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New Zealand is pragmatic on China, but does it have a choice?

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New Zealand Prime Minister Chris Hipkins trod a careful line on his first trip to China last week as leader, winning applause from China.

Hipkins is a man in trouble. He’s facing an election with an economy in recession.

If the saying is right “It’s the economy, stupid”, then New Zealand may have a new government.

His trip to China focused on trade and economic opportunities but avoided contentious issues such as human rights abuses in Xinjiang or security concerns.

Let’s remember this is the Labour party, and he follows the charismatic Jacinda Ardern, lauded for her ability to speak for minorities.

Tight election

Barely three months out from what looks likely to be a tight election and with the economy already technically in recession, analysts say Hipkins is seeking to step out of the shadow of high-profile former leader Jacinda Ardern and show he is the person to run the country for a further three years.

One angle Hipkins is focusing on is assuring voters that Labour is the party to bring back prosperity – and that means avoiding disputes with the country’s largest trading partner, which could damage New Zealand exports.

“This was a big visit for Hipkins who is cementing his profile as a new prime minister in an election year,” said Robert Ayson, professor of strategic studies at Victoria University.

“Hipkins pulled his punches on anything controversial. We were back, for a moment at least, where New Zealand admits it does not see eye to eye with China on some big matters without actually naming them.”

New Zealand has long been seen as the most conciliatory towards China among the Five Eyes security grouping, which includes Australia, the U.S., Britain and Canada.

Democratic erosion

But the country’s Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta and Ardern in recent meetings with counterparts noted the situation in Xinjiang and the erosion of democracy in Hong Kong, while raising concerns about potential militarisation in the Pacific and tensions in the Taiwan Strait.

The statement after Hipkins’s meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping mentioned none of these issues.

“(Hipkins’s) visit certainly gave China a tick in the international legitimacy box and Beijing has gained at least as much from Hipkins’ visit as New Zealand exporters,” Victoria University’s Ayson said.

New Zealand exporters were prominent in the visit with a delegation of 29 businesses travelling with the prime minister to China.

Business is not a traditional supporter base of the Labour Party, but Hipkins has been focused on winning this sector over since he took office – his first full day in the job in January he spent talking to business leaders in Auckland.

“My sense is that there’s a significant aspect of domestic politics here in an election year, and that Hipkins wants to be seen as a sort of good steward of the China relationship,” said David Capie, Director of the Centre for Strategic Studies at Victoria University.

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Commercial real estate targeted for producing 40% of global emissions

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Commercial real estate contributes significantly to global emissions, with reports suggesting it makes up to 40% of the total – so is there a solution in sight?

Global strategies are setting out to transform this impact by promoting the development of sustainable buildings.

As climate change continues to be a pressing global issue, the commercial real estate sector must pivot towards more eco-friendly solutions.

One of the most impactful actions that can be taken to mitigate the environmental impact of commercial real estate is the implementation of building automation systems.

Louise Monger, Vice President, Digital Buildings of Schneider Electric, joins to share her key insights into the issue. #featured

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Australia’s electricity grid faces an urgent overhaul as consumption dramatically doubles

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By 2050, AEMO has predicted that Australia’s electricity use will double due to renewable energy and electrification, prompting a necessary overhaul of the country’s aging power grid.

The adoption of renewable energy sources and electrification is set to double Australia’s electricity consumption by 2050.

The fast-adoption has created an urgent need for reconfiguration and enhancement of the nation’s century-old electricity grid.

James Hunt, Pacific Vice President of Power Systems and Services of Schneider Electric joins to discuss. #featured

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House of the Dragon season 2 profits despite review scores

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Viewership Surge: 1 Million Revisit “House of the Dragon” Ahead of Season 2.

 

HBO took a big bet on its “Game of Thrones” spin-off, with one million people rewatching the first season of “House of the Dragon” in the days leading up to the Season 2 premiere, according to Warner Bros. Discovery. However, not all reviews have been glowing. #featured #trending

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