Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search

 


Defence Vital for Trans-Tasman Relations

MEDIA RELEASE FOR IMMEDIATE USE

Sunday 16 January 2000

Rt Hon Simon Upton Opposition Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs

Defence A Vital Component Of Trans-Tasman Relationship

“As the new Foreign Minister, Phil Goff, heads to Australia to meet with his counterpart, he must be prepared to listen very carefully to Australian views on how the new Labour Government’s defence plans may or may not link in with Australia’s,” says National’s Foreign Affairs, Rt Hon Simon Upton.

“By announcing, before even reaching Australia, that our trans-Tasman partner is not concerned about the Government’s plans to scrap the F-16 purchase, Mr Goff seems determined to hear only those things he wants to hear. That would be a grave mistake.

“The Australian bi-lateral relationship is by far our most important. Although Labour may not wish to acknowledge it, defence is a key part of that relationship. Not to listen to Australian views would inevitably cool a relationship that is simply too important to take for granted.

“Labour’s decision not to proceed with the purchase of a third ANZAC frigate means the talks will open with a major point of disagreement already on the table. Acting without consultation on the future shape of our airforce simply compounds the problem.

“At a time when New Zealand and Australia are working very closely on the ground in East Timor, it would be wise to engage Australia in any review of New Zealand’s defence capability. Indeed, it would make good sense under the Closer Defence Relationship (CDR), to investigate a joint Australia/New Zealand review of defence requirements.

“It would be a huge set-back to our longstanding defence ties with Australia if the Labour-Alliance Government set out to build a defence capability without regard for its linkages with Australian forces. The downside would not be confined to defence matters but would place strain on the wider relationship.

It is not enough for Labour to promote a build up in spending on the army, which has, in any case, already been committed by the previous government, he says.

“Labour must spell out whether it believes New Zealand should maintain a capability that is fully complementary with Australia’s or, alternatively, whether it is preparing New Zealand for a significantly reduced role in regional security.

“If the latter is at the heart of the Government’s agenda, New Zealanders need to know that, far from gaining greater foreign policy freedom, New Zealand will by default become more dependent on an Australia with whom we have less leverage. In short, why should Australia pay particular heed to the views of a small country that seeks to distance itself from the hard issues.

“There is much more at stake here than an argument over which bits of military hardware we should acquire. That is a technical matter that should be sorted out between the two countries. Of greater fundamental concern is the future status and direction of New Zealand’s relationship with our most important ally.

“The Opposition’s clear view is that, as the only two developed countries in our region, New Zealand and Australia have much more in common than not, and that New Zealand’s greatest opportunity to articulate an independent, sovereign foreign policy will come from working with Australia – not to one side of her.

“It would be ironic if the new Government’s distaste for our traditional defence ties led to a more dependent and marginalized role for our country,” says Mr Upton.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

 

Also, Loan Interest: Productivity Commission On Tertiary Education

Key recommendations include better quality control; making it easier for students to transfer between courses; abolishing University Entrance; enabling tertiary institutions to own and control their assets; making it easier for new providers to enter the system; and facilitating more and faster innovation by tertiary education providers... More>>

ALSO:

Higher Payments: Wellington Regional Council Becomes A Living Wage Employer

Councillor Sue Kedgley said she was delighted that the Wellington Regional Council unanimously adopted her motion to become a Living Wage employer, making it the first regional council in New Zealand to do so. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Images:
Dame Patsy Reddy Sworn In As Governor-General

This morning Dame Patsy Reddy was sworn in as the New Zealand Realm’s 21st Governor-General. The ceremony began with a pōwhiri to welcome Dame Patsy and her husband Sir David Gascoigne to Parliament. More>>

ALSO:

Ruataniwha: DOC, Hawke's Bay Council Developer Take Supreme Court Appeal

The Department of Conservation and Hawke's Bay Regional Investment Company (HBRIC) are appealing to the Supreme Court over a conservation land swap which the Court of Appeal halted. More>>

ALSO:

With NZ's Marama Davidson: Women’s Flotilla Leaves Sicily – Heading For Gaza

Women representing 13 countries spanning five continents began their journey yesterday on Zaytouna-Oliva to the shores of Gaza, which has been under blockade since 2007. On board are a Nobel Peace Laureate, three parliamentarians, a decorated US diplomat, journalists, an Olympic athlete, and a physician. A list of the women with their background can be found here. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Key Style Of Crisis Management

At Monday’s post Cabinet press conference Key was in his finest wide- eyed “Problem? What problem?” mode. No, there wasn’t really a problem that top MPI officials had been at odds with each other over the meaning of the fisheries policy and how that policy should be pursued... More>>

ALSO:

Mt Roskill: Greens Will Not Stand In Likely Post-Goff By-Election

“The Green Party’s priority is changing the Government in 2017, and as part of that we’ve decided that we won’t stand a candidate in the probable Mt Roskill by-election... This decision shows the Memorandum of Understanding between Labour and the Green Party is working." More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Parliament
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news