Thursday, 8 June 2017

Looking East (well, and North)

Vernon Small reports on an interesting new survey about Kiwis' attitudes about foreign affairs:
But opposition to Trump is nevertheless boiling over into attitudes towards the United States itself.

It was no surprise that a Stuff/Massey survey this week recorded scant backing for Trump; 15.2 per cent in a theoretical world where Kiwis could vote in the US. Defeated Democrat Hillary Clinton scored 51 per cent and others – probably Bernie Sanders in the main – took the rest.

Polls last year showed a similar trend. Given New Zealand's political spectrum starts somewhere to the left of the Democrats, that would likely be replicated in any Republican-Democrat run-off.

But the biggest surprise was respondents' views in a three-way test of where our bilateral efforts should be aimed. About 42 per cent picked the UK, reflecting our historical links, 42.5 per cent went for China and only a paltry 15.6 per cent for the US.

Put in the context of New Zealanders' (anecdotal?) suspicion of Chinese immigration, investment and land purchases – and the political hay made on those issues by NZ First and more recently Labour – that is a stunning finding.

If New Zealanders are looking to China for leadership and bilateral links over the US (in a conservative and male-heavy sample) then something profound is going on.

Tillerson did his best to address the policy issues and assert the US's commitment to the region and rules-based solutions.

He reaffirmed its interest in trade deals – albeit bilateral ones where New Zealand will be well down the pecking order or, even more ephemerally, multilateral deals in the future.
Emphasis added.

New Zealand has a free trade deal with China; America doesn't really do free trade anymore.

No comments:

Post a Comment