“Praise for New Zealand’s Foreign Minister from a communist dictatorship is deeply concerning and shows the Government should be more focussed on building stronger ties with our traditional allies,” says ACT’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson Brooke van Velden.

“New Zealand's Foreign Minister has one job: strike a balance between our alliances with traditional partners and our economic partnership with China.

“It’s hard to imagine how Nanaia Mahuta could fail harder than being praised by a communist dictatorship and shunned by our democratic allies.

“International media are commenting that New Zealand has ‘broken with its Five Eyes partners as it pursues a closer alliance with China’ and that ‘Five Eyes becomes four’.

“It didn't help that Mahuta used bizarre rhetoric about taniwha and dragons. There might be a place for mysticism in a competent speech, but the Minister failed to chart a course for New Zealand by addressing the tough issues.

“There was no mention of CCP interference and influence in New Zealand, the South China Sea, or the intimidation of Chinese communities in other countries.

“The fact that China has praised Mahuta for her comments shows she went too far and reflects the worrying distance we are developing with our Five Eyes partners.

“We shouldn’t be pandering to the CCP, but should instead show solidarity and support to our democratic allies, especially Australia which has recently been the recipient of sanctions from China.

“ACT believes we should strengthen ties with our democratic allies. The Minister’s speech has damaged our international reputation and she should be in damage control.”

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