So in the wake of a recent Newshub piece that quotes National’s Simon Bridges enthusiastically talking up the Chinese Communist Party – not, you know, the People’s Republic of China, but the Communist Party *itself*, various portions of my newsfeed have understandably been understandably just a little surprised and more than a little bemused that Blue is apparently The New Red. Not the right-wing, National-voting sorts, obviously – the perplexity and somewhat faux-bewilderment has basically been exclusive to those to the proverbial left of Genghis Khan
Yet to be honest, I’m entirely unsurprised that Simon Bridges would speak positively about the Chinese Communist Party, even at a time like this with regard to Hong Kong. The fact is, that regardless of however many National supporters might have earnestly believed in that sign at the last election, that Jacinda Ardern is somehow a “PRETTY COMMUNIST”, and then kept up much the same red-baiting rhetoric in letters to the editor and upon talkback radio for much of the just under two years since …
… the National Party has long had a much more complex relationship with “Communist” China. Even at the height of the Cold War,in 1976 – while Chairman Mao was still alive and still nominally in control, some years before the ‘transition’ to a ‘market economy’ had begun – the Nats were quite happy to have their then-leader pay an official visit to Beijing.
The PRC then arguably returned the favour, by sending an apparent envoy in the form of Dr Jian Yang to meet with the last *several* National leaders, over a period of the last eight years, through the highly transparent forum of the National Party’s Parliamentary Caucus, of which he is an elected (list) member.
Something which the Nats were evidently quite keen to keep going, as it appeared that while in government they’d placed pressure on our security intelligence services *not* to unduly scrutinize Dr Yang, and particularly not over his hushed-up background with the PRC’s military intelligence apparatus.
This ongoing bilateral politician exchange programme appears to have taken on elements of shuttlecock diplomacy – with former National Party Prime Minister Jenny Shipley amidst a lengthening list of luminaries who’ve since re-emerged into public life tethered to the local arms of PRC economic organs.
As applies Shipley in particular, there is a perhaps interesting comparison with what has happened with Simon. Bridges, at the very least, whomever may have written the words for him, *did* utter them himself. Unlike Shipley’s surprise at finding she’d somehow written an OpEd for the CCP’s People’s Daily without actually realizing it nor intending to do so.
More recently, at seemingly every step, the National Party have been like a small yappy thing with a bone in criticizing the Labour/NZF/Greens government for apparently undermining/imperiling/
I suppose, in particular, that it is understandable that the Nats are now basically unconcerned about the signposted risks to national security of letting Huawei handle our 5G network upgrade. After all, with the PRC already having been in possession of a “man on the inside” [and not just of National – of the Foreign Affairs, Defence, and Trade Parliamentary Select Committee, inter alia] for some years now, the National Party just wants the rest of the country to be subject to the same privilege.
I would have said that was “generous” and “egalitarian” of them – but as we all know, National under Simon Bridges considers “two Chinese” to be “better than two Indians”, per their own words on the subject. No word on what the rough conversion rate is for other ethnicities, but I hear that when National’s loyalty to this country was up for grabs, it fetched only a mere thirty pieces of silver.
In any case, even leaving aside all of teh above, it is absolutely unsurprising that Simon Bridges would speak positively of the modern-day Chinese Communist Party.
And for one simple reason.
Once you strip away all the mid-20th century political rhetoric and symbolism (including, oddly enough, a lot of banging on about representing farmers .. by which I mean peasants, once upon a time), the CCP are basically more-market repressive authoritarians, who never lose an election, never have to apologize, build roads everywhere, and whose leader is mandatorily popular with the people.
You know – *exactly* what National and Simon Bridges *wish* they could be.