Jan 2, 2008

TVNZ Wakes Up To Growing Asian Influence In The Pacific

We were pleased to see that tonight TVNZ news had a longish item on the growing Asian influence in the Pacific. This seemed to have been stimulated by Ron Crocombe's new book. The Hive team contemplated a referral to this book a few days ago but decided to miss the opportunity. We were disappointed that Ron missed the most interesting elements of this story. The focus is too much on criminal influence and dodgy business deals, rather than on the impact that the political competition is having. TVNZ missed the point as well. They actually suggested that the rivalry between China and Taiwan is a good thing for aid levels and that a lessening of tensions between the two would be bad for the Pacific. The real story they should have been investigating is the impact that untied aid is having. Big cheques have been passed accross without any interest from Beijing and Taipei in how the money is spent. We saw the result in the Solomon Islands with the money going straight into arms purchases. There is also strong evidence that individuals are being bribed. Lets hope that today's story is the first of many and that future stories are less superficial.