Jacinda Ardern sells Pacific freedom for few yuan more

Via the ABC:

The Federal Government is fuming after New Zealand’s Trade Minister suggested Australia could mend ties with China by showing its government more “respect.”

China and Australia are mired in several disputes and Beijing has targeted multiple Australian exports with sanctions, although the campaign of economic punishment has not escalated further so far this year.

In contrast, New Zealand this week formally signed an upgrade to its 2008 free trade deal with China.

In an interview discussing the deal, New Zealand’s Trade Minister Damien O’Connor was asked about a suggestion from their Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta that the nation could mediate between Australia and China.

Mr O’Connor said New Zealand had a “mature” relationship with China and could raise issues of concern, but added it also respected its trade ties with Beijing.

“If [Australia] were to follow us and show respect, I guess a little more diplomacy from time to time and be cautious with wording, they too could hopefully be in a similar situation [with China],” he said.

Some Australian MPs and officials expressed intense frustration when asked about the comments.

Chinese officials have publicly heralded the new agreement with New Zealand, while Chinese state media has already jumped on it to urge Australia to use New Zealand as a “model” and make concessions to China.

Later on Thursday, Damien O’Connor put out a statement saying “the Australia-China relationship will always be a matter for China and Australia”.

He also rang Australia’s Trade Minister Dan Tehan in an attempt to hose down the controversy.

Mr Tehan would not say whether Mr O’Connor offered an apology, but said he appreciated the call.

“New Zealand has been our closest friend for many years — I’ve got nothing but warmth for my New Zealand counterpart,” he told RN Drive.

“I’m looking forward to working with my New Zealand counterpart, we want to make sure that everyone is working cooperatively together whether it’s on the trade and investment front, or on the security front.”

One Australian government source said Mr O’Connor’s comments had “not gone down well” in Canberra.

“What [New Zealand] has to realise is that China is intent on splitting alliances in the region, and jumping in like this plays into their hands,” they said.

NZ has a long history of being an alliance piss-taker so let’s not act overly surprised.

The question I’d like to ask is how far does NZ think it is a good idea to let China occupy its export capacity? In the last undisrupted year of 2019, the Chinese share of NZ exports was 21%, easily the largest and accounting for all growth, though still well behind Australia’s preposterous 38%.

This question is particularly important given NZ’s stewardship of the Pacific Islands. At what juncture will Jacinda the Wonderful start to throw them under the bus for Chinese trade? One simple Chinese naval base positioned anywhere in the South Pacific is end of days stuff for ANZUS. It must never be allowed at the pain of death if democracy has any chance of survival in Oceania. Not to mention, stickier issues with our North Asian allies and friends.

In other words, by free-riding on ANZUS and upgrading Chinese trade, Jacinda the Wonderful is making precisely the same mistake that led to Australia’s current impasse with China. It’s easy to take the dough and run for vested interests. It’s harder to look through the political cycle to the CCP bullying coming down the pipe to take away your way of life.

If NZ had the slightest strategic sense, it would be doing everything in its power to diversify away from China right now too. It need not do that in a way that antagonises China. But taking the bribe to increase CCP power while obviously humiliating alliance partners is pretty bloody stupid.

Does Jacinda the Wonderful think that holding up the Bledisloe Cup like some magical talisman will prevent the CCP from crushing it when its turn comes?

It’s a question every free Pacific Island is now forced to ask.

Houses and Holes
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    • Ha Ha s/he’s a reign bo flag waving laddie in a red dre$$ and s/he’s got big b all $$$.. s/he can say whatever they like. Be nice to Chai nahhhh

    • Absolutely right. The National leader is knee-deep with China due to her Chinese husband’s business interests. Then there’s former National leaders like Shipley, Richardson and Brash taking their 30 pieces of silver.

      New Zealand is a total joke.

  1. New Zealand – doing the right thing as usual while Australia is entirely occupied by Donald Horne devotees. Looks sideways……..

    • Yes quite the figure…they will have to seek out services of Roo Paul tuck n tape technique if their last parliamentary outing in a red dress is anything to go buy. Kudos if that vid is photo shopped. AC/DC She’s got big baaaallll $$$

  2. Yet another CCP action aimed at splintering the US and its closest allies: the Five Eyes countries.

    As for a naval base, plans are already afoot: https://www.aspistrategist.org.au/china-to-build-200-million-fishery-project-on-australias-doorstep/

    “But the question that needs to be asked is simple: why Daru?

    I’m assured by people with a reasonable knowledge of PNG’s fisheries that there are no commercial fishing grounds close to Daru. So why plan to spend $200 million on a fish-processing plant in an area not known to have commercial fishery resources?

    The fact that the plant will lie just a few kilometres from Australian island communities is a likely reason.”

    • Yes & easy access to both Indian & Pacific oceans far from China, CCP’s third island ring well on track

    • Thanks missed that one. I wonder if they are the same class of ‘fishing boats’ that shine lasers at defence aircraft.

    • Australia might have to have a quiet word with PNG, the sort you have while carrying a big stick. Getting Indonesia on side also not a bad idea.

  3. Beijing has targeted multiple Australian exports with sanctions

    I thought that “Australia” had signed a “free trade agreement” with “China”.

    It is obvious to me that having a free trade agreement with China is worse than useless. The govt of China does whatever they want regardless of an agreement they have signed. Let’s drop the charade with all these agreements.

    If you want free trade then trade freely year after year and make it obvious that way. All this free trade stuff is a fraud.

  4. Its amazing. One aircraft career in the South Pacific and its over. Japanese made a good attempt but were outmanned and outgunned. I think its different with China. They have strategic depth. They have BRI. I think they learnt from Japan’s mistakes. Australia made strategic blunder trading with China. Its understandable. Capitalists, motivated by profit, made the decisions and not statesmen. Going to be hell to pay now.

    • Midway, Coral Sea, Kakoda, Milne bay and Guadalcanal. Most important battles of world war II from a Pacific perspective. Basing in bougainville and Solomon islands is vital to our interests

  5. It all sounded so good. “Globalisation”, trade, exchange of people, blah, blah, blah…..In the end, what happened? Basically, we awoke a sleeping giant and all our manufacturing jobs were exported. Now, the economy is just full of bullshit jobs with which you can’t live. ALP must be embarrassed. Hawke, Keating and Evans thought they were genius with their pivot to Asia. It did not work, But to be fair, the LNP did not object to this so they are just as guilty. They are tied to Twiggy, Gina & Co. It will take years to find new buyers and build relations with other markets. In the end, you get what you deserve.

    • Hawke, Keating and Evans

      Three tiny brains and huge egos in search of a puppet-master. But who was the puppet-master back then?

  6. It was an embarrassing move from an over-promoted rookie. NZ is worryingly dependant on China and it arguable that is more corrupted by Chinese immigration and untrammelled property acquisition than Australia.

  7. peterbruceMEMBER

    I loved New Zealand back in the day when the big fella PM David Lange told the yanks no nuclear ships in our ports. That took balls and cost them when US retaliated. But they stuck to that policy for quite a few years.

    • It didn’t take balls at all. It took someone exactly like Ardern/ O’Connor with the false sense of moral superiority and the geographical right to free ride. Lange is a perfect example of alliance piss-taking.

  8. adelaide_economistMEMBER

    Definitely the weakest link in 5eyes and especially so given the newly bearded Trudeau appears to have got the memo on China. Sincerely hope unzed doesn’t expect Australian defence assets to be thrown at defending them at some point in the not too distant future.

    • Even StevenMEMBER

      NZ needs to tread carefully. They don’t want to get a reputation for selling their own mother…

    • As ridiculous as NZs position is, its not like Australia has ‘defence assets’ to spare. All its tanks could be parked easily in a small supermarket carpark with room to spare, and how long til the submarines arrive? Only another 15 years.

  9. Future headline: New Xiland announces new training centres being built to educate Maoris who still cling to old cultural beliefs to bring them into harmony with Xi Jinping thougt

  10. That is the Chinese signalling they’re open to a face-saving back down. However, there is no reason for Australia to agree at all : it’s China that is hurting, not Australia.

  11. “Australia just needs to hug it out with China,” Jacinda Adern said, “and if China likes to roger you as they hug you, then we must learn to accept their cultural norms with a smile.”

  12. What do you expect from two people with absolutely no world experience and little education.

    Jacinda has never worked in the real world, has been in politics all of her adult life and apart from a brief stint in the UK has no travel experience. She’s got a degree in communications, which obviously serves her well, but no education and no judgement.

    O’Connor is even worse, basically spent his life looking up cows arses.

    Then there’s New Zealand’s new foreign minister, whose an absolute shocker…

    I went back in 2011 but couldn’t stand the place so I’ve moved my business up to Singapore and thank-God I’m gone.

    Total clowns…