China and US resolving trade war, and ‘China needs NZ’

The trade war between the US and China seems to have been moderated after a meeting between President Donald Trump and President Xi Jinping.

Reuters: U.S., China agree trade war ceasefire after Trump, Xi summit

China and the United States agreed to a ceasefire in their bitter trade war on Saturday after high-stakes talks in Argentina between U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping, including no escalated tariffs on January 1.

Trump will leave tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports at 10 percent at the beginning of the new year, agreeing to not raise them to 25 percent “at this time”, the White House said in a statement.

“China will agree to purchase a not yet agreed upon, but very substantial, amount of agricultural, energy, industrial, and other product from the United States to reduce the trade imbalance between our two countries,” it said.

“China has agreed to start purchasing agricultural product from our farmers immediately.”

The two presidents also agreed to have talks on other contentious issues such as on structural changes with respect to forced technology transfers, intellectual property protection, non-tariff barriers, cyber intrusions and cyber theft, services and agriculture.

Meanwhile here in New Zealand, on Q+A last night, ‘Beijing-based economist Rodney Wigram explains why China needs New Zealand’:

 

NZ finish 3rd at U-17 Women’s World Cup (football)

A very good result in the U17 Women’s Football World Cup, with New Zealand beating Canada to finish 3rd. They only lost once, to Spain in the semi-final.

Under-17 Football World Cup

The New Zealand team have won both games so far in the under-17 Football World Cup, including against the host team Uruguay, which assures them of a place in the play-offs.

Although New Zealand out-shot Uruguay by 14 attempts to seven and created far more chances, coach Leon Birnie felt the result could have been different on another day.

“It was an absolute battle out there today, and it could have gone either way if I’m honest,” he said.

“It’s historic for us because we’d never got out of the pool play – I’m just so proud of the girls.”

It was New Zealand’s second win of the tournament after an opening 1-0 victory over Finland four days ago, and means they are through to the last eight alongside Ghana in Group A.

This is a very good result so far.

Tournament website: https://www.fifa.com/u17womensworldcup/

Divided over Brexit but nowhere to run

Financial Times:  Brexit deal crisis: Rudd returns, Gove stays

Theresa May has reshuffled her cabinet as she battles for survival, replacing the two minister who resigned as part of the political fallout over the draft Brexit treaty. The big question still hanging over the prime minister is whether those seeking to oust her can find 48 Tory MPs needed to trigger a no confidence vote.

BBC:

Summary

  1. Steve Barclay is appointed new Brexit Secretary, replacing Dominic Raab
  2. Former Home Secretary Amber Rudd returns to cabinet as the Work and Pensions Secretary
  3. Theresa May answered listeners’ questions on the draft Brexit deal on LBC radio show
  4. Michael Gove ends speculation about whether he would follow fellow Brexiteers out of the cabinet
  5. International Trade Secretary Liam Fox joins Mr Gove in urging MPs to support the deal
  6. More than 20 MPs have called for a no-confidence vote in the prime minister

Also from BBC:

When the UK made a major change in direction towards the EU it created chaos in New Zealand as our biggest marker for produce turned it’s back on us.

Now the chaos is in Britain as they try to exit from the EU, with little effect on us apart from possibly, eventually, providing more trade opportunities.

Annette King appointed High Commissioner to Australia

This is a predicted and I think widely applauded diplomatic appointment.

Beehive: New High Commissioner to Australia announced

Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters has announced the appointment of Dame Annette King as High Commissioner to Australia.

“Dame Annette King needs no introduction given her long running career as a parliamentarian where she has previously held a number senior Cabinet portfolios, including Justice, Police and Health. She also was Parliament’s longest serving female MP with 30 years’ service,” said Mr Peters.

“As High Commissioner Dame Annette will be working on one of New Zealand’s most significant relationships. The Trans-Tasman bond is exceptionally strong however the relationship is not something we take for granted, and the new High Commissioner will be tasked with keeping the connections strong,” he said.

“The new appointment is notable because Dame Annette is a former MP on a diplomatic posting. In this sense she is an exception. Of the 25 Head of Mission appointments announced this year all have been career diplomats.”

Dame Annette is expected to start her High Commissioner duties at the end of the year.

She should do a good job diplomatically connecting New Zealand to Australia.

There is a funny side to this, as Peters has blasted the appointing of ex-politicians to diplomatic posts.

In 2016 (NZ Herald):  Winston Peters takes swipe at ‘brorocracy’ of diplomatic appointments

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters has promised to order “unsuitable” political appointees to return home from diplomatic posts if the party holds the balance of power next year.

In a speech to students at Victoria University today, Mr Peters attacked the “brorocracy” of recent diplomatic appointments.

“As an example of how meritocracy has been abandoned in favour of a mainly white brorocracy look no further than how some of our high commissioners and ambassadors are being appointed.

“This is not to say that some of the people we have sent offshore haven’t been the best choice, or not done excellent service, but some have not been the wisest choice.

“Many have represented an insult to foreign affairs, leaving their posts with absolutely nothing to show, but deterioration in our international relationship with that country.”

Mr Peters went on to say that a political appointee should be “the absolute exception”, and if any future appointments were made that the party regards as unsuitable, it would order that appointee home should it hold the balance of power after next year’s election.

I guess he can say that Annette King is an absolute exception. And she is not a bro.

She may well be as New Zealand’s High Commissioner in Australia.

 

Brexit prompted opening of NZ embassy in Ireland

New Zealand has just opened an embassy in Ireland. This was prompted by Brexit.

Winston Peters:  New Zealand opens first embassy in Dublin

Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters officially opened New Zealand’s first resident embassy in Ireland at a ceremony in Dublin today.

“Ireland and New Zealand are already close friends but our new diplomatic post will strengthen connections and further develop the relationship. As small island nations committed to democracy, the rule of law and free and open trade, we look forward to working well together,” said Mr Peters.

Today, Mr Peters met with Prime Minister Leo Varadkar, and also visited the Irish National Stud and The Curragh to discuss racing industry issues. While in Dublin, he will also meet with Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney, and will deliver a speech at the Irish Institute of International and European Affairs.

“The embassy in Dublin will also foster New Zealand’s trading interests in Europe,” said Mr Peters.

“New Zealand has a lot at stake in its relations with Europe and people on the ground in Dublin makes sense as Europe’s architecture evolves, following the United Kingdom’s exit from the EU,” he said.

Trade between Ireland and New Zealand is growing. It was worth $509 million in the year to June 2018.

New Zealand’s first resident Ambassador to Ireland is Mr Brad Burgess.

Speech by Peters: Opening of New Zealand Embassy in Dublin, Ireland

This follows the opening of an Irish embassy in Wellington: Embassy of Ireland, New Zealand

And the appointment of an Irish ambassador to New Zealand in August: Ireland’s first Ambassador to New Zealand appointed (Newshub):

Ireland’s first Ambassador to New Zealand, Peter Ryan, has been appointed at a ceremony at Government House in Wellington.

“I am deeply honoured to have been given the privilege of representing Ireland as the first resident Ambassador to New Zealand. In taking up the role, I am conscious that we are indeed fortunate to enjoy special ties of kinship and history with New Zealand and with the many New Zealanders of Irish heritage,” Ambassador Ryan said in his speech.

“I am particularly mindful today of the rich contribution of generations of Irish women and men to the development of New Zealand, and their love of both countries.”

The opening of new Embassy in Wellington was first announced by Irish President Michael D. Higgins during his visit to New Zealand in late 2017.

So a new era in diplomatic relations between New Zealand and Ireland.

Armistice Day Centenary

Today is the centenary of celebrating Armistice Day, which marked the end of the unprecedented death and destruction of World War 1.

Like many, probably most New Zealanders, I have family connections. Both my grandfathers fought in the war, and were lucky to survive (one was badly injured), otherwise I would never have existed. There was a huge casualty rate, with 18,000 New Zealanders killed and tens of thousands more injured.

 


Armistice centenary – 11 November 2018

At 11am on 11 November this year, Aotearoa New Zealand will mark the centenary of the armistice that ended the First World War in 1918. On that day 100 years ago, after four years of brutal conflict, war finally gave way to peace.

The First World War had taken a huge toll on New Zealand. Around 100,000 New Zealanders – or ten percent of the population at the time – served overseas during the war, and over 18,000 lost their lives. Families and communities back home felt these losses acutely.

When news of the Armistice reached our shores it was met with thanksgiving, hopefulness and joyous noise.

The Armistice centenary gives us the opportunity to acknowledge the loss and trauma of the First World War, as well as reflect on peace and hope at the centenary of its closure. As well as joining together in remembrance, we can recapture the relief and jubilation of that important day a century ago.

ATTEND AN ARMISTICE EVENT

SEND YOUR MESSAGE TO THE ARMISTICE BEACON

HISTORY OF ARMISTICE DAY

JOIN THE ROARING CHORUS

At 11am on 11 November 1918, after four years of brutal conflict, the First World War finally came to an end. When news of the Armistice reached New Zealand it was met with widespread thanksgiving, celebration and a lot of noise.

“There were songs and cheers, miscellaneous pipings and blastings, and tootings and rattlings—a roaring chorus of gladsome sounds.” – Armistice celebrations in Wellington described in The Evening Post, 12 November 1918

100 years on, we want to recapture this energy and we invite you to join us.

How can you be involved?

On Sunday 11 November, a two minute silence will be observed at 11am to acknowledge the immense loss and hardship endured throughout the war. Following this, we encourage organisations and communities to gather whatever ‘instruments’ they have at hand, and help create a roaring chorus of jubilant sound that once again celebrates peace and hope for the future.

The brief is wide open, you could ring bells, sound sirens, or toot horns. You could sing a waiata, beat drums or play music. You could incorporate something upbeat into an event you already had planned or do something stand alone. Anything goes.

Download an information sheet about the Roaring Chorus (PDF, 421 KB)

Books and documentaries on NZ political and economic history

A 25 year old dude with an interest in New Zealand politics asked at Reddit – Can anyone suggest a book that discusses NZ politics and economics of the past ~70 years?

My issue is, there is very little information available to me that lays out our entire history.

I’ve looked everywhere I can think of and I haven’t been able to find any concise histories of what the hell happened in our country in the last 70 years from our free trade deal with the UK til how we got to where we are today.

If anyone could suggest a book, it’d be greatly appreciated.

Hearing the last generation making vague allusions to events that happened 30 years ago that shaped their political views that I have no understanding of really makes it hard to evaluate where we are today.

There are a lot of misleading (and false) claims and assertions about what happened here economically and politically through the 1980s and 1990s (the move to the much maligned and misrepresented ‘neoliberalism’).

Some suggestions in comments at Reddit:

The documentary Revolution on NZ on Screen covers everything from postwar to post-Ruth Richardson era. It is very good.

Great series, I came across the book recently too. Adds some interesting detail.

Revolution (part one) – Fortress New Zealand

Documentary series Revolution mapped the social and economic changes in New Zealand society in the 1980s and early 1990s. This first episode focuses on NZ’s radical transformation from a heavily regulated welfare state to a petri dish for free market ideology. It includes interviews with key political and business figures of the day, who reveal how the dire economic situation by the end of Robert Muldoon’s reign made it relatively easy for Roger Douglas to implement extreme reform.

Revolution (part two) – The Grand Illusion

This second episode argues that in its first term in office, the Labour Government promoted neoliberal reform via illusory ideas of consensus and fairness, while PM David Lange mined goodwill from its indie anti-nuclear policy (famously in an Oxford Union debate, see third clip). The interviews include key figures in politics, the public service and business: an age of easy lending and yuppie excess is recalled, while those in rural areas recount the downside of job losses.

In a Land of Plenty (it’s on the youtube) is worth a couple of hours, focused more on our primary industries

New Zealand – In a Land of Plenty Full

2002 Documentary about economic changes in New Zealand during the 1980’s. Documentary by Alister Barry and narrated by Ian Johnstone.

Book suggestions:

by Raymond Miller covered enough of the basics to get through a 100 level Politics class, Miller was the lecturer though so of course he’d build the class content around his own book. “Democracy in New Zealand”

Raymond’s books are great. I’ve read a couple even though I only took a single politics gened. Recommend Party Politics in NZ too even though it’s moderately outdated now.

Can’t go wrong with Kings’ Penguin history of New Zealand for a great explanation of Maori colonisation to the present, and for the 20th century rudd & ropers’ the political economy of new Zealand is an excellent political & sociological analysis of our economy that doesn’t read like paint drying.

The Penguin History of New Zealand – tells that story in all its colour and drama. The narrative that emerges is an inclusive one about men and women, Maori and Pakeha. It shows that British motives in colonising New Zealand were essentially humane; and that Maori, far from being passive victims of a ‘fatal impact’, coped heroically with colonisation and survived by selectively accepting and adapting what Western technology and culture had to offer.

Perhaps: New Zealand Government and Politics

Sixth Edition Edited by Janine Hayward

New Zealand Government and Politics

  • Contemporary: updated following the September 2014 NZ election, makes this the most current text on the market
  • A truly introductory text the sixth edition has been carefully restructured and rewritten to suit the learning needs of first year students. Key introductory topics are covered early on, concepts have been simplified and there’s no assumed knowledge (as well as less specialised chapters).
  • Highlighting of Maori politics. NZ political science has taken a very long time to engage with this issue, and it is not only profiled right up front in Part 1, but also thematically woven through the other sections

I highly recommend Paradise Reforged by James Belich for his look at post-war economic and political history. His theories are entertaining AND enlightening. You’ll never guess how much of our history revolves around butter.

Paradise Reforged – A History of the New Zealanders, 1880-2000: The sequel to the best-selling Making Peoples, which was a bestseller and award-winner in New Zealand. It picks up where Making Peoples ended – at the beginning of the 20th century. The volume presents an account of a country which in 100 years undergone massive changes as a flood of “Pakeha” (European) immigrants built on the land opportunities opened by the ferocious British-Maori wars of the 19th century. Torn between British and Maori identities, New Zealanders have successfully created a new nation but one in which the tensiosn and injustices of its founding are never far from the surface.

If you’re looking for specific topics, the NZ Journal of History can be quite useful.

And Papers Past if you want to read what people were saying at the time (although it’s missing a lot of the more recent stuff).

 

Liberating Le Quesnoy in 1918

It is the hundred year anniversary of New Zealand troops liberating the French town of Le Quesnoy in the closing stages of World War 1.

NZ History: New Zealand and Le Quesnoy

Just a week before the end of the First World War in November 1918, the New Zealand Division captured the French town of Le Quesnoy. It was the New Zealanders’ last major action in the war. To this day, the town of Le Quesnoy continues to mark the important role that New Zealand played in its history. Streets are named after New Zealand places, there is a New Zealand memorial and a primary school bears the name of a New Zealand soldier. Visiting New Zealanders are sure to receive a warm welcome from the locals.

The Germans held Le Quesnoy for almost the entire war, from August 1914 through to its dramatic liberation on 4 November 1918. The New Zealanders scaled a ladder set against the ancient walls of the town and took the remaining Germans as prisoners.

Capture of the walls of Le Quesnoy by George Edmund Butler, 1920.

The liberation of Le Quesnoy was just one of the many campaigns that New Zealanders fought on the Western Front, the line that stretched across northern France and Belgium. The majority of New Zealanders killed in the First World War lost their lives in the battles that raged there from 1916 to 1918. More than 12,000 New Zealanders died on the Western Front in two and a half years fighting; this was more than in the entire Second World War.

New Zealand casualties in and around Le Quesnoy: 122 killed, 375 wounded.

German casualties: 43 killed, 255 wounded (2000+ captured)

French civilian casualties: 0

This was the last major action for new Zealand in World War 1.

Many New Zealanders today will have some link via relatives to the liberation of Le Quesnoy.

My grandfather was there in a supporting role, serving as an engineer. Like many soldiers he kept a diary. This is whay he wrote about the liberating of le Quesnoy:

New Zealand casualties in World War 1: 16,697 killed, 41,000+ wounded (a 58% casualty rate).

About a thousand died men over the next five years due to injuries sustained during the war.

Effects of climate change in the mountains and elsewhere

The effects of climate change are not just predicted and theoretical, they are real and observable. I have noticed changes here – more mild winters, the decrease in number and severity of frosts, and earlier flowering.

Not so visible changes from Reuters:

We know that the iconic Fox and Franz Josef glaciers are receding.

And observations from New Zealand mount climbers (in relation to the avalanche that killed two people in the Southern Alps this week) – Climbing tragedies: Why climate change is becoming a factor

Climbing guides Martin Hess and Wolfgang Maier were killed on Mt Hicks yesterday – and adventurer Jo Morgan was lucky to survive – after an early morning avalanche.

Climate change has become a factor in climbers’ decisions about when to venture into the Southern Alps.

While climbing in spring risks avalanches, climate change is – more frequently than in the past – presenting another obstacle for climbers who wait for summer.

Owner of Wanaka guiding company Adventure Consultants, Guy Cotter, said yesterday this is the time of the year when climbing begins to “ramp up”.

“This whole November, early December period is a very popular time for climbing the big mountains here.”

“With the snow left over from winter we have very good access around the glaciers and up the mountains.”

But, he said, “glacial recession” meant some areas are not accessible from about New Year, because of crevasses opening up in glaciers “a lot more quickly than what they used to”.

“The crevasses open up because the snow melts that’s covering them … and filling them up.

“That all ablates over the summer and we’re down to the raw skeleton of the glacier with all of its crevasses.

“So it really does make a very big difference in what you can access.”

Cotter said Mt Hicks was one of those mountains where there was now an issue with access in summer and it was “very rarely climbed” for that reason.

Cotter said the loss of snow was happening earlier than it did 30 years ago when he started climbing.

“We could access most places all through the summer.

“Now it’s a lot more difficult to get to some of the mountains and get off.

“It’s definitely part of climate change and the glaciers are definitely disappearing.

“Anyone who’s denying global warming is not a mountaineer because we can see it first hand.”

Of course this won’t stop arguments about climate change caused by humans versus normal cyclical climate change, but it all adds weight to the fact that our world is changing. and we need to be able to adapt to it. If we can mitigate the impact, then we should be doing what is possible and practical to do that.