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Goff Speech In Canada: Facing global challenges

Phil Goff Speech In Canada: Facing global challenges: NZ's foreign policy Address to the National Press Club Ottawa, Canada 2 June 2005

It is a pleasure to be back in Canada, a country with which we have a long-standing close relationship deriving from common values, shared historical experiences and similar systems of government.

We share an attachment to making the multilateral system work.

We have worked alongside each other in security operations in recent years in Timor Leste, Bosnia and Afghanistan. We have a significant level of two-way trade, last year of over $NZ1.1 billion.

We co-operate on consular matters; meet together regularly, and as close friends enjoy a relationship characterized by like-mindedness, openness and candour.

Canada has recently published a comprehensive international policy statement entitled 'A role of Pride and Influence in the World'. It emphasises among other things the requirements created by new threats that have emerged in the world; the strain that global institutions are under, and the need for a 'new multilateralism’.

New Zealand’s foreign policy thinking has been influenced by many of the same considerations. For all of us, since the events of 11 September 2001 in the United States, international terrorism has come to determine security and foreign policy perspectives.

Although inter-state tensions and conflicts still exist in many parts of the world, newer threats to peace and security are coming from non-state actors. We have seen the impact of this in our region, with the bombing in Bali in 2002 in which over 200 young tourists and Indonesians lost their lives.

Since the end of the Cold War, relationships between major players have been more stable and co-operative. This offers hope that where there are regional tensions – the Korean Peninsula, the Taiwan Straits, the Middle East – these can be managed without resort to force. Economic development has lifted large numbers of people out of absolute poverty, but the persistence of poverty and related human suffering still demands concerted international action. There is growing recognition of the fact that failing to make headway on eliminating poverty threatens the security of us all. Freeing up international trade is one of the best ways of helping developing economies. UN Secretary General Kofi Annan has said that no single change could make a greater contribution to eliminating poverty than fully opening the markets of prosperous countries to the goods produced by poor ones. New Zealand for its part provides least developed countries with tariff-free market access. And for most products, developing countries pay only limited tariffs. We hope that the major players will see enough benefits from a successful Doha Development Round to be ready to make the necessary trade-offs.

While terrorism has become the focus of the threat to international peace and security, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, with the fear that such weapons could find their way into the hands of terrorists, has also been the cause of considerable concern. There is a heightened sense of global vulnerability to resource depletion, environmental degradation and forces such as climate change. Natural disasters may also be trans-boundary, as we saw in our region with the devastating Asian Tsunami.

The spread of infectious diseases such as HIV-Aids and TB also have consequences for wellbeing and security. At the strategic level, New Zealand’s foreign policy objectives are probably not too different from those of Canada and other countries. We seek to pursue our interests and values within the context of a stable, secure and prosperous world.

Our closest relationship, because of geographic proximity and shared history and values, is with Australia. Notwithstanding this – in a way that will be well understood in Canada – as the smaller partner, we maintain a fierce commitment to exercising our judgement on policy issues independently.

For over 22 years New Zealand and Australia have shared a common market, with free trade and movement of labour and capital. The Closer Economic Relationship agreement is one of the most comprehensive Free Trade Agreements in the world. We are working with Australia on developing a single economic market in which we harmonise as far as we can our business law and regulation. We have a formal military alliance and co-operate closely on regional security initiatives, particularly in the Pacific.

Pacific island countries face multiple problems and stresses. They have fragile economies constrained by small size and isolation. Many suffer from poor governance and corruption. Political instability and the breakdown of law and order have occurred over recent years in Bougainville, Fiji, Vanuatu and Solomon Islands.

New Zealand played an important role in restoring stability to the Papua New Guinea island of Bougainville, at both the negotiating and implementation phases of the peace process. The success of Bougainville’s first elections as an autonomous region last week is testament to what has been achieved, but there is still a long way to go to entrench good governance and economic progress.

New Zealand Police and Defence Force personnel, supported by substantial development assistance funding, have also made a significant contribution to the work of the Regional Assistance Mission to restore order and stability in the Solomon Islands.

Canada has made a constructive and valuable contribution in the Pacific, both as a dialogue partner to the key regional organisation the Pacific Forum and through development assistance.

New Zealand also faces the challenge of positioning itself within the changing architecture of the wider Asia Pacific region.

China, Japan and the United States are the three major players in the Asia-Pacific region.

The growth of China’s power is the key geo-strategic issue in our region. China’s demand for resources, goods and services, investment and technology and its huge productive capacity have major economic consequences. New Zealand’s exports to China last year, for example, grew by nearly 27 per cent.

China’s development and growing strength is also producing shifts in the balance of power with as yet uncertain consequences.

We want to see the development of an outward looking internationally engaged China that makes a significant contribution to the peace and economic welfare of the region.

We have enjoyed regular high-level political engagement with China. We are the first western country to have entered into negotiations with China for an FTA. Within this positive context however, we have regular dialogue with China over real differences on issues such as democratic freedoms and human rights.

New Zealand enjoys a good relationship with Japan and welcomes its willingness to assume more responsibilities in international peace and security. We share similar perspectives on political security and most environment issues. We have endorsed Japan’s claim for permanent membership of the UN Security Council, if it is the agreed outcome that this is the form Security Council reform should take. Japan does have a strong case based on its economic importance, its contribution to the UN and its strong support for development assistance.

The strategic presence of the United States in the Western Pacific makes a major contribution to the maintenance of stability of the region. We work closely with the United States in many areas with the shared objective of helping create a free, democratic, stable and prosperous world. That includes counter-terrorism, including through Operation Enduring Freedom, non-proliferation goals and security and economic objectives within forums such as APEC and the ASEAN Region Forum.

We are both strong proponents of trade liberalisation. While we share a great deal in common, our viewpoints are not always identical, for example on issues such as the International Criminal Court, our nuclear free policy and the Iraq war.

Since its formation, ASEAN has been very successful in bringing together neighbours, despite their historical differences. It now provides a constructive hub for the region. Canada and New Zealand are both members of the ASEAN Regional Forum. New Zealand has just announced that, subject to parliamentary process, it will sign the ASEAN Treaty of Amity and Cooperation.

Canada and New Zealand are also both members of APEC, which has become a means of progressing security, as well as economic objectives. Given our own historical, political and economic links with the region, we have been keen to be part of the proposed new regional architecture – the East Asian Summit. We are making good progress on removing barriers to trade within the Asia Pacific region. As well as our long standing Closer Economic Relations Agreement with Australia, we have FTAs with Singapore and Thailand.

We hope to be able to announce soon the conclusion of negotiations of the Pacific Four Strategic Economic Partnership with Chile, Singapore and Brunei. We are negotiating bilateral agreements with China and with Malaysia. New Zealand and Australia are also jointly negotiating an FTA with ASEAN.

Twenty years ago, New Zealand began a programme of major economic reform. Industry assistance, including for our agriculture sector, has become a thing of the past. Farmers were obliged to look to innovation and new markets to replace the subsidies that they previously received. They are now world leaders in exporting both commodity goods and many niche products, and are reaping the benefits.

Our traders have had to put a huge and largely successful effort into diversifying both our export markets and the products we export over the past 30 years or so. New Zealand has enjoyed huge progress as a tourist market, a quality wine producer and in its endeavours to promote new industries including biotechnology, information technology and the creative arts. The recent Lord of the Rings trilogy, as well as taking 11 Oscars, enabled us to promote our innovation in technology and to promote New Zealand as a tourist destination with spectacular scenery. Our main trade policy priority is the World Trade Organisation negotiations. We are working hard for a successful outcome from the Doha Development Round.

No single FTA can match the potential returns to the New Zealand economy that we get from global trade liberalisation. It is the equivalent of conducting bilateral negotiations with 147 other partners. There are also things that we can achieve only through a multilateral agreement rather than bilaterally, such as the removal of export subsidies on agricultural produce. Multilateralism is a central pillar in New Zealand's foreign policy, as it is for Canada. With a population of only four million, there are obvious constraints on what we are able to do on our own. Our economic and physical security depends on a properly functioning system of collective security, the international rule of law and dispute settlement. We seek too, through multilateral means, to promote human rights. We also seek to protect our environment and resource base so they can sustain future generations. For example we are a Party to the Kyoto Protocol and have just taken some tough domestic decisions on introducing a carbon tax. Since 9/11, New Zealand has contributed actively to international and regional counter-terrorism cooperation efforts. We have committed ourselves heavily to Operation Enduring Freedom, and like Canada we are deploying ground, naval and air assets to Afghanistan and the Gulf region. We have participated through the ASEAN Regional Forum and APEC to institute stronger security measures and cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region, and worked through the Pacific Islands Forum and bilaterally to help Pacific Island countries to do likewise.

New Zealand is also interested in examining some of the broader systemic issues that may be relevant to terrorism. Countering extremism and empowering moderate Islam will be important elements of regional, and global, counter-terrorism efforts. Interfaith dialogue has a valuable role to play in achieving this goal and we are keen to ensure that the momentum initiated at a regional Dialogue on Interfaith Co-operation held in Indonesia last December is maintained. We are also contributing to efforts to stop the proliferation of, and eventually to eliminate, weapons of mass destruction. New Zealand has recently increased its commitment to the G8 Global Partnership against the spread of weapons of mass destruction. I know that Canada has been one of the leaders among the G8 on this initiative. We have been active too in efforts to close down people smuggling, drug trafficking and illicit trade in arms.

New Zealand has a strong record in peace support, and has been involved in over 50 peace support operations since 1991.

Canada has already made a leading contribution to ISAF in Afghanistan and I understand is to assume leadership of a Provincial Reconstruction Team in Kandahar. The New Zealand-led PRT in Bamyan since 2003 has been a highly successful exercise, making a tangible contribution to the stability of the province. New Zealand is committed to supporting political stability and economic development in Afghanistan and has since 2002 contributed more than NZ$110 million in the form of military assistance and development support. New Zealand shares Canada’s views on the “Responsibility to Protect” as a basis for collective action against genocide, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity. The shameful memory of the genocide in Rwanda still haunts the world. It is vital that we continue to make progress to stop further loss of life in Darfur. Of course this is a matter of political will, but good structures and processes can help us to achieve better and quicker responses.

As part of its contribution to peacekeeping and security, the Labour-led government embarked on a $NZ3 billion long-term programme of re-equipping its defence forces. About $NZ800 million of this involved the purchase of 105 Canadian-built Light Armoured Vehicles. The Government has recently committed an extra $NZ4.6 billion largely operational expenditure for a 10-year capability-rebuilding programme for our defence forces.

In last month’s budget we increased our Official Development Assistance by 23 per cent. That will enable us to play a more constructive role in our region and further afield but we still have a significant challenge ahead of us to come close to the 0.7 per cent GDP target agreed most recently at Monterrey. In conclusion, the High Commission has drawn my attention to Derek Burney’s recent memoir on his life as a Canadian diplomat.

I quote: “After about one year in the USA Division, I was posted with my family to Tokyo, Japan. Before departing, however, I was advised that I would have to 'detour' for three to six months to Wellington, New Zealand, which, an obliging assignment officer explained was 'on the way'.

A little later he sums up his experience thus:

“Our brief stay in New Zealand paid a much broader dividend in the years to come. Canadians and New Zealanders do in fact have a lot in common. Our views on international issues are very similar, and our foreign services share information and intelligence openly and consistently. New Zealanders have attitudes about Australians that are not unlike those of Canadians regarding Americans. Socially and professionally, the links on foreign assignments are extensive and were among the most enjoyable for Joan and me in the years to come”.

Derek Burney’s comments highlight that we share a broadly common view of the world. Despite our distance from each other and difference in size we value each other’s perceptions and share ideas across a remarkably large number of issues.

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