Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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Mixing Business with Politics? The Role and Influence of the Australia New Zealand Leadership Forum

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posted on 2021-11-11, 22:25 authored by Le Quesne, Simon

Since 2004, the Australia New Zealand Leadership Forum (ANZLF), an annual bilateral business-led Forum, has facilitated the engagement of high level state and non-state Australian and New Zealand actors in debate, unofficial dialogue, networking, information and idea exchange. Yet very little is known about the event, who participates and what the ANZLF produces. Drawing on extensive interviews with key participants and organisations, this thesis examines the Forum’s genesis, its form and modalities, and the substance of the meetings. While the literature on “track two” diplomacy and regional integration often exaggerates the importance of business and other non-official actors in the process, evidence from the ANZLF case suggests that these participants merely promote, but do not transform trans-Tasman economic integration policy. Rather, the ANZLF has served as a tool for governments to expand their capacities and to draw on alternative resources. The ANZLF is an example of unofficial diplomacy helping governments to build strategic relationships with a variety of non-governmental actors to advance specific objectives. From a New Zealand perspective, the thesis argues the Leadership Forum has been beneficial in building relationships, networks and trust as the country engages in asymmetrical integration with Australia.


Copyright Date


Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Rights License

Author Retains Copyright

Degree Discipline

International Relations

Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Level


Degree Name

Master of Arts

Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

School of History, Philosophy, Political Science and International Relations


Capie, David