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Dunne launches foreign policy

Thursday, 30 June 2005

Dunne launches foreign policy: Parliamentary vetting of top diplomats

United Future wants all nominated high commissioners and ambassadors to face the scrutiny of Parliament before being appointed, leader Peter Dunne said in announcing the party's foreign affairs, defence and trade policy today.

"These people aren't just drinking gin-and-tonic for their country; they are pivotal to our national interests," Mr Dunne said.

"They are key players in representing and hopefully expanding and strengthening New Zealand's interests in an increasingly complex and competitive world. We need good operators in all our key areas of interest and they should be vetted by Parliament.

United Future also called for New Zealand to put some real focus on improving political and defence relationship with both the United States and Australia.

"Yes, we need a strong Asia-Pacific orientation, but we have let some of our most important relationships suffer in recent years, and the United States and Australia are two that need some real work," Mr Dunne said.

Mr Dunne also said that New Zealand should be supporting the rights of new democracies, such as Taiwan, to participate fully in international organisations.

"This is about integrity over pragmatism. It is about saying that New Zealand really does hold democracy as a right for all, and it will back the right of those who seek to live in a democracy, and call upon the world to recognise them."

In the defence area, United Future would seek a multi-party accord on 10-year defence and capital equipment funding, and ensure greater military equipment options, including leasing.

"Basically, this will allow for more efficient purchasing and change the virtual begging status of our defence forces in recent years. They have a job to do for the nation and we need to give them the means and resources to do it," Mr Dunne said.

ENDS

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