Trade Minister mulls invite to Belt and Road conference in China, while Chinese media reportedly falsely attributes praises of the initiative to former PM

Trade Minister mulls invite to Belt and Road conference in China, while Chinese media reportedly falsely attributes praises of the initiative to former PM
Jacinda Ardern, Jenny Shipley

Trade Minister David Parker has confirmed he was invited two weeks ago to attend a Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) conference in China in April.

Parker said he was “likely” to attend but was “working through the details”. He was already planning to visit China with a trade delegation, so wants to tie the trips together.

While Ardern accompanying Parker to front media on the issue suggested she wanted to use the announcement as an opportunity to highlight the work underway maintaining New Zealand’s relationship with China, she talked about the BRI with some caution.  

Asked what the significance of receiving an invite to the conference was, Parker said, “There’s not much significance at all. It’s just things that happen when you’re the Trade Minister.”

Asked if Parker accepting the invitation would signify an endorsement of the BRI, Ardern said a memorandum of arrangement had been signed by the last government, but there were a lot of details to be worked through.

“It is about making sure that we develop a work programme that’s in New Zealand’s interests and also has benefit for the Chinese as well,” Ardern said, reiterating New Zealand’s independent foreign policy.

When asked whether she understood the thrust of the BRI, given Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters reportedly said he was unsure what BRI was all about, Ardern spoke of it specifically being a Chinese initiative, rather than one promoting regional economic development.  

“From a Chinese perspective, you’re always best to ask them to articulate it directly, but it is about their partnerships,” Ardern said.

“Often it’s been tasked around infrastructure; of course seeking some security as they go forward and some of the threats that exist around food supply and so on. But ultimately it’s a tool for diplomatic relations as well.”

Ardern wouldn’t commit to pre-emptively saying whether she was open to major infrastructure partnership via the BRI. She said the Government was working through the detail of what the arrangement would mean.

Ardern’s comments flew in contrast to those made in an opinion piece published on a Chinese news website with former National Party Prime Minister Jenny Shipley’s byline on it.

According to the piece, published in People’s Daily on Monday, Shipley lauded the BRI as “one of the greatest ideas we’ve ever heard globally”.

Shipley, who chairs the Chinese government controlled China Construction Bank NZ and food exporter Oravida NZ, described it as a “forward-looking idea” that had the “potential to create the next wave of economic growth”.

“While China continues to think about how it can open wider to the world, we should learn to listen to China,” she said.

However the NZ Herald’s Audrey Young on Tuesday night reported Shipley didn’t actually write the piece.

According to Young, Shipley was interviewed by the state-run newspaper in December for a feature article, but was surprised to learn a new piece had been published under her name.  

Shipley reportedly said she hadn’t spoken to the Chinese newspaper since December.

"It is important for the Foreign Minister and Prime Minister and others to understand that I would never think of getting into a public situation like this at such an important time for New Zealand's relationship," she told Young.

The role of Huawei in New Zealand’s telecommunications network is currently seeing the country’s relationship with China scrutinised.

Here is a copy of the piece with Shipley’s byline on it:

In 1995, I attended the World Conference on Women held in Beijing, which was my first time to China It was an important moment the world’s female leaders gathered in China to carry out dialogues on topics concerning women’s development and rights. At that time, China had just began to show confidence in international exchanges and dialogues.

I still remembered the widespread Chinese put forward by Chairman Mao Zedong – “women hold up half the sky”. During the past four decades since the reform and opening up, there has been a lot of progress in education, employment and development of women in China.

I hope that both the government and social enterprise, whether it’s in China or any other country, women at every level are allowed to share their ideas and jointly make decisions with men in an equal way. This is also one of the reasons why I’m committed to the Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) and served as a director for the forum since 2015.

I want more women, like myself, to sit at the same table while sharing the responsibility and create the future together with men.

China has witnessed tremendous changes in every respect over the past forty years, including lifting seven hundred million people out of poverty and making its per capita income rise. Besides, China has made huge contributions to the world’s economic growth.

The country has not only made great efforts to promote domestic reform, but also endeavored to open its market up to the rest of the world. China’s entry into the World Trade Organization (WTO) is a good example of its efforts to boost opening up.

Since its entry into the WTO, China has actively signed free trade agreements with neighbors and other countries in and out of the region, aiming to find out ways to work together.

One of the reasons for China’s great successes over the forty years since reform and opening up was that it connected its people to the markets, which has created huge wave of progress in its industrialization process.

The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) proposed by China is one of the greatest ideas we’ve ever heard globally. It is a forward-looking idea, and in my opinion, it has the potential to create the next wave of economic growth.

Chinese President Xi Jinping announced a series of major measures on further promoting opening up at the BFA annual conference in 2018, demonstrating China’s determination to continue adhering to reform and opening up.

Xi’s keynote speech at the BFA explicitly affirmed China’s commitment to safeguarding multilateralism and continuing opening its door to the rest of the world, which deeply encouraged the international audience present.

While China continues to think about how it can open wider to the world, we should learn to listen to China. We need to work with China, the second largest economy in the world, globally to find ways to explore the future and move forward together.

We have high hopes for China’s next stage of opening up in the next forty years.

We welcome your help to improve our coverage of this issue. Any examples or experiences to relate? Any links to other news, data or research to shed more light on this? Any insight or views on what might happen next or what should happen next? Any errors to correct?

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Listen to China? Like 'they' are told to do in Canada?

"(In) a recent petition at a University of Toronto campus.. Students felt “offended and hurt”, and believed it was their “obligation to protest”.
The petition, which attracted over 11,000 signatures, had little to do with domestic politics. Instead, the signatories objected to the election of a student union president of Tibetan descent, who “was found to hold the political belief that Tibet should be free”.
There were 140,530 Chinese students in Canada in 2017, which is more than a quarter of the total international student body in the country."

Canada is a sad case
It’s reliant heavily on China
The Chinese Communist Party halved China’s investment into Canada already over the Huawai executive in home detention awaiting her March court case for extradition US
China is not a sweet loving country they play hard
I wish more kiwis had lived there to understand
They use their elderly to spy on local communities to report back to the CCP
Hardly a free & open society

It is NZ's best interests to work with China - the only global power left to protect the use of international rules and institutions, free and open trade and multilateralism.

Being the US's lap dog will only make NZ doomed.

Got a spare island?


You calling the CCP free & open in the same sentence lol
Stop gaslighting
China doesn’t respect Australian law ?


He's either in a communist labour camp or he's trolling. Either way he deserves our pity.

Nope. I am sitting comfortably in my office at Wellington, NZ.

Thanks for your concern though.


Nice one Jiang Yang


Halswell St Glenmore St or is it Hill St XingPing ?
China embassy locations in Wellington NZ
Appears China has a heavy presence in tiny Wellington wonder why ?
Please don’t fool kiwis with your pro communist party garbage Anti American propaganda
Trump will be gone & NZ will then wish it had sided with US a Democracy not a Communist Party

I am not pro or anti anything.

I am simply observing.

The US has been chanting "American First" since Trump's presidency while China has always been talking about mutual benefit and win-win for both.

It would be too foolish for NZ to follow brainlessly with someone who is not even interested in considering NZ's benefits.


Simple observation is that China enters country for Business and to help by providing cheap and fast money so that country becomes totally indebted to them and many a times are unable to pay the debt so become unoffical colony of China.

Easy targets are small countries as they just need a foot. Check what they are doing in Pacific Islands. Also powerful and vested greed falls for it, which are everywhere and are able to justify in the name of prosperity and opportunity.

One example is Maldives :

Be aware now and adjust or surrender and become a part of China.

I have to admit, Xing, while I despise the often racist, xenophobic and generally denigratory commentary against you that we see on this site, you do tend to swing a little too far towards the CCPs side of the ledger, even though you appear to be able to present a rationale for it. The CCPs too obvious efforts towards population control that extends to restrictions in too many areas, and meddling in other countries to influence commentary about them will naturally make them an unwelcome and even feared presence in NZ, one of the most democratic countries in the world.

We have long cherished our ability to freely and openly discuss all aspects of politics. We are proud to have stood up to the world in the past, and at the grass roots our culture is predominantly Western European with strong flavourings of Maori. Too much of what we see as asian (or any other) authoritarian influence will threaten the very essence of who we are.

We do need trade, but China is trying to force us to pick a side. We shouldn't have to. Trump is proving that the US cannot be eternally relied upon, and the European Union told us that even the so called mother country will turn their back on us in the name of money. China has always been abnd contiues to be to authoritarian. We are not rich, we are not powerful, but we do have a strategic location that is relatively important, and we are and want to be fiercely independent. We would like trade and politics to be separate, but our neighbourhood bullies won't allow it.

I have to admit, Xing, while I despise the often racist, xenophobic

Nope, you don't get to use the racism card to describe criticism of *communist* china. Especially when I have been consistent in my support for the other model of chinese civilisation other other side of the taiwan strait.

If the USSR was still around and was full of useful idiots extolling the virtues of their system and talking about what an 'interesting' figure Stalin was, we would be on their case as well. Face the music.

The perhaps you need to shift your language to be less personally denigratory to challenging the ideas, philosophy and politics that Xing presents. Silencing him does not suport or enhance the discussion. It only removes from it. I would prefer that we openly and actively discuss the merits of his opinions, not dismiss them out of hand, simply because his name suggests he is Chinese. I am disappointed though that Xing did not respond to my post. I was interested in what his thoughts on it were.


Hows your take over of China sea going X...respecting the school of law are we?


You are living in New Zealand, a western democracy.
We believe in freedom, and human rights.

We don't - or shouldn't - just tow the line with China because of it's economic might, if it is failing it's international responsibilities on human rights, trade etc.

Interested to hear your views on this, given you live in New Zealand and not a communist nation.


Careful NZ
Jenny pushed lowering the drinking age to 18 to gain the youth vote in her selfish expediency to win the youth vote.
Jenny is lobbying for China because she works for China & is not impartial
NZ would be wise to limit the amount of eggs it places in the China basket economically speaking
Or is it too late already ?
As for Canada ? Vancouver is just a playground for wealthy Chinese multimillionaires children
it’s all very sad because the Chinese Communist Party aren’t into Democracy More Chinese power equals less democracy
Why is China pushing foreigners out ?

Amongst all other matters, would not have thought that listening to what she did not want to hear, in fact, even the art of listening full stop, was one of Jenny’s strongpoints.

Typical illogic
The education system has a lot to answer for

Well yes she was initially a school teacher, but would not imagine her affect to be as profound as you suggest. My reference, which admittedly is a rather oblique one, was from my recollection of a famous David Lange riposte in an interview alongside of her, which amounted to a put down in the same vein. Probably though, not many of us around now who remember those days in detail.


Jenny's statements, frankly, are vomit inducing.
The Belt Road Initiative is clearly primarily about extending China's sphere of influence and power.
It's farcically masked as an economic development initiative.
One day the west is really going to regret the way it's approached China.

Jenny who?


Jenny Shipley
Chairman - China Construction Bank
Chairman of the Board - Oravida NZ Limited
Board Member - BOAO Forum for Asia
Executive Board Member - New Zealand China Council
and more...


So what you’re saying is Jenny Shipley is in the China corner !
Im not anti China I love China but I’m aware how it operates
Jenny is a stooge for China a puppet


BB -Well she's bought and paid for.
Oravida - where have I heard that name before in conjunction with National politicians.


She was also on the board of the failed Mainzeal. Embarrassing.

Jenny the Ship was also a director of Mainzeal and is being sued along with other directors on behalf of its Chinese owners.


Do anything and everything what China wants and says or will upset depend.

After all NZ is one of their colony.

What a shame no national feeling and self respect.

This isn't really an issue about being pro or anti China, it's about back doors designed into products that pose a security risk. Fix the "flaws" as we prescribe or sell the product to someone else.

Conservation biologist William Laurance, a research professor at James Cook University in Cairns described the Belt and Road Initiative as "environmentally, the riskiest venture ever undertaken." In a commentary published in the journal Nature Sustainability, he and an international team of researchers urge China to weigh the possibly disastrous consequences of its Belt and Road Initiative.

It simply blows out of the water anything else that's been attempted in human history. As currently planned, it will involve some 7,000 separate infrastructure or extractive industry projects scattered across 70-odd nations, with a total price-tag of $8 trillion. It'll span half the planet—from Asia to Africa, Europe and the South Pacific.

In biodiversity and environmental terms, again, it's the worst thing we've seen anywhere—and in the past forty years, I and my colleagues have seen some pretty horrific stuff in the Amazon, Africa, Southeast Asia and the South Pacific.

I actually think the BRI will have a greater net impact on ecosystems than it does global warming, at least for the duration of this century. [But it] will also be a major contributor to global warming, by promoting massive land-use changes, deforestation, industrial and transport emissions, and emissions from project construction. It'll use more concrete—a major source of greenhouse gas emissions—than all pre-existing infrastructure projects on the planet.

That ecowatch article is ridiculous. Building and upgrading a few roads, ports and railways is not going to destroy the planet.

Sorry,ZS, but you're wrong. We are well into the last 'doubling-time' exponential growth-wise, and well past peak energy flow (total, let alone per head, which peaked about 1980). There isn't the margin left for China to get to our level, even by displacing others like us.

This is alle same Greater Co-Prosperity Sphere, and about as genuine in it's pretended altruism.

Yes you are right it's sounding very 1930s Japan....
Remember too that Japan blamed the west for it going to war. Because it had been 'isolated' by the west (for good reason, given its imperialistic 'adventures' in Asia)

The trouble with your argument is that we are just not seeing it happen. China has built a massive amount of infrastructure over the last twenty years and is continuing to do so. We seem to be awash with energy and materials. It's like you are one or two centuries before your time.

Regardless of that what do ecowatch expect the Chinese to do? Forego development for the greater good of the planet? Forever remain second rate because the West were the only lucky ones? Seems very unlikely.

I think the historical comparison more closely resembles 1930s Germany. Using technology and advanced transport systems to build prosperity.

I think it's actually happening right now. China left her run too late. This graph comes from 'World3' - which I've been watching since about 1975.

A good read is 'Limits to Growth - the 30 year update'. Then try Will Catton's 'Overshoot'. We've been in overdraft since at least 1970, and in some ways since 1800.

China has newer infrastructure, but it's as illogical as the aging stuff in the US - it's all car-centric sprawl and humans crammed in very tall boxes. How you service those clusters of boxes and acres of tract, is the unanswerable question. And exponential growth makes a mockery of '200 years' - doubling-time beats everything, every time. I recon global collapse within 10 years, or war/standoff which will pre-empt the same thing.

A comment from that link:

Not sure what that chart is showing but it isn't reflective of reality.

I think your opinion is very much a minority one.
Let's revisit this in ten years time.

Those with foresight, understanding and intellect are usually the minority. Sorry Zach, I wish you were correct...but you are well out of touch with reality here.

Wingnuts are in the minority too.

Yes,thankfully you are


Shipley, Brash, Tremain. All discovered an appreciation for and respect of Chinese culture in their post-political careers. Of course, none of them have had much to do with China throughout their lives nor do any of them speak Chinese. Similar patterns of behavior across the Tasman, except for Kevin Rudd who can lay claim to actually knowing the culture and language.

Why all this love for PRC and not Taiwan, Japan, or even Vietnam?

Jeremy Clarkson sums it up at the end of this short promotional video for his show:

loved the cameras on the motorways forever taking photos to check what you are doing , forever watching
talk about george orwell 1984

1000 social credit points for Jenni X.

Is it not shameful for a country that has been lead by someone such as Shipley? Someone with a loyalty to the highest bidder has been the leader of a country. A role that surely requires patriotism and unwavering loyalty to the country if nothing else. Shameful.

It's incredibly shameful. Quoting Mao Zedong no less.

It's a common communist tactic - Taiwan actually has laws about it, former presidents are often restricted from travelling to red china.

Siding up with US or the far east mother land is like choosing a big fat rump steak or a big bowl of dim sims; too much meat you will die of cholesterol, or too much dim sims you will end up with MSG poisoning.
Best to stay neutral have one of each but just a little!

As suspicious as I may be of the US, you are insane if you think it's morally equivalent to China. There's absolutely no contest.

Totally agree

Chairman Moa didn't say they were"morally equivalent".

From what I can gather, xingmowang is Jenny Shipley’s monicker on this website.

For what it's worth, I see the Herald has updated its Shipley story to say she was interviewed in December and a new story has been created with her byline. The NZH says: "Shipley did not write the piece, which appears under the Online opinion section. It is headlined "We need to listen to China" and carries Dame Jenny's byline...
"She was interviewed by the state-run newspaper in December for a feature article which has run already and was surprised to learn a new piece had been published under her name."

Oh dear, she's learning the hard way - Mainzeal first, now this.

Lie down with dogs....

Thanks for pointing this out Graham. I will follow it up tomorrow and report back. 

Thanks, Jenee. What's interesting is that Shipley is saying that the article wasn't written by her but also admitting she was interviewed in December for an earlier article. What I would like to know is whether all the quotes attributed to her in the latest article were taken from her earlier interview. And does she resile from any of the comments attributed to her, because if she doesn't she might have to admit the new article faithfully reflects her view (including her lavish praise for the BRI)...

What a mess, who to believe?

CNN reports that Shipley emailed them to say she had not written the article but the views attributed to her were correct...
"While the People's Daily identified Shipley as the author of the piece, in an email to CNN, Shipley said it was based on an interview she gave to another Chinese state-run newspaper last year, and not written by her.
Shipley said she made the comments during a visit to China in December for the 40th anniversary of reform and opening. "As part of this visit a number of leaders including myself were interviewed by the China Daily and this subsequent feature article was written and published without further reference to me," the former prime minister said.
Asked whether the comments attributed to her were correct, Shipley confirmed they were. (

So the chinese govt run newspaper is corrupt and deceitful attibuting an article to her which wasn't written by her, even if it contains things she said.... delightful!


Opening itself up?? Oh come on Ms Shipley, do you think we don't notice how the Chinese govt tries to stamp its authority on the world. Take Taiwan, take Tibet, take certain religions in China itself, take Xi declaring himself leader for life (same goes for Putin there). Take their attitude in the Pacific and South China seas, their environmental bullying (Fiji). Take a fully Chinese government owned company owning a large part of our meat industry. I'm sorry but I will remain very wary of China's agenda, I do not really trust them at all, and do not trust what they could do once they establish control.

The current Chinese system would work very well for Western nations. I think at this stage I would swap it for our current one which is pretty badly broken and rushing us toward social, moral and economic collapse.

If we formed a federation of the Anglosphere and perhaps let Germany, Denmark, Norway, Finland, Japan Italy, Austria (not France) and Sweden join, after incarcerating their current leaders in "re-education camps" then applied the Chinese system with one upright and focused "leader for life" ( I would volunteer for this role) we would have the ability, will and focus for total World domination.

Desperate times call for desperate measures.


Chuckle. You're actually headed for ecological collapse - which no political system will change.

Although as Castro proved (forget the propaganda for a minute) a single autocrat can make some intelligent calls. For those who get where the planet is, Cuba is an example worth studying. Triage and pragmatism in the face of energy/resource embargo. But most of the mass think it struggled for ideological reasons.

Good point powerdownkiwi. Many alternative systems were deliberately derailed for ideological reasons using sanctions, threats, insurgents, meddling and outright war and then it was claimed that they failed because of ideological reasons.

You're pro communist Cuba? It's worth studying!?

OK, adding you to the wing-nut list. You and Zachary can discuss your favourite 20th century mass murderers.

So you are saying we are forbidden to analyse the actions of autocrats on principle?

Dear savingfoa house - please read my post again.

Folk who denigrate, then use the denigration to self-justify and/or avoid thinking, are just ignorant.

And it is common for avoidance to be accompanied by 'blame the messenger' (typecast in this instance).

Try upping the thinking-level - it'sa lot of fun when you get the hang of it.

Someone had to say it, powerdownkiwi.

Hah. Excellent post, Zachary.

My only concern is the Fins are very different genetically (oh, just noticed Japan in there too), so I sense some imperfections in the vision of our very own dictatorial corporatist-nationalist race-based super-state.

Whatever we call it, let's tack "Democratic People's Republic" on the front.

We obviously need to listen to China more - Jenny has a lot of money invested in Chinese businesses along with her mate Judith Collins so stop harping on about security, international rules and human rights and just let them make money already.

Don’t you know that democracy and those pesky morals are already dead?

These National Party members and ex-members/prime ministers are in soo deep with the chinese it is almost treasonous.

Key, Collins, Shipley are all making millions off of their pro chinese agenda. Its all about Greed! Nothing else!

China will soon collapse under is own debt ponzi and will they be cheerleaders then?

That could be a precursor to war.

We need to stay independent and stand up for ourselves and our beliefs. Its amazing how easily we overlook human rights abuses when money is involved.

When it comes to war we will still with our tried and true allies.

UPDATE: I have emailed Shipley and left a voicemail on her phone, but still haven't received a response. The opinion piece with her name on it is still on the Chinese news website. 

We have a response from Shipley. See the latest story here

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