China allegedly threatens NZ on trade

The Sunday Star Times claims that “behind the scenes” China has threatened “retaliatory measures” against New Zealand trade if inquiries continue into the quality of Chinese supplied steel.

If accurate this is chilling. It puts a small country like us, dependent to a significant degree on trade with China, in a difficult and relatively powerless position.

China threatens reprisals on NZ dairy, wool and kiwifruit if government doesn’t back off cheap steel inquiry

China has threatened “retaliatory measures” against New Zealand trade, warning it will slow the flow of dairy, wool and kiwifruit imports.

The world’s biggest trading nation is angry at New Zealand inquiries into a glut of Chinese steel imports flooding the market; the Chinese believe New Zealand is part of a US-led alliance to target Chinese national interests.

New Zealand is angry that China should take such a combative approach, and is asking that it desist.

New Zealand ‘anger’ may be futile in a trade war between China and the US.

The quality of steel from China is becoming a concern.

Pacific Steel, the sister company of iron miner and processor NZ Steel, has lodged a confidential application, under local and World Trade Organisation rules, for an investigation into China dumping cut-price steel on the New Zealand market.

The local industry is struggling to compete with the glut of sometimes substandard Chinese metal, which is being used in major projects like the $1.4 billion Waterview Connection and bridges on the Waikato Expressway.

Competing with cheap imports from China has been a problem for New Zealand manufacturers for a long time, as has the quality of imported goods.

The durability of structural steel is is of much greater concern than the durability of track pants and onesies.

Right now, lawyers for the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment are deciding whether the investigation should proceed, which could result in punitive anti-dumping tariffs against China.

But somehow, China learned of the application – and it is taking retaliatory action.

In the past week, representatives of New Zealand’s biggest export industries have been called in by Chinese officials, and told to exert their influence to make sure the MBIE investigation does not go ahead.

To up the ante, they have been told China has begun consulting with its local food producers about imposing reprisal tariffs to slow down the access of New Zealand dairy, wool, kiwifruit and potentially meat to the 1.35 billion-strong Chinese consumer market.

Local producers are alarmed. 

So the should be – and not just local producers.

A trade war with China is definitely not in our interests,” says Andrew Hoggard, a Manawatu dairy farmer. “It’s about 20 per cent of our markets and we’re getting good market penetration with added value products in there.”

Highly-placed sources have confirmed China is applying pressure in an attempt to sway regulators away from imposing anti-dumping or countervailing duties – which are imposed when goods are subsidised – on imported Chinese steel. Zespri and Fonterra are said to have been heavied, and other exporters may have been.

But I don’t thing New Zealand can compromise on the quality of critical things like structural steel.

The world’s biggest trading nation believes the United States is leading an alliance of sycophantic nations, doing the US bidding by shutting down Chinese trade and trying to force its military out of the contested islands and atolls of the South China Sea.

China’s unusual tactics have caused government and industry to close ranks. The Ministry of Commerce of China (MOFCOM) has denied consulting on retaliatory tariffs. Fonterra spokesman Phil Turner and Zespri’s chief operating officer Simon Limmer both denied any knowledge of the Chinese industry consultation.

But trade expert Charles Finny, who has worked on China-New Zealand trade issues for decades, said sources in Government confirmed at least one major exporter had been told “the Chinese Government would like pressure to be applied to MBIE”.

I don’t think we have a choice – New Zealand has to stand firm on our procedures for dealing with potentially substandard imports of building materials.

If China takes retaliatory action in other markets then we just have to bear the brunt of that. We can’t allow another country – any other country – to dictate how we do things via threats.

It may adversely effect some of our trade but the alternative is worse.

UPDATE:  McClay to follow up on China retaliation claims (NZME)

Trade Minister Todd McClay says he will ask officials to contact the Chinese Embassy in Wellington to clarify China’s position on competition issues.

He was commenting about news reports that China could take retaliatory action against dairy and kiwifruit exports from New Zealand if a formal investigation into alleged steel dumping by China is launched by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE).

McClay said he would be asking his officials to contact China’s embassy.

“Certainly I would be asking officials to clarify the Chinese position in as far as any competition issue was concerned,” he said today from Townsville, en route to Indonesia with a trade delegation, where he is meeting up with Prime Minister John Key.

Retaliatory action was serious.

“Market economies don’t do that with each other. WTO [World Trade Organisation] rules don’t allow it,” McClay said.

“I will certainly be talking with my colleagues and the Prime Minister when we get to Indonesia.”

Trump talks of/up riots

Donald Trump is widely seen as a very adept user of publicity and he has been successful at pushing political buttons and tapping into an angry electorate.

He is now talking of riots if he misses out on the republican nomination. Is he deliberately talking up riots?

NZ Herald: Donald Trump says he’ll skip debate, warns of possible convention riots

Fresh off three more primary victories, Donald Trump said he’ll blow off the next Republican presidential debate and warned of “riots” if power-brokers deny him the nomination at the convention even if he’s leading in the delegate count.

“I think we’ll win before getting to the convention, but I can tell you, if we didn’t and if we’re 20 votes short or if we’re 100 short and we’re at 1,100 and somebody else is at 500 or 400 cause we’re way ahead of everybody, I don’t think you can say that we don’t get it automatically,” Trump said on CNN on Wednesday. “I think you’d have riots.”

“I wouldn’t lead it, but I think bad things would happen,” Trump said, adding the outcome would “disenfranchise” his supporters.

While Trump appears to be carefully trying to distance himself blame of riots should they happen the fact that he is publicly suggesting them as a possibility – and a justified possibility – it’s hard to believe he isn’t deliberately talking up the threat of riots, if not suggesting and encouraging them.

It could easily be seen as an insidious political threat of or incitement for violence if he doesn’t get his way.

UPDATE: Newstalk ZB is more blunt- Trump: Pick me or there will be riots


Otago shooting threat – hoax or not it’s a problem

Yesterday an anonymous person posted a threat on the 4chan bulletin board of a shooting massacre at Otago University on Wednesday. It was then copied to Reddit and Facebook.


Whether this is a stupid hoax or a serious threat it is causing a lot of problems and anxiety.

What is 4chan?

4chan is a simple image-based bulletin board where anyone can post comments and share images. There are boards dedicated to a variety of topics, from Japanese animation and culture to videogames, music, and photography. Users do not need to register an account before participating in the community.

Seung-Hui Cho killed 32 people and injured 17 at Virginia Tech in 2007.

This afternoon the police put out a statement:

Otago University threat

National News

Dunedin Police are aware of a threat made via an online post that relates to the University of Otago.

Specialist staff are actively investigating the post with assistance from the High Tech Crime Group in Wellington.  Police are also working closely with the Vice-Chancellor and the University.

“Police would like to reassure University staff and students, and the wider Dunedin community, that appropriate measures are being taken in relation to the post,” says Inspector Mel Aitken, acting Area Commander: Otago Coastal.

“Police take any threat seriously while its source and authenticity is being assessed.

“Our advice at this time is to be alert and vigilant but not alarmed while our investigation is ongoing.

“Police will be maintaining a high visibility presence in the area and taking other appropriate steps which we are unable to discuss publicly.

“We are also asking those in the University area to report any suspicious behaviour immediately to Police.

“We understand that a threat of this nature could be concerning to some people. Police, University of Otago and Campus Watch staff will be available to speak with anyone who has concerns.

“Police is experienced at assessing a range of threats and we investigate any matter of concern which comes to our attention. We are also mindful of the possibility of “copy cat” threats following high profile events which occur overseas.   We will deal firmly with any individuals associated with any such copy cat threats.

“Police will communicate any further advice necessary as our investigation progresses, and we will continue to work closely with the University of Otago.” said Inspector Aitken.

So will life go on as usual in Dunedin tomorrow? There are many students and staff at Otago, some of them will have some real concerns for obvious reasons. I know people personally with close associations with the University who have concerns.

Whatever the intent and motives of the person who posted the threat the effects of something like this can be huge.

It shows that in a normally boring old backwater like Dunedin one person can cause major problems without even doing anything real.

And if the person is serious the problems increase substantially.

A state of peaceful living can be easily and quickly be overturned.

Threatening journalists to toe the line

In the introduction to the Dirty Politics series against Fran O’Sullivan (And so we begin) ‘Cameron Slater’ quoted Nicky Hager on Q & A”

“If you see a name of a journalist in the book, they are the ones I don’t think have done anything wrong, they’re just incidental to the story. Every journalist who had been taking stories in dodgy ways from David Farrar, one of the bloggers, or Cameron Slater or from the prime minister’s office, I actually left their names out. I decided not to do the journalists basically.

All apart from Rachel Glucina, who Hager described as “despicable”.

Although Hager highlighted the problem of media being played by Slater and others, he also said he understood the demands of the industry.

“I think that a whole lot of people had done things which were dodgy and wrong. In other words they knew that their prime minister’s office was feeding them information and you could get really easy stories.

“You were being used but it was giving you another headline in a job which is very busy and competitive, where people want to get stuff, so there’s a ton of horrible temptation to keep being an outlet for Cameron Slater and people.

The people I’m talking about are in the press gallery, senior journalists. Basically I didn’t want to humiliate them, I wanted to give them room to think again and do it differently. That was the reason. Because we’re a small country and there are only going to be the same senior journalists the year after and the year after that, so let them change their minds on it.”

‘Slater’ responded to that:

So Nicky Hager was threatening journalists to toe the line, and change, otherwise he’d out them.

Today in comments on the Fran O’Sullivan, Secret tip-offs and Bullying an OIA Requester post Whale Oil adminstrator/moderator Pete Belt responded to a comment:

Why is Osullivan digging a hole for herself, she must know what she does will leak out and hurt her.?


    The picture is starting to form of someone who has a high regard for herself (and assumes it is widely shared by others) thinking she is protected. The sad thing is that true loyalty is very hard to come by in life. In business, and media, it’s almost non existent.

    The amusing thing is that we warned her. Not only did she not stop, she turned on Whaleoil. We then warned her again to stop. She did not. Her attacks on Cam/Whaleoil increased.

    Well, you can only conclude she was comfortable with the idea of being the subject of a year-long Whaleoil investigation. It’s a amazing what you can dig up when you talk to all the people that have been left damaged and hurt by someone over the years.

    And the best bit is still to come.

  • That sounds very similar to “threatening journalists to toe the line, and change, otherwise…”

    Corbyn – revolution or threat?

    Jeremy Corbyn’s remarkable elevation from 33 year maverick back bencher to UK Labour leader is prompting some remarkable claims.

    Anthony Robins seems ecstatic at The Standard in UK – Cameron loses his shit, new members flood to Labour:

    Last night our time the UK was waking up to the first new day of Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party. PM David Cameron lost his shit, in what will I think become one of the most (in)famous political tweets of all time:


    I’m not sure that will become infamous, it seems a logical first shot across Corbyn’s bow from the Conservatives.

     Meanwhile in the real world, since the Corbyn announcement new members have been flocking to UK Labour…


    It’s understandable that Labour supporters here would be excited by that sort of news, but it may be political PR, just like Cameron’s tweet.

    Corbyn certainly seems to have sparked a revolution within the UK Labour Party. Whether that translates into a UK revolution is yet to be seen. He is unlikely to prompt a surge in membership for Labour in New Zealand.

    Many voters may well see Corbyn’s Labour as a threat to security – Corbyn wants to withdraw from NATO and scrap their nuclear Tridents – and a threat to the economy – he leans strongly towards socialism.

    Cameron’s first shot is probably mild. Corbyn and Labour a sure to get a lot more strongly worded criticisms than that.

    Corbyn may well be leading a revolution. But if that revolution is seen as a threat to the majority of UK voters the revolting may end up being confined to Labour.

    Threats of gang rape against daughter

    The Whale Oil versus (some) West Coasters fracas has escalated. I’ve seen some awful and gutless threats made already, including death threats against Cameron Slater.

    But one threat on Facebook is, as Rex Widerstrom says, several bridges too far.

    Cameron Slater

    This is the sort of caring things that the ferals on the West Coast have to say…threatening gang rape against my 15 year old daughter.

    Whale Oil threatNow do you see why I call these scum ferals.

    That is disgraceful. Yes, emotions are running high on this spat, which began over an insensitive blog post about the death of a young person from the Coast.

    Continuing to refer to ‘feral’ and ‘scum’ is perhaps now understandable but unwise, as it was unwise in the beginning.

    But to make a threat like this against an innocent girl is despicable. That goes beyond angry reaction, to consider making a public threat like, let alone making it, is very disturbing.

    I hope the police deal with this – but unfortunately severe damage has already been done, both to innocent family and to the reputation of the West Coast.

    People on both sides of this slanging match need to pull back and deal with these reprehensible attacks and threats.

    An anonymous threat typifies the problem

    On a forum where rules insist I must be anonymous so I won’t link (but my identityis widely known there anyway) politically motivate threats are quite common – if someone doesn’t like a topic or comment they will hint that they will get the site moderators to remove it – and possibly remove your right to use the forum.

    This morning when discussing this topic of gagging voices due to political disagreement or control I have had such a threat. First there was a warning:

    Forgotten you already did this “self promoting” propaganda piece last week?

    Then (accompanied by a devils head icon):

    Anyone who cannot see this propaganda for what it is, is as bat guano thick as the person who erroneously used it against someone much cleverer than himself.

    And those who cast stones should be aware that their behaviour will come back to haunt them should they ever run for political office again ;D

    First a repeat attempt to discredit the message by attacking the messenger – a common form of political attack.

    Then a threat of future repercussions. The person obviously knows my background and they imply they could affect any political bid I might make in the future. It raises a suspicion that they could come from the same city as I do, which happens to be the same city as the MP who is under the spotlight.

    Now this doesn’t bother me in the slightest, I stand by anything I’ve said on this topic as honest opinion.

    But that wee threat is typical of the some of the politically motivated internet attacks that so many people are speaking strongly against.