Video | Agriculture | Confidence | Economy | Energy | Employment | Finance | Media | Property | RBNZ | Science | SOEs | Tax | Technology | Telecoms | Tourism | Transport | Search


Interference claims unlikely to derail NZ-China relations

Political interference claims unlikely to derail NZ-China relations: Fitch

By Jenny Ruth

Nov. 23 (BusinessDesk) - Political and economic ties between New Zealand and China will remain close despite concerns about alleged political interference by China, according to the macro research arm of Fitch Ratings.

“Although concerns have mounted since October over a political donation made to New Zealand’s opposition National Party by a Chinese businessman believed to possess close ties to the Communist Party of China, we expect New Zealand and China to maintain friendly relations over the longer term,” Fitch Solutions Macro Research says in a statement.

“We believe the New Zealand government will likely tighten laws concerning political donations in response,” it says.

“That said, the government is likely to prioritise maintaining close ties with China since China occupies a significant position in New Zealand’s trade and tourism sectors.”

Fitch Solutions cites Statistics New Zealand data showing China was New Zealand’s largest export destination with exports totalling $13.2 billion in the year ended September 23.1 percent of total exports and up from $2.2 billion in the year ended September 2008.

“In addition, two-way trade came in at an all-time high of $25.1 billion in the year ended September 2018 and we expect trade between the two countries to continue growing over the coming years due to increased consumption of dairy products by China’s growing middle class,” Fitch says.

Potential ratification of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership free trade agreement, of which both China and New Zealand are members, should also increase trade.

Milk powder accounts for 41.3 percent of New Zealand’s exports to China with butter and dairy spreads accounting for another 5.3 percent. New Zealand supplies 90 percent of China’s milk powder imports.

Tourists from China are now the second highest source of visitor arrivals after Australia, rising to 499,000 people in 2018, 11.9 percent of total arrivals, compared with 105,000 eight years ago.

“In addition, China continues to be New Zealand’s largest education market with over 40,000 student visas granted to Chinese students in 2017."

Fitch says China has an interest in maintaining close ties with New Zealand because it has strategic importance to China for two key reasons.

“First, the New Zealand government is responsible for the foreign affairs and defence departments of three other territories in the South Pacific, the Cook Islands (if requested), Niue and Tokelau,” it says.

“This potentially would provide four votes for China at international organisations, which is important due to China’s growing South Pacific interests.

“Second, China possesses a long-term strategic agenda in Antarctica in conjunction with its larger goal of expanding its maritime interests and defence capabilities in the Asia-Pacific region and will require the co-operation of established Antarctic claimant states such as New Zealand as it seeks to continue engaging in minerals exploration and other research activities in the continent.”

New Zealand will likely tighten the regulation of political donations in the wake of the Jami-Lee Ross scandal, Fitch says.

Fears of Chinese interference were also raised during the 2017 controversy over National Party MP Jian Yang who was revealed to have worked 15 years for China’s military intelligence academies and had been a Communist Party member before moving to New Zealand.

Both incidents were covered extensively in the media and the government is likely to want to boost transparency and impartiality of the policy-making process.

“Such reforms would reduce political lobbying and prevent special interest groups from possessing undue influence over the New Zealand political landscape,” Fitch says.

“The strong denials of foreign influence in New Zealand politics in the aftermath of these incidents, including from Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, suggests the government would likely opt to take a low-key approach in raising the matter with China, if it even chooses to do so. This suggests to us that New Zealand is prioritising its close and growing economic relationship with China."

Fitch Solutions says although it is part of the Fitch group, its comments don’t come from Fitch Ratings.

“Any comments or data included in the report are solely derived from Fitch Solutions … and independent sources. Fitch Ratings’ analysts do not share data or information with Fitch Solutions.”


© Scoop Media

Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines


Stats NZ: Election Boosts October Job Numbers

Job numbers were boosted by general election staff in October 2020, along with rises in the manufacturing, retail, and hospitality industries, Stats NZ said today. Filled jobs rose by 27,667 to 2.2 million in October 2020 compared with September, after ... More>>

Government: New Year Border Exception For Seasonal Workers In The Horticulture And Wine Industries

2000 additional RSE workers to enter New Zealand early next year employers must pay these workers at least $22.10 an hour employers will cover costs of managed isolation for the RSE workers RSE workers will be paid the equivalent of 30 hours work a week ... More>>


Grey Power: Is Disappointed To Learn Of More Bank Closures

Many older people are being left without essential services because of cost cutting and the march of modern technology. It is now expected that most banking transactions can occur via the internet or telephone. Jan Pentecost, President of the Grey Power ... More>>


Department Of Conservation: Big Year Underway At Albatross Colony

Familiar faces are returning for the new season of Royal Cam, with a big breeding year underway for the toroa/northern royal albatross colony on Otago’s windswept Pukekura/Taiaroa Head. More than 120 albatrosses, a taonga species, have returned ... More>>

Real Estate: ASB Survey Reveals Majority Of Kiwis Expect House Prices To Keep Climbing


House price expectations are soaring as New Zealand’s housing market shifts up a gear. But stretched affordability is putting a dent in perceptions of whether it’s a good time to buy. While Kiwis reveal they do expect interest rates to fall further. ... More>>

ComCom: How Real Is That Bargain?

The Commerce Commission urges retailers and consumers to think hard about the bargains being offered as ‘Black Friday’ and Christmas draw near. Black Friday has now overtaken Boxing Day in terms of retail spending, according to data from electronic ... More>>

Stats NZ: Births And Deaths: Year Ended September 2020

Births and deaths releases provide statistics on the number of births and deaths registered in New Zealand, and selected fertility and mortality rates. Key facts For the year ended September 2020: 57,753 live births and 32,670 deaths ... More>>