The explosive comments made by the now purged-National Party MP Jami-Lee Ross, in the taped conversation with the Leader Simon Bridges, reveals far bigger malaise than the current crisis - that of – an ever-growing influence of China within New Zealand’s political system.
Discussing party donations, the pair also talked about ethnicities of potential MPs.
"Two Chinese would be nice, but you then know would it be one Chinese and one Filipino, or you know, what do we do,” Mr Bridges said.
"Two Chinese would be more valuable than two Indians, I'd have to say," Mr Ross said.
It would be interesting to explore what makes Mr Ross think so, and Mr Bridges as well, if he backs that assertion.
Indeed, Mr Bridges is heard clearly giving a tacit approval and not countering the alarming assertion.
In this regard, it is submitted that the current, unprecedented saga of Jami-Lee Ross’s accusation of corruption on the Party Leader Simon Bridges is threatening to expose the dark underbelly of New Zealand politics, which is increasingly coming under China’s influence.
It’s only that right now National Party is at the forefront of the charge of exceptional lowering of the guard, against the influence of a rising, revisionist and an increasingly audacious China. However, there is not much doubt that this malaise exists more deeply than what is being seen to normal eyes.
University of Canterbury Professor and well-known China expert, Anne-Marie Brady, has been making a strong voice against the rising Chinese influence in New Zealand through her various writings, especially in her paper Magic Weapons.
Prof Anne-Marie tweeted on Monday, October 15, “The most concerning aspect to the controversy over National's hidden donations is that the source of the funds is a leader in #CCP united front work activities.”
The United Front is the Chinese Government’s department that seeks to influence the overseas Chinese population to extend China's global influence and to expand its economic agendas, often in the guise of keeping unity and promoting the Chinese Communist Party’s values in China and among the Chinese diaspora.
What is more surprising in the supposedly private conversation between Mr Ross and his Leader Mr Bridges, which has gone public now, is the audacity with which two politicians agree that two Chinese MP’s are better than two Indian MPs, and the fact that someone donating $100,000 to the party seems to have the discretionary right of nominating someone to be Member of the New Zealand Parliament.
Does it not have the potential to compromise NZ’s sovereignty?
New Zealanders need to mull upon this question seriously as the tendency of laying down red carpet welcome to anything and everything related to China, can prove to be too detrimental to NZ’s future.
To put it in perspective, the malaise is not limited to National Party alone, rather it is seeping through almost every segment of political representation and decision-making in present New Zealand.
The Chinese millionaire Zhang Yikun who is at the centre of current political saga, and seemingly seen throwing money and courting political parties of all stripes (including Simon Bridges from National Party and Andrew Little from the Labour Party), was made a member of the New Zealand Order of Merit as part of this year’s Queen’s Birthday Honours for services to New Zealand-China relations.
The fact that his name was proposed by the National Party, and seconded by the incoming Labour Party, not in the New Year nominations, but during the Queen’s Birthday honours leaves questions to be answered by both main parties.
Meanwhile, New Zealand would have to find ways of engaging with China’s growing implicit and explicit influence sooner than later.