For each national election and also each local government election, the New Zealand Parliament does an assessment afterwards to see how it went and if there were any concerns about it.
My government held two separate inquiries into foreign interference, with an overall review of those elections in 2017 and then local body elections in the years that followed. We found that CCP proxy groups or individuals had given donations to our local and central government politicians.
This is why the public conversation is very important. You can be sure that our MPs and our mayors were not willingly receiving money from the CCP. They did not understand who their partners were. They do understand it better now. In our report to the electoral commission this year, we did not see any donations like that for the central government elections.
We saw inappropriate donations, and there are several investigations in our Serious Fraud Office at the moment into particular cases of this. The process of doing these cases has led to better education. We also saw in the Chinese-language media in New Zealand that in previous years there was an attempt to get the Chinese public to bloc-vote for a certain party that had a candidate who was very much a CCP proxy. We also saw some disinformation within the Chinese-language media about the elections. We also saw disguised political advertising, which breaks our electoral law.
The problem is that we have very weak measures to deal with these problems. We need to go back and look at our electoral legislation. We need to put Chinese-language speakers into our electoral commission.
We need to change our press laws too. One of the hardest things to fix in New Zealand, which we haven't yet worked out how to fix, is how our New Zealand Chinese diaspora are being targeted by the CCP, which regards them as a resource and a tool for their foreign policy. They are mostly the victims of these activities. Also, their media must now follow the same censorship guidelines as domestic Chinese language media.
Our government hasn't yet worked out how to remedy this problem, although I would highlight that yesterday our foreign minister did something very good: She praised a non-CCP, non-united front ethnic Chinese community group in her important speech on New Zealand-China relations. We need to provide better support for our local Chinese communities and show that they're diverse and not all as much under the control of the CCP as they would wish.