New Zealand and the great irresponsibles: coping with Russia, China and the US
journal contributionposted on 20.05.2021, 23:41 by Robert Ayson
New Zealand's willingness to call out irresponsible great power behaviour is a major test for Jacinda Ardern’s promise that her government will stand up for its values internationally. In fact, New Zealand has been weaker on Russia’s irresponsibility in the Ardern era than it was under the National Party-led governments of John Key and Bill English. The situation is reversed, however, for New Zealand's response to irresponsible international behaviour by China from the South China Sea to cybersecurity and human rights. Ardern’s commitments to international tolerance and cooperation have also made for a stronger response to the divisive turn in US foreign policy under Donald Trump. But there has also greater inconsistency in New Zealand's positioning since Ardern became Prime Minister in late 2017. Among the explanations for these trends is the Labour Party’s agreement to hand the foreign affairs and defence portfolios to the New Zealand First Party, which has amplified the contribution to New Zealand policy pronouncements by the Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters.