We Are Back !
Welcome to our April 2020 Newsletter! We are excited to be back, very much in full swing with many exciting projects on the horizon, including a brand new virtual event series (see below for our launch event happening today at 1.00 pm NZT 😉)!
Over the past fours weeks in Level 4, the YA team has adjusted well to #lockdownlife and we've made the most of this time planning for the future of YA and our upcoming events. By the time our next month's Newsletter is out, we will have welcomed onboard new Executive Committee members - we're looking forward to welcoming new energy, fresh perspectives and introducing you to our newest members very soon!
On the word energy, we extend a huge shout out to all essential workers who stayed strong and kept New Zealand running throughout Level 4. Also, extending a big thank you too to our #5millionstrong team, it feels pretty special to be the international spotlight for "doing things right" in the face of Covid-19. Let's make sure the past month counts for something and continue our efforts, making adjustments that are saving lives. And don't forget to look ahead to a '2020 2.0', wishing you all the best!
#1. Upcoming Event: Zoom into China
The YA are Zooming into action and helping you get insights on the market, straight from the source! Our brand new fortnightly online series offers you access to expertise, from your home. Can't make the live session? No worries, members get access to all the recordings and content, so become a member now! Click here!
The first in our new series is on: 'Breaking New Zealand Into West China'. New Zealand engagement in West China has gone gangbusters since the consulate opened in Chengdu. We will be hearing from the following:
Alistair Crozier, who worked for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade from 1995 to 2019. He established and led New Zealand’s new Consulate-General in Chengdu, Southwest China (2014-18). He is now on board with the Asia New Zealand Foundation to establish a permanent presence in the South Island.
Dr Parley Reynolds, who is a Senior Lecturer in Business Management at Chengdu University of Technology. Parley has 10 years living and working experience in China including his most recent job as the Asian Market Manager for Moa Brewing Company and 3 years working for NZTE in Beijing and Chengdu.
Register for our April virtual event here!
#2. Business Desk: Supplying Some Innovation!
Woohoo, we've made it to Level 3! With that, we're starting to see what the long-term impacts of Covid-19 could look like.
It's a bit daunting to think that we may be heading into a global recession. Stats NZ has confirmed that trade between New Zealand and China has decreased. From 1 February to 15 April there has been an estimated $370 million gap from where things were this time last year. Hopefully, given the timing of China's earlier Covid-19 outbreak (their nation-wide shutdown since Chinese New Year built-up a huge backlog of exports), we'll be on an upswing again.
Amidst the challenges of lockdowns worldwide, supply chains are innovating. In the air, Auckland Airport announced that they are welcoming 80 new flights of freight-only passenger planes over the space of four weeks, in addition to a regular 20 freighters per week. At sea, Ports of Auckland processed 40,479 containers within their first four weeks at Level 4; ensuring the continued flow of goods throughout New Zealand's supply chain. They shared with us (in an exclusive interview 😉) that the decrease in traffic congestion caused by Level 4 had helped them operate more efficiently; in one particular instance, moving over 1,700 cars to a storage facility within a day! Although the Port's import profile has not hugely changed, a coming drop in volume is expected in line with the rest of the economy. High priced goods such as cars, for instance, may very well 'drop off a small cliff' (though to be honest I don't know if I can complain too much about that!).
On the local end, Level 3 is now the perfect chance for us to contribute to our local economy again and (somewhat) return to our pre-Level 4 consumer lifestyles with some takeaways! (fresh 饺子 here we come!). UberEats, despite announcing some new support for their eateries, still charges a hefty commission of up to 35% on deliveries, which can deeply cut into local business’ revenue. There are better local alternatives for food delivery (NZHerald has a good write up), including Eat Local, a new platform which is facilitating delivery with a smaller surcharge. We also recommend that you reach out and ask your go-to's how best to order from them. Doing some research before you eat could help put more $ into the pocket of our local businesses, helping make a significant difference to their survival!
From the YA, thank you to all our essential workers who've stayed persistent and proactive throughout the past four weeks of Level 4. From truck drivers to port operators to biosecurity screeners to supermarket cashiers and more: thank you (and we hope you are getting properly compensated!). We are all looking forward to joining you as we ease back into the economy!
#3. Culture Desk: Tigertail isn't a great film, and that's okay?
At YA, we're big supporters of (for lack of a better term) "Western-Asian" cinema. We loved Crazy Rich Asians, laughed to Always Be My Maybe and cried to The Farewell. Tigertail, a film directed by Alan Yang that tells the story of his immigrant parents' arrival to America, seemed like the next film to add to this list. But, while it has interesting ideas, I found the pacing of it a bit off and the dialogue stilted. It was a disappointing watch.
Usually, an Asian film isn't just an Asian film. It's a hard-fought step towards further representation in "the culture", our baby to support and elevate, so other films like it can be made. But after seeing Tigertail, I felt surprisingly indifferent. The canon of Western-Asian cinema is slowly diversifying. 5 years ago it was unfathomable that a film like this, about Taiwanese immigrants, with an all-Asian cast, predominantly in Mandarin and Taiwanese, would be funded for wide release. But now, thanks to those aforementioned films, we've shown that an audience exists. It's nice that we don't need to invest so much into a single film anymore.
So, despite its faults, maybe give Tigertail a watch (what else are we gonna do in these #stayhome times). It's gotten warm reviews (83% on Rotten Tomatoes) and is an interesting story of the immigrant experience. It's not the best film ever, but that's okay. Nothing has stopped us watching mediocre films in the past. And, maybe the fact that there is room for underachieving Asian films is something worth celebrating in itself.
Watch Tigertail on Netflix here.
#4. Your Voice: New Segment Alert!
Our NEW Segment, as per its title, is all about your voice. We hope to give YOU, our readers, an opportunity for your voices to be heard by our YA community. We would love to feature one of your opinion pieces, stories or art in this segment of our Newsletter starting next month! We are also welcome to contributions by Collectives and Associations; if you have an interesting piece within the NZ-China space that you hope to share with like-minded people, this is the spot for you!
For this month, we want to dedicate our Your Voice segment to AUT Art and Design students who've come together to show their appreciation for essential workers through billboards, such as the one pictured above. Without all the essential workers heading out of their homes to keep New Zealand running throughout Level 4, we would not have come this far in eliminating COVID-19 in New Zealand. We are very grateful for their sacrifice and efforts! When you're out getting your takeaways, look out for these billboards as they're being rolled out over the next month. Read more about them here.
For May's Newsletter, please email us your #YourVoice Segment submission to firstname.lastname@example.org by midnight Sunday 24th May (word limit < 300 words) and you may be featured in our Newsletter next month! Every reader who submits a piece will also get an awesome prize (such as a free ticket to our awesome new Virtual Event Series!) 😉✨✍
Have an idea or opportunity you would like us to offer? Would you like to be part of the Young Associates? Have general questions/comments? Let us know below!
Editors: Kathy Liu, Antoine Ellis, Han Li and Sonja Rose
Disclaimer: Opinions expressed in this newsletter are the sole opinion of the NZCTA Young Associates and do not represent the opinions of the wider New Zealand China Trade Association (NZCTA) or any of its executive committee.