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International conflict resolution – Goff

31 October 2008 Media Statement

Labour announces expanded role in international conflict resolution – Goff

A new and expanded role for New Zealand in international conflict resolution, with a focus on the Pacific, is proposed in Labour’s foreign policy released today.

Senior Cabinet Minister Phil Goff said today that the next Labour-led Government would look to significantly expand New Zealand’s capacity to help resolve intra-state conflict with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade working closely with non-government organisations and academics in New Zealand.

“New Zealand has a reputation as a country which thinks independently and makes a strong contribution in areas like peacekeeping, disarmament, inter-faith dialogue and development assistance. We can leverage off this to expand our contribution to conflict resolution,” Phil Goff said.

“New Zealand does an excellent job in peacekeeping through our Defence and Police personnel but we need to supplement the role we play in providing stability through the presence of our peacekeepers, with working alongside local groups to help them resolve the causes of conflict.

“This is vital in order to achieve sustainable peace and to provide for our peacekeepers to be able to leave after a reasonable period of time.

“We will be looking at assembling Conflict Resolution Teams, drawing on institutions and groups around New Zealand.

“We will also look to developing formally a list of New Zealanders with skills and mana for assignments as personal envoys, to put forward to the United Nations Secretary General.

“Part of the process will involve working with the academic community and non-government organisations to build the research, analysis and training capacity to support both teams and individuals who carry out this role.

“New Zealand has long admired the work Norway has done in this area and we will draw on their experience. Norway like New Zealand is a small country and one with which we already work closely in many areas.

“Other areas foreshadowed in Labour’s foreign policy emphasise Labour’s commitment to improving the functioning of the international financial and trade system, and efforts to cooperate to deal with international environmental issues such as global warming.

“New Zealand, under Labour, is committed to working internationally with others to tackle the causes of the world’s current financial crisis.

“Clearly, we need much stronger global regulatory and supervisory structures and greater transparency to prevent the sort of extravagance, recklessness and greed which have contributed to current problems,” Phil Goff said.

“On trade, Labour is committed to securing our companies an international competitive advantage through comprehensive and high quality trade agreements.

“This year we have brought into effect a FTA with China, concluded negotiations with Asean countries, and won agreement with the US to commence negotiations for free trade through the Trans-Pacific (P4) grouping.

“We will continue as a priority to work towards concluding the WTO Doha Development Round and achieving FTAs with other major markets such as Korea, India, the Gulf States, Malaysia and Japan.

“We also see the next few years as creating new opportunities to end the lack of progress on disarmament issues. We will work with any new administration in the United States to break the deadlock which has prevented the world moving forward in areas like the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty,” Phil Goff said.

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