So I’m just going to put a few quotes from articles next to each other …
“Labour MPs on the justice select committee have voted against allowing China politics expert Anne-Marie Brady to make a submission on foreign interference in elections.
“Justice committee chairman Labour MP Raymond Huo said the decision to decline Brady’s late request was purely procedural.”
– source, the NZ Herald, 07/03/19
[I’d further note that, as made clear in the Herald article, the Select Committee was written to by Justice Minister Andrew Little to request a broadening of its scope in this inquiry to cover foreign electoral interference … *after* the September cutoff date for submissions that Huo’s citing – thus bringing it only directly into Brady’s area of expertise after she would have been able to apply to submit, as an ordinary citizen, although still not vitiating the select committee’s ability to hear from her anyway, at their discretion – but read on …]
“Recall that on TVNZ a few weeks ago, veteran diplomat (and now lobbyist) Charles Finny, who has been keen to stick up for both men and celebrate their membership in our Parliament, explicitly stated that he was always very careful what he said in front of either man, as he knew – and given his diplomatic/trade background he would know – that they were both close to the Chinese Embassy. If Finny always takes care what he – just a private citizen lobbyist now – says in front of Yang or Huo, how should ministers or senior opposition MPs react?”
– source, a writeup by economist Michael Reddell, 28/11/17
“Raymond Huo霍建强 works very publicly with China’s united front organizations in New Zealand and promotes their policies in English and Chinese. Huo was a Member of Parliament from 2008 to 2014, then returned to Parliament again in 2017 when a list position became vacant. In 2009, at a meeting organized by the Peaceful Reunification of China Association of New Zealand to celebrate Tibetan Serf Liberation Day, Huo said that as a “person from China” (中国人) he would promote China’s Tibet policies to the New Zealand Parliament.
It was Huo who made the decision to translate Labour’s 2017 election campaign slogan “Let’s do it” into a quote from Xi Jinping (撸起袖子加油干, which literally means “roll up your sleeves and work hard”). Huo told journalists at the Labour campaign launch that the Chinese translation “auspiciously equates to a New Year’s message from President Xi Jinping encouraging China to ‘roll its sleeves up’.” …… Xi’s catchphrase has been widely satirized in Chinese social media. Nonetheless, the phrase is now the politically correct slogan for promoting OBOR, both in China and abroad. ……. In 2014, when asked about the issue of Chinese political influence in New Zealand, Huo told RNZ National, “Generally the Chinese community is excited about the prospect of China having more influence in New Zealand” and added, “many Chinese community members told him a powerful China meant a backer, either psychologically or in the real sense.””
– source, ‘Magic Weapons’ – aka the Brady Report , September 2017.
Or, phrased more bluntly: I suspect there is a rather obvious reason that Huo moved to have Brady’s testimony blocked.
Placing Huo in charge of what has turned into the effort to track, monitor, and where possible, to *counter* PRC malfeasance within our polity – is not entirely unakin to asking a mosquito to go off and find the cure for malaria.
Also, lest this be misinterpreted as some kind of hit on Labour … I have absolutely no doubt that were National still in the driving seat, they’d have MPs acting *exactly* the same way.
After all, the National-led previous Government consistently moved to block investigation or scrutiny of Dr. Jian Yang, despite numerous ‘red flags’ being actively waved by our security services.
There are good people inside Labour, and our Parliament more generally. I see no reason why Andrew Little,when broadening the scope of the inquiry to specifically include potential foreign interference in our election, would have done so with an intent to have Professor Brady, our foremost expert in exactly this field, excluded. Indeed, quite the active contrary.
The fact that events have played out in the manner that they have – suggests that Fate is in ample possession of a flair for the dramatic, and a keen sense of irony.