Foreign policy is the stance of a nation on the world stage. How they see the world and everything in it. Do they wish to be aggressive and create an empire. Do they wish to be isolationist or neutral. Or do they wish to be like New Zealand, an island nation whose foreign policy is generally built on principle and respected by many?
New Zealand’s foreign policy had its finest hour in 1984 when we withdrew from A.N.Z.U.S. because New Zealand did not want to have nuclear powered and armed ships in our waters. It was revived somewhat in 1995 with the Government recalling te New Zealand ambassador to France over the resumption of its nuclear testing. Since then New Zealand has stood up to Indonesia by supporting the independence of East Timor, the government of Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe and – until Minister of Foreign Affairs Gerry Brownlee denied our support – told the Israeli Government to stop the illegal building of settlements.
I believe that New Zealand can make some further substantial contributions to international affairs. One of the contributions I believe that can be made is a Pacific wide maritime convention on looking after the biggest body of saltwater in the world. It would:
- seek to check the dumping of rubbish from all sea going vessels
- require all nations with shipping in the Pacific to contribute to the removal of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch
Despite significant disgruntlement over the fact that the United Nations did not have the gonads to appoint a female – namely former Prime Minister Helen Clark – to be the next United Nations Secretary General, I believe it still has a role to play in the world. However it needs a significant overhaul. There needs to be accountability among member nations for the conduct of their troops if they serve in U.N. peace keeping/peace making roles. There needs to be great transparency among members and in its various organizations. My proposals for the United Nations are:
- Expand the Security Council permanent seats to include Australia, and one nation each from Africa and South America
- Remove the veto
- Enable suspension from the Security Council by General Assembly vote (2/3 or 3/4)of permanent member if found to be arming war criminals
- Maintain the two year rotating cycle of non permanent members
- Enable suspension of General Assembly members by 2/3 vote for persistent and/or deliberate infringement of resolutions
- That the permanent members pay 1/2 the cost operating the Security Council with the difference picked up by the non-member nations
New Zealand needs to maintain a strong and credible voice on matters both overseas and closer to home. Whilst maintaining a strong overseas voice, we need to shift the focus of our foreign aid programme to the south Pacific island nations – these are our nearest and dearest friends. They might be small and vulnerable, but they need to know they can rely on New Zealand when Australia is disinterested or busy fighting American wars. To this end I have long proposed that:
- New Zealand spend 80-90% of its total aid in the South Pacific
- Focus that aid on law, environment, education and health
- Working with governments of these nations to develop an intelligence network specific to South Pacific interests
- Work out a long term climate change plan that acknowledges that Kiribati and other low lying atoll islands will soon become uninhabitable because of climate change
- Create maritime zone that is protected from foreign fishing vessels and has buy in from all participant nations
Australia is our nearest and dearest ally. And that should not change. We need to maintain a degree of military inter operability with the Australian Defence Force. However Australia needs to treat our nationals living there with a greater degree of respect and give them a path to citizenship. Otherwise I believe it is only fair to take measures that put their nationals living here on a similar pegging to ours there.