Going to the top (or to a higher perch in the US hierarchy) for thoughts on NZ and Huawei

We are cheered to see how easy it is for our media to go right to the top – correction, higher up the State Department pecking order – to find out what’s doing in the Asia Pacific and how these happenings are viewed by the United States.

TVNZ demonstrated this by inviting “America’s top official for the Asia Pacific” – who has been in Wellington – to talk with Corin Dann on its Q+A programme about US concerns, China’s place in the Pacific and Chinese company Huawei’s place in developing NZ’s telecommunications system.

Then TVNZ gave us this fellow’s name and job title:

Patrick Murphy, is the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs. 

We imagine he needs two doors to his office, just to have his name and job title show you where he works in a readable type size. Continue reading “Going to the top (or to a higher perch in the US hierarchy) for thoughts on NZ and Huawei”

Statutory requirement for Chinese companies to spy helps explain NZ’s policy shift

As the debate on China’s sensitivities rolls on, more and compelling information is coming to hand to explain why the Government is recalibrating NZ’s relations with Beijing.   In 2017, China enacted a national intelligence law which requires all Chinese companies to “support, provide and cooperate” with the government’s national intelligence work wherever they operate.

Despite the protestations by the likes of Huawei, Chinese trading companies or airlines working in NZ have to comply.  This has profoundly shifted the nature of the relationship coming atop a new Chinese regime much more statist than before.

The sheer complexity and enormous ability of the 5G broadband system’s enhanced information reach enable it to hoover-up hitherto encrypted material. The system signals a new phase in the information war. Continue reading “Statutory requirement for Chinese companies to spy helps explain NZ’s policy shift”

China and NZ foreign policy: Peters knows choices must be made

Let’s get the China situation into perspective. The halcyon days of recent years are past.

The Key government indulged in the shadow of a benign Beijing penumbra after New Zealand became the first country to recognise China as a conventional economy, acceptable to western norms. NZ was blessed by nomination as a safe destination to the new travel-conscious middle class.  Ministers indulged in frequent visits here and there.  NZ has became an almost overwhelming beneficiary of inbound Chinese tourism.

Time has moved on.  Under  its current leader, China launched a vigorous “road and belt” philosophy which – according to MFAT insiders – had two objectives: Continue reading “China and NZ foreign policy: Peters knows choices must be made”

NZ’s foreign policy is a key focus for two new public service chiefs

The two new CEOs at Department of Prime Minister & Cabinet and MFAT are expected to bring new energy and focus to these  key ministries.

Brook Barrington, formerly head of  MFAT, is now leading the sprawling DPM&C and already has his teeth into  the structure of  what observers believe has become a diffuse, sprawling organisation in  danger of  losing its way.

At MFAT, Chris Seed  –  replacing  Barrington – has launched  into sharpening  up  the work of the ministry. Both are vastly experienced and, with a common background in foreign policy, are injecting  new energy into the conduct of foreign policy. Continue reading “NZ’s foreign policy is a key focus for two new public service chiefs”

Confusion and complexity characterise the world into which our PM is headed

PM Jacinda Ardern heads  into a world that has become more challenging, divisive and complex when she jets off to the World Economic Forum in Davos and a round of European calls. Rarely has a NZ PM been confronted by such a confusing global situation.

First, Europe is convulsed by two major challenges, the future of Brexit and the slow-down in the European economy which has given nationalists fresh ammunition.

Second, China and the US are inching towards an  economic and strategic confrontation.

At home US President Donald Trump is facing incoming tides of confusion and uncertainty.  The New York Times has put the focus on his five meetings with Russia’s Vladimir Putin of which no substantial record exists. Continue reading “Confusion and complexity characterise the world into which our PM is headed”

Globalisation focus at Davos (among other things) should lure Ardern to Europe

Hard on the heels of our previous post about political globe-trotting, let the record show Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is expected to visit the World Economic Forum at Davos, Switzerland, at the end of the month.

She’s a tyro in global economics, sure, but the conference should be worthwhile for her,  particularly  given   its focus this year on aspects of globalisation and their consequences.  Moreover, she will move among the major global economic and foreign policy players, including (probably) President Donald Trump.

Her attendance would also reinforce her policy platform against some of the less global trade-minded and economically illiterate members of the Coalition government. Continue reading “Globalisation focus at Davos (among other things) should lure Ardern to Europe”

Our flyaway MPs should grab the opportunity to promote the welfare of a runaway Saudi teeneager

If they are not hard at work in their Beehive offices, as we regularly observe at Point of Order, our Ministers will be busy with engagements here and there around the country – or engaged in very important business overseas.

But the Point of Order monitor of Beehive press statements over the past week or so suggests ministerial globetrotting has been on hold during the Christmas-New Year holiday period.

This doesn’t mean taxpayers are being spared the cost of political jet-setting. Look what we found in a statement from the office of the Speaker, Trevor Mallard.

Yep.  Mallard has announced a junket for a select few back-benchers. Continue reading “Our flyaway MPs should grab the opportunity to promote the welfare of a runaway Saudi teeneager”