ACROSS THE DITCH: Australia radio FiveAA’s Peter Godfrey and EveningReport.nz’s Selwyn Manning deliver their weekly bulletin, Across The Ditch. This week: Controversy Surrounds NZ PM’s China Trade Tour + All Blacks Win World Team of the year – Recorded live on 21/04/16
New Zealand PM John Key is currently in China leading a trade and business visit, and negotiating the terms of an update to the China NZ free trade agreement.
The visit has attracted significant controversy, including an editorial published in the People’s Republic of China media outlet Xinhua which warned John Key that he should not raise the issue of South China Sea territorial disputes. If he did so, the editorial writer suggested, such talk would jeopardise the progressive trade relationship.
In recent months, the Key Government has been pitching a stronger position over the disputed waters, a view which has been interpreted as being closer to the U.S. position than China’s.
Prior to arriving in China, Key told New Zealand media that he would raise the territorial dispute with the PRC’s leader President Xi Jinping. However, it appears Key took heed of the fore-warning and avoided the topic.
The FTA has been progressing above expectations, and two way trade is expected to further develop New Zealand’s economic dependency.
At the meeting, President Xi Jinping and John Key agreed to upgrade the trade agreement with further Tarif cuts, and increased agriculture cooperation. Key’s plan to give some upward lift to agriculture exports is designed to dilute Australia’s opportunity in this sector, and to accentuate New Zealand’s ‘first mover’ position as the primary dairy exporter to China.
However Key also agreed to set in train a plan to establish an extradition treaty with China. This is an issue which Zi Jinping raised when he last visited New Zealand, and is part of China’s move to clamp down on Chinese organised crime abroad and corrupt officials.
Key’s willingness to advance the extradition treaty will place him at odds with public sentiment in New Zealand, sentiment that is sensitive to this country sending people back to China, where if found guilty, could face the death penalty.
The All Blacks have been awarded the World’s best team of the year award at the Laureus Awards in Berlin.
The All Blacks were recognised for their winning performances leading up to the Rugby World Cup and taking out the tournament’s Webb Ellis Trophy in 2015.
To win the Laureus team of the year award, the All Blacks saw off the USA’s NBA defending-champion team, and FC Barcelona – winners of four trophies in 2015.
They also saw off All Blacks Britain’s Davis Cup-winning squad, the Formula 1 team Mercedes AMG Petronas, and the World Cup-winning United States women’s football side.
World Cup winning captain, Richie McCaw said the win was a sign that rugby is now more recognised in world sport.
McCaw: “People say rugby’s a big sport for us but no so big on a global scale, but it’s obviously big enough where the exploits of what the All Blacks do are recognised,” he said. “The success rate we have is pretty hard to compare to other teams around the world and I think that’s something that’s been recognised and something that we hold pretty strong.”
The All Blacks were the third rugby side to claim the Laureus team of the year award, with England (2004) and South Africa (2008) both honoured after winning their respective World Cups.