The recently released "Defence Assessment" by the Department of Defence provided a candid view of NZ's position in the Pacific.
Seems that most of the report focused on the strategic competition faced by NZ and those with a strategic interest in the Pacific, from China. The report states concerns about China as "a major driver of geopolitical change" as it seeks to reshape the world in the image of its "governance model and national values. China views an increased presence in the Pacific as part of its natural progression towards its global goals".
PEN has been concerned at the increased construction of strategic assets by PRC throughout the Pacific in a manner that does not allow open bidding as all labour and materials are tied back to Chinese suppliers.
This unfair situation is never openly challenged by NZ's foreign policy makers. Worse, the debts incurred by this activity by Chinese state owned banks burden our Pacific neighbours with loans that are unlikely ever to be repaid. We note that ODA recently allocated $120 million toward "budgetary assistance" to Pacific Governments. We wonder how much of this has been used by those Governments to repay interest or capital on those PRC owned bank loans.
We think that it is time that policy makers woke up or at least provide information to rebut our view.
We commend the Department of Defence for a such an upfront candid assessment of what is happening in the region north of New Zealand.