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

 


Dunne Speaks on Drones, Foreign Policy and Trade

Dunne Speaks

22 May 2014

Despite constant claims that New Zealand follows an independent foreign policy, the truth is that we have never been far from the cringe factor.

From Michael Joseph Savage’s “where Britain goes, we go” sycophancy at the start of World War II, to Helen Clark’s quick signing up to Operation Enduring Freedom in 2001 (although not to the subsequent Iraq war) New Zealand governments have always had an eye to the main chance when it comes to foreign policy, lest it impact too adversely on wider trade relationships. (Even the anti-nuclear Lange government pulled some of its punches and worked furiously behind the scenes to protect trade relationships.) That of itself is no bad thing, and an inevitable consequence of our size and place in the world. But let us see it for what it is – and not disguise it as an independent foreign policy.

So it is against that background that the present government’s attitude to drone strikes and intelligence sharing is best considered. The long game is still about New Zealand’s ability to trade, and gain access to markets through bilateral or multilateral agreements, like the TPP. Extra-judicial killings, particularly of New Zealand citizens, are awkward and embarrassing and not our preferred option. Nor is the use of New Zealand sourced intelligence data for such purposes quite what we might have liked, but, remember, the long game is still more important. To that extent, even though nearly half a century separates them, John Key’s approach is little different from Keith Holyoake’s “dovish hawk” style over Vietnam in the 1960s.

If television videotape footage brought the Vietnam war into people’s living rooms, which rendered the blind faith implicit in the Savage declaration a generation earlier a nullity (even though Holyoake’s Australian counterpart Harold Holt could still win an election landslide in 1966 on the slogan “All the way with LBJ!”), satellite communications and the revelations of whistleblowers like Edward Snowden make fudging over drone strikes and intelligence sharing an impossibility. So, best to ignore the game that cannot be won and come back to the long game – to paraphrase Bill Clinton: “it’s trade, stupid.” That is why the visit to the White House is timely to push the TPP agenda and our Security Council candidacy, to secure our trade objectives, and why there will be no discussion on drone strikes and intelligence sharing.

Once that balance is re-established and some optimism kindled that there will be success on those fronts, then the “we don’t really like it, but that’s the way it is” stance can be resumed safely. Fair enough, people at home will say. And any external irritation our occasional grumpiness may cause will be mitigated by the fact that we are still in the camp. Just as it was with Holyoake over Vietnam.

He was often ridiculed at home for being too pragmatic, too consensus driven. Today, he is remembered as a canny operator, with his finger firmly on the public pulse. And, most significantly, as the man who won four straight elections.

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell:
On The Last Rites For The TPP

The Trans Pacific Partnership trade deal is one of those litmus issues that has always had more to do with one’s place on the political spectrum than with any imminent reality.

To date, the Greens have opposed (a) a wide range of the leaked content of the TPP (b) the secretive way it has been negotiated and (c) the undemocratic way in which any final document would be ratified. Labour has shared some of those concerns, but while remaining generally supportive of the deal itself.

National has, for its part, been very enthusiastic about the TPP, while still giving assurances about Pharmac being protected... For the TPP’s friends and foes alike though, the end now seems nigh. More>>

 
 

Gordon Campbell: On The Farcical Elevation Of David Seymour

With the election won, it’s time to find jobs for the boy. David Seymour is the Act Party’s latest scrounger to be rewarded by the National Party, and not only with a seat in Parliament. More>>

ALSO:

As Key Mulls Joining ISIS Fighting: McCully Speech To UN Backs Security Council Bid

It is an honour to address you today on behalf of the Prime Minister and Government of New Zealand. Our General Election took place last week - our Prime Minister Rt Hon John Key is engaged in forming a government and that is why he is unable to be here in New York... More>>

ALSO:

Labour: Cunliffe Triggers Party Wide Leadership Contest

David Cunliffe has resigned as Labour Leader, but says he will seek re-election... If there is any contest the election will have to go through a process involving the party membership and union affiliates. More>>

ALSO:

Flyover Appeal: Progress And Certainty, Or Confusion And More Delays?

Lindsay Shelton: The Transport Agency, embarrassed by the rejection of its flyover alongside the Basin Reserve, says it’s appealing because the decision could “constrain progress.” Yet for most clear-sighted Wellingtonians a 300-metre-long concrete structure above Kent and Cambridge Terraces would in no way be seen as progress… More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Cunliffe’s Last Stand

Right now, embattled Labour leader David Cunliffe has three options. None of them are particularly attractive for him personally, or for the Labour Party... More>>

ALSO:

Key Seeking 'New Ideas': Look To Children’s Commissioner On Poverty - Greens

John Key should not reinvent the wheel when it comes to ideas for tackling child poverty, and instead look to the recommendations of the Children’s Commissioner’s Expert Group on Child Poverty, Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei says. More>>

ALSO:

'Safe To Re-Enter' - OIA Docs: Safety Is Absolute Priority At Pike River Mine

“We understand that the time it is taking to complete our evaluation of the risks is frustrating for the family members and we are trying to complete this work as quickly as we can,” Ms Dunphy says. “It is Solid Energy’s responsibility to make this decision and we will do so, once we have all the information required to make a fully-informed decision.” More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Parliament
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news