Eating New Zealand for Lunch

China is taking over the world’s largest dairy exporter one farm at a time.
From the September 2016 Trumpet Print Edition

We New Zealanders are few in number but have slogged it out over the past century and a half to become the largest dairy exporter on Earth, sending out 95 percent of our product. Our dairy industry is critical to our economy. Really, the country’s livelihood depends to a great extent on how well our farms do. Judging by what has been happening lately, that’s not so well at all.

New Zealand—China’s Milkman

New Zealand’s biggest dairy customer by far has been China. And one of the biggest-selling products has been powdered milk. In short, Kiwis noticed hoards of powdered milk flying off shelves to China, and eagerly settled in for (what we hoped would be) a long-lasting boom in the dairy sector. Trouble is, China was merely stockpiling the product en masse (to the tune of an estimated 300,000 tons)and now no longer needs to keep buying. This has left New Zealand farms hanging, with 85 percent of them now running at a loss.

Over the past two years, farmers have had nz$7 billion (us$5 billion) disappear from collective revenue. Statistically, these dairy farmers have incurred a debt of around nz$10,000 per cow. Multiply that number into the average New Zealand farm size of around 400 cattle, and you have a disastrous situation, leading not only to fears for the New Zealand economy, but also fears of increased suicide risk for New Zealand farmers. Many farmers are looking at selling off their land. And who could blame them?

But the problems do not stop there. As a result of this economic downturn, New Zealand farms have been severely devalued. Chinese investors have taken advantage of the reduced prices and are buying land en masse.

For years there have been whispers in New Zealand that farmers are becoming “tenants on their own land.” As Chinese companies move in more and more, carving out and buying for themselves swathes of New Zealand farmland (and Australian, too), those concerns are growing louder. Some have criticized these voices for being “racist,” stating that China is only ranked fifth on the list of foreign countries holding the most New Zealand land. That is true. However, over the past few years it has been China showing by far the biggest increase in land purchases. Hence the concern.

To its credit, the New Zealand government recently blocked the Chinese Shanghai Pengxin firm from purchasing the 55-square-mile Lochinver farm, although that move left many in New Zealand who were looking for the payout disgruntled. Shanghai Pengxin also pulled the plug on another farm purchase of 13 square miles. But Shanghai Pengxin had already bought a number of New Zealand farms, including the famous Crafar farms, the sale of which was the largest foreign acquisition of New Zealand land by value, covering 32 square miles. With their farm count now at 29, Shanghai Pengxin is the third-largest dairy producer in New Zealand. That is significant considering New Zealand is the world’s biggest dairy exporter.

Add to that New Zealand’s biggest meat cooperative, Silver Fern Farms, which voted just last year to sell half the company to the Chinese-owned Bright Food Group. While the vote was successful, the deal is still awaiting approval by the Overseas Investment Office. All told, China has a current “investment” in New Zealand of nz$6.6 billion (us$4.7 billion).

Did large Chinese companies, in league with their government, deliberately intend to harm the New Zealand and Australian economies by stockpiling products, in order to then purchase devalued land and commodities at a cut rate?

Chinese firms, it should be noted, are not necessarily independent of the Chinese government, as Trumpet writer Jeremiah Jacques wrote: “Unlike the situation in the U.S., the line in China between government and business is gray at best and often totally absent. In 2011, for example, 43 percent of all profits generated by China came from firms that the government had a controlling interest in. Even in cases when there is separation in ownership, Chinese companies and individuals are reluctant to flout Beijing’s authority and guidance. For these reasons, most takeovers by Chinese firms equate to a concrete increase in the Chinese government’s power” (theTrumpet.com, July 22, 2013).

That increase in China’s power over the last several decades has truly been astonishing. The nation has become a veritable world superpower from a mere pauper state not so long ago. And it is well on the road to building a full-fledged empire.

Building China’s Pacific Empire

China’s building of artificial islands in the disputed South China Sea has been one of its most blatant efforts in building its empire. Undeterred by The Hague’s recent official rejection of China’s claims in the massive body of water (article, page 29), the giant nation continues to dredge up the seabed in order to create militarized “islands” replete with military defenses, bunkers and airstrips.

New Zealand Defense Minister Gerry Brownlee recently made some troubling statements about China’s ambitions in the South China Sea. He said, “There’s no doubt there’s a degree of asserting what are believed to be long-held rights [by China over the South China Sea], but I think you’ve also got to see that some of those claims are, in history, no greater than the claims that Britain might have had over all of Australia, or all of New Zealand. It’s hard to imagine, though, that China will want to have any particular conflict over this issue” (emphasis added).

In this view, China has just as much right to the South China Sea (or anything in the South Pacific, you might add) as the English had over New Zealand and Australia. And we shouldn’t worry, because it is “hard to imagine” China resorting to military measures.

But what if things do get nasty? New Zealand’s armed forces aren’t exactly well prepared to defend our assets. Take the Royal New Zealand Air Force: over 1,000 aircraft strong at the end of World War ii, now 51. Thanks to the Labour government of 1999–2008, there are no more air combat planes—only trainers, transports, patrol planes and helicopters. All are propeller-driven, apart from two converted airliners. Perhaps we can fall back on our 11 Navy ships—down from over 60 at the end of World War ii; too bad only two of them are designated combat boats.

But then again, what’s the point in even wasting money on a military to defend a nation when your businessmen just sell away the land on the negotiating table? It’s true that New Zealand’s armed forces were set up to be used in conjunction with the Australian forces. Even still, the above is a pretty shocking situation for a somewhat isolated island nation the size of New Zealand.

China’s heavy regional influence hasn’t just been limited to the southern Asian portion of the globe. It has been pursuing major investments in the United States and Africa as well. And its flowering relationship with Vladimir Putin’s Russia is cementing together a massive Asian superpower to counter the fast-fading United States of America, the impotent British Commonwealth, and the German-steered European bloc.

China is in empire-building mode. And for a country in such a power position, and with such a massive population, the desire for more resources and more land should be no surprise. If it’s done this much on a one-child policy, one can only imagine what’s next—considering that policy was phased out last year. It is becoming a nation hungry for not only food products, but for land as well.

Actually, New Zealand has been witnessing tremendous growth in Asian immigration. Just over one in eight people in New Zealand are Asian (with most from China)—and they are set to soon overtake the number of native Maori in the land. In fact, in a number of New Zealand territorial authorities, the Asian population is projected to be near-or-over the 50 percent mark by 2038. That’s likely to mean a sea change in New Zealand language as well. Perhaps before long, we will see Mandarin as one of the official New Zealand languages, along with English, Maori and New Zealand Sign Language. The Chinese government is currently funding our schools to teach Mandarin. The Confucius Institute is a non-profit educational organization that promotes Chinese language and culture and is supported by the Chinese government. It has said that learning a second language should be compulsory in New Zealand. I don’t suppose they were insinuating German or French? One of the critics writes: “I have no problem with NZ children learning another language …. I do have a problem with any other country’s government saying what NZ kids should or should not do in our schools and stumping up with the cash uninvited.”

The near future, within the lives of this very generation, promises a very different New Zealand. The country is being swallowed up—be it by current land sales, by future population rates, and even by debt—to the tune of nearly half a trillion New Zealand dollars. What happens when the debt collector decides not to play nice? Who owns New Zealand debt? You guessed it: Much of it is owned by China. China has been buying huge amounts of it. Debt is one of the greatest bargaining chips. As Proverbs 22:7 says, the borrower is slave to the lender. New Zealand could be forced into selling off even more land as payment for money owed, or perhaps giving up other assets, such as seaports or airports. One thing is certain: We are certainly not in any military position to say “no.”

Why Are We in Such a Mess?

Why is New Zealand in such a predicament? And by extension, why does the entire British Commonwealth seem to be doing so poorly, along with its ally, the United States? Why are they all running up oceans of debt? Why are they losing sovereign territory? Why do they allow foreign nations to walk all over them?

Your Bible said this would happen. And it said this would happen for very specific reasons. That’s an unusual thing for a New Zealander or Aussie to talk about; religion is a hush-hush subject in the lands Down Under. But take it or leave it, the Bible describes these times we English-speaking peoples are experiencing to a T.

The Bible describes our English-speaking peoples today when it says that “strangers have devoured his strength, and he knoweth it not” (Hosea 7:9); when it says “ye shall sow your seed in vain, for your enemies shall eat it” (Leviticus 26:16); when it says, “The fruit of thy land, and all thy labours, shall a nation which thou knowest not eat up; and thou shalt be only oppressed and crushed alway …. The stranger that is within thee shall get up above thee very high; and thou shalt come down very low. He shall lend to thee, and thou shalt not lend to him: he shall be the head, and thou shalt be the tail” (Deuteronomy 28:33, 43-44). Our peoples have placed their trust in nations and peoples that are, in fact, our enemies. This is going to prove a fatal mistake. Why? There is a cause for every effect. The following verse answers: “[B]ecause thou hearkenedst not unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to keep his commandments and his statutes which he commanded thee” (verse 45).

You don’t need to look far to see how godless the U.S. and British Commonwealth have become. Our societies are leaders in the world of pornography and drug use. Leaders in homosexuality and transgender rights. (New Zealand was the first country in the Pacific region to legalize homosexual “marriage.”) Rife with perversity in music, movies and other entertainment. “In God We Trust”? Just the opposite.

Throughout the 19th and 20th centuries in particular, the United States and British Commonwealth received abundant blessings prophesied to be delivered to us at that very time as a result of the obedience of our forefather Abraham. Those rich blessings included the finest farmland on Earth, control of worldwide sea gates, dominance in trade and industry. But God also guaranteed that if His commandments were not followed, those blessings would be removed as quickly as they had been given. Taking their place would be the national curses quoted earlier, and far more besides—to the point of foreign military invasions, slaughter and mass deportations. This is too important to ignore. To gain a full understanding of this subject, and what it means for you and me today, you need to read our free book The United States and Britain in Prophecy, written by Herbert W. Armstrong, as well as our booklet Russia and China in Prophecy.

In this literature, you will see that the Bible accurately prophesied the rise to power of the United States and the British Commonwealth during the 19th century and their subsequent fall. You will see that the Bible accurately prophesied of an allied Asian juggernaut made up of Russia and China. And you will also see that, in a tradition of accuracy, it prophesies of a future time when the U.S. and British Commonwealth will once again rise to heights of power never before seen. A time when Christ will return to Earth and teach the nations of Israel—and all mankind—the way that results in peace and abundant blessings.