Time Australia coerced NZ on China

As Australia’s relationship with China has shifted to a more realistic footing in the past twelve months, New Zealand has been practising a very studied strategic ambiguity. This reached an ugly head several months ago when Trade Minister Damien O’Connor advised Australia to grovel a lot more.

Today we had another example of NZ’s double game, after last week:

  • 13 countries questioned the WHO’s dodgy COVID findings.
  • All “Five Eyes” partners signed the document except NZ.

It’s all well and good for NZ to play this double game to protect a few exporters. But there is a very serious consequence for the Pacific. NZ is the moral and cultural leader of Pacific Island nations and by kowtowing in this manner it is effectively abandoning those key allies to defend themselves alone against Chinese corruption. The CCP goal in this wedging has been for many years to diplomatically isolate Taiwan. So, in that sense, NZ is already encouraging war in north Asia.

Secondly, and more worrying still for the long term, the second CCP goal is to undermine ANZUS and establish Pacific naval bases from which the CCP can wield permanent “gunboat diplomacy” over everybody in the South Pacific.

Exactly where is the Ardern Government going to draw the line here? God knows. But in the absence of its doing so, I suggest that we might draw it instead.

To wit, Jacinda Ardern is expected to announce an Australian travel bubble at 2pm this afternoon. This policy clearly favours NZ over Australia by the sheer weight of the population. It will actually drain Australian activity as it boosts NZ as more Aussies travel there than Kiwis come here. I suspect that the Morrison Government is only keen on it at all to get more cheap Kiwi workers into the country.

The question is, why should Australia deliver economic windfalls to NZ while it is so busy undermining ANZUS on China? If Jacinda Ardern wants to chew gum and walk at the same time then no worries, but she should not be allowed to spit that gum all over Australia.

If China is going to bully Jacinda Ardern into submission then we should make it plain that there will be economic consequences from Australia (yes, all ironies included).

This is not some stoopid game of rugby. It is the freedom of kids that is at stake.

Houses and Holes
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  1. I really like MB and the great ideas it puts forward, but I think this idea should be put to bed.

    The AUS/NZ travel bubble has absolutely nothing to do with China policy.

    First you are viewing it in purely economic terms, when actually there is a significant humanitarian element to it, given many of those taking advantage of it will be for the reasons of trans-Tasman family reunions. Second, you’re basically suggesting Australia use the same tactics as the CCP, strong-arming an ally or economic partner by hitting them economically in areas that have nothing to do with the question at hand. Third, having an AUS/NZ bubble will actually strengthen Anzac relations, not weaken them.

    Economic coercion or sanctions can be justified in extreme circumstances but I don’t think this one one of them. And even if it was, pick a more appropriate lever to pull.

    • Sanctions were a part of the mix in the 2015 Iran deal, and in ending apartheid policies in southern Africa, and in many other cases. Of course there is debate about whether sanctions work or not, whether they are unjust etc. But they are a tool in the toolkit of policymakers, and the objections from countries that are the subject of sanctions suggest that they have some effect.

      Sanctions go into the thinking of any regime considering a particular course of action, as leadership weighs the potential consequence of any action that they are considering, and the risk that it may result in sanctions being imposed. So its not necessarily the actual sanctions, but the threat of sanctions that has the effect. Once the sanctions have been imposed, its usually because leadership has decided its a cost they’ll have to pay for the action they want to take, rightly or wrongly.

      There are also the new Magnitsky sanctions which can be imposed against individuals rather than an entire country, and they are widely believed to be effective. Of course they aren’t perfect either, but are yet another tool that can be used.

  2. Ronin8317MEMBER

    If it’s like the last time, the ‘travel bubble’ will not last a month.

    The more China bans Australian imports, the more New Zealand can export to China. So it is in New Zealand’s best national interest to sit on the sideline.

    • Jacinda Ardern is a bit different, whilst in the UK, she developed an anti white patriarchal complex, which has swept many universities, which unfortunately judges people from another time with woke standards of today. And although one would assume that she would be pragmatic after Blair, she went the other direction, and is personally quite radical.

      To align herself with Australia, and a conservative PM at that – is an anathema. People look at her background and say, OK, she is one of us… but she is not, deeply anti-establishment, she wants to push the boundaries. Lets be very clear about this, it is not just economics. If it was, why is NZ borrowing so much? Why not target their runaway housing crisis years ago. Why wed yourself entirely to a dictatorship? There are other things, in the background, unsaid…

      Don’t think Blair, think a secretive Corbyn.

      • Rusty,

        “There are other things, in the background, unsaid…”

        Id be very keen to hear about these unsaid things. Personally, I loathe and detest her intensely. So much that I relocated myself and my business to Singapore last year. Singapore may have authoritarian tendencies but it has a strong rule of law, strong personal safety and strong protections for those who actually want to work and achieve. I was horrified at how in a matter of minutes she overturned centuries of civil liberties – which was later ruled illegal – and how fascist kiwis became in response.

        • I think if one posts, one would always use a degree of candour, imagine that the person you write about, is in front of you… not a popular trend I know, given the rashly people slight each other these days. I am amazed individuals don’t get exposed and litigated more often. The thing about stuff, is that people quickly know who you are! the more stuff you know, the more dangerous it becomes.

          The other day, a colleague trying to reactivate something, not used in years, created a temporary account accessing historical data, and the whole computer system went down. It shouldn’t have, brand new sophisticated, impenetrable. What was discovered, in this uncrackable setup, was that someone had broken in, adjusted code, creating duplicates forwarding to destinations unknown, and had completely erased their tracks. Found by someone with several decades experience, doing big stuff, somewhere else. For what purpose, one can only guess. And the access they used? Was someones former email address… a massive job, clearly it was not for hacking. Moreover, we are a nothing, a nobody!!! And yet the effort involved, for what end?? Thing is we do know some stuff, long before others. But????

          Watch that Singapore doesn’t become the next HK… its a serious hotspot. The Berlin of Asia.

  3. The Chicoms don’t need to do any bullying because Ardern is a pinko. It was only a few years ago she was singing the internationale.

    • drb1979MEMBER

      Belgium of the South Pacific


      Larger neighbours let it grandstand, pontificate and lecture as they are too powerless to do any real harm and few listen anyway

      Can also be used to describe Ireland

  4. reusachtigeMEMBER

    Honestly, why don’t we just annex NZ? It’s apparently in the constitution so it’s all legal and sh1t.

  5. Don’t disagree with the point that NZ needs to get with the program on China. Personally, I do believe people there are slowly waking up, just they’re a good 3-5 years behind Australia. When China does something vicious, unprovoked and mean spirited to NZ – which is certainly only a matter of time – Kiwis will change. Meanwhile, being big brother and leaning on NZ, however necessary from an Australia point of view, won’t be constructive.

    Sad as it may sound, this Government is much less pro-China than the last one. I believe President XI actually had to undergo surgery to extract John Key’s head from his arse.

  6. Even StevenMEMBER

    Agree with HnH’s key point – some frank discussions on NZ’s kowtowing to China need to be had. Not sure it should extend to Australia making economic threats against NZ – it’s not how you treat family.

    NZ trade minister should have been sacked or severely reprimanded for his comments.