World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search


WikiLeaks: NZ gearing up for Australia group plenary

WikiLeaks cable: NZ gearing up for Australia group plenary

April 8, 2005 NZ gearing up for Australia group plenary


REF: A. STATE 56903

B. STATE 49648 C. STATE 42674 D. STATE 41247 E. STATE 39371 F. STATE 36488

Classified By: Acting DCM Katherine Hadda, for reasons 1.4 (B), (D), and (H)

1. (C) Summary: New Zealand officials from the Prime Minister's External Affairs Bureau, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and Customs Service will attend the April 18-22 Australia Group (AG) Plenary in Sydney. The group does not plan to present any papers or introduce any new initiatives at the Plenary, and are still reviewing the various U.S. proposals. MFAT officials (strictly protect) say that New Zealand Customs will not take direction from other NZ ministries about how to spend travel funds. The officials recommend that U.S. Customs Service work directly with their counterparts on the margins of the meeting in order to ensure New Zealand Customs participates fully in AG meetings and exercises. A briefing in New Zealand by U.S. Customs would also be useful. End Summary. 2. (C) On March 21, Pol-Econ Couns delivered Refs B-F to Deborah Panckhurst, Deputy Director of the Disarmament Division at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT). Panckhurst was joined by Export Controls Officer Wendy Napier-Walker, who will be attending the April 18-22 Australia Group Plenary. On March 31, Pol-Couns provided Ref A nonpaper to Napier-Walker and Disarmament Division Director Caroline McDonald.

3. (SBU) Regarding Ref D, Panckhurst and Napier-Walker said that the NZ delegation would not present any papers or suggest any initiatives at the Plenary. Besides Napier-Walker, the delegation will include three Customs Officials: Mike Wotherspoon and Patrick Cruywajan of NZ Customs Service in Wellington; and Jimmy McCone, NZ Customs Liaison in Sydney. The delegation head will be Marlene Castle, Prime Minister's Department, a Chemical/Biological Weapons expert and long-time AG participant.

4. (C) Regarding Ref E, Panckhurst and Napier-Walker said they would share the U.S. proposals on pumps with the NZ Customs Service. Pol-Couns asked that they let her know if Customs Officials felt it would be practically difficult for them to implement the proposed changes. The idea is to make things easier, she said. Panckhurst said they would also share the biological agents proposal with other agencies. While she herself is not an expert in this area, she said she thought New Zealand will be unlikely to object if other AG participants agreed to it.

5. (C) Both MFAT officials thought the U.S.-proposed regional Nonproliferation Seminar (Ref F) sounded useful. They highlighted proper identification of controlled chemical exports as a particular area of interest for NZ Customs. Often, they said, controlled and non-controlled substances have similar names and it is difficult to verify substances through testing. The two MFAT officials (strictly protect) confessed to Pol-Econ Counselor that it is very hard for their ministry to compel the participation of Customs Service in any activity, as the Service basically chooses its own agenda and travel. NZ Customs rarely is willing to fund travel for officials to participate in Australia Group meetings in Europe, for example. Panckhurst suggested that direct approaches from U.S. Customs Service officials to their NZ counterparts on the margins of the Plenary would be the best means to get the NZ side on board. She also suggested that a U.S. Customs Service visit to New Zealand to brief NZ Customs and other officials on AG issues would be useful.

6. (C) On April 8, Pol-Econ Couns checked back with Napier-Walker, who said that Ministries had met on April 6 to discuss their goals for the Australia Group. She said that no formal decision had been taken on any of the U.S. proposals, but that the group would meet again on April 13 to conclude its discussions.



© Scoop Media

World Headlines


UN Rights Office On Syria: The “Monstrous Annihilation” Of Eastern Ghouta

Since the Syrian Government and their allies escalated their offensive against opposition-held Eastern Ghouta on 4 February, there have been more than 1,200 civilian casualties, including at least 346 killed and 878 injured, mostly in airstrikes hitting residential areas... Ninety-two of these civilian deaths allegedly occurred in just one 13-hour period on Monday. More>>


Cyclone Gita: 70% Of Tonga Population Affected

The full scale of destruction is beginning to emerge from Tonga in the aftermath of the severe tropical cyclone Gita. Around 50,000 people, or almost 70% of the country’s population, have been affected, a third of whom are children. More>>


Gita: Samoas Clean Up After Being Swamped By Cyclone

Apia in the wake of Gita Photo: Rudy Bartley The clean up is continuing in the two Samoas after Tropical Cyclone Gita hit on Saturday morning. More>>


Grand Coalition : Germany's two main political parties set to govern under Angela Merkel.

The liberal-conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and the centre-left Social Democrats (SPD) negotiated through the night in a marathon final push to nail down an agreement. More>>

80 Passengers: Kiribati Ferry Disaster

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the World Health Organization (WHO) are working with the Government of Kiribati to support children, families and communities affected by the recent Butiraoi ferry disaster. More>>


Campbell On: the US demonising of Iran

Satan may not exist, but the Evil One has always been a handy tool for priests and politicians alike. Currently, Iran is the latest bogey conjured up by Washington to (a) justify its foreign policy interventions and (b) distract attention from its foreign policy failures. More