“Nothing like a trip abroad to put a spring in the PM’s step” – or so said the sub-heading on a report in the NZ Herald on Saturday of Jacinda Ardern’s visit to the United States, a visit which by most accounts was successful in its primary aim of reviving contacts with both political and business leaders.
Political editor Claire Trevett put it aptly:
“NZ was looking for new growth in its relationship with the US after the pause of the Trump era”.
New Zealanders, too, were chuffed at the success of the PM’s mission, her popularity with the Americans she met, and especially her chat with President Joe Biden. The applause she won for her address at Harvard University in itself was remarkable, and probably stimulated Trevett to note that:
“The Ardern in the US was a stark contrast to the Ardern we have seen in New Zealand in recent months”.
So, will we see Ardern back at the top of her form, now she is home again? Continue reading “NZ Herald regards NZ and China as allies – but this doesn’t gel with the PM saying our allegiances are with like-minded countries”
National’s Gerry Brownlee had a free hit on Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta, whom he sees as missing in action as China makes its moves to become a dominant power in the Pacific. These moves – potentially – pose a security threat to Australia and New Zealand.
While foreign affairs experts are expressing alarm and calling on the government to urgently repair NZ’s run-down defences, specifically equipping our army with missiles and drones, there is silence from both Mahuta and Defence Minister Peeni Henare.
Brownlie says Mahuta
“….needs to front up and explain what she’ll be doing to salvage New Zealand’s relationship with the Pacific.
“Last week, we heard that China is seeking a sweeping agreement with ten Pacific Island countries, covering everything from national security to climate change and education. Three countries have already signed up or indicated their support; the Solomon Islands, Kiribati and Samoa. Continue reading “Yes, Mahuta has been mute on China’s Pacific manoeuvres, but maybe she awaits a steer from our White House-bound PM”
Not many New Zealanders may have noticed what is happening in China or India – but their economies appear to be tracking in opposite directions. Those movements could have a powerful impact in turn on NZ’s economic fortunes.
Point of Order is indebted to two remarkable pieces of journalism for insights that give context to these issues. One report appeared in the Guardian Weekly, the other in The Economist.
The first, by Larry Elliott, was headed “Stifled dragon: No-one should take delight in Beijing’s economic woes” and argues a full-blown economic crash would be as damaging to the world as the US sub-prime mortgage crisis was.
The report in The Economist focused on India’s economy which, it said, is likely to be the world’s fastest-growing big economy this year. The details prompted The Economist to editorialise that the Indian economy is being rewired.
“The opportunity is immense— and so are the stakes”.
The question for NZ exporters, who have become dangerously dependent on the Chinese market is whether they should now be exploring prospects on the Indian sub-continent.
Larry Elliott wrote that China has been central to the story of globalisation over the past 30 years, but now it is struggling.
More than two years after Covid19 cases were discovered in Wuhan, the world’s most populous country has yet to get on top of the virus. Continue reading “Why exporters should consider decoupling from China and focus more on opportunities provided by India’s growth”
New Zealand’s export industries are looking to a new era in the wake of life returning to something like normal in international markets.
The Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, will head a mission to the US to promote trade and tourism opportunities in our third largest export and visitor market, saying this is part of the Government’s reconnection strategy to support export growth and the return of tourists post COVID-19.
Ardern is certain to attract international attention with her scheduled commencement address at the 371st Harvard University Commencement ceremony.
But the more crucial engagement will be at the White House for talks with President Biden, who is now in Asia. Continue reading “Here’s hoping Ardern gets to meet Biden during US trade visit – and O’Connor finds time to check out gene-editing benefits”
Australia’s election, thrusting the ALP and its leader Anthony Albanese back into a governing role, offers the Ardern government a fresh opportunity to blow the cobwebs off the Anzac partnership.
During the last years of the Liberal era, the once-strong Trans-Tasman relationship appeared to cool. Australia’s deportation policy under the notorious 501 provision of its immigration law has become a sore point and the Liberal government under Scott Morrison planned to increase the flow of Kiwi deportees, much to Wellington’s chagrin.
Australia and NZ share similar goals in trade and defence, but these, too, need a fresh polish. The world during the Covid era has been changing rapidly, and now the Russian invasion of Ukraine has created a deep tension in global relationships.
China – in signing a pact with the Solomon Islands that will enable it to establish a base in that territory – has shaken both NZ and Australia out of their Pacific complacency.
In the John Key era, the Trans-Tasman relationship had a warm glow to it, even when the ALP had command in Canberra. There was never any doubt that Australia and NZ marched in lockstep on issues of mutual interest. Continue reading “Aussie election result result opens the way for a revitalisation of the Anzac partnership”
“NZ troops to help Ukraine” blared the headline on the Dominion-Post’s front page this morning. Full marks for phrasing it so delicately.
The Ardern government, which only last week appeared to be stepping back from considering what it called “lethal aid” to war-torn Ukraine, reversed that stand on Monday. Now it is dispatching one of its Hercules to Europe with around 50 service personnel.
Cabinet looked at sending a contingent of LAVs, and also Javelin missile launchers, but set those aside.
Announcing the deployment, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said: Continue reading “Where Boris goes, we go – govt deployment to help Ukraine is agreed in response to UK request for logistical support”
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says the “draft agreement” for a move by China to station military forces on the Solomon Islands is “gravely concerning” .
Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta is similarly exercised, but whether Defence Minister Peeni Henare feels the same concern has yet to be disclosed, although Point of Order believes the issue may have been discussed with Australia’s Peter Dutton when Henare visited Canberra last week.
Before his meeting with Henare, Dutton said it was a standing agenda item “for all of us to be realistic about China’s footprint, their exertion, their pressure and the way in which they conduct their business”.
Whether the same measure of realism has developed in Wellington is far from certain.
While Australia is busy beefing up outlays on its defence systems, that is not the case with the Ardern government and morale in NZ defence forces is said to be at a low ebb.
What may dismay New Zealanders is that any concern over China’s planning for a military base in the Solomons will not be followed up by a prompt review of the state of NZ’s own military capability. Continue reading “Keeping an eye on China and the Solomons – let’s hope the PM’s concerns are translated into appropriate Defence policy”
US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken has completed a mission in the Pacific that included visits to Melbourne, Fiji and Hawaii, and high-level talks with ministers from Australia, India, Japan, and South Korea, primarily on security issues.
He was there, as he told a press conference in Melbourne, primarily on issues to ensure “a free and open Indo-Pacific.”
Or, as commentators said, to turn back the threat of an increasingly aggressive China through the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (QUAD) alliance consisting of the US, India, Japan and Australia.
As Blinken argues, the Indo-Pacific is the most dynamic region in the world, with the three fastest growing economies and half the world’s population. Continue reading “NZ was not part of QUAD talks in Melbourne – but don’t we share the same concerns and values?”
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has at last broken her silence on the tension that has developed over the imminent invasion of the Ukraine by Russia.
According to RNZ, she has shared concerns with the EU about the situation and said there was a need to reinforce the sovereignty of Ukraine.
She told the President of the EU Council last night that the New Zealand Government would be watching closely and take any steps required to keep calling for de-escalation.
While there was no autonomous sanctions regime, Ardern said the government had other measures it would use if it saw any activity in breach of Ukraine’s sovereignty.
The risk of armed conflict in Eastern Europe reached a dangerous level on Tuesday, as the United States placed 8500 soldiers on “heightened preparedness” for deployment. The Pentagon said it was clear Russia had “no intention” of backing down from its aggression – an apparent plan to invade Ukraine.
That day Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta said New Zealand was deeply concerned about “the continuing and unprecedented build-up of Russian military forces on its border with Ukraine”.
Then Ardern called on Russia to reduce the “risk of a severe miscalculation”. NZ could retaliate “if we see any breach of what we believe is the Ukraine’s sovereignty”. Continue reading “While we fret about Covid, we risk forgetting about the Ukraine – but the PM has popped up to let Russia know we are watching …”
Excitement is mounting in the Beehive. Nanaia Mahuta is contemplating her first overseas visit as our Minister of Foreign Affairs.
Not, we might think, to Australia or the Pacific Islands (although she will drop in on the Aussies on the outward journey).
No, this is further afield, to host Te Aratini at Expo 2020 and visit six countries as well as meet with seven foreign ministers and a range of international representatives.
She announced yesterday she will leave New Zealand tomorrow
“… on an international programme to advance Aotearoa New Zealand’s interests on a range of issues, including our COVID-19 response and recovery and engagement in the Indo-Pacific.”
She acknowledged this is the first international visit of a New Zealand Foreign Minister since COVID-19 broke out across the globe. Continue reading “Mahuta is off (at long last) to visit six countries and host a festival of indigenous and tribal ideas at Expo in Dubai”