New Zealand's relationship with China could deteriorate if Huawei is banned from the 5G rollout, intelligence and policy analyst Paul Buchanan says.
Mr Buchanan told TVNZ1's Breakfast he believes New Zealand is the "meat in the middle of the sandwich" between China and United States, and says it could be the reason for a Chinese tourism event scheduled for next Wednesday at Te Papa was postponed and why Jacinda Ardern hasn't visited China as Prime Minister.
Postponements were "relatively light diplomatic responses", Mr Buchanan said, however if the Government was to accept the Government Communications Security Bureau's (GCSB) advice and formally ban Huawei from the 5G rollout, he could see the two country's relationship "deteriorating further".
But Mr Buchanan said the current New Zealand government was not to blame for the challenges between the country and China. The "seeds were already sewn" two decades ago when New Zealand decided to divorce its security relationships from it's trade relationships.
Two decades ago New Zealand was strengthening trade ties with Asia, particularly China, but after the September 11, 2001 terrors attacks, New Zealand became closer to the US. It all would have been fine, expect for the fact that China and US are now on bad terms, he said.
"It's not surprising that we've reached this dilemma today because, one way or another, something was bound to give and it looks like it's giving on the Chinese side," Mr Buchanan said.
New Zealand was "between a rock and a hard place", Mr Buchanan said, when it comes to a resolution.
He likened the situation to "straddling a barbed-wire fence while standing on ice-blocks - something's gonna give and it's gonna be painful".