Check out Peters’ stamina and Nordic travel plans before conjecturing on his political future

After  a gruelling  three  months as  the  key   figure of   Jacinda Ardern’s coalition,  Foreign  Minister   Winston Peters  might have  been looking  forward    to   a  quiet  Easter  at  his  Northland seaside  hideout.  Instead he’s  on  a  weeklong    mission  to  the  capitals  of   four   Nordic  countries  as  part  of    what he  calls   a  “deliberate and  targeted” effort.

He  says   NZ   needs to be  “well-positioned” in a changing  European landscape, particularly post-Brexit.

It is important to maintain bonds with countries which share our values for rules-based international order, and there is much we can learn from these countries”. Continue reading “Check out Peters’ stamina and Nordic travel plans before conjecturing on his political future”

Career officer is named as NZ’s Ambassador to Japan

Foreign Minister Winston Peters is proving true to form with the appointment of MFAT career foreign service officer Hamish Cooper as NZ’s next ambassador to Japan.

Peters is looking to revive Tokyo-Wellington connections which many inside MFAT believe have been pushed aside in the quest to secure to get alongside China.

Japan’s PM Shinzo Abe has been in the job since 2012 and now ranks as one of Asia’s  most influential leaders.  His  role  in  reviving,    and  nailing  down,  the  Comprehensive  and Progressive  Agreement  for  the  Trans-Pacific  Partnership  after President Trump  pulled out of it  confirmed   his statesmanship

He has built a reputation in Washington as a capable strategist and a key to constraining burgeoning Chinese interests out into the Pacific. Continue reading “Career officer is named as NZ’s Ambassador to Japan”

The message from China to our PM (roughly translated) is ‘suck it up, Kiwis’

So what  has happened to   New Zealand’s “independent”    foreign    policy and how “independent”  is  it  when  NZ’s    leader   has to  sit    and take a  lecture    on  “trust”    from the world’s  most  powerful   dictator?

Our question is prompted by the  editorial  writer in  the  NZ   Herald who wrote: 

If  appearances  count,  the  Prime  Minister  has  made a  successful trip to  China.  Jacinda Ardern could hardly have  put  her recent  global  acclaim to better  use  than to   give China a signal of how  much  this country  values  the trading relationship”. 

Hello! Did  she  have to   travel  to  Beijing to  do that? Continue reading “The message from China to our PM (roughly translated) is ‘suck it up, Kiwis’”

PM’s China visit will show us if there are political benefits in a global halo

Prime  Minister  Jacinda Ardern’s  mission  to  Beijing is  crucial   for  the  relationship  between  the two  countries,  not  just because it  could give a vital  nudge  to the negotiation  of a  revamped  free trade agreement.

But it  will  offer  an  insight into   whether the global halo  effect on  Ardern   as a  consequence of  her  actions in the wake of the appalling  Christchurch massacre  translates  into  a  solid   political  influence.

Even though  she has had  to pare  back  the mission, eliminating  visits to  two other Chinese  cities,   she  is still due to  meet  President  Xi  Jinping  and Premier  Li  Keqiang,  (and she will  open  the  new  complex housing the  NZ embassy). Continue reading “PM’s China visit will show us if there are political benefits in a global halo”

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”