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Scoop Feedback: Demilitarising Aotearoa

Dear Sir,

Now as Alliance Party members seem to be into head-on collision with their leadership and parliamentary members, and therefore the Labour Government too, I wonder if anyone will take a longer view of this sort of foreign policy problem so it will not keep coming up?

Simply, the (recurring) problem is that larger powers expect our governments to support military interventions that influential public opinion here does not want.

It would be far better for all concerned if our governments did not wait for this kind of dilemma to arise. If instead, they expected - and trained - our diplomats to make truly constructive contributions by developing liaison roles between potential and actual combatants. That would entail in-house training for current diplomats, and considerably increased funding for conflict resolution courses, tertiary and other, as well as for studies of the likes of Asian, Pacific, and religious (Islamic and other) studies.

That would signal to the world the kind of contribution it could expect from us, and would preclude a partisan military one. It would also help unite all sectors of New Zealand society - surely a politician’s dream - if only politicians could only see ahead enough to set up this sort of programme!

John Gallagher


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