Here’s the problem .
New Zealand is part of the 5 eyes intelligence gathering network (ie. spying network) which began following WW2 and includes USA , UK, Canada, Australia – our military allies then , and now.
Amongst other things the 5 eyes network intercepts communications between people all over the world including our own country and in 2013 documents leaked by whistle blower Edward Snowden revealed that the 5 eyes nations had even been spying on each other’s citizens and then sharing the information to get around domestic privacy laws.
Late last year the Ardern government followed Australia in excluding Chinese telecommunications giant Hauwei Technologies Co. Ltd from the introduction of a 5 G network in our country because of “serious security concerns” which is diplomatic code for being worried the Chinese government could use the network to spy on us, and through us, on the USA and its allies.
This also needs to be read in tandem with NZ First Defence Minister Ron Mark’s paper last year which expressed concerns about increasing Chinese influence in the Pacific and explicitly stated New Zealand should be ready to ‘stand alongside traditional friends’.
But China is now our biggest trading partner and it’s not happy . Suddenly it’s very difficult to find a date when our Prime Minister can visit China , numbers of Chinese students are down at our schools and universities and Chinese tourists are being warned of security dangers when visiting our country .
One of my favourite publications when I was a student was MAD magazine . What appealed to me was ability of their cartoonists to point up ludicrous political behaviour and during the Cold War with Russia a wordless comic strip called Spy vs Spy began to appear in which one spy all in white constantly came up against a spy all in black. As each tried to out fox each other the outcome was often disastrous for both.
Despite the soothing tones of Prime Minister Ardern assuring us that , really, all is well between China and New Zealand it’s clearly not because good relationships are built on trust and there is ample evidence that when push comes to shove there is no trust here on either side.
Make no mistake. The State Capitalism of China is in a trade war with the capitalists of other states (especially in the USA) They are locked in a battle for the resources of the planet and the quest to rule it
It’s a situation that is not going to go away any time soon. The impact on the lives of ordinary citizens of all countries, including our own, will be great and pretending otherwise is to seriously underestimate the natural intelligence wired-in of every New Zealander.
It seems to me it’s decision time. Do we want become a neutral country? Do we give up the 5 Eyes spy network to brand ourselves as the nation everyone trusts? Or is that just political naivety? Does greed always win over goodness?
What say you?
Bryan Bruce is one of NZs most respected documentary makers and public intellectuals who has tirelessly exposed NZs neoliberal economic settings as the main cause for social issues.