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Be Confident Says NZ-US Council

8 December 2005

Be Confident Says NZ-US Council

New Zealand needs to be more self-confident in its dealings with the United States, says Stephen Jacobi, Executive Director of the New Zealand United States Council.

In an address to the Christchurch branch of the New Zealand Institute of International Affairs today, Mr Jacobi saw “in all the commentary that has been offered about New Zealand-United States relations in the last few weeks a disturbing lack of national self confidence”.

“It’s as if opening the door to expanded relations with the United States somehow equates with a loss of national identity and sovereignty, a giving up of all we hold sacred”.

In his speech Mr Jacobi urged New Zealand, both the Government and the public, to pursue a relationship with the United States which reflects New Zealand’s values and interests.

“Engaging with the US need not imply the surrender of our national identity … It’s up to us to decide, within the framework of our national institutions, what sort of relationship we want with the US.”

Mr Jacobi’s speech addressed the significant and enduring values and interests which bind the two countries, those few areas where alignment is more problematic including ANZUS and the prospects for a free trade agreement, and ways in which the two countries could do even more together.

“A few years ago former Secretary of State Colin Powell underscored that New Zealand’s relationship with the United States was at the most advanced form of friendship … The Council’s view is that there is even more that needs to be done to ensure this relationship delivers on all it can be” said Mr Jacobi.

ENDS

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