Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta has had a busy two days. Hard on the heels of echoing the title of a book edited by academic writer Manying Ip to headline an important policy speech, she was announcing the visit here this week of Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne for ministerial consultations.
That should be a fun event, especially Mahuta’s explaining some of the Five Eyes stuff that emerged from her policy speech.
This morning, she was answering RNZ questions about easing back from the Five Eyes alliance.
Asked about what this would mean for situations like Uighur Muslims in China – which other nations have put sanctions in place over – Mahuta said:
“New Zealand doesn’t have a sanctions regime like those countries.
“We favour diplomacy that involves dialogue, which ensures we build multilateral support for the things we advocate on that will protect our values and our interests.”
Mahuta said New Zealand could impose travel bans but it was “really important” that the country upheld international “rules and norms and the institutions that support that and ensuring that when we act that we act with the support of the United Nations”.
In other words, if we have properly grasped her explanation, sanctions will be applied only when the UN says we should – and when the UN says we should, the sanctions become compulsory.
This is fortified by information on the MFAT website:
Sanctions are a common tool for seeking to influence foreign governments and individuals to change their behaviour. The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) can impose sanctions in response to a threat to international peace and security.
As a UN Member State, New Zealand is bound by the UNSC’s decisions. We implement sanctions imposed by the UNSC in regulations made under the United Nations Act 1946. Implementing UN sanctions by creating regulations means that we can respond quickly when necessary to impose or remove sanctions.
Next thing we knew, Mahuta (in tandem with Defence Minister Peeni Henare) was announcing the deployment of a Royal New Zealand Air Force P-3K2 Orion maritime patrol aircraft in support of United Nations Security Council (UNSC) sanctions on North Korea.
While Mahuta was bewildering us with her redirection of foreign policy, her colleagues were announcing statements (among other things) to show the previous government got things wrong and the current government is getting things right.
- The Transmission Gully Interim Review has found serious flaws at the planning stage of the project, undermining the successful completion of the four-lane motor north of Wellington. Grant Robertson (as Infrastructure Minister) said the review found the public-private partnership (PPP) established under Key government lacked the proper rigour and consideration. The full Transmission Gully Interim Review can be read on the Te Waihanga website.
- Research published by Dr Jamie Howarth of Victoria University of Wellington today shows there is a 75 per cent probability of the Alpine Fault rupturing over the next 50 years, up from around 30 per cent. The research also calculates there is about an 82 percent chance that such an earthquake would be magnitude 8 or higher. This reinforces the importance of taking action to plan and prepare for earthquakes, Acting Minister for Emergency Management Kris Faafoi says. “ It does … confirm our approach to, and investment in, hazard-specific planning and earthquake awareness education has been the right one.”
- The Government is supporting a new project with all-wool New Zealand carpet company, Bremworth, which has its sights on developing more sustainable all-wool carpets and rugs. The Ministry for Primary Industries is contributing $1.9 million towards Bremworth’s $4.9 million sustainability project through its Sustainable Food and Fibre Futures (SFF Futures) fund. Bremworth is a subsidiary of Cavalier Corporation Limited.
- Hundreds more families who were separated by the border closure will be reunited under new border exceptions allowing offshore visa applications for the families of health care workers in New Zealand, as well as a small number of other highly-skilled workers in other sectors who are currently in New Zealand. A new border exception is also being created for the partners and dependent children of temporary visa holders in New Zealand, who hold visas, but had not yet arrived here when the border closed.
Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta, announcing that Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne and a delegation will be in New Zealand from tomorrow until 23 April, reminded us (and the Aussies) that Australia is New Zealand’s closest and most important international partner.
“The trans-Tasman relationship is overwhelmingly positive. Our people are closely connected, our economies are deeply integrated. These biannual discussions are a chance to cover the full range of foreign policy matters important to both countries, including key regional and global issues,” Nanaia Mahuta said.
Minister Payne will be accompanied by Australian Minister for International Development and the Pacific, Zed Seselja, who will have a separate programme and will meet with Minister for Pacific Peoples Hon Aupito William Sio.
The deployment of a Royal New Zealand Air Force P-3K2 Orion maritime patrol aircraft in support of United Nations Security Council (UNSC) sanctions on North Korea should not be surprising.
The Resolutions were adopted unanimously by the UNSC between 2006 and 2017, aimed at persuading North Korea to denuclearise and abandon its ballistic missile capabilities.
This follows previous deployments in October 2020, October 2019 and September 2018.
Consistent with prior deployments, the RNZAF aircraft will be based at Kadena Air Base, Japan. Its maritime surveillance patrol flights will be over international waters in North Asia and will take place in April and May.
On the $1.9 million contribution to Bremworth, Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor said the three-year research programme will involve research and development of natural and green chemistry-based alternatives to the few remaining synthetic components of woollen carpets.
“The rise of synthetic carpets has overtaken wool dramatically in the last few decades, which has severely affected the wool industry,” Damien O’Connor said.
“I’m told that an average Kiwi household laid with synthetic carpet is estimated to have the equivalent weight of 22,000 plastic shopping bags on its floor. That’s a compelling reason to use sustainable wool wherever we can to make healthy homes for Kiwis and the world.
“More than ever consumers are considering the entire life-cycle of products. We believe this programme will spur demand for New Zealand strong wool and enhance our manufacturing competitiveness through strong environmental credentials that challenge industry norms.”
New Zealand wool is 100 percent biodegradable, renewable and sustainable.
But O’Connor acknowledged there is something hit and miss about the new project when he said:
“Ultimately we hope it will benefit New Zealand’s strong wool sector, with better returns for our farmers and manufacturers, and supporting their communities.
“If we get this right, then that’s a compelling yarn we can sell to our markets abroad.”
From the Beehive
20 APRIL 2021
19 APRIL 2021