The best part of the Chinese spy inside NZ Government story from overseas news agencies is their shock it happened, followed by their shock that NZers are ‘meh’ about the revelation.
Unless it involves the All Blacks, MAFS or house renovation, we don’t care.
Kiwis would care if it turned out the Chinese were spying on the All Blacks.
Kiwis would care if Chinese TV in NZ bought the rights to MAFS and forced people to watch it on a Freeview channel higher than 13.
Kiwis would care if Chinese building materials for the Block were cheaper in Australia than here.
But would Kiwis care if the Chinese Government actually managed to get a spy into our own Caucus inside the National Party?
Our combination of general apathy, right wing media that look the other way when it comes to anything National do mixed with an impolite fear that you’re being xenophobic if you ever mention Chinese influence anywhere have combined to give a mighty, ‘meh’ from the masses.
I hate us sometimes.
The geopolitical cold war between China and America as they battle for dominance of the Pacific has begun to get hot.
The trade war is on with Trump deciding last week to not only penalise Chinese steel imports, but he gloriously savaged allies as well.
Trump truly is Amerika uber alles.
The soft power China is using in Australia has become a National security issue inside Australia with an enormous inquiry into the power and influence of soft China power.
The case against China is that as a totalitarian communist regime with a president for life, their long plan is to manipulate and dominate the political and economic landscape of host countries in the pacific for Chinese strategic interests.
The counter argument is that this is a racist attack on China by attempting to define Chinese interactions as manipulated directly by the Government.
Meanwhile, back in the sleepy shire, the Canadians are warning the other 5 Eye Allies that NZ is a plaything for Chinese interests and their dominance of our political establishment is so complete that maybe NZ should be poked in its 5th eye and remove us from the club because we leak like a Split Enz song.
Throw us out of your mass surveillance club? Honest? Promise?
Oh please Br’er Rabbit, don’t throw us in the Briar patch!
From a purely strategic point of view, one could genuinely argue from a pro-NZ perspective, that getting kicked out of the 5 Eyes club would mean we were no longer a target for Chinese influence, so actually that would be quite beneficial for us.
Unfortunately I don’t see us getting kicked out and the Canadians have been drinking too much maple syrup. There’s no question that the National Party have been bought and paid for, and that is a genuine concern and the total lack of focus or debate about that inside NZ is equally hilarious and dangerous at the same time, but Labour, the Greens and NZ First don’t have those influences to the same degree.
There is some suggestion by the Canadians that Chinese money is inside Labour, while there certainly is, because the Chinese give money to everyone, the influence that comes with those donations is totally absent in policy. There just isn’t any policy being promoted that benefits Chinese interests, in fact with the law to ban foreign domestic ownership, one would argue that those influences have not been successful if donations were made to influence them.
What should we be doing?
I think our first allegiance is to NZ as an independent Pacific nation with its own independent foreign policy.
That should be our touchstone value in everything we do.
We do not want America expanding its military control or mass surveillance state powers into the Pacific anymore than we want China to.
China’s behaviour in the South Pacific over the ownership of reefs they have built into military bases defies claims that their rise to power and expansion of influence is not aggressive.
America’s ‘respect my authority’ positioning and trade wars aren’t alleviating tensions, they are ratcheting them up.
If we wish to maintain our Independence, we need to show leadership by openly criticising both sides and asking for a more peaceful, productive and collaborative co-operation in the Pacific, especially at a a time of climate change and increasing poverty across the Pacific.
I think we have a leader in Jacinda who could articulate this powerful vision and provide that leadership, because if we don’t make a radical departure now we are going to get sucked into the geopolitical vortex between these two and be forced to choose a side that in’t in our true national interests.
We have an enormous number of Pacific Islanders and Asian-New Zealanders living here, they are a natural resource as cultural bridges back to the rest of the Pacific, why not take the strength of our optimistic youth and their fresh ways of inclusion and use them as a Pacific wave of diplomacy to work together and not against in the Pacific?
Why let the war mongers dictate the narrative? Why not have a leader who can articulate a vision of co-operation in the Pacific challenge that narrative by being direct in our criticism while inclusive in our solutions?