last night but for the first half of the news there was some ongoing reception problem down at ma’s and the broadcast kept pixellating, with the sound corrupting & dropping out, & a loss of signal announcement popping up onscreen so we didn’t see & hear the whole item.

    Has our government taken the decision to actually ban Huawei from our 5G network – or is it also yet to take a final decision?

  1. National’s relationship with China also under fire — Your NZ – NZ Conservative Coalition

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