Five Eyes – it gives NZ a stronger voice as well as providing insights for shaping policy

Intelligence officials are discounting Helen Clark’s pronouncement that NZ has lost its “independence” through its participation in the Five Eyes intelligence arrangement that links NZ with Australia, Canada, the UK and the US. Her enthusiasm as prime minister for the flood of intelligence is well remembered by the intelligence community.

Rather, they say, in an increasingly troubled world, the arrangement is extending the flow of information and provides Wellington with a stronger voice. It has become a useful tool for promoting shared values and it remains an international forum in which NZ can play a significant role in shaping policy

Earlier this month, as China announced its final assumption of power in Hong Kong, the group issued a rebuke as Washington, London, Ottawa and Canberra criticised China for undermining the “one country, two systems” framework that was meant to determine Hong Kong’s future for 50 years after its handover from British rule in 1997. Continue reading “Five Eyes – it gives NZ a stronger voice as well as providing insights for shaping policy”

A Pacific sojourn for the PM should be relaxing, compared with other burning issues on NZ’s foreign policy agenda

Thank heavens for the Pacific!  PM Jacinda Ardern is off again, radiating good cheer and best wishes on her colleagues to the north.

She is headed for Tuvalu for the 50th Pacific Islands Forum, where climate change is expected to dominate discussions.

But this makes a change from her otherwise tedious round of foreign engagements.

Check: a wonderful ‘phone call with Boris Johnson, Britain’s most recent prime minister, promising priority for an NZ-UK free trade agreement.

Problem: US National Security Adviser John Bolton had just left the room promising Boris the UK would be “first off the rank” in a cracking US-UK free trade agreement, managed perhaps sector by sector (don’t mind World Trade Organisation strictures on such processes). Continue reading “A Pacific sojourn for the PM should be relaxing, compared with other burning issues on NZ’s foreign policy agenda”

Pacific Reset – what Labour really thinks about it will be seen when US ships arrive

Left-wing  blogger Chris Trotter,  in  one of his  recent essays, questions whether PM Jacinda Ardern is really running the government or is merely its figurehead.

He  cited  several  examples of the PM  appearing to be unaware  of  key policy decisions  and  questioned  whether allowing her leading Cabinet Ministers to simply get on with the job is a central feature of her management style.

I hope  not.  It would suggest that Ardern has chosen the role of figurehead rather than leader. That her job is to supply the warm and sympathetic face of the Coalition Government while the heavy-hitters of her Cabinet – Winston Peters, Grant Robertson, David Parker, Phil Twyford, Meagan Woods and Shane Jones – carry out the day-to-day business of governing the country”. Continue reading “Pacific Reset – what Labour really thinks about it will be seen when US ships arrive”