NZ's Economic Kowtow To China Begins

With Chinese Premier Li Keqiang in Wellington today, New Zealand First is demanding transparency over the secret deals being done behind closed doors.

 

Be under no illusion, China’s OBOR (One Belt, One Road) may suit their economic and international plans, but the real question is, does it suit ours?” asked the Rt Hon Winston Peters, New Zealand First Leader and Member of Parliament for Northland.

“New Zealand is not a Third World country and has largely built New Zealand’s infrastructure ourselves. Offers of soft loans for development is simply not in our interests.

“It’s not coincidental that Northland Regional Council has held secret meetings and signed a Memorandum of Understanding with China Rail, to include other Chinese companies, over road and rail links including Northport.

“These are the same rail links that the National government and KiwiRail have either run-down, closed, or dismissed  What can the Chinese see that this National Government, supposedly flush with surpluses, can’t, or moreover, won’t? 

“We went wrong several years ago relying on one company, Fonterra; one commodity, milk powder; and one market, China. 

"We’ve learned little from our 2008 experience to the extent that we’re now back, less than a decade later, trying to renegotiate its terms from a point of total weakness.  We’ve learned little from the China-NZ Free Trade Agreement with a net benefit to China of almost $10bn since 2009.  In large, it explains our latest trade imbalance of $3.8bn, which is the worst since 2009.

“Or, are we being asked to accept that we’ve regressed to developing nation status where, like in Kenya or Ethiopia, Chinese conglomerates are the only ones capable of building roads, rail and infrastructure and workers have to protest just to get $5 a day?

“There are serious questions when this government, and even the Labour Party, have no dispute with importing Chinese migrant workers to take Kiwi jobs. 

“New Zealand has resources that China needs and there is no need for us to negotiate from weakness or to act in the subservient way we are. 

“The reality is that the Chinese government’s offer is a smokescreen behind which people like Steven Joyce and Simon Bridges have made countless promises on infrastructure years downstream, without defining where the resources are coming from but will now say: ‘Their new found partnership with China will do it’.

“As with our warnings on immigration, we warned about China’s ambition because there’s no free lunch in business or in international relations. 

“It’s high time for the government to show some guts instead of waving a white flag,” says Mr Peters.

 

Merchandise Trade with China (Years to February 2009-2017)

TOTALS (BILLION)

New Zealand’s exports to China

$63bn

New Zealand’s imports from China

$72.6bn

TOTALS

$136.6bn

Trade Balance (surplus/-deficit)

-$9.6bn