Tax cuts, crime, the price of residing, potholes and co-governance … these and numerous different points at the moment are acquainted to most voters. But there was one main election space lacking the intense debate it wants: international coverage.
Whichever events kind the subsequent authorities, and whoever turns into prime minister, they may even be charged with negotiating New Zealand’s place in a dynamic and altering world.
Military and safety alliances, commerce, local weather change and international assist are all presenting important challenges. So listed here are a number of the questions any incoming administration ought to be capable to reply to the satisfaction of voters.
Defence and safety
Having lately deepened navy relationships with Australia and Japan, New Zealand must be clear about whether or not it’ll be part of “pillar two” of the AUKUS safety pact between the US, UK and Australia.
Directly associated to the AUKUS query are the onerous navy implications: who or what would New Zealand combat for? Were the US and China to sq. off over Taiwan, with Australia (New Zealand’s solely formal ally) drawn into such a battle, would New Zealand ship navy assist?
Less speculatively, will New Zealand proceed to ship naval belongings to help workout routines geared toward defending freedom of the seas, given the very latest historical past of Chinese navy confrontation within the disputed South China Sea?
The Pacific can also be in a state of geopolitical flux. New Zealand has upgraded its navy relationship with Fiji, and the US has secured “unimpeded entry” to strategic ports and airports in Papua New Guinea. But how does New Zealand reply to the “complete partnership” simply introduced between China and Timor-Leste overlaying navy exchanges, coaching and workout routines?
Talk of a brand new Cold War is overheated – however NZ faces complicated challenges within the period of ‘strategic competitors’
Ukraine and defence budgets
The warfare within the Ukraine may even demand consideration. While New Zealand is just not immediately concerned, it supplies navy coaching, monetary, authorized and humanitarian help. Does this proceed or ramp up, or does the extent of assist depend upon what New Zealand’s allies do?
Further to that, what’s New Zealand’s official place on what peace would appear to be for Ukraine? Would New Zealand help a peace deal that concerned territory trade-offs or didn’t embody the prosecution of warfare crimes?
AUKUS is already trialling autonomous weapons techniques – the place is NZ’s coverage on next-generation warfare?
Related to that’s the uncertainty over US dedication to supporting Ukraine, given some Republican resistance. New Zealand’s subsequent authorities will face probably very unpredictable outcomes from the US presidential election in November 2024. What occurs if Donald Trump returns to energy?
Many of New Zealand’s key allies (together with NATO nations) are spending or aiming to spend 2% of GDP (or extra) on their militaries. New Zealand at present solely spends about 1.5% of GDP. Ideally, voters would know whether or not that may enhance, by how a lot, and by when.
More particularly, would any further spending see the New Zealand Defence Force undertake militarised synthetic intelligence applied sciences?
Trade and sanctions
An open, predictable and rules-based world financial system can now not be taken with no consideration. Regional commerce integration has been disrupted, with a shift in the direction of unilateral commerce insurance policies and agreements.
What is New Zealand’s response, and can native exporters be inspired and helped to diversify their markets?
Beyond the easy mantras of negotiating new commerce agreements with India or the US, how will that diversification and continued development be achieved?
Will New Zealand help China’s utility to affix the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for the Trans-Pacific Partnership – or wouldn’t it again Taiwan’s?
Will New Zealand proceed to help the usage of sanctions outdoors the United Nations’ system (comparable to these imposed on Russia), and can it contemplate extending sanctions to nations for grievous human rights abuses (comparable to these imposed on Iran)?
The ‘quantity 8 wire’ days for NZ’s defence pressure are over – new priorities will demand larger budgets
Climate and international assist
Climate change presents excessive challenges domestically and internationally. New Zealand’s general efficiency is rated “extremely inadequate” by the unbiased Climate Action Tracker. So what’s going to the subsequent authorities do at a worldwide stage?
Where does New Zealand stand on mechanisms such because the Green Climate Fund, the world’s largest multilateral fund devoted to serving to creating nations tackle the local weather disaster, and can it enhance pledged funding for it?
And will New Zealand proceed to imagine in and help the Global Methane Pledge, a joint US-European Union initiative to scale back world methane emissions by no less than 30% from 2020 ranges by 2030?
New Zealand’s strategic precedence within the Indo-Pacific is just not AUKUS – it is serving to to defeat Russia in Ukraine
The UN units a goal for all developed nations to provide 0.7% of their gross nationwide revenue as assist to creating nations, however New Zealand solely manages to provide 0.23% – nicely under the OECD common. Will the subsequent authorities search to extend and even lower this? And wouldn’t it help the creation of a regional growth financial institution or cooperative assist tasks with China?
Finally, New Zealand might want to affirm if it’ll hold taking 1,500 refugees yearly.
These usually are not simple questions. But the New Zealand public ought to know the solutions earlier than they vote – and earlier than the subsequent authorities positions the nation in an more and more turbulent world order.
Alexander Gillespie doesn’t work for, seek the advice of, personal shares in or obtain funding from any firm or organisation that might profit from this text, and has disclosed no related affiliations past their tutorial appointment.