NZ suspends extradition treaty with Hong Kong – Ardern says new law not consistent with 'NZ's principles'

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New Zealand has suspended its extradition treaty with Hong Kong, as recent law changes were not consistent with “New Zealand’s principles”.

That’s according to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, who this afternoon said the new national security legislation in Hong Kong does not sit well with New Zealand’s principles.

Speaking to reporters this afternoon, she said those principals are “Basic freedom of association and the right to take a political view.”

When asked if New Zealand should expect repercussions from China, Ardern said the two countries have a “mature” relationship.

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“There have been occasions where we have taken different positions [with China] – this obviously will be one of them.

“We have been very consistent, we will be open where there are areas we have to adjust our position.”

Earlier today, Foreign Minister Winston Peters said New Zealand could no longer trust that Hong Kong’s criminal justice system was independent from China.

“China’s passage of its new national security legislation has eroded rule-of-law principles, undermined the ‘one country, two systems’ framework that underpins Hong Kong’s unique status, and gone against commitments China made to the international community,”
Peters said in a statement.

“In light of this, it is important that New Zealand responds proportionately and deliberately to the passage of the national security law.

“As part of that response, Cabinet has decided to suspend New Zealand’s extradition treaty with Hong Kong.”

He said New Zealand can “no longer trust that Hong Kong’s criminal justice system is sufficiently independent from China”.

“If China in future shows adherence to the ‘one country, two systems’ framework then we could reconsider this decision.”

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New Zealand’s move follows similar moves by Five Eyes partners, Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom against the former British colony which was handed back to China in 1997 on the basis it remains autonomous for 50 years – the one country, two systems principle.

New Zealand can expect some retaliation from China. Comment is being sought.

Peters said New Zealand had made two other changes in light of China’s decision to pass a national security law for Hong Kong.

Firstly, New Zealand was changing how it treated the export of sensitive goods to Hong Kong.

“From now on, we will treat military and dual-use goods and technology exports to Hong Kong in the same way as we treat those exports to China.”

Secondly, New Zealand had updated its travel advice to alert New Zealanders to the risks presented by the National Security Law.

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“New Zealand remains deeply concerned at the imposition of this legislation, and we will continue to monitor the situation in Hong Kong as the law is applied.

“As a result, the review of our cooperation settings with Hong Kong will be ongoing.”