I’ll show you mine even if you don’t show me yours!

When you are out all afternoon shooting you get to do a whole lot of thinking. As we were busting clays this afternoon chat got around to China.

The China/New Zealand relationship bears some curiously similar hallmarks to a desperate blonde having a romp between the sheets with the town cad in the hope he’ll love and look after her.  As long as she’s hot, doesn’t rock the boat and turns out the goods I suppose he’ll hang around, but he won’t be faithful.

That’s what I see when I read about the eager and breathless McCully sweating his way around China.  The FTA is just stunning – most of us are enormous supporters.  But where do we draw the line?  Is it necessary to be so loose?

Take Huawei for example, the telco/tech company subsidised by the Communist leadership (oh wait, owned by the employees – heh!) and well understood to be a front for Chinese intelligence – are we really happy to trade security for a fast broadband network?  Our involvement with the Echelon spy network is the only real contribution we make as a country to international electronic intelligence gathering?

In short, the intel trickle that we currently enjoy could turn into an occasional drip. China is far from the most stable nation in the world with major ethnic struggles along strategic borders, hugely dependent on unstable nations for energy and food, has a heaving poor population angling for survival or more pay, and the Communist Party overseeing thousands of executions a year.

Still, let’s have a jolly good old romp with them and use them like they are using us, but perhaps we should come up for breath and think about a couple of layers of contraception….or is it too late?


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  • BJ

    Anyone else have a vision of Mongoloid twins born out of such a union? – desperately writhing around but making no mutually beneficial progress –  bound together in convoluted ways that only a complex dissection could separate and disentangle. 

  • The simple fact is that we just don’t need to kow-tow to China as much as we do. Sure- foreign investment is sweet as, as long as it’s an actual investment by an actual investor from Hong Kong or a similar semi-free location. But when you get down to it, we have shit China wants, agricultural products and coal. They want the stuff, and they will be happy to make concessions to our piss-weak attempts at protecting against their influence peddling here- in the same way we can’t expect them to behave in any decent way about their rare earth mining.

  • A-random-reader

    There has never been a single case in which a Huawei device has been observed to be compromised by design. If such back doors were observed by security researchers it would spell the immediate death of the company.

    What galls me is that people seem to think computer networking equipment works by magic. It doesn’t.

    • Kate

      Perhaps not by design but by intent, and why would you know? US Congress and Australia have both ruled against their involvement in their countries. Huawei won’t go under, it’s subsidised by the CCP. It’s what we don’t know that we need to be careful of, not what we do know.

      • Kate


        Wager on it that the UK would backtrack given the chance. Good overview on cyber warfare in the latest Foreign Affairs mag too, which is worth a read.

      • Karl

        And yet US, UK and Australia already have multi-billion dollars of Huawei gear in each country without a single story of Chinese government spying being helped by backdoors known by Google. Its hard to believe EVERYONE in all these governments is keen to keep these secrets.

      • Kate

        If it wasn’t such a concern why has the UK put in place prohibitively expensive intel operations to follow Karl? SIM cards and mobiles are bad enough, but broadband? And I think if you scratch a little harder you will find issues around Huawei exist and are very real.

    • napalm in the morning

      Maybe they are real good at it!

  • Charles

    And the really scary thought is that if many of the left wing persuasion have their way, Echelon will be toast as well. It’s interesting that such supposedly opposing politicians as McCully and past PM Clarke had sucking up to China in common. Clarke, endlessly anti-American could seemingly not see the difference between regimes such as China’s or Iran’s and that of the US administration. China has a burgeoning population it cannot possibly feed or contain. It is thought in many quarters that it will be against them that the next major world conflict will be fought over ideologies and resources.  

  • MrV

    Better open your mobile phone or 3G modem and make sure it doens’t have an Huawei chips in it, they have been around for a while, despite the latest media hoo-haa.

  • Michael

    WO, I like your work and appreciate the effort you put into it. But mate, your ignorance of and around China is astounding. I live in China, and while I’m a proud Kiwi and support my country, almost all the problems in our relationship with China are of our own making. The FTA is almost 100% to our benefit as our borders were already wide open. But we can’t produce an infinite quantity of dairy products and logs, so we desperately need other revenue generators. And don’t kid yourself that the Chinese are lining up to buy our goods.. they wouldn’t notice if we fell off the planet altogether. But we don’t need to kowtow either (as if being friendly and hospitable is kowtowing), we just need to apply more foresight and skills than we do. We could do a lot better out of China that we do, but all the people who comment on this get shot down in the press by bigots and xenophobes.  So usually, we just stay quiet and get on with producing revenue for NZ.

    • Gazzaw

      Good response Michael. Whilst I never lived in China on a longterm basis I visited frequently over a period of nineteen years and developed some great working relationships which as you know is the key to doing business in China. Probably more so than anywhere else in the world. Having said that the same rule applies to doing business with Chinese regardless of whether it is mainland China, Taiwan, Canada and as regular poster Boss Hogg would know, Singapore. It is a business ethic that Kiwis have to master if NZ is to maximise the benefits of its FTA with China. There is a (xeno)phobia in NZ & Australia particularly against Chinese to the extent that I suspect if Winston Peters mooted the idea of reintroducing a poll tax as a 2014 election plank that it would win him a lot of votes. It is a national embarassment when doing business with the Chinese because they invariably never mention it but you know full well that they are very much aware of the pent up resentment that so many Kiwis have regarding their success.

      How many NZ business people go to China totally unprepared? Not a clue about business etiquette, Chinese current affairs & culture never mind learing even a smattering of Mandarin. And they wonder why they cannot build successful business relationships.

      As you rightly say this ignorance of China is very much perpetuated by the media – witness the blatantly pro-Michael Fay campaign to purchase the Crafar farms. Expect xenophobic media outbursts next week when the OIO announces its decision thereby causing more hurdles for a our business and diplomatic people in China. The media hasn’t a clue – how many Kiwi-Chinese journalists do we see in the NZ media. Does TV One or the Herald have a NZ correspondent in Asia never mind China? No, of course not, better to spend their resources on the likes of Jack Tame to report on irrelevant goings-on in Tinseltown.