A time of giving and receiving
By Roger Childs
It’s that’s time again which comes but once every three years.
The charities don’t get a look in as every party from Labour and New Zealand First to the Democrats for Social Credit and Ban1080, have their hands out for donations.
But how about the big one – the New Zealand National Party? They’ve got the backing of China and local Chinese business interests.
What do people actually expect for their $5, $10, $100 whatever? Perhaps they hope for a government that will introduce economic, social and environmental policies which they support.
However, do the Chinese government, and Chinese companies with a stake in New Zealand’s economy, want more?
Financial support to get a pay-off?
Chinese interests are providing big money for National going into the election. Earlier in the year China based businessman Lang Liu handed over $150,000. Chinese owned Oravida (Judith Collins’ husband is a director), gave two donations: $50,000 and $30,000, partly in gratitude for the ten year access to the Otakiri acquifer in the Bay of Plenty.
(The company pays $526 yearly in compliance costs for extracting 400,000 litres a day, and definitely won’t be donating to Labour who want to put a levy on bottled water!)
Meanwhile at a swanky Auckland hotel on August 24, hundreds of local Chinese businessmen paid $2000 each, or $18,000 for a table, at a National Party fundraiser, which may have raised in excess of $1,000,000 for the government’s coffers.
Are these donations just thanks for the Key-English administration’s generous support in allowing China to increase its stake in our economy over the last nine years? Perhaps so, but are they hoping for more favours in the future?
A huge economic presence
Readers will remember the extraordinary Crafar Farms debacle when the government approved the sale of these properties to Chinese company, Shanghai Pengxin, who had no previous experience in the dairy industry.
The company then went on to gain a controlling interest in thirteen other dairy farms. Consequently it has a significant share holding in Fonterra.
This is the tip of the iceberg, as Chinese companies, allied to their government, have taken over scores of New Zealand businesses, properties, vineyards and forestry blocks. This incremental and rapid expansion into our economy has been approved by the Overseas Investment Office.
Fisher and Paykel is now Chinese owned as it Wilson Parking, Silver Fern Farms and 2 Degrees. Vector Energy is also under Chinese control and this electricity network includes power supply to the capital.
Chinese investment good for New Zealand?
But isn’t the Chinese investment in our economy good for local businesses and workers? Not when China uses vertical integration and controls the various steps in the economic process, such as with tourism.
They fly to New Zealand on China Southern Airlines, stay in Chinese owned hotels, travel around the country in Chinese coaches, eat in Chinese restaurants and are ushered into souvenir shops that are owned and manned by Chinese people, whose stock is often: Made in China”! Ron Asher, In the Jaws of the Dragon.
However, while China’s ability to buy up large in New Zealand has been encouraged by our governments, Kiwi interests cannot buy land, forests, infrastructure and companies in China.
Delivering to New Zealanders and China?
The blue National Party billboards around the country feature smiling Bill English, and sometimes the local candidate, with the slogan DELIVERING FOR NEW ZEALANDERS.
However, will they also be looking after their generous supporters from the Asian super-power?