Friday, 15 February 2019

Mixed Messages.

Incoming Calls: While Prime Minister Ardern is contemplating the ever-widening ramifications of the United States’ and the United Kingdom’s  reckless endangerment of so many of this country’s longstanding diplomatic, military and trade relationships, she might also consider asking herself how New Zealand’s refusal to distance itself from such naked assertions of ‘hard power’ is likely to impact on China – the nation which just happens to take 26 percent of our exports?

IF JACINDA can tear herself away from Reid Research’s latest poll, she might like to cast an eye over the UK Defence Secretary’s, Gavin Williamson’s, recent speech to the Royal United Services Institute. Dismissed by The Guardian’s Simon Jenkins as “the pompous rantings of a 1950s Tory on the make”, Williamson’s words recall the long dead era of British naval supremacy, as well, sadly, as the rapacious imperialistic appetites it excited.

His country’s imminent departure from the European Union, Williamson declared, should be seen as a heaven-sent opportunity to re-define the United Kingdom’s role as a global power: “Brexit has brought us to a great moment in our history. A moment when we must strengthen our global presence, enhance our lethality and increase our mass.”

Simon Jenkin’s insults notwithstanding, Williamson’s speech was more than a mere “rant”. He actually proposes to send the UK’s newest aircraft carrier, HMS Queen Elizabeth II, along with her squadron of F-35 fighter jets, into the Pacific. This dramatic projection of British “hard power” will, according to the Defence Secretary, serve notice on all those who “flout international law” that the “Anglosphere” is back in its old hunting-grounds – and means business.

Williamson’s reference to the flouters of international law is, of course, aimed directly at China. By the “Anglosphere” he presumably means the “White” British Empire of yesteryear: Canada, Australia and New Zealand – plus, of course, the USA. Quite what the Chinese, Indians, and all the other peoples of Asia (which Williamson, tellingly, refers to as the “Indo-Pacific region”) are supposed to make of this altogether outlandish resurgence of Anglo-Saxon imperialism is anybody guess, but it is unlikely to be positive.

The question Jacinda needs to ask herself, her Labour colleagues, and her Minister of Foreign Affairs, Winston Peters, especially, is: How should New Zealand respond to Williamson?

Is our Prime Minister really willing to allow this country to be associated with such an extraordinary display of racial and cultural chauvinism – and sabre-rattling? Should she not instead move immediately to distance herself from this latest example of Brexit-induced English lunacy?

And while she’s contemplating the ever-widening ramifications of the United States’ and the United Kingdom’s reckless endangerment of so many of this country’s longstanding diplomatic, military and trade relationships, she might also consider asking herself how New Zealand’s refusal to distance itself from such naked assertions of ‘hard power’ is likely to impact on China – the nation which just happens to take 26 percent of our exports?

It is to be hoped that our Prime Minister is sufficiently historically literate to recognise the scarcely believable levels of hypocrisy on display in Williamson’s grand rhetorical flourishes upbraiding those who flout international law. The UK is, after all, the nation whose warships forced the Chinese to open their ports to the East India Company’s opium.

When a British Secretary of Defence talks about enhancing the Royal Navy’s “lethality”, the chords of memory struck in the hearts of a billion Chinese evoke anger and sorrow in equal measure.

In relation to New Zealand, however, the reaction of the Chinese government is almost certain to be more sorrowful than angry. Since December 1972, New Zealand has enjoyed a special place in the hearts of the Chinese people.

Ours is not a powerful nation in conventional terms. Geographically and demographically, New Zealand is insignificant. Morally, however, we have loomed large in Chinese eyes. Proud and independent; determined to chart our own course, New Zealanders have, until quite recently, left behind them in Beijing a very favourable impression. The reward for that Kiwi honesty and fortitude was the 2008 China-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement – without which our experience of the Global Financial Crisis would have been considerably less tolerable.

Right now, however, Beijing is wondering where that Kiwi honesty and fortitude has gone. Thanks to our Foreign Minister’s embrace of the Anglo-Saxon “Pacific Reset”, the delicate vase that was the China-New Zealand relationship lies in pieces on the ground.

Turning around airliners and “rescheduling” important diplomatic encounters is only the beginning. The Chinese have 5,000 years’ experience in sending “messages”.

If Jacinda was to send a message of her own, however. If she was to call out the UK Defence Secretary’s speech for what it is: imperialistic, racist and absurd; then Beijing might conclude, with relief, that New Zealand has returned to its senses.

This essay was originally published in The Otago Daily Times and The Greymouth Star of Friday, 15 February 2019.

32 comments:

Geoff Fischer said...

The Labour government is following behind President Trump as he leads the "Anglosphere" into a confrontation with China.
That much is clear to the Chinese, though not yet to the people of New Zealand.
When questioned, Jacinda Ardern evades the issue and talks of "complexities" in the relationship which are, she implies, beyond the comprehension of the ordinary New Zealander.
However, within a year or so the consequences of the New Zealand government's foolish, cowardly and immoral diplomatic alliance with the rogue administration of Donald Trump will be apparent to even the most simple-minded New Zealand voters.

Unknown said...

I was a member of the Kirk Govt in 1972 that opened up this huge diplomatic gateway only to see the bullying of the senior members of the Five Eyes Intel agencies try to frighten us into a corner with them in 2019. If we want to reclaim our independent foreign policy and not become the anally retentive deputy sherrif that Australia is, then both the foreign Mins & Mins of the Intel agencies should reassert their control, as at the moment it looks like the SIS and GCSB are calling the shots the price of which doesn't bear thinking about. In euphamistic polite terms send them to a taxidermist

Guerilla Surgeon said...

The idea of Britain projecting force into the Pacific for more than a week or two is ridiculous. It damn near crippled the British Navy to fight the Falklands war, and a couple of shiny new aircraft carriers are going to alter that. I suspect it would be a lot easier if they had their old naval bases in Singapore and Hong Kong, but that's not going to happen either. There simply isn't the infrastructure, and I doubt if they have enough planes to fight for more than a couple of days. Jenkins is an idiot.
As for China, it's becoming hegemonic. Probably at least partly driven by the humiliations of the 19th century, but they seem to have overweening ideas about exactly what they are entitled to do in the Pacific, based on hundreds of years of very nominal suzerainty over many of the country surrounding it. And I think it's just as cowardly to kiss Jinping's arse as it is Trump's. Both are autocrats, although to be fair, Jinping is a reasonably intelligent adult, and Trump has the mind of 12 year old.

Kat said...

"If Jacinda was to send a message of her own..........."

Jacinda Ardern is damned if she does and damned if she don't it seems. However I would put the house on it that she will do whats necessary in the best interests of NZ. Seems a lot of people still can't accept she is more than qualified in the role of being PM and has a lot of experience within the broader Labour family she can tap into, including having Winston alongside.

Imagine the debacle of the alternative.

Big Dog Talking said...

Well said Chris, I only hope they are listening.

pohutukawa kid said...

I have returned to NZ after spending three years living in London watching this sorry Brexit saga and the machinations of the Tory Party. Williamson is a bit like a child who has got his hand into the cookie jar. He is the epitome of the Peter Principle whereby people reach their level of incompetence which he did as Chief Whip before being made Defence Secretary. There are problems with the aircraft carrier. On its sea trials it has serious leaks and the UK does not have the planes needed to fly off it. The phrases 'Colonel Blimp' and 'Sabre rattling' come to mind.

pat said...

Ah but China cannot destroy our currency with the same ease as the US....what to do, what to do?

speiro said...

While calling the UK defense secretary out for being imperialistic, racist and absurd would be very welcome, it sadly wouldn't be consistent with our PM or her party. Bear in mind that rather than blame our housing crisis on a broken tax system, it was acceptable for Labour to blame people with 'Chinese sounding names'. What actual evidence suggests that Labour isn't just as comfortable as NZF and Winston with the 'Pacific Reset' and falling back in line with dodgy old uncle Sam and aunty Teresa. Having political idols such as; Obama (out-bombed junior Bush, and drove the 'pivot to asia' underlying the current tensions in the Sth China Seas), Clinton (driving force in the destruction of Libya), Trudeau (whose own foreign minister is driving the intervention in Venezuala via the Lima group) suggests our PM would be more likely to call to congratulate the UK for their message whilst suggesting they 'tone down the rhetoric' to make it more palatable (do it like Obama - don't be so obvious!). If you cant call out imperialistic, racist and absurd messages from the UK (and US), when their leaders are so phenomenally unpopular, you never will. And not doing so would suggest that the underlying message is quite acceptable

Larry Mitchell said...

How is it, pray tell, that the level of sheer incompetence and inexperience of JA has gone that! unnoticed, when 47% of N'zers appear to still retain their confidence in her?

Talk about sending fools on errands. Winnie and his Boss, based on their shambolic China "diplomacy"?, make a fine pair ... of delusional fools.

GJE said...

The huge imbalance in the trading relationship between NZ and China was always going to have a political price attached to it...your move now Jacinda...

greywarbler said...

speiro
You fudge the background to the 'Chinese sounding names' so much that the rest of your comment receives my disregard. Briefly put, Labour wanted information on the mix of house purchasers involved in Auckland's housing crisis and the likely connection with the relaxed immigration and assets purchase policy.

The National Party hadn't kept much that could shine a light on how many foreigners were purchasing property, from what country, whether they were living here and whether they had citizenship status. The fact that Labour was reduced to looking for Chinese names to start refining useful information from the data, actually reflects on the pathetic state of National's rule in a modern state with enormous information gathering and sorting abilities.

It is National that should be pointed at and ridiculed as incompetents and devious.

peteswriteplace said...

Britannia still rules the waves?

Nick J said...

Jacinda might remind this British "twit" who defended our seas last time NZ faced a truly belligerent enemy. The USA saved us from Japan quite literally, if not intentionally, and we have been a vassal under their wing ever since. That is our quandry, we are stuck with the US for better or worse until they divorce us, or lose to another power. Charting our own self determination in hostile waters is very perilous.

Why are we still stuck with Britain as well? It is because they too like the EU are extensions of Imperial Washington. Consider this; if the US had gone to war with the British Empire in 1939 they would have aimed to defeat or dominate the British defenses, occupy Britain, indebt and turn Britain into an economic and political vassal, plus take over control of her Empire. This was all achieved without having to fire a shot by 1944.

Brexit was very much about the dispossessed classes of Britain rejecting the internationalist idea of Europe that camouflages US hegemony over Europe. It's a dream of national interest, localism and economic Independence that flies in the face of US financial, corporate and economic control. It is of course a dream, Washington doesn't care, either way they retain control.

For NZ dreams of independence may be equally illusionary. Jacinda beware.

Tom Hunter said...

Right now, however, Beijing is wondering where that Kiwi honesty and fortitude has gone. Thanks to our Foreign Minister’s embrace of the Anglo-Saxon “Pacific Reset”, the delicate vase that was the China-New Zealand relationship lies in pieces on the ground.

Interesting to see you on the same side of this issue as The National party:
National’s finance spokeswoman Amy Adams has accused the government of putting the economy at risk by offending China.

“The first thing is you don’t p[…] off your major trading partner and, let’s be really clear about this, China is our single biggest trading partner.”


The line about Baptists and Bootleggers come to mind.

If you can somehow lift yourself out of the same past that Gavin Williamson is stuck in, you might be willing to see that both National and Labour have been compromised by the Chinese - National more so it would seem - using similar hook-them-on-money approach used against African and Pacific Island nations, that this has been raised by people as ideologically apart as Scott Hamilton and Michael Reddell, and that this is a far bigger and more awful issue than guff from some far-off British minister aching for the past.

It's not as if the PRC government is communist any longer and needs defending by Western leftists. All that remains of Leninist or Maoist "thinking" is that required to justify the bog-standard Chinese technocratic State of the last three thousand years upon whom the Mandate of Heaven has fallen.

sumsuch said...

Did you just say 26 % of our trade? In the light of Mother England joining the EEC, that comes under the colloquy of go fuck themselves. And I'm glad we can say that, unlike the Balkan countries that couldn't say that to Nazi Germany. I'm no' fond of dictatorships, nae matter the arguments.

sumsuch said...

The strange fact is democracy and freedom grow along with empire, hence Hortensia as the first feminist in history back in Rome before AD. Those virtues are more integrated in tribal societies.

sumsuch said...

Freedom and Control can't mix , Chris. No matter our dubious antecedents. If they were as small as their model Singapore, maybe. Re-infusion of democracy is our answer for God's Own --China is just playing a power endgame. Everything suggests they are right, but I'd rather go down looking at the light. The best lights of our little country.

They saw our integrity you say. Maybe they should pull in their horns about Huawei or the same for their totalitarian stance in China. It's their problem, not ours. If it's 'only' 26 %. Thank 'God'.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

More people throwing around the word incompetence without giving us any examples of what they mean by it. What has the woman done that proves her incompetence? As opposed to say the Brit who promised to send a carrier to the Pacific for some sort of power projection – now that's incompetence, that's Tory incompetence, and that's a specific example of it.
And if you want more examples of Tory incompetence, just look at Brexit – that will provide you with a bucket load. Not to mention bucketloads of Tory hypocrisy.

Tom Hunter said...

What has the woman done that proves her incompetence?
Glad you asked oh One-Eyed-Cloth-Eared One, especially with your comparative example. So here's a small list, just for starters...

No ability to lead policy development within Labour:
- https://bowalleyroad.blogspot.com/2018/09/no-substance-to-her-stardust-has.html
- https://bowalleyroad.blogspot.com/2018/05/killing-them-softly-labours-caution-is.html
Jacinda may have rescued Labour from a crushing (perhaps fatal) defeat but that didn’t mean she was the boss – not by a long chalk.

General vacuousness
- https://bowalleyroad.blogspot.com/2019/01/the-jacinda-problem-where-she-goes-we-go.html
Our naïve assumption was that she intended to transform New Zealand society when, clearly, it was herself she was determined to transform.
- https://bowalleyroad.blogspot.com/2018/11/where-is-mass-movement-against-climate.html
A prime minister determined to make Climate Change her generation’s nuclear-free moment could be doing all of this – and more.

And that's just Chris on this blog. Elsewhere are harder-edged pieces that demonstrate her incompetence.

In dealing with Ministers who themselves are losing the plot:
Twyford on housing
Housing Minister Phil Twyford backed down on KiwiBuild rule breakers, lessening the penalty they face for flipping homes. It was a big call to secretly change the penalty for selling before living in the home for three years from giving up 100 percent of a house sale profit to just 30 percent. Newshub can reveal he didn’t even run that past the Prime Minister, and understands she only found out about it while watching our TV story.

Clark on Health as per Chris's most recent post.

Curren in Broadcasting where Adern dawdled for weeks before finally firing the stupid woman. Helen Clark would have fired Curren in 24 hours the first time she made such a fool of herself.

Dealing with Winston in general, where he's basically just letting her catch up on what she reads in the media about his announcements:
- The Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, confirmed yesterday that she did not see Winston Peters’ major speech on NZ-US relations before he delivered it in Washington, DC, on Saturday.

"We never made a commitment to double the refugee quota," he said.

The Prime Minister appears to have caved to Winston Peters, throwing her immigration minister Iain Lees Galloway under the bus.


And this is before we get to the personally ignorant stuff, where she did not get the difference between Crown Accounts and GDP, and couldn't actually say what the Principles of the Treaty of Waitangi are.

So yeah - she's incompetent, and the best we can hope for is that she's smart enough to learn on the job.

But what the hell: competence is vastly over-rated compared to emotions and "feelz", and she's superb on that front.

Nick J said...

Kat, indeed imagine the debacle of the alternative, well said. It doesn't bear thinking about.

Anonymous said...

Some Australian commentators continue to use the term ' fragile superpower' to define China which had enjoyed massive economic growth raising part of its population to middle class standars but remains overpopulated,but with large parts of its society living in third world conditons and with few rights, other than possibly in the recent past the chance to move to the coast or big cities. In military and strategic terms despite its huge population, China is not a higlevel nuclear and conventional military superpower and lacks the large effective nuclear attack submarine forces of the US and Russia and even in diesel submarines, China best diesels the Russian Kilo class are still operated under a fair degree of Russian control over training and weapon system installations from often joint Russian/ Chinese bases. China now has a powerful surface navy with a couple of half effective carriers, a large number of fairly capable destroyer and cruiser sized ships and these and coastguard vessels and defacto auxilaries ahve frequently operated in dispute terriorial waters of the South China Sea and with Chinese submarines in internal Japanese water illegally. Chinese expansion of its territorial- claims thur the expansion of reefs and rocks into airbase suze Islands has been declared illegal by the World Court. New Zealand should acnowledge that decision and abandon its neutral positon and more openly support the now well established key military alliance with the USA, which centres on the WEllington, Whaiopai and Tangimoana GCSB/ US five eyes joint communication surveillance bases which add support to our cultural links with the USA and also allow usefull assistance to Pacific Islands and counter Chinese and Russian disinformation in the Pacific. Since the early 2000s putin Russia and Xis Chinas have rebuilt their intelligence services to Cold war levels and certanly send potential agents to New ZEaalnd to improve English and opeational skills and Russia has restored and renewed significant part of its cold war nuclear submarine capability and is now checked in the Pacific by far less comprehensive ocean surveillance systems as shown by the disapparance of MKH370 and this is only partly replaced by vulenrable satellite surveillance. It is not just submarines and aucilary operations that oculd be of concern in the South Pacific and Southern Ocean. Putin visit to the G20 in Brisbane in 2014 was accomapained by a cruiser, detroyer and a couple of support ships outside the Australian 12 mile limit. A sister ship of the Soviet cruiser Vayarg, the Ustinov recently completed a major upgrade and it and Russian subnarines with the advantage of mor eice free passage north of Russia with global warming could now rapidly nove back to the Pacific. Huwai like the belt and road or Chinese railways from Guadong to Paris is anothrer Chinese communication corriodor to be considered and used with scepticism and not appropriate for the use of alliagned western military powers for military traffic. given furthur provocation by the Chinese we should respond in the conventional diplomatic way of possibly expelling a few from NZ and renouncing some joint NZ/Chinese citizensships

pohutukawa kid said...

Check this link out in respect of my previous comment
https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/feb/16/gavin-williamson-defence-minister-china-visit-gaffes-conservative-anger

Geoff Fischer said...

Richard Mayson wrote;
".. both the foreign Mins & Mins of the Intel agencies should reassert their control, as at the moment it looks like the SIS and GCSB are calling the shots"
Since the publication of the "security chiefs memo" it has been evident that the SIS and GCSB are indeed "calling the shots" on the New Zealand government's relations with the PRC, and no one would seriously doubt that they are acting on instructions from Washington.
It is all very well to suggest that Jacinda Ardern, Andrew Little and Winston Peters should "reassert their control" but the reality is that these three never had control. The security chiefs are and remain a law unto themselves.
So what will be the consequences of Washington's policy for this New Zealand government, the colonial regime as a whole and our own people?
First, it is clear that China will respond to the diplomatic and trading provocations of the regime, and if it responds in kind and with rigor the impact will be severe.
Second, the regime is deeply divided between the security services and the Labour government on the one side and MFAT, export producers and the National Party opposition on the other, with Washington and Beijing backing the respective sides. The resulting political, social and economic stresses will test the regime to its limits.
What is to be done? Richard might hope for a change in direction from the Labour government, but that is at best a remote prospect . All we can do, and all we need to do, is ensure that our own nationalist and democratic institutions continue to develop in ways that will afford us some security if or when the colonial regime collapses into unvarnished autocracy.
To do that we need to resist Labour's appeals to racist sentiment, such as Ardern's ridiculous assertation that "four out of five New Zealanders claim British heritage" and the Labour Party suggestion that the urban housing crisis in New Zealand can be put down to the actions of people with "Chinese sounding names".
It is past time for New Zealanders as a people to set themselves free from the malign legacy of colonialism and racism, the SIS, GCSB, and the Five Eyes and if the confrontation with China helps to bring that about sooner, it will not be entirely a bad thing.

Anonymous said...

In this column you find the usual collection of hard core old communists who found even Clark and Goof too far to the right and now rejoice in the peasant supporting madness of Billy Boy English, Countryboy, Collins and the cake maker Adams. in NZ theirs been total idealogical reversal so National is now the extreme left party of Chris Trotter, Wayne Mapp and his Maori officer wife. I mean where to begin seeing the audience is so deluded to think XI is a democrat compared with Trump.
In terms of the Royal navy, the general view will be, welcome back. This is not to indicate they bring much to the party in terms of useful defence hardware. The carriers have only helicopters and a weak CIWS system quite inadequate for ships of their type. The European and Atlantic environment with the Russian Navy once again running for real is rather too hot for the diminished RN and as after Suez and its embarrasing aftermath the only choice is to move the fleet back into the Indian Ocean and Pacific for the next 10-15 years and in fact much longer

Guerilla Surgeon said...

Thanks for the vague replies Tom.
"Jacinda may have rescued Labour from a crushing (perhaps fatal) defeat but that didn’t mean she was the boss – not by a long chalk."
That's Chris. Chris is far to the left of Jacinda. So naturally she gets a fair bit of critique from him. I'm far to the left of Jacinda too, but I recognise the constraints under which she is operating. Including nutty neoliberals within her own caucus. If she's managed to hold that desperate bunch of bastard together she can't be too bad.

"Dealing with Winston in general"
Well, if you could tell me someone who's managed to deal with Winston in the last 30 or so years since he was kicked out of National I'd love to hear about them. No one can bloody deal with Winston, even you and you're full of the same bluster and bullshit as he is.
And much of this shit is the result of having to deal with a coalition government and someone as difficult as Peters.
And there's nothing here that comes even close to the leaky homes incompetence. Although Simon Bridges expenses incompetence, or the solid energy incompetence, or the Christchurch rebuild incompetence, and the Novopay incompetence which I've had some experience with, or the refit of the health ministry building incompetence, or Don Brash's just general incompetence, Bill English's incompetence because the Auckland petrol prices, not that I cared that much about Auckland to be honest are all the incompetences of a government that has been in power for some time and can't be put down to inexperience. Or the various instances of national party corruption both major and minor.
And if we need to go further afield, the conservative incompetence on Brexit which has made Britain a laughingstock, and let's not talk about Trump's incompetence.

Anonymous said...

Obama, Clinton ,Blair.and Clinton were largely just about managing the decline of the West. One can make an alternative explanation that the British PM.and recent US presidents.since LBJ.and Nixon have all been a bit touched, lost in imperial.grsnduer and the.delusion of imperial power. Progressively any useful usable.deterrent and effective naval power has been phased out or preserved psychogenitically. The Obama, Trump view that you can preserve and reactivate 35 year old cruisers for ever in this league.Given that to some respect Britain won its recent wars in 1966 and 1982 because the other side did not risk all out conflict and the UK simply.said, we won, and ran the Jack up. The Royal Navy last faced unlimited war when it put the last RN Heavy cruiser, HMS London.up the Yzngtse to support HMS Amethyst and a C destroyer. Had.National won the 1946 election would, it is unlikely have sent the HMNZS Black Prince or HMS zBellona up river in a ferocious firefight. The counterfactuaal is a sort of double blind as under the reelected Labour.government, half the navy mutinied, and as is the NZ way a half mild settlement, inevitably regarded as savage, saw the loss of scores of critical big ship crew.Nevertheless, industrial and military mutiny took us out of Britain's last all out power projection.In.the.somewhat lesser follow up with Egypt and then Indonesia the Royalist made it to the battle but for different reasons withdrew at.some pointbefore the.main action.In other words since WW2 its awesomely difficult to prove we even got to the open contests.

speiros said...

greywarbler...
If I'm fudging the background to the 'Chinese sounding names', you appear to legitimizing it on the grounds that Labour needed to gather information regarding foreign investment in NZ domestic property. I disagree. The only legitimate way to gather such data is by collecting residency information of the purchaser at point of sale. Additionally, you don't need to gather such data to justify a foreign buyers ban of residential property, as part of a 'solution' to the housing crisis. As houses are primarily a 'shelter', and core element of healthy living, there is no fundamental need to own property in a country where you don't reside. Only allowing residents of a country to buy property in that country is perfectly fair - which many countries do. With regard to 'Chinese sounding names', In a multi-cultural city such as Auckland, the idea that you can infer foreign ownership based on a surname is absurd. It also masks a dodgy assumption that someone with a 'Chinese sounding name' is more likely to be foreign than resident. How do you think kiwi's with Asian lineage/surnames perceived this? Do you think they were more or less likely to experience prejudicial attitudes/behaviors as a result of Labour's linking of 'Asian' surnames with the housing crisis?
And what do Labour and National both avoid addressing by attributing the housing crisis to foreign investment, or 'supply and demand' imbalances? According to the 2017 register of pecuniary interests, 76 of our (then) MP's held an interest in two or more properties, indicating that property is as much about personal enrichment for them. I have no interest in property myself, yet I have 'regular, ordinary mates who own multiple properties - who got in at the opportune time. From a purely financial perspective the broken tax system grossly incentivizes property investment over investments that actually contribute to the economy (small businesses, savings etc). This (in my opinion) is the major driver of the housing crisis. Politicians of both major parties are; well aware of it, gain personally from it, and have ignored addressing it for the past 30+ years. In light of this obvious contributor, linking 'Chinese sounding names' to housing affordability is nothing other than clearly overt racism. Twyford should have resigned or been fired immediately, yet no sanction occurred which indicates what is acceptable for Labour. And how he's redefining the word 'affordable' as $650k - another slap in face for those locked out of housing.
Personally, I am not a fan of the Nats - never have been. As another commentator here has observed: Labour left me along time ago, not the other way round.
I do agree with G.Fischer, if there is one positive that may come from this, its that we kiwis set ourselves free of the legacy of colonialism, and racism - a great place to start would be a withdrawal from five eyes and the influence of its associated 'intelligence'(or lack thereof) agencies. No chance of Labour driving that however.

greywarbler said...

As a blog where commenters are exercised to put forward a spectrum of ideas that approximate rational, can we have paragraphs and not bricks as in speiros at 22.46? And if we are to have Anonymous' turning up who want to place a quick jab, and they put a following comment could they say 'further
to' and put time and short date. Then their thinking and reasoning on the matter can be followed to see if there is some!

Guerilla Surgeon said...

"In terms of the Royal navy, the general view will be, welcome back. This is not to indicate they bring much to the party in terms of useful defence hardware. "
In terms of one ship deployed, one ship getting ready, and one in maintenance the Royal Navy is one carrier short and has barely has enough escorts for one strike group. Not to mention they only have enough planes to man one carrier. In today's environment that's not going to be tenable. So making a lot of noise about it as one Tory has already done, is probably stupid.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

Well said Grey. Some of these anonymous postings come close to being incomprehensible. One place I post at let you down vote stuff for incomprehensibility and eventually it gets "un-posted". And another allows you to block people that you can't be bothered with. I've only done it to one person so far, but it'd be nice to have it just in case.

Geoff Fischer said...

The Five Eyes have achieved something quite remarkable in New Zealand during the term of the current government. They have driven a wedge between the state and capital. Such a thing could only happen in a colonial society, but something very like it took place under the fourth Labour government of David Lange, when Treasury and the Reserve Bank captured the government and the political and bureaucratic wings of the state then combined to radically re-structure the New Zealand economy.
In the nineteen eighties the preponderant weight of capital fell into line with the direction of the state because it was offered, with a good deal of persuasion, a way forward in the new economy. Import protection, subsidies and state provision of services would go but the overall cost of inputs, including some raw materials, machinery and labour, would be reduced. Any domestic manufacturer who still could not cope with the changes could switch to the relatively easy and profitable business of importing foreign goods. It was a workable deal, and capital could be persuaded to go along with it.
This time things are different. The security services, acting under direction from the Five Eyes, have effectively captured the foreign policy of the present Labour-led government and have begun to implement anti-China policies which could have consequences as profound as the privatisations and economic de-regulation of the nineteen eighties.
But they have nothing to offer capital except "blood, sweat and tears" and capital is not buying that.
The frustration in the Five Eyes camp is almost palpable. Look to Paul Buchanan's "kiwipolitico" blog. Buchanan, an ex-CIA analyst who works closely with the NZIC security services and who is very much a Five Eyes man, fumes over the deplorable lack of patriotism among New Zealand capitalists. He accuses New Zealand businessman David Mahon of being a paid agent of the Communist Party of China and the PRC. This claim is almost certainly based on information passed to Buchanan by his colleagues in the NZSIS, and although it is not necessarily correct, it points to the fact that many, many New Zealand export producers (not to mention property investors and brokers) are beholden to the Chinese market.
It is not enough for the Five Eyes to capture the state. They also need to lead capital, and in this they have signally failed. They are now caught in a bind. If they push ahead with the anti-China policy they will make capital bleed, sweat and weep, and they would then need to install a quasi-fascist government to bring both capital and labour to heel.
But at the same time, they are loath to back down. In these circumstances the decision of the British security services to accept Huawei gives the regime some hope. If the Five Eyes themselves are split, then the colonial government can find space in which to heed the cries of capital and reverse its stand on China.

Unknown said...

The days of the UK being a global power are long gone. The Japanese proved that when they took Singapore in February 1942. The Royal Navy surface fleet has six guided missile destroyers, 13 frigates, and one aircraft carrier. The carrier is still undergoing its shakedown and I note it has no steam catapult. The RN has 4 nuke-equipped submarines, and six attack submarines. I doubt anyone in Peking is losing any sleep over the Royal Navy taking a Pacific holiday. The Falklands War came close to disaster for the British. The Argentine warplanes sank a destroyer and two frigates. Had their bombs worked better the would have sunk two more destroyers and five more frigates. Three of the British large landing support ships and a crucial tanker would also have been sunk. By my count the Argentine air force and naval air arm had 109 modern fast jets operational - 48 Skyhawks, 35 IAI Daggers, 21 Mirage-3, and 5 Super Etendards. They lost 35 of these to all causes. I suspect the Chinese air force is way more formidable.