How NZ builds influence in the Pacific

By   /   March 5, 2018  /   11 Comments

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Jacinda is off to the Pacific to desperately try to counter Chinese influence throughout the Pacific…

Jacinda is off to the Pacific to desperately try to counter Chinese influence throughout the Pacific…

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on five-day Pacific Island charm offensive
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is on a five-day charm offensive in the Pacific as Foreign Minister Winston Peters signals a ”reset” and increased aid for the region to try to maintain influence.

Ardern is on her first so-called ”Pacific Mission” travelling with other MPs, business and community delegates to Samoa, Niue, Tonga and Rarotonga.

It is a route that was also travelled by her predecessors, John Key and Bill English.

Ardern told reporters there was a whole range of issues facing the Pacific – including climate change, resource use and globalisation.

…now, we could spend money on basic infrastructure or aid, but China can out spend us so how can NZ maintain its influence in the Pacific while desperately countering the outrageous level of corruption China promotes and so many Pacific Governments revel in?

Auckland is the largest Pacific Island City and we do little to celebrate or leverage off that. We need to look at offering fundamental migration opportunities for Tuvalu, Tokelau and Kiribati who face the worst impacts of climate change but we also need to think outside the square in terms of not only countering Chinese influence but beating it.

I think two ways NZ could uniquely promote its interests into the Pacific against China could be via Rugby Diplomacy and Journalism.

The All Blacks doing a tour of the South Pacific would actually be of huge cultural and sporting importance and something the Government should sponsor with taxpayer dollars to help subsidise the costs to the All Blacks as a sign of respect to the sporting and cultural contribution Pacific Island nations have provided NZ.

Why shouldn’t we use Rugby as a diplomatic tool to build standing throughout the Pacific? It’s something China couldn’t match and something NZ could excel at.

Likewise Journalism. AUT run the excellent Pacific Media Centre to promote quality Journalism throughout the Pacific. What if NZ saw the promotion of quality Journalism as a craft throughout the Pacific as a strong way to counter corruption and Chinese influence? Scholarships, Pacific News Media websites, support of local ethical journalism these could be the pillars of promoting corruption free politics and holding those Governments to account.

Rugby diplomacy and promotion of Journalistic standards throughout the Pacific could counter China and promote NZs strategic interests.

We can’t outspend China, but we can play a far smarter game.

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  1. Jeff Foley Jeff Foley says:

    Both good ideas, Martyn.

  2. Francesca says:

    I can think of better diplomatic efforts, like accepting climate change refugees from the Pacific, like helping them to bring climate justice cases to the Hague

    • Sam Sam says:

      That shouldn’t freeze economic development and hardening infrastructure and institutions against climate or any other challenge our allies may face.

      In desperate situations woman tend to bare the brunt of distributing meagre resources (and all the issues with feeding 30 people with two cans of tuna) that we must turn our meagre aid budget into wine does not mean some or all of those costs can not extracted out of the hydes of the beast. And if it turns out that capitalists can not maintain there tax obligations or contractual obligations, then they must go bankrupt.

      When the amount of unfunded taxes becomes so overwhelming that a country or countries are found to be sheltering tax cheats then New Zealand will be in the best position to bring our concerns to The Hague for trial. Done in any other way would bring forth an act of war far sooner than it should.

      • Afewknowthetruth says:

        Since ‘economic development’ is at the heart of practically every predicament we face, especially climate change, more ‘economic development means making things worse faster.

        • Sam Sam says:

          Even if you raise them equally in the same environment? So fossil fuels need to be replaced with very efficient technological innovations if New Zealand’s environment is to support 5 million people. With zero economic development we’d have to fall back on wood stoves. Dosnt make much sense.

  3. Historian Pete says:

    I have already informed you lot that the latest study shows that both Tuvalu and Kiribati are rising out of the sea faster than the sea can rise. Their land area is increasing substantially.[ As shown by NASA sattelite photos.] So they don’t actually need to migrate. However our Boffins in our new Government are obviously unaware of this , and no doubt will procede to organise a migration plan to a country [N.Z.] that may well be slowly inundated-albeit at the rate of 1 millimetre per year. As part of the aid package, the new arrivals from Tuvalu and Kiribati should receive flotation devices to protect them from the rising sea levels in N.Z.

  4. Marc says:

    Sorry this visit by Jacinda and Winston is just a great PR good will show, nothing else, NZ Inc does NOT have the money China has, nor even the Russian Federation, it is a LOST battle, the Pacific is already a playground by global interests, the above and the US, and lesser so France and UK.

    NZ Is maybe well meaning, but a joke, it has lost most ground.

    • Sam Sam says:

      $17mln in cyclone relief aid so far isn’t a joke. Short term infrastructure upgrades is desperately needed, so commodities and construction will be the winners. Long term those who can inter grate pacific culture into there sales technique the best will be the owners of the new world.

      I mean, you MARC, HOSTORIAN PETE and a FEWKNOWNTRUTHS need to chill the fuck out with your doooooooooooooooooooooooooooom.

    • Historian Pete says:

      When I was about 8 I read “Coral Island” and developed a lifetime fascination with South Pacific Atolls. What I realized, and was common knowledge at the time, was that the Atolls are continually changing. Recent studies of Kiribati and Tuvalu have indicated that one third of the Islands are growing larger, one third staying the same, and one third getting smaller.Some are disappearing and Have been doing so for hundreds of years. And then you have the effect of a direct hit by a cyclone on an Island that is only a few metres above sea level. So you have to differentiate between coastal erosion and the theory of drastic sea level rise.
      Eager beaver climate change zealots ascribe all changes to climate change!
      I believe that to date the sea levels have not risen over the rate of the last 50 years. [1mm on average per annum.]That is not to say that they won’t start rising tomorrow, but I await reliable scientific evidence!!!