Tuesday, 17 November 2020

Mahuta should apologise for Hipkins’ Taiwan comments

“Nanaia Mahuta should apologise for Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins calling Taiwan an ‘authoritarian regime’”, says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“The Taiwanese fought their way from dictatorship to democracy. Far from a place of oppression, Taiwan tolerates dissent. In 2014, students occupied Taiwan’s Parliament, a move Hipkins would have been far too scared to contemplate in his days as a student union apparatchik.

“Taiwan holds free and fair elections and was the first country in Asia to legalise same-sex marriage. To call it authoritarian shows enormous ignorance of the world around us and especially the number one country in the world for fighting Covid-19.

“Freedom House, which has tracked political rights and civil liberties around the world since 1941, scores Taiwan as Free, with a score of 93/100. For comparison, France scores 90 and the United Kingdom 94. Will Hipkins now call those countries ‘authoritarian,’ or is it just that people in Taiwan have Chinese sounding names?

“Of course, it’s possible Hipkins was referring not to Taiwan in general, but to Taiwan’s policies of mask wearing and cellphone tracking, but the New Zealand Government is developing such approaches too. The difference is that the Taiwanese are about a year ahead of us.

“There is a deeper problem that relates to the Government’s response. As I have said for months, we should compare ourselves with the best in the world. Hipkins’ comments suggest the Government has dismissed Taiwan’s approach out of hand for totally false reasons.

“A better way forward for New Zealand would be to have a Government that looks soberly at the best response to Covid-19. ACT set out a response modelled on Taiwan in August, and it can be found here.”