PM traces shift in our independent foreign policy under Labour – and rails against ‘morally bankrupt’ United Nations

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, enjoying her  global celebrity  status  in Australia,  has  also succeeded in  clawing back  her  poll  ratings  in New Zealand.   According  to the  Roy Morgan  poll,  Labour has  risen  a  couple  of  points  to   33.5%  while  National has  edged  back a  point  to 39% since  May.

On the  Roy Morgan  sampling, the  Maori Party  would  hold  the balance  of  power.   Given the  apparent distaste of that party’s two members  in Parliament  for  parties  of the  Right, this could ensure  Labour  has  another term .

Ardern brushed off  a  question on the  ABC  about her  global celebrity  status, saying  her  total  focus  was  at  home.

“That  is  what matters  to  me”.

Nevertheless  her major  speech  in  Australia, to  the  Lowy Institute,  centred on  NZ’s  foreign  policy  and  traced  how  far   NZ  has moved since  Labour  took office in 2017.

Ardern  re-emphasised  that  NZ under Labour pursues  an “independent”  foreign policy.

At  the  same  time  she   charted a change in  Labour’s view of the  United Nations.  Whereas  once it regarded the  UN as the organisation through  which  to pursue  world  peace, the PM described it as “morally bankrupt”  because of its  failure  over the  war in the  Ukraine.

Clearly  this  conviction  has  driven the  Ardern government back  towards sheltering   under  the  US umbrella,  as  was evident in Ardern’s  mission to the White House.   Almost certainly, she  is   sharing  with  Australia’s  Anthony Albanese  the  same  realignment  after  their tours in Europe  and attendance  at  the  Nato meeting in Madrid.

Point  of Order  notes,  too, that Defence  Minister  Peeni Henare  in Wellington  has  announced a  defence  policy review

“… due to the intensification of geo-strategic competition”. 

He  says  the government  wants  to  ensure that New Zealand’s Defence policy, strategy, and planned capability investments “remain fit for purpose”.

Henare insists

“… we remain committed to ensuring that Defence have the policies and equipment they need to do their jobs.”

This is   a significant  shift since  he  earlier indicated  the  government’s  priority  was  to  improve defence infrastructure ( he  doesn’t hesitate  to  claim credit for  the  work of  our former  Defence  Minister, NZ First’s  Ron Mark,  for  the investment of $4.5 billion in four new P-8A Poseidon aircraft, five new C-130J Super Hercules aircraft, and 43 Bushmaster vehicles).

In  Sydney, while emphasising  NZ had  believed in using multilateral institutions to maintain the global “rules-based order”, Ardern  said these organisations, including the UN, were imperfect and not immune to “moral failures”.

Russia, which is a permanent member of the Security Council, in February vetoed a resolution that would have demanded that Moscow immediately stop its attack on Ukraine and withdraw all troops.

More than four months later, the ongoing conflict has killed almost 5000 civilians, according to UN estimates.

Ardern said the UN had taken “a morally bankrupt position” on Ukraine, “in the wake of a morally bankrupt and illegal war”.

“Under these circumstances, waiting for our multilateral institutions to act was not an option for New Zealand,” she said.

“ We  seek partnerships and approaches based on the second principle of our independent foreign policy, our values.”

Ardern said Russia needed to be “held to account” for its military action and called for improvements to be made to the UN.

“We must reform the United Nations so that we don’t have to rely on individual countries imposing their own autonomous sanctions,” she said.

“We must also resource the International Criminal Court to undertake full investigations and prosecution of the war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Ukraine.”

Ardern said New Zealand would intervene as a third party in Ukraine’s case against Russia in the International Court of Justice to ensure this happened.

She said global allies shouldn’t characterise the Ukraine conflict as a war of “the West versus Russia”, or “democracy versus autocracy”.

“It is not. Nor should we naturally assume it is a demonstration of the inevitable trajectory in other areas of geostrategic contest,” she said.

Ardern said she remained an optimist at heart despite the “grim” challenges facing the world.

One thought on “PM traces shift in our independent foreign policy under Labour – and rails against ‘morally bankrupt’ United Nations

  1. I spent 7 years working at top of govt level in the Pacific and are sensing Mahuta taking on a chiefly rank and role. It smells like she is being accorded the honours among her group and with that comes expectations of care towards them. In our context that could be easily seen as corrupt but elsewhere it is proper.

    We cannot have such a mixed society. Even less a reversion to the previous Maori culture where utu was the norm and nearly wiped their population out. Further they had pagan gods which attached the people to the land and water. I am concerned that a hidden land and water grab is afoot.

    Mahuta has rank in her tribe but what hold does she have over Ardern?

    Liked by 1 person

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