03/04/2017
Owen LLewellyn
Opinion
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China’s Soft Invasion Establishes another Beachhead

How do we tell where the boundary lies between healthy international business relations and becoming a vassal state of a major power? Until recently, those of us concerned about the implications of rampant globalisation on New Zealand were mostly worried about NZ becoming a lap dog of the United States. Concerned about the TPP, where we seemed to be willing to sacrifice large chunks of sovereignty to appease largely US based corporate interests, for the sake of a percentage point of GDP growth.  Now, with the TPP floundering following the Trump led US withdrawal, the spectre of China increasing its influence is looming larger.

Last week,  Premier Li visited New Zealand. Fran O’Sullivan in the Herald dutifully rolled out her New World Order talking points for the week, including a very sympathetic write up of Li’s engagements that would have made the Herald’s Royal correspondent blush; softening us up for Chinese takeover of major infrastructure projects; and casually letting slip that the government knowingly allows wealthy Chinese businessmen to buy New Zealand residency whilst making no meaningful attempt to relocate here.

To be fair, New Zealand is chronically short of capital for long term investments. We inevitably take funds from overseas one way or another to fund substantial projects. So, why not use the funds of the frugal and productive Chinese? The problem for New Zealand, of course, is can we retain proper control of our affairs and sovereignty over the longer term if we get too closely integrated with either the Americans or the Chinese? I don’t see our controlled press exploring all the arguments. Put simply, the more nation states are merged and their sovereignty undermined, the more power and control goes to the global corporate interests and the banks, and less to ordinary people and their elected representatives.