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China flexing it’s economic muscle again?




Reported in the NZ Herald today (10 February 2019), this curious incident;


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The story continued;

Shortly after 11.30am this morning, Hundman was sent a txt from Air NZ saying “As you were advised onboard, the aircraft operating your flight did not have regulatory approval to land in China and was required to return to Auckland.”

An Air NZ spokeswoman was not immediately able to say why the flight could not gain permission to land. The airline is waiting on an update from its operations team.

“I would be stunned if Air NZ had allowed a plane full of passengers to take off without being quite sure they would be able to land it in Shanghai,” Hundman says.

“They are telling us it has been ‘rescheduled’ to depart tonight at 11pm – though I tried to check in before leaving the airport and they told me the new flight hadn’t been set up yet.”

Reparations offered so far has been meagre, Hundman says.

“We were given hotel vouchers for the Crowne Plaza, $30 of meal vouchers for use at the airport, and taxi vouchers. There’s been no compensation offered for time lost or hassle Hundman says.

He says passengers were woken up by the pilot with the turnaround announcement four or five hours into the flight. He was one of a handful travelling business class, so could only gauge the reaction of a handful of passengers around him, but he says all were shocked.

Hundman, taking advantage of inflight wi-fi, took to social media:



Flight passenger, Eric Hundman, said;

“I would be stunned if Air NZ had allowed a plane full of passengers to take off without being quite sure they would be able to land it in Shanghai.”

He’s right.

There appears to be no rationale for the Air New Zealand flight to have been aborted. There was no mention made of any technical or mechanical problems. Instead, the reason given was “regulatory approval to land in China“.

Air New Zealand has been flying to Shanghai since June 2006.  It seems strange that, thirteen years later, there would be a problem with one of our aircraft having “landing permission” problems.

The incident comes barely two and a half months after the GCSB advised the  Coalition Government to block Chinese company Huawei from contracting to build New Zealand’s 5G Network. Unspecified “security risks” were cited by Minister Andrew Little, but no reasons were made public. The reasons were “classified”.

Four days prior to the government announcement banning Huawei, the US government had put pressure on it’s allies (including New Zealand)  not to do business with the Chinese company;

The US government has initiated an extraordinary outreach campaign to foreign allies, trying to persuade wireless and internet providers in these countries to avoid telecommunications equipment from Chinese company Huawei, according to a Wall Street Journal report.

A month later, on 6 December last year, it was reported that the Chinese state media was threatening a backlash over the Coalition government’s decision to ban Huawei;

Chinese state media warns there will be a backlash to New Zealand after the controversial decision to block Huawei equipment in the planned 5G mobile network.

Officials and experts have told Chinese tabloid Global Times that the ban will “only hurt [New Zealand’s] industry and consumers”.

Xiang Ligang, a Beijing-based veteran industry analyst, told the Global Times the move will backfire.

“New Zealand has taken this action just after the US reportedly asked its allies to say ‘no’ to Huawei equipment. It’s following the US’ lead on this matter, but it will only end up hurting itself,” he said.

It would not be the first time that inexplicable “problems with paperwork” had impacted on New Zealand commerce with China.

In May 2013, New Zealand there appeared brief reports that New Zealand exports to China had been held up at at a Chinese port;

New Zealand’s beef and lamb is still being blocked from entering China.

The meat industry says it’s a huge concern and is already costing a lot of money.

The issue was revealed on 3 News last night and it’s understood the problem arose because Chinese authorities weren’t informed of the name change of a New Zealand government ministry.

The meat is not allowed into the country and hasn’t been now for nearly a week.

The problem was again described officially as  “incorrect paperwork”;

The problem is believed to have arisen after the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries recently became the Ministry of Primary Industries and Chinese border controls aren’t recognising the new names and logos on the export certificates.

“We’ve got MFAT officials and MPI officials working around the clock to resolve this,” says Minister for Food Safety Nikki Kaye. “We’ve been providing technical documentation through to Chinese authorities and we remain confident that this will be resolved in the near future.”

It prompted this blogpost;



As pointed out in my blogpost at the time, New Zealand was in the process of conducting a Free Trade Agreement negotiation with Taiwan. Beijing claims sovereign jurisdiction over Taiwan, describing it as a “renegade province”.

Negotiating a separate FTA with Taiwan  would have been viewed with alarm by the Beijing government which insists on a “One China” policy that includes Taiwan. According to Xinhua News Agency – the official state-run press agency of the People’s Republic of ChinaBeijing’s position on Taiwan was non-negotiable;

Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said here on Wednesday that Washington should abide by its commitment to the one-China policy.

Wang made the remarks while speaking at a press conference with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo after their meeting.

He made a stopover in Washington D.C. on his way back from Argentina on Wednesday.

Wang noted that the Taiwan issue concerns China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, as well as China’s core interests.

China has already threatened the US should Trump abandon the decades-old One China policy;

State-run Chinese tabloid Global Times warned US President-elect Donald Trump that China would “take revenge” if he reneged on the one-China policy, only hours after Taiwan’s president made a controversial stopover in Houston.

Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen met senior US Republican lawmakers during her stopover in Houston on Sunday en route to Central America, where she will visit Honduras, Nicaragua, Guatemala and El Salvador. Tsai will stop in San Francisco on 13 January, her way back to Taiwan.

China had asked the United States not to allow Tsai to enter or have formal government meetings under the one China policy.

So when Beijing got wind that the Key-led National government was conducting negotiations directly with Taipei, as if it were a sovereign government, it seems utterly feasible that Beijing flexed it’s economic muscle to warn New Zealand that it was treading on dangerous ground.

The stalling of exports at a Chinese port was a message sent to the Key government: don’t mess with China over the Taiwan issue – your trade will be at risk.

Fast- forward six years and it is again feasible that Beijing has sent a “stern message” to the New Zealand government over our caving to Washington over Huawei.

This incident may have been a covert reminder to New Zealand that in choosing to side with the American Empire, we have put our trade with the planet’s second largest economy at risk.

If so, it may be to our peril. If there is a second global financial crisis looming, and if China abrogates our FTA with that country, we may end up regretting taking sides in the current US-China rivalry.

Mice tend to get trampled underfoot when elephants are rampaging for supremacy.





NZ Herald: Air NZ flight to Shanghai forced to turn back to Auckland mid-flight

Air New Zealand: History – New routes and exciting initiatives

Radio NZ: Reasons to block Spark’s 5G rollout ‘classified’

NZ Herald: US asks allies to drop Huawei

Mediaworks/Newshub: Chinese state media warns of backlash over New Zealand’s Huawei ban

Mediaworks/Newshub:  Meat held up in China costing NZ industry

Wikipedia: Xinhua News Agency

Xinhua News Agency: Chinese FM urges U.S. to stick to one-China policy

EWN:  End ‘One China’ Policy And China Will Take Revenge, Trump Warned

Previous related blogposts

What’s the beef, guv?

Taiwan FTA – Confirmation by TVNZ of China pressuring the Beehive?






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  1. And we now have lots of new cheap immigrant workers from there work on many building sites in Auckland, so I have noted, hence talking bad of China will bring other risks.

    Besides of the hundreds of thousands immigrants and residents that have settled here, coming from Mainland China, some of whom are more loyal to their homeland than to New Zealand, we have new immigrant workers from there employed to build our new homes.

    We are so dependent now, trading a lot with China, if we do not do as they wish, they will retaliate or punish us. If we are critical of China, they may stir up their local people living here, one day protesting and what else may come to mind.

    New Zealand has got itself into a risky dependency that will come back to bite us, bite is big in the backside soon.

    This (turning flights away) may just be the early beginnings, perhaps Venezuela is not so far away from us, as a ‘boycott’ of sorts by China will one day make people here suffer also.

    And some of the new immigrants have no scruples when it comes to using illegal employment practices, even child labour, one has to wonder, what will be next?


    • New Zealand has got itself into a risky dependency that will come back to bite us, bite is big in the backside soon.

      Yep. This is the problem of becoming dependent upon trade for our well being. What we need to do is to develop our own economy so that we can look after ourselves with trade then a nice to have.

    • Dont tell me Marc that you are now conceding that economic giants have the ability to dictate through leverage on populations and economies. If China has that power over NZ it is certain that the USA has it over Venezuela. One little airplane flight and you are crapping yourself. Wait till we have trouble with primary industries and then you will start to get the picture on Venezuela. And China has no ability to prevent access to overseas assets

      • I am not crapping myself re an aircraft having been forced to turn around, I am seeing the potential for greater issues, that is what I would be concerned about, so should others.

        As for a comparison with Venezuela, yes, there may be some similarities, but there are also differences. New Zealand may depend largely on agricultural exports, but they are a range of products and resources, not one major item that represents 90 to 95 percent of ALL export revenue, which petroleum is or has been for Venezuela.

        We also trade with more nations besides of China, and if shit hits the fan, New Zealand will weather the storm better than Venezuela.

        One concern is the growing and already high number of migrants with Mainland Chinese backgrounds, many holding two passports.

        There are hardly such a high percentage of immigrants from the US in Venezuela, so that is another aspect to the situation, which can have serious consequences for New Zealand, it already has at times.

        • One concern is the growing and already high number of migrants with Mainland Chinese backgrounds, many holding two passports.

          China does not allow dual citizenship.

          The problem is that NZ allows non-citizens all the same rights as citizens. This is simply bloody stupid as it then allows a foreign government to put in place lots of immigrants that then can influence our politics.

          • Strange that, I know Mainland Chinese who have kept their Mainland Chinese passport and also have a NZ one.

            For the rest, yes, most may just have PR, and enjoy almost the same rights as NZers.

            • Strange that, I know Mainland Chinese who have kept their Mainland Chinese passport and also have a NZ one.

              Just more of the corruption from Chinese that we’ve come to know and hate.


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              China does not allow its citizens to have dual nationality and if they take up foreign citizenship of their own free will, they automatically lose their Chinese citizenship.

              But in practice many wealthy Chinese do not declare that they have taken citizenship elsewhere, in order to maintain access to the many investment opportunities in China that are excluded to foreigners.


              yan is part of several generations of Chinese who left their country of birth for education, careers, family or freedom, and became passport holders of other countries without renouncing their Chinese citizenship. They held on to their Chinese identity cards and renewed their Chinese passports for various reasons – to make it easier to buy and sell property on the mainland, to be able to send their children to Chinese schools and to have access to the Chinese health system.

  2. The solution seems simple. The U.K. Imports all its food from Germany which is about to be whacked with a 4%-15% WTO (World Trade Organisation) tariff. So we could double U.K trade from $5 to $10 billion and improve trade to the TPP11 countries and tell China to take there bat and ball and shove it. And we’ll probably need an extra two frigates.

    • Or we could just start making our own independent assessments of what a threat is rather than slavishly following a USA intelligence that operates on a purely commercial basis as John Bolton has demonstrated when he said that intervening in Venezuela would be good for the USA economy. Huawei is the only company at present able to build a 5G network so is a direct threat to USA business. As Frank says above the timing is suspect.

      • English speaking western nations barley reach 600 million people, China alone has 1.4 billion people, Huawei really isn’t hurting for customers. China still has 200 million people to drag above the poverty line so Huawei still has a lot of growth potential, and that’s before you add in all the countries that don’t like The United States of America, Venezuela, African continent, most of the Middle East. China really isn’t hurting for anything. It’s us who has to adjust to a new reality where America is no longer the sole global super power.

        So our protection racket, the U.S. Airforce and Navy, won’t give us nearly the amount of access to markets as it once did. Because the U.S. Navy once patrolled the worlds oceans unopposed, we didn’t have to maintain an a 4 frigate navy, an air combat force of fighter jets of our own, or maintain 4 light infantry battalions.

        Now that the cost of securing our own global trade and communications links is going to increase over the next 50 years or so, due to a rising China, America wouldn’t even need to decline to raise the cost of trade through changing access arrangements. Just means that planning has to begin now to so we can maintain a 4 frigate navy and so on. This includes beefing up cyber security, and in my opinion bringing it back with in the domain of NZDF exclusively so no more private firms spying on us.

    • Where the hell do you get your info from, Sam? It often seems to be made up stuff, that comes up in your mind while wandering around in airy fairy land:

      About half of the UK’s food is produced within the UK, thirty percent comes from the EU, hardly Germany making most of that up, rather a variety of countries, e.g. Holland, where much food in Europe is produced in a very efficient and industrial way (not necessarily that environmentally friendly).

      As for the future, whether a hard Brexit with no deal happens, or a Brexit with some form of an amended ‘deal’, that remains to be seen, so Jeremy Corbyn proposed to May, that they have a customs union with the EU, which means no default necessary to WTO levies and rules.

      • Well, I’d like to apologies to you, MARC. For absolutely nutting.

        UK food production has adsolutly nutting to do with “imports.” From your own link:

        “In 2017 the value of imports was greater than the value of exports in each of the broad categories of food”

        Real rich of you to misrepresent what I said so you can start out all high and fucken mighty. Up your fairy tale bullshit.

        And BREXIT? Complete amateurs, Tories are just holding Corbyns beer. There will be no customs union because there is no customs officers. The U.K. is completely unprepared for hard boarders with Europe. Hope you’ve heard that Northern Ireland is staying so the UK has to put a boarder up between Ireland on the 29 of March in about 30 days.

        Can you just settle down?

        • You commented that all food the UK imported would come from Germany! Where is your proof?

          The EU does not equate with being ‘Germany’, although some extreme Pro Brexiteers would dare make such a bizarre, nonsensical claim.

          • You’re like a really long marriage where I just have to say well done honey, that’s fantastic.

            The proof you are so desperately in need of is in the the link you posted. Have a read of it. Have a look at table 9.3, the UK is Germanys largest customer. $200 billion of the $315 billion goods and services go from the EU to Britain through Germanys Rotterdam port. And it’s about to be hit with tariffs.

            Just read your own stuff.

    • Well Gary what do you call it when the US pressures its allies not to do business with Huawei and 4 days later the govt announces the ban on Huawei?? (Yeah, i checked the links Frank provided above)

      Coincidence?? Yeah nah. I don’t believe in coincidences like that.

      • I’m saying that NZ should decide for itself, unless it is temperamentally incapable of doing so. If Huawei poses no security threat to NZ, what’s the problem? The US cannot put more pressure on NZ than does China — which after all is a much more lucrative relationship.

        • Well 5G has download speeds north of 10 megabytes a secound depending on peak times. This is the same as broadband speeds. I mean who on earth is going to be walking around the streets watching movies on there devices? That would chew a $20 pre pay in about 5 minutes. There’s just no good reason why we should bust our arses for 5G.

  3. It’s certainly been covered up by the media if this is some sort of punitive retaliation by China on New Zealand for banning Huawei equipment. Personally, I think Air NZ just messed up – e.g. a different flight number/aircraft than the what they had landing rights for.

    • Personally, I think Air NZ just messed up – e.g. a different flight number/aircraft than the what they had landing rights for.

      I was going to touch further on that point, Nitrium. Quite like, Air NZ did “mess up”. Quite likely it’s happened in the past.

      If I’m correct in my assessment, it’s their response to the “mess up” which was different this time, and indicative of back-room signalling from Beijing to Wellington.

      I can’t believe Air NZ has never made a mistake with “paper work” in the past. Yet, no flights have ever been turned back.

      If I’m correct, then the question remains: what was so different this time?

  4. f there is a second global financial crisis looming, and if China abrogates our FTA with that country, we may end up regretting taking sides in the current US-China rivalry.

    China has already done so.


    We should no longer be in a FTA with China as they’re not holding up their end of the bargain. In fact, they’re using it as a weapon against us.

    • Surely you cant be surprised when the economic giants twist trade deals to their advantage. They all do it. And we think we are so clever for having negotiated one

      • I’m not. I think these so-called ‘free-trade’ agreements are more for forcing trade than encouraging free-trade. Thus I think that all FTAs and the WTO and the IMF and the World Bank all need to be abandoned.

        Willing buyer, willing seller is the basis for free-trade. To get that between nations a nation only has to say that they will only trade freely with other nations that meet or exceed their own standards.

        Neither China nor the US actually meets our standards and thus we won’t trade with them. The EU might come close enough.

    • No, it really wasn’t.

      If that was all it was it would have been sorted in the hours long flight and no one would have been the wiser.

  5. That’s the trouble of doing business with a place like China, we have become their whipping boy.

    Long term we badly need to extract ourselves from doing too much with them.

    And if you think that over the top think about their infiltration of the National Party. More than a few in the Nats owe them big time. Who was it that got the executive treatment in China, business wise, whilst there on a “justice” related trip?

    $100k per list MP spot and having a “former” (extreme use of inverted comma’s) spy trainer from their military domiciled in the National Party is more than just concerning!

    • Meanwhile back in reality, every Microsoft operating system in NZ has a back door for NSA to spy through.

      But that don’t count Huh?

      Huawei offered to open their software to buyer/ user scrutiny.

      Microsoft has never done that.

Comments are closed.