Tuesday, 2 October 2007


Labour-lite continued its 'strategic' policy of outflanking the ruling party on the left this afternoon with the release of some defence policy. Rather than putting forward a genuine defence policy however, it confirms instead that the defence policy of both major parties is now best summarised by the title of our national anthem: 'God Defend New Zealand,' 'cos we sure can't be bothered. Summarises Colin Espiner,
National might as well have scrapped the 18-page document – fairly slim already for a position paper on foreign affairs, defence, and trade – and replaced it with a single sheet of paper with the words “we’ve lost the argument’’ in bold type...

National has discovered that New Zealand is too small to defend itself, can’t own every type of military hardware, can make only a “token contribution’’ beyond the South Pacific, and needs an independent foreign policy. It won’t change our “iconic’’ nuclear free policy, agrees relations with the United States are getting better, likes free trade agreements, and wants to increase our level of exports. Oh, and Key says National could work with Winston Peters as Foreign Minister. That’s lucky, because Winston could have written this document himself. With a little help from Defence Minister Phil Goff.
Lucky we live in an incredibly benign strategic environment, huh?
[All posts on Defence here]


  1. What is interesting is the reaction of the journos. If National had any policy differences they would be claiming that the country would be in dire straits if, God forbid, National ever got to rule.

    Now there are none, they still complain. Can't win with this types.

  2. New Zealanders don't give a damn about defence, because they live in blissful isolation - and because many regard the armed forces as one of the longest running jokes.

    Those that once defended ANZUS have got John Key disease, not helped by a generation of anti-American education helped by most teachers being always sceptical about US foreign policy.

    Fundamentally this is about being a free rider off of Australia and the US or not - unfortunately most believe we should be.

  3. The costs of NZ continuing with this head-in-the sand approach to defense have been huge. Here is one example.

    During the time of ANZUS the NZ govt was given free access to data from US Military satellites. This useful information allowed successful and effective protection/policing of the 220 mile economic zone and its valuable fisheries. Every fishing vessel could be seen and tracked. Its activites and exact location immediately apparant. When NZ govt headed off on its anti-US path, that data stream was cut off. Fair enough. NZ never paid for any of it and the US and Australian atitude was that if NZ wasn't going to stay in ANZUS it could stand on its own feet- no more free information from military satellites.

    It did not take the Japanese, Korean and other fishing outfits long to realise they could strip fish NZ waters with impunity. Let's see, NZ has two or three maritime aircraft, a couple of frigates, some in-shore patrol boats... What's the chance of being detected, let alone caught. Not much! The cost in lost fisheries resource is large. Now the govt is reducing fishing quotas because the fisheries have been over-fished (as they will continue to be).

    The anti-nuclear policy has been a cover for anti-US sentiment right from the start. Still, the moral is, there are consequences and there will be more of them.

    What is stunning is the persistent Kiwi attitude that the govt can do anything and there won't be any consequences or costs to bear.


  4. Very interesting lgm, didn't know that, any public source for that?

  5. "What is stunning is the persistent Kiwi attitude that the govt can do anything and there won't be any consequences or costs to bear."

    Correct LGM, but no surprise, eh. Just look at the legions of govt ads on TV *every* night telling us what to do and how to do it.

    Do that consistently for a couple of decades and bingo, you have an indoctrinated populace who wouldn't think to question the status quo and 'The govt should' becomes the standard preface.

    Job well done, comrade.

  6. " It won’t change our “iconic’’ nuclear free policy, agrees relations with the United States are getting better, likes free trade agreements, and wants to increase our level of exports..."

    NZ is pushing a snowball uphill here. The USA is also a small world when it comes to influential groups. [Google the Bohemian Club]

    The late president-elect of this exclusive organisation [Robert Stockton-Rush] had much to do with NZ and much to remember Labour politicians by. PM Bill Rowling tipped up Rush's NZ business investment. The subsequent legal fight went all the way to the Privy Council. The Law Lords held that though Rowling may have acted without impartiality and with vindictiveness, he was a member of the the institution of Parliament that was immune from personal liability and could only be voted out.

    Rush left NZ with a real sour taste in his mouth when it came to petty Labour politicians.

    Now that same species is going cap in hand to Rush's mates, the Bohemian Club members, glad-handing for a free trade deal.

    That's going to happen---Yeah Right!

  7. Berend

    The loss of access to US satellite and intelligence data was reported at the time NZ govt banned US navy warships from visits. The US military clearly stated up-front that it would be restricting the data it shared with NZ. Sources in the NZ govt bragged that this wouldn't matter as the Australian military would share that same US-sourced data with NZ. Strangely enough the Australians didn't comply with NZ govt dreams and wishes. Funny that.

    None of this was kept from the public but the anti-US hysteria of the time was such that it didn't register with many that the consequences of NZ's policy would be serious. The Kiwi sticks to his charmless culture and dreams on about free rides and winning big in lotto. Not much has changed really!



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