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Time for NZ to (re)adopt independent foreign policy

21 May 2014

Time for NZ to (re)adopt independent foreign policy

New Zealand needs to return to having an independent foreign policy and review its relationship in regard to intelligence sharing with the United States, Green Party Co-leader Dr Russel Norman said today.

Prime Minister John Key has publicly stated that he will not raise drone strikes with United States President Barack Obama when he visits the White House next month.

“The price New Zealanders pay for John Key’s photo opportunities at the White House is complicity in the United States’ mass surveillance programme and sharing intelligence for drone killings,” Dr Norman said today.

“Most New Zealanders are not as ‘comfortable’ with the way the United States uses its intelligence gathering capabilities to kill people and for mass surveillance as John Key is.

“Under the Key Government, our intelligence relationship with the United States has progressed to the level where top United States intelligence figures such as James R Clapper drop in for a quick chat.

“It is time to reassess the closeness of this relationship and what role we play in the Five-Eyes spying network,” Dr Norman said.

“Under this Government New Zealand has once again handed over its foreign policy to Uncle Sam. The United States is a great country, but so is New Zealand. We need to be proud to be an independent nation with an independent foreign policy.

“United Nations experts have called upon the United States to act with greater transparency and legal integrity,” Dr Norman said.

The Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial killings, Christof Heyns, has urged the United States to explicate the rules of international law it believes to apply to targeted killings, and ‘specify the basis for decisions to kill rather than capture’ particular individuals. The Special Rapporteur on human rights and counter-terrorism, Ben Emmerson, has also urged the United States to clarify its position on the legal and factual issues involved, and declassify information on its lethal extra-territorial counter-terrorism operations.

“New Zealand desperately needs to put checks and balances into our intelligence agencies that protect New Zealand from the mass surveillance and complicity in United States extra-judicial drone killings.

“This sadly, has no chance of happening under John Key’s watch,” said Dr Norman.

ENDS

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