the economic relationship between New Zealand and Singapore, which spans trade and investment and which sees Singapore as the hub for many New Zealand businesses in Asian markets.
Left unmentioned, of course, will be things like human rights and democracy. While an economic success, Singapore lags well behind in these areas. Freedom House's 2005 country report for Singapore sums up the problem:
Though general elections are free from irregularities and vote rigging, the PAP's manipulation of the political system means that they cannot be termed fair. Opposition parties are constrained by the ban on political films and televised programs; the curtailing of expressions of political opinion by the threat of libel or slander suits; strict regulations and limitations on associations, including political associations; and the PAP's influence of the media and in the courts, among other things.
The net result is that Singapore's "parliamentary democracy" is reduced to a charade.
A graphic example of this is the treatment of Chee Soon Juan, an opposition politician, who is currently facing charges for speaking in public without a licence - something we take for granted in a democracy.
In the Herald today, Fran O'Sullivan rightly asks whether any of this will be raised by our government, or whether it will simply turn a blind eye. Based on their past performance, I'm expecting the latter.
However, while our government may remain silent to avoid upsetting a valued trade partner, there's no reason we have to be. Prime Minister Lee will be welcomed to Parliament at 10:30am on Monday. It's an excellent chance to stand up for democracy in Singapore. As fow how to do it, I'd recommend subtlety - gags, or maybe a sign saying "I'd be arrested for this in Singapore".