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New Zealand Peace Foundation Critiques Party Policies On Foreign Relations And Disarmament

As in previous General Elections, the New Zealand Peace Foundation has again surveyed current party polices on foreign relations and disarmament. Speaking for the Foundation's International Affairs and Disarmament Committee, Convenor Richard Northey says that this year's offerings are at best mixed.

Judged the most comprehensive was that offered by the Green Party. The international components of its climate change policy were assessed as informed and constructive as were its policies on Defence, Peacekeeping, Human Rights, Trade and Investment, Development Assistance, Non-violence and the Rule of Law.

The Labour Party was noted as being committed to work 'constructively within the global community to find solutions to problems that transcend borders from climate change to the Christchurch Call.' Also emphasised were policies designed to foster trade liberalisation and expansion, increased development assistance, particularly to the Pacific, international human rights and enhanced global cooperation in dealing with COVID-19. Continued support for dealerting of nuclear weapons, a Nuclear Weapons Convention and further ratifications to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons was also listed.

For New Zealand First 'the Pacific Reset under a New Zealand First Government will continue to be our country’s top foreign policy priority where we will build deeper partnerships with Pacific countries, reflecting New Zealand’s greater strategic ambition in the region.' It further committed to negotiating free trade agreements, including with the European Union, and helping exporters succeed in offshore markets. Here it is committed to defending the multilateral trading system, provide international commitment and support on climate change, and advocate strongly for progress on international disarmament and non-proliferation while addressing global security concerns.

ACT aims to maintain and strengthen traditional alliances, such as Five Eyes and the Commonwealth; 'lead the world' with our relationships in Asia; emphasise 'our role as a leading country' in the South Pacific; support bilateral and multilateral free trade agreements by pursuing a free trade and free movement area between Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom.

Disappointing, said Mr Northey, was the lack of foreign and disarmament policy proposed by the National Party. While COVID -19 and the economy are understandable domestic preoccupations, like climate change and migration they are issues with major foreign policy dimensions. Assumptions that National's existing policies, such as a nuclear free and trade liberalising New Zealand, ignore the need to re-state them and advance fresh initiatives Mr Northey added.

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