What made the Labour coalition government at the very last moment suddenly veer away at the last exit junction?
Negotiations for New Zealand to sign up with China’s Belt & Road Initiative continued until the evidence became overwhelming that China was the source of the Covid-19 virus.
The Labour-led coalition held off a final commitment to Belt and Road and in doing so the nation was saved from the scale of outbreaks that afflicted the main gateways of Italy and the State of Victoria which had already enrolled in the Belt & Road Initiative
China pushed hard for New Zealand to embark on its new era commercial super highway. But government members and officials kept talking instead of taking decisions.
This was in contrast to the Belt & Road earlier adopters such as Italy and the state of Victoria whose main commercial gateways Milan and Melbourne were swamped with the virus due to personnel shuttling back and forth paving the way for the trade strategy.
Who or what against the prevailing political sentiment of the time erected the barrier against taking the Belt and Road Initiative?
The last moment decision to swerve away from taking Belt and Road saved New Zealand from following Italy and Australia which both drove full throttle onto the China trade freeway and as a consequence became prone to the worst effects of the plague.
The Australia participation was in the state of Victoria and centred on Melbourne which became severely contaminated by Covid 19 and which still remains vulnerable to outbreaks.
The Italian terminus of Belt and Road corridor was centred on Milan which became an early victim in Europe of the virus.
It was only much later into the pandemic that the Federal Government eventually perceiving the actual threat stepped in and cancelled Victoria’s state-grade Belt and Road deal with China
Timing is important here. The Victoria state Belt and Road started in October 2018. The Italian Belt and Road in March 2019.
Who was responsible in New Zealand for protracting the deal? Did an alert member of the New Zealand Embassy in Beijing warn that this was not the time to inaugurate a trade agreement that involved substantial people movements?
Did a health attaché perhaps convey the warning that conventional shared and trusted international channels were inadequate to report the outbreak, let alone its severity?
The New Zealand Belt and Road map formula at the time was to participate in the deal by offering to China on top of the usual bill of fare carefully defined sectors of agribusiness expertise.
Discussions on what to put in the New Zealand Belt & Road shop window were only suspended when the extent of the Covid 19 contagion became evident.
This pause in enrolment proceedings meant that Auckland never became the portal for the plague as did Melbourne the focus of the state of Victoria activity and Milan of Italy’s.
The known facts are that China was keen for New Zealand to enrol in Belt & Road, very keen as the nation would have become an important reference site for the rest of the South Pacific to take its lead from.
What made the Labour coalition government at the very last moment suddenly sheer away on the last exit junction before it actually hit the China Belt and Road?
Winston Peters of the Labour-Green-New Zealand First governing coalition cabinet in which he became deputy prime minister now adds to the mystery.
He is the most obvious candidate for recognising the full slate of seen and unseen perils attendant upon Belt and Road. His constant misgivings about China and his championing of Taiwan single him out as a candidate for pulling on a handbrake.
One other thing is known. It is that this entire topic, a close run thing by any standard, has become taboo and shrouded in self-censorship in the very places that it should be discussed.
Why did Mr Peters during the Covid Election toward the end of 2020 fail to stress any role he had in any stalling on Belt & Road, and thus in preventing the contagion that overran Melbourne and Milan?
Did he in fact do so but nobody wanted to acknowledge what he was saying?
China in just recent weeks has culturally appropriated the most potent page in the political playbook, the victim one, and it is calculated most of all to appeal to the Labour government.
There is a timetable and questions must now be asked about it. The CCP is determined that for New Zealand Belt and Road will not encounter an Oceania cul-de-sac, a dead end.