Australia was Blindsided


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Australia was Blindsided when Five Eyes Ally New Zealand
Backed away from China Criticism

Australian officials were blindsided when New Zealand’s Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta criticised efforts to pressure China through the 70-year-old spy alliance known as the “Five Eyes”.

“We would much rather prefer to look for multilateral opportunities to express our interests on a number of issues,” Mahuta said on Monday.

The language is carefully couched but it has real consequences. Our nearest neighbour did not inform Australia of its position before Mahuta this week voiced her government’s discomfort about the “expanding remit” of Five Eyes. While Wellington’s conspicuous absence from a few joint statements had caused unease in Canberra over the past year, Australian officials did not know about New Zealand’s official opposition to using the spy network to exert diplomatic pressure on Beijing.
Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison will visit Jacinda Ardern in two weeks.

While there have been other incidents over the past year demonstrating how strained trans-Tasman relations have become, this development is likely to cause diplomatic friction in the coming weeks.

The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age can reveal Prime Minister Scott Morrison will visit New Zealand in two weeks to meet with his counterpart Jacinda Ardern. The future of Five Eyes will be a hot topic of discussion. The issue will be discussed at senior levels before then, with Foreign Minister Marise Payne and International Development Minister Zed Seselja flying to New Zealand on Wednesday to meet their counterparts.

While no one in the Australian government is seriously suggesting New Zealand is at risk of being booted out of the intelligence-sharing network, Canberra and Washington are concerned by Wellington’s attempt to curtail its expansion. In Canberra, joking references to the “Four Eyes” have only increased in recent months.

The Five Eyes group – which includes the United States, Britain, Australia, Canada and New Zealand – was formed in 1941 to share secrets and signals intelligence during World War II.

Over the past few years, it has gradually expanded into a diplomatic grouping, issuing joint statements criticising China over crackdowns in Hong Kong and Xinjiang . While New Zealand has joined many of these statements, it was notably absent from some over the past year.

Tensions between Canberra and Wellington have been building for years, with Ardern repeatedly criticising Australia for deporting Kiwi citizens and cancelling the citizenship of dual citizens accused of terrorism. But it is the question of how to handle the growing assertiveness of China that has caused the biggest frictions.

In December last year, Mahuta offered to mediate a truce between Australia and China and said both parties needed to “concede in some areas where they are currently not seeing eye to eye”. Months later, New Zealand’s new Trade Minister Damien O’Connor suggested Australia should speak with more “respect” and “diplomacy” towards China.

Senior officials in the Australian government repeatedly put these interventions down to rookie ministers still learning their brief, and did not necessarily see them as the views of Ardern. However, the latest comments from Mahuta are different.

Australian officials were put off by the suggestion that New Zealand was charting a more “independent” course; they believe there’s nothing independent about using your trade relationship with China as a justification for not criticising Beijing. It is Australia, they argue, who has been the one standing on its two feet: the first to ban Chinese telecom giant Huawei from next-generation networks, first to enact foreign interference laws and ahead of the curve on blocking foreign investment in critical national infrastructure......continued
Seems that the waters are getting chillier than tepid across the ditch.........

What sez ye??

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Active member
New Zealand's prime minister has balls. Scott Morrison is a gutless follower of US policy.


Staff member
scotty was blindsided by last years bush fires, by covid, by robo debt, by the vacinne rollout etc etc