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TICKER VIEWS – Is New Zealand really cosying up to China?



The diplomatic rift between Australia and China continues to worsen, exacerbated by Scott Morrison’s government tearing up controversial infrastructure agreements.

Canberra is bracing for retaliation from Beijing, after it torpedoed Belt and Road Initiative agreements China signed with the Australian state of Victoria.

Australia hasn’t hesitated to stand up to an increasingly assertive and powerful China. It led calls for an independent investigation into the origins of COVID-19, much to China’s fury.

Beijing has even shared a 14-point list of grievances that it has against Australia.

Chinese President Xi Jinping, right, and New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern shake hands before their meeting at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, Monday, April 1, 2019. (Kenzaburo Fukuhara/Pool Photo via AP)


New Zealand’s relationship with China has also been under the spotlight, but for completely different reasons.

New Zealand has been accused of turning its back on its “Five Eyes” allies, amid claims Jacinda Ardern’s government is soft on China.

There’s no question that Australia and New Zealand have fundamentally different approaches to handling the increasing assertiveness of China.

But is New Zealand moving closer to China?

Robert Ayson is a Professor of Strategic Studies at Victoria University of Wellington. He says that while New Zealand doesn’t have a “hardline, zero sum approach to [its] relationship” with Beijing, it “… has taken a strong view on China compared to where it was 7-8 years ago.”

“New Zealand wants to maintain good relations with traditional partners, particularly in the Five Eyes context,” he told Ticker News.

“New Zealand also wants to keep room for a productive relationship with Beijing. New Zealand is unlikely to go down the path that Australia has…”

Australia’s actions have seen it become a victim of China’s economic coercion. New Zealand is seeking to tread carefully, mindful of its economic reliance on China.


New Zealand has on multiple occasions spoken out against China, including over human rights abuses in Xinjiang.

But the island nation has also been conspicuously absent from some joint statements from its Five-Eyes allies, as it is wanting to chart its own course when it comes to its dealings with China.

The 70-year-old intelligence grouping is made up of Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United States, and United Kingdom.

New Zealand’s Foreign Minister this week revealed that New Zealand was “uncomfortable” with expanding the remit of the alliance.

Nanaia Mahuta believes the focus of the group needs to remain on intelligence, not on pressuring or criticising China.

Robert Ayson says the “comments did catch out a few people”, given they were made “in a public forum”.


Australia’s Foreign Minister Marine Payne travelled across the Tasman this week, taking advantage of the new travel bubble, for a face-to-face meeting with her Kiwi counterpart.Marise Payne was asked by a journalist if she would like to see the Ardern government take a tougher line on Beijing.

“One thing I have learnt in my role in this job as Australia’s Foreign Minister is not to give advice to other countries,” she responded.

It’s advice that New Zealand’s Trade Minister would have done well to heed in an interview earlier this year.

Appearing on CNBC, Damien O’Connor urged Australia to follow New Zealand and “show respect” and “a little more diplomacy” to China.

The comments went down like a lead balloon in Canberra, as the Minister was left to mop up a diplomatic mess of his own making.


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Five reasons it’s so expensive to travel right now



We’ve been waiting years to go on holiday, but wow it’s expensive to fly. Here are the five reasons it’s so expensive to travel right now

Remember the good old days of competition in the travel industry? Those were the days. Now every time you look to book a flight, the prices are soaring. Even if you want to use your points.

The airline industry is complex, so a total shut down of the industry was always going to have long term effects. The long hangover from the shutdowns and lockdowns are with us.

So let’s break down the five key reasons your flight is so expensive.

“Revenge travel”

It’s not just you who wants to go overseas and change up the scenery. Everyone else is thinking the same thing.

And as the northern hemisphere enjoys its first lockdown free summer in years, everyone is clamouring to use all that saved up cash, topped up with government assistance, to spend on flights.

The simple supply versus demand philosophy means it’s become an airline’s dream to push up prices while often pushing down the value of the ticket. How bad are those airline meals at the moment?

Big planes are grounded

Remember the good old 747 and A380s? Well you’re doing well to find a 747 in the skies these days. The last remaining airlines that were operating them used the cover of COVID to either reduce their fleet of the ageing Queen of the Skies, or retire them altogether.

Then there’s the A380, which is integral to huge airline flees like Emirates.

They were first to go into storage in the desert in 2020 as the pandemic hit. Airlines noticed its often cheaper to fly two 787s on the same route as an A380. So they are begrudgingly bringing the super jumbo back, but only once all their 787s are back in service first.

Don’t you just long for the days of extra space on a plane?

Rocketing fuel prices

In some cases, spot prices for aviation fuel has soared to 80 per cent! Airlines usually rely on hedging fuel prices (as in locking the price in in advance). But not many carriers in Asia do that, meaning they are at risk of fluctuating oil prices.

Airlines have a simple strategy for dealing with rising fuel prices – passing the cost on to consumers. Some passengers flying out of Asia are finding that a flight to London in economy is now $5000, five times the price.

The war in Ukraine hasn’t helped matters either, with Russian oil now missing from the global supply chain. That’s pushing up the cost of resources everywhere, and there’s no sign that’s about to end.

Lack of staff

Airline staff get COVID too, and in some (hilarious) cases, front line staff are returning to stop working from home!

Airlines have rules in place regarding how many flight attendants and pilots need to be on board an aircraft. And with so many different types of planes in service, some flight attendants can only work on certain aircraft types.

That severely limits the capability of airlines to quickly man aircraft in an emergency. And one cancellation snowballs into a travel nightmare.

Airports are struggling too. Lack of maintenance at baggage carousels and airport equipment means some airports are relying on just one vehicle to help every plane back out of a gate.

Remember when the pandemic hit and airlines sacked thousands of workers? The airlines didn’t think they would need them all back so quickly, and highly skilled pilots went on to find other, perhaps more stable jobs.

Accountants taking over

Airlines are big businesses with gigantic overheads. Think of the cost of a plane, which often reaches over $300 million.

Then add the cost of airports, fuel and staff.

Qantas had a debt bomb of $6.5 billion at the height of the pandemic, and while governments have been throwing money at airlines to stay in business, they still are a business.

Airlines need to make a profit, they need to return value to shareholders, and they need to pay down debt to stay financial. Not to mention cashflow.

So regardless of the airport queue, or the soggy sandwich you’re eating in business class, think of the balding accountants praying for good news.

And keep your eye out for some bargains. It’s not all doom and gloom. Some airlines are even allowing you to burn your points on upgrades. So why fly economy?

And if you can hang on a few months longer, you might enjoy cheaper fares. But no promises.

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Disney vs Netflix – who will win the streaming revenue raise?



Netflix and Disney shares fall as the streaming companies fight to stay on top of their game

Investors to evaluate Walt Disney’s shift from cable television to subscription service as the company’s shares fall by 31 percent.

This comes after Netflix announced its first ever decrease in subscribers last month. The company reported a loss of 200,000 subscribers in its first quarter while predicting more losses ahead.

Netflix’s decision to suspend its services in Russia also led to a loss of 700,000 subscribers. It’s shares have also fallen by a staggering 71 percent this year, a bigger loss than its competitor Disney.

While Netflix struggles with its subscriber count, FactSet Estimates predicts Disney+ to have attracted 5.3 million new subscribers through march leading to a total of about 135.1 million subscribers.

Disney also predicts it will have amassed more than 230 million subscribers by September 2024.

Netflix is reportedly considering adding an advertisement-based subscription option by the end of the year as the company looks at how to stay competitive in the increasingly saturated streaming market.

In a previous statement, Netflix’s chief executive said they were looking to introduce advertisements in a year or two but a leaked internal note to the employees has revealed the company is introducing it as early as October 2022.

The note also says Netflix will begin cracking down on password sharing by monetizing it.

All of this has resulted in Netflix being sued by shareholders who argue they have been mislead about the state of the company and future prospects.

Rijul Baath contributed to this report

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