GUEST BLOG: Bryan Bruce – I Spy


A recent episode of 60 Minutes Australia featured the story of  Wang “William” Liqiang, who says he is a former Chinese spy seeking asylum in Australia. As proof of his claim provided details of how China funds  and conducts some of its operations in Hong Kong, Taiwan and Australia.

In response China has since dismissed Wang’s allegations and have accused him of being a convicted fraudster.

The program also claimed that Nick Zhao, a 32-year-old Liberal Party member and Melbourne luxury car dealer, was offered $US1 million by Chinese agents to run in the federal elections and infiltrate the country’s parliament. Instead of taking the offer, Zhao told the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) about the deal, the programme said, and that he was found dead in a Melbourne hotel room in March. His death is still being investigated .

The 60 Minutes story echoes some New Zealand concerns back in September of 2017 when it was reported  the SIS had investigated China -born National  List MP  Jian Yang in connection with the decade he spent training and teaching at elite facilities including China’s top linguistics academy for military intelligence officers.

In response Dr Yang said he was a loyal New Zealander and was reported at the time as saying “ This is a smear campaign by nameless people who are our to damage me and the National party 10 days from an election, just because I am Chinese.”

TDB Recommends

Whatever the truth of all of the above the idea that China has spies operating in Australia and  New Zealand ought not to come as a surprise to anyone. All the major powers of the world have their spy networks. We, as New Zealanders , are ourselves part of the ‘5 Eyes’ spying network (along with Australia , the UK, USA, and Canada) which sweeps up massive amounts of private and commercial data and communications from our internet and telecom systems.

But while Spy stories make good media copy and our government may wish to justify the millions they are spending on  spying activities as necessary part of our national security, it seems to me the greater  threat to our nationhood are not the covert acts of foreigners but the overt ones.

The huge economic net China is throwing over Pacific countries (including our own) together with the  enormous economic hold  the giant corporations and financial elites of the West exert on our economy, are all in plain view and yet are progressively undermining our sovereignty far more than the activity of any spies operating in our country.

The current  Labour led coalition government signed up to the CPTPP ( or the TPPA 11 as I prefer to call it)  knowing that foreign investors from some of the larger economies in the group ( Japan. Mexico and Singapore) could sue us if we pass legislation that interferes with their profits.

The betrayal of spies is, in my view, small beer when compared to the massive betrayal of our sovereign right to make our own laws in our own land contained  in these so called  “free trade” deals.

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.


  1. Even if Trump hadn’t pulled America out of multilateral trade deals a rising China would have forced renegotiations anyway. Trump is saying we are on our own. And New Zealand needs a bigger military so the country can negotiate with China from a position of strength instead of hope.

    • Trump is one man, whose time might well be up in 14 months’ time. Even now US military commanders (in Syria and Iraq, and I bet elsewhere) are doing their utmost to work around Trump because they above all know what an aberration and destructive influence he is. NZ needs all the allies it can get. Even if the military budget was doubled overnight it would take many years to bring NZ up to, say, Australia’s or Canada’s strength on a proportionate basis. It’s more the attitude that needs changing. Tiny countries like Norway stand up to Russia every day by monitoring its navy behemoths just off the coast. When NZ feels threatened it thanks goodness for increased trade and gives its pristine waters away by the cubic mile as a form of protection money.

  2. AO/NZ urgently needs to do two things.
    # Thing 1
    Create a Ministry of Retail Banking and boot out the foreign banksters.
    #Thing 2
    Ask QE2 to send four ‘state of the art’ aircraft carriers and the usual on-board hardware to man our four main ports while #Thing 1 is undertaken and completed because, while not wanting to be alarmist, there are those whom are ready to pounce and I bet, booting out the banks would signal the need to attack before someone else snaps up our bargain priced country.

    Otherwise, the term ‘sitting duck’ hardly does justice to just how vulnerable we are.

    Who knows? Perhaps it’s too late?
    No one can argue that we’re no longer the country we were prior to the mid 1980’s grab-all that was politely termed ‘neoliberalism’.
    AO/NZ et al is ‘different’ to what it was. I don’t mean in a crude way like ” But hey? We have internets and colour TV tho? “. I mean in an holistic and spiritual way and I don’t mean in a god botherer way neither.
    It’s more the faux, vulgar piety that hides what I’d term a level of deep-state control over our hearts and minds.
    Perhaps the puss in that sore can be seen in fluro vests and the interminable tyranny of the traffic cone. ( @ $2.00 a day each, aye boys?)
    Political correctness, for example, doesn’t so much help us be better human beings toward each other. I see it as more a covert, psychological control mechanism.
    ‘They’ don’t care about our safety, our security or our inhumanity towards women,( By paying women less simply because they’re women, for example.) people of different ethnicities or cultures etc. If ‘They’ did? We wouldn’t be having people living rough as far too many kids go to school hungry to be trained in the ways of how to be an ever better minion to the Banks, ultimately.
    We people of AO/NZ are NOT the ones in control of our own lives or of our own country. We must come to terms with that and we MUST act accordingly.
    We should look to Hong Kong at this point, in my opinion.
    Is that not right GCSB? SIS? Have an opinion on that?
    Ooo? A red dot…?? Or a toxin that gives a good performance as a heart attack?
    What did you give Norman Kirk?

    • Incisive as usual,…

      … ‘ Ooo? A red dot…?? Or a toxin that gives a good performance as a heart attack? What did you give Norman Kirk? ‘…

      With a very pointed note at the end.

  3. The reality is that the China and India are the most populous countries in the world. India is running out of water and land, and China needs somewhere nicer for their rich middle class to go to and invest in ‘gold bricks and retire and have the kids learn English in. Also many countries in Africa are growing their populations very fast.

    These Nationals need somewhere to move to, and the Pacific is ideal, very unpopulated, infrastructures in place and natural resources to take back to their countries “aka export” and move here to do it while getting a free education and health care and bring the kids, spouse, aged parents too on the back of little income or low skilled education, (now advertising a 2 year “online masters degree” at Auckland University) no wonder we are so popular!

    Exports of profits are our second biggest export. Possibly even our biggest now.

    Kiwi and Maori hospitality has us giving away land, money, benefits to others and being very welcoming, but many don’t understand that other countries are laughing at us behind our backs, at our stupidity.

    What do we get in return, record homelessness, 11% increase in people on Jobseeker benefits? Wages so low that possibly only a fraction of people now earn enough to afford a Kiwibuild home (and many who bought one had the money in cash and didn’t even need to buy through kiwi build). It’s a one way benefit transaction for the most part. Even when duped in NZ, our laws are too pathetic to ask for our visa or money back!

    Within a few years of our insane immigration policy we already have higher populations here of Chinese and Indian demographics than Maori and Pacific Islanders. This was to solve our ‘aging problem’ but somehow it seems NZ will be supporting more asian aged parents than Maori or Pacific Island ones so that bit of regulation never worked out.

    “The number of Māori aged 65+ will more than double (from 48,500 to 109,400) between 2018 and 2034, as will the senior Pacific population (from 21,300 to 46,700), while the number of senior Asian New Zealanders will almost triple (from 59,500 to 171,900).”

    Look at Hong Kong, Tibet, Israel etc and the caste system in India that the government can’t control, even if they want to – multiculturalism in action – and it isn’t what the 2% wokies say it is, social cohesion is more likely to be under duress aka re-education.

    Decades ago NZ use to have regulated immigration and better trade deals, it worked a lot better because immigration was slower than it is now and we were more choosy who came here. Trade was about trade of goods not for political re engineering and networking opportunities for our Kleptocracy.

    • …’ Decades ago NZ use to have regulated immigration and better trade deals, it worked a lot better because immigration was slower than it is now and we were more choosy who came here. Trade was about trade of goods not for political re engineering and networking opportunities for our Kleptocracy ‘…

      Always hitting the high notes.

      Mind you , part of that was when England was not joined to the EEC, we did take a dip because of England joining up. However, as usual we were slow to catch on and not aggressive enough in seeking new markets and diversifying… we were a little ‘traditional’ and set in our ways,… too reliant on mother England , so to speak. Trade has always had a political aspect to it, but things like these so called ‘free trade deals’ moreso,- they are the Trojan horses of the neo liberal methodology.

      One thing we can do is push for a reduction of immigration , I would say coupled with that , a form of cap so that one country’s nationals immigrating here is regulated. And based on skills we need. Thus we would get a more diverse range of foreign nationals here , with less potential political changing of our laws and parliaments due to a critical mass from one or two country’s that has lead to external pressures such as we are seeing now.

      As for the issue of ‘ free trade ‘ deals , – which are only free for those at the top who benefit from them , not for the workers who have their wages dropped, – alternative deals, such as with Russia , – that do not have the ‘ free trade’ clauses attached , might be a good option.

      Which leads us right back to see who’s really been pushing all this agenda, doesn’t it,… and that leads us back to square one,… getting rid of the neo liberals in our parliament.

      We have a long way to go to even start thinking outside the square in this country. A very long , long way to go indeed….

    • Helena – Sleeping on a park bench can be a bit sad. Having the electricity disconnected can be a bit sad.
      Going through litter bins looking for food can be a bit sad. Mums crying when a kid’s shoes get swiped at school and there’s no money for new ones or even for op shop ones and no-one to borrow from can be a bit sad. Going home to a bed in the boot of a car is a bit sad for all the family who lives in that car boot.
      The sting of a snub – with apologies to Lauris Edmond – can be a bit sad too.

      Hamsters, however, enjoy themselves on that wheel, or they wouldn’t do it. The hamster gets to chose.

Comments are closed.