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First Steps – restoring New Zealand’s Foreign Service

First Steps – restoring New Zealand’s Foreign Service

Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters reaffirmed the Coalition Government’s commitment to restoring lost capacity in New Zealand’s Foreign Service today, announcing a significant increase in funding for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

“This Government recognises the critical role the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade plays in keeping New Zealanders safe and prosperous. New Zealand needs to rebuild expertise and resourcing to respond to an increasingly turbulent global environment,” said Mr Peters.

In a pre-Budget speech at Parliament, Mr Peters announced that MFAT will receive an operational expenditure increase of $150.4 million over the next four years, and an additional $40.3 million in capital expenditure. Funding will allow for an additional 50 foreign policy positions and the reopening of an embassy in Stockholm, Sweden.

“A key objective of the increase is to rebuild the resources the Ministry needs to ensure it can adequately engage with the world and advance our interests at a critical time,” he said.

“Funding over the past nine years has not kept pace with the challenges New Zealand faces internationally. The department tasked with that responsibility has been hollowed out and weakened as it was gutted of expertise and experience through a bungled restructure and years of underfunding.”

“New Zealanders are well aware of the international risks, and that New Zealand needs a voice on the world stage. It is important that our voice is heard in the right place at the right time to protect our interests,” said Mr Peters.

MFAT currently has 248 staff posted offshore spread over 58 posts, and 672 staff based in New Zealand.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs’ full speech can be found here.

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