Australia has had ASIO move in on Chinese linked MPs in the ALP. Here in New Zealand the National Party has a Chinese spy in its midst and is tainted with the stench of Chinese Communist Party connections and money, which is now subject to prosecutions by the Serious Fraud Office.

The Serious Fraud Office is also looking into Chinese cash donations for both Lianne Dalziel, the Mayor of Christchurch, and Phil Goff, Auckland’s Mayor.

Yesterday Stuff revealed the depth of Chinese influence in our politics by publishing details of evidence before a Parliamentary Select Committee.

Phil Goff and Zhang Yikun

The inquiry had heard allegations that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has sought to influence local body politics in New Zealand through an extensive network of community organisations funded by the Chinese government and its embassy in Wellington. Submitters allege influence extends from local body politics to community groups, to Chinese language media.

Over several weeks of submissions, the committee has heard from well-known New Zealand-based Chinese dissidents who allege they have suffered bullying, intimidation, and ostracisation from the Chinese community for speaking out against the CCP.

The committee has recently published a controversial submission by China expert Anne-Marie Brady, a professor at Canterbury University. That submission was held back for several weeks so that the people it mentions, including Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel could respond to Brady’s allegations.

Brady’s submission alleges the Chinese administration is seeking to spread its influence through local body politics in New Zealand, as it sees local body politics as the soft underbelly of the New Zealand political system.

Local government politicians could be used to “undermine the policy of the central government,” Brady notes. They’re also more susceptible to interference because they “do not have foreign policy expertise or advisers, or access to regular national security briefings”.

This is all being run by ‘united front’ organisations.

China’s united front work is intended to influence foreign countries by using four strategies: first, to control members of the Chinese diaspora there; second, to co-opt non-Chinese media, businesspeople and politicians to support and promote the CCP; third, to promote China globally; and fourth to reorient the world economy to become more China-centric.

This fourth point is particularly important for local government. Part of China’s strategy to put itself at the centre of the world economy is President Xi Jinping’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). This is an expensive scheme of Chinese-funded and often built infrastructure projects like ports and railway lines in countries across the Eurasian continent and the Pacific.

Look no further than the inroads into the National Party. They clearly are part of the second arm of China’s plan: co-opting members and politicians.

Chris Luxon with the head of Chao Shan, Zhang Yikun’s lawyer
The BFD. National Party President Peter Goodfellow and National MP Yang Jian visit one of Shen Zhaowu’s projects in China in 2014,

Brady’s submission claimed united front organisations were present in all major in New Zealand cities. These are often groups like the Hubei Association or the Guangdong Association, which are meant to keep up connections between migrants from a particular part of China.

One such organisation, the Chao Shan General Association of New Zealand is attached to the National Party donations scandal revealed by Jami-Lee Ross. Zhang Yikun, one of the four people charged in relation to the scandal, is the association’s chair.

At the centre of that scandal is a $100,000 donation from people attached to the Chao Shan General Association that was broken up into smaller donations. This meant that it didn’t need to be declared as an official political party donation as it fell below the $15,000 threshold, above which donations have to be declared to the Electoral Commission.

Chao Shan has also been accused of backing local body candidates, particularly in Auckland.

The head of Chao Shan is Zhang Yikun, who is very cosy with multiple National Party figures, including President Peter Goodfellow and also Phil Goff.

The BFD. Zhang Yikun with National Party President Peter Goodfellow
The BFD. Simon Bridges with Zhang Yikun
Paula Bennett with Zhang Yikun.

The connections go back to John Key’s time:

And Yikun is also connected to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern:

The BFD. Jacinda Ardern with Yikun Zhang

There seems to be a very large and concerning Chinese presence within New Zealand politics. Yet we haven’t called in the SIS, like Australia has done with ASIO, to look into these relationships.

In the UK a bombshell book has just been released documenting China’s undue influence in their politics.

The disturbing extent of infiltration of the British Establishment by China is laid bare in a bombshell book serialised today in the Daily Mail.

Hidden Hand, written by a global authority on how the Chinese Communist Party covertly influences the West, reveals that officials have for years been cultivating contacts at the top of British politics and business.

The book claims senior politicians – on both the Right and the Left – are acting as ‘useful idiots’ to push the Chinese line at the top of government.

Many are in the 48 Group Club, a networking hub set up in the 1950s by members of the Communist Party of Great Britain.

The authors, Clive Hamilton and Mareike Ohlberg, say this group is one of the most glaring examples of the way ‘Beijing courts Britain’s elites’.

Lord Heseltine confirmed last night he was patron of the group but said he did not think anyone would believe he was part of a Communist conspiracy.

The book’s authors state: ‘In our judgement, so entrenched are the CCP’s influence networks among British elites that Britain has passed the point of no return, and any attempt to extricate itself from Beijing’s orbit would probably fail.’

The book claims:

  • Prominent Britons of Chinese heritage are used by the Communist regime to promote the country’s interests, and have made contacts with David Cameron, Theresa May and Mr Johnson;
  • The City of London is falling under the sway of the Chinese, including banning a Taiwan float at the Lord Mayor’s parade;
  • The children of prominent Communist party officials – known as ‘princelings’ – are routinely given jobs in major international banks;
  • The Foreign Office has part-funded an organisation accused of helping the Communist propaganda machine to evade Western scrutiny;
  • China is increasingly employing ‘honey trap’ techniques to spy on senior figures – including one of Mr Johnson’s deputies when he was London mayor.

According to Hidden Hand, Beijing has been cultivating friends overseas who they see as ‘nothing more than those willing and able to promote China’s interests’.

The book says: ‘In Britain, there are many of these “useful idiots” – a term attributed to Lenin that described naive foreign enthusiasts for the Russian revolution.’

I don’t think there can be any doubt that New Zealand politics is experiencing the hidden hand of Chinese influence. In the case of the National Party that hand is so far up the party that they are actually a glove puppet to Chinese influence.

It is the same in the UK, the same in Australia; what makes us think they aren’t doing it here?

Occam’s Razor says that they are.

In this election, it is vitally important not to support parties under the influence of the hidden hand of China.


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Cam Slater
As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats. Cam has previously voted National, Act and NZ First, he never was ever tempted to vote Labour or Green, but once contemplated voting for the Maori party. They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners. He is fearless in his pursuit of a story. Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.