Duncan Garner: Was NZ too quick to ban Huawei from 5G rollout?

Opinion 19/02/2019

By Duncan Garner, The AM Show host.

OPINION: This issue with China should deeply worry us.

We have $27 billion of two-way trade on the line. Forget Stephen Joyce's $11 billion hole, this is the real deal. 

And, of course, our PM has to wax lyrical and say that the relationship is complex and that everything is ok. But, it is not. She should have gone to China last year - it was postponed and the phone has been off the hook since. Why?

Then came the Huawei issue. We got under their skin after the GCSB blocked the Chinese telco giant from being part of the 5G rollout. We effectively said the Chinese couldn't be trusted on matters of national security and we aligned ourselves with America.

This would have embarrassed the Chinese. They feel that stuff acutely, you have to tread so carefully.

I know it sounds thin-skinned, pathetic almost, given their mammoth size but the big boys don't like being second these days, these are different times.

Were we too early to judge? Did we get it wrong?

The Brits have said Huawei can be involved in their rollout, saying they'll work with them to mitigate any problems. It seems mature and sensible.

So have we needlessly got offside with China because our spies, our advisors, followed America and their advice when it came to Huawei?

Where they go, we go. Except this time the consequences could be huge - let's hope not.

Duncan Garner is the host of The AM Show.