Simon Bridges defends trip to China and India

Peter Williams 16/09/2019

Leader of the Opposition Simon Bridges defended a recent trip to China in the face of criticism that he offered "effusive praise" to the Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Peter begins the interview by asking the National Party leader where the money came from for the trip, Simon confirms that the trip was tax payer funded as his position of Opposition leader provides funds for this purpose.

Peter also questioned whether it was appropriate for a leading politician in New Zealand to be seen giving "effusive praise" to the President Xi Jinping "who is frankly, a dictator."

Simon responds saying, "I don't accept your definition of effusive praise, I think there are some really good things that have happened in China over the last 70 years. I obviously entirely disagree with them when it comes to issues of human rights."

Peter then moved on to Bridges' meeting with Politburo Member Guo Shengkun who is responsible for the Ministry of State Security (MSS), which has been desrcribed as China's Secret Police.

Simon explains why they met telling Peter, "ultimately, he is a senior Cabinet Minister", Bridges goes on to say, "this guy is effectively is like their Justice and Law & Order Minister."

Bridges justifies his visit to China pointing to the the high level of trade between China and New Zealand.

"If we want infrsatucutre and roads, if we we want a good education system in New Zealand, we have got to trade. None of that means that I am an apologist for China."

Simon further expalins that, "the most pressing issue in the world isn't climate change, it is the US, China conflagration and dispute."

The interview then moves to India as Simon explains that, "India is a superpower in it's own right." He also further explains how it is important to diversify New Zealands trade partners.

You can listen to the full audio above.