Raymond Huo

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Raymond Huo

Raymond Huo.jpg
Member of the New Zealand Parliament
for Labour Party List
Assumed office
16 March 2017
Preceded byJacinda Ardern
In office
8 November 2008 – 20 September 2014
Personal details
BornQianshan, Anhui, China
Political partyLabour
Alma materUniversity of Auckland
ProfessionLawyer

Raymond Huo (Chinese name: 霍建强, Huo Jianqiang) is a New Zealand politician who was a Member of Parliament from 2008 to 2014 and returned to Parliament in March 2017. He was first elected in 2008 as the New Zealand Labour Party's first MP of Chinese descent. He is the third Chinese New Zealander to enter Parliament, after the National Party's Pansy Wong and ACT's Kenneth Wang.

Early life[edit]

Huo was born in Qianshan, an eastern part of China where his mother still lives.[1] Huo's father was a doctor, and his mother was a head nurse. They were in their early thirties when they volunteered to move from the Capital City to Qianshan to help the local population fight Schistosoma, a parasitic disease. It was here that Huo first picked up some of the ideals and beliefs, such as social justice and equity, which would lead him into politics.[2]

Being a medical professional did not spare Huo's father from persecution during the Cultural Revolution. His father—an "intellectual"—was ordered to stand at the gates of the hospital for an hour, three times a day with a white board stating "counter-revolutionary medical expert".[1] Raymond Huo, only 5 years old at the time, joined him with a smaller whiteboard saying "little counter-revolutionary medical expert".

Huo credits his time in the small rural town as a major influence on his desire for free-will that he has carried into his politics and world view.[3]

As a teenager Huo taught himself to speak English in China by listening to the radio.[4] Huo went on to study English at Anhui University in Hefei and Law at China University of Political Science and Law in Beijing.

Huo emigrated to New Zealand in 1994. He worked as a journalist for The New Zealand Herald where he was the Asian Affairs reporter. He subsequently obtained MLitt (First Class Honours) majoring in political communication and LLB from the University of Auckland. Prior to becoming a Member of Parliament, Huo practiced law in Auckland at Brookfields and Hesketh Henry.[5]

Member of Parliament[edit]

New Zealand Parliament
Years Term Electorate List Party
2008–2011 49th List 21 Labour
2011–2014 50th List 21 Labour
2017 51st List 21 Labour
2017–present 52nd List 13 Labour

Huo was elected via the Labour Party list at the 2008 election and appointed as spokesman for Statistics, the Law Commission and Chinese Community Affairs. He also sat on the select committee for Law and Order and a Trustee on the Board of the Asia:New Zealand Foundation.[6] He was initially mooted for the Labour nomination in the new electorate of Botany, but eventually chose to stand as a list-only candidate.[7][8] Huo was re-elected in 2011, but due to his party's poor showing in the 2014 election lost his seat in Parliament.

In February 2017, Labour list MP Jacinda Ardern won the 2017 Mount Albert by-election, which allowed the party to bring a new list MP to parliament. Huo was the third-highest ranked Labour candidate not to enter parliament at the 2014 election. Both people ranked higher, Maryan Street and Moana Mackey, announced they would decline the chance to return to Parliament.[9][10] Huo was declared elected on 15 March 2017 and sworn in as an MP on 16 March 2017,[11][12] and appointed Labour's spokesman on Land Information.[13]

During the 2017 general election, Huo stood as a Labour candidate and was elected as a party list candidate.[14]

Member's Bills[edit]

Huo and Ruth Dyson at a Labour function in 2013

Huo was a strong advocate for Ethnic Representation on the new board of the Auckland Council Super City and submitted the Local Government (Auckland Council) (Asian Advisory Board) Amendment Bill to the House. Although Huo's Bill was voted down in Parliament by 64 votes to 58 on 4 November 2009, the Government soon after announced that an Ethnic Advisory Board Panel would be established on the new council.[15]

Huo has also been vocal about the need for New Zealand to overhaul the Export Education sector which is worth over $2.3 billion to the country's economy. Huo believes that New Zealand has a reputation for "ghetto education" in Asian countries and must change this or risk losing hundreds of International students from the Asian region.

In February 2011 Huo said because of its economic importance, he will write to the Prime Minister to adopt the Education (export education by private training establishments) Amendment Bill to be included in the current Education Amendment Bill (No 4).[16]

Author[edit]

Huo has published a number of books and articles including, Now in New Zealand, Something to Crow About, Jinma: Philosophy on Wisdom and Human Life (five volumes), Simplified American novels with Chinese notes: Love of Life, Life in the woods and five others, Lexicon of Contemporary English, Collected Works with Equivalent Chinese, Lexicon of Contemporary English, a Concise Edition,[17] and The New Zealand Quartet.[18]

Controversies[edit]

Tibet[edit]

Following Russel Norman's controversial protest to PRC Vice President Xi Jinping during Xi's 2010 visit to New Zealand, Huo wrote a blog entry defending Chinese rule over Tibet.[19] Thuten Kesang, spokesperson for the New Zealand Tibetan community, accused Huo of "promoting communist China progaganda" and said he would lay a formal complaint with the Labour Party.[19]

Lawsuit against the People's Party[edit]

In mid November 2017, Huo filed a defamation suit against New Zealand People's Party President Steven Ching and his wife Ailian Su for allegedly promoting a smear campaign that Huo had a criminal record and had tried to get the Police to erase it. The issues were settled following Ching and Su's written apology and the payment of Huo's legal costs.[citation needed] Huo had previously been part of the Ching's legal team after allegations that Ching had misused government connections while standing as a Labour candidate in 2005.[20]

Allegations of links to the Communist Party of China[edit]

In September 2017, New Zealand China expert and University of Canterbury political scientist Dr Anne-Marie Brady alleged in a conference paper that Huo was a pro-China influencer who helped to advance China's united front strategy of co-opting political and business elites in New Zealand. According to Brady, Huo worked very closely with the Chinese Government and had close contacts with the Zhi Gong Party, one of the eight legal parties in China subordinate to the Communist Party of China that focuses on promoting relations between Beijing and Chinese diaspora communities abroad. Observers have also noted Huo's relationship with Communist Party-connected businessman and political donor, Yikun Zhang.[21] Brady also claimed that Huo's decision to translate Labour's 2017 election campaign slogan "Let's do it" into Xi Jinping's quote "roll up your sleeves and work hard" carried sexual connotations.[22][23] Huo has responded critically to Brady's allegations, stating "that there was a fine line between what Brady has alleged and the genuine promotion of the NZ-China relationship."[24]

Select committee on foreign interference in the 2017 New Zealand election[edit]

In early March 2019, Huo as Chair of the parliamentary Justice Select Committee declined Dr Anne-Marie Brady's request to testify at a Parliamentary justice committee to examine potential foreign interference as part of its review of the 2017 general election. Huo, who had been named as a key pro-China influencer in Brady's conference paper, had declined her request on the procedural grounds that she had submitted her application five months after the final deadline on 23 September 2018. Huo and the other Labour members of the Justice Select Committee voted against Brady's application, triggering criticism from the opposition National Party electoral reform spokesperson Nick Smith.[25] In response to media coverage, Huo reversed his earlier decision and extended an invitation for Dr Brady to speak to select committee members.[26][27]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "We need to talk about China". The New Zealand Herald. 6 April 2013. Archived from the original on 6 April 2013. Retrieved 18 March 2017.
  2. ^ "Raymond Huo". Huo.co.nz. Retrieved 3 November 2014.
  3. ^ Trevett, Claire (26 January 2009). "New voices: Nikki Kaye, Todd McClay, Raymond Huo". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 4 November 2011.
  4. ^ "Raymond Huo". Huo.co.nz. Archived from the original on 3 November 2014. Retrieved 3 November 2014.
  5. ^ "Raymond Huo". Huo.co.nz. Archived from the original on 3 November 2014. Retrieved 3 November 2014.
  6. ^ [1] Archived 21 February 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ Tan, Lincoln (20 June 2008). "Botany a hot Asian battleground". The New Zealand Herald.
  8. ^ Blockley, Louise (22 August 2008). "Raymond Huo on Labour list". Te Waha Nui.
  9. ^ "Labour's Raymond Huo set to return to Parliament after Maryan Street steps aside". The New Zealand Herald. 21 February 2017. Retrieved 21 February 2017.
  10. ^ "Labour victory signals there's more to come". New Zealand Labour Party. Retrieved 25 February 2017.
  11. ^ "New List MP for New Zealand Labour Party".
  12. ^ "Daily progress". New Zealand Parliament. 16 March 2017. Retrieved 16 March 2017.
  13. ^ "Jacinda Ardern to hit the road while David Clark and Megan Woods promoted in Labour's line up changes". The New Zealand Herald. 7 March 2017. Retrieved 7 March 2017.
  14. ^ "Attachment A: 2017 General Election list of successful candidates" (PDF). Electoral Commission. Retrieved 8 March 2019.
  15. ^ Tan, Lincoln (4 November 2009). "Asian input critical to city's future, says Huo". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 4 November 2011.
  16. ^ Tan, Lincoln (16 February 2011). "'Ghetto education' creates suspicion in major market". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 4 November 2011.
  17. ^ "Raymond Huo". Huo.co.nz. Archived from the original on 3 November 2014. Retrieved 3 November 2014.
  18. ^ "Books by Raymond Huo – Wheelers Books". www.wheelers.co.nz. Retrieved 25 February 2017.
  19. ^ a b Tan, Lincoln (3 July 2010). "MP's pro-China blog appals Tibet's friends". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 4 November 2011.
  20. ^ Cheng, Derek (20 November 2017). "Raymond Huo says he was falsely accused of corruption & criminal record". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 8 March 2019.
  21. ^ Marcetic, Branko (19 October 2018). "The Ross v Bridges affair is a kick up the arse on Chinese state influence in NZ". The Spinoff. Archived from the original on 30 March 2019. Retrieved 15 June 2019.
  22. ^ Brady, Anne-Marie (16–17 September 2017). Magic Weapons: China's political influence activities under Xi Jinping (PDF). The corrosion of democracy under China's global influence. Arlington County, Virginia: Taiwan Foundation for Democracy. pp. 1–57.
  23. ^ Nippert, Matt; Fisher, David (20 September 2017). "Revealed: China's network of influence in New Zealand". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 24 February 2019.
  24. ^ Cheng, Derek (7 December 2017). "PM Jacinda Ardern discounts Chinese influence". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 24 February 2019.
  25. ^ Garrick, Gia (8 March 2019). "National Party targets justice committee refusal to hear Anne-Marie Brady". Radio New Zealand. Retrieved 8 March 2019.
  26. ^ McCulloch, Craig (8 March 2019). "Labour MPs backtrack on Anne-Marie Brady committee decision". Radio New Zealand. Retrieved 8 March 2019.
  27. ^ Walls, Jason (8 March 2019). "Justice select committee chairman Raymond Huo opens invitation to Anne-Marie Brady to speak to MPs". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 8 March 2019.

External links[edit]