Alongside Australia, Britain, Canada, and the United States, New Zealand is a member of the Five Eyes intelligence alliance. A bastion of the post-World War II, rule-of-law-based democratic international order, the alliance involves the cooperation and sharing of highly sensitive intelligence material. This is the intelligence inner circle of the good guys.
But New Zealand’s overt appeasement of China poses a critical challenge to the Five Eyes’s survival. Ardern gets very uncomfortable when the U.S. tries to hold China accountable for its misdeeds. These misdeeds include Beijing’s effort to dominate the South China Sea militarily, its rapacious annual theft of hundreds of billions of dollars in intellectual property, and its annihilation of treaty and human rights obligations toward the Uyghur peoples and Hong Kongers.