If, to borrow Paul Keating’s description, Australia is the arse end of the world, New Zealand is the arse end of the arse end. The Lange government having burned New Zealand’s ANZUS bridges nearly forty years ago, and with a minuscule defence force, Australia is her only formal ally.
China may take almost a third of New Zealand’s exports to Australia’s 13 per cent, but in terms of proximity, similar British heritage, Closer Economic Relations, rugby and cricket, and now the Trans-Tasman bubble, we are family, and family should always come first.
Now China is playing Australia and New Zealand off against each other, using Kiwi dependence on Chinese trade and investment to drive a wedge through the trans-Tasman relationship.
In today’s leaders’ meeting in beautiful Queenstown, fronting the crystal-blue Lake Wakatipu, Scott Morrison must – however gently and respectfully – remind Jacinda Ardern of the facts of geopolitical life.
Morrison must tell Jacinda Ardern today that Australia is New Zealand’s only true ally if the Asia-Pacific region and the United States are faced with Chinese military aggression.
Families have disagreements but support each other in times of crisis. That is what Australia and New Zealand must do now as Chinese belligerence intensifies: Morrison must reassure our Kiwi cousins we have their back, so they don’t feel compelled always to appease the Chinese dragon in the hope it eats them last.
Terry Barnes edits our daily newsletter, the Morning Double Shot. You can sign up for your Morning Double Shot of news and comment here.
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