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”
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”
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’”
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”
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”
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”
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”