Audrey Young 's Opinion

Audrey Young is the New Zealand Herald’s political editor.

Audrey Young: NZ gets a lot of attention

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John Key with Zhao Zhiqiang president of big pizza and mike Killick of Deep South. Photo / Audrey Young
John Key with Zhao Zhiqiang president of big pizza and mike Killick of Deep South. Photo / Audrey Young

Why does the world biggest country pay so much attention to such a small country as New Zealand?

Before the changing of the guard in the Beijing leadership last month, of the nine former members of the powerful group Standing committee of the Politburo, seven had visited New Zealand.

The only other country to receive such a concentration high-level visits is said to be Singapore.

The new Standing Committee has been reduced to seven and only two have been to New Zealand, but the most important two, the President Xi Jinping (three times) and the Premier Li Keqiang in 2009 both in former capacities.

New Zealand has had annual talks with Beijing for some time. Australia has just got them this week.

Prime Minister John Key is being accorded time with both the Premier and President this trip.

Ever since New Zealand recognised China and accepted the One China policy there has been a consistent approach by successive Governments.

New Zealand is also small enough for China to test out ideas without complications, such as the joint aid project to provide Rarotonga with clean water.

China is usually secretive and defensive about its aid budget. The Cook Islands joint aid venture is a first for them.

One of the least recognised reasons China is so well disposed to New Zealand is the late Rewi Alley, the New Zealander who lived in China for 60 years helping to establish co-operatives -though these day the most famous Kiwi is probably Sir Peter Jackson.

Talk to anyone aged over 45 and the chances he will be the iconic New Zealander who was an unconditional friend of China when the world didn't want to know China and vice-versa.

As a humble, practical and consistent friend he personified the sorts of values that stand New Zealand in good stead in international .

- NZ Herald

Audrey Young

Audrey Young is the New Zealand Herald’s political editor.

Audrey Young is the New Zealand Herald’s political editor, a job she has held since 2003. She is responsible for the Herald’s Press Gallery team. She first joined the New Zealand Herald in 1988 as a sub-editor after the closure of its tabloid rival, the Auckland Sun. She switched to reporting in 1991 as social welfare and housing reporter. She joined the Herald’s Press Gallery office in 1994. She has previously worked as a journalism tutor at Manukau Technical Institute, as member of the Newspapers in Education unit at Wellington Newspapers and as a teacher in Wellington. She was a union nominee on the Press Council for six years.

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