10 Jul 2020

NZ should take 'middle ground' on Hong Kong - law expert

11:33 am on 10 July 2020

An international law expert says we need to be careful about our actions with China or risk damaging our trading relationship.

Riot police hold up a warning flag during a demonstration in a mall in Hong Kong on July 6, 2020, in response to a new national security law.

Riot police hold up a warning flag during a demonstration in a mall in Hong Kong. Photo: AFP

The New Zealand government is going to consider the extradition arrangements with Hong Kong, controls on exports of strategic goods, and travel advice.

The review was prompted by a controversial new security law for the territory passed by China last week.

Yesterday, the Australian government suspended its extradition treaty with the territory.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has extended visas for Hong Kong citizens in Australia as a path to permanent residency.

The UK government has also extended visas for up to five years for three million Hong Kong citizens.

The Canadian government has suspended its extradition treaty with Hong Kong.

Alexander Gillespie, professor of international law at the University of Waikato told Morning Report New Zealand needs to be careful about taking an independent approach.

"Other countries wish to take matters with China to a more extreme level. We need to take a middle ground and not be overly influenced by them."

He said it's good we're taking an independent review given China's record of human rights abuses.

"The Hong Kong situation gives us cause for concern ... we should take our time, take a deep breath and figure out which is the best way forward.

"At risk is a trade relationship worth over $30 billion a year."

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